Wednesday, May 16

Tofu Tuesday - Chocolate Mousse

Wellllllllllllllllll I fell asleep at 8pm last night and woke up when we had an earthquake at 7am this morning.  Oops!  I think I'm still recovering from the nasty little virus that rocked my world last week.

Anyways, here is the slightly late Tofu Tuesday post!

Chocolate Mousse!

I made this when my parents came to visit a few weeks ago, and didn't tell them what was in it (well, at least not initially!).  The non-tofu lovers out there just might love this!  It's a MUCH healthier alternative to regular old chocolate mousse (which I adore, by the way), and honestly, if you didn't tell someone you put tofu in it, I bet they'd never guess that is what they were eating.  I loved it, and it got the non-tofu-eating-parents mark of approval, so I think you should try it.  :o)

  • 1 pkg of firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1 t cocoa powder
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T milk 
  • 2-3 T agave
  • pinch of salt

First, you use your double-boiler (or something like it, for example my make-do double boiler contraption seen below) to melt 1 1/2 c. of chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate, but you can use whatever kind your heart desires).

 Get the rest of your ingredients ready and in the food processor while your chocolate is melting (but don't forget about that chocolate on the stove!  Keep on stirring that sucker until it's melted, that way you won't burn it.  Clearly I've never made this mistake...)

Turn on your food processor (or blender) with all of the ingredients added and blend blend blend until it is nice and smoooooooooth.  If you don't have a food processor or blender, you can use a hand mixer, but you'll end up with a less smooth (but still delicious) mousse.  I made it sans-food processor the first time I made it.

Then if you want to add a little pizazz to your mousse, add some shaved chocolate to the top.  I added some coarsely chopped dark chocolate espresso bean chocolate and white coconut shavings on top.  I must say, I stood in front of the chocolate bar selection at Fred Meyer's for at least 8 minutes trying to decided what kind to go with.  I love the chili chocolate, but wasn't sure that's what I was looking for...  [speaking of chili chocolate... sometime I'll have to share my cookie recipe...]  In the long run, I think it ended up being a good combination.  PLUS you'll have extra to snack on.  :o)

I just like all the stars on it.  :o)

Put it all together, licking your fingers in the process of course, then smile and enjoy!

Yesterday I didn't eat tofu...  I haven't fallen off my tofu wagon, I'm just not as consistent about eating it on Tuesday...  After school we went to a Mexican restaurant nearby to send off/congratulate the wonderful Miss Croston as she [sniff sniff] leaves us for another school, and I ordered the largest fried ice cream known to man me.  Oh, and a beer of course to go with it.  Beer and ice cream compliment each other, right?  ;o)

Anyways, point is, I was so stuffed from half a beer and half (ok, I'll be honest, I ate almost all of it) the ice cream, that I was in no way in the mood for dinner.  Tofu Tuesday is coming to my house the Wednesday instead.  :o)

Tuesday, May 15


I made this ohhhhh two weeks ago?  Anyways, I took pictures of it, and it was delicious, so I'm sharing.  :o)

Again, inspired by fridge cleaning, I bring you: Smoked Salmon Cobb Salad.

First things first, the dressing: Honey Dill Dressing

In one of my mini mason jars, I mixed:
  • 1 T mustard (I used Moosetard)
  • 1 T honey
  • splash of rice vinegar & olive oil (total ~4T)
  • dash of salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 t dill
  • dollop of yogurt

So Cobb salads aren't so complicated, just a lot of chopping going on.

Things I chopped:
  • granny smith apples
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • hard boiled eggs
  • fresh from the smoker smoked salmon (ok, not so much chopped as pulled apart...)
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • avocado (for the boys, not me.  I say ick to avocado)
Served on top of spinach and whatever kind of greens came in the Full Circle box.

Accompanied by some homemade sweet potato (ok, technically yam) fries.  Just chopped, tossed in a bit of olive oil, cinnamon, and cajun seasoning.  450*F for 25-30 minutes.

And if you find yourself surrounded by strawberries and rhubarb, then naturally you should make...

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp!

