Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Super Yummy Green Smoothie

I have been making more of an effort lately to make sure that Brett and I are getting adequate vitamins and minerals and have really become fond of juicing and making smoothies. Not only are they tasty and make a great breakfast, they are easy and so very healthy.

Below is one of my very first experiments and it is really good. I will make up a batch of this in the mornings and Brett and I will split it for breakfast. Super yummy and really easy, can't get much better than that.


















Super Yummy Green Smoothie
2 apples (you want to use a tart variety, I used organic Granny Smith), cored
2 bananas
a couple handfuls of spinach
juice of half a lime
1 heaping tsp. spirulina powder
5-6 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Enjoy!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!

'Til next time.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random Grub We've Made (and remembered to take pictures of)

So yeah, promises, promises, right? I said, oh let's see, a month ago, that I was going to try to start blogging more regularly and look, it has been over a month. I really suck sometimes. I have all sorts of excuses, but I will not bore you all with them.

Needless to say, I have been a lot better about taking pictures of the things I have been cooking and have tried out some tasty new things I am going to be blogging about in just a little while. I guess you could say that my New Year's "resolution" will be to be more organized and a better blogger, because, you know, I've missed it.

Anywho, here is some of the random things I have made lately:


















Spicy Smashed Kidney Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos
.


















Potato, Mushroom, and Egg Burrito.


















Potato, Mushroom, and Egg Burrito cut open. I just simply cut up 3 small red potatoes, sliced half a container of button mushrooms, a bell pepper, a jalapeno, half an onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic, sautéed it and seasoned it with cumin, cilantro, chipotle chile powder and salt. The I scrambled an egg and stuffed it all in a warmed tortilla.

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful holiday. B and I stayed home this year, and seeing as how we didn't cook anything special on Thanksgiving, we decided to make all our favorite sides for our just-for-two Christmas dinner. After we gorged on the goodies you will see below, we spent the evening playing Sim City 4 together - so much fun, probably my favorite computer game ever. Anyways...


















Candied yams for Brett. He really, really likes these. I'm not a marshmallow person, and while I loves sweet potatoes, this isn't really my thing, I make it for Brett.


















Garlic mashed red potatoes.


















Green bean casserole.


















Herbed stuffing.

As you can see, it was a really tasty meal.

Well, I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year's. We will be joining a small contingent of friends and then heading to St. Louis on Friday to spend the weekend with my family. My brother Zac and his wife Brittine just had their first child, Gabriel, and I get to meet him for the first time. I'm Aunt J! The only problem is I am scared shitless of children, particularly little babies and B is hell bent on getting me to hold him.

I will mention one of my excuses for not blogging - I fractured a rib and it is hard to get comfortable. It is finally starting to feel better - there isn't much that can be done for a rib except for giving it time, but I plan on keeping that in my arsenal of excuses as to why I don't need to hold Gabriel. I will get down on the carpet and have a chat with him, where there is no chance of my dropping or otherwise injuring this tiny little human, but that is about as far as it goes. Is it weird to have adult like conversations with infants? I have VERY LITTLE experience and contact with children/babies and I am never sure how to approach/handle them. And my goodness, being pregnant? That has to be one of the creepiest things - ever. I don't think I could ever get comfortable with some creature in my belly, that is just, well, creepy. But I have the maternal instinct of most commitment-phobic males (though, obviously, since I am happily married I am not a commitment-phobe). It has made my grandparents and mother quite sad that I have no desire whatsoever to have children. My dad doesn't really care, he just wants me to be happy, and besides, I have three step-brothers to provide plenty of pitter-pattering little feet. I have a feeling I will do the "cool Aunt from afar" thing - I will bring cool gifts and play with the kid when I am around, but then will happily give him back to Mom and Dad. Nice.

Anywho - I will be writing and scheduling some more recipes to be posted in the next couple of days.

Have a great night everyone!

'Til next time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Books J's Read - 2011

The new start of a new year means yet another Books J's Read list. It will likely contain mostly cozy mysteries, and the occasional non-fiction book, but if you are looking for something to read, and you trust my humble judgement, read on for my list of reads of the year.

Fiction:
  1. A Peach of a Murder (Fresh-Baked Mysteries, 1) - Livia J. Washburn - 4 out of 5
  2. Accessory to Murder (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper 3) - Elaine Viets - 5 out of 5
  3. An Uplifting Murder (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper, 6) - Elaine Viets - 5 out of 5
  4. Bantam of the Opera (Bed & Breakfast, 5) - Mary Daheim - 3 out of 5
  5. Cat Sitter Among the Pigeons (Dixie Hemingway, 6) - Blaize Clement - 4 out of 5
  6. Cat Sitter On a Hot Tine Roof (Dixie Hemingway, 4) - Blaize Clement - 4 out of 5
  7. Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (Magical Cats Mystery 1) - Sofie Kelly - 4.5 out of 5
  8. Dune to Death (Bed & Breakfast Mystery, 4) - Mary Daheim - 3 out of 5
  9. Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter (Dixie Hemingway, 1) - Blaize Clement - 4 out of 5
  10. Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund (Dixie Hemingway, 2) - Blaize Clement - 4 out of 5
  11. Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues (Dixie Hemingway, 3) - Blaize Clement - 4 out of 5
  12. Foul Prey (Bed & Breakfast Mystery, 2) - Mary Daheim - 3 out of 5
  13. Dying in Style (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper, 1) - Elaine Viets - 5 out of 5
  14. Holy Terrors (Bed & Breakfast Mystery, 3) - Mary Daheim - 3 out of 5
  15. Just Desserts (Bed & Breakfast Mystery, 1) - Mary Daheim - 3 out of 5
  16. Killer Crab Cakes (Fresh-Baked Mysteries, 4) - Livia J. Washburn - 3 out of 5
  17. High Heels Are Murder (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper, 2) - Elaine Viets - 5 out of 5
  18. Murder By the Slice (Fresh-Baked Mysteries, 2) - Livia J. Washburn - 3.5 out of 5
  19. Murder With All the Trimmings (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper, 4) - Elaine Viets - 5 out of 5
  20. Raining Cat Sitters and Dogs (Dixie Hemingway, 5) - Blaize Clement - 4 out of 5
  21. Shot Through Velvet (Crime of Fashion Mysteries, 7) - 3.5 out of 5
  22. The Christmas Cookie Killer (Fresh-Baked Mysteries, 3) - Livia J. Washburn - 3 out of 5
  23. The Fashion Hound Murders (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper, 5) - Elaine Viets - 5 out of 5
  24. The Pumpkin Muffin Murder (Fresh-Baked Mysteries, 5) - Livia J. Washburn - 3 out of 5

