Setting the Tone for a New Year + Amazing Kitchen Mistakes

Life is full of failures.

 

I am going to discuss one on Monday, in fact.

Sometimes they are happy accidents!  One of my favorite stir-frys happened because I couldn’t figure out how to use my spiralizer.  This Indian Ginger Tempeh Stir-Fry happened when I wanted zucchini pasta but failed to  spiralize:

 

Or how about last week when I accidentally sprouted a spaghetti squash I’d planned for my meal?  That forced me to come up with this Sweet Potato Chicken Salad Strange But Good (don’t forget tomorrow’s link up!) creation:

Sweet Potato Chicken Salad

 

Breaking my jaw playing roller derby was a fail… but without that experience I would have never come up with one of my favorite oatmeal discoveries: Blueberry Pie.  Made smooth enough to slurp thanks to an immersion blender.

Jaw-breaking in action.

 

Or how about when you leave for vacation thinking you’re going to Argentina, but end up in Chile?  That was one FUN fail!

All that said, don’t be too discouraged by fails.  Trust in what will be and happy accidents you shall see.

And now I’ll shut up and let Kat tell you about hers!

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Because I blog bi-weekly, this is my first opportunity to say, “Happy New Year!

I had an A-typical New Year’s Eve, which I used to help me set the tone for the year.  I went to a hot yoga class that lasted from 10:30pm-12:15am.  Yep, meditating, thinking about goals, who I am, who I have been, and who I want to be this year.  It was amazing!  I felt centered, and was happy to bring in the New Year thinking about health, community, and grounded-ness. (Editor’s note: Remind me to do this next year.)

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

 

I want to share a couple of my goals, so you all can partially hold me accountable.  First, I want to say, “No,” more often – in work, in family, and in social aspects of my life.  This seems easy for a lot of people, but it give me knots in my stomach just to think about possibly disappointing someone.

This goal is in support of my second goal, to stop stretching myself so thin.  I tend to take on way too much, and some things I do become a little bit less “quality.”  So, in order to enjoy what I do more, and to have more quality, I have to reduce quantity.  These are lofty goals.  I also started a journal for the first time since I was 12, to help keep me working towards my goals and thinking about them often.

 

thequieteryoubecome

 

I later got to celebrate with a holiday party, a West Side Story theme.  I got to get all dolled-up, and I was SO excited to get dressed up and dance the night away.  My feet and legs were definitely sore afterwards!

I’m also back on track with all of my runs and work outs.  I didn’t mention it, but December was rough for me and threw me through a loop.

alldolledup

 

I’ve also been cooking at home like a madwoman!  I had a New Years Day party with mocktails and healthy food to start the New Year catching up with a few friends.

Many didn’t make it due to hangovers and being out way too late, but it was still fun!  The mocktails were delicious, but too sweet, and kept me up all night from sugar!  I made Indian food, pop-corn (Kat-classic), and a number of other fun dishes with lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

 

NewYearSpread

 

Eating and cooking more at home, for me, means many unplanned meals, sometimes just throwing whatever I have in my fridge together, and last week, amazing kitchen mistakes!

I was making dinner for a friend this week, and I had left over quinoa and brown rice, extra fresh broccolini, kale, and sweet potatoes, and some random tofu.  So I just got started, and this is what ended up happening:

 

kitchenmistake1

Amazing Kitchen Mistake

 

I sautéed the veggies with fresh ginger and garlic, re-heated the quinoa/brown rice combo (about 75% quinoa, 25% brown rice), and felt like the dish needed something else.  Tofu.  The tofu preparation was the amazing mistake.  I wanted to sort of “fry” it, so I coated it with some brown rice flour mixed with cayenne, salt, and white pepper.  I carefully coated each cube and placed it on a plate for frying.  But I totally forgot cornstarch!  This would have gotten the flour mixture to stick to the tofu and fry properly.  Instead, when I put it in the hot coconut oil, the flour started to stick to the bottom, and it wasn’t going very well.

So, to save the tofu, I took part of a box of Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Soup and poured some in the pan with the tofu, stirred and scrambled the tofu with the soup and flour mixture, let it simmer, and made THE most delicious scrambled tofu I have ever had.  (Editor’s note: will you plase make me a mistake too?)

