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Halloween!

1 Nov

Hooray! Yesterday was Halloween! And today I am sad because I have to wait a whole year for it to happen again.

We started our celebrations early by heading to Rochester last weekend to visit friends and have fun. It was great! We got to hang out with friends, sleep in (!!!!!!), go to a museum, eat sorbet/frozen yogurt with ENDLESS TOPPINGS, and drink lots of cider with whiskey.

Before we left on our journey, I made a tasty dinner:

 

This is yet another meal from Appetite for Reduction, Unfried Fried Rice and Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Mustard Tofu.  I’ve made the tofu before, and it is one of my favorite things.  The rice was new.  It came out perfect!  I cooked the rice earlier in the day so it had some time to cool down before I unfried it, and it was wonderful.  To bulk it up a little, I added some steamed carrots and butternut squash cubes.  The butternut squash was a random thing and I wasn’t sure how it would taste.  It worked, though!  It gave a little bit of sweet, and the added sriracha added heat.  So good.

We were back in New Hampshire for real Halloween, and I celebrated during the day by doing a Zombies, Run! mission on my lunch break.  I had sore legs from weight training the day before, but I managed to evade the zombies anyway.

Paul and I both had crummy days at work, so I wasn’t sure we wanted to do anything for Halloween night.  But we managed to put our grumps away for a while, and headed out to Portsmouth.  It was our first time there, but I had heard that they know how to do Halloween right.  And they do!  There was a Halloween parade going on, but we missed most of it.  No worries, though, we had other plans.

We headed for a quick bite to eat at The Friendly Toast, a diner-style restaurant that my friend Colleen had raved about.  They have a decent selection of vegan-friendly foods, good beers available, and the most wonderful, kitschy decor.  It wasn’t very crowded, thanks to people being too busy cavorting in the streets, so our food came quickly.  We both had the Vegan Valhalla – a burrito filled with brown rice, portobello mushrooms, and tofu.  I had mine with home fries, which I was so glad to hear were not cooked using butter!  Yay!  Paul had sweet potato fries, and they were fantastic.

It was also nice that they had soy milk for the coffee.  Yeah, it’s such a small thing.  But Concord seems to not know that soy milk or any non-dairy milk drink is a thing.

Anyway, our main plan for the night was to go see Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the Portsmouth Music Hall Loft.  One of my favorite movies, and one Paul had never seen before.  The crowd was small and full of friendly people, and they had special cocktails available for the night (you can even bring them right into the theater – holy crap I love this place!)

We both had a drink called the Massacre:

 

It was made of vodka, tequila, and ginger ale.  Whaaaat?  Tequila and ginger ale?  I know ginger ale (or beer) goes well with a lot of liquors, but I’d never tried it with tequila.  And well, it worked.  Now, to make them at home.

We had a lot of fun at the movie, people were really into it and I left feeling happier than I have in a while.  Thanks, Portsmouth!

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Squash, Apples, Wine, Cows

15 Oct

Those are all things that I like a great deal.  Needless to say, I am a very happy girl about now.

This past weekend, Paul and I visited my parents in upstate New York.  We had a very relaxing and fun time with them, and even got a day of sunshine to enjoy things outdoors!

We ventured out on Saturday to find some apples.  Not many orchards are doing pick your own apples this year, due to the low yields.  That was okay though, because my arms aren’t completely healed and I’d be stuck with the low hangers anyway.  So we stopped at a local orchard and purchased about 20 lbs. of apples.  You see, Paul and I make fantastic homemade unsweetened applesauce.  Time to get canning!

My mother wanted to stop at a local bakery, but that ended up being closed for a family wedding.  However, we found two wonderful things as we turned away from the abandoned bakery: so many cows, and a sign pointing us towards a winery.

The winery is called Johnston’s Winery.  We followed painted signs pointing us to a private residence in the middle of nowhere (we were already in the middle of nowhere, this took us a bit more in).  None of us had much hope, but a very nice gentleman showed us into his brewing room and showroom.  He had a number of fruit and grape wines, and I have to say they were some of the best New York wines I’ve had.  Now, I’ve never really been a fan of New York wines to begin with.  Some of them aspire to be too much like Boone’s Farm.  Anyway, we were really surprised, especially with his Chardonnay.  It was delicious and fruity and nothing like Chardonnay wines usually are (I’ve come to decide they usually taste like fermented bath water).  This guy knows his stuff.  He even let us check out his brewing set up!  It was a thing of dreams, really.  We left with a mixed case, which I can’t wait to dig into.  If you’re ever in the Galway/Charlton area of New York, you should check it out.

