Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Food & Famine

It's hard to look at pictures of starving kids and then think about how full my fridge is.  I work with/as an advocate for a lot of hungry kids in my line of work, but these kids are dying of hunger.

I don't have a lot of money, but I gave $15 to Heifer Project, who does work in countries neighboring Somalia that are taking on refugees.  I know it's not a lot, but it's something.  Maybe one day I can give more.  There's other organizations actually in Somalia that are linked on that web page.

I don't say "hey look I gave some money" to brag about being a good person - I'm kind of a whiny brat, like, lots of times - just putting it out there to hopefully guilt (yeah, I used the guilt word!) just one person into doing something similar.

Why can't I mail him food?  Granola bars keep.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza & D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

I'm reading the book Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, and I'm on her chapter about sentences.  I even like the word "sentences."  Reminds me of The Phantom Tollbooth, and eating words off of a plate, twirling sentences like strands of spaghetti.  It was very important in Dictionopolis to pick delicious words.  This is an apt lesson for life.  I started running through my book collection reading first sentences after finishing Prose's chapter on decadent sentences, and came across this.  D.H. Lawrence was a sexy, sexy, man.  The Sea in Sardinia was my first Lawrence discovery in high school.  I wish I had read more, earlier.  Even his prosaic sentences made me feel warm, and I hadn't even discovered the likes of his brand of erotica.

Speaking of Sardinia, Twilight in Italy, and what-not, it's appropriate that one of my first meals from my new box was an eggplant and Parmesan pizza on whole wheat pizza crust.  Whole wheat pizza crust is one of the easiest things to make, and as I crave Pappa John's, but won't let myself have it, weekly, I make a lot of pizza.

For the dough:

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 package yeast
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1tbs sugar
1 cup warm water
Flax seed - I always mix some in for extra hippie points.

1) Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
2) Add the wet ones.
3) Mix until all combined.
4) Spread on an oiled pizza stone.
5) Top and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375.

Eggplant Parmesan Toppings:

1 sliced eggplant
1 cup bread crumbs (make toast, then pop in a mini-processor to crumble)
2 eggs
Parmesan cheese (the real kind!  Ground up in a mini-processor)
Tomato sauce
Mozzarella (again, the real stuff you have to slice)
Mild pepper, chopped (I also used a jalapeno, because I love heat)
Black olives
Basil leaves

1) Mix the breadcrumbs and eggs in a bowl.
2) Coat the eggplant slices in the mix.  Pop on a greased cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375 for 10ish minutes.
3) Top pizza dough with sauce, toppings, and eggplant.
4) Bake according to dough instructions.

Friday, July 22, 2011

CSA Box Week Two

I picked up Mike and I's CSA box from Whole Foods yesterday, and these were the contents:

Sweet & Hot Peppers 

Mixed Summer Squash 
Winter Squash 

+ 6 eggs

We got short changed some onions, according to their website, but I'll forgive that, as we still have onions left over from our first box.  I haven't sat down to plan out what we'll cook using it all, plus the bits leftover from last time (including an acorn squash - I have big plans for that), but I'm hoping that between packing up the apartment this weekend, I'll find a spare moment to plan my culinary attack.

My biggest victory with getting a CSA box has not been figuring out how to use the produce, but rather, how to make it all fit in the fridge!  With help from Wal-Mart's tupperware section and the Container Store, I've got a decent system going:

When I first moved in with Mike, all he really had in his fridge was mustard and beer.  Quite a change!  Also, can we talk about how labels make everything better?  The mere act of labeling what goes into the fridge helps me remember so nothing gets lost to rot in a back corner, visual reminders aside.

That big cheese wedge in the upper drawer is real Parmesan.  I have a friend who stopped speaking to me when we were in college - I don't remember why anymore - but, she spent a year in Italy prior to our friendship break-up, and one lesson she taught me upon her return: invest in real cheese.  Buy the wedge of pricey Parmesan, put it in a mini-processor and grind it up; your world will be rocked.  I have indeed been rocked, and will never go back to the powder in a green bottle some companies try to pass as cheese.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Veggie Mexican Spiced Soup

Today I picked up a new CSA box, so last night I had to find a recipe that used as many of my veggies left from my first box, circa two weeks ago, as I could.  Cooking almost every night, I still had a few zucchinis, lots of hot peppers, a few onions, a couple of sweet peppers, and a few other stragglers I'll have to integrate this week, (if you know what to do with a bunch of mint, shoot me a message, please!).

