Saturday, December 29, 2012

Warm feet, Cold morning

So it was a really freezing morning last Saturday,
but I got up and did some early morning
witnessing. Got to talk to some groovy people.
And check out the awesome sunrise.

In warmer news the brown rice rotini is back!
Covered in Udo's oils and a healthy sprinkle of nutritional yeast.
Oh yum baby!
Perfect dinner on a cold wintry night.

$9? Oh yeah!
Especially when you have some cute new boots to
keep your feet warm and your calves are looking
tight with a healthy sized wedge.
Thanks Forever21!
These have great grip on the bottom.
You know I cannot buy shoes that aren't
practical...At least they can be cute too.
Ending on a random note...
A few weeks ago my family and I went
to the Heinz History Center and yes I took
more pictures, but I thought this one was super cool.
After we had walked through the whole center
mum, bro and I took a seat in the rocking chairs
down in the main area entry area.
When I leaned back in my chair this view greeted me.
The History Center doesn't have complete floors
(that which you stand upon).
So from the first floor you can see all the way up
to the top floor.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Flashback Friday

October Sunset
  How beautiful are the sunsets in the fall?
This beautiful...

September Dinner
 Yummy dinner at Bahama Breeze in Robinson Town Centre.
Delicious Cuban bread sandwich with a tomato balsamic salad on the side.

October Milestone
Did I mention Ive been doing Zumba since April? I didn't? Well, I have.
Once or twice a week. This is the second punch card Ive completed.
High five!

Late summer pizza party
  Yummy veggie filled pizza I made at a friends house.
We were entertaining some youngster and decided
 it would be fun to let them make their own pizzas.

Why do I come up with these brilliant ideas?
Well at least the kids had fun...

Just kidding! It was a ball of fun.
This baby was delicious.
Smothered in diced tomato, red onion, yellow pepper, olive and artichoke.

Late summer Harvest
Remember summer?
And green tomatoes?
I do.
With longing sighs....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Whats been happening?

creamy (thanks to tahini) spinach and sun dried tomato risotto

In November my parents and siblings went away for the weekend
to the Homewood Suites. Nice tradition!
There was a lovely Italian store very near the Hotel.
They had this sun dried tomato risotto for so cheap
I just had to give it a try. I'm not a fan of white rice
but this is really good.
On an unrelated note that is Azure Sula Paint and Peel on my thumb.

the beautiful fall colors..
Just  a few weeks ago it looked like this...
Amazing how fast time is flying by...

I didn't get a chance to take a proper fall drive this year
but the leaves in my area were amazing.
And I was sort of on my way to Ireland on the peak.

A  yummy random lunch..
Random cravings.....
Amy's Tamale Verde Black Bean...
I really like this meal. It is really tasty and flavorful.
I was always hesitant to try Tamale,but I'm a fan of this.

foggy days....
We had a few foggy mornings along the way.
I'm such a fan of the fog.
It's so moody and thick and beautiful.

paging pee wee Herman....
Wearing my grey H&M dress pants and light colored
Hush Puppy Sneakers I feel a bit like pee wee.
But in a good kind of way.

is it raining? no.....

blurry snow flakes..
And we've had a bit of snow.
And then it was 60 degrees.
And now it is back to frigidity and a few flurries
this past Tuesday when I was walking to the
East End Food Co-op.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dublin..first look

A view of dusk from above the clouds
Aer Lingus Vegan Dinner
The Kingdom Hall

Beautiful View in Howth

How beautiful and moody the beach looked..

The view from my bedroom window.

Roasted Vegetable Panini with onion marmalade
Side of balsamic rosemary potatoes

Beautiful trees..

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Check out The Pittsburgh Hot Spots

Check out my hot spots.
Tongue protruded for emphasis...
Who doesn't love a good Thermal Imaging Camera??

I mean look how thin my arms look!

Please excuse that random person behind me. Ruuu!

Every year Pittsburgh has the RADical days sponsored by RAD (Regional Asset District), which features free entry to various arts related places around the city (i.e. The Mattress Factory, Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History) and special events at non arts related venues (like Whole Foods Market).