 

kitchenmistake2

 

Amazing Tofu Carrot-Ginger Scramble (Mistake)

  • 1 block firm Tofu, 1 in cubes (which are later scrambled)
  • ½ C brown rice flour
  • Salt, Cayenne and White Pepper to taste
  • 2 T Coconut Oil (for frying)
  • ~ ½ cup of Carrot-Ginger Soup (Trader Joe’s or Imagine Brand)

 

kitchenmistake3

 

Follow the directions above and serve with the brown rice/quinoa mixture and sautéed veggies!  This was definitely a healthy meal too!

It feels good to give.  I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t also say that I’m donating blood today.  It’s SO important.  I also tend to be low-iron so I’ve had an iron-packed diet this week.

Note some things you should eat to pump up your iron (Editor’s note: I read this in an Arnola accent):

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Lentils
  • Raisins
  • Black beans
  • Pumpkin seeds

All of these give you almost as much iron as a big steak, and is less harmful to your body if you ingest too much iron because they contain nonheme iron.  They also give you more per serving than the dark, leafy greens that are often recommended.  If you eat whatever, nothing can compare to the iron-filled foods like liver, clams and mussels.  And don’t forget dark chocolate and cocoa powder!  Check out their nutrition facts for confirmation!

 

Donate

 

Additionally, I have a theory about blood donation for my own health.  I think it promotes cell-regeneration throughout my own body!  Do something good for others, while doing something good for yourself!

***

 I echo Kat’s thoughts on the importance of blood donation.  My dad suffered from cancer for 4.5 years and made it as long as he did largely in part to blood, platlet, and bone marrow doners.  Click here for more info on becoming a marrow donor.  It only takes a cotton swab!

What amazing kitchen mistakes have you had that you want to share?

How do you get re-centered when you have an “off” month?

 

Leggo My Egg… ffin

This past weekend I had a derby promo photo shoot.  

 

I missed the original date due to my Jay Leno-esque swelling.

Fact: I do not like having my picture taken for anything outside of a quick snapshot.  It makes me self-conscious.

(c) 2011, Tim Moxley 

 

There were cool.  My team’s theme is “We Mean Business.”

(c) 2011, Tim Moxley

 

Thank you, Tim Moxley, for doing an incredible job and making me laugh a little through the terror. :)

(c) 2011, Tim Moxley

Let’s talk about what I didn’t burn…

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Eggs.  Muffins.  The staples of breakfast.  It’s only natural that they become one.

Machessmo did a great job re-creating the Egg McMuffin.  But I need something even more simple with my tardy record.

This literally took 5 mins to throw together.  They can be prepared in advance in the oven as instructed below… or the lazy way.  Zap it in the micro for 15 secs and I have a hot, grab-and-go breakfast for the week (well, this and a Greek yogurt).

 

You can add different spices and veggies to shake it up:

  • Feta cheese and onion
  • Bacon (fake or real) and cheddar
  • Soysauge and brie
  • Capers and cream cheese
  • Herbs (NOT those herbs)

 

The sky is the limit! Take that, sugar-filled/fake-looking egg fast food options.

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Eggfin

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg whites (1/2 cup if you buy them in a carton)
  • 1 C spinach, rough chopped
  • 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 C red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 oz herbed goat cheese
  • 1 T unsweetened almond milk
  • S+P, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 4 ramekins with olive oil.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs.  Add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.  Distribute evenly among the 4 ramekins (or 4 spaces in a large muffin tin).

Place in oven and cook for 20 mins.  Finish on broil for 1-2 mins to solidify tops (if necessary).

 

Be sure to guard your eggfin

***

Tonight I’m having friends over for a vegetarian dinner.  I cannot wait to share these creations tomorrow!

Yes, we all eat animal products in one form or another.  It’s fun to change it up!

What is your favorite hot, non-oatmeal week-day breakfast?

 

Pumpkin Ice Cream: Vegan-Style

Previously I posted about a special soup delivery from my teammate/Local 3.  This week I was thrilled to try out the restaurant… errrrr… from inside the restaurant. :)

Our server, Lauren, was very nice and just the right amount of attentive.  She made a couple of fantastic wine recommendations and was knowledgable about the menu. She certainly didn’t steer me wrong!

