panini heaven

So, due to just an unattractive looking sandwich (at least with my photography skills and my dinner plates and such) I do not have a photograph of the genius we re-created last night, but I must blog about it anyways.

Last night, the boy and I decided to make (well, I decided… he eats whatever I make) BAKED POTATO PANINIS.

I got this ingenious idea from BS’ In the Kitchen (who by the way, has some pretty freaking fantastic ideas for paninis… think baked potato, broccoli and cheddar cheese soup and jalapeno popper!). Their photograph of the sandwich is absolutely delightful (of course).

I substituted bacon bits for the bacon slices and unfortunately I didn’t have any crusty type breads so I just used the farm-style I buy from my bakery every week.

This sandwich was phenomenal!! We warmed up some tomato soup for a dipper and oh my. Sooo sooo soo soo soo good. I will admit to it being quite a heavy sandwich, but hell, who the F cares right? Whats better than potatoes and cheese crisped in a delicious sandwich?!

last few nights!

So the last few nights I’ve been cooking up a bunch of “in the head” kinda food… Meaning, I don’t necessarily have a recipe, I’m just combining whatever it is I have in the fridge that’s either going bad or is an oddball out or whatever.

So Monday night I combined roasted brussel sprouts, carrots, broccoli and orecchiette pasta (did you know that orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian?! I learned that from Rachael Ray haha I’ve never forgotten it though!) with a balsamic cream sauce. Pretty much I combined an equal amount of half&half and vegetable stock with a bunch of minced garlic and a couple of tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar. I add a bay leaf and some herbes de provence and it was pretty freaking fantastic! I know I always say things are fantastic, but what can I say? I’m cocky about my cooking haha

And of course, we made a big ol’ salad too… for some reason I can’t eat pasta without salad… something about how heavy the pasta is compared to the lightness of a good salad… I don’t know, makes me feel healthier!

So then last night, my brother and I decided we were going to make dinner and then go see The Artist. We needed something quick and easy and that we could run to the grocery store, make, devour and get to the theatre in 2 hours. He’s been on a wicked kale kick lately so we brainstormed and decided to make a kale pasta dish.

Soooo what we did was, minced a bunch of garlic, sauteed the kale, added a can of cannellini beans and a added a whole jar of Prego (ugh, I know! but he loves it! and it was actually really good) chunky marinara sauce. We boiled some spiral shaped noodles and threw them into the pan and called it dinner. It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Also paired with leftover salad and big huge honkin’ pieces of bread (my brother is the king of everything Italian bread… choosing the loaf, slicing it, eating it, devouring it and finishing it off).

the sauce!

the whole dish!

the whole shebang!

So anyways, like I said, my bro and I went and saw the Artist last night… It was phenomenal! It was so strange seeing a silent film, it took a little getting used to.. their facial expressions were so exaggerated… I like going to the movies with him though, who else is going to smuggle in two very large pieces of Italian bread and a ziploc baggy of dried cherries for a snack?!

Annnnd then tonight, the boy and I made some sort of asian style noodle dish that I made up. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of it, but I can promise you it was delicious. Marinated some tofu in an asian style marinade and sauteed broccoli, snow peas, carrots and scallions. Used some of those thai style rice noodles and combined it all together. We also boiled a bag of edamame in the pod and salted them a ton. Between the two of us, we finished off the whole bag. yum yum.

I’ve been wicked craving chocolate lately, been scouring the internet for a simple one serving brownie recipe (I don’t need a whole pan of brownies sitting around!). Any suggestions on a single serving brownie or chocolate cake recipe?!

leftovers & muffins

So that tortilla soup and salsa? Makes awesome leftovers!! I turned the salsa into bangin’ grilled cheese sandwiches and warmed the soup up for a killer dipper. (I made the grilled cheese with a little shredded cheddar cheese on plain ol’ white bread with a little bit of Frank’s Red Hot spread on the inside of the bread… yum!!!!!!!!)

