Tag Archives: pyrex

Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner – Grilled Vegetables & Rice!

1 Sep


Two staples that will pretty much always be found in my kitchen: vegetables and rice. Since we haven’t ventured to the grocery store in far too long, dinner had to be whatever we had on hand! After a rather laborious dinner the other night, I was in no mood for drawn-out dinner shenanigans, so N got some rice cooking while I was on my way home. I whisked together a quick+simple marinade for the vegetables (soy sauce, ginger, sesame seed oil, LOTS of garlic, agave nectar, & chili paste), sliced some zucchini and green bell pepper and let sit for a few minutes while the grill was heating. The awesome thing about vegetarian marinades? They can also be used as sauce after everything is cooked without worrying about contamination from raw meats! Nom nom nom. While the vegetables were grilling and the marinade was looking a little lonely, I sliced up some beefsteak tomatoes and let those soak up the lovely sauce for a bit. No need to grill the tomatoes, these tasted great raw! Once done, everything gets thrown in a bowl to commence devouring.

Notes:

  • Need protein? Use Quinoa instead of rice. Thought of doing this after the rice started cooking, unfortunately…
  • Turn this all into a wrap! Add some beans & cheese and you got yerself a burrito.

Grilled Vegetable Salad & Fruit Smoothie

17 Aug

We have a problem. The significant other and I tend to buy way too many Groupons & Livingsocial deals…and then forget about them until right before they expire. We bought a voucher for $30 worth of organic, local vegetables delivered to our door like three months ago…and got out veggies this morning! The tub was packed full of leafy greens, potatoes, corn, broccoli, eggplant and carrots. Now to find a way to use all this!

Lunch was easy to throw together. I salted and let eggplants slices sweat for about 30 minutes. I sliced some zucchini squash and heirloom beefsteak tomatoes and let those marinate in garlic powder, salt+pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil while the eggplant was sweating. The grill was then fired up and everything thrown on for about 10 minutes. Grilled Vegetable Salad!  The great thing about marinating vegetables is that the leftover marinade doesn’t go to waste, unlike when you marinate meat stuffs. Leftover marinade = lazy man’s salad dressing. The salad was gorgeous and bright BUT unfortunately, the eggplant was SO BITTER! Such a bummer. I know salting/sweating helps with the bitterness, but wow, it was pretty much inedible. It made my mouth hurt so much! Oh well! I devoured the rest of the salad and ended up pitching the eggplant. Not sure what went wrong, maybe just a bad aubergine?

I also made a fruit smoothie to add a bit of sweetness + daily serving of fruits to the meal. LOVE smoothies, especially on hot summer days! We try to buy and use fresh fruit as much as possible, but sometimes it’s too expensive or not available! When fruit is on sale, we buy a lot of it and freeze it. Perfect for smoothie making because you don’t need to add any ice. This smoothie consisted of: pineapple slices, strawberries (with the greens still on top), blueberries, and orange juice. Simple, but so sweet and refreshing!

 

Super excited to be seeing one of my all-time favorite bands, Incubus, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre tonight! Just hoping the thunderstorms roll right on past us 🙂 Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Quick, Easy Zucchini, Spinach & Tomato Pasta

16 Aug

I was in no mood for a laborious, time-consuming dinner tonight. I found the solution sitting on my kitchen counter. I’ve been making an effort to buy much of the produce we love locally. There’s a small farm stand across the street from the library that I frequent and they have amazing heirloom beefsteak tomatoes. We also go to the farmer’s market at City Park on Sundays ($.25 jalapenos? awesome.), where we also get to pick up our share of the ELA Family Farms fruit CSA that we are a part of. ELA Family Farms is located in Hotchkiss, CO (about 240 miles away from Denver) and grow a variety of organic fruits and vegetables. We picked up our first share this past Sunday consisting of a bag of heirloom tomatoes, a bag of peaches and applesauce made from their own apples! As the season progresses, we will be expecting different varieties of tomatoes, peaches, plums, pears, apples and CIDER! For the entire month of October, we will receive a half gallon of cider every week. I love fall and cider and pumpkins and apples and orchards! If there’s one thing I miss about Michigan, it’s the sunny, brisk Fall days spent apple picking and devouring freshly made donuts at a cider mill.

