Back to My Roots

Hello! Hello! Cyberspace!

Sorry for the delay in posting, but I’ve spent the last 5 days or so existing as a zombie at work or doped up on Nyquil trying to sleep the phlegm away.  A bug was going around the office and unfortunately my immune system gave in to it, although I was sooooo close to weathering the storm.  But alas, I made two poor decisions in which my immune system and I had this conversation:

Wednesday Morning:

System: “Between general flu season, your cold ass apartment, and your sick coworkers we’re working triple overtime right now. DO NOT add to the load”

Me: “But I’m already here at the doctor and apparently I’m due for my 3rd HPV vaccine.  I never come here it’s out of the way. Pleaseeeee”

System: “Fine, but you better get some sleep tonight”

Me: “Deal”

*Btw that 3rd shot hurt like crazy. Worse then Tetanus, ladies be warned!

Thursday Afternoon

Me: “I don’t feel so great, but I want to work out with M. It’s always fun and I learn so much!”

System: “You have a sore throat. Don’t do it”

Me: “Meh it’s the holidays gotta work off all the treats” Leaves for gym

System: ” Well then F**** You! We quit! Enjoy the cough, headache, aches and wheezing. Happy Holidays Stupid”

Nyquil and I begin a wonderful relationship together for the next 72 hours……….

So I’m still sick, but I’m conscious now so I figure I should share some of my eats with you.

Sometime last week I was craving Chinese, which is not something I make all that often beyond some version of Asian Cauliflower Fried “Rice” because I’m always a little scared to delve into that cuisine since I’ve grown up eating the good stuff from my family.  I realize that seems counter intuitive because you generally learn from your family, but somehow I expanded most of my cooking knowledge from hours of watching Food Network in high school.  And as we know the Food Network did not have much programming dedicated to real Asian food.  So instead I became much more comfortable with American and Italian inspired cuisines and left the traditional stuff to my grandparents and Mother Tao.

However, despite all the Food Network I watched it never changed that the first dish I learned how to make was a Shanghai style veggie rice also known as “Tse ve”.  Traditionally it is made with bok choy, chinese style sausage “lap chong”, and rice.  The first time I made it for another person was on a night that I had dinner with my Dad during my late elementary school days.  I remember feeling incredibly satisfied that I had made dinner all by myself and was able to share it with someone.  And as my pompous young mind recalled, “It was the BEST dinner ever! Even my Dad thought so! Although he was probably trying not to crush his small child’s heart by telling her it was terrible…hah!

Anyhow, when I was passing the meat counter at Berkeley Bowl and I saw the lap chong I knew I wanted to make me some Tse Ve, but primalized!  So I picked up some bok choy, cauliflower, ginger, and then the lap chong.  Admittedly “lap chong” is not all that primal since it does list sugar and soy sauce as an ingredient amongst other questionable things, but it was so crucial to my moment of nostalgia I grabbed it anyways.  Using good quality cured ham would work just as nicely as a paleo friendly ingredient.

I figured I needed another dish to go with my “rice” and since I always have eggs in the fridge a Chinese Steamed Egg dish seemed like a good idea.  That and I love using rehydrated shitake mushrooms, which Berkeley Bowl had a nice price on.

Score!

After picking up the goods I needed along with whatever else looked tasty at the bowl I took my haul home and let the mushrooms rehydrate, while I was at work during the day.

Once I got home first priority was getting the Steamed Egg on the stove as it takes about 30 minutes to steam, but once that was on I could easily prep and cook the Shanghai Style Cauliflower Rice in the meantime.  Yay for time management!

Nostalgic Noms

Tastes good on top of "rice"

Also as a note, I did use soy sauce in some of these recipes which is not primal, but you can easily sub it out for coconut aminos.  I could’ve pretended I just used coconut aminos, but I don’t want to lie to you.  I simply still have soy sauce in my pantry and I’m not going to throw it away just because it’s not paleo.  I’m still young and poor so I’d rather use up what I have before buying new stuff.  So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Hope you had a good weekend!

What did you eat?

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Oh. My. God. Sweet Potato Casserole!

First off, I’d like to say thanks to you internet people for checking out my blog and making comments here and there.  It seems this thing hasn’t been a complete failure, which is awesome since I find this blogging thing fairly entertaining myself : )

Thus in effort to make things a little better, specifically my crappy iphone pictures, I have commandeered the man’s fancy Nikon camera. (In reality I think it was painful for him and the father to look at my shitty pictures since they are both photographer buffs)  So from now on I will make an attempt to use more palatable pictures for you to look at.  However, I’m not making any promises in phenomenal photo composition. Sorry.

Second, as promised here are some recipes for food not featuring turkey.  Using the fancy camera I started with my simple Roasted Tomato Sauce.  This here sauce is incredibly simple and almost 80% of the work is just chopping and laying it out on a cookie sheet.

