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No-Chicken Noodle Soup

28 Dec

I started this blog with the idea that it can be really simple and even fun to cook some delicious and possibly healthy food. Unfortunately, I have been backsliding on this belief pretty hard in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes I get stressed out and end up eating a spoonful of peanut butter and a multi-vitamin for dinner. Or a beer and a cupcake, whatever. The other night, I went to the store to buy a year’s supply of tampons and a chocolate eclair for dinner and I saw this really cute boy. I smiled at him, he smiled at me, then he looked in my shopping basket and threw up in his mouth. I mean, it’s totally his problem. If anything, he should have been impressed because I was clearly getting a really good deal on my feminine hygiene supplies, but that is neither here nor there.

What is both here and there is the fact that sometimes we all get stressed and we want to eat something that gives us a hug on the inside. No-Chicken Noodle Soup (inspired by a recipe from the lovely and talented Beatrix Dynamite) is a simple, comforting and healthful way to eat your feelings.

ingredients

1 onion, chopped

4 stalks of celery, chopped

A grip of carrots, chopped

1 extra firm tofu brick, cubed

4 cups vegetable broth

a couple handfuls of egg noodles

First things first, whip out your cauldron and put it on medium heat. Saute the onion in a little bit of olive oil. When the onion slices start getting soft and translucent, add in the tofu. Stir often and cook tofu and onions together for about 5 minutes or until bored. Next, add in the celery and carrots. To get the right amount of veggies, I cut up the celery and put it in a bowl (the bowl should be about half full). Then, I cut carrots until the bowl was full. Some recipes will tell you a weight or something to measure out your vegetables. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a scale just chilling in my kitchen. Probably because I’m not a drug dealer.

Okay, next step is to add 4 cups of vegetable broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Add egg noodles to your little heart’s content and continue to cook for about 8 to 12 minutes or until the noodles are soft. Voila! No-Chicken Noodle Soup! Put on your favorite record and eat it in bed.

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Christmas Salad

12 Dec

A wise man once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” I couldn’t agree with him more! Just ask my neighbors.

I adapted the recipe for this festive looking salad from a recipe in Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. Her recipe called for a shallot and white or red wine vinegar. I substituted balsamic vinegar and garlic and added a squeeze of lemon because I happened to have it on hand. It’s a good little salad to bring to a holiday potluck. It’s good for your conscience to eat one serving of vegetables before filling up on dessert, food pyramid, duh. This is the vegan version, but you can also add the crumbly cheese of your choice (feta, bleu, gorgonzola, goat).

the Goods

about 1/2 a grocery bag of green beans

1 little box of cherry tomatoes

1 clove of garlic

1/4 lemon

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper

Wash and snap the green beans. I’m a born green bean snapper. This is the best part. Enjoy it. Next, lightly steam the green beans for 3 minutes tops. You don’t want them to lose much crispiness.

Okay, put the green beans in a bowl. Take a deep breath. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and put them in the bowl. You might need to take a break, it’s okay. When you’re ready, mix the juice of 1/4 lemon, balsamic vinegar and 1 crushed clove of garlic. Pour it over the salad. Let it sit covered for 15 minutes. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle salt and pepper. Put it in the fridge and you’ll be ready to go!

Speaking of holiday entertaining, my lovely friend Charley shared a great and crafty party idea on her blog The Charley Girl. Another fun idea: play spin the bottle but instead of kissing the person the bottle lands on, air your grievances with them. It’s a Festivus classic! Finally, whether you’re serving sparkling apple cider or Miller High Life, everything looks better in a champagne flute. Cheers!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

10 Dec

Being cold makes me really angry sometimes on a primal level. This last weekend, I was about to cut a grown man open and sleep inside of him like Luke does to that snow beast on Hoth, and all because he made me stand outside of a bar for like an extra 30 seconds. Luckily for the men of San Diego, I got a space heater. I guess you guys are safe… for now….

I know there are much colder places to live, but let’s face some facts. I don’t care if you’re in Maui or Antarctica; the temperature in your apartment should not be hovering in the high forties. Especially if you are like me and you don’t actually generate body heat. Once I get cold, I am going to stay that way until an outside force acts upon me. I’m pretty sure that’s one of Newton’s Laws of Whatever. Look it up, it’s in a book!

