Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend CAMPING (and a new camera - YAY!)

This weekend a group of friends & I went up to the mountains to enjoy the great outdoors.  We did a lot of hiking, a lot of laughing, a lot of eating things heated over a campfire, and a lot of soakin' up the sun.  It was wonderful just to get out of town for a couple of days! 

Stacey & I on our first hike of the weekend!  It was a relatively easy hike, but we walked for a good 2 1/2 miles.  We goofed around a lot...

And John played "explorer"! :)

Sigh, don't you just love Aspen trees?  I LOVE THEM!!!  Their leaves are so magical looking when they flutter in the wind.  Holy crap, I sound like a hippie.  They're pretty okay??

A failed "mid-jump" picture.  Hey, I just got a new camera.  I'm still getting used to the shutter timing!

Love this boy.

Our humble (yet awesome) campsite!!  It really was a perfect spot!

I love this picture - hilarious!!

This new camera has amazing quality - this is with the macro setting, and it captures really great details!  Even with shaky & unsteady hands like mine.  Which means you guys are in for some awesome food pictures!  YEAH!

Speaking of!  :)  I had this for lunch.  Ezekiel sprouted bread with Jarlsberg cheese, Yves "Ham" slices, red onions, butter lettuce, mustard & Veganese.  I wrapped it in foil, and cooked it on the grill until it was slightly browned on both sides & the cheese had melted.  It was DELICIOUS!

Roasting food & marshmallows over the fire.... one of my favorite parts about camping!

 A perfectly cooked marshmallow.  I love when they get a little charred on the end - it means they're DONE!  And one word... caramelized.  That's all that needs to be said.

We all piled in the back of Phil's truck like a bunch of hillbillies to reach a hiking trail.  It was worth the bumpy & dusty ride!

ACKK!!! It's eating my head!!!

I thought this rock looked like a face.  I had John demonstrate. :)

We got REALLY high up there!  I think it was called "Devil's Peak" or "Devil's Head Peak" or something of the sort.  At the end of the hike you could climb up a gajillion steps to the ranger look-out station.  You could see for miles & miles - it was pretty amazing.

Mmmmm.... smores. :)

How was YOUR Memorial Day Weekend?? 

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Bridesmaids" with the Bridesmaids!

Last night, I rounded up the Bridesmaids for Katy's upcoming wedding in August (gosh, it's coming up so quickly!), and we went to see "Bridesmaids"!  

It was pretty darn hilarious, and I LOVE that this whole cast was full of witty & talented women.  It wasn't the typically regurgitated love story movie (although there was some regurgitating - that was pretty gross!), it was more so about the relationships between women, and friendship.  I love that it was more real about how women are too... we can be pretty disgusting sometimes and vulgar - and we can make jokes at really stupid times.  Actually that sounds like me and most of my friends!  But that's why I liked it so much.  It's US! ;) 

This was a great scene too - they were working out with a Bootcamp in the park, but they didn't want to pay, so they were just out of earshot trying to get away with it.  So funny!

There were some unresolved things (her cake shop - what the heck happened with that?), which bothered me.  But in general the movie was a lot of fun, and we laughed our asses off.  And the cop / love interest?  SO CUTE!!!  Never seen the actor before, but he was perfect in this role.  He was adorable and lovable, and we loved him so much! 

Definitely a great movie to see with your girlfriends.  Honestly, I think that your guy friends would love it too. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stuffed Poblano Peppers (Vegan)

I made up this recipe after buying two gorgeous poblano peppers at the Farmer's Market over the weekend.  I think it would be really good with some goat cheese (or any other cheese for that matter), but I'm trying to be a good girl and get back on track with my Total Body Transformation plan.  I fell off the wagon a bit this weekend (you can read the blog here), but I'm getting back on it! 

