Wednesday, September 8, 2010

i'll talk about the Minnesota State Fair which had its final day this past Monday, but that's a whole post in itself. first, i want to talk about the amazing meal i put together last night...

autumn is finally making its way back into our lives and i tend to "fall" in the embrace-changing-seasons camp which means that my roommate and i, after finally unpacking and cleaning up our new kitchen and living room, put together a comfort food meal complete with some three-buck-chuck red vino...

first, i boiled some sweet potatoes until they nearly mashed themselves, then mixed them with Earth Balance and powdered ginger. next, my roommate played sous-chef and chopped up some raw white onion which, along with some sliced baby bella mushrooms, were sauteed in extra virgin olive oil and then simmered until absolutely tender in some free range organic chicken broth. i heated up some Morningstar crumbles and added this, wild rice, curry powder, and garlic powder to the mushroom/onion/chicken broth concoction and after letting it simmer for another 15 minutes or so, we had the most amazing inaugural meal for the new apartment and new season. oh, and no meal is complete without some bread...tossed some sourdough rolls in the oven and we were good to go!

i'll be sad to see the farmers markets ending and even sadder when slushy snow begins to find its way on our streets, ice on our sidewalks, but in the meantime i'm all about the food and music that make this time of year beautiful and nostalgic and comforting. CHEERS!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

my life in pictures?

Well, things have been pretty awesome lately...lots of food adventures, movie-going, and sunshine followed by wicked storms.

Last time we talked, I had a busy week ahead of me...Pridefest, which was a blast...Laura and I got our picture taken in the free Target photo booth [since we were the last to arrive and the rest of the gang had already taken their pictures...ours were the coolest, obviously, especially since we had our fedoras on].

The next day I got the chance to show my biodad around the museum I work at. The below picture is of him from the roof of the building, with the minneapolis skyline in the background.

We then spent a week at my grandparents' lake home with my uncles, aunt, and grandparents. It was a fun week full of laughter, cards, and sunshine. The following pictures largely encompass our week...

Upon returning, my friends and I wasted no time in getting back to our grilling sessions...Winnie grilled corn[see below], I made some broccoli/grape/wildrice/tofu-"chicken" salad, and Laura made grilled black bean burgers...I topped mine with an avocado/sriracha mash and some veggies [see below] for extra texture and was even more delicious than it looks in the picture!

Other than that the past few weeks have flown by...lots of trips to the farmers market, the newly remodeled library, the movies [I've seen SO MANY movies in the last few months and it's been rather awesome...most recent that I'd recommend: Ramona &!] etc. It's been a lot of fun and I'll be sad to see summer go, although I am getting a little excited for my fall wardrobe to roll back and sweaters and scarves, OH MY!

Here are some foodthings I've indulged in since my last month in food [pictures]?

Still making easy personal-sized pizzas occasionally, but not as often since having the oven on makes my 3rd-floor apartment even HOTTER...this one's on an everything bagel.

Finally found where they keep the nutritional yeast in bulk at the CoOp near my apartment. With it, I made vegan queso as an appetizer for one of the meals I assembled on Top Chef night [since B and I take turns impressing one another with our culinary creations]...served this with a tequila shot [+ lime & salt, naturally] while dinner was simmering...

dinner that night was black beans, spanish rice, cilantro, garlic, onion, and homemade guacamole on a was delicious, nutritious, and extremely filling.

Since I bought a large bag of nutritional yeast [which I'm storing in the refrigerator but not in the best container so it's likely losing many of it's "nutritional" properties], I decided to use it in a few other recipes, including vegan mac & cheese. This turned out quite well, though I think I'd like to experiment more with it in the future...

In between cooking adventures, the ladies and I like to hit up Pizza Luce occasionally and this is my favorite vegan pizza there...The Pizza Athena with rinatta...loaded with veggies and an oil-based "sauce", the rinatta gives the right touch to a very refreshing ensemble.

Brooke's turn for top chef involved grilling corn and vegan JucyLucy's. Tofu and potatoes, among other things, made up the patty - and I stuffed mine with soy-cheddar. She can eat dairy just fine so she used regular cheese, sharp cheddar. They were decent but we agreed that we should use MORE "cheese" next time - and I tried making one with leftover ingredients the next day but after the patty mix sat in the fridge overnight it got too dried out and would not hold together. This may be another recipe that requires a bit of tweaking, but overall was a nice treat.

Last week was my Top Chef night again. For the appetizer I did a spin on traditional bruschetta by adding avocado into the mix. I've been eating these like crazy lately and my roommate, Brooke, and I ate up the appetizer faster than I could plate them! My roommate's already made these twice in the last week on her own, that's how much she liked it...and she was skeptical at first, turning up her nose at the thought of breaking tradition.

