Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cooking binge

Every other weekend, my kids go to their dad's house and Ben and I often travel. Sometimes, however, we stay at home all weekend with no social plans and I go on a cooking binge.

I *love* it when this happens.

This weekend, everything is ripe and the garden is burgeoning and the farmer's market is, too. So, this is how I spent my weekend.

First, I went out to survey our apple trees. Yes, the red delicious and yellow delicious look pretty ripe, if spotty (we don't spray them).
I picked a big bowl, used my apple peeler-corer-slicer from Pampered Chef, and layered the slices in the crockpot with fresh lemon juice, raw sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some water. Cooked on low for about 8 or 10 hours and voila--I have applesauce. Yum.

While the apples simmered, I pondered an eggplant parmesan recipe when I just happened to be looking at the blog What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat, Anyway? I had a globe eggplant from my CSA share and a big bag of Roma tomatoes plus lots of sweet peppers, so I imagined a delicious homemade marinara over a round of fried polenta about the same size as a disk of eggplant. And a tofu disc?  Three delicious crispy circles over a bed of homemade marinara. 

But first, a cocktail. Nectarines are getting soft so I put them in a blender with lime juice, orange juice, the rest of the nectarine jam I made last week, white tequila, and ice. That'll do.

Next, I set a big pot of water to boil. I blanched all the tomatoes (about 4 pounds), then dunked them in ice water, peeled them, squeezed the seed-jelly into the bucket for the compost pile, and chopped up the tomato meat.

I sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil, then added chopped sweet peppers, all the tomatoes, and the rest of a batch of homemade pico de gallo I made the other day, just so it wouldn't go to waste.

While the sauce simmered, I surveyed the eggplant parm recipe. Yikes, I need to deep fat fry these? I rarely if ever do that, but in the spirit of Cooking Binge Weekend, I clipped a thermometer to my skillet and poured in about 2 inches of canola oil, then set the heat to medium-high.

I made my three dishes: flour with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper; cornstarch slurry; and bread crumbs, which I made by toasting and grinding up the rest of a loaf of sourdough bread I had on the counter (which I purchased at The Bread Garden.) I dipped a slice of eggplant in the 1-2-3 dishes and then dropped it into the oil when it was heated to 375 degrees. What a fantastic sizzle! It turned golden brown almost instantaneously. I flipped it with tongs, then lifted it out and put it on paper towels. I repeated with the rest of the slices (I had salted them first, by the way), and then I took my two rounds of tofu (extra firm, drained, cut into circles with the edge of a small pyrex ramekin) and breaded and fried it, too. Gorgeous. Finally, I fried slices of herbed garlic polenta. I was pretty proud of myself, looking at all those beautiful golden-brown crispy disks.

I cleaned some butter lettuce and put that in a bowl with vinaigrette for a side, then put a ladle of sauce on each plate and arranged a disk of eggplant, a slightly smaller disk of tofu, and an even slightly smaller disk of polenta over the top. Sprinkled with flat-leaf parsley from the garden, it was pretty gorgeous. And the eggplant? All I can say is, Yum! Ben doesn't usually care much for eggplant, but he thought this was great. Deep fat frying really can work miracles. With the salad and a Red Stripe, it was a fantastic dinner.

Just before bed, I took the applesauce out of the crockpot and put it in a jar.

Surely, that's enough cooking for one weekend, you must be saying to yourself. But wait! What about Sunday?

I woke up thinking about the extra tofu I had--about a pound. I sat out on the deck with my coffee and browsed through my new favorite book, Vegan Brunch. Isa's recipes never let me down. The pesto scrambled tofu with grape tomatoes recipe caught my eye. I have a big basil plant in the garden, plus a lot of ripe orange cherry tomatoes. Close enough. The only problem: no pine nuts. However, I just happened to have the perfect amount of leftover raw hazelnuts from making Isa's Not-tella (vegan version of Nutella, from Isa's last book, Veganomicon) last week, so I used those. This was the absolute best pesto I have ever made, including the kinds I've made with cheese back in the day.  It all came together quickly, resulting in a beautiful tender savory delicious breakfast. On the side: Russian bread from my CSA baker, toasted with EB and the applesauce I made yesterday.

