Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gone fishing.

Okay, I'm taking a break. Work is too busy, the holidays are too busy and I just don't have time to post much right now. Instead of lurking around the internet and feeling guilty, I think I'll just give myself a an official excuse to try to relax and enjoy this special time of year (as much as a class of special education children the week before a vacation will let me).

Please check back after the New Year, I anticipate that this veggie kitchen will be up and running by January 2nd or so. I'll be ready to cook and post again, and get back to the usual routine. I leave you with a crock-pot mushroom stroganoff I made at some point in time, but didn't post. Baked acorn squash, kale, roasted potatoes and mushroom stroganoff. Mmmmmmm!

I bid you all adieu until January 2nd or so. Happy Cooking, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Two weeks later...

... still alive, just busy busy busy.

We had a wonderful trip to Florida for Thanksgiving (what seems like eons ago), and my mother came to visit us this weekend just past. We had a great visit - we did some of the touristy New York things like visit the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. I've lived here for many years, and never actually done that. And my mom came to talk to my class about Christmas traditions in my family. We have a seasonal family traditions curriculum in place right now, so her visit fit right in. There was actually a surprising amount of cooking happening, but just no time to post. One of these days I'll catch up... maybe.

Until then, some pictures.

A fall feast featuring roasted butternut squash, mashed sweet potatoes, braised kale and cauliflower gratin.

Everyone's favorite - FONDUE!

Helios and the Christmas tree get to know each other a little better.
And, watching the skaters at Rockefeller Center.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mac and Cheese....

... when you've got to be good while being bad. This is my go-to, quick and easy, not TOO sinful but still mac and cheese recipe. It shows up every couple of weeks, and is always greated with a smile from all who taste. Is it gooey drippy cheesey goodness? No, its a Weight Watchers recipe. But it does use REAL (not reduced fat) cheddar cheese, which to me is a big part of its richer taste despite being a light recipe. And, it's pretty quick to throw together. Assemble bake and enjoy within an hour (45 minutes if you are particularly organized and speedy). Although, this batch came out a bit over-done. The texture on the left side of the picture is more typical.

Sometimes you've just got to have the macaroni and cheese!

Off to Florida for Thanksgiving - now it's finally gotten cool in New York City I'm off to warmer pastures. Figures. Nothing like keeping this topsy turvy weather going ...

Macaroni and Cheese
Weight Watchers Versatile Vegetarian Cookbook
Serves 4

(I usually leave out the basil and the tomato)

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/2 onion -- grated (I used a whole one)
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
2 garlic cloves -- crushed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (about 1 heaping tsp)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
pinch nutmeg
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
1 tomato -- diced (very large or 2)
1 tablespoon chopped basil (fresh about 1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

In a large saucepan bring the milk, onion, flour, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cheese in batches until it's melted and the sauce is smooth; stir in the macaroni, tomato, and basil.

Transfer the mixture to a shallow 1-quart casserole. Bake until golden, 35-40 minutes; cool slightly before serving.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 247 Calories; 11g Fat (38.5% calories from fat); 13g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 32mg Cholesterol; 478mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 1 1/2 Fat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cornichons Forever!

One of the perks of a childhood spent overseas is that you encounter new foods. At first the new foods are exciting, then they become familiar and soon they are incorporated into your repetoire and comforting as a result Except, I didn't discover cornichons as a child. Oh well.

When M. and I were in Switzerland for our honeymoon a few years back, we fell in love with fondue. To this day, fondue has become the "romantic meal" for us as a couple. Valentine's Day? Fondue. Dreary weather outside and we need a wintry boost? Fondue. And, one of our favorite things about discovering fondue in Switzerland were the cornichons or little French pickles served along the cheese. Yes, cheese and pickles. Tiny, tart, mouth puckeringly brisk pickles dipped into smooth and creamy cheese. Yum. So, cornichons have become a must-have for fondue night.

Last week on my way home from work, I had a craving for a sandwich. I could picture it in my mind - soy bologna, dijon mustard mixed with light mayo and chopped cornichons, and a little bit of cheddar cheese. Needless to say, I made it happen not only that night but the next night as well.

Mmmmm... so that's my random food concoction for the week. What are yours? What weird but delicious food combinations float your boat? Do share....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Leek and Golden Potato Soup

Here is the soup recipe I mentioned yesterday. It was really quite good. As I've said before, Weight Watchers recipes are hit or miss. But this one was a big, low-fat hit. And the directions couldn't be easier. Really.

Leek and Golden Potato Soup
WW New Complete Cookbook
Makes 6 servings

WW Notes - When you substitute all-purpose potatoes with buttery-tasting Yukon Golds, there's no need to add butter or oil to get a wonderfully rich-tasting soup. Once considered a specialty ingredient, these light skinned potatoes can now be found at most supermarkets.

My notes - I added garlic. Can't have soup without garlic. And I carmelized the leeks in some cooking spray. Yes, the nutrition police will pick me up shortly for my rebellion I'm sure. My recipe modifications are in italics.

