An Autumn Meal – Part 1

I know, it’s been a long time since I have posted on “The Dweeb” (that’s what all the cool people are calling it), but it’s been for good reason. Reasons I can’t get into right now, but I will soon. Well, by the end of the year, at least. So, anyway…
I noticed that I’ve been making up a lot of my recipes, so I decided to look in one of the millions (slight exaggeration) of cookbooks I own to make a new and delicious meal. This week I looked to my Orange County Bounty cookbook, which was gifted to me from my friend Marian.
OC Bounty
Yes, I am one of those “tabbers”!
I like this cookbook because the recipes are organized by season and the recipes revolve around the fresh local produce of that season. In the Fall section, and I found this great recipe for Stuffed Swiss Chard.
OC Bounty Open
Redactions for copyright reasons!
I have most of the ingredients already, yet it’s something different from my usual fare. I made a special effort to leave the recipe as it is and not change it around too-too much. Changes: from rice to quinoa – it’s always good to add a healthy protein and I only made enough for one serving (4 leaves for me!).
Here are the ingredients:
Mise En Place
I only mise en place for the camera (stuntin’)…Walnuts, celery, onion, cottage cheese, feta cheese, quinoa and an egg to act as a binder.
So I mixed it all up used it as stuffing in my rolled Swiss chard leaves…
Season Water
Season every layer!

After you roll the leaves you fill your baking dish halfway, with water. I decided to add some 21 Seasoning Salute to the water. If I had broth on hand, I’d probably use that for even more flavor.

I decided that I needed a side…and it had to fit in with the fall theme…AND it had to use my new crinkle cutting tool. So butternut squash it is! I was inspired by Instagram to make the squash fries…
Crinkle Cuts
Yay! Crinkle cutting tool! I saved the bulb-y part for soup…
I tossed the fries in a baggie with some olive oil, pink Himalayan salt and garlic powder…
Fry Prep
Fry prep!
I put both in the convection oven (it’s still too warm to use the regular oven!) at the same time, but the squash fries took slightly longer (and they would not have if they were in one, single layer)…
Ready for Oven
These colors make me happy!
After about 35 minutes the chard was done and 45 minutes, the fries were done…
Chard and Squash
Healthy and delicious! Yay!
This is such a colorful meal! It makes me so happy just looking at it, and I’m ecstatic tasting it (that’s why I’m a dweeb)!
I am enjoying this meal with an awesome seasonal beer from Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA).
Seasonal Beer
Yum!
I actually haven’t had beer in a few months (since a wedding) so this was really good and refreshing.
So, make this! It’s easy! Oh…what? Dessert you say? Well, okay then…
How could I make a fall meal, this beautiful, without dessert? I couldn’t!
Since October is National Apple Month: Hasselback Apples!
People are hasselbacking everything these days, so I thought “why not apples?” I thought I was being innovative until I looked it up on Pinterest. Yeah, other people have thought of this as well! So, here’s my take on it…
Hasselback Prep
Preppin’ like crazy today!
It is a pretty standard “crumble” recipe, on top of a half sliced apple. I used Cinnamon Oat Kodiak Cakes mix instead of regular flour and/or oats. That adds protein and lots of flavor. I used coconut oil instead of butter to form the crumble, just because I bought a new jar.
Golden Delicious apples are my favorite, so I used them of course!
Pour on the cinnamon blend (try to get in between the cuts, I actually let it cook for about 15 minutes and then when back in to put more of the mix inside the cuts) and cook for about 30-40 minutes. I covered my pan with another pan of the same size and added cinnamon water to the bottom of the pan so it would steam them a bit…
Hasselback Apple
NOM!
I topped it with some amazing Halo Top just for some extra autumn-ness!
Halo Top
Oatmeal Cookie, for more cinnamon and oatness!
So, now, enjoy! Make a day of this deliciousness!
I’ll be back next week with a fall recipe from another cookbook (that had been wasting away on the shelf!)…

Feel-Better Friday – Migraine Edition

I have been suffering from migraines since I was about 3 years old. I remember that first one like it was yesterday: I was at the doctor’s office with my mom, who was there for a well woman visit after having my brother (that’s how I know I was 3). The office was packed, and it was so.very.hot. I remember that hot, uncomfortable feeling so well because I have the same symptoms now. I felt sweaty and bloated – like my clothes were getting tighter and tighter, the lights in the office felt like they were pointing directly into my eyes, I could barely hold my head up or walk, almost like I was a drunken 3 year old, and I felt like I was going to toss my cookies. And I did. Right in the waiting room. The nurse gave me one of those teal, kidney shaped hospital-y bowls to vomit into.

Lovely story, I know. I actually went for YEARS having these headache/vomit combos. I started out having memorable ones at least twice a year and then, in my teen years, it was bi-monthly and as I got into my twenties, I started having them once a month. But, what were “these” headaches?