Books J's Read - 2010

  1. 44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street, 1) - Alexander McCall Smith - 5 out of 5
  2. A Charmed Death (Bewitching Mystery, 2) - Madelyn Alt - 3 out of 5
  3. A Hoe Lot of Trouble (A Nina Quinn Mystery, 1) - Heather Webber - 3 out of 5
  4. A Killer Workout (A Fat City Mystery, 2) - Kathryn Lilley - 3 out of 5
  5. A Rose from the Dead (Flower Shop Mystery, 6) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  6. Arsenic and Old Paint (Annie Kincaid, 4) - Hailey Lind - 3.5 out of 5
  7. A Toast to Murder (Wine Lover's Mystery, 6) - Michele Scott - 3 out of 5
  8. A Vintage Murder (Wine Lover's Mystery, 4) - Michele Scott - 3 out of 5
  9. A Wedding to Die For (Yellow Rose Mysteries, 2) - Leann Sweeney - 4 out of 5
  10. A Witch in Time (Bewitching Mystery, 6) - Madelyn Alt - 3 out of 5
  11. Acts of Violets (Flower Shop Mystery, 5) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  12. Armed and Glamorous (Crime of Fashion, 6) - Ellen Byerrum - 3 out of 5
  13. Bed Rest - Sarah Bilston - 4 out of 5
  14. Better Off Wed (Annabelle Archer Mystery, 1) - Laura Durham - 3.5 out of 5
  15. Bookmarked for Death (Booktown Mystery, 2) - Lorna Barrett - 4 out of 5
  16. Bookplate Special (Booktown Mystery, 3) - Lorna Barrett - 4 out of 5
  17. Bride and Doom (Carnegie Kincaid, 6) - Deborah Donnelly - 3.5 out of 5
  18. Brush with Death (Annie Kincaid Mystery, 3) - Hailey Lind - 4 out of 5
  19. Catch As Cat Can (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 10) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  20. Catering to Nobody (Goldy Schulz Catering, 1) Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  21. Cat On the Scent (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 7) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  22. Cat's Eyewitness (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 13) - Rita Mae Brown - 3 out of 5
  23. Chapter & Hearse (Booktown Mystery, 4) - Lorna Barrett - 3 out of 5
  24. Chopping Spree (Goldy Schulz Catering, 11) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  25. Class Mothers - Katherine Stewart - 3 out of 5
  26. Claws and Effect (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 9) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  27. Clubbed to Death (Dead-End Job, 7) - Elaine Viets - 3.5 out of 5
  28. Cooking Up Murder (Cooking Class Mysteries, 1) - Miranda Bliss - 3.5 out of 5
  29. Corked By Cabernet (Wine Lover's Mystery, 5) - Michele Scot - 3 out of 5
  30. Crossing the Lion (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 9) - Cynthia Baxter - 3.5 out of 5
  31. Damsel Under Stress (Katie Chandler, 3) - Shanna Swedsen - 4 out of 5
  32. Dark Tort (Goldy Schulz Catering, 13) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  33. Dead Air (A Talk Radio Mystery, 1) - Mary Kennedy - 3.5 out of 5
  34. Dead Canaries Don't Sing (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 1) - Cynthia Baxter - 4 out of 5
  35. Dead Giveaway (Yellow Rose Mysteries, 3) - Leann Sweeney - 3.5 out of 5
  36. Dead Men Don't Get the Munchies (Cooking Class Mysteries, 3) - Miranda Bliss - 3.5 out of 5
  37. Dearly Depotted (Flower Shop Mystery, 3) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  38. Death By Panty Hose (Jaine Austen Mystery, 6) - Laura Levine - 4 out of 5
  39. Death of a Trophy Wife (Jaine Austen Mystery, 9) - Laura Levine - 4 out of 5
  40. Death Takes a Honeymoon (Carnegie Kincaid, 4) - Deborah Donnelly - 3.5 out of 5
  41. Death Takes the Cake (Della Cooks Mystery, 2) - Melinda Wells - 4 out of 5
  42. Decaffeinated Corpse (Coffeehouse Mystery, 5) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  43. Designer Knockoff (Crime of Fashion, 2) - Ellen Byerrum - 3 out of 5
  44. Died to Match (Carnegie Kincaid, 2) - Deborah Donnelly - 3 out of 5
  45. Digging Up Trouble (A Nina Quinn Mystery, 3) - Heather Webber - 3 out of 5
  46. Dirty Rotten Tendrils (Flower Shop Mystery, 10) - Kate Collins - 3.5 out of 5
  47. Don't Hex With Texas (Katie Chandler, 4) - Shanna Swedsen - 4 out of 5
  48. Double Dog Dare (Kendra Ballantyne, 6) - Linda O. Johnston - 3 out of 5
  49. Double Shot (Goldy Schulz Catering, 12) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  50. Dying for Chocolate (Goldy Schulz Catering, 2) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  51. Dying for Dinner (Cooking Class Mysteries, 4) - Miranda Bliss - 3.5 out of 5
  52. Dying to Be Thin (A Fat City Mystery, 1) - Kathryn Lilley - 3 out of 5
  53. Dying to Call You (Dead-End Job, 3) - Elaine Viets - 3.5 out of 5
  54. Enchanted, Inc. (Katie Chandler, 1) - Shanna Swedsen - 4 out of 5
  55. Espresso Shot (Coffeehouse Mystery, 7) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  56. Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street, 2) - Alexander McCall Smith - 5 out of 5
  57. Evil in Carnations (Flower Shop Mystery, 8) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  58. Fatally Flaky (Goldy Schulz Catering, 15) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  59. Family Affair - Caprice Crane - 3 out of 5
  60. Feline Fatale (Kendra Ballantyne, 9) - Linda O. Johnston - 3 out of 5
  61. Fine Feathered Death (Kendra Ballantyne, 3) - Linda O. Johnston - 4 out of 5
  62. For Better or Hearse (Annabelle Archer Mystery, 2) - Laura Durham - 3.5 out of 5
  63. French Pressed (Coffeehouse Mystery, 6) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  64. Fundraising the Dead (Museum Mystery, 1) - Sheila Connelly - 3 out of 5
  65. Feint of Art (Annie Kincaid Mystery, 1) - Hailey Lind - 4 out of 5
  66. Grave Apparel (Crime of Fashion, 5) - Ellen Byerrum - 3 out of 5
  67. Half-Price Homicide (Dead-End Job, 9) - Elaine Viets - 3.5 out of 5
  68. Hare Today, Dead Tomorrow (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 4) - Cynthia Baxter - 3.5 out of 5
  69. Hex Marks the Spot (Bewitching Mystery, 3) - Madelyn Alt - 3 out of 5
  70. Holiday Grind (Coffeehouse Mystery, 8) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  71. Homicide in Hardcover (Bibliophile Mystery, 1) - Kate Carlisle - 4 out of 5
  72. Hostile Makeover (Crime of Fashion, 4) - Ellen Byerrum - 3 out of 5
  73. Howl Deadly (Kendra Ballantyne, 8) - Linda O. Johnston - 3.5 out of 5
  74. How to Crash a Killer Bash (Party Planning Mystery, 1) - Penny Warner - 4 out of 5
  75. How to Host a Killer Party (Party Planning Mystery, 2) - Penny Warner - 4 out of 5
  76. Hunger Point - Jillian Medoff - 3.5 out of 5
  77. If Books Could Kill (Bibliophile Mystery, 2) - Kate Carlisle - 3.5 out of 5
  78. Killer Blonde (Jaine Austen Mystery, 3) - Laura Levine - 4 out of 5
  79. Killer Cuts (Dead-End Job, 8) - Elaine Viets - 3.5 out of 5
  80. Killer Mousse (Della Cooks Mystery, 1) - Melinda Wells - 4 out of 5
  81. Killer Pancake (Goldy Schulz Catering, 5) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  82. Killing Bridezilla (Jaine Austen Mystery, 7) - Laura Levine - 4 out of 5
  83. Last Writes (Jaine Austen Mystery, 2) - Laura Levine - 4 out of 5
  84. Latte Trouble (Coffehouse Mystery, 3) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  85. Lead a Horse to Murder (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 3) - Cynthia Baxter - 3.5 out of 5
  86. Love Over Scotland (44 Scotland Street, 3) - Alexander McCall Smith - 5 out of 5
  87. Love You To Death - Melissa Senate - 3 out of 5
  88. Makeovers Can Be Murder (A Fat City Mystery, 3) - Kathryn Lilley - 3 out of 5
  89. May the Best Man Die (Carnegie Kincaid, 3) - Deborah Donnelly - 3 out of 5
  90. Misery Loves Cabernet - Kim Gruenenfelder - 3 out of 5
  91. Meow for Murder (Kendra Ballantyne, 4) - Linda O. Johnston - 3.5 out of 5
  92. Monkey See, Monkey Die (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 7) - Cynthia Baxter - 3.5 out of 5
  93. Mum's the Word (Flower Shop Mystery, 1) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  94. Murder At Monticello (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 3) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  95. Murder Between the Covers (Dead-End Job, 2) - Elaine Viets - 3.5 out of 5