4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 large leeks (about 2.5 pounds) white and pale green parts only, cleaned and chopped
1 large oinion, chopped
5 cups fat-free chicken (I used veggie) broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Combine the potatoes, leeks, onion, broth and pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil. Spray pan with cooking spray. Add leeks and saute over medium high heat. Add onion. Saute until brown and flavorful. Add garlic as leeks and onions begin to look dry (about a minute before you are ready to add broth). Add 1 cup of broth, and deglaze pan with spatula/spoon. Add rest of broth, potatoes and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until veggies are tender (20-25 minutes). Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

2.Transfer mixture to a blender and puree, working in batches if necessary, to prevent overflow. Mix with hand blender in pot until desired texture.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lazy lazy lazy....

... that would be me.

I did actually make a surprisingly delicious Potato Leek soup over the weekend. But it's kinda late, I'm kinda tired and hungry. So it'll have to keep for a day when I feel like typing a recipe since I just googled and couldn't find it online. Instead I'll show you my latest "throw it together and see what happens" meal.

I call it - Kitchen Sink Fajitas. Since everything short of the proverbial kitchen sink made its way into the dish.

Talk about lazy food photography - love the blob of sour cream! Food photographers of the world relax - I'm not quitting my day-job.

Kitchen Sink Fajitas

1 pack "chicken strips" (fake chicken)
1 pack "steak strips" (fake steak - I usually find both varieties in the refridgerated section of the grocery store)
1 onion - sliced into thin strips
1 pack sliced portabello mushrooms
1-2 green peppers depending on taste (I used three tiny purple ones from our CSA but whatever)
1 can of diced tomatoes with jalepenos
1/2 fajita spice
1/4 cup store bought salsa
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves of garlic

Slice onion into rings, and saute in cooking spray/splash of oil. Once onions begin to brown, add fake meat strips, peppers, portabellos, fajita spice and stir. When pan begins to get too hot and ingredients begin to dry out, add diced tomatoes. Add beans and salsa and garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

I served this concoction with 7 grain/flax tortillas, roasted butternut squash, frozen mixed vegetables and mashed sweet potatoes. We have a multitude of sweet potatoes right now (about 6 pounds worth to be exact), and so I got rid of some over the weekend by making mashed sweet potatoes. This recipe yielded a lot - we got 6 servings out of the fajita filling alone. But topped with a little cheese and sour cream, M. and I scarfed up the fajita leftovers QUITE happily! :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Continuing the parade of favorite dishes...

... comes this oldie but goodie. This recipe, tantalizingly called Fettucine and Tofu with Finger-Licking Peanut Sauce, is quick to throw to together and easily modified to whatever ingredients are on hand. You'll notice the broccoli in my picture, and the absence of broccoli in the recipe. And I didn't have scallions - so no scallions were harmed in the making of my dish. I only had baby carrots, and so I roughly chopped them and skipped the grating step. When I've made this dish in the past, I've thrown in various vegetables from the vegetable drawer with little impact on the overall recipe. If you were putting in significantly more veggies then called for, you may want to consider doubling the sauce. But generally I find the proportion of sauce to noodles appropriate (and I like things SAUCY!). I also brown the tofu in a skillet before adding. That's my personal preference, but I don't think I personally would enjoy the dish as much if the tofu weren't browned and cooked. And I've used whole wheat fettucine, regular fettucine, spaghetti (whole wheat or regular) and various other incarnations of pasta. I don't think the dish would work with shapes like rigatoni or farfalle, but anything long and noodley would sub very well

This time, I served the noodles with vegetarian Thai dumplings and sauteed greens. And the entire dish went from prep to eat in about 40 minutes, which isn't too bad at all for a weeknight.

Fettuccine and Tofu with Finger-Licking Peanut Sauce
Cooking Light

1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons chile paste with garlic
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1 pound firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 cup (2-inch) sliced green onions
1 cup shredded carrot

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until smooth, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes, omitting salt and fat. Add tofu, onions, and carrot; drain. Place pasta mixture in a large bowl. Add peanut butter mixture; toss gently.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Baked Oatmeal - Breakfast of Champions

This is yet another favorite recipe round here in the Veggie Kitchen. It's kind of a busy week, parent teacher conferences, and I'm falling back on all the favorites to get me through. This one is my go-to breakfast for busy weeks because I can slice it, nuke it for a minute, slap some yogurt on top and eat. Breakfast start to finish in about 1 minute and thirty seconds. Works for me.

This is also a very forgiving recipe. Don't like cinnamon? Leave it out. Crazy for nutmeg - throw it in! Don't do skim milk, well then do whatever you prefer instead. Got Craisins kicking around - fantastic. Leave out the raisins. You get the idea.

The last thing I like about this recipe is the yield. 8 servings = 4 days of breakfasts for M. and myself and that equals less to worry about. And that works for me.

Baked Oatmeal
Quaker Oats Recipe
Serves 8

2 1/4 cups Quick cooking oats, uncooked
or 2 3/4 cups Old Fashioned oats, uncooked
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup raisins or Craisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt -- optional
3 1/3 cups skim milk
4 egg whites -- lightly beaten
(or 1/2 cup egg substitute, or 2 eggs)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
fat free milk or nonfat yogurt and fruit -- optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine oats, sugar, raisins, cinnamon and salt; mix well. In medium bowl, combine milk, egg whites, oil and vanilla; mix well. Add to dry ingredients; ix until well blended. Pour into baking dish.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until center is set and firm to the touch. Cool slightly.

Serve topped with milk or yogurt and fruit, if desired. Store leftover oatmeal tightly covered in refrigerator.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Creamy Broccoli Chowder

So I still have all this backlogged stuff that I made but never posted, however sifting through it just isn't seeming appealing. So... eh. I'll just move on.

