Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vegetarian Ramen!!!!

I found it!!!!! Justin and I were coming home from a lovely dinner with the Santiagos, when Justin decided he needed a Mexican coke (read: coke made with real sugar), so we swung into our little corner store, and I happen to see a new package of ramen noodles I have never seen before. I check the label...BAM!!! Vegetarian!!!! So the brand is Top Ramen, Chili Flavor...looks like this:

I haven't tried it yet, so no promises on that, but I'm sure it's amazing :-)

**I did attempt making my own seasoning to try and use the multiple packages of non-vegetarian ramen I have in my cabinet. It came out pretty tasty, but I have to use a lot of stuff, some of which I don't always have on hand, so it kind of defeats the purpose of a quick and easy meal.

It's OK to Be Corny!

Ahhhhh! It is officially summertime! I walked into the grocery store, and there it was...that oh-so-familiar pile of fresh corn just waiting to come home with me. There are so many things that you can do with it!

So many people just boil the crap out of it, roll it in some butter and call it a day. PLEASE!!! STOP THAT!!! My favorite way to prepare corn on the cob is to grill it. If it is nice and fresh (and by fresh I mean juicy, like you want to just eat it raw), peel the husks off, and remove all of the hairs (strings? not sure what they are called really). Then make a mixture of butter, chili powder, salt, and some lime juice. Slather this on each piece, and throw them on a hot grill. After a few minutes (maybe 5?) go ahead and turn them. They should be slightly charred (although you can adjust the charring level to your liking). When they come off the grill, for an extra special touch, sprinkle on some Parmesan (or Cotija cheese if you are feeling extra fancy). You will never look at corn the same way again..I promise!!!

**note: if your corn is not so juicy, you have a few options. You can either peel back the husks to remove the strings, then fold the husks back up and grill (this will create a steaming effect), slathering the butter mixture on after it cooks, OR you can go ahead and slather the butter mixture on the corn, then wrap it in tin foil and grill.

Another way to use all that corn is to make a summery soup (or chowder? I'm not really sure what the difference is). I made this tonight, and it was super delicious. You can really use any veggies you want...the secret is to cook and puree about 1/3 of the corn (just cook it in some water) before adding in your veggie broth and other veggies. This thickens up the soup, and gives it a really nice texture.

**helpful hint: When you are slicing the kernels off the cob, do it in a pie makes for much less mess

In my soup, in addition to the corn (remember...cook and puree about 1/3 of it before adding in the rest), I used red bell peppers, potato, carrots, celery, onion, and I seasoned it with liquid aminos, salt, pepper, and thyme. My second bowl a few hours after dinner was room temperature, and I really preferred it this way. Paired with a nice Mediterranean salad, and some olive bread, it made for a tasty summer supper!

Have a wonderful week everyone!!!

Mango Prep 101

It was brought to my attention that some fruits and vegetables are confusing to work I decided to add a new segment to my blog about prepping these difficult produce members. Let's start with the mango. There are a few different types of mango, but you use the same technique for all. Please note...these may not be the official ways to prep things, but it's what works for me!

Ok...let's get started.

The Mango...

Step #1: Tip the mango on onto one end. Using a sharp knife, start slightly off center and slice into it. You want to stay just along side of the pit in the middle. Now, it's not a pit like a plum, it's like a giant almond shaped thing, that doesn't really come out all that gracefully. Just keep cutting along it on all 4 sides of the mango.

Step #2: Once you removed the big portions of fruit, give the pit to a hungry husband to gnaw away on (**note: this is perfectly acceptable for anyone, not just a hungry husband)

Step #3: If you are just cutting the mango to eat while you are alone, you can stop at step 2. Just eat the fruit right out of the skin! If you are wanting to use the mango for a salad, or some other dish, take your knife and slice through the fruit, just until you hit the skin. Make a few slices length-wise, and then across.

Step #4: Once your mango has been scored like this, just bend it so the fruit protrudes out, and use your knife (or a spoon if it is super ripe) to scrape along the skin, freeing the mango chunks!

See!!! That wasn't so hard!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Asparagus...Let Them Join the Party

I just had some wonderful asparagus...taking cues from Alton Brown (of the Food Network), I roasted some up in canola oil (I finally finished the gigantic jug of olive oil, and I can't replace it until next paycheck!), salt and pepper, and then gave a nice giant squeeze of LEMON!!!! I put it in a 425 degree oven for maybe 30 minutes...very tasty!!!


So it turns out that only 40-50% of people experience smelly pee after consuming asparagus...even more interesting...there is also a portion of the population that can't smell the smelly pee. There are many theories as to why this happens, but nobody knows for sure!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Date Night!!