Ahh...satisfaction.  I think I can finally clean up and close the kitchen for the weekend.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Emmett Speaks

I'm proud of my youngest son, Emmett, who got himself on the news at the Slow Food Time for Lunch Eat In this Labor Day in City Park in Iowa City. He's eating my raw blueberry brownies in one shot. Isn't he articulate? Not that I'm biased. Watch the clip and read the article here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Raw Blueberry Brownies

You know what I dislike? (I was going to say hate, but I hate to use that word.) I dislike making something really beautiful and delicious and then realizing, after someone has eaten the very last bite, that I never took a picture of it. Such was the case with my raw blueberry brownies, so you're just going to have to believe me that they were beautiful. Or, make them and see for yourself.

Today I attended Time for Lunch, one of hundreds of Slow Food potlucks around the country where people gathered to support the concept of real food in schools (what a concept). (By the way, during the month of September only, you can become a Slow Food member with any monetary donation, not the usual $60. Interested? Look here.)

Anyway, because this was a Slow Food potluck but I was time-pressed and had to make something fast (ironic), I fell back on an old potluck favorite (at least in my world). (Is it just me, or am I using a lot of parentheticals today?) This is something I make that people just love. They take a bite and look up, mystified. "What is it?" they ask, wide-eyed. "How can it be so good? Is it...bad for me?"

No. No, it's not. And yet, this isn't a brownie you find leftover on people's plates in the trash. This is the brownie that inspires even the most restrained to sneak extra pinches when they think nobody is looking. People want to lick out the pan. It's special, in a sort of earthy-spiritual way. Decadent but nourishing, sweet but wholesome, the best of both worlds. I'm not trying to toot my own horn or anything. I didn't make up the concept of raw brownies. But I do consider myself a raw brownie evangelist.

I've made raw brownies from recipes before but today I thought I would try Bethenny Frankel's useful concept of using what you have instead of following a recipe. That's where I came up with the fancy-schmancy idea of adding the bleuberries. I didn't have time to go to the store, so I looked in my cupboards and refrigerator. I used what I had. Here's what I did.

Soak 2 cups walnuts and pecans for about 30 minutes (longer is good but I didn't have longer). Drain and put them in the bowl of a food processor. Add 1 cup mixed dried fruit (I had prunes and dried apricots), 1 cup grated coconut, 1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used Ghiaradelli), about 1/4 cup agave nectar (I didn't actually measure, and technically I'm not sure if agave nectar is raw?), and about 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Process until smooth. Add more agave nectar or a few tablespoons of water if it's too hard, but you want it pretty hard.

Press into a 9-inch square baking pan rubbed with a little bit of coconut (or vegetable) oil. Press down hard.

In a measuring cup, combine about 1/4 cup agave nectar and a teaspoon or so of cocoa powder. Mix well with a spoon. Adjust cocoa powder or agave nectar amounts until it becomes like frosting. Spread over the brownies. Pour fresh blueberries over the top, covering the brownies in a single layer. Put about 1 tablespoon more agave nectar into measuring cup with just about a 1/2 teaspoon cocoa. Mix to make icing. Drizzle over the blueberries. Chill. I only had time to chill mine for about 15 minutes.

Thick, decadent, rich, nourishing, blueberry-beautiful, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, fruity, absolutely delicious...they didn't last long. And I had some silly idea that I could bring home the leftovers. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to make them again.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Learning from Weakness

Have you ever noticed how, on some days, you feel very strong, and on other days, you feel very weak? Sometimes I can attribute these various states to something I've eaten, how much sleep I've had, or something else obvious. On other days, the reasons allude me. Like yesterday.

I felt weak in my Iyengar yoga class with Nancy Footner at Friendship Yoga. I don't know why. Poses that I've worked on for a long time so they feel more solid and muscular suddenly felt strenuous again. I am hyperflexible but really need to work on muscle strength, and I don't know where all that hard-won muscle strength went. I was like jelly. So of course, Nancy chose me to demonstrate Ardha Chandrasana.

We had just finished doing standing poses focusing on the hip and shoulder and my muscles were already feeling rubbery and uncertain, so as I went up into the pose, my legs and arms trembled with the effort. Still, I could feel how the adjustments were crucial: drawing the shoulder down and back, drawing the muscles of hip of the standing leg down and back, bringing the power and strength to the back of the body to open up the front. I could feel it. I just couldn't do it. Or, I could do it in a way, but let's just say it wasn't pretty. And I don't even want to talk about my ability to balance.