Last night I made one of my favorite recipes. This soup usually pops up several times a winter, if not more. It is relatively quick to throw together, relatively healthy YET cheesey (an important distinction in my book) and filling to boot. The recipe originally came from Eating Well, just one of the many cooking magazines I subscribe to (and sometimes even read). And, I can't quite recall but I think it is from a couple years ago now. But, as I said already, this is an oldie but a goodie and never goes out of rotation in my house.

I've got a close-up shot of this soup - mostly because I was too lazy to take it out of the pan and serve it in a bowl to photograph.

Broccoli Chowder
Eating Well Magazine - Winter 200-?

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion -- chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 large carrot -- diced (1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery -- diced (1/2 cup)
1 large potato -- peeled and diced (1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth (two 14-ounce cans)
1/2 pound broccoli crowns -- cut into 1-inch pieces, stems and florets separated
1 cup grated reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/8 teaspoon salt -- or to taste

Heat oil in a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook, stirring often, until onion and celery soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add potato and garlic; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in flour, dry mustard and cayenne; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add broth and broccoli stems, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in florets; simmer, covered, until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer 2 cups of the chowder to a bowl and mash; return to the pan. Stir in cheddar and sour cream; cook over medium heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the chowder is heated through. Season with salt.

Makes about 6 servings, 1 cup each.

Per serving: 179 calories; 8g total fat (3g sat, 3g mono); 15 mg cholesterol; 23g carbohydrate; 7g protein; 4g fiber; 351mg sodium

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tale of a Happy Kitty

I was totally planning on catching up and posting some of the things I've made in the past week. But then I was at the pet store. And I bought kitty litter, and refills for Helios' Alpine Scratcher. And his glee and excitement and catnip-induced happiness was just too adorable to resist.

So, I bring you - the Tale of a Happy Kitty

It takes so little to make them so happy! A feel good ending to yet another day.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Hey, look at that. It's been almost a week since I posted. Oops.

I have been cooking - the recipes and the pictures just haven't been making them onto the blog.

At any rate, Happy Halloween. Here's my contribution to Halloween festivities.
We had a small celebration at school, but nothing too grandiose. Which is fine by me. I like the idea of Halloween, but I'm not the best about costumes - I just don't enjoy dressing up! But my socks were a big hit with the kids, although I felt quite weird heading to work at 6:45 am with the power suit crowd! Me, my socks and a sea of business suits. Good times.

I like the idea of Halloween, so last night I carved a pumpkin. He's nothing that special, but he was fun to carve and his seeds were quite tasty roasted.

Have a spooky night!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gooey Apple Sheet Cake

I'm swimming in apples. Or I could be. If there were a swimming pool out there, I might actually be able to fill it. Well maybe not a swimming pool but we could definitely fill a wading pool. Anyways, our CSA keeps throwing apples at us as fast as I can use them. Actually, faster since they're piling up on the counter. And I'm funny about apples. I love them, but I prefer them sliced. I'm weird that way. So I carry apples back and forth to school, but don't really eat them. I've already mentioned my preference for sliced apples which is tricky in a classroom environment, but the more pressing issue as to why these apples live in my bag going back and forth to school is that I never seem to have much time to eat apples during the day. I obviously can't eat them when the kids are around because I'm busy doing other things, and after school I'm too busy becauseI want to go home. The time I could take to wash the apple, slice it and eat it is also time I could spend copying math or reading homework. And after a long day at school, the second takes preference. So the apples are accumulating faster then they're being consumed.

So, yes we have an apple pile-up situation. Last Saturday we went over to a friend's house for dinner, and I volunteered to make something with apples for dessert. I decided to try this recipe which used a grand total of 2 apples. But two more then I would have otherwise used, so I guess that's good. I halved the cake - there were only 6 of us, after all. The recipe listed below is the full 9 x 13 sheet cake version, not the halved version. I made it in a glass 8 x 8 ish pan, and it came out really well. The flavor was sweet, but the texture was both nice and gooey and yet crunchy and full of bite. Don't be fooled by the picture - it is a somewhat unusual looking cake but it does taste great! And, the picture isn't mine. It's from the original website. I forgot to take a picture before I toted the dessert uptown.

Gooey Apple Sheet Cake
Diana's Desserts
serves 24

My notes - Again I halved this recipe with great success baking in a glass 8 x 8 dish. I didn't have buttermilk, and so I added half a tablespoon of vinegar to milk in order to curdle and create a buttermilky type substance. I googled for buttermilk substitutions - no I'm not that clever on my own. I think I used the whole 2 cups of apples, though, as part of my plan to use up as many apples as possible. The cake was delicious, and the recipe will be repeated!

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
1 generous cup shredded apples
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the Topping (to be put over cake batter BEFORE baking cake):
3 cups powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
2 eggs
¼ cup oatmeal

Garnish, (optional)
Sliced apples

For Cake:
Melt butter, stir in sugar and eggs. Add flour and baking soda alternately with buttermilk, mixing well. Fold in shredded apples, the raisins, and the pecans. Spread batter into well greased (or sprayed) 13 x 9 baking pan. (Mix Topping ingredients and put over cake BEFORE baking).