With little inspiration or motivation toward making a grand meal tonight, I whipped up an easy, flavorful vegetable pasta dish that took about 20 minutes. The dry sherry used really helped bring the dish together and mellow the balsamic vinegar. This can be thrown together using pretty much any vegetables you have on hand, though I highly recommend some fresh, juicy beefsteak tomatoes as the main ingredient.

Quick, Easy Zucchini, Spinach & Tomato Pasta

  • 3 Fresh beefsteak tomatoes (also threw in a couple of romas we had on hand)
  • Half a zucchini squash, sliced and then cut in half
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • About 1/4 cup of dry sherry
  • a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 servings of whole wheat pasta

pretty pyrex 🙂

Boil water! Cook pasta! Meanwhile…in a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and minced garlic (since I didn’t have any on hand, I just threw in some garlic powder later on). Wilt the spinach leaves by covering the pan for a few minutes. Add zucchini and beefsteak tomatoes, stir and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add spices to taste (basil would be a great addition). Add sherry and balsamic vinegar and simmer for about 5 more minutes until the sherry flavor has mellowed a bit. Taste and make sure it is savory and everything you hoped and dreamed for. Throw on top of the cooked pasta and, if you have any, garnish with fresh basil leaves.

 

I was super excited to see the tea towels I ordered from Etsy seller Zen Threads waiting for me in the mail today. I love functional, vintage-looking tea towels and these are super high quality. Look out for them in upcoming food pictures 🙂

I’m loving these cool summer nights…Autumn is in the air! My favorite season. Can’t wait for the Aspens to start changing colors because you know what that means…WINTER IS COMING! I’m already itching to slap my skis on and tear down the mountains. But it’s still August. And it’s still in the 90s during the day. Reality check.

Aloo Gobi & Sada Paratha

15 Aug

Indian food truly is a vegetarian’s best friend. It has distinctive, flavorful dishes, many of which are already veggie-friendly or are easily made so! If you’ve never experienced any sort of Indian food, this dish is a great way to get your feet wet and see what you think.  Aloo Gobi, or Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes, is one of my favorites and I had to try and remake my Indian restaurant staple. The recipe comes out of the great cookbook “Entice with Spice – Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People” by Shubhra Ramineni. I highly recommend this cookbook because it explains a lot about Indian cuisine and the methods behind their preparation. The author brings in personal experience from growing up surrounded by the food and breaks down a seemingly complex dish into feasible steps. I’ve always been somewhat intimidated by preparing Indian food, but with the right spices, it’s pretty simple! I grabbed this book off the shelf at the library 🙂

As a side to this dish, I quickly made some Flaky Wheat Breads (or, Sada Paratha). So easy! Basically, they’re just pan-fried flatbreads that are great to balance the spiciness of Indian food. Though, naan is far superior, but I don’t have a wood oven to make them in…yet…

Since I can’t post the recipe from the book I used, I recommend this Aloo Gobi recipe from Food.com. Pretty similar to the one I followed, but I did add whole garlic cloves, used FRESH heirloom beefsteak tomatoes (amazing) and ginger powder. To cut down on cooking time, I recommend boiling the potatoes a bit before throwing them in the skillet with everything else. It takes much longer for them to cook in the skillet. Also, fresh coriander = CILANTRO! Yum.

My next move into Indian cuisine will be Chana Saag! I had some at the Blues & Brews Festival this weekend and oh, it was soooo goooooood. A mixture of spicy, creamy spinach and garbanzo beans! Might have to make some chapati too…I’m hungry again.

Saturday Antiquing and Poking Around Denver

6 Aug

new Pyrex mixing bowl! Town & Country print.

Oof! What a tiring Saturday!

My mother used to take my sister and I garage sale-ing (for now, to be referred to as “garage sailing”) quite frequently during the summers, always on the look for interesting antiques or whatever caught our eye. I remember going to many estate sales, amazed by the mass amounts of things that people accumulate during their lives and now on display for the entire world to judge. I don’t recall these experiences being so exhausting and laden with crap! Since we’ve both noticed (and embraced) the fact that we are indeed turning into our lovely mother, the sibling and I meandered around the Washington Park area today because we were entranced by the advertisement of 75+ homes with yard sales this weekend!  Wash Park is quite an affluent area, guaranteeing our chances of having some great finds, right? NO. You take the good with the bad of course, but really people? Some of the so-called “yard sales” were two card tables with a random smattering of card games from the 80s, salt and peppers shakers and a candelabra…THESE ARE THINGS YOU DONATE. Goodwill or the Salvation Army can truly find good uses for these things. Just take the tax write-off and run away from your crap as fast as possible. Still, we enjoyed ourselves, drooling over the gorgeous arts & craft style bungalows with large, ornate front porches and heavy, rounded front doors. Which we cannot afford. It’s ok to dream!