  96. Murder By the Glass (Wine Lover's Mystery, 2) - Michele Scott - 3 out of 5
  97. Murder Had a Little Lamb (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 8) - Cynthia Baxter - 3.5 out of 5
  98. Murder Has A Sweet Tooth (Cooking Class Mysteries, 5) - Miranda Bliss - 3.5 out of 5
  99. Murder is Binding (Booktown Mystery, 1) - Lorna Barrett - 4 out of 5
  100. Murder Most Frothy (Coffeehouse Mystery, 4) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  101. Murder On the Menu (Cooking Class Mysteries, 2) - Miranda Bliss - 3.5 out of 5
  102. Murder on the Prowl (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 6) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  103. Murder Uncorked (Wine Lover's Mystery, 1) - Michele Scot - 3 out of 5
  104. Murder Unleashed (Dead-End Job, 5) - Elaine Viets - 3.5 out of 5
  105. Murder, She Meowed (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 5) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  106. Murder with Reservations (Dead-End Job, 6) - Elaine Viets - 3.5 out of 5
  107. Never Say Sty (Kendra Ballantyne, 7) - Linda O. Johnston - 3 out of 5
  108. Nothing to Fear but Ferrets (Kendra Ballantyne, 2) - Linda O. Johnston - 4 out of 5
  109. No Rest of the Wiccan (Bewitching Mystery, 4) - Madelyn Alt - 3 out of 5
  110. On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mystery, 1) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  111. Once Upon Stilettos (Katie Chandler, 2) - Shanna Swedsen
  112. Pawing Through the Past (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 8) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  113. Pay Dirt (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 4) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  114. Pick Your Poison (Yellow Rose Mysteries, 1) - Leann Sweeney - 3.5 out of 5
  115. Prime Cut (Goldy Schulz Catering, 8) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  116. Pushing Up Bluebonnets (Yellow Rose Mysteries, 5) - Leann Sweeney - 3.5 out 5
  117. Puss 'n Cahoot (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 15) - Rita Mae Brown - 3 out of 5
  118. Putting on the Dog (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 2) - Cynthia Baxter - 3.5 out of 5
  119. Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keyes - 3 out of 5
  120. Raiders of the Lost Corset (Crime of Fashion, 3) - Ellen Byerrum - 3 out of 5
  121. Rest in Pieces (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 2) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  122. Reel Murder (A Talk Radio Mystery, 2) - Mary Kennedy - 3 out of 5
  123. Rich Again - Anna Maxted - 3 out of 5
  124. Right from the Gecko (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 5) - Cynthia Baxter - 3.5 out of 5
  125. Roast Mortem (Coffeehouse Mystery, 9) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  126. Santa Clawed (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 17) - Rita Mae Brown - 3.5 out of 5
  127. Shoes to Die For (Jaine Austen Mystery, 4) - Laura Levine - 4 out of 5
  128. Shoot from the Lip (Yellow Rose Mysteries, 4) - Leann Sweeney - 3.5 out of 5
  129. Shooting Gallery (Annie Kincaid Mystery, 2) - Hailey Lind - 4 out of 5
  130. Shoots to Kill (Flower Shop Mystery, 7) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  131. Shop Till You Drop (Dead End Job, 1) - Elaine Viets - 3.5 out of 5
  132. Silenced By Syrah (Wine Lover's Mystery, 3) - Michele Scot - 3 out of 5
  133. Slay it with Flowers (Flower Shop Mystery, 2) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  134. Sleeping with Anemone (Flower Shop Mystery, 9) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  135. Snipped in the Bud (Flower Shop Mystery, 4) - Kate Collins - 3 out of 5
  136. Sour Puss (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 14) - Rita Mae Brown - 3 out of 5
  137. Sticks and Scones (Goldy Schulz Catering, 10) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  138. Sweet Revenge (Goldy Schulz Catering, 14) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  139. The Accidental Virgin - Valerie Frankel - 1 out of 5
  140. The Cereal Murders (Goldy Schulz Catering, 3) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  141. The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund - Jill Kargman - 2 out of 5
  142. The Fright of the Iguana (Kendra Ballantyne, 5) - 3.5 out of 5
  143. The Girl's Guide to Witchcraft - Mindy L. Klasky - 3 out of 5
  144. The Grilling Season (Goldy Schulz Catering, 7) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  145. The Hunt (Rachel Benjamin, 4) - Jennifer Sturman - 4 out of 5
  146. The Jinx (Rachel Benjamin, 2) - Jennifer Sturman - 4 out of 5
  147. The Key (Rachel Benjamin, 3) - Jennifer Sturman - 4 out of 5
  148. The Killer Hair (Crime of Fashion, 1) - Ellen Byerrum - 3 out of 5
  149. The Kitchen Witch - Annette Blair - 2 out of 5
  150. The Last Suppers (Goldy Schulz Catering, 4) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  151. The Main Corpse (Goldy Schulz Catering, 6) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  152. The Pact (Rachel Benjamin, 1) - Jennifer Sturman - 4 out of 5
  153. The PMS Murder (Jaine Austen Mystery, 5) - Laura Levine - 4 out of 5
  154. The Proof is in the Pudding (Della Cooks Mystery, 3) - Melinda Wells - 4 out of 5
  155. The Purrfect Murder (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 16) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  156. The Tail of the Tip Off (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 11) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  157. The Ten Best Days of My Life - Adena Halpern - 4 out of 5
  158. The Trouble with Magic (Bewitching Mystery, 1) - Madelyn Alt - 3 out of 5
  159. The World According to Bertie (44 Scotland Street, 4) - Alexander McCall Smith - 5 out of 5
  160. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (44 Scotland Street, 5) - Alexander McCall Smith - 5 out of 5
  161. This Pen for Hire (Jaine Austen Mystery, 1) - Laura Levine - 4 out of 5
  162. To Love and To Perish (Annabelle Archer Mystery, 3) - Laura Durham - 3 out of 5
  163. Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mystery, 2) - Cleo Coyle - 3 out of 5
  164. Tough Cookie (Goldy Schulz Catering, 9) - Diane Mott Davidson - 4 out of 5
  165. Trophies - Heather Thomas - 4 out of 5
  166. Trouble in Bloom (A Nina Quinn Mystery, 2) - Heather Webber - 3 out of 5
  167. Trouble in Spades (A Nina Quinn Mystery, 4) - Heather Webber - 3 out of 5
  168. Undead and Unappreciated (Queen Betsy, 3) - MaryJanice Davidson - 3 out of 5
  169. Undead and Uneasy (Queen Betsy, 6) - MaryJanice Davidson - 3 out of 5
  170. Undead and Unemployed (Queen Betsy, 2) - MaryJanice Davidson - 3 out of 5
  171. Undead and Unfinished (Queen Betsy, 9) - MaryJanice Davidson - 4.5 out of 5
  172. Undead and Unpopular (Queen Betsy, 5) - MaryJanice Davidson - 3 out of 5
  173. Undead and Unreturnable (Queen Betsy, 4) - MaryJanice Davidson - 3 out of 5
  174. Undead and Unwed (Queen Betsy, 1) - MaryJanice Davidson - 4 out of 5
  175. Undead and Unwelcome (Queen Betsy, 8) - MaryJanice Davidson - 3 out of 5
  176. Undead and Unworthy (Queen Betsy, 7) - MaryJanice Davidson - 3 out of 5
  177. Veiled Threats (Carnegie Kincaid, 1) - Deborah Donnelly - 3 out of 5
  178. Weeding out Trouble (A Nina Quinn Mystery, 5) - Heather Webber - 3 out of 5
  179. Where There's a Witch (Bewitching Mystery, 5) - Madelyn Alt - 3 out of 5
  180. Whisker of Evil (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 12) - Rita Mae Brown - 3 out of 5
  181. Who's Kitten Who (Reigning Cats and Dogs, 6) - Cynthia Baxter - 3.5 out of 5
  182. Wish You Were Here (Mrs. Murphy Mysteries, 1) - Rita Mae Brown - 4 out of 5
  183. You May Now Kill the Bride (Carnegie Kincaid, 5) - Deborah Donnelly - 3.5 out of 5