Bake in a 350ºF (175ºC) oven for 35-45 minutes. If using a convection oven, bake for 25 minutes. If desired, garnish cake with sliced apples.

For Topping:
(Mix and put over cake batter BEFORE baking)
3 cups powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
2 eggs
¼ cup quick cooking oats

Mix all ingredients together and put over cake batter BEFORE baking.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup

Sometimes a recipe suprises you. You scan the list of ingredients and think, "Sure - why not!" and make the recipe. And then, you're surprised. You re-read the ingredients, searching for the source of the deliciousness, and just have to accept that this particular recipe is more than the sum of its parts.

That happened to me on Saturday when I made this soup. The ingredient list - not so impresssive. I only had one carton of vegetable broth, and so I had to add water which I strongly-will-go-out-to-the-store-to-buy-more-but-not-on-this-day prefer not to do with soups. And yet, it was amazingly tasty. My batch came out thin, despite the pureeing step, but the broth was garlicky and spicy in a quite pleasing way. And Swiss chard and chickpeas - could it be more healthy?

We're enjoying the leftovers, I'll say that much. And, if this soup serves 4, then we're talking some really big people. Maybe our bowls are smaller than most, but we've already had six servings from this soup and I'm not even up to the second Tupperware container yet. That's a lot of soup. And I do like soup.

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup
Jeanne Lemlin
Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

serves 4 as a main course - if you're a giant. Serves at least 8 in a bowl of soup/roll/cheese kind of way.

Jeanne's notes - The building of layers of flavor in thick vegetable stews makes them especially inviting, but equally appealing to me are simple soups with just a few ingredients whose flavors are transported in tasty broth. Although you can enjoy this soup just after making it, it will benefit from being made a few hours in advance so the stock can really develop the garlicky undertones.

My notes - I used 4 cups of veggie stock, and 4 cups of water. I was unexpectedly heavy handed with the crushed red pepper (darn that spoon/sprinkle confusion), and added close to a teaspoon. I also used about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. And, I used my hand blender to puree some of the soup.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 cups vegetable stock, store-bought or homemade
2 tablespoons of tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup of water
4 cups freshly cooked or canned chickpeas (2 16 0z cans)
8 cups of finely shredded Swiss chard leaves
1 teaspoon salt

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Mix in the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and saute for five minutes or until onion is tender.
2. Add the stock, tomato paste mixture, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer, and cook for ten minutes. Stir in the Swiss chard and salt, and simmer ten minutes.
3. Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree it in a blender or food processor. Return it to the pot.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Report Card Season

Three words. That's where I've been all week. That, and other things that have kept me late at school.

On Tuesday I used one of my "quick dining solutions" to create dinner and leftovers for lunch on Wednesday.

I took this . . . ----->

and this . . . ---------->

. . . to create this. Pasta with veggies and jarred sauce, quick garlic toasts and sauteed flat beans. Not too shabby, but hardly inspiring fare. And that was the highlight of my cooking this week. Beyond that, cans of soup were as inspired as I got.

And then the week ended. I didn't see M. much this week. Between his trip to Montreal and the two playoff baseball games he went to, he was simply gone most of the week. So, I decided it was time for a Friday date night. Inspired by Kate at A Pie In the Sky we went to Applewood, a restaurant in Park Slope. I made the reservation, didn't tell M. where we were going and watching him try to figure it out was hilarious! Park Slope is in a different direction then we usually head in when dining, so he was very confused.

We absolutely loved our meals. The food was delicious, the portions were reasonable and we enjoyed the chance to sit back and relax. I started with a trumpet mushroom which was sliced and sauteed, and served over roasted barley and parmesan shavings with a creme fraiche sauce. M. started with a venison ragu served over several perfectly fluffy (or so he told me, it wasn't a dish we could share) gnocchi on a bed of pureed butternut squash. My main dish was a vegetarian pot-au-feu which was a stew of seasonal vegetables served over creamy polenta and braised in a porcini broth. M. enjoyed haddock over a bed of mustard greens and roasted cauliflower. Both courses were deliciously satisfying, and left room for dessert. We ordered two and shared - I ordered the tarte tatin which came with creme fraiche ice cream, and M. ordered the olive oil cake served with roasted figs and marscapone cheese.

Living in New York, we're spoiled. There are so many great restaurants out there, why would you go back to one unless it were truly special. This one was that special, and the owners' use of organic seasonal fare means that our next visit might have a very different menu. At the very least, I'll take my mom there for dinner on her next visit. It's the kind of dining that's hard to find in her part of Florida - and I think she'd love it.

This has turned out to be a long post, so I'll end here with a seasonal picture of Helios. Unfortunately, he'd just seen something worth investigating and moved half a second after the picture was taken, but I still thought it was cute.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Simple Supper Stand-by...

Well, I mustered some energy last night but not enough to prepare the soups I'd planned. Instead I reverted to an old favorite. This is another quick and easy meal (seems to be a trend around here these days) that can go from freezer and cupboard to plate within twenty minutes. I of course used veggie broth, and added some fresh garlic to the broth as it heated. The fresh herb (I used flatleaf parsley) and the sprinkle of parmesan cheese are key - don't leave them out! I served with cheesey garlic toasts, and both M. and I enjoyed a simple yet warming Sunday supper.