I bought this stupid squash because I remember my mom baking it full of hot butter and sweet maple syrup and in a fit of hungriness and shivers I threw them in my shopping basket. They are also super delicious if you bake them full of butter, garlic, goat cheese and walnuts. Hey, that was my idea! Czech it out:

Preheat your oven to 325. Cut the squash in half and scoop its guts out. If you prefer to use every part of the beast, hiding squash guts in your cheeks is probably a great way to simulate vomit. Totally optional.

Next, rub a nice pat of butter over each half of the squash and leave the remaining dollop inside the squash. Imagine you will be cooking two sweet little bowls of butter. Peel and quarter a few cloves of garlic. Put your garlic in the butter bowls and throw the whole mess in the oven.

Now you have thirty minutes to huddle around your stove with your cat and make deals with your God. If you will make it warmer, I will stop using your name in vain on Sundays. If you make it warmer, I won’t show my collar bones or my ankles or wrists in public ever again. Just give me a sign, what do you want???

Okay, after thirty minutes, fill each squash with crumbled goat cheese and crushed walnuts. Add a little more butter if you’re so inclined. Cook for another fifteen minutes and serve piping hot with a spring salad, a glass of two buck chuck and the Christmas movie of your choice.

The Sandwich Files: Hummus and Roasted Vegetables

29 Nov

I’m about to make it rain first world problems on all of y’all, so get out your rain boots and your flood pants. Ready?

Sometimes I feel like a huge jerk because I don’t want to talk to anyone after yoga. Everybody’s always so relaxed and happy and chatting about nice things and I just can’t hang. Normally I would love to have some mellow small talk with some good hearted people, but come on you guys. I just spent over an hour getting into a really good nonverbal headspace and you want to take that away from me by talking about how “crazy” it is that it’s like 80 in November? Um, that’s why we live in San Diego stupid. I don’t want to sit around in my sweaty leggings and pillow talk for 20 minutes. I have to go home and make a sandwich. NOW.

the Goods

1 red or yellow bellpepper

1/2 head of cauliflower

hummus

goat cheese

spring mix

radishes

multi-grain bread

the Sandwich

Preheat your oven to 350. Chop the cauliflower and bell pepper and put them in a glass baking dish with a little bit of olive oil, a sprinkling of curry powder (optional) and a dash of salt (not optional). Roast the veggies at 350 for about 30 minutes or until you see them browning at the edges. Stave off post-yoga hunger rage by mindlessly grazing in your fridge. Have some ice cream. You’re a grown up.

I like to lay out my bread and put a thin layer hummus on both pieces. Then I build my sandwich thusly: radish slices first, roasted veggies next, add goat cheese and spring mix and then it’s a sandwich. Duh.

The really magical thing about this sandwich is the way the flavors interact. The hot, roasted veggies melt the goat cheese. The radishes balance the melty, creamy goodness of the cheese with a cool crunch and the multi-grain bread makes you feel like your mom needs to stop worrying about you. You’re doing just fine.

Thanksgiving Teriyaki Tofu with Sweet Potatoes

24 Nov

Full disclosure: I made this dish like 2 weeks ago and I didn’t take any pictures because I hadn’t yet realized that blogging was my destiny, my quest and my calling, so what you are looking at is indeed a can of Fancy Feast. Thanksgiving Flavored Fancy Feast! This is what my cat’s having for dinner. Be jealous.

Okay, so I know you’re all out there thinking, but Megan, why would you post a Thanksgiving recipe? Aren’t vegetarians just a bunch of bloodless killjoys who want to rob me of the sensual pleasures of the flesh and impose their strict morality upon my day of hedonism and mindless consumption? The short answer is: yes, of course we are. The nuanced answer is: I don’t care what you do; I would also like to stuff my face and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation after dinner and fall asleep on the couch. So without further ado, I present to you a delicious and simple dish that even my little brother would like.

the Ingredients

1 brick firm or extra firm tofu

1 sweet potato

teriyaki sauce

maple syrup

tapatio

the Work

Preheat the oven to 350. Gut your tofu container like a fish and drain the tofu water. Try not to look at or think about the tofu water. Don’t get it on your hands. OH NO. Go take a shower.