Your effort is 80% complete at this point

To find out the remaining 20% of effort check out the Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe page.

Now onto the main subject of our scheduled programming for this post.

Almost everyday I browse the recipes on foodgawker, chowstalker, and my google reader.  I usually keep the interesting posts marked as unread, favorited or in an open tab on my browser until I decide if I want to use them or not.

Sometime ago Jan’s Sushi Bar had a recipe for Squash and Ricotta Casserole.   It looked pretty damn tasty so I saved it for later. Also, I’m not a huge fan of plain squash so it seemed like a cool way to make use of all the winter squash in stores right now.

Anyways, after making my Turkey Eggplant Lasagna, I had a bit of ricotta leftover and I had a bunch of sorry looking sweet potatoes sitting on my counter.  It seemed like a decent enough time to try out that casserole because as far as I’m concerned roasted potatoes and squash have similar enough consistencies that I could make this fly.  That, and as you know I’m lazy and I was not about to make a trip to get some squash if I didn’t have to.

Sad Potato has many pockmarks : (

So sweet potatoes for squash was my first substitution and my second was coconut oil for butter because I had more coconut oil then I did butter.  And now let me tell you this was my most winningest decision in lazy substitutions I’ve ever had.  The coconut oil just brought it to a whole other level I wasn’t quite expecting.  If you’ve ever had chinese steamed desserts that don’t feature that nasty red bean this is what it was like. It tasted good, which is not something I liberally associate with my ancestors sweet confections.  It almost tasted like taro, which is another thing you should go try because it is delicious.

As a testament to how good this was the man, who gets home cooking almost every night of the week, often has nothing to say about the plate of food in front of him.  It’s usually good, never bad, typically satisfying.  And, I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but the food I make is pretty decent. It’s always fresh and not from a can.  I mean I wouldn’t make a blog about it if it was complete crap.  That would just be embarrassing.

Right, so I’ve made my point: the man eats pretty damn well and occasionally is even bordering on the snobby side when we go out for food. After he had his first bite there was silence, he sat back, and all he said was “Oh. My. God.”

I was thinking, “Shit, I must’ve really messed this up.” So I asked, “What?” hoping for constructive criticism.

“Nothing, this is really, really good!”

So I tried my first bite and hot damn! That was Deeelicious!

It took a lot of self control not to finish the whole serving that night.

We almost killed this entire 10 inch ramekin in one sitting

Find out how to make this tasty dish here and try it for yourself.

Happy nomming and hope you had a great weekend!

Primal Turkey Eggplant Lasagna

Now that I have beautified my kitchen cabinets so they aren’t so depressing it’s time to get back to the food!

Whenever I shop at Berkeley Bowl I generally roam the produce aisles to see what looks good. More so than anything else though I live out of their bargain bins. I’ll tell you a little more about the magic that is the bargain bin in a later post.

Recently, the man has been sad over missing real cookies, real pasta, etc.  Ever since adopting a more grain/gluten free diet I don’t make those huge pasta dishes and batches of cookies, which I used to do in our college days because I was cooking for him and 2 other very sizable dudes. Think heavyweight boxer and athletic runner who just keeps eating.  (Just as a side note I was cooking for them mostly because I like cooking. There was no “Men hungry! Woman make food!”.  That would not have gone so smoothly)   So on my latest trip to the bowl I hauled back some eggplant and lots of tomatoes amongst other things with hearty italian on the mind.

Replacing the noodles with eggplant is a pretty old trick in the book, but I hadn’t tried it yet as I usually rely on spaghetti squash or zucchini stripped into noodles with my handy dandy julienne peeler.  In my opinion, lasagna has a much more robust and thick feel to it compared to a bowl of spaghetti or linguini.  With those thoughts in mind I set about making eggplant lasagna.  I had ground turkey in the freezer so it became a turkey eggplant lasagna, however, I’m sure any other ground meat would be delicious.  I also realize this is my 4th or 5th turkey post, but that’s just what I had on hand so bear with me.  I promise you some other type of protein in the near future.

Due to scheduling I ended up preparing my lasagna ahead of time and leaving directions for it to be popped in the oven by the man later on that evening so I wouldn’t have to wait much longer after my work shift.  The whole thing turned out quite tasty and I’d say a worthwhile repeat.  Making an almond meal parmesan mixture to sprinkle on top would’ve probably made it even better.  Perhaps next time.

Here’s the finished product!

noms : )

Happy eating!

My Cabinets Are Hideous

Like most twenty somethings I live in a rental apartment.  And most unfortunately it does not look like a West Elm or Restoration Hardware catalog…

Le sigh..........

One day I will have an epic farm table like this, but with benches.