Monday, November 9, 2009

J's Onion Soup

Well not only have I been a bit obsessed with soup lately, Brett and I have both been fighting a nasty cold that doesn't seem to want to go away. So soup has been an even bigger part of our lives lately.

Nothing feels better on a sore throat than a flavorful, brothy soup. At least that is how I feel.

I wanted something simple, tasty, and that would also do the trick. I've never been much of a chicken noodle girl (or a "No Chicken Noodle" girl as it now stands), and I really love the taste of caramelized onions, so I thought I'd give this a shot.

It turned out good - darn good, and it was easy to make, and that is the only tolerable cooking that can be done when sick. Not that I don't like quick and easy meals on a good day though either...

Anyways, check it out.


















The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

J's Onion Soup

Mushroom Broth:
1 package portobello mushrooms
1 yellow onion, halved
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
2-3 tbsp Earth Balance or butter
6 cups water

Melt EB or butter in pot over medium-high heat.

Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until they begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Add the water and simmer over low heat for about an hour.

Strain broth with a wire mesh strainer. Reserve at least 3 cups.

Rest of the Soup:
2 tbsp safflower oil
2 red onions, peeled and sliced
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
salt
pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften and caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add the mushroom broth in batches until it is at your desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Very simple, very good.

J's Songs of the Day:
Japura River - Philip Glass
Paru River - Philip Glass

'Til next time.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Citrus-Marinated Veggie Sandwiches

As a vegetarian, I tend to be at a loss for ideas for sandwiches. I don't like tofu or any meat substitutes and one can only eat so much egg salad. We also prefer Mexican food, and I just don't picture sandwiches when I imagine Mexican cuisine.

But you can improvise, no?

I decided to get a bit creative when I saw this gorgeous Sourdough French loaf at the DanJo Farms stand when I was picking up our CSA. Brett and I have fallen in love with the Herb Focaccia, so I decided we needed to try this.

I wanted something spicy, yummy, filling, and at least reminiscent of Mexican flavors, so this is what I came up with...


















The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Citrus-marinated Veggie Sandwiches

Citrus-marinated Onions and Mushrooms:
3 oranges, squeezed
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 guajillo chiles, washed
1/4 cup cilantro *
a few dashes of cumin
1 large red onion, halved and sliced
1 pack button mushrooms, sliced

Combine and cover. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Once onions and mushrooms are marinated, heat 2 tbsp safflower oil over medium-high heat. Remove the onions and mushrooms from the marinade and tranfer to hot oil.

Cook until caramelized and cook through, about 15 minutes.

Other Fixin's:
1/2 loaf of Sourdough French bread, sliced in half
1 avocado, smashed with a little lime juice and salt
mayo or Veganaise mixed with two chipotle chiles in adobo
pepper jack cheese or "cheese"
Preheat broiler.

Place bread halves on a pan, if using cheese, top one slice of each pair with cheese. Place under the broiler and remove when bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Spread chipotle mayo on the "dry" slice of bread and avocado mixture on the cheesy slice, layer on half the onion/mushroom mixture for each sandwich.

Enjoy!

*These could also be prepared to be eaten "open faced".

'Til next time!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Southwestern Lentil and Veggie Bisque

I've been on a soup kick for quite some time now, so nobody should be surprised that this is...yet another soup post.

I have been into trying out smooth soups lately, perfecting the arduous process of pressing everything through a wire mesh strainer feels like quite an accomplishment when you get a beautiful tasty soup in the end. And it is a good arm workout.

So without further fanfare...


















The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Southwestern Lentil and Veggie Bisque

1 cup green lentils, rinsed
water

2-3 tbsp safflower oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped *
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped *
4 New Mexico chiles, seeded and chopped (red if you can get 'em) *
1 red onion, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced **
3 red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed *
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sweet corn
1 tomato, cored and chopped **
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/4 cup cilantro *
cumin to taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Put lentils in a small sauce pan and fill with water.

Bring to a boil and simmer until done, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high heat and saute peppers, onions, potatoes, carrot, and corn until they begin to soften, about 15-20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for an additional ten minutes.

Tranfer veggies to a blender or food processor and puree. Add the veggie broth and cilantro. Slowly add the lentils (with cooking liquid) in small batches and puree until smooth.

Over a large soup pot, smash the mixture through a wire mesh strainer.

The resulting soup should be very smooth.

Season to taste with cumin, salt, and pepper.

This was a really tasty soup and quite filling too!

I will be working on updating the recipe index this evening, as well as responding to the comments I have been neglecting (I suck sometimes).

I hope everyone is have a great weekend!

'Til next time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Who Says Homework Has To Be Lame?

First off I am not going to bother to make excuses for my absence. Laziness is, of course, part of it, but I've also been writing (135 pages!), reading, cooking, and as you will see, creating invaluable works of art.

Those of you out there who are astute might be wondering why I am talking about homework - I graduated two years ago and have a full-time job, I have moved "beyond" homework. BUT...(of course there is a but or there would be no point in this post), Brett is still in school, having followed along in my footsteps (copy-cat!) in pursuing a degree in psychology even though he doesn't want to actually do anything related to psychology. In both of our defense, the courses are so fascinating and it gives you quite and interesting perspective. I tended to prefer sociology to psychology in all honesty, but at least a degree in psychology is fairly useful in the job market (well, when there was one).

Anyway, he is currently taking Research Design, a core psychology course. I may be giving away the extent of my nerdom here but Research Design was one of my very favorite classes. I recall a fascinating paper I wrote about sampling procedures...you all will have to trust me, it was really an interesting thing to explore in depth but I won't bore you with the details.

MOVING ON.

(I get off on tangents easily.)

One of B's assignments was to watch an hour of television and write down all the commercials aired within a one hour program (there is obviously more that went into it, lest you think upper level psychology courses involve you doing random observations, I just don't want to bore you with the details). B and I, being super nerds, already make comments about the commercials and their content, so I decided I would help him out because, well, I like learning and with B taking it, it is like getting to take the class a second time without having had to fail to do so. Yes, I am that lame.

However, we rarely watch TV besides NFL football and only have one of those digital coverter box things because B's mom got one for us. Our pair of rabbit ears is old and antiquated and because of that, the digital "transition" has been a wee bit on the irritating side. It is incredibly hard to pick up the stations and it requires a lot of jostling around to get reception between the channels. B says there is some boosting thing we can get that would fix that, I've told him he could get one, but we both hate going out places and have just dealt with it.

So, it was 9:00 - what we both thought was a good time to watch TV. Oh - and by the way NBC, I am quite bitter that there was a stupid NICK CAGE movie on last night instead of football. NICK CAGE OR FOOTBALL? C'mon! Anyway, what we ended up finding to watch was something on CBS called Cold Case which has to be one of the worst television shows I have ever seen. I was bored, irritated, confused, and I actually looked forward to the commercials because they were more entertaining. But I am a devoted wife and I said I would write down all the commercials as we watched the show, so I stuck it out (it was tough and tentative at times). I survived by doing some doodling - bad bubble letters, the return of Stickman, bad spelling errors and missing words, it really was what made the time bearable.

I present you - alongside the commercials aired during our 60 minutes of torture they call "entertainment" - my doodles, we thought you might enjoy...















































You may need to look at the full screen image to see what they say.

Well, have a good one. I hope to be back soon with some tasty recipes!

'Til next time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spicy Chile-Garlic Green Beans and Tomatoes

When we got home from market last week, we were looking for something simple for lunch, and I was in the mood for something savory and spicy (when am I NOT in the mood for spicy, right?). I remembered awhile back seeing a recipe for Green Beans and Tomatoes on Leng's blog A Fat Cat Created A Vegetarian and wanted to make something similar with our tastes in mind and what we had on had.

What we came up with is a spicy, tasty, and wonderfully savory snack or light meal that would be wonderful with some sauce or soba noodles to soak up the extra sauce. Mmmmmmm.

