My family took in the free day at the Science Center. You know how i adore my Free. He was my first love before Clearance. Clearance and I broke up a little while after I started in my full time volunteer ministry, but we rekindled things when I was in Italy. It's a long story.

Don't judge me!

The only awkward thing was that the Sports Center, a seperate building centered around fitness and sports science, is sponsored by a meat company, so there are pictures of not so healthy sandwiches (not a veggie in site just meat and sauce on white bread) in various spots.

Hey! Did anyone notice it's 10,11,12 today?

Am I the only number nerd totally geeked out by the cuteness?

Anyhoo, Im a touch addicted to the "Enjoy Life: Double Chocolate Crunch: Nut and Gluten Free Granola". I like to pour in some nut milk and microwave it for a minute. It's fairly low in sugar so it makes a lovely breakfast or dessert. I also like to eat it dry tho for snack. The tiny chocolate chips are nice little treat!

The other flavor that is quite delicious is Cranapple Crunch.

If only Big Lots would work harder to avoid running out!

Break that fast softly..with chocolate

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The End of Tomato Season

The impending frosty nights caused everyone to run to their
gardens and harvest the last bits of freshness hanging out there.
For my mum that meant lots of green tomatoes.
She had about 3 baskets full of tomatoes and lots of them
were green.

All those green tomatoes. Oh you are going to be delicious...
I'm a fan of oven roasting pretty much anything.
If I could figure out a way to oven roast chocolate
we would have a serious problem...
Or is that just hot cocoa? Ill figure it out....

Anyhoo, a great way to use up the bounty of your
(or your mother's in my case) garden is oven
roasting whatever you grew.

After you roast it theoretically you can freeze it.
I say theoretically because I cant seem to stop myself
or my family from inhaling what Ive just roasted.

Rub the sliced beauties with Olive Oil

Sprinkle on some "Oregano, Basil , Sun dried Tomato"
(or make your own) and sea salt
Bake 30 minutes at 350

Serve with oven roasted squash and Potatoes
I'm Gon Eat You Up! Banjo!
 Other things to do with Tomatoes....

Taco Feast!
So a friend was in town for the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management annual meeting in Pittsburgh at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Oakland. It was a 3-day all day conference, so she didn't have time to sight see or socialize. So, Saturday night we had a nice little fiesta.

I used a load of tomatoes (not home grown) to make the salsa using her recipe (5-7 tomatoes, 1 purple onion, 2 jalapenos, 1 avocado all chopped and put in a bowl, mix and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the juice of 2 limes). It was a-yum-yum ridiculously delicious meal of tacos, rice, corn, smashed black beans, fresh salsa with avocado, tossed salad and tortilla chips..

My mouth is watering....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Really Good Orange "Chicken" at Home...Line Dancing

This stuff is so delicious it deserves its own post,
but here it is nonetheless.
It's the Mandarin Orange Soy Chicken from Trader Joe's.
Just yum. That is all I can say. It is rediculously good.
I ate it along with the brown rice mix also from TJoe's.
It's really easy to make. Just bake the chicken bites
and toss with the sauce that has been heated up.
The calorie content isn't awful, but remember it's
prepared food so technically cheat day food.
If you don't eat it on cheat day you will be compelled to to work it off.
Speaking of working it off...
Fun exercise....
Another way to sweat off the pounds
or just calories if you are already at your goal shape
(i cant say weight since i refuse to weigh myself until
im sure ive lost more weight) is to dance, or
more specifically line dance!