When I was younger, I just thought that I was a nervous person. When I was in elementary school, I would get them when I would stress out about something. Not real stress, things like “Am I going to get a part in the play?”, “Is Tanya still mad about what happened on the playground?”. I also noticed that I would get them when the seasons changed. When back-to-school time rolled around, I was always feeling like my new clothes were tightening up and that I was hot. I thought it was because of the weather AND the anticipation of the new school year (I was on to something). I was a “Nervous Nellie”, so what? Then, as a teen, I thought it was because I was hungry and tired. I was always on some weird diet when I was a teenager (Bagel and V8 Juice diet – blech), so I thought I just had low blood sugar. I used to stay up really late in high school too, so it was just a headache from being tired. Or, if it was weather related, I was having a sinus headache. When I’d eat something, I’d feel slightly better, even though I still had to lie down (another clue). Then, in my twenties, I started having them once a month. It was usually before my period, so I thought “PMS symptom”.

So, I made all of these diagnoses on myself. I was a nervous person, who had motion sickness, heat-and-sleep related sinus headaches, low blood sugar and PMS. On a regular basis. Same feeling, same symptoms. I just lived with it for years. At times, I couldn’t see or I had vertigo along with the headache. That was just a bad headache from not wearing my glasses. “Gotta wear those more…” I thought.

Then one day, when I turned 24, I got a job as a secretary at a high-stress, state run mental health clinic. One of the program coordinators had a particularly crazy meeting. She popped into the “clerical pool”, looking sweaty, worn out like she was about to vomit, when only about an hour prior she was dressed very well, make-up applied. This was a look I was all too familiar with.  She said breathlessly, “I need to take an Imitrex, I am having migraine!”.

DING-DING-DING!!!

The lights came on in a major way! So I looked it up “migraine symptoms” and it listed EVERYTHING I’d ever experienced. It even mentioned a little thing that I noticed, and thought that I was the only one who experienced it, excessive yawning! I thought I was the only one who could not stop yawning when I was about to have a head attack! It was a real revelation for me! I had no idea what was wrong, just an oddball headache sufferer and frequent vomiter (sorry to get graphic, but that’s how I migraine). It has a name – Migraine.

I went to the doctor and it was confirmed. I had a CT scan and nothing was there (rimshot!). She asked me if I wanted a prescription for it. I said, believe it or not, “No.” I had done my research and all of the prescription drugs offered for migraines had side effects worse than the migraine itself.

So, I opted to go for the “take some Advil and lie down in a dark room” route. I’ve been doing that ever since. And, while it doesn’t help prevent migraines altogether (I wish!), it helps ease the pain when I am going through the attack stage, and if I recognize the signs early enough, during prodrome.

I do try to catch my symptoms early, especially before going away or to work. But, sometimes they come on suddenly. This is why I carry The Migraine Kit!

Migraine Care Kit

As you can see, it has some OTC meds, some natural stuff, some clean up tools (migraines can get messy). Like…

  • Be Koool Soft Gel Sheets – They are for kids? So what! When your head is pounding and you cannot get cool any other way (if it’s brutally hot and humid, or you are on public transportation), this little sheet works. Put it wherever it feels good to your head. I say that because sometimes having something directly in the middle of your forehead feels like death (if you suffer from migraines, you know what I mean).
  • Natural Inhaler – Okay, this is one of those things that will work sometimes and will aggravate your headache other times. It depends on if smell is your trigger or not. Sometimes it is a trigger for me. For example, I was on a bus and a woman with heavy, musky perfume sat down beside me when there were several seats available. I actually had to ask her to move, which didn’t seem nice and I didn’t tell her why, BUT it would have been much worse for her (and me) if she didn’t move. Anyway, this inhaler has a menthol-eucalyptus smell that I really only like when I am having a migraine. Something about it is soothing, and it makes me feel cooler. If you can’t find a eucalyptus inhaler, just put some Vicks Vaporub on a tissue and put that into a baggie. You can sniff the baggie (some of this migraine stuff has to be done in private!)…
Migraine Care Kit - Inside
Before I put in the Be Koool…
  • Benadryl – This really works for me when I think that I’ll probably have a motion sickness related migraine (if it’s humid out and I didn’t get enough sleep before a train or plane ride). I know that most people think of Benadryl only as an allergy med (or sleeping pill), but it is great for migraines. I always make sure that I take two Benadryl before I get on a plane!
  • Advil LiquiGels – Ibuprofen is my preferred OTC migraine drug. I think that the liquigels work faster. It’s probably a mind over matter thing, but still.
  • Mouthwash, Tissues and Wipes – Necessary cleaning materials. I also make sure that I have paper towels and extra plastic bags in my car. I shouldn’t have to explain why.
Migraine Care Kit - Closed
This is just a 47 cent pencil case from Walmart!