We stopped on the way back to say hello to the cows.  I sure do love cows.  Now sadly, we were separated by an electric fence that the cows would not get within ten feet of (can’t blame them), so we were just able to trade some moos back and forth.  I have a whole slew of pictures of cows looking at me funny.  But this one was my favorite.  Her attention could not be taken from the grass.  Chew chew chew.

 

Before we left for my parents’ house, I had some squash to cook.  Every fall, I get so excited when all the variety of squashes come out and it’s just mountain of gourds and they all look beautiful and delicious.  One squash I’ve never tried is the weird dinosaur looking one.  Hubbard squash.

Since Hubbards are HUGE, we jumped on the chance to buy just a piece of one.  The whole ones can be a bit intimidating

 

Squash usually does well in soup, so I did some digging around to find some ideas.  I settled on a pinto bean and mixed squash soup.  So thick and beany and squashy!

Pinto Bean and Mixed Squash Soup

adapted from Cooking Light; makes 6 large servings

  • 3 cups dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cups winter squash, chopped 1/2″ (I used Hubbard and Butternut)
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (low or no sodium optional)
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. dry roasted pumpkin seeds

1) Prepare beans: place beans in a pot and cover with water so that beans are below 2″ of water.  Let sit for 8 hours.  After beans have soaked, drain them, then place in a pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring beans and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, cover the pot and let simmer for another 30 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet, and cook the onion, carrots, squash and chipotle until the onions are softened and starting to brown.

3) Add the onion mixture to the beans, then add the thyme, sage, crushed tomatoes, and vodka.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and cook at a reduced heat for at least ten minutes, but as long as you’d like, making sure that the squash is tender.  Stir occasionally.

4) Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with the pumpkin seeds

 

So, in this soup, the Hubbard squash tasted much like the butternut.  The texture was a bit different, maybe a bit more grainy.  I liked it, but because of its bumpy skin, it’s a bitch to peel and chop.  I might just stick with the butternut in the future.  But still, adventure!

Note on the vodka: my boyfriend is a chemist.  He taught me all about esters and how tomatoes react with alcohol to release these wonderful things called esters that make things taste more flavorful and complex.  You can do it with any alcohol, vodka is just a relatively otherwise flavorless booze that you can use with any flavors.  I’d try this again with red wine!

What I Ate When I Ran Twelve Miles for the First Time (WIAW #82)

15 Aug

Oh hey there! I do a lot of What I Ate Wednesdays. I wasn’t going to bother this week, until I realized that I was running 12 miles on Sunday for my half marathon training, and I figured why not do a 12 mile run WIAW. Otherwise known as WIAWIR12MFTFT. Catchy!

I tried to get a lot of calories in me before the run. We started out at around 5pm. So I had the whole day in front of me! Or I did, until we decided not to wake up until around 11:30-ish.

Oh well. Long run day breakfast is pretty much always oatmeal.

I cook my oatmeal funny. I add lots of liquid to it! For each serving of oats I add 1 cup water and 1 cup almond milk. Plus a little sweetener and cinnamon. Also usually some ground flax seed, but in my sleep overdosed state I forgot it. Then I cook it for a real long time! Then it gets glomped in a bowl and things get added to it before it is eaten. BAM! RECIPE!

I added a tablespoon of my homemade almond butter and some maple syrup. So good. Not pictured is the nectarine I also ate with it.

I can’t eat real close to running time, so I made some lunch around 3:30-ish. Paul’s parents had been here the day before so we had sandwich fixings. I don’t usually eat sandwiches. I love them, but I always feel like I finish them too quickly. I’m all about having a huge plate full of food. Salads are better that way. Anyway, I had some veggie turkey and my home pickled sweet pickles and lettuce on a lavash with veggies (the tomatoes are from Paul’s parent’s garden!) and hummus. Good stuff.

As the run came closer, I had to get our stuff together. Camelbaks, Gus, and a sodium shot. What’s a sodium shot? It’s awesome, I’ll tell you that. I’m going to dedicate a whole post to them at some point.

I’m surprised you can’t see the stink lines coming off of my camelbak, actually. I am not dainty. It’s since been washed, though!