Today I'm pretty sore, but in a good way. I don't feel so weak today, either. Maybe yesterday's weakness was because of taking a break this summer, or the day's humidity, or my hormone levels (whatever they may have been), or just because the ragweed is pollinating and I'm a little bit allergic. Maybe there was some emotional or spiritual reason for it. Whatever it was, I kept going through the class and trying as hard as I could, not trying to figure out the reason, just working with the muscles. I feel better for it. My middle back had felt tweaked yesterday before class, and as always, the class put me all back into line. Today, I can still feel, in my body, what I need to do in that pose.

Nancy once said, "You have to go through the hamstrings to get to the soul," and I think about that a lot. Emotion, intellect, spirituality--it all begins in the body. The body is ground zero, and that is where the work begins. The body is your workshop, the framework for a garden that can grow beautiful flowers, but not without first laying down the soil.

I guess I know what I'll be practicing this week.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What Would Julia Say About Tempeh Bourguignon?

Maybe it's trendy, so de riguer, and not necessarily in a good way. Maybe it's just so obvious. Nevertheless, I really do love Julia Child. When I think about it, who doesn't? Who couldn't? I've lovingly prepared many of her recipes, but after seeing the movie Julie and Julia, I really wanted to try her Bouef Bourguignon recipe. I wanted that yum moment.

The problem is, I'm really not into that whole "eating cows" thing.

Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea: Tempeh Bourguignon! I went on to discover, after a quick google search, that I wasn't really so brilliant, as many others have already thought of this. Even so, I thought I might try it, not looking at any other tempeh recipes, but instead, riffing off Julia. Here's what I did:

Chop a small yellow onion. Saute it in olive oil. Put the pieces in a bowl and set them aside.

Cut an 8 ounce block of tempeh into 12 rectangular chunks. Place these in the freshly oiled pan (without rinsing pan), with enough space between them (like Julia commands) so they will brown, rather than steam. Using tongs, brown the cubes on all sides until golden and crispy. (I had to cook it in two batches, adding the first batch to the onions.) Meanwhile, heat 1-1/2 cups of water until nearly boiling.

Return all the tempeh to the pan and sprinkle it with about a tablespoon of tamari and 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke. Cook, stirring constantly, to coat. Add about 1/4 cup flour and keep stirring, to coat. It will get clumpy.

Add the onions back to the pan along with the hot water and one vegetable bouillon cube (I used Knorr). Stir, scraping up the browned bits. Add 1-1/2 cups red wine (I used Augey Bourdeux). Throw in 3 sprigs flat leaf parsley and 1 bay leaf. Season with a little bit of salt and a lot of freshly ground black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water and pour them over 2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms (I bought mine from Pacific Crest Foraging during a recent trip to Seattle, when I visited the Port Townsend farmer's market). Soak for about 20 minutes, then drain the mushrooms through coffee filters lining a strainer. Add the mushrooms to the mixture and cook 30 minutes more on low heat. Keep the strained porcini water handy to add to the mixture if it gets too dry. (Mine did.) The sauce should be thick but it shouldn't disappear. After 1 hour, taste and add salt as needed. (I added smoked salt that I also just bought during said Seattle trip, at the Pike Place Market).

Serve hot over cooked noodles or rice, with baguette chunks to mop it all up. Don't forget the salad.

Bon appetit! If you try it, let me know how it turned out.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Post-Yoga Hunger Management

I had a great Anusara yoga class with Rachel Klapper this morning at Heartland Yoga. Fully fortified by my nectarine tart, I was ready for the message: the exploration of the limited and the unlimited within and beyond the self. As so often happens before a yoga class, I had just seen something relevant: Byron Katie's book in a store window, entitled "Who Would You Be Without Your Story?" Moments later, Rachel asked, "Who would you be without your limits?" Within that hour, I confronted the limits of my shoulder injury when I tried Vasisthasana on the left side and realized my shoulder muscles could barely hold me. That pose is hereby on my list for "Poses for the Week." I need to build up that strength. My freedom from limits blossomed in Vrksasana, though--I looked not just up but actually back behind me without tipping over. The pose became a backbend, when it was never a backbend before (at least not for me).

After coffee with three of my most interesting girlfriends, I took the bus home (I'm eco-friendly like that) and was more than ready for another kind of sustenance, of the gastronomic variety. I know this because I spent the whole bus ride home fantasizing about what I would eat. (This is not an unusual past time for me.)