Though not paired as nicely with the appetizer, the entree was a real crowd pleaser as well. First I sauteed diced onion and garlic in some olive oil, added some butternut squash [frozen from the grocery store, but REALLY delicious], added tofu that I dried for two hours and crumbled with a fork, added cooked lentils and raw swiss chard, some water and chicken bouillion, a bit of corn starch to thicken it up...covered it and let it simmer until the swisschard was still meaty but nice and soft and the food was all well meshed was PERFECT comfort food and may be a staple in my apartment, particularly this fall.

What was even BETTER about this meal was the fact that I was able to make omelets with the leftovers and soy mozzarella for two days in a row! I had some soy-bacon the first day but the lentils/tofu/swisschard inside of the eggs were SO filling that I skipped the fakebacon on day two. I dipped my omelet in a bit of sriracha and it was absolutely to die for.

Yesterday at the market I found a great combo-peppers deal, some cute tomatoes, a cheap but huge onion, and then added this to my limes and avocados...I'm going to make some AMAZING salsa this week, but in the meantime I am loving the aesthetics of this produce bowl on my newly-cleaned kitchen table...

Last but not least, I visited an old friend last night...that's right, Bun Mi, a vietnamese sandwich shop on the campus of my alma matter that opened up last year. My coworkers and I regularly slipped over there for takeout sandwiches and french fries [and heaping portions of sriracha] before our daily meetings and it had been over 6 months since I'd tasted the delicious mock duck curry sandwich...needless to say, my tastebuds [and belly] went home very satisfied last night.

Tonight is Brooke's turn to cook again...salad and tofu-"chicken" nuggets are on the menu, with pictures to come later...

My friends and I have big plans for my next "weekend" - involving a drive-in movie night Monday [and staying for ALL THREE movies!!!] and a Tuesday afternoon in Uptown where we'll window-shop, maybe actual-shop at some thrift stores, hit up a cheap happy hour somewhere, and then finally see The Kids Are All Right assuming it's still at either Uptown Theater or Lagoon.

Basically, I'm busy as always - and getting busier as a potential move is in the works by the end of the summer...I'll miss this little guy, most of all.

thanks for reading and putting up with my sporadic posts...I'll try and post more often so that these aren't such a bombardment of images!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

it's been a little bitty bit since i last posted. i think i'll blame that on the weather because let's face it: when you live in minnesota, you try and pack as much activity into the few months of truly beautiful weather as you possibly can! the rest of the year you're at home hibernating so this is the time to be social, to be outdoors, and to have a blast. i'm guessing people who live in year-round warmer climates don't face the problem of running out of time to do all of these fun activities because they don't try to jam it into a few months' time.

anyway, what's been happening? well, there was the 2nd annual Memory Lanes Block Party which I've now attended both days of both weekends and hope to keep the tradition alive next year...below is Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles [and please any of these photos to enlarge]:

the weather was sort of rainy that weekend and has been rainy a lot lately so that's meant a decent amount of comfort food being consumed...

pictured above: ramen, spinach, egg, ginger [of course]

pictured above: mini-bowtie, tuna, peas, soy cheese

pictured above: whole wheat rotini, steamed broccoli, homemade gravy

the tuesday after MLBP we decided to have a picnic for which laura put together this lovely pasta salad and we passed around a plate of caprese salad [soy mozzarella for me]:

the following weekend i went on a camping trip [the annual Chuckfest...camping, amazing food, lovely music, good friends...] a few weeks ago. i've been pretty active with my friends as well, especially now that the gang is all back in one place and everybody's done with school, at least for the time being. work at the museum is steady - and some days it's pretty awful because there's no air conditioning and this place holds heat like an oven - but i'm still loving the experience. i've been getting more serious about looking into grad schools, though; particularly on those rainy days when it feels so much like autumn and i get all nostalgic. so, i hope to take a roadtrip sometime this year to the various schools i'm considering and apply for the fall of 2011. i love my job but i also love learning and i have big hopes for the future.

after my "vacation" but due to the fact that the market has been MOSTLY flowers and lettuce, as pictured...

...i've been shopping a lot more at the local Tim & Tom's Speedy Market, where produce is relatively cheap and everything else is...well, not. it could easily be called Tim & Tom's SPENDY Market. so, in order to make the meals affordable, filling, and long-lasting, I got really into making pita-pizzas. crisp up the pita bread in the oven with a bit of olive oil, layer your ingredients, cook until the soy cheese melts...easy, cheap, and delicious! pair with some salad and you're good to go...
pictured above: tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers, onion, mushrooms, soycheese...some of this went into a salad, some of it onto a pita pizza...all of it was delicious!

pictured above: soycheese pizza topped with garlic powder & crushed red pepper...not super attractive, but SUPER SUPER tasty...

pictured above: salad consisting of spinach, raw asparagus, beets, and goddess dressing.

anyway...friday night i went to an opening at the Weisman, yesterday i had brunch with my roommate, today i headed to the Stone Arch Festival with my mom & stepdad to celebrate Fathers Day...big couple of weeks ahead of me, too, starting tonight when i get off work...