The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Spicy Chile-Garlic Green Beans and Tomatoes
2 tbsp. safflower oil
3 cups fresh green beans, snapped into 1/2-1 inch long pieces **
1 large yellow onion, chopped *
3 large tomatoes, cored and chopped **
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. chile-garlic sauce (I used Huy Fong)
a few splashes of shoyu
salt
black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the green beans and stir-fry over medium-high heat. Cook until beans begin to soften and get some blistering on them.

Add the onions and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, chile-garlic sauce, and shoyu. Cook until tomatoes exude their juices and begin to form a nice sauce.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*If you wanted a milder version, halve the chile-garlic sauce or use a milder chile sauce.

'Til next time!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Roasted Onion, Garlic, and White Bean Bisque

More soup!

I have been wanting something creamy and tasty, but not heavy. I watched an episode of Iron Chef recently where they made French Onion soup and that got my mind to working. I have never had traditional French Onion soup, so I am not sure what it is supposed to taste like. I also need to figure out how to make it vegetarian. But I loved the idea of a mild savory soup flavored with onions, as they have an excellent taste and this is what I came up with:

















The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Roasted Onion, Garlic, and White Bean Bisque
2 red onions, peeled
2 yellow onions, peeled *
1 bulb garlic, 1/2 inch of the top removed
1 cup white beans, soaked overnight and cooked
2 1/2 cups veggie broth (homemade if possible) *
dash oregano
dash basil
salt
pepper
safflower oil

Preheat oven to 400.

Cover onions and garlic evenly with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning the onions half way through cooking.

In a blender, puree the beans and veggie broth.

Once veggies are roasted, add those to the bean mixture and blend until very smooth.

Transfer to a large soup pot and season to taste.

We ate this with some of the DanJo Farms foccacia cut into breadsticks and toasted in the oven. So flippin' tasty!

'Til next time!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crockpot Chile Chili

The weather is starting to get chilly here in Mid-Missouri and there is nothing better (at least in my opinion) to eat when it is blustery than a hearty soup, stew, or chili. So I decided to make chili!

I like my chili to be really spicy - well, if I am honest, I like EVERYTHING to be really spicy, but Brett has complained many times that the reason he does not like me to make chili is because it is too hot. I decided to be nice and use chiles for flavor, and just a little bit of heat and we ended up with this super tasty chili that we enjoyed with Fritos!

















Sorry for the horrible picture. Hopefully someday I will figure out how to use my camera.

The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Crockpot Chile Chili
1/4 cup Anasazi beans, rinsed ****
1/4 cup cranberry beans, rinsed ****
1/4 cup pinto beans, rinsed ****
1/4 cup navy beans, rinsed
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed
1 cup kidney beans, rinsed +
2 pasilla chiles, stems removed and rinsed
2 ancho chiles, stems removed and rinsed

4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 habaneros, seeded and minced *
2 gypsy (or other sweet peppers), seeded and minced *
2 yellow onions, chopped *
4 large tomatoes, cored and chopped *

2 red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed *
1/2 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed *

cumin
cilantro
salt
pepper

(Start this chili in the morning.)

Combine beans and dried chiles in a crockpot and let simmer on low all day.

Before you go to bed, add all the vegetables except the sweet and regular potatoes.

In the morning, add the potatoes, and season to taste. Let cook for an additional hour or so or until potatoes are soft.

This chili was super tasty and would also be excellent with tortilla chips or on a baked potato. Mmmmmm.

'Til next time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vegetarian Baked Ziti

As most of you who have read this blog with any regularity know, I don't really "do" Italian food. I'm not the biggest pasta fan (I know, I am a freak, I also don't like ice cream either, believe it or not), and I went vegetarian before I really learned too awful much beyond homemade pasta sauce and pesto.

But Brett is a fan of the Italian food, vegetarian, meat laden, or otherwise, so I decided to be nice and make something he would really enjoy. When I asked him if I should get some meat to put it in, he requested a vegetarian version of Baked Ziti, so that is what I made!

































The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Vegetarian Baked Ziti
For an 8x8 pan

1/2 box penne pasta (we used "mini penne"), cooked according to package directions
1 jar pasta sauce or 3-4 cups homemade (we used the St. Louis made Zia's pasta sauce, local and delicious!) +
1 package white button mushrooms, sliced
1 large yellow onion, chopped *
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup Gruyere, shredded
1 container whole milk fresh ricotta
2 tbsp safflower oil
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

While noodles are cooking, heat oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and onions, and saute for about 10 minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile combine ricotta with half the mozzarella and half the Gruyere. Combine the other half the of mozzarella and Gruyere.

Add the pasta sauce to the veggies and season with salt and pepper. Heat through.

Combine pasta and sauce/veggie mixture.

In an 8x8 baking pan, layer half the noodles and the ricotta mozzarella mixture, then the last layer of noodles and top with the mozzarella/Gruyere mixture.

Bake uncovered for about an hour until top is golden brown and contents are bubbling.

Enjoy!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Farmer's Market and CSA - October 10, 2009

Yes, so it is becoming apparent that I cannot focus on very many things at one time. I have been very much into reading and writing, and while I have been cooking, I realized that I haven't been blogging - at all. It has been a few weeks! Eeek!

In good news though, I have read quite a few good books. Even better news though is that I have been writing up a storm and now have 94 pages on my piece. 94 pages! That is a LOT. I am going to have a lot of editing to do! I am very pleased where it is going. The story line and dialogue need to be "beefed up" a bit, but overall I am very pleased.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have been cooking, and even taking pictures. I have just yet to blog about any of that. Well, do not despair (as I know you all so very much are), I plan on getting those posts written and schedule before I have a chance to forget about it again.

And though it is a bit late, I will now show you the tasty local booty we got from market this weekend.

First off, our Week 22 (only three weeks left!), DanJo Farms, quarter share veggie CSA:

















Starting from the bottom right: a turnip, 2 tomatoes, collard greens, lettuce, lots of green beans, a little butternut squash, and radishes.

And check out our haul from the farmer's market!

















From the bottom right: Goatsbeard Farm feta, lots of little yellow onions, 2 packages of DanJo Bakeries foccacia, and 4 acorn squash.

Though I haven't been documenting it, I have obtained a few other winter squash for storage in the past couple of weeks and also gotten more chiles to freeze. I need a few more sweet chiles and I was hoping to find some serranos to freeze, but I'm not sure that is going to happen. At least we have tons of jalapenos though!

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great weekend and keep your eyes posted for an onslaught of posts this week.

'Til next time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Not long ago, I was not a huge fan of the idea of soup during summer. It seemed to boggle my mind as to why someone would want to eat something hot, while it is hot.

Not too long ago, I got the craving for soup and made a recipe for the cookbook and it turned out that I actually loved soup in the summer. I like to eat light in the summer, I hate being really full when it is hot and humid outside, and soup is a great option and a way to take advantage of all the veggies of summer.

And who doesn't like tomato soup? I've always been a huge fan of tomato soup, but I think I have outgrown the ability to eat Campbell's canned soups. Especially with all the gorgeous tomatoes available at the farmer's market. So I decided to try my hand at making a home-made tomato soup and it wasn't bad at all. In fact, it was pretty darn tasty!


(Sorry for the crummy picture.)

The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
6 red tomatoes, cored **
1 heirloom tomato (we used a pink variety), cored *
1 yellow onion, skin removed **
1 head of garlic, top removed to expose some of the garlic clove
3-4 tbsp. canola oil
salt
pepper
1 cup veggie broth
1 cup non-dairy or cow's milk
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped ***

Preheat oven to 400.

Drizzle oil over tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for about 30 minutes, turning the onion about halfway through. Be watchful, you don't want to overcook the tomato.

Peel garlic cloves and transfer the veggies and veggie broth to a blender or food process. Blend until very smooth.

Strain mixture through a wire mesh strainer into a small pan on medium heat on the stove. (We fed the left over pulp that remained after straining to the worms, and they liked it!)

Add the milk and basil and heat through.

Serve with crackers, bread, or the classic grilled cheese sandwich.

Yum!

