Tag Archives: vegetarian

Be sure to wear your sunscreen

Standard

Hola mis amigos! I apologize for my lack of blogging lately and for failing to post any new recipes. No excuses really. I’ve just been spending a lot more time sunning myself out in the backyard and a lot less time sweating my furry butt off in the hot kitchen. Spring time has officially hit us up here in the Pacific Northwest (finally!) and I’ve been doing what I can to enjoy as much of it as possible before it turns dreary again. Plus mi mama was out of town for over a week and it’s never fun to cook for just one person. Even if that one person is my favorite human being on the planet (te amo Papa). So in between sunbathing, digging up hidden cat poop treasures in the garden, modeling my new Speedo for the French Poodle down the street and going for long walks to the dog park, I’ve only managed to squeeze in a few hours these past couple weeks to devote to creating culinary masterpieces in the kitchen. I’m not gonna lie, there’s been a lot of plain pastas with bottled spaghetti sauce and store-bought veggie burgers served for dinner as of late– not exactly gourmet.

However, on one night last week I decided I’d had enough of warming my tiny brown body in the afternoon sun and actually prepare something more extensive than just Hot Pockets for dinner (edited to add: I do not condone the consumption of Hot Pockets in any way for either mis padres or anyone else for that matter. Unless of course you’re constipated and looking for a sure-fire way to induce severe diarrhea).

We had a little over 2 cups of leftover brown rice in our fridge that needed to be used up, and my initial thought was to whip up a little batch of vegetable fried rice or throw it into some sort of a chicken casserole. But then I had a little pep talk with myself and decided I could go even more above and beyond with my creativity. And what I came up with ended up being a huge success and earned two paws thumbs up from mi papa. Who knew leftover rice could lead to such a deliciously wonderful outcome.

Well amigos, I better be going. The sun is still shining, my Speedo is clean and ready to be donned and I’m thinking of going for a little swim out back in our inflatable kiddy pool. Now if I could just figure a way to get down from this huge deck chair….

They may be sloppy, but these Joes definitely aren’t wimpy

Standard

Fun fact: Did you know the original Sloppy Joe sandwich was invented in the 1920’s by a restaurant cook named Floyd Angell in Sioux City, Iowa as a variation of the popular loose-meat sandwich?

Or that they are referred to as “Yum Yums” in parts of the Midwest and “Wimpies” in Pennsylvania?

Or that the term “Sloppy Joe” is not a food at all in Australia but instead refers to a hooded sweatshirt with a furry fleece lining much like wool? Imagine the weird looks you’d probably receive in an Australian restaurant when trying to order a Sloppy Joe with extra pickles.

So, this past weekend I decided to use my new Dutch oven and make my own little variation of the Sloppy Joes: aka the Untidy Teenies. But instead of using ground beef, turkey or cow tongue (yeah, they use that in some parts of New Jersey…. nasty) as the main protein source, I made the animal-friendly decision to prepare them vegetarian and use red lentils and beans instead. And in all honesty, I think they turned out a heck of a lot tastier than other kind of sandwich of this variety, while still maintaining all their awesome sloppy-ness.

And don’t be shy about asking for extra pickles to go along with these babies. Just be sure to also ask for extra napkins. These untidy Teenies have a tendency to spill all over your fleece-lined “Sloppy Joe”.

Speaking of spills, I “accidentally” got peanut butter all over my face after sticking my head in the open jar and mi mama thinks I need a little bath. Hey, that’s what happens when you leave a jar unattended on the coffee table.

Hey can’t a guy get a little privacy!

Better call in Kevorkian

Standard

Well it finally happened. As much as I had hoped and prayed we could go through the whole winter without it happening, it did. It first took hold of mi papa over the weekend and unfortunately, it’s now grabbed mi mama by its grasps and all hell has broken loose. What is it, you may be asking? Well, mi amigos, it seems mi mama has come down with a nasty cold. And by nasty, I mean, when she gets sick, things turn nasty.

We tried to keep this from happening, we really did. When mi papa first began displaying signs and symptoms of his sickness, we tried to quarantine him to the bedroom and attempted to keep him as far away from mi mama as possible. The haz-mat suits were donned and the house was sanitized on an hourly basis. I made chicken soup and slipped Nyquil and Vitamin C tablets under the door to his room. And yet despite all these efforts, she still awoke this morning with the dreaded illness no one (especially me) wanted her to come down with. It’s not that I really mind sick people. Heck, they make the best laps to sit on due to their maintaining the same position for hours and sometimes days at a time. I don’t even mind the coughing and hocking of mucous so much either. What I do mind, though, is the constant whining and complaining and the complete lack of usefulness that generally seems to occur when some people are sick. And by some people, I specifically mean mi mama. Talk about drama.

