Monday, August 31, 2009

fresh from the farmer's market

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. School is picking up, work is picking up, and in between there are so many other things to do!

This past Saturday I insisted on getting myself up very early and going to the farmer's market here in town. I'm so glad I did. I love seeing all of the happy vendors with their prized vegetables, flowers, and other goods. I love talking to them and listening to what they have to say about what they are selling. It's the closest you can get to growing your food yourself.

I acquired one sunflower, five zinnias, 4 purple (yes, purple! they were gorgeous) bell peppers, 4 red tomatoes, 2 green tomatoes, 2 mini eggplants (melanzana!), 1 butternut squash, and 1 red bell pepper. Some delicious dishes have already come out of them, and there are a few things left...which will probably be eaten today...but! The market is open on Tuesdays so I might go again in the morning. hehe.

Also! The other day I made peach oatmeal brulee...and it was amazing. You just prepare some oatmeal to your liking, then broil it in a small dish with a few teaspoons of sugar on top for about ten minutes. It's so good!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

mamma mia!, it's spaghetti

Since my last post, I moved into my new apartment...then a few days later had all of my wisdom teeth pulled! How wonderful. I've been lying around watching DVDs and drinking smoothies for the past two days. That's not as glamorous as it may sound.

I have yet to take pictures of my apartment (I'm still in the decorating process, anyhow) but here is the first real meal I cooked there (pre-wisdom teeth removal, of course)...whole wheat spaghetti and vegetarian meatballs, with fresh green beans and homemade bread. I did some research on various ways to make vegetarian meatballs, then concocted my own recipe, so here you have it:

Vegetarian Meatballs
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp flax seeds
1/3 c dried chickpeas (or chickpea flour)
1/3 c black beans
1/4 c corn
1/4 c whole wheat flour
seasoned salt, pepper, and onion powder, to taste
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Combine sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and dried chickpeas in a food processor (or, I used my Magic Bullet) and grind until smooth. Grind black beans and corn as well, separate from the dry ingredients. Stir together both mixtures, along with the oil and spices, until smooth. Add in the whole wheat flour. The end result should be about the consistency of cookie dough. If the mixture is too dry, add water in small increments until right. If it is too wet, add more flour. Scoop into rounded tablespoonfuls and bake in the oven until slightly browned on the outside, or in the microwave, 6-7 at a time, for about 3 minutes.*

Makes 3-4 servings.

*I had to cook mine in the microwave because, as luck would have it, the stove/oven in my apartment was broken until two days ago! It's a long story. When I started cooking this meal, the repairman had just paid us a visit and we thought it was fixed, but twenty minutes into my culinary endeavor it suddenly went off, and I had to revert to finishing things up in the microwave.

Also, I believe you could easily make substitutions in the recipes if they were pretty equal. For instance, you could use other nuts besides sunflower seeds, other dried beans besides chickpeas, or other wet beans besides black beans. Overall they were very delicious and I plan on making them again soon!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

glasses, etc.

I'm moving tomorrow! I'm excited for my new place.

I got new glasses in the mail...but I had them sent to Corey's house because I thought I'd already have moved when they arrived...and then they came a week early. So I don't have them yet! But I will get them tomorrow. I got them from Zenni Optical, thanks to Amanda's recommendation! Zenni Optical make really inexpensive prescription glasses that you can order online--starting at $8.00. I currently have one pair of prescription eyeglasses which are from my eye doctor. I need to send them in to get new lenses in them, but since they are my only pair, I'll be without them for a week, so I decided to go ahead and order others from Zenni. They will be good back-up pairs and also provide other options to me...fashionably speaking...because I don't really want contacts but sometimes I get tired of wearing these same glasses every single day. So anyway, I ordered two new pairs of regular glasses, and then I picked out a pair of prescription sunglasses, which is very exciting to me! Here's what they are going to look like:

This is my most reasonable pick. The you-can't-go-wrong-with-a-pair-of-plain-black-glasses glasses. $12.95.

This is the more "fun" pair that I chose. In brown tortoise shell. I hope they don't make me look ridiculous. $9.95.

