Four hundo

When I went to open up WordPress today, I realized that my next post would be my 400th(that’s this post!) since I switched over to WordPress. Wow. I can’t believe that I started blogging almost 8 years ago on Blogger when I moved to Chicago. When I started blogging, I never would have guessed that I would be blogging 8 years later or that it would have morphed into a food blog.I didn’t even like to cook when I moved here.

Speaking of food…the weekend is when I get to do the most cooking and creating. So, what’s on the agenda for the next few days?

  • It’s my last shift at Rush hospital, so after this weekend, there will be no more work on the weekends. Yay.
  • I start my water aquatics class on Sunday. Yay for pool time with girlfriends!

  • With those things to plan around, I have some ground turkey in the fridge to use up. I’ve been eyeing a few recipes but am leaning towards a Chinese style meatball.
  • I have almonds soaking to make more almond milk.
  • I love iced coffee in the summer. I want to make my first batch of cold brew iced coffee. Iced coffee ready for me every morning when I wake up? Yes, please.

  • I would also like to make a breakfast bake to have ready for me to eat during the week.
  • Maybe search my Pinterest pin boards and conquer one more of those recipes/crafts.
  • Oh and since it’s supposed to thunder-storm all weekend, I might start watching this fairly unknown show called Game of Thrones that my boyfriend has been harassing me to watch? See that? I just did sarcasm.
  • Oh, and maybe work on some plans for the 4th of July. That’s next week already.

What’s on your weekend schedule?

Oreo bars

One of my goals for the summer was to actually make some of the things that I have pinned on Pinterest. So when we had people over last weekend, I needed a quick dessert. Where did I head? Straight to be rescued by the pin boards of Pinterest.

What did I come back with? Oreo bars. So simple. So fast.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Oreo cookies
  • 5 cups marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Place Oreos in food processor and pulse until fine crumbs.

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Microwave marshmallows and butter together until melted and fluffy.

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Dump Oreo crumbs into marshmallow mixture and combine well.

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20120628-204243.jpgPress into a greased pan of choice. I used a loaf pan. I recommend using wax paper to press them down.

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Falafill

I’ve heard tons of great things about Falafill, but since I thought it wasn’t convenient for me to get to, I had put off making a trip there.

Mistake. Big mistake.

My friend Katie and I each got the bowl, where you get to fill up with as many salads and sauces that you want, have your choice of 3 kinds of falafel and get a side of pita. Everything is so fresh and flavorful….not to mention most of it is very healthy. And almost everything is vegetarian or vegan and they have it clearly marked. Really, you get so much food it turns out to be 2 meals of amazing for $8.00.

Here’s my full bowl.

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It’s worth the trip.

Lazy breakfast

My favorite lazy breakfast is oats in a jar.

Make it the night before, throw it in the fridge, eat in the morning.

Today’s combo:

  • 1 cup homemade almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon homemade almond butter
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • handful fresh blueberrries

 

New things

Wowza. This past weekend was crazy busy and exciting.

Thursday I made a fruit tart for a work birthday.

Friday became the best Friday in history when my new niece Hannah was born. I think she’s pretty cute, but I might be a little biased.

We had a BBQ after work. There was a hot pad casualty:

Saturday we had friends over for dinner and beers in the back yard. These are the makings of Oreo bars:

Sunday, I couldn’t get myself moving to get to the Pride parade, but I did manage to make a very delicious breakfast. Guac, egg, bacon, cheese and hot sauce on a corn tortilla with a side of watermelon.

Then I hit up the pool for a few hours with Katie for some sunshine and girl time before another BBQ to end the weekend.

Garden update

Well, my community garden plot is a bit behind since it got started so late, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

I do have a few tomatoes started:

One strawberry…that I might have eaten immediately after this picture.

It looks like I’ll soon have some zucchini, too.

And a very nice plot neighbor, who shared mustard greens, kale, arugula and sorrel with me.