The duck fat-fried Hushpuppy + Sambal Aiolisnack” was good (mayyyybe a bit more solid than I could chew, but worth it!).  I love the crunchy flakes of salt sprinkled on top.

For dinner I ordered 2 appetizers: the Sweet Potato Soup (new on the menu and VERY good) and the Oven Roasted Mushrooms w/ Polenta and Truffle Jus.

The polenta was some of the best I have had.  Perfectly creamy, not even a hint of a lump to be found (often a problem with restaurant mass-production).  The truffle jus gave it a rich, decadent taste that played well with the perfectly roasted mushrooms.

Of course, I forgot to take pictures until dessert.

Banana Creme Brulee with a slice of sticky banana bread. It tasted like banana pudding.

We may or may not have made reservations for the below before we left… 3 weeks from now when I can fully chew… Don’t judge me.

On Monday nights Local 3 will have “Chef & Coolio’s Fantastic Monday Night Voyages*”.  A 3-course family-style dinner with beer/wine pairings.  Only $35.  16 seatings.  Beat that, Atlanta restaurants.

*Apparently Coolio refers to a rubber chicken, not the rapper.

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This Christmas, Santa brought me an ice cream maker.  Despite not being able to chew, it has taken me this long to use it.  (Sad, I know.)

It was worth the wait for this pumpkin pie bowl.

Ready to be ice creamed!

I’m still amazed at how easy this was.  Just blend, cool, pour, mix, eat.

Now that I have that sequence down, the sky is the limit!  I love savory desserts, so I’ll definitely be ice creaming up a bunch this spring!

Like pumpkin pie in a bowl.  On ice.  And vegan-ized.

You get the idea.  It was good.  Eat this:

Pumpkin Pie Vegan Ice Cream

  • 1/3 C raw cashews
  • 1 15-oz can pure pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 C water
  • 1/2 C unsweetened coconut milk (a la So Delicious)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 Stevia packet
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until well-chilled.  Place in ice cream maker and process according to instructions.

Spoon out and enjoy!

Tasty toppings: dark chocolate syrup, caramel, crumbled ginger cookies (or Biscoff), cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, etc.

Makes 3-4 servings.

***

What is your favorite dessert?  Do you like a salty-sweet?  Fruity?  Sugary?


Sweet Photo Evidence

Big news on Hump Day!

 

  1. I am now a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher! (Check out the banners to the left… there will be one more to come.)
  2. There is a picture of the jaw breaking fall!!!

 

Here’s the before – this is the “roll out” where we get introduced before the bout begins.

© Basil Gravanis, 2011

 

It’s more of a pre-break picture, but it’s an awesome action shot:

© Basil Gravanis, 2011

Thank you to the talented Basil Gravanis for making this magical photo happen. :)

(Derby 101: The helmet panties with the stars indicate the jammer.  Jammers earn a point per opposing blocker passed after the initial pass through the pack.)

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Annnnnd that’s why I’m drinking a Sweet Potato Smoothie right now.

Yes, I know… I’ve done this before (soooo last season…).  This time I discovered the more sweet potato, the better.

Sweet Potato Smoothie

  • 1/2 baked sweet potato
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 giant handful of spinach
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Shake of salt
  • Water + ice to taste

Put it in a blender, smooth it out, and slurp it up!

***

What’s the worst damage you’ve ever done to your body?  

Any cool scars/pics/proof? I have a pic and lots of soup ideas. :)


Local Soup

When people think of roller derby, I doubt the first thing that comes to mind is “family.” 

 

Families beat each other up…

However, one of the biggest components of my league is the family aspect.  Becoming one of the Atlanta Rollergirls = 80+ new family members.

Getting injured is a great reminder of that!  From the calls/emails/texts to the treats courtesy of a league-mate and baker, I feel like one lucky girl.

Last night I received another special delivery.  This was from my teammate, Polly Atomic, and Local 3. Local 3 is one of the newest restaurants in Atlanta and has received some rave reviews.  Lucky me – Polly and her husband, Chris Hall, are a couple of the founders of this fine establishment. :)

The delivery?