If you’ve cooked tofu before and you feel good about it ignore the rest of this paragraph, you’re on a roll! If you haven’t, you are going to want to get serious right now. I’m serious. Look at me when I’m talking to you. Drain the tofu water and get two big plates. Press the excess tofu water out between the plates. Put something heavy on the top plate and let it hang out for a while. You might even want to wrap your tofu up in some paper towels or something to really wick the moisture out. Draining the tofu water helps you get a better texture from the cooked tofu-beast. This is my least favorite part but it’s super important. Don’t blow it!

Are you back? Okay. Cut your tofu up into cubes and put the cubes in a square glass baking dish. I think mine is like 8″x8″, not that size matters. Pour a mixture that is roughly 2/3 teriyaki sauce, 1/6 maple syrup and 1/6 Tapatio on the tofu and wiggle the pan around until all your cubes are coated. Put it in the fridge for a while. Try not to think about the carnage.

In the meantime, peel the sweet potato. Sing a merry tune and cut it into little cubes about the same size as your tofu cubes. When you’re ready, toss the sweet potato cubes in the tofu pan. Splash the sauce around. Bake at 350 for about an hour, stirring a couple of times to check on your progress. The extra sugar from the maple syrup should caramelize a little on the edges of your cubes and the Tapatio gives it little more spice. Plus, you get to look at Mr. Tapatio and his lustrous mustache while you cook. Have you ever noticed how blue his eyes are? What a dreamboat.

White Bean and Spinach Soup

23 Nov

ImageI don’t know what’s up with my body, but I went from just a little tired, no bigs, to DYING OF THE FLU in the space of 10 minutes yesterday. I’m not the type who can rest unless I’m literally on the verge of death, so I’m shaking this thing off and getting cooking. Earlier this afternoon, I took some Dayquil and wandered around Goodwill for about an hour. I bought an amazing dark blue crushed velvet catsuit for like $10. Then, I invented this recipe for a bitchin’ vegan soup that can cure what ails you if you are me and you pair this soup with plenty of fluids and get your crazy ass back to bed.

the Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped up like crazy

9 or 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered

4 stalks of celery, chopped

1 large zucchini, cubed or whatever you like

1 15 oz can of white beans

4 cups (1 container) Pacific Natural Foods Vegetable Broth

1/2 cup brown rice

1 bag of lazybrand bagged spinach

the Gameplan:

Okay, so chop the living crap out of that onion. It’s okay to cry a little. If you’re super sensitive like me, you should probs remove your eye makeup before you even start. Next, peel that garlic and quarter it up. Finish chopping your veggies and throw them in a stupid bowl or something. Open your can of beans and rinse all that slimy bean juice off of them. Pro tip: rinsing your beans now will help you fart less later. If you like farting, by all means, skip this step! Next, grab a big old cauldron and get it hot on your stove. Toss a little olive oil in your cauldron and saute the onions and garlic on a medium high heat. I like having big old bites of garlic in my soup but if you’re a wimp or a vampire or something I guess you can handle your garlic situation differently. Just know that I am silently judging you.

When the onions and garlic start looking transparent and soft and it smells like you’re cooking something, throw in the celery and zucchini and saute them for a couple minutes. Feel free to add a pinch of sea salt if you have it on hand. It sends a message to your heart that you’re not afraid of no sodium. When you feel like your veggies are about to cry out for mercy, drown them in the broth. Add in the beans and rice and bring that shizz to a boil. Once your proto-soup is boiling and covered, bring the heat down to a simmer and go do something else for a while.

Oh crap, I guess I’m stuck here for like 45 minutes to an hour, however long stupid rice takes to cook. I guess I’ll try and think of a good name for my blog. God, this is hard. I wonder if the first boy I ever kissed is on Facebook. I bet he has really bad taste in music now. Uuuugh, why can’t I find him? I hope he didn’t die. Oh balls, the rice is done!

Okay, when the rice is done, open up that bag of spinach and dump it in. Cover the pot and simmer until the spinach is cooked. Mix that spinach in and soup’s on. Cowabunga dude! For extra credit, enjoy a nice cold winter flavor Blue Moon while you’re cooking and pound half a gallon of OJ when you’re done.