Stuffed Poblano Peppers 
(TBT approved, 100% vegan)
Makes 2 peppers

2 poblano peppers
Cooked quinoa* (about 1 cup total)
Frozen or fresh corn
Tomato (about a half), diced
Yellow onion (about 1/4), diced
Garlic (3-4 cloves), minced
Carrot (2 baby, or 1 regular), shredded w/ a cheese grater

Your favorite salsa or green chili
Colby jack cheese shreds (if you're not vegan, or not on TBT - feel free to add this!) ;)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off the peppers and save them in a baggie (you won't use them for this recipe, but they'll be great for another I'm sure).  Clean out the spines & seeds, and rinse lightly to get everything out.  Turn upside down to drain, then place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet (upside down), and pop them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, sautee the onion, garlic & carrot in a pan w/ olive oil (or spray oil) until fragrant.  In a small/medium mixing bowl, add these veggies, a cup of quinoa, tomatoes, corn - and season w/ any mix of spices you like.  If you're on the TBT or watching your sodium, use garlic or onion powder & cayenne pepper - or Mrs. Dash!  If you're not, feel free to use a pinch of salt.

Stuff the peppers until they're full (be sure to pack the filling in well to fill up the bottoms too), and wrap tightly with aluminum foil.  Place them in the oven for about 25-35 minutes until cooked through.  Serve with green chili or salsa.

*I've found that the best / easiest way to cook quinoa is like this: 
-Soak the quinoa for about 15 minutes in water. 
-Drain & add 1 1/2 cups of water to every 1 cup of quinoa. 
-Place pot on stove, cover, and heat on high until boiling.  
-reduce heat & simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. 
-fluff w/ fork & serve!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Campfire Foods - Healthy & Vegetarian too!

My friends & I are going on a camping trip for the long weekend, and my friend Stacey asked me for some ideas about what to bring.  We're both trying to stay healthy, but we don't want to feel like we're giving anything up while we're on our little mini-vacation.  

I decided to send her a little list of what I'm planning to bring, and then I thought - why not share it with you as well??  I know that I always love getting new campfire recipe ideas - especially ones that I don't have to adapt to being vegetarian / vegan.  So here's what I came up with! 

Apples & Nut Butter
How can you go wrong with this?  Bring a small knife, cut apple into slices, enjoy.  Simple as that. 

Canned soup and/or canned chili

Just remember to bring your can opener!  I love to bring soup camping, because you can literally just open the top (just 1/2 way - you don't want ashes gettin' in there), nestle the can in the embers, and wait until it's bubbly.  This is great when it's a chilly night... just be sure you use a towel to pick up the can.  It will be hot!

Pre-made breakfast burritos (wrapped in foil) 

I like to make mine with scrambled eggs or tofu, onions, mushrooms, spinach, shredded hashbrowns or potatoes, Daiya "cheddar" shreds, corn, and veggie chorizo.  Wrap them up in a tortilla, then wrap them each in heavy-duty aluminum foil.  I just throw 'em on the embers in the morning & wait!  They take about 30-40 minutes to cook up (be sure to flip them 1/2 way), but they're worth it.  Everyone eating a granola bar will be very jealous. 

Veggie dogs
These are easy to just buy at the store & bring with you.  Bring buns & condiments, OR just eat 'em the old fashioned way - on a stick over the fire! :)  They're a great snack all around. 

Great as a snack, a pick-me-up during a long hike, or for a quick breakfast.  I'll definitely be bringing these babies with me!

Veggie sandwiches (wrapped in foil) 

Put anything you like on these!  My favorite is Ezekiel sprouted bread, Yves veggie "ham" with butter lettuce, veganese, dijon mustard, and maybe a slice of swiss (or vegan swiss).  Wrap them up the same way you would the burritos, and heat on the fire.  They'll toast up like a good old fashioned grilled cheese!  YUM!  

Tofu "Jerky"
I'm actually giving this a try tonight!  I've been marinating the tofu all night & today, so it should be super flavorful.  I added some Siracha hot sauce for a little kick.

Corn on the cob
Pretty self-explanatory! :)  I like to put vegan butter on 'em - or sometimes if I'm feeling saucy, some vegan mayo & hot sauce.  Trust me, it's amazing.  Wrap them in foil length-wise, and tighten the ends so that it looks like a candy wrapper.  These guys only take about 15 minutes, and be sure to turn them!  Nobody likes chewy overcooked corn.