One of my favorite ways to spend an evening is to cook a semi-gourmet meal for my hubby. Saturday afternoon, I started to envision my creation for the night. It started with a basic caprese salad (with basil from my new basil plant!). I made it an hour before we ate, so all of the goodness mushed together to form even more goodness:

On to the main course...this is where it gets magical. I started with some whole wheat pizza dough that I picked up from the pizza counter at Whole Foods. I rubbed it down with olive oil, sprinkled some fresh ground pepper, and drizzled it ever so slightly with honey. Then I topped it with some crumbled bleu cheese, a little mozzarella, chopped walnuts, and severely carmelized red onions. I threw it in the oven for maybe 30 minutes, and at the last minute, I topped it with chopped arugla, and let it wilt down in the oven just for a minute...this was the end result:

It was INCREDIBLE...I'm talking jaw-dropping. I normally am not 100% happy with any meal I make, but this one....ooh this was special.

To wash everything down, I made a Lemon-Lychee cocktail from a blog that I follow, The Chubby Vegetarian. It was heaven in a glass:

Justin was happy, I was was just a happy date night! I encourage everyone to have stay-in date nights once in awhile, even if you aren't that confident with your cooking! It's a really nice way to show you love someone :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm Not Healthy All the Time

I'll admit it...I love cheap ramen noodles. I picked up a package of Maruchan oriental flavor, thinking it should be safe, considering they have chicken, beef, and shrimp flavors, so I figured/hoped that oriental was vegetarian. I stood in the aisle reading the label, and somehow, I mentally blocked out the words "beef extract." Once I got home, I was on the vegan SubReddit, and someone mentioned a different ramen noodle brand, and that the oriental flavor was vegetarian, and how it was the only brand that had a vegetarian flavor...sure enough, I double checked the label and BEEF EXTRACT (what IS that!? how do you extract beefiness??? nevermind, i don't want to know...) was right there, clear as day.

I suppose this is also a good thread title to include my dinner tonight...sandwich consisting of cheese, avocado, sprouts, tomatoes, and pesto...healthy enough...but not when paired with Asiago and Garlic Oil fries.

I'm not sure what made me want to write this post...I think when people keep commenting, "oh you must eat so healthy! Only vegetables! I couldn't do it!" I start to feel guilty, because, well, I love instant noodles and fries soaked in garlic oil with asiago cheese all over the top.

Hope everyone's week is going well! Half-way through!

Monday, June 7, 2010


In case anybody reads this and is from Chicago...and is looking to adopt a dog or cat, PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) shelter is hosting their annual "Angels with Tails" event on Sunday, June 13th. Dogs and cats will be all along Michigan ave. and Oak st. some outside, some inside. Come take a look, maybe your new family member will be waiting for you!!!! Here is the WEBSITE.

Let's hope lots of animals find their forever homes!!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sabotaged by Bacon...ALMOST!

I knew this would happen at some point...sneaky meat. We went out to dinner with our friends last night to this new Italian/Polish pub, and I was very excited to have some pierogi! I ordered a few potato ones, and a few mushroom ones, along with a lovely little panzanella salad (loving the Italian/Polish combo). The pierogi came on a bed of warm sauerkraut, and as I dug into it...BAM! Little red bits...of BACON! uuuggggghhhhh!!!!! I had a few bites, but it became too much of a pain to inspect each forkful. Luckily we had more than enough food (as usual), so I certainly didn't go hungry.

I volunteered at the Admissions/Intake part of PAWS shelter today, and had a great time! I got there at 9:30, and was informed they were very under-staffed today. I went into the dog area, and most of them hadn't even been taken outside yet :( There just aren't enough people to help! So I definitely got my exercise in, walking maybe 5 or so dogs all around Little Village (it's a huge Latina area...very fun to walk around!). I fell in love with this little guy, Dobbs. 6 months old and a big goofball! Look at those ears!!!! I don't think Hort or Morris would appreciate him, so hopefully he will get a good home SOON!!!

Dinner tonight is looking like veggie burgers on the grill, and this Greek-ish salad I made (I saw it in the prepared section at the deli, but the line was too long and I got tired of waiting, so just decided to throw it together myself!). It's just made up of cucumbers (peeled, seeded, and chunked), a few tomatoes chopped up (some of the seeds and guts removed), some red onion, and feta cheese crumbled in. Then I tossed it around with dried oregano, mint, salt and pepper, and some olive oil and rice wine vinegar (only vinegar I have at the moment). I took a sample taste, and it's pretty darn tasty.

***One more thing! The Cooking Channel has arrived!!! It is on the same channel that the Fine Living Network used to be (on Direct Tv, it's channel 232). I am really enjoying it! Meat still dominates, but there are a lot of ethnic-based shows now too, so I'm hoping I'll get a lot of vegetarian ideas (or at least flavor inspirations!).

Have a great week everyone!