I only went through one of the Gus on the twelve mile run. What a run, too. As soon as we left the house, it started pouring, with thunder in the distance. We waited ten minutes, and it looked like it was letting up so Paul was like, “hey let’s just go.” So we did, and it started pouring again! For the first mile and a half or so. Then it lightened up some. And there was a rainbow! It was awesome! Awesome except for my soggy feet. Twelve miles in waterlogged socks. Imagine the blisters. Okay, now imagine more of them. Ugh.

Anyway, we made it! And I came back inside and was ravenous. Which is weird, because my long runs have been leaving me nauseated for hours up until now. It looks like my stomach is getting used to long distance running! Go stomach!

This is stuff that I ate before my shower. Honey roasted peanuts, a crumpet, and some maple kettle corn. Oh and water!

Shower and stretch before dinner time. Dinner was easy, pita pizzas! With veggie pepperoni, spinach, and vegan cheese. Pretty yummy!

Once dinner was over, I still had about 1400 calories left to eat for the day. Crazy! So Paul and I went to Walmart (the only thing open late in New Hampshire) like a couple of stoners on a mission. Junk food! We actually wanted to get decadent tofutti ice cream bars, but Walmart… you know. So, cookies and candies it was!

Disclaimer: we didn’t eat all this. Actually, we didn’t touch the chocolate and Paul brought most of it into work the next day for the vultures to eat. But it felt good to buy a bunch of junk food.

Before bed we also shared a bottle of cider. Mmm, cider.

So yup, that’s what I eat when I run twelve miles.

See what other people eat here!:

What I Ate Wednesday – Birthday Edition!

8 Aug

Hey I had a birthday not long ago! I’m 31! My birthday was actually at the end of July, so this is a bit late. But anyway. My birthday day was very relaxing. I went on a 3.1 mile run for my 31st, which is something I want to make a habit of for birthdays to come!

Paul came home with a bag full of goodies from Cafe Indigo, like really a bag full. We shared a piece of vegan fudge before going out to eat sushi. After sushi we headed to a bar that I had heard has many beers on tap, and then we went galactic bowling! I haven’t been bowling in years. I’m still terrible at it, it seems!

But this What I Ate Wednesday is about what I ate the day AFTER my birthday! Paul and I headed down to Boston, with plans to stay at a swanky hotel and go see a play in a park in Chelsea.

We woke up late-ish and had breakfast. Judge me if you want, but I eat egg white omelets sometimes. Paul makes really good omelets, what can I say.

This one had spinach, sauteed mushrooms, and vegan cheese in it. We had toasted pitas with homemade blueberry lime jam (more on that tomorrow!) and fruit salad.

After packing up our things for the night, we made a pit stop at the local running store. I picked up a new pair of Mizuno Inspires, since the Brooks Adrenaline were just not working out for me (not enough room in the toe box for my freakishly long second toes). Across the street is this cafe called Planet Marshmallow that sells homemade marshmallows. We picked up a bag. Again, feel free to judge! I ate eggs and gelatin on the day after my birthday. It happens sometimes. I ate some with a banana on the way to Boston

We checked into this totally swanky hotel that had bath robes and slippers waiting for us (I think rich people have freakishly small feet?) and it started looking like it was going to rain. We were pretty sure the play in the park was off, so we decided to walk around. We had a small snack and some coffee before heading out

The plan was to walk in the direction of Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge. I am obsessed with this place, they have the most amazing food and I have to eat there every time we’re in Boston. We made it about a mile before it started raining. I saw this shortly before getting on the T.

Don’t forget!

So it started POURING! Stupid us, we brought umbrellas with us, but didn’t take them on our walk. Of course, a little corner store had some for us to purchase. We made it to Veggie Galaxy mostly dry.

And then we ate so much.

We skipped the vegan frappe this time, sadly. It is so delicious but so filling.
I ordered the Vegetable Pot Pie with smoked tofu, covered in pesto, with mashed sweet potatoes and arugula. We ordered a kids portion of the vegan mac and cheese because it is too good to not order. It had to be done. And Paul had the Beer Battered House Smoked Tofu, which came with red cabbage slaw and the most delicious black pepper french fries. I mean, how awesome does this food look? It tastes even better! They even make their own ketchup. Seriously. Love you, Veggie Galaxy.

After eating, it was still raining. We made it over the Charles river, but not without getting drenched. So, we decided to pick up some booze, get a cab back to the hotel, and just relax for the night.

Mission accomplished! We shared a bottle of cider, and some black IPA. The IPA went so well with a Cafe Indigo brownie:

We spent the rest of the night curled in our bath robes, watching the olympics. That was a fine birthday for me!