Instead I live in a basic apartment; white walls, wall to wall brown carpet, and a tiny kitchen.  Granted I do live in an awesome location and have a pretty decent amount of natural light so I can’t complain too much.  I do also realize I’m just out of college working to move on to veterinary school and the next chapter in my life, so I don’t expect to live in a home that is picture perfect and straight out of a magazine. (But I wish I did sooooo badly..haha)

However, there is nothing stopping me from trying to achieve my dream in a smaller and more frugal way. Hence I present to you my cabinets.  (Everything was taken with my iphone and at night so I do apologize for the crappy pictures)

Hideous. White. Blah.

They are quite blah and as you can see get dirty easily by the random piece of food streak.  As you know I cook a lot so I do spend most of my time in my kitchen looking at these depressing cabinets, which just makes me sad and hence my food sad.  : (   And sad food never tastes good.  So this weekend I finally got off my sad butt and remedied the problem.

Now as you know this is a rental so paint is out of the question, but that is why we LOVE Contact paper.  : D  Yay!! A while back I purchased chalkboard contact paper off of Amazon.  I figured with this I could always take it down and  I could change my designs whenever I felt inspired.

After covering the face of my cabinets I started to draw with the chalk which was okay, but I wanted it to stand out more.  Thus I opted to use stencils and metallic paint pens to write phrases that hopefully will keep me motivated and prevent me from procrastinating so much (Lol that is a tall order even for me ha!).  This is how it turned out.

*once again I apologize for the bad quality.  Kitchen lighting is harsh at night and I decided I should document some stuff post starting everything.

Always use pencil first

Life mantras?

 

Pillars of Life!

It was a fun Sunday project and I think it made my gross cabinets look a lot better.

What did you do this weekend?

Oh and Happy Monday!

So Many Leftovers Oh My!

After a week we have finally gotten to the end of our leftovers from Thanksgiving.  And by leftovers, I only mean turkey, because the man and I demolished our 5 bags of sides within 36 hours.  We eat A LOT. Nothing goes to waste in this here household except the occasional bargain bin bag which is already half rotting upon purchase.

We eat large animal amounts

Anyways moving on.  We have been working our way through the leftover turkey in the form of stock, soups, cauliflower fried “rice”, scrambles, and just plain old dipped in cranberry sauce.  Even after a week of that we still had all of this leftover.

This is a good 9 cup sized tupperware

We definitely made a dent, but the rest of it had to go and it had to go now!  So I looked in the fridge to see what type of things I had that I could use to concoct something edible and use up the rest of the turkey, which also would not take too long because I’m lazy and was hungry.  We had some curry at my grandpa’s house the other night and I was still hankering for that taste so I decided to make a Thai Yellow Turkey Curry! (Try and say that five times fast. I certainly cannot. Many accolades to you if you can though)

Omnomnom!

It ended up appeasing my curry craving, however, it is definitely not an authentic Thai dish by any means.  I mostly called it a Thai curry because it had coconut milk, ginger, lime and basil in it.  As with most of my concoctions none of them are authentic and usually come about from perusing my fridge and pantry to see what I can make without having to go to the store.  I’m generally a go big or go home type of shopper when it comes to the grocery store so I rarely make more than one or two trips a week.  This is also probably because I’m a bit lazy so I’ve chosen to perfect my art of substituting with what I have : )  No one has suffered terribly yet….  Let’s hope I can maintain that track record.

And just because it’s always good to take a cat break

Who sleeps like this?

She's pretty much game for most abuse

I know not many features on Zack have appeared, but that’s because he’s always outside hustlin’ and taking care of his territory.  He is far more intelligent then the feline above and much more aware of what’s going on.  I was having a tough day Wednesday and Zack, who normally is taking care of his cat business outside stayed in to sleep next to me all night.  So to you cat haters out there and nonbelievers cats are loyal to their owners and can sense pain just as much as their doggy friends.

Much love

The Tail Boner

Michi is our younger woman cat.  You have met her on my About page, but here are a few more images of this god forsaken feline.

Spawn of Satan

Cute but with a crazed look

Climbs everything

The queen of everything

 

 

Sleeps in awkward places

 

 

        In short, she is a cat. She sleeps a lot, chases nothing, climbs up are window slats, meows,  has claws, and likes to keep her business end in your face whenever you are working.  We got her to keep Zack company, but really she just sashays around the apartment and sneaks up on Zack to swat him in the face when she feels like it, then acts all cute and snuggly when you least expect it.  Essentially she is kind of a female, in ALL senses of the word. (Those of you who are feminists and find this offensive, too bad, I don’t really care)

Anyways moving on to the main event of this post.  Michi in all her cat glory also exhibits the oddest behavior.  Most cats when they are threatened tend to arch their back, tail puffs up, and get all types of hissy.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

But Michi likens this response to extreme pleasure.  Particularly in the morning when you are getting ready for the day and she insists on being pet.

Getting stimulated

(Sorry for the blurry picture, she was really into it)

And then I give you the TAIL BONER!

Tail Boner Achieved

I hope you find this as hilarious as I do.  If not too bad. I love my cats. Have a nice day!