[sidenote: had I made a cobbler instead of a crisp, I really would have been cobb-tastic.  Oh well, I like crisps better when it comes to rhubarb! :o) ]

The quick how to:

  The bottom is made of the following all mixed together:
  • 2'ish c. strawberries, cut and such
  • 4 stalks rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice flour (because I didn't have cornstarch)
  • Citrus of sorts.  I used a splash of lime juice and a bit of mango orange juice (aka what I had).
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  The top is a mixture of:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 T butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

When I served it, I put a little homemade frozen Greek yogurt (just Greek yogurt + some maple syrup, placed shoved in the freezer, stirring periodically while I made the crisp and salad) on top.

Alright, well now I'm hungry...

Monday, May 14

I've Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

I love that song, but it was painful writing "I've got"... 

So, it's been a cloudy weekend for the most part...  In fact, Rudder and I were snowed, hailed, and rained on in a matter of 5 minutes on our walk today.

The sun did make an appearance at the end of the day though!  :o)

On Saturday I decided to bring some sun into my life.

I  -  made  -  sunbutter!

I had seen this sunbutter stuff on other blogs as a substitute for peanut or almond butter.  I love peanut and almond butter though, so why in the world would I want to substitute it???

Well, I found myself in the bulk food aisle of Fred Meyer's and saw that hulled sunflower seeds weren't too pricey, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

I went for the roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds, and bought about 3 cups.

Stuck them in the trusty ol' food processor and let them go for about 10 minutes.

After about 10 minutes, you have a mushy, but not quite smooth mix.  Ya want to make sure you give it enough time to release the oils into the mix before you add anything else.

Then you can start adding stuff.  I added a bit of honey (maybe 1/8 cup?) to have a touch of sweetness and about 1/2 t of walnut oil to make it a bit smoother.  Also, a couple twists of the sea salt grinder.

 See!  Nice and smooooooooooooooooth!  I didn't add much oil because I'm a fan of the really thick, non-oily stuff you find at the bottom of the jar.  :o)

Stick it in a jar, then stick it in the fridge (of course AFTER you've eaten a spoonful, or two!)

Tastes delicious on sunflower millet bread!

Even better though when you add some rhubarb compote (of sorts)!

Rhubarb "compote" you ask?  Mmmmm let me share with you the recipe that is the delicious rhubarb "compote" (it's not exactly a compote, nor is it a syrup, or a jam...  it is however, delicious!)

Rhubarb Deliciousness:
  • 4-5 stalks of rhubarb
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/8 t. ground clove
Slice the rhubarb.  Combine rhubarb and water over medium-high heat, bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add the rest of the ingredients and heat for approximately 20 minutes over medium-low to low heat.

Had to add a picture of the tulips.  They're looking more awesome by the day, and I am really loving having the fresh flowers in the kitchen.  :o)

Backyard - Stage 1

When I looked at the house and put an offer on it last May, the backyard was a sad sad little plot of land.  Lots of divots, crazy long grass/weeds, and well just all around it looked like nobody loved it.  So, without spending a fortune, here are the goals for my yard:
  • make it usable 
    • raised beds for gardening
    • patio space of sorts
    • shed
  • remove swamp like puddles
  • fill in the ankle-breakers (this yard is all kinds of lumpy!)
  • give it a bit of a facelift 
So, I figured I'd post the pictures as the yard transforms.  So, to start at the very beginning, where it looks pretty horrible post-breakup.

I took these pictures about a week and a half ago, and already the difference in the amount of green I see now is just awesome.  :o)

Standing along the back fence line looking left.

Standing along the back fence line looking straight ahead to the back of the house (oh how I wish all those utilities were on the side...)

Again, from the back fence line looking right.

In between the houses (and coincidentally the area of most sunlight)

From the back "stoop" looking right.

From the back "stoop" looking left.  Why yes, I am so lucky to have Dr. Seuss-like utility poles in my yard!  :op   I'd love to have some sort of trees blocking out the back of the houses, but then I'd have no afternoon sun... 

So, project one two (because the first was using a hand pump to remove buckets upon buckets of water from the little "ponds" in my yard from the melting snow) was creating a raised bed.

I sawed one of the landscape timbers and it took me probably 10 minutes.  Kevin sawed through the rest.  Turns out he is significantly faster than I am.