You would think she’s on her death bed the way she moans and groans and refuses to do anything other than lie on the couch watching reruns of Project Runway and Jersey Shore. All household chores cease to get done, there are used tissues and snot rags laying all around the house and dirty soup dishes in the sink. She wears the same crusty sweats and slippers for days at a time, and I’m pretty certain neither bathing of the body nor washing of the hair takes place during this week of fun either. Basically our home completely shuts down for the week and mi papa and I spend as much time as possible out “running errands” and “taking care of important business,” until things return back to normal and she starts to resemble a human being again.

We’re currently in Day 1, so wish us some luck. And please do yourself and everyone you know a favor and stay as far away from our home as possible. Unless of course, you like watching crappy reality television with a stinky she-devil. Then by all means, come on over and take her off our hands for awhile… but be careful, she bites.

So anyway, not to change the subject (because I’m sure you really want to keep hearing about snot and phlegm), I would like to share with you a recipe I made last week, back before all this chaos began. I promise it has nothing to do with bodily fluids or sicknesses and everything to do with delicious sauces and cheeses and butternut squashes all brought together in a decadent and totally delicoso vegetarian lasagna. Seriously, this might be my best main dish recipe to date. Just ask mi abuela 🙂

Alright mis compadres, that’s all I’ve got for now. I just heard mi mama making some noise from beneath her blanket on the couch, and I’m going to try to find a place to hide before she grabs ahold of me to cuddle with her.

Maybe if I stay really still and keep my eyes closed, she’ll think I’m a plant.

I’m a winner!!!

Standard

I’m beyond excited right now! Mi mama and I just returned from our evening walk to the park and discovered the mailman had delivered a package addressed specifically to me. At first, I was very confused as I didn’t recall ordering anything from the Home Shopping Network in the past couple weeks and my birthday is still more than a month away. What in the world could it possibly be? And then I saw who it was from and instantly knew what was inside that lovely yellow envelope– Abby Has Issues by Abby Heugel! Signed by the awesome diva-licious Abby herself, along with a lovely little note for your’s truly. Apparently I had entered giveaway on Abby’s blog for leaving a comment on one of her posts, and mine was randomly chosen to receive a copy of her book. I’d been wanting to read her book ever since I came across her blog, but mi mama recently put the kibosh on my online shopping after I “accidentally” ordered a 10-year’s supply of baby carrots and a life-size Shakira doll, without her permission. So I am muy ecstatico to have won a copy of her book! Yay, thanks Abby!

Totally unrelated, but here’s a recipe for your viewing and chewing pleasure. I made it on a whim last night for mi mama and papa when I had very little time and a fresh package of tempeh to use. Feel free to substitute chicken or tofu in place of the tempeh. The marinade rocks no matter what you use to soak it up with.

Orange-Soy Glazed Tempeh Triangles

2 tbsp orange juice

1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 tsp honey

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce

8 oz package tempeh*

Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients, except tempeh, in a zip-loc bag.

2) Cut tempeh into 8 equal triangles. Place in bag and shake to coat evenly. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

3) Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add tempeh and cook on each side 5-7 minutes, or until crisp and browned.

4) Serve on a bed of rice or salad greens or whatever you want to eat it with. I served mine with some leftover Butternut Macaroni and Cheese and lightly steamed green beans. Mmmmmmm!

*Use 1 or 2 chicken breasts chopped into bite-size cubes, or pressed tofu cut into triangles or cubes, if you wish.

Alright amigos, I have to be going now. I’ve got an awesome book I want to go dive into!