'Til next time!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Simple Roasted Veggie Quesadillas

I believe I promised to post about these a week or two ago, but alas, I suck and am have been a bad blogger, but hey - better late than never right?

I am a self-taught cook, and have also "developed" my own palette, and one thing I continually discover is that the simplest things are not only often the best, but in a strange way they are also the hardest. It is because with fewer ingredients there is less room for error, you can't cover up an overcooked tomato if tomato is one of three ingredients in the dish. Anyway, there were no mishaps in this little simplistic kitchen adventure, but I have had my fair share. This isn't really anything special, but it is a great combination of flavors and textures that really showcase all the abundance that is available at this time of year.


The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Simple Roasted Veggie Quesadillas:
1 yellow summer squash, ends removed **
1 red bell pepper, washed **
2 tomatillos, husked and washed ***
2 serranos, seeded and minced ***
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, sliced thin *
4-6 tbsp. canola oil, divided evenly
salt
pepper
flour tortillas
queso fresco or non-dairy "cheese"
salsa *

Preheat oven to 400.

Drizzle half the canola oil over squash, bell pepper, and tomatillos. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast in oven for about 30 minutes, turning the veggies about half way through to get even cooking.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a skillet. Add the serranos, garlic, and onions, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

When veggies come out of the oven, allow the veggies to cool. Once cool enough to handle, chop the stem off the bell pepper, peel it (the skin should slide off easily), remove the seeds, and slice. Slice the squash and tomatillos.

Layer veggies and cheese in a warmed flour tortilla and fry if desired. Serve with salsa - the hotter the better.

'Til next time.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Two Weeks of Local Booty - Garden Grub, CSA, and Farmer's Market - September 5th and 12th, 2009 (aka J Sucks)

So, um, yeah, I suck, I'll admit it - I've been a bad blogger as of late. I realized mid-week last week that I never did a local booty update last weekend (and we got some really good stuff!).

Not to worry though, my reasons for my lack of blogging are not necessarily bad ones. First off, I have been really into writing. I had been working on one fiction piece, a more serious work, and got bogged down with it. So I put it down and began to pursue another idea I had and it has just been pouring out of me. At the current moment, I am up to page 33 and I am very pleased with it. With my more serious work, I saw its potential, but I also knew it was going to take an awful lot of work to make it something I could be proud of. And in all honesty, the subject material, while initially therapeutic, began to get a little depressing and I decided to put it down. That wasn't easy for me to do, as I like to finish things, but I knew if I continued to force myself, what I produced wasn't going to be very good.

So I put it down and began to work on a piece with a plot that wasn't quite so close to home. It is funny, quirky, and I have had a blast writing it. The writing is coming quite naturally and I think it might actually be, well, decent. In all honesty, I wasn't really expecting that. But when I began reading over what I had written to edit it, I found myself interested in the plot, in the characters. When I discussed it with Brett, he seemed really into it, making comments along the lines of "that sounds like something you would actually want to read". That might sound really lame, but it is harder to do that one might imagine, and in all honesty, I read a lot, there is a lot of crap out there. More crap than quality.

What I've discovered too, with some of my favorite books, TV shows, movies, is that humor can be used in very interesting ways. For example, one can broach and incredibly difficult topic like religion in a light, non-offensive way, while still making a point. Daily life for average folks is also fun to write about because we are all secretly closet weirdos with strange hobbies, habits, and behaviors. I've always been one to say that the ordinary, when looked at closely, is almost always more interesting than the extraordinary.

Anyway, along with writing, I have also been firmly ensconced in reading mode. Like I noted above, there is a lot of crap out there. If any of you actually look at the 'Books J's Read - 2009' list, you will notice that not a lot of the fiction books are rated very highly. This might also make you wonder why I bother to read books that I know I wouldn't rate highly. The explanation for that is fairly straight forward, to me a good book is one that is novel, well written, not predictable, one that makes me think or laugh, with solid characters, good plots, and whenever possible, a good dose of humor. But, a book doesn't have to be an award winning or best selling work to be entertaining, and I think entertainment, the light and fluffy variety are fun too. So while I wouldn't never dare to call a lot of what I read literature, I still enjoy it in its own right. (And I am always open to book suggestions, if you have 'em, send 'em my way.)

Occasionally, very occasionally, I come across something really good, and I rate it accordingly. These are books that I wouldn't be afraid to recommend or defend the merits of to a friend. My tastes in books is also just that - my taste. You all might disagree with my ratings and would have valid reasons for doing so. I will admit that I am much more forgiving of non-fiction than I am fiction. Even if a non-fiction work isn't all that interesting, if I learn something, something of value, a new perspective, whatever, I am going to give it a high rating even if the person has a tendency to have really freakin' long paragraphs and horrible punctuation (like the first edition of Clive Ponting's awesome environmental history novel A Green History of the World).

Anyway, I will admit that I have also been into watching old episodes of Iron Chef lately too. So all and all, those are my excuses.

Since I didn't post a local booty update last weekend, I am going to do last week's and this week's in one post.

We got some garden grub last weekend from our container garden:


Starting from the bottom right: a hot Hungarian wax chile, a sweet banana, 15 serranos, and 2 more cayennes.

Here is last weeks CSA:


Starting from the bottom right: a green bell pepper, a red bell pepper, a small yellow summer squash, a large yellow onion, and 4 tomatoes.

And this week's Danjo Farms quarter veggie CSA share:


Starting again from the bottom right: a cucumber, a zucchini, 2 yellow onions, 4 tomatoes, 2 New Mexico chiles, and 5 ears of sweet corn.

Here is our farmer's market haul from last week:


Again from the bottom right: a quart of jalapenos from Danjo Farms (I froze them for use over the winter), cilantro, fingerling potatoes, an heirloom tomato (we didn't catch what variety), and two gorgeous acorn squash (one of which has been roasted with pure maple syrup, cinnamon, and a touch of brown sugar, so yummy).

And this week's farmer's market haul:


Okay so this is the best picture of this week's farmer's market loot and it is at kind of an odd angle, I apologize.

Let's start from the rightish area: a quart of banana peppers from Danjo Farms (going to be frozen for use over winter), home-made focaccia from Danjo Farms (more on that below), sundried tomatoes from Danjo Farms (what can I say? we are loyal and their stuff rocks), a pie pumpkin (I broke the stem off because I needed it to fit in my bag without puncturing everything else and we plan on eating it soon), and one freakin' massive sweet potato.

A note on the focaccia: anyone in Columbia with a heartbeat, get to Danjo Farms stand and try their focaccia - but don't buy too much, leave some for 'ol J&B. I'm not normally one to be out there championing people to buy things, but there are rare times that come along where it would be wrong not to share. This stuff is so good I cannot begin to describe to you how wonderful it is. I want a focaccia share - now there is an idea. Seriously though, this bread is amazing, both B and I agree that it is probably the best bread we've every had - light, fluffy, slightly chewy, with just enough seasoning so as not to overpower the tastiness that is good home-made bread. Mmmmmm.

So, I promise to try to be a better blogger, though I am really into the writing and I apologize in advance to poor Selina for having to read my long winded ramblings.

J's Song of the Day:
"Elevator is Temporary" - The Lilys

Have a great weekend everyone!

'Til next time!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Garden Grub and CSA - August 29, 2009

It has been a wonderful, lazy weekend for us here in Mid-Missouri - a little reading, a little writing, lots of yacking, some programming, pretty much the usual. I actually read a couple of really good fiction titles this weekend - they are some of the few fiction titles that I gave decent ratings on the "Books J's Read - 2009" post. I am pretty tough of fiction as there is a lot of crap out there, it can still be entertaining, but that doesn't mean I think it is quality writing that is worth a high rating.

Moving on.

The weather has been mild, and our walk to market yesterday was probably the most gorgeous thus far. We didn't get very much, yet again, but I will be getting more grub next week to start testing out some of the "fall recipes" for the cookbook.