2 massive containers of soup: Creamy Tomato and Creamy Butternut Squash.

Chris even included straws!

 

I couldn’t decide which soup to try first… and then I thought

“Why limit yourself to eating one at a time?”

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Polly, Chris, and the awesome kitchen at Local 3!

Local 3 is definitely my first stop when chewing resumes!

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, I brought Mom some treats from International Bakery.

It is this little hole-in-the-wall Greek Bakery with a curmudgeon of a man behind the register and baklava so fantastic it could make you cry.

This dreamy box of goodness was a big hit.  At least I hear it was good…

The trip did include a treat for me.  This Greek bakery also carries a few authentic packaged goods, straight from Greece.  I came home with a big tub of authentic Greek yogurt!  OMG – it is so, so good.  American Greek yogurt is good, but this is much ticker and rich – almost like eating a dessert.

***

I can’t wait to chew.

What is your favorite tiny local find? 

Any cool ethic bakeries/shops to do some International food shopping?


Broken

I got a new camera just in time.

 

How else would I have been able to take this lovely Frankenstein-like self-portrit?

 

Those are stitches in my chin.  There are 4.  That is also a big glass ‘o vino in my hand.  I deserved it. :)  What you can’t see is that my jaw is broken in 2 places.

We had a “Rookie Expo”  this Sunday for derby.  I fell.  Chin-first.

 

However… I am actually lucky.  My jaw is fractured in 2 places, but isn’t displaced.  One fracture is in the lower left mandible and the other is in the right condyle.  My chin is (obviously) busted too.

Here’s the most relieving part – since nothing is displaced, I don’t have to have plates screwed into my jaw or even have my mouth wired shut!  I was having nightmares about eating nothing but chicken broth for 6 weeks.

I had to promise to take it easy and not chew anything for 6 weeks.  Not even noodles.  Helllloooo soup.

***

Other than some soreness and swelling, I’m ok!

Sooooo… anyone have a favorite creamy soup recipe?

 

TGIF

I almost posted “TGIF.”  Nothing else.

It had been a loooong week, but it did end well.

Dinner @ Sufi’s Kitchen tonight was really good.  I got to catch up with an old friend and tried a new dish.

Source: www.sufisatlanta.com

 

We ordered the Sufi’s Special as an app – sauteed eggplant with onion, garlic, chickpeas, and spicy tomato sauce.  The server kept warning us that it was really spicy.  It wasn’t. There was just a tinge of heat on the end.

Source: www.sufisatlanta.com

 

It was served with a fantastic flat bread (made fresh in-house).  It was baked in a stone oven that gave it a perfect crunchy char.  This was accompanied by the traditional dish filled with thyme, basil, mint, feta, butter, olives, walnuts, cucumbers, and radishes.  My favorite thing about Persian restaurants is this hodge-podge dish.  It is fun to try different combos with whatever app you order.

For dinner, they offer a Chicken Kabob Salad.  Normally, kabobs are served over a giant place of saffron rice.  The rice is good (I love saffron), but I’m not a huge rice fan so the salad offering was perfect.  I loved the chicken – it was perfectly grilled.  Plenty moist (ewwww… she said moist!) and still retained it’s lemony-marinade flavoring.

 

We ordered the Pomegranate Cheesecake for dessert at the urging of our waitress.

***Warning*** They give you the hard-sell bringing out the tray of pornographic irresistible desserts.

Pass on the dessert. It wasn’t worth it. Go next door to R. Thomas for that chocolate chip-banana cake instead.

 

Their wine list is sub-par… BUT you can BYOW and there is no corking fee.

I’ll take that any day!

 

No pics – we got caught up in conversation and flat out forgot. :(

Verdict: Worth a visit.  Don’t miss out on the appetizers.  Pass on the dessert.  Next time I’m trying the chicken-pomegranate stew.

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This coming week is the Atlanta Rollergirls’ Debutante Brawl.

All are welcome!  We can’t wait to debut our new rookies to Atlanta the world!

***

Apparently it is Super Bowl weekend.  I don’t watch pro-football (love college ball… can’t get into NFL).

Who should I bet on???