Today, I slept until a god awful hour and then decided it was an opportune time to make the cranberry orange nut muffins I’ve been wanting to make since Christmas. I gathered up all my ingredients and went to my giant freezer to get out my cranberries and oh.my.god. It’s an absolute disaster. I couldn’t find anything to save my life, so although I was already freezing, I set out to clean the beast out.

Findings? Soup in freezer bags in all sorts of shapes and sizes, fish fillets from last ice fishing season, venison (uhm? hello? I don’t even eat meat!), frozen and then unfrozen and then frozen again frost bitten berries, like 8 packages of rolls? Plus an assortment of a bunch of other crap. Pretty much, I’m embarrassed to say how much I threw out today. Butttttt, now I can see what’s in there and it’s not going to be such a hassle to find what I want.

So anyways, after I did the whole freezer thing, I set out to make the muffins. My Nanny got me giant muffin pans for Christmas and I’ve been pretty excited to use them and along with the pan she also got me 750 Best Muffin Recipes, which is where I got the recipe from.

NOW, I absolutely love love love love love love love Panera Breads cranberry orange muffins.. they are my favorite, like EVER. So I was kinda hoping these muffins would be sorta like them… but I knew instantly that they probably wouldn’t be. For one, they’ve got cinnamon and nutmeg in them… and Panera’s does not… For two, they’ve also got pecans (I subbed walnuts) and Panera’s does not… but hey smelled absolutely fantastic baking and they look pretty darn good…

Annnnnd, I just had one and they’re awesome! The cranberries are super tart, the muffin part is the perfect sweetness, and you get a little hint of orange. The nuts are pretty tasty as well! (Although I must say, Panera’s are still better.. but these can be a good at home replacement)

Yum!

tortilla soup!

So last night, super cold… snowy, I’m lazy. So I made soup!

I made this chicken tortilla soup (with yes, you guessed it! some changes!) and it was pretty fantastic. I obviously didn’t use chicken broth, or real chicken and as stated above, I’m lazy so I opted out of making home made tortilla strips and just crumbled up my favorite tortilla chips and used them. I also didn’t add nearly as much cayenne as it called for and I’m super glad. The soup had the perfect spicy-ness and I probably used 1/8 or 1/4 tsp of cayenne, anymore and it would have been too spicy.

Surprisingly enough, I was way more into the salsa. It was pretty delicious. I almost could have done without the black beans, I’m all about tomatoes and avocado together.

Also, I was a tad disappointed because the color nor texture of my soup wasn’t anywhere near the pictures on the original post, but whatever. It was yummy.

The next few days will probably revolve around leftovers and quick easy stuff because I’ve got too much in my fridge and it’s always difficult to cook for just one person, and that’s all I’ll be all weekend. So until next time!

rice puddinz

So I was always one of those people who couldn’t stand rice pudding. I never understood it. Why would anyone want to eat cold mushy nasty rice? And that stuff you could buy out of the tub on sale every week at the grocery store? Forget about it!! Nasty nasty nasty!! It wasn’t until recently that I became a lover of rice pudding. One day I was asked specifically to make homemade rice pudding and being the nice person that I am, I obliged and took a stab at making it.

I was a little hesitant at first, with all the horrid experiences I’ve had with it… but let me tell you, it was a life changer. It’s still mushy rice. But when it’s warm and right off the stove, raisins all plump and delicious… I don’t see how it could be made or enjoyed any other way. And actually, I’ve even enjoyed it at a few diners or two since then as well.

It’s been ridiculously cold here lately, with the snow and ice and persistent slush that covers the road and for some reason I decided that tonight would be a good night to devour some comforting rice pudding, cuddle with my Fernie and get to bed early.

Here’s the recipe I use:

5 cups milk

2/3 rice

¼ tsp salt

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp cinnamon

½ cup raisins

Combine milk, rice, salt and sugar in a medium sized pot. Cook on medium high heat until bubbly and then switch the heat to low. Simmer until the rice is tender and there’s still a good amount of liquid/creaminess (it takes a stupid amount of time, I’m usually super anxious by the time its half way there). Add vanilla, cinnamon and raisins and cook to desired thickness.

