Menu Plan: Week of 4/6/14

Sunday: Reubens! (more info. on how I make Reubens here, but now we have homemade sauerkraut)

Monday: Chicago-style veggie dogs
I figured veggie dogs are a good easy meal to throw together before the baseball game — the White Sox are in town!

Tuesday: pasta with artichoke & pine nut pesto (recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter)
If liking Gwyneth Paltrow is wrong I don’t want to be right.

Wednesday: breakfast burritos, this time with sweet potatoes, homemade seitan, eggs, cheddar, green chili, whole wheat tortillas

Thursday: chile wraps, with some kind of veggie side
We’ve been feeling lazy on Thursdays so this is a super-easy appetizer-type thing. All you do is take some large tortillas (white, whole wheat, anything green, just not corn), spread cream cheese over each one, sprinkle green chiles over the cheese, roll the tortillas, and slice into bite-sized pieces.

Free Range Friday

Saturday: Chicago-style deep dish pizza with spinach, onions, and garlic

Yard Work

So much for being more interesting last week! We were super busy doing yard work. Our garden beds are officially ready for business and I even direct sowed some seeds yesterday (cabbage, arugula, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, kale, a few onions to even out the row where last year’s onions have come back).

I’ve gone maybe a little overboard with planning the garden this year, but I think it’s going to turn out really well. As I’ve mentioned before, I plotted everything out using the Mother Earth News garden planner. The main benefit of this is that I know how many of each plant I should put where. Because I’m not good with spacial stuff, Ben set up our garden beds like so to help me out:

Our back garden bed

The twine down the middle of this bed shows the path that will be covered with living mulch and in theory should be, in addition to a little strip by the gate, the only place where we step after planting everything. The random wood and metal things indicate how much space I have in each row for each type of plant. After everything is planted and starts to grow, we’ll take these out.
Our front garden bed

The front bed has rows that go all the way across, so these are marked by twine or little fences Ben made with random stuff we had lying around. The fences are for climbing plants — zucchini, cucumbers, peas. I assume peas climb? I’ve never grown them before.

I planted some garlic last year or the year before and forgot about it. It’s back!
Our pear tree
Our pear tree
Our pear tree

Our little pear tree that doesn’t make pears does produce some lovely little flowers.

This picture made me LOL. Josephine says “‘Sup.”

Frankie Knuckles

In super-bummer non-April-fool’s news, Frankie Knuckles died yesterday. If you don’t know Frankie Knuckles, he was the Godfather of House.

One of the best times I’ve ever had listening to music was at one of his Thanksgiving shows at House of Blues in Chicago. I was with Ben, so it had to be when we were visiting after moving out here to CO. It was one of those beautiful alternate-reality nights where you can feel the good vibes of every one of the people around you and the music takes those good vibes and amplifies them until you’re floating in happiness. If you’re ever feeling bummed, put on one of his mixes (you can find them all over the internet), turn it up, sit back, close your eyes, and just feel it. His music has magical powers.

Menu Plan: Week of 3/30/14

Pink & green

Before I get to this week’s menu plan I have to tell you that the saag paneer I made last week was one of the best things I’ve ever had. Even though my first attempt at homemade paneer was questionable (it was super crumbly) (I braved the crowds at the new Trader Joe’s only to discover that they sell paneer only as part of a frozen entrée and not by itself), honestly once you fry cheese in butter (in this case ghee), it can’t possibly turn out to be anything but delicious. I highly recommend that you make this.

Here’s what’s up for the next week, during which I promise I will be more interesting.