Cheese Tortellini in Light Broth
Giada De Laurentiis
Every Day Italian
serves 4

4 cups low-salt chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (9-ounce) packages refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Season the broth with pepper, to taste. Add the tortellini. Simmer over medium heat until al dente, about 7 minutes.

Ladle the broth and tortellini into soup bowls. Top with parsley and Parmesan and serve.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Under the weather.

The only thing coming out of my veggie kitchen with any regularity is mugs of steaming hot tea. M. has had a cold since the middle of last week. I did well fighting it off until the weekend, but we went to a wedding on Friday night. Staying out late, lots of glasses of wine and having way too much fun has resulted in us both feeling under the weather all weekend long. Yes, not much cooking happening round here.

I am expecting an online grocery delivery this afternoon. Pure genius that online grocery thing. I'm not always organized enough to plan my menus in advance, but when I am and the food just appears - it's wonderful! The service we use also provides some wonderful shortcuts like parbaked bread, prepared veggies that only need heating in the microwave and other items that help out with busy/under-the-weather weeks. You'll see more than a couple of these items pop up this week. If I feel better perhaps I'll muster enough energy to make some soup for dinner tonight. If not... stay tuned. In accordance with my mood, I have several crock pot recipes slated for the week. If I'm not in the mood to cook, maybe my crockpot can do it for me.

Achoo! Time for more tea.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


It wasn't a good day.

It is raining. A lot.

There was that whole small plane crashing into a building thing that happened on the Upper East Side today. There always seems to be something here in NYC. People (for good reason based on the past five years) freak out.

Teaching in special education was NOT fun today. My assistant was out sick, and with behavioral kids that equals an off-the-wall day. They don't like change.

What is my prescription for a bad day? Mac and Cheese for Dinner. Annie's to the rescue!

So I don't lose my food blogger status, here's a recipe I made on Sunday. Initially, I was unimpressed. But when I heated myself a slice of pizza in the toaster oven last night, it was surprisingly tasty. So I re-evaluated the recipe. But then microwave-heated leftovers for lunch today were only okay. So, I'm not sure. The issue is the crust. On Sunday it was too doughy. Last night it was delicious. And at lunch, it was too spongey. But the topping was nice and cheesey, and I of course used meatless Italian sausage. I'm sure M. would tell you real sausage would be even better, although he is quite a fan of many of the meatless sausage products out there.


Sausage and Vegetable Deep-Dish Pizza

Unlike our other pizzas, the crust for this is intended to be thick. Use a spatula to serve its substantial squares straight from the pan.

Cooking spray
2 cups chopped zucchini
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups fat-free garlic-and-onion pasta sauce (such as Muir Glen Organic)
8 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage

2 teaspoons honey
1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 11 1/4 ounces), divided
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

Remaining ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

To prepare sauce, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add zucchini, onion, and mushrooms to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned. Add wine and pepper; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in sauce. Remove from heat; cool.

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; add to sauce.

To prepare dough, dissolve honey and yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 1/4 cups flour, cornmeal, and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Position one oven rack in the middle setting. Position another rack in the lowest setting. Preheat oven to 475°.

Brush a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with oil. Turn dough into pan. Gently press dough into pan and up the sides of the pan. Lightly spray surface of dough with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand for 5 minutes. Remove plastic wrap; discard. Spoon sauce mixture into crust. Bake on the bottom rack at 475° for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

Combine cheeses; sprinkle evenly over sauce. Bake on middle rack an additional 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese melts. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut into 6 squares.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 square)

CALORIES 434(27% from fat); FAT 12.8g (sat 5.9g,mono 4.1g,poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 24.6g; CHOLESTEROL 45mg; CALCIUM 336mg; SODIUM 682mg; FIBER 3.9g; IRON 3.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 54.2g
Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bring on the seasonal baking!

I'm really getting into the swing of things now. Bring on the pumpkin! Bring on the apple! Although, the two 1/2 bushels sitting in my classroom might be a bit too many apples, but that's another story. Anyways, my light english muffin/laughing cow cheese breakfast combo wasn't doing it for me this week. I tend to fall into food ruts - I'll eat the same thing (particularly for weekday breakfasts) until I get totally sick of it. Then I'll revert to a previous favorite, eat it daily until sick of it, and so on. So, I decided to make some muffins and retire the english muffin and laughing cow cheese combo for a while.

This recipe sounded intriguing. Between the whole wheat flour and the entire can of pumpkin - it sounded kind of healthy. Of course I threw in some chocolate chips to take care of that! :) These were delicious - quite ugly-looking if truth be told, but if you like pumpkin you'll enjoy the taste at least. They're dense, but chewy and held me over until lunch time quite nicely.

Emily's Pumpkin Spice Muffins

My notes - I found this recipe on the Cooking Light community board. I don't know who Emily is, but her muffins were delicious! And again, I made as written using a whole can of pumpkin and throwing in about a third of a cup of chocolate chips. Also, if you're vain about how your muffins appear then I suggest smoothing over the tops of the batter once in the pan. I didn't, and as you can see from the picture, the way they went in is the way they came out. This was a very dense batter.

Serving Size : 12

1/4 cup butter -- softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup 2% milk (normally I'd use skim -- but I've got 2% right now)
1 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cloves - heaping
1 tsp cinnamon - heaping
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars. Add the sour cream and next 7 ingredients (milk
through cinnamon) beat well.

Stir together flours, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Add to wet
mixture and beat until combined.