I of course, always tweak the recipe. Tonight I halved it, since I was the only fatty eating it and I also pretty much dumped enough raisins in to scare any normal human being. But I do love me some raisins.

ps: I always add a little pad of butter on top of my pudding. Something about the saltiness of butter always makes it taste a hundred times better to me.

Also also also, after I had already started it and it had almost finished simmering, I opened up my fridge and realized that HELLO! tazo chai tea concentrate would probably be freaking awesome in the pudding and that will probably be my next experiment. It’ll probably be heaven in a bowl. Yummm.

and for fun.

Here are some more pictures of food endeavors from the last 2 months or so!!!

creme brulee before being baked

tofurky recipe thing from Big Vegan… my bro and I tested this recipe out on Thanksgiving.. hell of a lot better than last years attempt!

fried mashed potatoes. best.thing.ever.

destroyed!

salmon with brown sugar soy maple glaze.

hazelnut pie crust for a chai creme pie that was seriously soup and ruined this beautiful crust. man it was such a disappointment.

the makings of something delicious I’m sure. it included bread and garlic, what more could you ask for.

lost… again.

I suck at this. I’m not on the computer enough, I don’t get my camera out very often and I just plain ol’ don’t cook much anymore. I could throw out a million excuses as to why I don’t do this the right way, but that’d just be boring. To make a long story short, my life has changed drastically the last 4 months or so and I just haven’t had the… what should I say… the motivation? The ambition? I don’t know, either way, I haven’t been blogging and although I don’t want to PROMISE I’m starting again, I’m going to try to start again. Honestly though, this space might have a bit to do with the whole “I’m not cooking very often” excuse.

So anyways, this weekend has been boring, sloppy, messy, filled with mixed emotions, burnt food, destroyed pantries, long talks with best friends and lots and lots of Gordon Ramsey. Today I finally decided to cook something worth the effort and time and decided on Healthy.Happy.Life’s curried quinoa wrap with avocado citrus slaw.

It was delicious! Absolutely positively delicious. I’ve been pretty keen on quinoa for a week or so. It was made exceptionally well for me about a week ago and I’ve been obsessed since.

Quinoa! with all it’s delicious yummy bits.

The yummy bits!

Delicious slaw!

I had to make a few tweaks to the recipe.. for one, my tahini was absolutely disgusting. It was a mass of bone dry crud on the bottom of about 3 inches of oil and no matter how much mashing, stirring, coercing it just wouldn’t turn into the creamy substance it’s supposed to be. So I omitted it from the whole entire recipe. Where it was called for in the slaw, I just used some vegan mayo and it turned out just fine. I also didn’t have a tangerine, so I opened up a can of mandarin oranges and used those instead. My quinoa wasn’t white, I used black quinoa. And I had no mint!! So aside from all those issues, it was fantastic!

Also, here are a few other things I have cooked in the last however many months.

Best cookies ever… seriously. They’re my favorite. Anytime I feel down in the dumps or want to impress someone or I have to go to some shindig where I’ve got to bring something, I make these freaking cookies. They combine everything glorious into an awesome, dunk in your soy milk cookie. (recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance… they’re the gigantic cookies or whatever with added chocolate chippies)

Awesome freaking mashed potato handpies that me and Vegan Whore made some odd months ago. Pretty much we mad an awesome coconut butter crust and added delicious mashed potatoes, slathered them in chick pea and traditional brown gravy (not shown) and scarfed them down like we hadn’t eaten in months. Seriously one of the better ideas we’ve had in a loong long time. I also think we made peach and grape pies too, but unfortunately no pictures of those beauties.

Roasted cauliflower that I used in a made up recipe for Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower soup that I experimented with.

And finally, the Roasted Carrot and Cauliflower soup that I made. It wasn’t necessarily soup when I was done with it, more like this delicious mash of carrots and cauliflower.. but it was scrumptious, so who gives a damn about what it looks like… right?!