Tonight = book club...! I didn't read the book but I'm excited anyway
Monday = Sarah...I wish the weather forecast wasn't so dismal as I'd love to head to the beach.
Tuesday = my stepdad [he needs me to help him set up a new cell phone] + my therapy appointment
Wednesday = cooking & Top Chef night with Brooke [NOT going to Stink Lines show...trying to avoid unnecessary drama]
Thursday = possibly dinner with my biodad before he heads to the lake[?]
Friday = possible date-night [?]
Saturday night = Pride
Sunday night = heading up to the lake with biodad for a 5-night, 4-day stay

all in all, it's shaping up to be a great summer!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

despite how thoroughly exhausted i am today, i can't stop thinking about how great last night was and how wonderful my friends are. we went out dancing and i didn't pay a dime, and then S slept over at my place and we stayed up far too late talking. we hadn't had a really good talk like that in a long time so it was nice. we also hung out in the park by my apartment this morning before she left. her bike got stolen overnight (from the 24 hour grocery store she'd left it locked by before going into the club last night) and she had to walk home today from midway but even still, i think a good time was had by all. however, i didn't take any pictures last night so you'll just have to use your imagination: there was a lot of dancing, a lot of sweating, and a lot of talking.

i DO have photographs from the last few weeks, though, so i can catch you up on all you've missed.

i woke up early for a therapy appointment one Tuesday so L and i visited the farmers market after. the selection was minimal but i still had spinach from the st paul market the previous sunday so we decided to do some cooking. we made pasta salad and spinach dip. oh, and we enjoyed wine in the afternoon. i felt like i was on Cougar Town and in the best way possible. there was of course some rockband played...several times over the last few weeks. heck, we even made brunch...and lefse!

okay. i'm sick of the messed up formatting so i'll end this now. but the point is: i may not have been in the best mood/frame of mind, but i've had good friends, good family, and good times to get me through. <3<3

Friday, May 7, 2010

i'm using my Tawdry Tidbits wordpress to start writing again - but mostly privatized entries. i came up with chapter/short-story titles yesterday and plan to tackle one per week. this might be a little too ambitious but that's the goal for now, anyway! i just hate to see myself not writing when i know i should be.

it's quite cold today, the rain giving me a permanent damp feeling, so it was nice to arrive to work where a hot [albeit disgusting] cup of coffee and roaring fireplace were waiting for me. i am NOT in any way, shape, or form prepared for snow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

rainy days in a haunted mansion feel exactly how one might expect them to. i often think about lighting a fire in the fireplace and cozying up with a good book on the couch, but i resist that urge seeing as i'm a good employee and don't intend to change that reputation. sometimes at night i dream about being trapped in the museum, other times about living here...and while these are usually nightmares involving scary hauntings and while i get pretty spooked being here late at night [like when i have to close up after events], i still think this place is awesome. plus, i think it'll be nice having a changing work environment, with the galleries switching out in june. by then we'll be going from 2 dimly-lit galleries surrounding death and black and white photographs to bright and cheerful watercolor and oil paintings. we'll still have the murder movie playing in the theater exhibit but i think the art will perk things up and really prepare the museum for summer and warmth and happiness.

i had a rather disappointing [AWFUL] tuesday this week but things seem to be looking up again. my boss is back at work and threw a dum-dum sucker at me earlier...all is right with the world!

Friday, April 23, 2010

well, the standard 'weekend' is here. due to finances being a bit tight [i'm down to one job!] i don't plan on doing a whole lot - especially since it's not MY weekend quite yet. however, i'd like to point out how almost absolutely PERFECT it is that the farmers market closest to my humble abode happens to be a Tuesday market which is part of my 'weekend'...! i'd even love to hit up one of the markets that opens up tomorrow morning seeing as I don't work until 1pm, but we'll see...i suppose with the threat of rain, markets may not be as happening. another thing i'd really like to do is check out some of the films at the International Film Festival - but again, we'll see. it's rough when my friends work almost exclusively evenings and i work almost exclusively daytime hours.

i believe this time of year may quite possibly be my favorite...minus allergies, of course! the sun is bright but thunderstorms are always looming, festivals begin, markets open, plant sales lead many a student to scamper around campus with tiny cacti or behemoth vines, and i can't help but smile when i see legal adults leaping on the gargantuan, rainbow-colored, blow-up obstacle course in front of Coffman signaling the weekend humbly entitled 'Spring Jam'. for all of you spring jammers out there, may you have a SAFE weekend free of tear gas and riots - i expect the rain might put some of the typical shenanigans safely back inside the houses of dinkytown rather than allowing them to pour into the streets a la last year's fiasco. as for me, i'll be working at a 40 year old's birthday bash in the museum tomorrow night...jealous?