Dr. Dance an uber famous line dance instructor in my area held a free dance class at the Mellon Park Tennis Court. It used to be an outdoor court, but one winter the rich people decided they wanted to play tennis on an outdoor court withouth actually being outdoors. Thusly, the giant white bubble tent was born. At first a temporary thing for winter, the tent became a permanent fixture. There is heat in the winter and cool air in summer. Very nice indeed!
Random Snackage.....
Terra Exotic Harvest Sweet Onion Kabocha, carrot and blue potato chips.
Longest named snack ever. :-)
These bad boys were tasty, but be warned they are very crunchy.
And aggressively seasoned, but that is right up my alley,
so I really enjoyed it.
In other snack news... 
Turns out some of the Popcorn Co. flavors are veg-friendly, non dairy and gluten free.
The flavors I personally can enjoy include:
Salt and Pepper
Salt and Vinegar
Movie Theater Butter (yum!)
Kettle Corn
Completely off topic...
What is it about a chalk board menu that just gets to me?
Is it the transient in me?
Is it the old fashion, small town girl in me?
Is it the taste of chalk?
 I hope its not the last one.
And don't look at me like that.
I know you tasted chalk when you were a tot.
Growing up we had a giant classroom sized chalk board
in our family room.
It came in handy for so many things.
Keeping score on game night, chore lists,
who's on punishment lists,
impromptu games of hangman,
and that game where you draw something that looks vaguely like something else.
You know which one Im talking about...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Under $20: Tea Party Edition

Entertaining does not have to be expensive.
There I said it. And I mean it too.
Especially if you are anywhere in the vicinity of a Trader Joe's,
but even if you dont you can have a party for 4 for under $20.

Step 1: Make a guest list
Step 2: Make a menu
Step 3: Go shopping (be flexible)
I put together a last minute Tea Party Luncheon a few weekends ago.
It always pays to be high on creativity when you are low on funds.
Creative cha-ching!

One of the best things about Trader Joe's is that they have one type of item in a variety of prices points. Or in other words 3 kinds of grapes at three different prices depending on your taste preference and budget. Love it!

SO, since I already had the guest list together (me, cuz and baby cuz) I made up a menu (Chicken Salad Sandwiches, potato chips, Thomchord grapes, cookies and baby carrots) and then went to Trader Joe's. Lo and behold there was none of the chicken salad that i wanted to serve. Argh!

Thinking as quickly as possible(I had to shop and get to the bus stop in 5 I brainstormed a new idea. I improvised and bought one of their prepared salads (Avocado, Feta Chicken Salad with honey mustard dressing, pistachios and cranberries $4.99) and some flat breads. My thought was to buy the salad and the bread and turn it into wraps.
When I got to the fruit section I noticed the adorable champagne grapes were only $1.99 (and did I mention adorable?) so I got those instead of the Concord Thompson blend ones.
Also on the list: Baby carrots ($2), plantain chips (under $2),
chewy chocolate chip cookies (around $3) and SnaPea Crisps (under $2).
My total came to $17 and some change. Score!
 And that total included some extras I purchased.

Everyone had fun and enjoyed the food and tea (Peach Mango White Tea).
That's what it's all about...
hokey pokey!

What it looked like:

choc chip cookies, plantains, carrots, grapes and chicken wraps

SnaPea crisps! And decorations.

That's my Greek White Bean and Tomato wrap on the back plate.

All the yummy on one plate.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tofu Scramble Remix Number 3,089

How could you ever get tired of tofu scramble?
There are so many variations.

Savory, sweet, and pretty much any cultural adaptation
you can imagine...

I don't eat tofu (or any soy products) often,
but it's nice ot have a block
on hold in the freezer for the occassional cravings
and for a quick breakfast or dinner.

I just drain it of any liquid its packed in, rinse it
cut the block into four and then freeze.

No other prep needed. And freezing it makes
the tofu chewier in texture, so it doesnt need
to be cooked as long. Just flash fried (cooked in
a very hot skillet) to brown it.

If you have any questions about Tofu feel free
to email me or put it in the comment section in below.

How much do you love it when the mushrooms are fried?

Tuscan Scramble
1/2 block tofu crumbled (mine was frozen but nuked to thaw)
1/2 c frozen kale, thawed
1 cup sliced baby bella
1/4 c onion sliced or diced
1 t salt
1 T trader Joe's 21 seasoning mix (or any mix you like,
of course Italian would make it more Tuscan..)

Heat some oil in a pan then toss in onion.
When they starts to wilt throw in mushrooms.
Sprinkle in the Tofu then the seasoning mix and let it brown.
When its halfway there throw in the kale.

Have you tried this?

The new Uber line from Lara is super tasty.
I wouldnt say it taste like its name as much
as the original line does, but they are
delicious none the less...

Super dense and flavorful!
Great desk munchie killer......