Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Date night

We had a date night last weekend and it was so much fun. Our date night happened for a few reasons: reason the first- things have been pretty crazy around here since we got our little puppy Estes. It's been much more challenging for us to get out of the house for a date or even just to spend time alone without her. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with our puppy but it's still important that Michael and I get some alone time!

Reason the second: I'm going back to school in the fall to work on my PhD and my schedule is going to be so crazy. We realized that I do most of the cooking (because I love to!) and I won't have that kind of time in the fall. So Michael is going to have to do more cooking which is great but not as fun for him to plan by himself so we decided to start trying out new recipes together.

So this post doesn't include any recipes but I thought I'd share some pictures of the food we made. By the way- whether you're in a couple or not a date night is something you should try. It would be fun with one of your friends or even just by yourself. The point is to try something you haven't made before and to take your time and enjoy the cooking process. We definitely took our time and enjoyed the process. It took us about 2 or 3 hours with all the prep and cooking but the meal was well worth it and it was enjoyable to spend the time together making something special we both could enjoy.

Our menu:

Potato kale enchiladas with mole sauce
Mexican millet
Strawberry plum crisp (all from Veganomicon)
Vanilla ice cream (from Chloe's Kitchen)

This took such a long time to make because I don't know if you've ever made it before but mole sauce takes some planning. It's easy to make and definitely something worth trying but I think next time we'd make it the day before or earlier on in the day so the meal could come together with less dirty dishes.

I'll leave you with some pictures:

Michael, prepping the mole sauce
Spice mix for the mole sauce
Millet on the left, potato/kale enchilada mixture on the right.
Finished enchiladas! They don't look delicious but they were.
Finished Mexican millet.
Michael, posing with our food.
Don't forget about dessert!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

W.O.L.F. Sanctuary

Michael and I stumbled across a neat organization on the Front Range called "W.O.L.F. Sanctuary". It's a nonprofit that helps wolves and wolf dogs. We came across this group from a random email I received from a Fort Collins vegan group asking for meals via Meal Train to give to volunteers from W.O.L.F. Sanctuary who were helping relocate and take care of the wolves displaced by the High Park wildfire. (As many of you know, since it made national news, there's a giant wildfire burning near Fort Collins. We're OK where we are- but we can see smoke from our bedroom window at night!) 

So anyways. I got this email asking for food for the volunteers and I thought YES! Food! I can help! I didn't know anything about the organization but I thought it'd be a great way to help with the wildfire in some way. We've recently been devouring the "Best Garlic Bread in the World" from Chloe's Kitchen (amazing- just Earth Balance buttery spread, nutritional yeast, minced garlic- our new "go-to" bread) and I decided to bring that with Chloe's "Ooh-la-la Lasagna". I hadn't made the lasagna yet so Michael and I made a double batch to try it out so we could have one too. Ooh la la! It was fabulous. The cremini mushrooms added a toothsome bite which was a nice addition. So glad we brought those helpful volunteers some yummy food.

Before going in the oven!
A really bad picture of a really delicious lasagna!
When we brought the food up to the people helping with the wolves one of the kind volunteers offered to give us a tour and meet some of the wolves! (!!) Michael and I actually got to get up really close to them and they licked Michael's hand! A lot of these guys were actually wolf dogs and we only got to see the calm and friendly ones (of course) but it was still so cool. They are huge and their paws are gigantic. It's so sad the fire got to where they live but from the sound of it they will get to go back once the fire has cleared. And apparently the fire is leaving some grassy patches.

So no recipes with this post but really, go buy Chloe's Kitchen- I haven't met a recipe in it I haven't liked! Also- check out the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary site. Also- they are having a fundraiser the end of the month that looks like fun. Check it out!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Mexican" style pizza

I think about food a lot. Yesterday I was thinking about how to use up the food we already have in our fridge before going on vacation. I had made Spanish rice with some salsa twice in the past week or so and had about 3/4 cup of salsa leftover so I thought hmmm I want pizza... but how can I use up the salsa.... !!! I decided to put the salsa on the pizza instead of tomato sauce. Really? I have no idea how I'd never thought of this before. I used my mom's pizza dough recipe but you can use whatever recipe you have. I'll do a dough recipe if I haven't already but here's what I did for the toppings at least:)


1 recipe pizza dough
salsa, enough to cover the pizza like a tomato sauce
a few cloves of garlic, minced
vegetarian refried beans
1 onion and 1 green pepper diced and sautéed
about half a can of black olives, cut in half
1 recipe cheeze sauce (or if you're not vegan, just use whatever cheese you like)

1. Preheat the oven and get the dough ready. I bake my pizza at 425ºF.

2. Prepare the toppings.

3. To assemble the pizza: Sauce, garlic, dollops of refried beans (to taste), onion and pepper, black olives, cheeze sauce.