February 14th: Not just for lovers

Standard

Well the Giants may have won the Super Bowl yesterday, but Teeny definitely won when it came to being the ultimate party host. Not only did everyone have a great time noshing all the delightful goodies I had prepared for the day, but there were no unpleasant party fouls or guests who had to be thrown out or have their shoes pooped in. Overall, it was a huge success and now I’m looking forward to planning the next little holiday shindig coming up soon. But what holiday party do you have on the agenda, Teeny, you’re probably asking. Well National Organ Donor Day, of course. Coincidentally it just so happens to also fall on the same day as that lesser known and not-at-all publicized holiday, Valentine’s Day. Now I know some of you out there are probably planning to do really romantic activities on that particular day involving chocolates and champagne and telling your significant lover how much you love them… well heck, there’s no reason you can’t do the same thing in honor of all those who have “organ donor” checked off on the back of their driver’s licenses. Instead of baking little pink sugar cookies in the shape of Cupid and hearts with arrows, you can make them in the shape of a liver or a spleen and ice them with buttercream dyed the same shade as bone marrow. Nothing says “have a happy holiday” more than receiving a blood-red, kidney-shaped snickerdoodle. Am I right?

Unfortunately I don’t want to give away all my plans for baked goodies for my National Organ Donor party just yet, so instead I have a recipe for you today that doesn’t involve any human body parts… or any animal parts, for that matter. So if you came here looking for a recipe for Gallbladder Stew or Urethra Pancakes, my apologies. Perhaps next week. In the meantime, here’s something you may enjoy to make, especially on one of those busy weeknights when you’re short on time but still want a delicious homemade dinner on the table.

Spicy Vegetarian Jambalaya

2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth

1 cup long-grain brown rice 

2 tsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 cups vegan sausage, chopped into 1/2″ pieces

 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

14.5 oz can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 tsp Creole Seasoning

1 tsp hot sauce like Cholula

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1) Heat water in a saucepan over high to a boil. Add rice, cover and turn heat to low. Allow to cook 30-35 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside.

2) Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery and sausage. Cook until onions are tender.

3) Add tomatoes, beans, Creole seasoning, hot sauce, salt, pepper and rice. Allow to simmer on medium-low for 10-15 minutes.

4) Spoon into bowls and top with sour cream and more hot sauce, if desired.

* You could totally make this dish non-vegetarian by substituting shrimp or chicken or andouille sausage for the vegan sausages. And if you’re really short on time, use instant or leftover brown rice instead of making the long-grain variety from scratch.

So there you have mi amigos. Something tasty to spice up an otherwise blah Monday night.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need get my booty in gear. I have a pilates session this evening and need to make sure I’m sufficiently stretched before I go.

 Mmm, gotta love some Downward Facing Dog.

Support your local farmers

Standard

So I don’t know about where you live, but around these parts, there’s a whole lot of farming going on. Everywhere you look there are sheep and goats and pumpkin patches and apple trees and blackberry bushes… there’s enough food being harvested in a 30 mile radius of us to practically feed the entire state of Oregon! Well, maybe not the whole state, but believe me when I say there’s a huge abundance of food. And yet for some reason, everyone around here seems to shop at big chain grocery stores, Wal-marts and Costcos for all their meat, produce and dairy products. I just don’t get it. Is it out of convenience? Because of price? It definitely can’t be due to the quality of the food. One bite out of locally-grown and organic strawberry and you’ll never again purchase a pint of furry, squishy berries they offer at the grocery store. I find it a shame that with the great plentitude of quality food being harvested so close by their homes, people aren’t taking more advantage of the situation. Luckily, mi mama and papa finally came to their senses and realized the bounty of wondrous crops being grown around here, some practically down the road from our house, and signed up for a local CSA.

Now you may be asking, what is a CSA, TeenyLittleSuperChef? Well I’ll tell you. CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and it is a program where individuals or families can pay a farm up front for the produce that will be grown that year, which helps that particular farm from having to take out a loan to grow for the season. In return, the person or family receives a box every week during that particular season filled with all the fresh produce grown right there on the farm. Some places even have the option of receiving fresh eggs, milk, cheese, meat and honey in their boxes along with the weekly produce. Now how cool is that! There’s so many reasons why joining a CSA is a good idea, including but limited to:

  • It keeps fresh produce in the house on a regular basis
  • You know exactly where the food is coming from
  • Some of the produce are things you wouldn’t normally find in a grocery store, like purple kale
  • It’s environmentally-friendly because the produce doesn’t have to be shipped from all over the country in order to get to you, thereby reducing the amount of gasoline used and pollution being released into the air.
  • Many other reasons that I don’t have the time to list off right now because I want to move on to my awesome recipe utitlizing some of the wonderful veggies I received in our box yesterday

If you want to find out more information on CSA’s and how to get involved with one in your area, check out this website: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Now on to the recipe. Like my picture from the previous post might have alluded to, I did in fact come up with a stir-fry dinner for mi mama and papa that particular evening. And it was pretty darn magical, if I do say so myself. Could have had something to do with the fresh and delicious produce and ingredients involed, or perhaps it was because I am a genius in the arts of culinary expertise. You be the judge.