 

The Best Chocolate Around

The Atlanta Rollergirls 2011 Season is about to begin!!!

Who’s coming to the opener on Feb 26th?! The Sake Tuyas will most certainly defeat the Denim Demons in the 730p home opener.  (Can you guess which team I’m on? :) )

Get your tickets nowwe will sell out.

If the 2 hour endurance practice we had last night is any indicator, this season will be a fast-paced, action-packed show!

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I am willing to bet we can agree on at least two things:

  1. Rollergirls are awesome
  2. Chocolate is delicious

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the combo is the Best of Atlanta.

ARG’s most bad-ass skater, Demi Gore, also happens to make the most bad-ass chocolate in Atlanta at Chocolate F/X.

If you are a meat-eater, eat the bacon toffeeYour mouth can thank me (errr… Demi) later.

Source: Chocolate F/X

The ganache-centered deliciousness will melt in your mouth.  Cayenne FTW.

Source: Chocolate F/X

You can order online!!!

***

Your action-items for the day:

1. Order some Chocolate F/X for yourself on Valentine’s Day your Valentine.

2. Buy tickets to the ARG season opener.  Watch Demi and the rest of the all-stars on the Dirty South Derby Girls team @ the 5p bout and the Sake Tuyas take on the Denim Demons at the 730p.

Its BYOB, people!

Chili Tuesday Tofu

This may be a sign of weakness… but I am COLD!

 

Thank god I don’t live in Boston.

Down South is is rainy, dark, and cold.  Someone please remind me of this when it is July and I’m whining about the heat.


After a looong day at work, I was excited to get going with round 1 of yesterday’s recipe intervention!  Tonight I heated things up with a version of the Nutty Spicy Tofu from Foodie Fresh.

I know I said it would be to cookies, but I was short on time.  And avocados.

 

Based on preference and ingredients, I did make a few adjustments.  Baked tofu is almost fluffy, and I love the nut butter with the spice.  This was damn good!

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Aren’t you guys loving the blurry cell phone pics?

Chili Nutty Tofu (revised)

Cut the tofu in half horizontally and press the tofu for 30 mins to an hour to remove water.

Mix the remaining ingredients (except the lime) in a medium bowl.  Cut the tofu into cubes, add to marinade, and allow to marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cook the tofu on the baking sheet for 25 minutes.

Serve with sticky rice, cilantro, and lime slices.

And Japanese beer. :)

***

Verdict: Amazing!  I have never baked tofu before (I always make it in a grill pan) and it turned out really well.  The marinade gave it a good crust on the outside and the flavors complimented each other perfectly.  I may add some orange zest next time for a little extra citrus zing!

Off to derby practice again!  I wish I had a camera so I could post a pic of the killer bruise on my butt/upper hip. :)

 

Recipe Pack Rat

My name is Laura and I am a recipe addict.

If you ever want to keep me occupied for hours, drop me in the middle of the cookbook section of a bookstore.  Or give me a list of food blogs.  Or a stack of Food & Wine magazines.

While I do cook a lot, this has resulted in my having an excess of recipes.  I can’t make one item before I find 5 more I want to try my hand at!

I have 292 recipes bookmarked.  This is only those online.  That I’ve remembered to save to Delicious.

Intervention time.

Can I get on Oprah for this?  (Did you see Oprah discovered she has a sister?  That must have been the best day of her sister’s life… being Oprah’s sister would be better than winning the lottery!)

For the next 6 months, I will make one recipe from my Delicious bookmarks per week.

Originally, I was going to start with the first bookmarked page and work from there.  Makes sense.  Start at the beginning.

The issue is that I started saving in April, so I would be making springtime recipes when it is below freezing outside.  86 that idea.

Does it really matter where I start?

Start from the most recent.

Here are the first 3:

1. Avocado Creamcheese Cookies

Source: Anncoo Journal

2. Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Source: Priya's Kitchen

3. Nutty Spicy Tofu

I’m declaring tomorrow Avocado Cookie Tuesday!!!!

Tonight, it’s derby-time!

***

Do you have a recipe problem habit?  How do you keep track/keep up?

Side note: While I was looking through old bookmarks and writing this, I found no less than 10 new recipes to try.  Oops.