My good find of the day was a large, vintage Pyrex bowl (Town & Country Pattern) and a wide mouth, 1/2 pint mason jar (to use for jar pies, of course) for $2.50. I drove a mean bargain, haggling the woman down from $3. It was rough, but I prevailed.

i dream of having a large, farm-style kitchen with an apron front sink and worn, wooden cabinets with big hinges 🙂

After numerous disappointments  and staring at way too many diet books from the 80s, we ended our garage sailing and stepped it up a notch: antique stores! Denver apparently has a plentiful bounty of unique, independent antique shops, all varying in prices and styles. The bulk of our antiquing took place on Antiques Row on South Broadway, where there are 7 blocks of antique shops! SEVEN BLOCKS. We barely made it through one block before calling it a day with aching feet! There was just so much to look at and it became dizzying at times. Amazing mission-style furniture, Fenton glassware, Americana knick-knacks, overpriced junk…what struck me most during this entire day was when we entered one shop, I was completely awestruck from the antique saloon back bars (example) that lined the entire front of this particular store. It was incredible. These pieces were priced around $35,000+, but they really were gargantuan pieces of wood art. Beautiful and ornate, they made me want to open up a bar. Oh, the things you find while antiquing!

so. much. furniture. typically for the low low price of $600+. out of the budget.

Sadly, we didn’t come across much of my current favorites: vintage Pyrex. The things we did come across were grossly overpriced, especially for the condition they were in. I seem to be having more luck at thrift stores than at antique stores! Though, my sister did nab a lovely Pyrex casserole dish (snowflake pattern) that is fashionable and functional! That’s what I mainly enjoy so much about these Pyrex dishes–not only will I stare at them, but I will cook in them…and then stare at them some more.

On top of all the antiquing fun, I was so thrilled to see that my picture/recipe for Vegan Macaroni & Cheese was accepted by foodgawker today! Hours have been spent scrolling through the glorious pictures on FG and dreaming of one day being featured! I’m still quite thrilled. eek. I also had two recipes on Findingvegan.com, one of my new favorite sites to see all the fancy, tasty dishes vegan bloggers are coming up with around the internet. Yes, I would say today was a good day 🙂

Vegan Macaroni & Cheese (Made with Homemade Cashew Milk!)

5 Aug

oh, it was so good.

I’ve been so curious about making cashew milk. Such an intriguing idea, soaking cashews for a few hours, blending, and voila! Cashew milk! It just seems too easy! How would it taste? Is it good to cook with? Is the texture funky? My first try at using cashew milk worked wonderfully! I used my mom’s recipe for Mac & Cheese that uses a bechamel sauce and breadcrumbs. She even made this for my birthday one year and put candles in it because I LOVE MAC&CHEESE that much. Making this with cashew milk was a breeze and was much richer and creamier than using other alternative milks.

Cashew Milk

  • 1 cup RAW cashews
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups water

Place cashews in a bowl with enough water to cover. Let soak for at least a couple hours (overnight is best!) Place cashews in high-quality blender and slowly add water. For a thicker, creamier substance, add less water. I used about 2 cups water for the sauce, but for regular cashew milk, add 3 or 4 cups. I didn’t add any sweetener, but if using for drinking or sweet dishes, add a couple tablespoons of maple syrup, honey or agave nectar.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

White Sauce (Bechamel)

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance!)
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cashew milk, heated
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • A few dashes of garlic powder 🙂
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (used Daiya here)

i'm always looking for a reason to show off my pyrex 🙂

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add flour.  With a whisk, stir flour until well mixed. Let cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly, but be careful not to let burn. Slowly add the hot cashew milk and continue stirring. Bring to a boil and keep stirring as the sauce thickens. Add spices. Lower the heat and let cook a couple minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese. Set aside.

Macaroni & Cheese

  • 9 oz dry whole wheat noodles (sure, you can use macaroni, but other noodles work just as well!)
  • 2 cups cheese sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly made breadcrumbs

Boil noodles until al dente per your instructions. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pour boiled noodles into a 1 1/2 qt casserole dish and pour the cheese sauce over. Gently mix until well incorporated and spread cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs over the top.  Bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly! EAT.