Veggie-ful Sesame Ginger Stir-Fry

4 tsp safflower oil, divided

3 fresh garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp fresh ginger root, minced

1 red onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

2 carrots, cut in thin strips

1 cup sugar snap peas, ends removed

2 small zucchini, chopped

2 cups vegan sausage, tofu, tempeh, chicken breasts etc, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 cup shredded green cabbage

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 tsp sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions:

1) Heat 2 tsp safflower oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, onion, bell pepper, carrots, snap peas, and zucchini and saute 5-7 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

2) Heat remaining 2 tsp oil over medium-high and add meat or meat alternative. Saute until cooked through and chicken (if using) is no longer pink.

3) Add vegetable mixture to wok along with shredded cabbage, sesame oil and soy sauce. Cook 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

4) Garnish with sesame seeds and serve atop a bed of fluffy rice.

5) Enjoy!

So simple, so easy and oh so very tasty. And a great way to use up some of the veggies from the CSA box. Now only about 12 more pounds of produce to go.

Hmmm, now which of these am I going to use tonight?

The One Pot Wonder

Standard

I’m all about the one pot meal.  Meals that only require dirtying one pot and then one plate or bowl are the essence of my being. Well, actually being adorable and modest are the true essences of my being, but one pot meals also kind of play a part. Anytime I can throw a bunch of stuff into a pot or pan and call it a meal is awesome in my book (which, by the way, will be coming out just as soon as I can find a publishing company willing to pay the right amount of money). The fewer dishes to do at the end of the night, the better. Not that I’m the one who ever has to do the cleaning up. My diminutive little paws are much to delicate to have to deal with the harsh chemicals contained in dishwashing soap. No no. We leave that job to mi mama. Deep down, I think she secretly enjoys cleaning (OCD, perhaps). Especially when it comes to loading the dishwasher. If mi papa puts an item in the dishwasher, she will smile at him sweetly, thank him for being so helpful, and then immediately rearrange the dish to her liking once he turns his back. I watch this routine play out just about every evening and it always makes me chuckle. I should videotape it one of these days– well, just as soon as I figure out how to use a video camera, that is.

But anyway, back to what I was originally talking about. Yo quiero the one pot meal. Especially on those evenings when I’m trying to make two different dinners at the same time. One of the vegetarian variety for mi mama and one of the not-so-vegetarian variety for mi papa. Even though mi papa is all about eating non-meaty dinners for the most part, every once in a while the man craves a little animal carcass. And when he does, I like to oblige. On those nights, their meals each require one pot, so I guess technically they should be called the Two Potters, but when broken down each meal still comes from only one pot. One pot per each type of meal. Got it? Hmm, that was probably more rambling and too much detail than you needed to be told. I should really cut down on the caffeine in the afternoons. It’s a slight addiction and sometimes just kind of fun to steal a couple licks of mi mama’s Chai tea when she’s not looking–especially right after I’ve licked the floor or some of my boy-dog parts… hee hee 🙂

Last night happened to be one of those nights when mi papa was really craving a meat dish and since he’s my provider and pretty much my sole reason for living (other than chef-ing and scratching myself), I was happy to acquiesce. And being the genius that I am, I managed to come up with two separate meals whose only differences were the protein sources contained within each. Other than that, all the ingredients in it were the exact same. Unfortunately, I still had to use two separate pots but sometimes there’s just no way around that. And like I said, I’m not the one who cleans up the dishes. I just give em a good licking before they go in the wash.

Chicken (or not) Butternut Squash Tagine

 2 tsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 2 cups vegan sausage, chopped into 1″ chunks

1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 cup raisins, dark or golden

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and chicken/sausage. Saute until chicken is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.

2) Add the rest of the ingredients. Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat to low, cover and allow to simmer 15-20 minutes or until squash is softened.

3) Remove lid and serve atop a bed of cooked millet, couscous, quinoa or rice. Enjoy!

One (or two, as in this case) dirty pot and two satisfied bellies. Doesn’t get better or easier than that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be going. It’s my turn to enjoy a one pot meal.