I have two kits. I keep one in the backpack I carry all of the time and one in my car. If I change purses, I put the kit in the purse.

It seems like nothing, but this is important stuff. I have been stuck without things to help me over the years and it’s been pretty terrible. Any little thing that you can do to help yourself, DO IT.

This is what works for me, what it in your “Migraine Emergency Kit”?

 

 

Broccoli Frittata (Frittatleson!)…

This is coming to you a little late. I actually prepared this frittata last Sunday (9/3) and ate it with the zoodles on Tuesday (9/5). Things are a little cray, but, a great kinda cray!

Anyway! This is a very easy recipe, great for meal prepping.

I made one small frittata – I only used two eggs…

Wet Ingredients

To the eggs, I added:

  • 2 tablespoons of chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese 
  • The smidgiest-smidge of baking powder (I have a fear of flat frittatas!)

Yes! I did give up cheeses, mainly of the soft variety, because I think I was overdoing it in the “cheese is low carb” department. It is low carb, but it’s not the best choice to make if you are looking for something salty/fatty/healthy. Cheese is salty and fatty and can curb hunger, however, not so healthy. I’ve decided that I should go for avocados, nuts and olives to satisfy that fatty need. BUT, I use parmesan as more of a seasoning. I don’t feel the need to eat a cup of parmesan in one sitting – like I have to stop myself from doing with a block of mild cheddar…Speaking of seasonings…

Spices
The “Spice Trinity”…

I add several shakes of each to my egg mixture. Plus, I had some leftover broccoli, which I added as well…

Broccoli

I, most definitely, sprayed my 3-cup Pyrex dish with Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray…

Pan Sprayed
No sticking!

I popped it in the convection oven for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

It comes out like this…

Finished

Yummy! I cut it into triangles to serve, on a bed of zoodles…

Whole Meal

So easy, so delicious! The chickpea flour makes it almost into an egg pancake. It’s not quite as flat as one though, and it’s not as airy as a quiche. It’s so good! I had the other two wedges the next day, so this dish keeps nicely for meal prep (I also had it with zoodles – it was a zoodly week…)…

Enjoy!

OH! Frittatleson! – That’s a family joke. When we don’t remember someone’s last name we’ll say its Frittatleson. If we don’t know their name at all, they become Abe Frittatleson. We are all dweebs!

 

Random Music Survey!

Remember I said that I’d talk about music sometimes? Well, today is that day! I found a music survey that I liked so I decided to complete (most of) it with my own answers. I don’t use quotation marks because this is not an English term paper. Fun stuff…

1. What are you listening to right now?

Love Don’t Live Here Anymore by Rose Royce — I have my old iPod Touch on shuffle and that came on. This is one of the songs in my vocal range, so I enjoy singing along and being dramatic (this song is dramatic as hell). You know how that is (I think?). Madonna is a fan of the song also, she covered it for two of her albums (Like a Virgin and Something to Remember). I the instrumentation, back when whole orchestras backed a group. It sounds like percussion done by Hit Stix though…

2. What song(s) make(s) you sad?

That changes from day to day. Seriously. When I broke up with a musician I was upset because he ruined all of my favorite songs (he used to sing to me – blech). The whole U2 catalog would upset me. I’m over that. Okay – Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler. That song was written to make you sad though. I’m trying to think of something odd that makes me sad…hmm…okay…Like a Stone by Audioslave. I shouldn’t have to explain why. Oh, and Bruises by Chairlift. There used to be this viral video of a mother squirrel and a baby squirrel trying to climb up rocks and this song was the background. Every time the song comes on I get a little teary. It’s not sadness though (the squirrels were fine), it’s just emotional.

3. What is the most annoying song in the world?

Okay…I love this song, but, especially being the month that it is, September by Earth, Wind and Fire. Haha! Only because my family and I say “Bah-Dee-Ya” to each other, text it to each other, send made up memes to each other and I end up singing it for the rest of the day. It’s a total earworm.

4. Your all time favorite band?

It’s actually a toss-up between U2 and The Cure. U2 used to edge them out (no pun intended – ha!), but Lovesong was always my favorite song. Number one favorite song, no ties for first place there for 30 years now. Now I find myself listening to The Cure more than U2.

5. Best female voice?

Donna Summer. Hands down. She sings with such an ease – there is no straining or caterwauling. She sounds like she’s just effortlessly having a sing-songy conversation. That’s what I like in a female voice. That’s why Adele and Mariah Carey’s voices bother me so (Mariah, a little less, but I can’t stand Adele’s voice). I love Diana Ross also. I mean, she can talk through a song with her voice and it’s incredible. Tori Amos, love her voice. She’s another good-range-sing-along for me. I say that as Pretty Good Year plays on my iPod. Karen Carpenter. She’s can freaking play the drums while singing with that smooth voice. Tracey Thorn from Everything But the Girl has a crazy smoothness that I love. Bjork has a unique voice that I really love.