Sunday: French bread with tomato/basil/fresh mozzarella/parmesan/olive oil salad

Monday: 5 Spot Banana Pancakes (recipe) with fruit and maybe some veggie bacon

Tuesday: Farro with “Sausage” and Apples (recipe is from the bag of farro I got at Trader Joe’s, vegetarianized)

Wednesday: low-tech grilled cheese sandwiches (bread, butter, organic singles) and kale chips

Thursday: Bowls! I’ve been really into the idea of putting a bunch of stuff in a bowl (e.g., grains, vegetables, a protein, and a sauce) and eating it. This one will feature quinoa, lettuce, spinach, tomato, onion, red bell pepper, carrots, corn, avocado, black beans, crumbled cotija cheese, and cilantro-lime dressing (the dressing recipe is here, but if you make it, reduce the honey or add extra balsamic and salt).

Free Range Friday

Saturday: pizza with thin crust, apricot preserves, roasted garlic, chard (sautéed in olive oil until soft, seasoned with salt and pepper), a little parmesan and gouda, and brie

Menu Plan: Week of 3/23/14

Sunday: Tempeh Chimichurri (recipe) with Kale Slaw (recipe)
I usually make the chimichurri with asparagus as called for in the recipe, but this time did something different. It was a lot of green stuff! Also, I didn’t have a ripe avocado to use in the kale slaw dressing so I subbed a tablespoon of olive oil and it was fine (use a little less than 1/2 cup water if you do this).

Monday: salad with ranch dressing
My ranch recipe is here, but Ben has been making most of our ranch lately and doesn’t use it.

Tuesday: Saag Paneer (I think I’ll use this recipe.)
Last night I made paneer (using this recipe), but I’m not sure I like how it turned out. It’s very crumbly. I might press it some more or finally brave Trader Joe’s to buy some. If I’m ambitious, I might make naan.

Wednesday: quinoa & eggs (Take a bowl and fill with quinoa, refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, green chili, sliced avocado, and a little sour cream.)

Thursday: Black Bean Burgers (recipe) and cole slaw (recipe, although if you use this recipe, skip the onions, salt, and pepper, just mix the dressing ingredients into the cabbage and carrot without shaking it together, and decrease the dressing a bit and make sure to pour off any excess liquid)
We’ll add some adobo sauce from a can of chipotles to the ranch dressing from Monday for chipotle ranch for the burgers.

Free Range Friday

Saturday: pizza with seitan sausage (Italian Seitan from Upton’s Naturals), poblanos, and red onion

DIY Kimono Jacket

Ever since I discovered the kimonos from Arnhem Clothing, which are the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen but $$$$, especially considering that they’re hard to find in the U.S. and shipping from Australia is $$, I’ve been wanting to make my own kimonos. If you ask me, a flowing floral kimono robe is the perfect thing to add to any of the stuff I wear all summer — voile-and-lace slips as dresses, cutoffs and tank tops, cutoffs and weird shirts with cats on them, whatever. In fact, I bought some gorgeous fabric to make a kimono in June of last year. Apparently I am (1) lazy or (2) intimidated by the fabric because it has been hanging out in my closet for almost a year now. (Let’s not even talk about my sewing machine, which has been sitting in its box since I bought it in May of 2011.) (I love ordering everything online so with just a few clicks of the mouse I can view my order history and bust myself like this.)

I haven’t sewn since second semester of senior year of high school, when I dropped AP biology (which met for two torturous class periods first thing in the morning) and took art and clothing instead. I’m sure it’s going to take me a minute to get back into it (I don’t even remember how to thread a sewing machine) but I’m reasonably confident I might be able to put something together that looks at least as good as the bright green octopus pillow and apron I made in middle school home ec class.

Kimonos seem like the best place to start because they’re (1) something I actually want to wear and (2) easy. The problem was that I couldn’t find a pattern and, although there are some good online explanations, not being good with anything spatial, I was having a hard time conceptualizing everything.

So I went back to searching and found the greatest YouTube video of all time, which shows you exactly how to make a cute little kimono jacket.

So easy even I can do it! I got some super-inexpensive fabric so I can try this without risking ruining the fancier stuff and am going to do it . . . soon. Maybe even within the next week, although I should warn you that I’m hoping to get to the baklava first (Soren is really looking forward to the baklava) and I have designs on making some cheese this weekend.