A Veggie St. Patrick’s Day Feast

I’m going to avoid the obligatory apology for not posting in quite some time, and instead just dive into the lovely St. Patrick’s Day feast that we enjoyed this year.

Every Friday afternoon, I get a text message from the Humane Society, promoting their weekly Meatless Monday recipe. As mouth-watering as they always sound and look, I’ve never actually sat down and made one. But with this week’s recipe for Corned Beefless Brisket and Cabbage, celebrating everyone’s favorite drunken holiday, I knew I was in.

Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage Feast

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Breakfast Lasagna 2.0

In my first venture into Breakfast Lasagna, I knew there were a few things that I needed to tweak. It was good, but it wasn’t quite what I had envisioned. But I knew what I had to do: throw some cheese on it.

And I did just that. Taking complete health-consciousness out of the picture for a moment was key. Instead of my usual dance around “how can I cut the fat” or “well that’s lower in sugar” I gave in to my dream and let the food steer me.

And I made this:

Breakfast Lasagna

A slice of Breakfast Lasagna

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The Case of the Breakfast Lasagna

I was at a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and somehow on the topic of cooking and eating and drinking (things I like talking about) we stumbled upon something.

What to do with lasagna noodles, when you want to clean out your cupboard? And it hit me like a speeding train: BREAKFAST. LASAGNA.

I mean, think about it, it’s doable, right? You have a carb, you have a sauce, and you have a protein/ veggie filling. It’s gotta work, right?

Well yesterday I embarked on just that, my first venture into breakfast lasagna. It was definitely good, but I have some new ideas for the next one that I might just have to make this weekend. Who’s coming to brunch?

So I bring you: Chris and the Case of the Breakfast Lasagna.Breakfast Lasagna

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Yee-Haw Mother’s Day Brunch

Oatmeal- peanut butter cream filled cookies and orange-chocolate scones

Oatmeal- peanut butter cream filled cookies and orange-chocolate scones

Firstly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that although it was Mother’s Day (just wait for Georgene’s comment on here shortly…) I in fact did not spend it with mommy dearest. Instead I was in Houston with Gabe’s family, spending the weekend at his godmother’s house.

So of course, I had to find a way to go overboard with brunch — and not without some… hiccups, because it wouldn’t be a day in the kitchen without them, right?

In full disclosure let’s just get the dirty laundry out of the way quickly.

1) Only one oven of the double oven was working. And to make matters more complicated, the one oven that is working is a broiler oven, unbeknownst to me.

2) I made it to the grocery store at 11:30, when they closed at midnight, the night before brunch. We were able to get what we needed, but of course, I was up at 6:30 to go and get a bag-full of items I forgot, oops.

3) Being in a stranger’s kitchen, I had to improvise some kitchen tools, of course, later to find them hiding somewhere.

So problem #1 considered, we went for more of a …. 6-ish hour, spread out “brunch tapas” event. Yeah, that’s what we’re calling it.

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

For the last month or so, I have embarked on quite the mission: emptying out the pantry. Like every other 20-something old woman, there isn’t much else that brings me as much joy as grocery shopping. Ok, well, there are quite a few other things, but I really like grocery shopping…. but not so much hauling all those groceries home with my little granny cart.

Well to the point here, I have been sorta “stocking up” for something for quite some time. If it’s a 10/$10 sale for canned vegetables, looks like I’m digging through for the salt-free varieties. Buy-one-get-one-free loaves of bread? Guess who’s freezer is full. Cake mix 2/$4 and I have a $2 coupon? Looks like I need to start using Betty Crocker cake mix and stop cooking from scratch so much.

Yeah, I get it, I’m kinda a junky. Well between little bouts of travel, I decided to see how long I could go without having to make a trip to the grocery store (except for small needs here and there.) And let me just say, I’m about at the end here. I know that Gabe is getting a bit sick of my zany concoctions, but at least my end date is Wednesday, and then I’m off to the west coast for a week.

Along with last night’s veggie chili pita pizzas (I know, it was weird) I was wanting something sweet yet healthy-ish so I decided on a vegan cranberry-almond quick bread.

Vegan Cranberry Almond Bread

Vegan Cranberry Almond Bread

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Bluesy Rock and Barbecue

I’m feeling like I’m in high school. I’ve got a crush, one that I’m not supposed to have. One that I never thought I would have, but once I dipped my pinkie toe in, I was head over heals.

All I can say is that Austin is sunny surprise of a city. Maybe it’s not all that surprising, really, since half the people I know seem to be having the same thoughts.

Maybe it’s because it’s Texas. And maybe because I tend to think things out well in advance and try to set a bit of a course for myself to follow. Well either way, spending a few days in Austin really changed my mind. I mean, it’s moved itself onto my shortlist of “places I could live if jobs didn’t matter.”

Before I start planning my next trip (wait, I lied, I’ve already been doing that), here’s why I love Austin…

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If only I ate meat…

Man, oh man. It’s been almost 7 years since I gave up meat (except for the fishies) and I rarely look back. But sometimes there are just those smells that push you over the top. And a new meat-crush is prosciutto. I decided this weekend that the main draw to it has to do with the fact that it is cool, kinda trendy (but not quite bacon), a tad exotic and it’s something I have never consumed.. even in the days where I ate the flesh.

Of course I have my regular meat crushes (Arby’s roast beef.. i know, gross), but I haven’t given in, even once… and have no plan to do so. But this weekend when I was cooking up appetizers for my cookie exchange, the smell of prosciutto really got me. I was cooking some of the Italian saltiness up for my prosciutto meatballs and I was going crazy! So what do I do in this instance? I just make everyone around me eat the darn things and explain the taste to me. Kinda lame, I know. Let’s hope I can find some sort of flavor replication (I’m not too optimistic since liquid smoke can only go so far.)

Prosciutto Meatball

I’ll say this, I made dozens and dozens and dozens of cookies (way too many) and other appetizers. But the only thing that completely disappeared were these fleshy, smoky balls. Oh yeah, and I had like 60 of them from the get go. I guess I have a new meaty go-to recipe for folks.

Side note — do people think it’s weird that although a dedicated pesci– that I am alright with cooking meat for others? I mean, I made 5 appetizers altogether, and only one had meat — I just like to make sure everyone has lots of stomach-filling things to eat while at my house.