And these are the sunglasses. In brown/clear, with brown lenses (not pictured--but you can choose to make any style on the website into sunglasses for $5 extra). I know they are kind of funky looking, but they are just sunglasses, after all. I think (hope) they will be cute. $14.95

Also! Corey sent me this adorable, adorable screenprint in the mail! It's from Wonder Thunder:

It was so sweet of him! I can't wait to decorate my new place with all the new art I've bought, been given, & made over the past few months. :)

And! Yesterday my brother surprised me with my favorite candy bar in the world. It's the Kinder Bueno, made by the same people who make Nutella. I discovered it in Italy, and they're a rare find in the U.S. He made another trip to the Indian grocery store I wrote about the other day, to get some juice he really liked, and found them there at a very reasonable price! How sweet of him!

Also, movingwise/apartmentwise, I can't find:
- A desk...? I've looked, used...need to find something under $100...I saw some online that I liked but when I went to the stores to locate them they were not there. That's annoying. All of the used ones I saw were in particularly awful shape.
- Size Y vacuum bags? I'll hopefully locate these soon...apparently places are discontinuing them!?

Monday, August 03, 2009

just like christopher columbus

I've now purchased my very own microwave and skillet. This must mean I am growing up, I'm almost sure of it. Things are getting checked off my list...only a few more days until the move!

So, the other day I thought relish sounded like a wonderful idea, and rather than look up a recipe, I just gathered up what I could find from the pantry and fridge.

And it's so simple really, that I don't know if it's even right to call this a recipe, but it was delicious just the same, so if you'd like to make it, here's how I did it:

1 can black beans
1 can sweet kernel corn
1 handful fresh cilantro
1/4 c salsa or 1/4 c pureed tomato + 2 Tbsp jalapeno juice
2 Roma tomatoes
1/2 Vidalia onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
salt + pepper

Drain and rinse the black beans, then pour them into a medium-sized bowl. Mash them over with a fork once, leaving most of them whole. Drain and rinse corn, chop cilantro, and dice onion and tomatoes. Add those ingredients to the bowl. Stir the salsa and spices into the mixture, tossing everything together in the process. Serve immediately--good, refrigerated--better, the next day--best! This is good by itself, on top of a bed of lettuce, in a corn taco shell or a tortilla, or with chips.

Today, I decided to make these All-Out Best Oatmeal Breakfast Bars. The recipe gives several variations...just fyi I used natural peanut butter as the fat in mine, and I didn't have anything to stir in so I left them plain. I did top them with a sprinkle of honey roasted sunflower seeds. They are very good, maybe a tad on the dry side though, so to remedy that, I served them with a smidgen on peanut butter on top. Mmm.

I also paid a visit to an Indian grocery store I noticed in town a few weeks ago. They had an awesome array of spices in what I consider to be bulk, as far as spices for a personal kitchen go. And they were at terrific prices! I got this 14 oz. bag of sesame seeds for $3.25. Last time I bought sesame seeds, I got a 1 oz. jar made by McCormick brand spices (a very common spice brand here, and I assume elsewhere in the U.S.) for around the same price. I also got 7 oz. packages of cumin, ginger, and coconut powder. All of that was only $10! It's an exciting start to all of the spices I hope to accumulate for the various recipes on my to-cook list. I get a little disappointed at my usual supermarkets when I see all of the high prices on the spice aisle, and for tiny, tiny bottles. Here I felt like I was getting a special deal. I guess Christopher Columbus had a point when he set out for India in search of spices.

I love Indian cuisine and the store was very inspiring. I wish I'd looked up a few specific recipes before going, so I could've gotten some specialty items, but I'm sure I'll be back for another visit in the near future. If you're local and want the address, let me know!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

goodbye summer, hello fall

I am no longer an intern! 300 hours down. It feels amazing to have that weight off my shoulders. This week brings cleaning, packing, organizing. Boxes, boxes, boxes. I am excited for new things--a new apartment, a new roommate, a new kitchen (finally), a new schedule...and familiar things--old friends, favorite professors, my on-campus jobs. I'm saying goodbye, undergraduate school the best way I know how--lots of hard work mixed with lots of fun times. I plan on soaking up every second of this coming semester. Fall is my favorite time of year, so bring it on!