Pour batter into muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until a
toothpick tests clean - about 35 minutes.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Apple Picking

On Friday, my class went apple-picking. This was a Lower School fieldtrip, and so the five classes in the Lower School went together. Parents were invited, a few therapists from the school accompanied us and off we went. So, here's the thing about fieldtrips. They're quite stressful for teachers! And this was even more so, simply because I didn't plan it and thus there were moments of ambiguity that are killer for kids with special needs. Standing around and waiting - definitely leads to trouble with any kids, especially the ones I teach. But we survived. The other thing that made this trip in particular stressful is the fact that parents of special education students vary tremendously in their personalities, and ability to chaperone. There is a saying in special education, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Some of the parents of my students have similar issues to my students, and so having them as chaperones really means I have to watch the parents as well as my kids! But all in all it was a success. No blood was shed (minus a student who lost his tooth into his sandwich), and we all made it back to school in one piece!

When I got home, I was exhausted. Way too tired to cook. But, I did have a burst of energy that lasted long enough for me to whip up the Irish Cream Brownies from Cooking Light's October 2006 issue. I'm really loving the October issue, and have cooked a surprising number of recipes from it in recent weeks. This one was another winner.

I have a love/hate relationship with Cooking Light baked dessert recipes. Sometimes they're just too lightenend, and therefore don't taste good enough to warrant the calories. Or, they taste great, really aren't that light at all and thus the serving size is tiny to make the recipe qualify as light. This recipe had neither problem, and was an all out winner. The brownies were dense, fudgey and you could taste the Bailey's in a pleasing way. The serving size was appropriate, and the recipe was really easy to prepare. I had them in the oven ready to go within ten minutes, which is a definite plus. And, they taste great chilled from the fridge so this would be a great recipe to make ahead. I am so taken with this recipe that I think I might make it again to serve to the teachers at my weekly team meeting on Tuesday (thank goodness for three day weekends). Even if I don't, I know this will be a recipe I will often repeat both for the ease of preparation and just how wonderfully the brownies came out.

Irish Cream Brownies
Cooking Light, October 2006

My notes - I made this recipe with the new Chocolate Mint Bailey's. I think this only added to the recipe, but I would make the recipe again with regular Bailey's Irish Cream if it were on hand.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Place the chocolate chips and the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until the chocolate chips and butter melt, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla extract), stirring well with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, stirring every 30 seconds. Fold in the flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spread batter in a thin layer into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 brownie)

CALORIES 145(30% from fat); FAT 4.9g (sat 3g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 2.5g; CHOLESTEROL 8mg; CALCIUM 8mg; SODIUM 93mg; FIBER 1.1g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.8g

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yay for soup!

Helios loves boxes. I left out a box that held a case of seltzer and you can just see what happened....

I have many more pictures but ... oh, wait this is a cooking blog. Don't miss Helios's last minute debut in Weekend Cat Blogging over at The Hidden Paw. Well, the last cooking project I did was way back on Monday. I tried the Butternut Squash Leek soup from the latest Cooking Light. I really just love soup. My only issue with it is that it makes so much! It takes us a while to work through a six or eight serving batch of soup.

This soup was okay. It wasn't bad, but there are so many great butternut squash soup recipes out there. This particular one just didn't blow me away. You couldn't really taste the leeks, although I did think the roasted garlic was a nice touch. I of course used veggie broth, not chicken. So, a tasty soup that was quick to throw together (especially when you cheat and buy pre-peeled and de-seeded butternut squash) but probably won't be repeated.

Butternut Squash-Leek Soup
October 2006

Cooking Light's Notes - "I love my local organic farmers' market and like to cook with seasonal fare. I'm a professional organizer and include seasonal recipes in my newsletters for my clients. This was last winter's recipe." It's great as a side or a light main dish with a salad. -Shannon Simmons, Redding, CA

1 whole garlic head
4 teaspoons olive oil
6 cups thinly sliced leek (about 4 large)
4 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 medium)
2 cups water
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I used vegetable)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap head in foil. Bake at 350° for 1 hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic, squash, 2 cups water, broth, salt, and black pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Place half of squash mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over the opening in the blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

CALORIES 167(19% from fat); FAT 3.5g (sat 0.5g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 4.1g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 144mg; SODIUM 351mg; FIBER 5.3g; IRON 3.3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.5g

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sometimes you have a day where people just don't seem to want to do their jobs. And everyone annoys you. Teachers don't pick up their class from gym so your class falls apart waiting. And then the gym teacher only half-jokes about not coming back from her honeymoon in a month because your class is was so awful during gym. Then you go to an hour long meeting led by someone who attended the exact same workshop as you did on this particular curriculum this summer when you could be doing so many other productive things. And then you (as part of the staff) get blamed for things not your fault (if only I had psychic powers to know what the Health Department does or doesn't want under the sink) because you happen to be one of five teachers who have not yet left the waste of time meeting.

But maybe, if you're lucky, you have this curry waiting for you at home. Spicy, rich and easy to throw together, this recipe is a keeper in the Veggie Kitchen household. The fresh ginger is really important, and if you're a fan of cilantro (as we are), pile it on because it just makes the dish better! I served it over brown rice, but I think it would be equally excellent over barley or couscous or even perhaps noodles. Yum.