Bloomin' Onions
I found this idea online a while ago, and it was pretty delish.  Just cut an onion lengthwise in a circle so that it flowers out, but don't cut all the way to the bottom.  Stuff it full of butter, seasonings, and breadcrumbs.  Carefully wrap it in foil and place it on the fire for about 45 mins to an hour (it does take a while).  When finished, unwrap & enjoy!!  Be careful though, it will be hot!

Veggie Skewers

Put a bunch of vegetables on skewers, and marinate them in tupperware with teriyaki sauce, or any other marinade sauce you can find.  They're easy to roast over the fire, or to just wrap in foil & toss on!  My favorite things to put on skewers are: onions, green peppers, mushrooms, firm tofu, cherry tomatoes, and pineapple.  Yum!

That's all I got! :)  Happy Camping!!

All photos from WeHeartIt.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FOOD MATTERS - Documentary

"One of the few free choices that people have is what we will, and will not eat".

Please take an hour of your time to watch this documentary, "Food Matters".  It's important, relevant, and powerful, and I believe in everything they say with it. 

A "New" Approach to Health from Jamie Simko on Vimeo.

Also, if you haven't read any of Michael Pollan's books ("The Omnivore's Dilemma", "In Defense of Food", etc), I would highly recommend you do so! 

Educate yourselves - for your own health, your life, and the life of your children & grandchildren!  :) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nikki's Baby Shower!

One of my favoritest people in the whole wide world - Nikki - had her baby shower this weekend.  We all gathered at my parent's house to celebrate, and had such a wonderful time.  I was having a few camera issues (my focusing was a little off at times, so some of the photos came out a bit blurry), but these pictures still illustrate the event nicely.  

Anna, Meredith & I cooked up some finger foods, and everyone loved everything (we hardly had any leftovers, which is amazing)!  I was very excited about my lemon raspberry cupcakes (that I made from scratch!  I was very excited to tell everyone that), and they turned out scrumptiously.  The recipe is below, so enjoy! 

I made these little owls based on the invitation design.  They looked so darn cute stuck in everything! :) 

My grandma & aunt were in town (on my Dad's side), so they joined in on the celebration!
 Meredith - miss party planner extroardinare! :) 

OH, and we also did kind of a "tea party" theme, so we served hot tea, and used teapots as decorations.  We also served iced tea & lemonade too.  Funny how the British do teatime every day, and we make it an occasion! ;)

 Doesn't she make the loveliest preggers lady ever?  SO CUTE!!! :) 

Baby charades!!  Meredith put together games for us to play, and they were really fun.  We figured out things pretty quickly, but it was still pretty funny.  When she started doing the celebrity baby names, Nikki won hands down!  Although Lindsey was a close second! 

My kitty, Dimitri.  The only boy allowed at the party! 

 More charades!  Something to do with a bunny, I think? 

Nikki's sister-in-law made these lovely rings as prizes.  They're glass, and really lovely! 

Time for gifts!  Nikki's crafty family made her some amazing gifts, including a patchwork frog, and a crocheted owl hat.  So adorable!!  They are so darn talented, that family. 

I guess those were a teensy bit out of order, but that's okay!  Here's the cupcake recipe - WOOT!

Lemon-Raspberry Cupcakes

Bon Appétit | April 2008

These gorgeous cupcakes have a sweet surprise inside: They're filled with a dollop of raspberry jam. Half of the cupcakes have a pale yellow lemon glaze; the rest are topped with a pink raspberry-lemon glaze.

Yield: Makes 12

3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel, divided
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
12 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
Fresh raspberries (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Using electric mixer, beat butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and 3 teaspoons lemon peel in large bowl until blended, then beat until fluffy and pale yellow. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat in half of flour. Add buttermilk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; beat to blend. Beat in remaining flour.

Drop 1 rounded tablespoonful batter into each muffin liner. Spoon 1 teaspoon raspberry jam over. Cover with remaining batter, dividing equally.

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted halfway into centers comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on rack. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel in small bowl. Spoon half of icing over 6 cupcakes. Whisk 1 tablespoon raspberry jam into remaining icing. Spoon over remaining cupcakes. Let stand until icing sets, about 30 minutes. Garnish with raspberries.