My answer to myself: Two slices of sourdough toast, one with homemade pico de gallo over guacamole, the other with the hummus I made last night, topped with chopped Greek olives, flat leaf parsley, and three perfect basil leaves (thanks Dina!). Now that I'm fulfilled physically and spiritually, I can finish that article that's due today.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nectarine Tart

Is every food blog in August about nectarine tarts? Like this one. And this one. And this one. Then there's this article. Obviously, it's nectarine season, and with everybody watching Julie and Julia, I suppose everyone is thinking in French.

I admit, I am, too. This just came out of my oven, very loosely based on the article from the SF Chronicle linked above: A simple sweet pastry crust with butter, flour, and raw sugar, baked in a tart pan sprinkled with chopped sliced almonds and more sugar. Fresh nectarine slices overlay the almonds, then a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice, more sugar, and little dabs of butter. Baked for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Simple. Yum.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Crispy Fried Hoisin Tofu on Toast

I haven't posted for so so long because I keep forgetting to take pictures of what I eat before I devour it, and I still haven't gotten pictures off my camera from the last three Chicago trips. Lame! In any case, I've decided to post even when I don't have pictures, just because people keep asking me what I'm eating.

Today I posted on Facebook that I was eating hoisin tofu and got several recipe requests, so I posted the recipe there. I might as well post it here, too. This was so delectable, I might just have to have this for breakfast every day.

Here it is:

Crispy Fried Hoisin Tofu on Toast

Press one slice of extra firm tofu (about 3-4 ounces) in paper towels to remove excess moisture. I put mine under a cast iron pot to flatten it a bit while I was preparing the pan.

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Nonstick or cast iron are best. Add approx. 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil to the pan. Light is o.k. but dark toasted is best. Put tofu on the hot pan over the oil and sprinkle it with approximately 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, hot pepper flakes, and fresh ground black pepper. Let it cook until one side is deep golden brown. Flip and sprinkle second side with 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and more pepper. Cook until second side is deep golden brown and very crispy. Turn with tongs to briefly sear all the edges, then brush both sides with approx. 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce.

Serve on hot crispy sprouted grain toast, garnished with toasted sesame seeds if you have them, with or without a Romaine lettuce leaf and a slice of good tomato.

Enjoy! (I did.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Breakfast, lunch, dinner = rockin' the pose

People encouraging you to lose weight often express the notion that food is fuel. Food is many things--love, comfort, fulfillment, and pleasure, but those people are right. It is also fuel. You know how it feels to eat the wrong breakfast and drag through the morning (doughnut, anyone?), or eat a great, nutritious lunch and power through the afternoon. Food affects your mood, your energy, and your performance. But you know all this, so I won't go on. Instead, I'll give you an example of a recent day of happy healthy eating which resulted, to my surprise, in the achievement of a yoga pose I'd been trying to land for a long time.

Yesterday morning, I craved something hearty, so I made this veg-sausage sandwich (Gimme Lean brand) on Ezekiel bread with tomato and a small bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with soy milk and berries. Side of kiwi.

Because of that hearty and filling breakfast, for lunch, all I needed was a little chocolate in the early afternoon. Recently, I received samples of Newman's Own's new organic line of chocolate, and wow, it is amazing (a food-writer perk). I'm a special fan of the Extra Dark, the Espresso Dark, and the Orange Dark. This chocolate is particularly good--not just organic but with a firm bite and deep complex flavor--one of the best chocolate bars I've tried. (Don't let the photo mislead you--I didn't eat it all at once. Just half a bar of the Extra Dark and a glass of soy milk.)

I had been looking for something to do with a head of cauliflower. For dinner, I chopped up the whole head and spread it in a roasting pan. I added sliced onion, turmeric, curry powder, crushed cumin seeds, and hot pepper flakes. Drizzled it all with olive oil, seasoned further with salt and pepper, and tossed to coat everything. this is a picture of the mixture before I put it in the oven. During the last 5 minutes of baking, I added a drained can of chick peas, then served it over brown rice. Utterly delicious--the kind of meal that makes me feel happy.

After digesting my dinner, I headed downstairs to do the laundry and practice yoga. After some vigorous warm-ups, I tried and finally succeeded at a strong, confident Eka Padha Urdhva Danurasana--wheel pose with one leg raised straight up. No shaking, no weakness, just strength and ease.

I credit the food.

I ended the evening with a bowl of Cheerios and soy milk--the perfect end to a perfect day, and the ideal send-off to a deep, refreshing sleep.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Rules

Happy Valentine's Day from Hungry Yogi! This is a picture of me and my beloved, Ben, taken exactly one year ago, last Valentine's Day, in New York City.