6. Best male voice?

Steve Perry from Journey. Seriously. I was a fan before the whole “Don’t Stop Believin'” craze. What’s funny is – I like my male singers with some straining and scratch.  Eddie Vedder’s voice I like. Chris Cornell – of course! Okay, here’s a smooth male singer – Freddie Mercury. I like Marvin Gaye’s smoothness too, especially in that song (one of my all time favorites).

7. Music type you find yourself listening to most?

Anything rock and the rock sub-genres. Although, I find myself listening to older R&B a lot more now. I think it’s because I have that old lady nostalgia kicking in. I mean, I listen to Vanessa Williams Dreamin’, Lisa Fischer How Can I Ease the Pain and Ralph Tresvant Sensitivity like “They don’t make songs like this no more! That is CLASSIC! They didn’t have to take off their clothes (sorry, Vanessa)! You could understand what they were saying!” The whole old lady schpeal. By the way, Selena did a pretty good Sensitivity.

8. What do you listen to, to hype you up?

Dance music! Like old house music, 90s dance stuff. Corona Rhythm of the Night, anything by Expose, Show Me Love by Robin S. I’m like one of the Night at the Roxbury guys that way. Oh yeah! Plus What’s My Name by DMX. I feel crazy after that. Or even, Party Up and One More Road to Cross. The entire …And Then There Was X album, I guess. When I was feeling stifled at work a while ago (yeah, that’s a good way to put it), I actually had to tell myself not to listen to Party Up during my commute. Haha!

9. What do you listen to when you want to calm down?

70’s Soft Rock – Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Elton John (“…Mars ain’t the kinda place to raise you kids, in fact it’s cold as hell…” Love that entire verse!), Fleetwood Mac, etc. BUT – my main “Calm Down, Erika” song is Hey Jude. Whenever something is stressing me out I either listen to it, if I have a device around, but most of the time I sing it to myself. The entire thing, “na-na na na” and all. I even call it my “Hey Jude Meditation”! the lyrics even have an inspiring and calming effect “…it’s just you, hey Jude you’ll do, the movement you need is your shoulder…”

10. Last gig/concert you went to?

Rachel Barton Pine at the Bardavon Opera house last year. More recently, the Susan Tobocman Jazz Quartet at The Flatiron Room in June (I was on a swanky date).

11. Band you find yourself listening to the most right now?

My car still has a CD player – a six disc changer at that – so I pretty much keep the same cds in my car. U2 Greatest Hits, The Police – Every Breath You Take: The Singles, The Cure – Mixed Up and The Cure – Galore. The other two cds I rotate with old r&b compilation cds or dance music compilations. I listen to old stuff from high school a lot more now.

12. Most hated band?

I don’t really hate a band. I usually just hate some song by a band, and even then I’ll end up knowing all of the lyrics.

13. Song that makes you think?

For the Love of Money by the O’Jays. It’s pretty clear what the song is about, I’m just always puzzled that it has been used positively in so many commercials over the years, just because of the catchy “Money Money Money…” part. Didn’t they ever see New Jack City? I even heard someone play the bass line in a church as the collection plate was being passed. He was being funny, but…

OH! And all of the street harassment songs. Yeah, there are so many songs that make street harassment seems like a cute, funny thing. It’s not. Examples: I Got a Man by Positive K, Nu-Nu by Liddel Townsell and, I hate to say it, but That Lady by The Isley Brothers. That Lady is my jam though. I will car dance embarrassingly to that whenever it comes on.

14. Band that you think the world should love as much as you do?

The Spinners. Okay. I know that they are well loved in the black community, but they had to have an Unsung episode. Come on now.

15. Coolest music video?

Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel was so cool to me back in the late 80s. It used to scare my cousin too, so that made it even better (heh heh – evil laugh).

Now, I talk about how much I dislike this person, but 7/11 by Beyonce. My cousin (same cousin) and I have the moves down and she calls it “The Beyonce Workout”! I like it, because it shows her playful side (eww, that sounded fan-like, but I’m not at all). I like Solange a lot though, and I love the video for Losing You. It makes me want to be my awkward self in South Africa. I want that brick suit.

Janet Jackson’s Pleasure Principle! She’s just so cool in this video. I wanted to be in a warehouse, all alone, dancing aggressively. I remember when I was about 7 or 8 and my mom was straightening my hair with the hot comb. We were sitting by the hot stove and I said to her “I want my hair as straight as Janet Jackson’s in the Pleasure Principle video!” She said, “As straight as her WIG!” I was taken aback. It was then that I knew my mom was a hater. Ha!

16. Music video with the most babe watch?

Another Janet one. Even though this guy is a Republican (that matters), Antonio Sabato Jr. was so cute in this video! I don’t know. Give It To You by Jordan “Leather Wearin’ in the Summertime” Knight! Ha! I haven’t watched videos in a while. Plus, this is a silly question.