Rudder was REALLY helpful, ya know, watching and all.

We used 12" stakes to drive through pre-drilled holes.  We measured and then had to drill through each timber because we didn't have a drill bit long enough to go through three layers.  Well, turns out that I didn't do such a hot job drilling because Kevin ended up just hammering these through, often in areas where that pre-drilled hole was a good 1/2" away.  Dang.  I tried to help with the hammering the stakes through, but I think it would have taken me 2 solid weeks.  Seriously.  I kept hearing my dad's [frequent] commentary when I'm hammering to "Come on, hit it! It's not going to bite you." :o)  I think I should stick to 3" nails, max.  ;o)


Lookin' cool in safety glasses. 

Admiring his treasure trove he's unearthed from the snow.

We also finished up planting our seedlings for the raised beds.  :o)

Sprouts! :o)

There's more going on in the yard, and an update will be coming soon('ish)!

Sunday, May 13

Layers of Deliciousness

I've seen overnight oats on SEVERAL blogs such as: Kath Eats Real Food, The Smart Kitchen, and The Edible Perspective.  However, I've always had a "meh" reaction to seeing them.  Well, since it's [sorta] getting warmer here, I figured I would give them a chance since warm oatmeal might not always sound super awesome.  That and I have some fresh peaches, and I wasn't sure I wanted to eat them warm.  :o)

Overnight Oats:
  • 1/3 c. oats
  • 1/3 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • smidge of cinnamon
  • my addition - half a scoop of vanilla protein powder
Please excuse the pictures, as these are overnight oats, I made [and photographed] them at night. :o)

 I added some acai berry juice in place of the soy milk.  I'd say I had a 50/50 combination of soy milk and acai juice.  I was going for the whole berry and peaches combination for the final product.  :o)

Combine all ingredients. 

Stir them up, cover, then stick in the fridge.

The next morning, I mixed together some more Greek yogurt with a bit of agave.

I layered my overnight oats (which were yummy by the way!) with yogurt, flax seed hemp granola, sliced peaches, and sliced strawberries.  These were grab and go in a handy dandy mason jar.  Unfortunately, I had one bite in the morning, then thanks to meetings and running between schools, didn't get to them until lunch.  I think I'll plan on doing this again for breakfast (or lunch!).  :o)

It was a beautiful morning (but sadly a windy and nippy afternoon for field day!).  

I love tulips.  :o)  Thanks Full Circle!

Alright, three blog posts in one night.  I'm feeling a bit more caught up on the going on's over here.  I still have pictures I took, updates to share, and recipes to post for five more things from the past two weeks...  Perhaps I'll tackle one or two tomorrow later today (as in not at 1 am).  :o)

Tofu Tuesday - Mediterranean Wraps

Last Tofu Tuesday was a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng day, so I wanted to make something quick and easy that would also help get rid of some of the stuff in my fridge.

So is the genesis of Mediterranean Tofu Wraps.

The "Mediterranean" comes mostly from this spice mix I got for Christmas and hadn't used yet.

So I marinated cubed tofu in a bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and the Greek seasoning.

I went for the fastest way to make tofu - pan fried.  In the pan I heated up some olive oil, sriracha, and red chili pepper flakes.

Then let the little tofu guys get their fry on, turning them occasionally.  Again, these little buggers will jump around.  It's actually kind of fun to watch them spring about.  :o)

I set them aside on a paper towel to cool down and soak up some of the extra oil.

In the meanwhile, we prepped the wraps for the tofu.  On mine, I added goat cheese and hummus.

Then added spinach and the tofu.  Kevin put avocado on his (bleh!  They're pretty, but I don't find them at all tasty).

We microwaved small yams to go with the wrap.  I love baked sweet potatoes/yams, but didn't feel like waiting for them to cook in the oven.  So with several fork holes and a damp towel, the yams went into the microwave for somewhere around 5 minutes.  To go with the yams, I softened melted (oops!) some butter, added a wee bit of honey, and then some pumpkin pie spice.

Delicious and fast dinner.

For desert we had some chopped fresh fruit (orange, pear, apple) topped with a chilled fruit yogurt (blended berries, Greek yogurt, lime juice) and coconut.  Yum!