What I Ate Wednesday – Cool Slaw Edition!

25 Jul

Hey Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

This is what I ate yesterday!  Happy What I Ate Tuesday!

My food was not all that exciting on Tuesday, but it was pretty tasty.  I started work at 8 instead of my usual 9am start, since I was quitting earlier to go to a doctor appointment. I woke up and scarfed down some Ezekiel toast with chunky natural peanut butter and a smoothie made with mixed tropical fruits, plain unsweetened almond milk, vanilla brown rice protein powder, and stevia. Good stuff!

Around midmorning I got really sleepy and not so great feeling. I sort of moped around for a while until lunchtime.

Guess what? I ate a salad! Yep, I always eat a salad. This one had lots of veggies, edamame, and red pepper hummus. I picked up a random tub of hummus at the not-so-great grocery store across the street and I think I might throw it out. Not so great.

I went to my doctor appointment and didn’t really think I’d be out long. But I ended up sitting in the waiting room for a long time, which was no big deal. Like three ladies were in labor. I wasn’t in labor. I can wait!

When I got home though, I was hungry. I had a run coming up, albeit a short one, so I had some fruit to try to keep my belly calm. Nectarines are so good!

I forgot to take a picture of my pre-run coconut date roll. Whoops!

Paul and I ran our short three miles at around 7. I felt like I was working way harder for the speed I was going at. But it was super windy and wind makes me breathe funny. We both felt, well, winded when we were done. But we got it done and that’s what counts! Tonight is five miles. Whoop whoop.

After watering/fertilizing the garden, we came in to make dinner. I had this idea that portobello mushrooms and guacamole would go together well, and Paul wanted cool slaw. I hadn’t made cool slaw in a while, so we both got what we were craving!

So we grilled portobellos, sliced them and ate them in pitas with guacamole, lettuce and tomato. Yum! The cool slaw was awesome both on the side, and tucked inside the pitas Baha-style. You might be wondering what cool slaw is. Well, it’s only the most awesome low-fat vegan coleslaw recipe around. It’s Cool Slaw!

Cool Slaw
adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Ingredients
1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked at least one hour
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. chopped shallots
5 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
2-4 Tbsp. reduced fat Vegenaise, to taste
1lb. packaged cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage

Directions
Add the drained cashews, water, shallots, vinegar, mustard, agave nectar, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula if needed.

Combine the coleslaw mix or cabbage to a bowl, and add the dressing from your blender. Mix well to combine. Add Vegenaise to taste.

So good! I like the recipe without the Vegenaise, but with it is a whole ‘nother level. But I put Vegenaise on lots of things, so. Blush.

So there we go. I capped the night off with a skinny person beer.

Weekend!

15 Jul

What a nice and relaxing weekend!

It all started on Friday.  Paul came home from work and we headed to the pool.   He’s teaching me how to freestyle swim properly, and how to rotary breathe.  It’s not nearly as hard as I thought it looked!  I practiced for a bit, then we just splashed around for a while.  What a hot summer!

We watered our garden, ate homemade burritos and then went out to the movies.  The independent theater near us does a random movie every Friday, and they were showing The Innkeepers, so we went to that.  It was funny, since the theater only has two theaters, they show their special Friday night movie in a little conference room.  Everyone there sits in banquet chairs in a semi-circle around a projection screen.  I was a little bit put off at first, but it was a really neat experience.  It was almost like watching a movie with friends except everyone there was a stranger.  And The Innkeepers is an excellent ghost story.  It struck me as a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark type story.  I left with a smile on my face.  Then we came home, drank beers, and played board and card games until 3am.  We are such boring, old farts.

Saturday was also fun!  We got up, at breakfast, and headed to Manchester.  I needed a new pair of running shoes, so we went to Runner’s Alley.  Paul’s never gotten shoes at a real running store (and runs in New Balance shoes, which amazes me because New Balance always feels like alien shoes on me), so he wanted to see what it was all about.  I ended up trading my Mizuno Inspires in for a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12s.  I think they’re similar to the Inspires, but I’m about to give them a good 5 mile test run in a couple of hours.  I also picked up a foam roller, which feels amazingly good and hurty on my muscles.

Then we headed to Hooksett, to go to the 2012 Southern New Hampshire Brewer’s Fest!  We like beer, and I used to drink too much of it.  So on a weekly basis, I pretty much only drink MGD64, but if I’m treating myself, I’ll go for something a little more heavy.