17. What do you play/would you play in the bedroom to spice things up?

I really don’t know. I get hyped up in a different way from music – I just want to listen to more of it and sing along and dance not, you know. I remember when I was about 14, before I was acquainted with “bedroom spice”, my best friend and I thought that Enigma’s MCMXC a.D. was the perfect album to lose your virginity to. I guess we’d seen Sliver too many times. Yeah. No. I still laugh a little to myself when Sadeness Part 1 comes on my iPod!

18. Can you play a musical instrument?

My voice, I guess. My brother and I actually have “perfect pitch”. It’s funny. I was the only one who could sing around him, without him getting mad, when he was younger.

19. Ever been in a mosh pit?

Nope, never.

20. Are you in a band?

Nope.

21. Last song that you heard on the radio/CD…etc…?

Well, I am listening to Enigma now for a laugh! Callas Went Away

22. What do you think of Classical music?

I love it! I have actually attended more classical music concerts than I have of any other genre.

23. What do you think of Country music?

It’s okay. I like Patsy Cline a lot. That smooth voice of course. Crazy is an amazing karaoke song, and I like Dolly Parton, of course. Fancy by Reba McEntire is a great song. At one point Georgia by Hanson was the number one most played song on my famous iPod (so proud). I went to the Grand Ole Opry last year, and I saw Exile, Charles Esten and Carrie Underwood. It was a great experience, but I wasn’t like “F–k yeah! Country! Woo!” Maybe I am an undercover country fan, I don’t know. I don’t hate it.

OH! Elvira was my favorite song when I was 3 or 4 years old! I think I liked the guy with the deep voice. Okay, I LOVE THIS! I remember when music wasn’t as segregated as it is now. Dolly Parton was on regular radio and Hee Haw was awesome…Those were the days!

24. Do you listen to music in foreign languages?

Yes! I love world music. I love this medley from Brazil. It is in heavy rotation on the epic iPod. I like flamenco as well (I once dated a guy who played the flamenco guitar – that’s how I was exposed). I love this – three generations of flamenco singers! Their voices are so similar, love it.

25. Funny concert moment?

Ben Folds at Bohagers in Baltimore, 2001. The entire show was just hilarious! It was like half stand-up, half music and it was awesome. He pulled out his keytar and starting making up songs. Great show!

26. What do/did your parents listen to?

My dad used to buy every top 40 album there was back in the 80s. He wasn’t a real music fan. My mom though, she listened to Aerosmith, Hall and Oates, America, Rick James, Charlie Rich – a real mix. I know all of the words on Hall and Oates Rock ‘n Soul Part 1. I still love Private Eyes. My little brother used to sing the lyrics to Kiss on My List as “Because your HIPPOPOTAMUS, is the best thing in life…” I still sing those lyrics sometimes. America is one of my favorite bands too. I have been influenced!

27. Songs that give you the chills

I have an actual eargasm when I hear Someday We’ll Be Together by The Supremes. Lots of songs do it to me sometimes, but that ALWAYS makes the hair on my arms stand up. It’s such a well done masterpiece, from beginning to end. I Heard it Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, does it a lot, too. OH! And I Want You Back by The Jackson 5! Go Motown! When Linda Ronstadt did Ooh Baby Baby, that’s another one that gives me chills. I’m sure there’s more. There is! Electric Feel by MGMT,  Midnight City by M83.

28. Do you listen to rap?

Yes. Nothing super new though, and with rap there is always something new so I’m way behind. The latest “album” I bought was Drake’s More Life and I listened to Passionfruit over and over again like a teenager. I like Drake (of course, I’m a girl). It’s cute to see and listen to his sensitivity from afar, as opposed to actually dealing with someone like him in real life. He’s such a dweeb (that’s a compliment)! I mean, he wrote an entire song that is basically “I had sex with Jennifer Lopez”! Ha! Dork! I agree with Chris D’elia’s assessment of Drake though.

I do like Kanye, despite his life. 808s & Heartbreak is like a dark comedy, brilliant. I know he was in a lot of pain at the time, but this album makes me laugh, like a wtf laugh. Imagine if your psycho ex had access to a recording studio, it would sound a little like 808s & Heartbreak. When I hear Paranoid, I’m like “I think my ex said this projected crap to me – word for word!”. It’s genius.

So, there were more questions but I cut them out. I’m sure I’ll do another music survey again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burmese Tofu!

I don’t really remember how I got obsessed with making Burmese tofu. I think I was reading about how terrible soy is for women (especially if you have hormonal dysfunctions like I, and so many women, do), and I was looking around for a substitute (probably, sounds like me). I do remember this was several months ago. I have been wanting to make this recipe for a while now. I had the bag of chickpea flour, just waiting in the wings. When I started making mug cakes and waffles with the flour I knew I had to use it for what I originally bought it for (because I would end up making 101 chickpea mug cakes and no tofu). So, here’s how I started…

Ingredients
First time using pano on my phone and it’s for food!

The ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Flour
  • 3 Cups of water
  • Several shakes of turmeric
  • Two shakes of crushed red pepper
  • As much garlic as you can stand in your cooking (I can stand a lot!)
  • About four grinds of Himalayan Pink Salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper

As you can see, I’m really precise (heh). The most important thing is the flour and the water – you can season this however you like. Some people use broth or stock in place of water and, hey, if I had some I’d probably use that too. So, you boil two cups of the water and, in the meantime and in a separate bowl:

  • Blend the flour, and the spices, with the remaining cup of water.

Once the two cups of water have reached a rolling boil, add the flour/spice/water mixture. It’ll look like this:

Mixed Tofu
Glossy…

So, you have to whisk-whisk-whisk away to get rid of any lumps and until the mixture looks glossy (like it goes in the picture). You are now ready to pour the mixture into your prepared pan. To get your pan ready, line it with parchment paper. I used an 8×8 Pyrex pan.

Spread Tofu
Smooth it better than I did! I should’ve used a bigger pan…

Smooth it out in your pan, using a spoon or a spatula.

Then, once it’s spread out in the pan, let it sit until it gets room temperature (so condensation doesn’t form when you put it in the fridge). Which brings us to the next step: put it in the fridge! I let it sit out for about an hour and put it in the fridge for about three hours and I got this:

Refrigerated Tofu

After it firms up in the fridge, you can cut up your tofu in any shape you want for your dishes. I cut mine two ways – in triangles and small rhombuses (yup, I said “rhombuses” – wait, is it “rhombuses” or “rhombi”?).

Stir Fry Pieces
Rhombuses (rhombi), for stir-fry…

Here I am frying the triangles in some olive oil:

Golden Brown
Try not to use too much oil – these are like little sponges…

They are SUPER YUMMY! Take a look at this:

Cooked
Golden brown and delicious!

Crisp on the outside, a little soft on the inside. Seasoned perfectly (if I do say so myself)!

So, I made some meals with it:

Meals

I will most definitely share my stir-fry on Instagram!

So this was an easy, delicious recipe. A success! I can add this one to my repertoire, change it up a bit, make different sides. A great soy substitute!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Saturday Waffle: Squash Waffle!

Yay! It’s Saturday! For today’s waffle I decided to go with something a little autumn-like, a little pumpkin spice-like: The Squash Waffle!

I started with some frozen winter squash that I got from Hannaford (my second favorite supermarket after Trader Joe’s)…

Frozen Squash

I defrosted the squash in the microwave. It took about 5 minutes. In the meantime, I got my dry ingredients together…

SW Dry

  • Scant 1/4 cup of garbanzo bean flour
  • 2 scoops of Bodylogix Natural Whey Protein Powder in Snickerdoodle
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of baking powder

I am crazy with the baking powder. You can always use a little less, but I’m always afraid that my protein pancakes/waffles wont rise, but they always do!

Then I add the wet stuff…

SW Wet

  • Stevia – 1 packet
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon of flax meal + 3 tablespoons of water – let sit in fridge for 30 minutes to gel up)
  • 2 tablespoons of plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of the defrosted winter squash

I ended up adding a few more shakes of cinnamon and about a tablespoon more of squash as I was blending the batter. I wanted it to taste really spicy.

As I waited for the batter to become a waffle in the waffle iron (I’m sure there’s a better way to say that) – OH – While I waited for my waffle to cook, I made a small fig shake…

Fig Smoothie

I had some figs that were starting to get too-too soft so I wanted to use them up today. I had a vanilla fig smoothie yesterday morning and it was incredible. Today, I am leaving out the protein powder that I used yesterday and I’m making more of a shake.

  • 3 figs
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seed
  • 1 scoop of MSM powder (my MSM comes with a tiny scoop)
  • 1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • A couple of drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 packet of stevia
  • Ice
  • Unsweetened almond milk (till you reach the fill line)

Here is breakfast!

Squash Waffle and Fig Smoothie

I added some Greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon on top, along with Walden Farms Pancake Syrup (that’s not quite clean, but it’s a syrup with no sugar and no calories!).

To be honest, I wish I had oats to make oat flour for this recipe because the garbanzo bean flour gave it a savory taste, so I should have added even more cinnamon and stevia. Live and learn! Now you’ll know if you try this recipe – use more sweeteners if you use garbanzo bean flour in a sweet dish!

Enjoy!