Tomato Chickpea Curry
Cooking Light, October 2006

Cooking Light's Notes - Serve over steamed brown rice as a side with grilled chicken or pork. Look for garam masala in the spice section of the supermarket or Asian grocery store. Substitute yellow mustard seeds for the brown, or stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard or 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared mustard with the chickpeas if you don't have mustard seeds.

Lycopene count: 19 milligrams per serving.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion (1 small)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in garam masala, mustard seeds, and red pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in coconut milk and remaining ingredients except cilantro; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 213(26% from fat); FAT 6.2g (sat 1.2g,mono 2.4g,poly 2.3g); PROTEIN 7.4g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 81mg; SODIUM 459mg; FIBER 8.6g; IRON 3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.3g

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fall is here!

I love fall. I love the crisp coolness in the air. I love the change in the light - a bright summer day is definitely not the same as a bright fall day. I love sweaters, and yet not being strapped into winter coats (yet). I love apples, squash, pumpkin and all the foods of fall especially roasted veggies and rich, creamy soups. And when I don't live in New York City, I love the colors of fall. We're a little short on foliage 'round these parts, but I remember living upstate and just the gloriousness of fall color. So this is absolutely my favorite time of year.

When I saw these cookies on Crystal's blog, I knew that I just had to try them. They just look so ... fall-y! The candy corn, the chocolate - they're like Halloween in a cookie! I initially wanted to test drive them at home before making them with my class. And I'm glad I did. I was thrilled to see Crystal's note that they could be made without a mixer, however I really kind of struggled with this dough. It was very crumbly and I found it tricky to work with. No way would I want my students getting as frustrated as I did as I tried to roll it into little shapes for baking! I did double it, perhaps that's where the error lies. But at any rate, the recipe is quick, the results are cute and the teachers attending my class's weekly team meeting tomorrow afternoon will be required to dispose of the results.

I've got another couple cooking projects happening in the kitchen. It is amazing how motivated I feel on days when school is closed! It's like a little cooking (and laundry :( ) gift! But, I'll share those projects as the week wears on just to keep life interesting. No point in revealing all my secrets in one day when I can stretch a week's worth of posts out of them...

Chocolate Candy-Corn Cookies
Courtesy of Poco-Cocoa aka Crystal

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
about 36 candy corns

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl; beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Add flour, and mix until a dough forms.

Scoop out level teaspoons of dough, and roll into balls (chill dough briefly if it becomes to soft to handle). Place balls on baking sheets, 2 inches apart.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are firm and cookies are dry to the touch (do not let cookies color), 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven; gently press a candy corn into center of each cookie (surface of cookies may crack slightly). Cool on sheets 1 minute; transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Notes: You can make a non-chocolate version by eliminating the cocoa powder and increasing the flour to 3/4 cup.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Crystal's source: Everyday Food magazine.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


As anticipated, this week was a blur. Going away for the weekend is wonderful, however I felt quite unprepared to be thrown back into the business of the week. The children were challenging, I felt unplanned and as a result this week just felt stressful. Curriculum Night was a success, however, and the parents seem quite pleased with how the year has started. So that's a pleasant relief not to have that pressure hanging over my head anymore. Now I'm enjoying a quiet Sunday with added bonus of school being closed tomorrow making my day even more of a treat. I'm taking it easy, the fact that I've been burning the candle at both ends lately with not enough sleep and working 12 hour days has resulted in a little tickle in the back of my throat. My body is telling me to stop and recoup, or another cold will be here soon. And so I am. Helios and I tackled the Sunday Times this morning, and I've got a stack of magazines waiting to be read this afternoon. Is it bad when the October issues start arriving before you've even read September?

Here's a meal I actually made on Tuesday evening, but it carried us through the rest of the week nicely. This is my go-to instant soup meal savior. A roommate from a few years back introduced me to it, and the broth is amazingly tasty despite coming from a box. In a perfect world I wouldn't need to resort to soup mix from a box, but sometimes it's the difference between take-out and going hungry so I refuse to view it as a bad thing. And in this case I supplemented with CSA veggies on the brink of no return which made the soup even yummier. A little rosemary, a bunch of parsley and M. and I were in matzoh ball heaven! Neither M. nor I come from an even remotely Jewish background, but we love this soup. So, I have nothing to balance the quality of these matzo balls with but as far as we're concerned this is a quick and tasty meal with leftovers we both look forward to.

And what else could be better then that?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ithaca is Gorges.

Where did last week go? I have no idea.