4. Bake for about 15 minutes. This depends on the kind of dough you have and the method you choose for baking- just make sure the dough is lightly browned on the bottom and no longer doughy.

Really, you can put whatever you'd like on the pizza- I bet some fresh cilantro or some salsa verde or other kinds of peppers would be fantastic. I was just trying to use what we already had:) I'd post more pictures but I have to pack!

I enjoyed my slice with a nice bottle of Somersault:)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Grilled pizzas with spinach, artichoke hearts and olives

Ever since we made the grilled kale/sweet potato/pesto pizzas from Chloe's Kitchen I've been wanting to try grilling other kinds of pizzas. Last night I got my chance! We just recently purchased a chest freezer for our basement (hooray for stocking up on foods!) and I was cleaning out our freezer and found some leftover naan dough- basically, pizza dough. I decided use it to make.... grilled pizzas! Michael and I are going away soon and I didn't want to get a lot of stuff at the store so I also checked out our cabinets and fridge and found some perfect toppings for this pizza. I pulled out another container of mom's tomato sauce and we were good to go! I also found a great recipe for a cheesy sauce on Oh She Glows which we drizzled on top of the pizzas. Don't be afraid to try this sauce- it's so easy to make and it does add a nice cheesy topping for the pizza. We'll be using it again on pizzas and definitely over pasta for a quick and easy mac and cheese.


pizza dough, rolled into individual-sized pizzas, about the thickness of a tortilla
toppings of choice- we used:
tomato sauce
minced garlic
sautéed spinach and onions
artichoke hearts

1. Get toppings ready. 

2. Pre-heat the grill. Roll out the pizza dough into thin, tortilla-like crusts and brush both sides with olive oil.

3. Be sure all your toppings are ready. Bring them outside with the prepared pizza dough. You might want to line the toppings up as on an assembly line. The grilling process is really fast!

4. Place each dough tortilla shape on the grill and grill for a few minutes on one side, until there are grill marks on the bottom. Flip over and quickly add the desired toppings while the uncooked side of the dough gets cooked. This happens really fast so do be sure to be quick but careful. I couldn't get a picture of this process but it's not difficult- just make sure all your toppings are ready to go on the pizza. We did our toppings in the following order: tomato sauce, garlic, spinach/onion mixture, olives, artichoke hearts, cheese sauce.

5. The pizza is done when the bottoms have grill marks on them. Really, they're probably done about a minute after you put all the toppings on. The dough was crispy and the toppings were gooey and zingy- a very nice way to enjoy a pizza!

The results were amazing! Michael even liked eating his as a pizza taco:)

And for the Estes fans out there- here's what she was doing while I was cooking: patiently waiting for her dinner.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hot millet and quinoa cereal

I've been intrigued with millet lately. I love it in bread and have been experimenting with it in soups and other things. It's really yummy as a hot breakfast cereal and the quinoa here adds another interesting texture and flavor. The recipe was inspired by my google search which turned up this site. I tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes and then halved the amounts so I could eat it by myself for breakfast. I was pretty hungry and prepping for a run this morning and could just barely finish the two servings. But, I also added a banana to the mix so that probably didn't help things. This would be great with some chopped nuts or dried fruit or different kinds of sweeteners.


1/4 cup millet
1/8 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cup water
splash of soy milk
splash of maple syrup
1 banana, smashed
cinnamon, to taste

1. Rinse the quinoa and millet and place in a small saucepan with the water and maybe a dash of salt.

2. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Add more water if it looks dry and cook longer if there's still water in the pan.

3. Add desired toppings and enjoy!