Eclipse Mode…

The eclipse has passed, but I still managed to complete a couple of “rituals” that are supported by the energy of the eclipse. The first thing that I did was break out my crystals

Crystals
I took them outside right before the eclipse, notice the shadows…

…Hematite and petrified wood to be exact. Both of these crystals bring forth a calming energy. I really need that right now. I am doing a lot right now and I need to chill out about it. It’ll be wonderful.

Hematite is great for grounding and stability and the petrified wood is great for easing worries and bringing about good fortune in business ventures (yay!). OKAY – so, about the crystals. Yes, I believe that if I believe that they are bringing the energy that they are supposed to bring then they will bring that energy. The Law of Attraction. Manifesting. I believe in all of that. ANYWAY. That brings me to meditation

Breathe Deep.PNG

I did manage to have a short meditation during the eclipse. It felt amazing! I was able to concentrate in a way that I haven’t been able to in a long time. I used a great mantra as well…

True Love
My mantra…

About love…

I WAS the type of person who was too busy for love. I WAS more concerned with myself and my goals (…the next one, and the next one, and the next one…), than I was with getting deeply involved with someone. I have been very self-involved for the past TEN YEARS! In 2007, I ended a not-so-good relationship (no deets here, sorry). After that, I threw myself into my studies, work and the endless pursuit of knowledge. So far I have received four degrees (AS, BS, MA, MPS…) and countless certifications (I’m an Offender Workforce Development Specialist and I’m certified to teach preschool through third grade in NJ – I’ve done work in prisons and preschools the whole spectrum!).

Of course, I have dated in these 10 years. I’ve had a couple of several monthers here and there, but nothing long-long-term. I realized that I usually approach dates like job interviews (occupational hazard). Not that I am cold and questioning, not at all, I’m a warm and excited person naturally, but I do have that mental checklist. We can have a great time, but I know by the end of the date if you are going to “get the job”. A lot of guys haven’t! When I realize they aren’t getting the job, that’s when I turn cold.

I thought, perhaps, I should be a little less judgey-wudgey (my mom doesn’t call me “Frasier Crane” for nothing). Nah. Having standards is necessary in today’s world. I think I need to be…MYSELF! My self is fine, always has been. I just need to be more open to possibilities…

Speaking of which, Sage Smudging (nice segue)!

Sage

Here is a great article on how to smudge and what materials you need! I didn’t smudge today. I am actually saving it for this Saturday at 7:32 am, my Venus Return. That’s so close to being a literal “total eclipse of the heart”. Speaking of which (better segue)…

Sunday Meal Prep: Feeling Productive…

As the title says, yes, today was a very productive day. I did everything that was on my to-do list and even a little more. One of the most important things I did today was prepare my dinners for the week. Yes – meal prepping is key to making life a little easier.

Seriously. One of my favorite meal preppers, WorkWeekLunch, mentioned a few weeks ago that we have so many decisions to make during the day, having our food already prepared eliminates the need to make even more decisions. It’s true. Think about it…I know that if I am at work, and I haven’t made my meals yet, I will wonder “What do I have? What can I make?”. Sometimes the answer is “go get pizza” – which is not good, because I can tend to overdo things (know yourself!)…

So, I have been meal prepping for a fairly long time. A couple of years, at least. When you see the pictures I post of older preps you’ll see that I haven’t always made the cleanest, healthiest choices. Oh well. That’s what I felt like eating at the time and those were times when I was in full-on maintenance mode, when I was comfortable making a little dip into the world of carbs and sugars after dieting for a while. Here are some of my preps, I added an Instagram link for the food listing. I actually have a lot more preps on Instagram, but you really have to scroll down and it was pre-iPhone…

Meal Prep 6
I had just gone to Trader Joe’s
Meal Prep 3
Not too bad
Meal Prep 2
Buffet Style! 
Meal Prep 4
I jacked all of the recipes from Mind Over Munch in this one
Meal Prep 5
A soup and overnight oats phase
Meal Prep
Another buffet style prep! This one looks really appealing right now! 

Below are some recent ones. Since I work from home most of the week, I don’t have to prep all of my meals, just dinner on the days that I actually do have to go into the office.

Meal Prep Recent
Those are not potatoes – it is pureed cauliflower with a little bit of ricotta!
Meal Prep Recent 2
I am in love with frozen meatballs, obviously…

Here is the prep from today. I have a busy week, filled with some exciting stuff! Yay!

Meal Prep Recent - Today
Vegetarian Meal Prep

I added a little something extra to it already. There is not enough red or orange for my taste, so I added some Tomato and Onion Salad

I started by cutting the farmers market tomatoes my grandma gave me today. Seriously, grandmas are the best with the food gifting! I also cut up a little red onion, for flavor…

Tomato & Onion
I decided to do this when it got dark out (bad lighting)…

I seasoned the sliced tomatoes with garlic powder and 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s…

Tomatoes 3
Wax paper on my cutting board, I have been doing this forever. It really helps with clean up!