I had no idea what sorrel was, but it was very unique and tasty. My plot neighbor told me that the taste comes from oxalic acid which help with calcium absorption. What she didn’t tell me is that it is only safe in small quantities and fatal in large quantities. Good think I didn’t eat too much of it.

For dinner I had sautéed mustard greens with garlic, an arugula salad topped with an egg and a tomato…thanks to a kind plot neighbor.

Yum! I love summer! And nice people!

Homemade almond milk

I have cut way back and have almost completely eliminated dairy from my diet for over 6 months now. I always struggle to justify paying the high prices for soy, coconut or almond milk at the store and will often just go without. I also don’t like all the additives found in it. I have seen a lot of people all over the web making their own almond milk. Not immediately realizing that I could dry out the left over almond bits into almond meal, I thought it was a waste of almonds.

Then I saw a claim that you can make an entire pitcher of almond milk using only 10 almonds. I have no idea where I saw this, but it stuck in my mind. I have tried to Google it since and can not find the blog. So, I decided to make a modified version.

Ingredients:

  • 10 almonds
  • 2 cups of water
  • pure vanilla(optional)

Soak almonds in 2 cups of water in a covered container for 8-12 hours.

At the end of the soaking time, put in high-powered blender and blend. Add in a few drops of vanilla is you would like. Some people also add honey to sweeten the milk, but I do not.

You will be left with bits of almond and skin(if you didn’t remove it before blending). Some people say leaving the skins on can cause it to taste bitter.

Pour almond milk through a strainer with an old, but clean dish towel(NOT terry cloth) into a receptacle.

Refrigerate and use within 4 days.

After a few sips, I decided that it tastes like a skim version of almond milk, which is fine with me. I really like it. If you want a thicker version, definitely add more almonds. [UPDATE]: After letting it refrigerate for a day, I have decided that it tastes like regular almond milk. And it only took 10 almonds? What a good deal!

Moving on. Heat a nonstick skillet on low. Scrape the leftover pieces of almond into skillet and heat until dried out.

Save and use as almond meal.

You have now made liquid and powdered gold for less than $1.00.

Homemade almond milk adventure

My big plan was to make homemade almond milk tonight. Except I forgot to start soaking the almonds before I left for work.

Fortunately, I work right next to a grocery store, so I stopped and picked up some almonds on my way in to work. I also had an old, but clean almond butter jar hanging out on my desk, just perfect for soaking the almonds.

I ran across a claim on a food blog that you only need to use 10 almonds to make an entire pitcher of homemade almond milk. While I felt this was a small amount of almonds, I wanted to try it. I scaled back the amount of water a bit and only used 16oz of water, because that is all my jar would hold…and I have to get it home on the bus. I also thought that if it doesn’t turn out well, it’s very little waste.

So, I’ll update you tonight on how the 10 almond, almond milk adventure goes.

Easy veggie wrap

The fridge is pretty bare around here now that Brian is gone most of the week for work and I have been detoxing all week. When it came to make lunch yesterday, we didn’t have many options. Fortunately, my lettuce is doing well and we had enough things to make some veggie wraps for lunch.

I started with brown rice wraps and spread some roasted red pepper hummus on them.

Then added some lettuce that I grew!

Cucumber slices:

Added a few cherry tomatoes:

And some tofu cooked in coconut oil:

Wrap it up and enjoy with carrots, sugar snap peas and slaw. Yum!

Laidback weekend

Brian and I had a jam-packed weekend last weekend and next weekend is even worse. Not that we are complaining, they are all fun summer activities, but we decided we were going to be as low-key as possible this weekend.

Saturday breakfast, eggs and hot sauce and fresh fruit with a big ole’ glass of green juice:

In the afternoon we joined Aaron at rooftop garden at NoMI for some socializing:

Something we didn’t do:

Sunday morning we had a light breakfast of fruit and green juice:

Then I got a much-needed mani/pedi:

Then we had a late lunch of tofu and veggie wraps and a short afternoon nap. I feel ready to take on the week.