Notes:

  • Homemade mac and cheese is just so far superior to boxed. Reading through this recipe, you will see how it really isn’t hard at all to make a great homemade version that you can pronounce all the ingredients of! Slightly more time consuming, but completely worth it instead of using powdered cheese crap in a box 🙂
  • Need more cheesy-ness? Add a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the sauce. It will give it a nice yellow color and that “cheesy” nooch flavor!
  • In the mood for something spicy? Add a bit of cayenne pepper to the bechamel and throw in some chopped jalapenos.
  • Pair with a side of lightly steamed broccoli and some Pinot Grigio!

Cashew milk? I LOVE IT. I have grand plans for this delightful homemade milk! Fettucine Alfredo would be GREAT with this! So many possibilities. I’m inspired!

At the advice of a couple of my co-workers and my piqued interest, I’ve been reading up on CANNING! We are going to have a ton of heirloom tomatoes once they all ripen and I don’t want them to go to waste. We also joined a local Fruit CSA and will have tons of apples and peaches soon! Canning has always made me a bit nervous because it seems like so many things can go wrong! And now, at higher altitude, EVEN MORE CAN GO WRONG. BUT! I will prevail. Working at a library is wonderful because I have so many great resources right in front of me. I literally have about 3/4 of our collection of cookbooks checked out…I’ll return them eventually…If anyone has general advice/words of wisdom on canning, please share! 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal & Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers

5 Aug


Looks like I have some bloggin’ to catch up on! Yesterday morning had me craving something sweet and filling…and oatmeal easily fulfills that task! Oats are high in fiber and help lower cholesterol…and taste good. Always remember to use rolled oats and not quick! I’ve been inspired by Kath over at Kath Eats Real Food because she always has such great looking oatmeal! Check out her “Tribute to Oatmeal” page for lots of tasty variations!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal with Sliced Raw Almonds, Chia Seeds and Wheat Germ

  • 1 apple, chopped
  • Lots of cinnamon! 1-2 tsp
  • 1 tbsp of your favorite sweetener (i.e. honey, agave nectar, etc)
  • pinch of salt
  • Nutmeg, cloves, or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk (or water or any non-dairy milk you prefer)
  • Any toppings you like. In this case I used sliced raw almonds, chia seeds, wheat germ

Throw chopped apple + spices + sweetener into a saucepan. Let cook for a minute or two…then add rolled oats, stir, and add the almond milk. Bring to a low boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes (though everything takes longer at high altitude!) or until you have your preferred consistency. Top with tasty things and enjoy in your favorite dish (in my case, in my UGLY mug!)

Yum. So many different things you can do with oatmeal! This made enough to split between two people (I get so full after eating oats).

I had some green bell peppers sitting on the counter form the farmer’s market this past weekend and they were just on the brink of being too far gone, so I had to use them! I was able to whip this meal up in under an hour. Lots of protein from the quinoa and a variety of veggies make this a healthy, hearty dinner.

Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 4-5 Bell Peppers, tops cut off and seeds/innards cut out
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (or use fresh!), not drained
  • Small can of sweet peas
  • Small can of sweet corn
  • 1/2 medium sized zucchini squash, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder (I LOVE GARLIC)
  • Vegan shredded cheddar cheese (highly recommend Daiya brand)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Parboil the bell peppers for 5 minutes, drain and set aside. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the inside of each pepper.

Prepare quinoa per your brand’s instructions. Add diced tomatoes, peas, corn and chopped zucchini. Mix spices in!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an oven-safe dish (PYREX IS AWESOME), place bell peppers upright. Carefully spoon the filling in. About halfway, add a layer of shredded cheese. Continue to fill up to the top and then add more cheese! Breadcrumbs would be tasty too. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until everything is looking cheesy, goopy and delicious.

Notes:

  • Want more protein? Add some black beans to the mix! Cilantro, jalapenos, onion and cayenne pepper would make this a great spicy dish!
  • No quinoa? Use rice or couscous!
  • Looking for a meaty version? Add your favorite veggie crumbles, like Gimme Lean!

Yesterday was tasty, I must say. So glad it’s FRIDAY! Most likely going GARAGE SALE-ING (sailing? yes. like on a boat.) tomorrow to try and find some interesting things. Estate sales are the best! Just have to weed through all the crap to get to the good stuff. Happy Friday!