We got some garden grub this week too! I hate to say it, but our community garden efforts have been, well, a complete failure this year. We have 11 tomato plants and have yet to see a tomato. We've seen lots of them rot though. I don't know if it is the weather or the moisture, or just us, but the tomatoes are tiny and they crack and rot before they are even fully red. I've given up and decided to just plan for market tomatoes. If we get some from our garden - great - but I won't expect it.

Anyways, our tomatillo plant didn't disappoint. We are going to have to go back down soon as there were quite a few tomatillos that were getting close, but not quite ready to be picked.


Check out about 2 1/8 lbs. of green husk tomatillos! I've already used a couple of them in a tasty quesadilla recipe I will be posting soon, the rest are either going to go in a soup or a sauce, I haven't quite decided yet.

Not pictured are two serranos I stole from the plant on our porch. I have included them in the Garden Harvest element on the sidebar though.

And here is our week sixteen DanJo Farms quarter share veggie CSA:


Starting from the bottom left: a red and green bell pepper, three tomatoes, two gorgeous yellow summer squash, two onions, a zucchini, and an English cucumber.

Yum!

Well, I'm off to do a little writing, and of course, a little reading. Have a great weekend!

'Til next time.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - CSA - August 22, 2009

So yeah, I have been a bit of a bum with the blog as of late - if anyone can tell. We went to the farmer's market last weekend and somewhere along the way, I completely forgot to post a local booty update, or anything else for that matter. It was a rough week, lots going on, but things are starting to settle down and I am looking forward to a weekend of reading, writing, and perhaps a bit of cooking as well. I have always loved writing and awhile back Selina and I started working on a creative writing project which really brought writing back to me, so I have been playing around with a little bit of fiction - nothing good really, but it has been a lot of fun to work on.

Anyways, we didn't get much at market this weekend - we just picked up our CSA. I am taking it a bit easy in the cooking department and our CSA was packed with goodies that all work for the rough meal plan I had going in my head. I'm thinking a nice Mexican-inspired creamy soup sounds nice...

But enough of my yammering, check our our week 15 DanJo Farms quarter CSA share:


















Starting from the bottom right: 2 tomatoes, a ripe jalapeno, a banana pepper, 4 New Mexico chiles (some ripe, one not), a cayenne, 2 sweet peppers, a yellow squash, a zucchini, an onion, and a mighty large acorn squash.

So as I mentioned earlier, we haven't been focusing all that much in the kitchen. I have been on a reading kick - if you look at the Books J's Read - 2009 post you will see how I spend a good deal of my time and have now been writing as well. Brett is working on programming a baseball simulation game he developed and is having a couple of friends help with the things needed for implementation. It is really exciting - I am so proud of him! I love seeing him so dedicated, so passionate about something he is doing. He has a really good concept for the game and it is an interface that hasn't been done yet but that fans of this genre have been interested in for years. Y'all might want to watch out, Brett could be the next big internet game designer, and you can say you knew him way back when... :-)

Maybe that will help to explain our absence in the blogosphere, we've both got our head in creative projects and often get sucked in for days at a time! But it is nice to use your mind, to be creative, and who knows what will come from it.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend.

'Til next time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Garden Grub, CSA, and Farmer's Market - August 8, 2009

Yesterday was one of the hottest days of the year, so that made our trip to the farmer's market a bit less pleasant than usual, but the variety available at market during the height of summer makes all the sweating and heat worth it. We even got a bit more garden grub this week. I think our chiles are finally starting to take off, though our tomatoes are suffering horribly from "brown thumb" and too much rain.

Anyways, check out our garden grub for this week:


12 more ripe cayennes to add to our ristra!


3/4 lb. Clemson Spineless Okra. We are going to have some fried okra with brunch and I am also making an Asian dish tonight I think some of this might find its way into.

And onto week 13 of our DanJo Farms quarter CSA share:


Starting from the bottom right: long green beans, a zucchini, a cucumber, a yellow pepper, an eggplant, a green bell pepper, and beet greens.

Here is this week's farmer's market haul. I don't remember exactly what this ran us, but I know it was less than $30.


Starting from the bottom right: epazote, 6 jalapenos, a quart of spicy, beautiful, and perfectly rip New Mexico chiles, 3 red bell peppers, 6 ears of sweet corn, yukon gold potatoes, red boiler onions, two yellow onions, and 4 tomatoes. Not pictured is a bunch of cilantro that for some reason didn't make it into the photo.

We have some tasty eats in the works this week.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend - I wish it weren't almost over!

'Til next time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Farmer's Market and CSA - August 1, 2009 and Some Errant Eats

The Columbia Farmer's Market runs from 8-12 every Saturday morning. We generally try to get there as early as possible for two people who like to sleep in, usually sometime between 9:30-10:00. Well, I woke up this morning to rain pouring down, only to realize that I had left our only umbrella in my office at work. Drat! So we waited awhile, a bit worried that there wasn't going to be much left at market by the time we got there, but resigning ourselves to the fact that, well, Mother Nature is going to do what she does. The rain let up and we headed to market at 11:00 to find it packed - with both people and produce.

I overheard a conversation at Brett's preferred meat vendor that the rain had driven everyone away and there was a good span of time with few patrons. Once the rain let up, folks ventured back out and it was pretty darn packed when we were there. But needless to say, we were still able to find everything we wanted. Wahoo for that!

I have been a bit lazy in the kitchen these past couple of weeks - cooking yes, but not anything very involved or for our cookbook. That is about to change this week, I've got tons of fresh and tasty ingredients to work with and an arsenal of recipes I've created for the cookbook to try out. I am getting hungry just thinking about it!

Anywho - check out our week 12 DanJo Farms quarter CSA veggie share:


Let's start from the left this week: a zucchini, two cucumbers, 2 tomatoes, some rosemary, some long green beans, a red bell peppers, and a yellow bell pepper.

And this week's farmer's market booty:


Starting from the top left: 4 ears of sweet corn, cilantro, 4 large-ish yellow potatoes, 1 lb. Sho-Me-Farms beef for Brett, squash blossoms, 6 tomatoes, 2 heads of Bogatyr garlic and 1 Georgian Fire garlic from Chert Hollow Farm, 5 fish chiles, 2 gypsy peppers, and 3 Anaheim chiles.

I had mentioned last week that I would take some pictures and do a "some of what we ate this week" post, and I did take pictures, I just never got around to posting it, so here she be.


This was something that was just supposed to be a quick, after work, weeknight meal, but it ended up being so tasty, it is going to be considered for inclusion in the cookbook.

It is black beans, with veggies and seasonings, roasted yellow zucchini, and cotija cheese.


This was my falafel plate which included homemade falafel, local feta cheese (turns out goat cheese doesn't really stuff me up), local tomato, kalamata olives, homemade hummus, local cucumbers, lettuce, pickled peppers from Selina, and a pita.


This was Brett's gyro.


Tomato bruschetta on Uprise Bakery ciabattini. The tomatoes, garlic, and onion were from the market, the basil was from our garden, salt and olive oil from the store.


And finally Brett's garlic and herb Boursin and local veggie sandwich.

Well, I am off to make some bagel sandwiches with local veggies for a quick lunch, and then I will be spending the rest of my day reading novels - one published, one from someone who very soon could be published. That is my idea of a darn fun day.

Have a great weekend everyone!

J's Song of the Day:
"Caravan" - Chet Atkins and Les Paul

'Til next time.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekly Local Booty - Garden Grub, CSA, and Farmer's Market - July 25, 2009

Well, my cold decided to stick around for most of the week, which means I didn't cook very much. I made a couple of rounds of fried zucchini, we ate lots of tomatoes and salt, but aside from that, Brett was doing "husband duty" and keeping me loaded down with soup, orange juice, and plenty of tissues.

With that said, happily, I am feeling much better. We still had quite a bit left from the farmer's market last weekend, so we didn't need to pick up much today. I've got plans this week for some things we have been craving for awhile.