So we spent about an hour and a half sampling various beers in 90-something degree heat.  Most of them were not summer beers!  I wouldn’t normally be drinking a stout on a hot summer day, but I really enjoyed Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero.  I wish I had been able to try the other beers they had to offer, because they seemed like a solid brewery.

We also tasted a nice Maibock from The Prodigal Brewery, and a ginger wheat ale from 7 Barrel Brewery.  I am very regretful that I didn’t manage to get a taste of the Rhubarb Wit from Throwback Brewery.  I can’t believe I forgot about them!  I’m going to remain hopeful that our beer store carries it.

Also, a nice gent from the Woodstock Inn Brewery took this picture:

Thanks dude!  Also, nice brown ale!

There was food at the ‘fest, too.  Sadly, all of it had meat and/or dairy.  People seemed to be enjoying it, though!

And now, to conclude our weekend, a hot and humid 5-mile run!

Vegan Hot Chocolate

12 Nov

This isn’t really a recipe or anything. I just want to brag that Ellen made me vegan hot chocolate with soy milk, Ghirardelli cocoa, and a whipped soy stuff. It was really good.

It is a fact proven by science that hot cocoa tastes better when someone you love a bunch makes it for you.

-Bret

Gewürztraminer and Cheese

30 Apr

I like having mini wine and cheese parties. I put on my monocle and top-hat and make lots of fnah-fnah noises. Being snobby is fun. For wine I picked out two gewürztraminers – a German and a New York – because I like comparing and contrasting local wine to wine from other types of places. Also because I have a Rewards card for the wine store and I feel like I’m accomplishing something when I buy lots of wine.

Oh, and know what? I don’t know anything about wine tasting or cheese tasting or anything. I’m trying to learn but there’s no instruction manual so I just make things up. In general I tend to like dry reds and strong blues, but I’m trying to branch out.

2006 Treleaven Gewürztraminer – New York

I was not a fan of this at first but I think it’s because it was chilled for too long. Pale, pale color. Citrusy nose. The taste was bubbly and didn’t have a lot to it. As it warmed up in the glass, it got a little sweeter and had more of an apple flavor.

2006 Valckenberg Gewürztraminer – Germany

I thought this was the better of the two. Sweet and pleasant. I actually thought it had a little bit of a chocolate taste to it. More of a yellowish color. I can’t remember what it smelled like though. Whoops. I would definitely pick this up again. I’m guessing it tasted better because gewürztraminer is a German word. Right?!

Blue Shropshire

Mmm. I love blue cheese. Mmm. This one was salty and creamy and not at all harsh. Blues sometimes have that sharp edge to them, and this one was super-mild. It went great with the Valckenberg gewürztraminer. Definitely a tasty blue.

There was another cheese but it’ll have to wait because I don’t remember the name of it right now. I think maybe it was montagnou but I’ll have to wait until I go home to make certain.

-Bret

The Salty Chihuahua

25 Apr

Arf!

I used to think mixed drinks were just for girly girls and people that don’t know good beer. But then I realized that making mixed drinks is really, really fun. I have aspirations to take a bartending course and be a part time bartender. It might happen someday. Until then, I just like to hone my skills and share drinks with my friends.

So Lost was new last night. So I had a couple of people over to watch it on my super awesome 13″ television.

And I made drinks. I made Salty Chihuahuas!

I made each one individually, but really this drink is good for making a big pitcher and just pouring into your glass when you want some. Tequila is good for summertime, and this is a super summertime drink. Salt is good for tequila, and grapefruit and Cointreau are just plain good.

So, for each drink, take an old-fashioned glass and rub the rim with a bit of grapefruit. You could also use cocktail glasses or even big tumblers (and make it a double!). Coat the rim of the glass is coarse salt and let it dry.

Put ice in all the glasses. Pour 1/2 oz. Cointreau and 1 oz. tequila into each glass. Add grapefruit juice to fill, and mix. Garnish it with a bit of grapefruit and drinky-drink!

I used a bottled grapefruit juice because I wanted a little more sweet than tart. But if you’re feeling fancy, juice yourself up some grapefruits.

As a plus, one of these drinks gives you more than your daily recommended amount of vitamin C!

Another plus – having a bottle of Cointreau on hand is good for things other than drinks. It makes a nice orange flavored icing.

Good drinks, and a good episode of Lost. They definitely made the lollerific parts of the show even better.

– Ellen