Then I added a little apple cider vinegar, olive oil and more 21 seasoning salute to the jar, then added the seasoned tomatoes and I shook it up!

Tomatoes 2
Extras for me! (Chef’s treat!)

I didn’t measure, I just wanted enough to coat the tomatoes when I shook the jar!

That should be great for Monday and Tuesday! I’ll have to think of another red or orange for Wednesday and Thursday…

Easy stuff. A little preparation on Sunday, helps you through the entire week!

Enjoy!

 

 

Happy #NationalRelaxationDay!

Honestly, I had no idea it was National Relaxation Day until I saw all the hashtags popping up on Instagram this morning. What a great day for it too…It’s raining where I live (Hudson Valley, NY)…I have to go into the office tomorrow…It’s Tuesday…

I don’t know! This holiday should be every single day. Or, every night at least.

Since I didn’t know about this, I was too late to make an appointment to get a massage (bwah haha!) so I’ll have to settle for the next best thing: A relaxing magnesium mocktail…

This is what you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of Natural Calm
  • 1 packet of stevia
  • 2 Limes
  • Your favorite unsweetened sparking water

Magnesium has so many benefits – and most of us are lacking in this particular mineral. It helps with…

  • Digestive motility (I told you I’d mention this a lot, it’s important)
  • Calming & Sleeping – a natural sleep aid
  • Beauty – helps maintain collagen
  • Heart health – it’s up there with potassium and sodium, assisting in heartbeat and blood pressure regulation
  • Muscle soreness relief 
  • Migraine prevention (I’ll have an entire blog about this, soon)

So, back to the drink…

Stirring
Action shot!

Juice those limes and add the stevia packet. Stir to combine…

Fizzy

Add about 3/4 of the can of sparkling water. It’ll bubble up a lot, and it’ll bubble up even more once…

Bubbles

…you add the packet of Natural Calm! Stir gently and then add the rest of the seltzer…

Finished Product

NOM! YUM! My choice of sparkling water (Simply Balanced Tropical Cherry from Target) made this taste like a Cherry Lime Rickey, or that cherry lime drink from Sonic…

Okay, so now that we’ve had a drink, we can look at some relaxing pictures. I just added some relaxing words to these pictures I took in various places. Enjoy!

Breathe 2

Relax

Breathe.PNG

Enjoy

These Moments...

Yay!

Hasselback Eggplant!

I guess it’s another “Meat Free Monday”! This is a tweaked version of the recipe I see all of the time for Hasselback Eggplant Parmesan. I didn’t want to add bread crumbs because I am low-carb, but I still wanted some bulk. Enter, greens! Spinach and kale to be exact…

Greens

I just wanted to get them slightly wilted, but more importantly, I wanted to load them up with flavor. I added garlic powder, pink Himalayan salt (PHS) and fresh cracked black pepper. After I cooked them to my liking, I added my other filling ingredients…

Filling

So there is a scant tablespoon of parmesan cheese and two tablespoons of ricotta cheese, which I will mix with my cooked and seasoned greens. Then I had to prepare my eggplant…

Hasselbeck Cutting Trick

In order to get those groovy Hasselback slices, we have to make sure that we don’t slice the eggplant all the way through. The best tip I saw was to tape down chopsticks around the eggplant so the knife will stop at the chopstick’s level…

Hasselbeck Cut

It worked! Now, to season the eggplant…

Flavor Layers

I always listen to Rachael Ray’s tip – you must season every layer of food. Eggplant is very bland – you must not skip this step! I seasoned mine with garlic powder, a little PHS and some Italian seasoning. Now I add my next layer…

Provolone

Yummy Provolone cheese! I did the math before I even cut the eggplant – I knew I wanted nine Hasselback slices in each eggplant half, so that would be 18 cheese strips. So, six cuts in three slices of provolone (see, this is where the dweeb comes in). Gotta stuff these…

Cheese Stuff

You can lift the eggplant a little in order to season and stuff each slice. Do it gently so that you don’t break a slice off (I almost did, those three on the end are hanging on by a thread)! Now I add the greens and cheese mixture…

Stuffed

Ooh, baby! This looks great already! But, it needs to be cooked and since I refuse to turn the oven on in the summer, I used the crock pot…

Sauced Crock

I sauced the crock pot with a tiny can of tomato sauce that I seasoned with, once again, garlic powder, PHS and Italian seasoning. Then I put the stuffed eggplants in…

Crock Pot

Aww, don’t they look cute? I put just a splash of the sauce on top of the stuffed eggplant. I wanted it to be about greens and cheese, not tomato.

After two hours on high…

Cooked

YUM! This is what you get! I added some fresh spinach on the side, because I only had that little bit left.

It’s pretty easy to make – you just have to have a little patience when seasoning and stuffing each layer because they are pretty delicate.

Very healthy and delish! Enjoy!