Selina has been torturing me via email with her tales of her wonderful-sounding roasted squash, onion, and hummus sandwiches on sourdough rolls. This got me to thinking hummus, which also got me to thinking falafel, which in turn got me to thinking about Greek salads. So needless to say, I am going to make a batch of Classic Hummus, falafel, tzatziki, and keep plenty of cut tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled peppers, and kalamata olives around. I also have the fixin's to make her roasted veggie and hummus sandwiches. We've also been craving our Super Easy Tasty Taco Salad, so I am going to make up a batch of Traditional Refried Beans and season up some cooked green lentils with fresh garlic, onions, chiles (sweet and hot), cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper and we are going to have taco salad with some local Country Goodies hot salsa. While I'm not planning on working on any cookbook tester recipes this week, we are going to be eating some damn tasty grub, starting with a bruschetta I am making as sooon as I am done with this post. Stay tuned, I'll take pictures and take a cue from Heather from Simple-Green-Frugal and her Market to Table posts (so drool worthy, I am telling you), and do a little "what we've eaten this week" kind of post - that is if I don't go all lazy on y'all. :-)

Anywho, our cayenne plant is working overtime! Check it out:


Another 13 gorgeous cayenne peppers.

When we were at the community garden last week, a fellow gardener was there as well. She tends to at least half a dozen plots and as a result has far more produce than she and her husband can handle, so she gives away the excess to her fellow gardeners, check out what she gave us:


First off, how cool is it that she shared? As soon as our gardens start to produce, if she is ever there with us again, we'll try to share as well. Though I'm not sure there is much we are growing that she isn't. Starting from the bottom right: a ripe banana pepper, 3 gypsy peppers, onions, baby garlic, a tomato, and a cucumber.

And here is our week 11, DanJo Farms quarter CSA veggie share:


We seriously get hooked up, I am so pleased with our CSA, the variety, the quality, and the farmer's themselves. I have heard horror stories of CSA's filled with limp and rotting vegetables, no shares at all, but we've been nothing but happy with DanJo Farm. I just wish we could afford a fruit share as well. Sigh. Someday maybe...

Starting from the bottom right: 3 tomatoes, boiler onions, a cucumber, 2 sweet peppers, a cantaloupe (!!!!!), a head of cabbage, a zucchini, and a summer squash.

Here is this week's farmer's market haul. Most of this, obviously, was for Brett. As I mentioned earlier, we still have a lot of stuff from market last week, and with our CSA share, we didn't need much from the general farmer's market area. This haul ran us $37.


Starting from the bottom right: a pound of Susie's Grass Fed Meats gyro meat (on a plastic bag so it doen't drip anything icky on our chair), a pound of Sho-Me-Farms ground beef (on the plastic bag for the same reason), Goatsbeard Farm feta, 2 bulbs of garlic from Chert Hollow Farm - one German Extra Hardy and the other Bogatyr, Country Goodies hot and regular salsa, and a bag of Uprise Bakery ciabattini.

Well, I've got some cooking to do and then there is much laziness to be had, the weekend is still young.

J' Song of the Day:
"Long Line of Cars" - Cake

Have a great weekend everyone!

'Til next time!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Garden Update - Community Garden Pictures - 7/18/09; Container Garden Pictures 7/23/09

Wow, I have been horrible with the garden updates this year! We have had many 'a setbacks this time around and we have finally got things in fairly decent order.

Not sure if any of you recall or not, but we had two community garden plots at the beginning of the year. Now we have one. Let me explain why. You see, planning and attending a wedding during the first part of the growing season is just not the best idea. The plots got a little neglected with our being out of town and busy so often with wedding planning. So after the wedding, we went down to the garden and our plot with herbs, greens, squash, cucumbers, beans, and sugar snap peas was loaded with weeds. So we took to working on the weeds. We got about half way through the plot and realized there was no hay left to cover the plot with. We decided to wait a little while before really weeding to see if some hay would show up.

We wrote the community garden coordinator who said he would get some more hay to the garden whenever he had the time. These wonderful folks also have full-time jobs and family and other obligations and yet take their time to do something like make sure folks have what they need at the community garden. Anyway, it ended up taking a few weeks for him to get around to retrieving and delivering the hay. In that time, we just neglected the plot more as we would not have been able to keep up with the weeds due to constant rain, and we don't have a car, it isn't as if we could go get our own ground cover. Needless to say, we went back to look at the plots and the plot with the squash and such was just overrun. The plants were being choked out by all the grass and it was really beyond repair. Our tomato, tomatillo, carrot, and okra plot was, however, salvagable. As much as we didn't want to do it, we wrote to the community garden coordinator and asked him if he would till up the plot for someone else to use or for use next year.

So last week, with hay being available and the time being right, we went down and took care of our other plot. It was a few hours of intense weeding, but we got the plot weeded, hay put down, and all the plants tied up or tied to tomato cages. We only had one bit of trouble with our second and now only plot. Brett had gone down last Friday to begin the task, as it was a big one, crab grass really gets rooted and is hard to get out. He did about a quarter of the plot, and left our tools, tomato cages, and stakes down in the plot so we could go finish the next day. We had two tomatillo plants, one near each end of the plot. Now sadly, I didn't get to see this tomatillo plant before it was too late, but one had reached a massive height of about 4 feet tall and was loaded down with blooms. It was also hanging a bit over into the neighbors plot. Not a big deal, thought Brett, since we were coming down the next day to finish taking care of it, and our plot had been seemingly unattended for weeks prior and nobody had bothered it. Well the next day when we went to finish the job, Brett found our prized tomatillo plant ripped out of the ground and laying next to our plot. Our neighbor thought it was a weed and pulled it. We were a bit pissed as tomatillos really don't look anything like weeds and why now? Why after it had been in his plot for weeks did he decide when we were actually staking up and taking care of the plot to rip it out? We sent out a respectful, but slightly angry email indicating that the proper course of action is to contact the community garden coordinator, not just start messing with other people's plots. But it was too little too late for that tomatillo. I guess on the bright side, we do still have one.

Okay, check out the selected pictures of the community garden plot. I am really lazy, I know, as these pictures were taken last Saturday.


Not the greatest picture, but it gives you an idea of what our plot now looks like.


This is our remaining tomatillo plant. It's just a regular 'ol green husk tomatillo plant.


It has a lot of fruit developing on it! It seems that the tomatillos plants are the bumble bees' favorite. They flock to this plant like I've never seen them do with other plants.


Some Moneymaker tomatoes.


Here is a picture of some nicer looking Moneymaker tomatoes.


Some lovely striped Tigerella tomatoes.


A bad picture of some okra.

The only thing I didn't get a picture of were the carrots. I'll try to remember to get a picture of them when we go down next time.

And on to the container garden.

A week or so ago, I checked last years' garden updates to try to gauge our pepper plants' progress at this point. It seemed like they were behind, and looking at our updates from last year, our hunch was substantiated. We started all but the serrano plants from seed this year and had a bit of trouble starting out. We weren't very on the ball with things - I was dealing with a bit of anxiety troubles and in February, gardening isn't always on the brain. So long story short, the seedlings that actually did take hold were started a few weeks later than they should have been. BUT, the plants are starting to flower and produce, so I can't complain too much. Gardening is a learning experience and I am just thankful that I don't rely on, for my livelihood, their doing well. We'd be in a bit of trouble if that were the case. :-0

So here are the pictures of the container garden that I took yesterday morning.






This cayenne plant, one of the few successful early starts has produced more already than our cayenne from last year did. And they are so darn good looking cayennes too. These are in various stages of ripening.


Here is another picture of the cayenne plant, you can see there are green ones, some that are starting to ripen, and some that are just about there.

I need to get off my lazy butt and get that ristra started!


Some jalapenos.


A blurry picture of a New Mexico chile.

Wow, I am stoked that I finally did a garden update. I gotta stop slacking so much. I mentioned, I believe, two weeks ago something about a cookbook teaser post I would be doing that I have still yet to do. I think I just have to accept it, I am lazy. So I will say this, I would like to get a cookbook teaser post up at some point in the near future. That is about as much detail as I am willing to give.

Happy Friday everyone!

'Til next time.