This post's title comes from a popular shirt seen both upstate in Ithaca, NY and down here in NYC. One can't go for more than a few days without seeing the vivid green and the large white letters proclaiming that Ithaca is Gorges. This weekend, M. and I were upstate to attend a college friend's wedding. The weather wasn't the best, but we didn't let that damper our expedition to upstate New York where we both spent our undergraduate years. Studying at Cornell, one quickly gets used to dreary and rainy weather as that is what it does for much of the year (when not snowing of course!). Today on our way home, we drove into Ithaca and strolled down memory lane for a bit. We had hoped to walk about the campus, but it was raining too hard for that. The picture at the left shows one of the many gorges left by long-gone glaciers that dot the Ithaca landscape. The rain paused long enough for one brief photo-op, so I grabbed it!
As the rain picked back up again, we hopped back into the car and drove around. We admired the new buildings that had cropped up since our last visit, marvelled at the dedicated students up and running around on a rainy Sunday morning and then settled for a dim-sum brunch at our favorite Thai Restaurant. Visiting this restaurant while in Ithaca has become a tradition, and I can't think of a visit that hasn't included at least one meal at the Thai Cuisine. Sunday brunch is particularly special as it is menu-free and entirely dependent on the offerings that day. Served dim-sum style, it's an opportunity to taste a variety of dishes that I know I (a conservative menu-orderer who finds favorites and sticks to them) would not ordinarily try. The waiters show a variety of options, and you can choose to try any number of specialties for $2.50 a plate. We were in foodie heaven. The dishes ranged from a fried radish cake with a spicy cucumber sauce, vegetarian pad thai (their recipe is the standard to which I hold all pad thai recipes), steamed bok choy with a tamarind curry sauce, crab cakes (M.'s favorite), steamed Thai broccoli in mushroom sauce, and there were so many more that I can't even remember. We definitely didn't leave hungry.

And now we're home, contemplating another week. This week I have Curriculum Night at my school. This means at least one very late night while I present myself and my classroom to the parents of my students, as well as multiple hours of preparation. A college friend pops into town tomorrow night, and so no cooking wil be done as we meet up with people to celebrate his visit. I gave myself the goal of using my slow cooker more this year - perhaps this will be the week to get going on that pact! Have a happy Monday everyone....

Monday, September 18, 2006

Gambling on life...(and a granola recipe)

Sometimes in life you take a chance, and sometimes you lose.

This morning I gambled on a new pair of shoes. This is something I rarely do. If I wear new shoes to school, I'll often carry a back-up pair just in case. And that thought did pop into my head as I flew around the apartment at 6 this morning. But it didn't stick. Unfortunately. Maybe I have particularly challenging feet - I don't know. I do know that on the walk from the subway to school I could already feel my feet objecting to the new shoes. And as I'm sure those in the service industry, medical profession and other careers that involve standing for long periods of time, it was quite a painful day.

I think I emptied my classroom band-aid box. Sigh.

Oh well, all is not lost. I think I can have them stretched at the store where I obtained them yesterday afternoon. When my feet recover enough for voluntary and unnecessary walking trips that is.

And now, M.'s Sunday night granola. I found this recipe somewhere online - it is originally a Weight Watchers recipe. I made a few changes - I used white sugar because it is all I had. I added some maple syrup (around 2 tablespoons or so) to boost the flavor, and I subbed Grape Nuts for the shredded wheat. The shredded wheat box was on a shelf I couldn't reach at the grocery store, and I was too impatient to wait for a tall person to happen down the aisle.

Watch this granola carefully, as mine was cooked (and burning) way before 25 minutes!

Granola Crunch

Serving Size : 18

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
3 shredded wheat biscuits -- crushed
1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dried fruit -- of your choice

Mix rolled oats, shredded wheat, almonds, sunflower seeds, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large bowl. Spread evenly on a 15x10-inch pan coated with nonstick spray. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, or until cereal is golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool before mixing in dried fruit. Store in covered container.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 150 Calories; 6g Fat (35.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 3mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Evolution of a Sunday Afternoon

Last year I hated Sunday afternoons. I was working full-time, going to school full-time and Sunday meant the beginning of another long, and crazy week. Sunday was for cramming in as much reading and schoolwork as humanly possible, while it seemed the rest of the world had fun. Well, that year's over and this year is much more tolerable. And today, I had fun.

My day began with a stroll down a few blocks of the Atlantic Antic. New Yorkers love street fairs. They dot the landscape of the city from late April until the end of October (or so). You'll turn a corner and suddenly - hello street fair! Each neighborhood usually has one at least once during street fair season. Well, today's street fair was on Atlantic Avenue. Atlantic Avenue is a long street that pretty much runs the length of Brooklyn, and happens to be located right next to my building. You can see my building on the left in the picture below.

This particular street fair stretches from my immediate neighborhood to a shopping area I sometimes frequent which is about 25 minutes walk away. So, the fair stretches for at least a mile. And while it contains the usual street fair suspects (the ubiquitous mozzarepa or arepas with mozzarella cheese, funnel cake, grilled corn on the cob stands - just to name a few), there were also local businesses selling various merchandise at rock bottom prices. Restaurants were selling great food, bars were offering various drinks and the general atmosphere was one of excitement and enjoyment on a beautiful New York City late-summer day. I picked M. up a shirt from a local store called Brooklyn Industries ( for only five dollars! And it would typically cost almost $30. So, browsing for merchandise like that kept me entertained despite the masses of people stopping dead in the middle of traffic flow patterns for no apparent reason.

We also live close to the Transit Museum, which houses and preserves buses, trains and automobiles from New York's history. On various occasions (such as this), the museum will bring out a few specimens from their collection. And some of them were pretty cool (disclaimer - I have no idea who any of these people are as I was walking around alone but hopefully they won't mind being on the internet!). So I wandered over to check out a few of the vintage forms of transportation.

When the crush of aimless and annoying people became too much, I wandered off to check out a few stores on a nearby street. My good shopping karma continued, and I found several really cute items on sale. Next up on the afternoon agenda is a little planning for the week ahead, and making a batch of light granola for M.'s breakfasts this week. Sunday afternoons are a great thing. :)

More vintage transportation pictures below...