Friday, February 6, 2009

A Blur of a Month....

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      The past few weeks have been a complete blur for me. The last week and a half of January was spent moving and unpacking. Cleaning and dusting and getting settled in as quick as I could before I had to start a new job working an odd shift that puts me home close to 2 AM. I've had to rearrange my schedule a bit, but it didn't take long for me to get used to it. By nature I am a natural night owl and I do enjoy the hours. The boyfriend and I are also trying to get in shape for two races in March – the Texas Independence 5k and the Statesman 10k. I've been biking to work which gives me nearly 18 miles a week on the bike on top of grocery store runs and the like. The actual running will start sometime in the next week or so.

      I've stayed just as busy in the kitchen with new ideas and recipes to try as I
have been outside of the kitchen. Even now, I'm enjoying fresh baked chocolate macadamia cookies that I made earlier this evening and the boyfriend is eating a second plate of the quinoa stuffed peppers we had for dinner. There have been so many wonderful things come out of the kitchen lately that I'm not sure where to begin it all.

      The one dish that sticks out the most from this past month has to be the fettuccini with kale and pesto sauce from earlier this week. The hardest part was making the pesto sauce – other than that it was boil, sautee and mix together. Simple and delicious! Just the way I like it.

      Another success was curried cauliflower. A few months ago the boyfriend and I picked up some amazingly tasty curry powder that has the perfect amount of heat to it – I've been overlooking it for a while now, but when I needed to use up some extra cauliflower last week it was one of the only thing I had on hand. The combination of still crisp cauliflower with spicy curry and savory rice was wonderful. The curry sauce was a simple mixture of 2 tablespoons of curry powder dissolved into 1 cup of milk. I added the cauliflower to this and let it simmer for around 5 minutes. I dumped in a mixture of 2 teaspoons of sweet rice flower mixed with a half cup of water into the simmering pan and turned the heat off. The residual heat kept the sauce cooking long enough to let it thicken up, but not get too thick.

      We also got hold of some of the hottest cayenne we have ever tasted. The first night that we had it we added one half a teaspoon to a skillet of fried potatoes and onions we were having and neither of us were able to get through our meal without a sweaty brow, runny noses and a few tears. It's lasted us quite a while and we are trying to use it up, but it's proving a little difficult. We love spicy foods, but this cayenne is almost over the top.

      Collards have been in three of our last four produce pick ups from the local farm and I've had to find new recipes to keep things interesting. I tried a gluten free collard calzone that turned out a little dry and not very appetizing. The best way I've found of cooking the collards is to just boil them for about 45 minutes or so in some spicy, salty water. The collards will absorb the flavor and this gives you time to whip up something else to go with them. My meal of choice with the collards was beans and rice, as you can see.

      Most of the meals I've made as of late have been as simple as possible. Not only does it make things easier to make, but the closer the food is to the natural state the better it is for you. Lots of avocados, fresh fruit, salads and raw food bars have been our main snack foods with one large meal and one or two smaller meals during the day. Eating this way is best for our lifestyle – it keeps us going with all the energy we expend on a daily basis.

      I am toying with a peanut sauce recipe that should be coming up in a post soon. Also coming out of the kitchen soon will be some delicious pierogies and white chili! I have found a great recipe for a cheese sauce made from nutritional yeast, but the yeast I got is laced with gluten – I got it from the bulk section of Whole Foods, but the bin was surrounded with flours of various sorts and I get hives every time I try to eat it on anything. More on that when I find a better source. Until then...

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