But this year, we aren't in New York. I spent the morning assisting my friend Rachel Klapper as she taught a Valentine's Day Partner Yoga class at Fusion Studio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her husband is in Italy so I stood in as her partner, and Ben, frankly, doesn't do yoga. However, all the couples in the class--husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, friends--had a great time doing partner poses together. It was inspiring and heart-opening, as Anusara classes always are.

At the end of the class, for Savasana, Rachel played my favorite Shantala song, and in the spirit of the day, I will leave you with this short quote from that song:

Because the one I love lives inside of you, I lean as close to you as I can.

Lean close to your loved ones today. And eat some chocolate. It's an aphrodisiac, you know. ;-)

Love, blessings, and Namaste!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Salad Day

This morning, I went to a Barkan Yoga class at the gym, and it was quite a challenge after my Iyengar class yesterday--my poor muscles! After I ran errands, went grocery shopping, and finally got back home, I knew I had to fortify myself immediately, so I made this beautiful salad.

First, I drained 3 ounces of extra firm tofu, then sauteed it with a little Bragg's. I added a red bell pepper, cut into strips, and a handful of sliced mushrooms. While those were cooking, I filled a bowl with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, 1/4 of a good avocado cut into cubes, and a little bit of olive oil vinaigrette. Tossed that, then topped with the warm tofu/veg mixture and a handful of crumbled chips. Yum. Now I'm full, fortified, and ready to clean the house.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Losers...but also Winners

The bet is over. Big shock--we lost. Again. But that's o.k. because we feel like we learned a lot, and we still spent way less money than we would have spent if we hadn't done this second annual experiment. We took the Martins out for dinner at La Reyna, a great little family owned Mexican restaurant. Everyone was happy. Then we went home and sort of watched the Super Bowl--mostly to see whether the commercials were worth the money they paid to be played in that time slot (some were relatively funny). That's about as sports-oriented as we get in this house.

I also went to the store on February 1st, but shopped so smartly that my $160 bought groceries worth well over $200. Coupons, sales, specials... I didn't buy things we didn't really need for the meals I planned for the week, and although I did indulge in a few splurges, they were still fairly sensible. Apparently, Nick spent some significant cash that day--way more than I did. Did we learn more than they did? Does that make us winners, in a way? Ben says we didn't lose. We came in second. That sounds good to me.

Yesterday I was craving BBQ tofu lollipops and fried potatoes, so I made them for my dinner, along with snow peas and bok choy sauteed in sesame oil and tamari. If I can eat like this and still be thrifty, I will be happy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Low-Cost Mexican

February 1 nears as we contemplate what lessons from the month to take forward with us into the rest of the year. We want to continue to be frugal but not deprived. Some ideas:
-No shopping from any national chain stores.
-No buying any packaged food with artificial ingredients
-Limiting how often we go out to eat
-Absolutely no disposable shopping bags or purchased products with excessive/non-recyclable packaging

We are still discussing, but this is some of what we are considering. In the meantime, we knew we would contemplate better over some good food, so I rolled black beans and cheese into big soft whole wheat organic tortillas, then baked them covered in salsa, more cheese, and green onions (use FYH "cheese" or regular cheese, as your heart desires). Finished with a garnish of chopped cilantro. I also took leftover rice and fried it with real chile powder I got in New Mexico, fresh chopped tomatoes, more green onions, and more cilantro. While it isn't really Mexican, I added sesame oil, cider vinegar, and skillet-toasted sesame seeds to the leftover chopped cabbage. A bowl of grapes rounded out the meal. Delicioso!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yoga Retreat with Marsha Nieland

This weekend, Marsha Nieland, who teaches Anusara Yoga at Fusion Studio in Cedar Rapids, came to Iowa City to do a workshop at Heartland Yoga, where my BFF Rachel Klapper teaches, and which is owned by my friend Betsy Rippentrop, Ph.D. Betsy and I just co-authored a book on the chakras together, which will be out soon (stay tuned). It was an amazing day of yoga classes--an intermediate class in the morning and a restorative class in the afternoon. Marsha is really an incredible teacher, and with Rachel and Betsy assisting, it was a soul-enriching day of yoga.

Above, this is Betsy Rippentrop, Marsha Nieland, Rachel Klapper, and me.