I found a recipe for "Garden Veggie Tortilla Soup" on the Johnson's Backyard Garden recipe forum , and changed it up a bit to suit what I had on hand.

Here is the recipe I followed:


Olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup assorted mild peppers, diced
As many hot peppers as you can stand
3-5 tomoatos, diced
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup sliced zucchini & summer squash
1 cup sprouted mung beans
1 cup corn (fresh is better, but I had a can sitting around taking up space)
3-5 cups vegetable stock
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
sliced avocado
shredded raw cheddar cheese
Cilantro & lime for garnish
Nutritional yeast & chia seeds - just because I toss these on everything


1) Pour a few tablespoons olive oil into a stock pot set on medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, saute until tender.
2) Add the peppers and cook until tender.
3) Add the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are pulpy.
4) Toss in the zucchini, corn, and mung beans, stir until tender.
5) Add in the vegetable stock and spices.  Let simmer 20-30 minutes.  Season to taste.
6) Top soup in bowls with avocado, cilantro, limes, and cheese.  And if you like to toe the line of being a crunchy like I do, toss in that nutritional yeast and those chia seeds.

This made enough for Mike and I to have an overflowing bowl each, plus a tupperware container full of leftovers, (lunch for this weekend!).

I just unpacked my new CSA box into my fridge.  Time to start planning for the next few weeks of meals.

Taco cat enjoys the box immensely:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One More Time, With Feeling!

I keep my party hat nearby at all times.

Oh blogging, I've missed you!  And at first I was so sad that some nasty company stole my URL, but I think it was a sign from the Universe to return to my roots.  My blogging roots being back in... 2008 (??) when I initially started this blog, and called it Bella (my dog's name, and also, of course, "Beautiful") Green (my favorite color and demonstrating my affinity for all things eco, the long showers I take during a drought aside) Blog (because "Bella Green" by itself was taken).

Coming back, I am finally ready to publicly admit a few things, which were probably painfully obvious from the beginning:

1) I really don't care about fashion.  It's a fun game to play occasionally, but I can't afford to keep it up, and usually, I'm too lazy to put on more than slacks and an Ann Taylor T-shirt when I get ready for work.  And at home, clothes are just stifling - who needs them?  Our apartment is a no-pants zone for all tenants!  I think I started writing about fashion because I liked some of the fashion blogs I came across, I seemed to find an audience when I devoted time to that subject, and I liked looking pretty in pictures (still do, although snap shots never turn out like a posed fashion photo - I tend to look like a troll - see above).

2) I can't spell.  Thank God for spell check.

Anyway, I really miss having a "thing" that allows me to connect with other people, and I have felt isolated lately in my non-social hobbies of cooking at home, reading at home, working in an office, and hanging out with my boyfriend, (at home).  I'm ready to go back into the public sphere, and am willing to re-make the effort to do so.

If you're still with me, and I'll forgive you if you've ditched by now, it's important (or not) to know that a few things have changed:

1) I had a birthday, (also see above), so I'm ripe and 27 now, holla!

2) I'm no longer a Club Director with the BGC, I'm behind a desk writing grants (I actually, like a nerd, really enjoy this).

3) In my last post, circa October 2010, I mentioned losing a boy I had been seeing.  I found him again.  I even took up residence in his apartment.  We move to a two bedroom way far away from my first trendy Austin abode in Hyde Park next weekend, (and I haven't put one thing in a box yet).

4) I cook a lot.  This isn't really new.  But it's become painfully obvious that my two real obsessions are collecting books, (most of which I subsequently don't read - need to work on that), and cooking vegetarian things from scratch, now using the lovely veggies Mike & I get from the Johnson's Backyard Garden CSA.  I diligently plan meals and record what I make using fresh produce every week, so I think I'll switch from using a word document to do this, to this blog.

5) I traded my fancy Hybrid SUV for a more modest small car - stick shift, baby!  I mostly know how to drive it now, (DO NOT pull up behind me on a hill).  The wonderful people at Johnson's Backyard Garden also taught me to can vegetables, (we are set on pasta sauce and salsa for the winter), and I'm avidly encouraging myself to focus on my personal writings - journals, stories, poems, again.  I'd love to get the guts to perform at the Austin Poetry Slam - I've been putting it off for 2 years.

I'd love for you to stick around as I ease back into the blogging world - here's to a new chapter.

And about that boyfriend - he's pretty cute!  (And there's the Bella dog)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...