Meanwhile, our contest with the Martin family continues. We are still ahead, but I fear it won't be for long. I caved and bought expensive soy milk and tofu a few days ago...isn't that weird that I miss tofu? Anyway, Amy and I were talking about how unhealthy we tend to eat in order to eat cheap, and I've been gaining weight and feeling disgusting, so I decided that I would plan a week of truly healthy meals and actually buy the groceries required to eat them! I will do my best to shop smartly and not overspend, not buy more than we need, not buy the most expensive brands, etc. But I am not going to compromise on health anymore. No more junky food. Fresh, good, clean, nutritious food. If it means we lose the bet, so be it. It's not worth losing health and vitality!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday dinner

I spent most of the day puttering around the kitchen, making the bread, roasting the vegetables for my vegetable stew, and generally getting ready for dinner. We still haven't gone back to the store. For dinner, I made a pot roast for the boys, the aforementioned homemade bread and roasted vegetable stew, peas, and mashed potatoes. This is how the bread and stew turned out:

It was a good, hearty Sunday dinner, with nary a suggestion that we are in frugality mode. However, Ben got so desperate re: lack of beer today that he is trying to strike a bargain with Nick, who brews his own: packages of ground venison and Newman's Own cookies in exchange for a case of home brew? They are currently in negotiations.

O.K., I really do think I will be forced to head to the store this evening--we need a few staples to get us through the next week. Cabbage, mushrooms, apples, milk for the kids, tomato sauce, and we are now completely out of dish soap, paper towels, and dog food. I wonder if dog food counts...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Charm of Leftovers...and Poolish

Is my poolish rising?

It's amazing how often I buy food when I don't need to buy food. I realize that now. There are so many things hidden in the cracks and crannies of our cupboards and freezer that have been there for so long. I always buy the same things every week and never think to use up all this stuff. Now I'm forced to get creative. It's kind of fun. I'm enjoying anti-consumerism.

Of course, it's also a challenge, especially when you have to eat up all your leftovers instead of making something new every day. I'm also realizing how spoiled I am, when it comes to food. And how much money and food I waste! But not this month. Last night, we ate the same chili AGAIN, but this time, I toasted corn tortillas to make tostadas. I topped Ben's with cheese and mine with veg cheese (Follow Your Heart, I had an unopened block leftover from before our trip that I bought at the local grocery store, which just started carrying it because I asked them to). We topped that with leftover veg chili, leftover chopped lettuce, and some frozen Schwann's guacamole I had in the freezer. It's not like fresh guacamole, but it *suggests* fresh guacamole, which is good enough. It was pretty good, actually, so I shouldn't complain.

I don't know what we'll eat tonight, but I'm sure we can scrape something together. I have a box of broccoli soup mix which I won at a Christmas party in 2007, as part of a "gourmet food" basket. Maybe I'll whip that up and pour it over the rest of the leftover pasta. I still have veggie burgers in the freezer, too. Maybe I'll make veggie burger sub sandwiches...although I'm out of pickles. (That alone may get me to the grocery store.)

I also decided to make bread today, like Nick always does (our competitors). I'll serve it with the roast I plan to cook for the boys for Sunday dinner. (I'll have the mashed potatoes with chick pea gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance, and I'll make peas. And maybe cupcakes.) Anyway, I pulled out my bread baking book (Bread Alone, by Daniel Leader and Judith Blahnick). I am making their "learning recipe" for country hearth bread. I just started the poolish, which is fermenting. It's hard to find a warm place in this house, though--with all the snow blowing around outside, I realize how drafty it is in here. I'm wearing three sweaters.

I also went back to yoga this past week, and my body is sore, but in a good way. Exercise expenses don't count in our anti-poverty bet, so I can do yoga guilt-free.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chili is Cheap

We still haven't gone back to the store and are holding at $30.29, which includes $3.00 parking ramp and $3.15 at Mr. Movies. Last night, we had chili made with onions, garlic, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, and a big can of chili beans, with chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. I made a "side" of ground beef for those who wanted to add it, and we cut up the rest of the lettuce. I had some corn tortillas in the refrigerator so I cut those into triangles and baked them in canola oil for homemade chips, and I made the last box of pasta. So, people could make what they wanted--chili-mac, or taco salad.

My sweet tooth yesterday led me to open one of the cans of Boy Scout popcorn we bought last month. I had forgotten all about it, but had intended to give it all away for gifts. Oh well. It was the kind doused in chocolate, so I should have known I wouldn't give it away. Maybe I'll forget to mention it to the kids.

I can't tell you how many times I've needed paper towels or napkins, which we don't have, and we are almost out of milk again, so I foresee a trip to the store tonight or tomorrow.