Sunday, April 8, 2012

easter 2012!

To all those celebrating today, a very Happy Easter to you!
- A lovely weekend at home with the family
- Dying Easter eggs in the beautiful, sunny weather
- My last minute centerpiece turning out really cute, actually! (And luckily)
- Catching up with my cousins at the "kid's table"
- AMAZING food, including the infamous hash brown casserole *drooool* and my very first attempt at a "honey baked" Quorn loaf (which I swear, will be GREAT next year)
- Getting to play on my dad's fancy work ipad- thus, the great photo collage, above
- And just enjoying a day full of beautiful weather, wonderful family, and delicious food

- Gaining, like, 10 pounds in one weekend.... but let's be honest. It was totally worth it.

Happy Easter everyone! I hope it was a good one for you too♥

Thursday, April 5, 2012

chopped eating

Most times when I refuse to go to the grocery store, I feel like I'm eating all my meals on the Food Network show Chopped. Erin. You have 30 minutes to make yourself a dinner with mustard, rice noodles, tempeh bacon, and chickpeas. Go!
Well this has definitely been one of those weeks for me. Since I'm going home to my parents' house for Easter, why would I buy groceries, when I know there will be a truck-load of left-overs for me to devour next week? Considering I haven't done a real grocery shop in weeks, these past few days have yielded some "creative" meals, and I just wanted to share some of them with you.

1. Bagels (which I found in the break room for free)
2. Kashi frozen waffles (that have been in the freezer forever)
- some toppings include jam, cream cheese, and cream cheese with honey and Granny Smith Apples. I know cream cheese with honey sounds random, but it was the best creative find I've had all week :)

1. Leftovers from the weekend like some hangover chinese food and a veggie sandwich that sat in my boyfriend's car for way too long
2. Freezer food! When eating cheap, this is the time to rediscover those frozen burritos, frozen crock pot meals, and big batches of soup from winter

1. Homemade enchiladas with homemade sauce (which I posted about here)
2. Stir fry is always a great option for using up all the odd parts of vegetables, and rice noodles pretty much last forever in the cupboard
3. Polenta with chickpeas, almonds, and tomatoes?
4. Penne pasta with corn, peas, boca crumbles, chickpeas, and marinera?

Moral of the story, is that even when you're short on food, you can still put together some great meals. Success of the week? Cream cheese and honey! Omg who knew it was such a great combination? Also, this week's failure? Chickpeas. Just because they're perfect in a large number of dishes, does not mean they belong in all of them. The last 2 dinners of mine were quite strange- good flavor, hearty and filling, but the chickpeas were the black sheep for sure.

I've had a lot of fun mixing, matching, and getting adventurous in the kitchen this week, but I must say, I am so ready to have a couple of very excellent meals with my mom and dad this weekend! What about you? Ever get crazy with your cooking and end up with EPIC successes and/or failures? That's what cooking's all about! That's why I love it ♥

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

homemade enchilada sauce

Enchilada sauce is one of those things that I never anticipated making. Ever. I have no idea what kind of spices go in it, and I like the canned El Paso stuff just fine, so why would I ever try to make it myself? Well, an ever-shrinking budget and a very expensive speeding ticket have me looking through my cupboards like I'm on Chopped, and who woulda thunk that I had all the ingredients for homemade enchilada sauce just hanging out at home? It was easy, seriously tasty, and probably one of the best things I've made in quite a while!

Homemade enchilada sauce adapted from
Stuff you need: 1. 2 Tablespoons Butter or margarine 2. 3 Tablespoons flour 3. 1 cup tomato sauce 4. 1 cup+ water 5. 2 Tablespoons chili powder 6. a shake of garlic powder 7. something spicy :)

Start by melting your butter in a warm skillet, and then stirring it together with the flour to make a roux kind of thing. Next, stir in your tomato sauce and 1 cup water. I'd start with 1 cup, and then you can add more later depending on how thick you'd like your sauce.

Finally, add in the chili powder, garlic powder, some salt, and something spicy to give it a little kick. Cayenne or diced jalapeño would both be nice. I used red pepper flakes, since that's what I had on hand, it worked just fine.

When everything is incorporated together, let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes, and that's it! Your sauce is ready for whatever cooking adventures you have in mind.
It looks like the real thing, right? I used tonight's sauce for a big batch of kidney bean, green onion, and vegan cheese enchiladas, topped with a little avocado and some chopped greens. It was absolutely delicious!
I love everything about this. The flavor was great, it was surprisingly easy to make, and, let's be honest, anything made from scratch is going to be way better than the stuff in the can. Homemade enchilada sauce for the win! :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

hunger games party

If you're crazy obsessed with the Hunger Games like I am, I bet you saw the movie this weekend too! A big group of us got tickets almost a month ago, and ever since then, we've all been counting down the days until the big premiere. This weekend finally came around, and I was so excited, I just had to decorate the house for the occasion :)
I made a couple of triangle banners- one to hang in the kitchen/bar area, and one to put in the dining room. I downloaded a Hunger Games type at dafont, and printed out "May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor" to post in both rooms as well.

I also got super crafty, and made a set of wine charms! I used the same Hunger Games font to type out all the main characters' names on top of the mockingjay seal. I then printed, and cut them out, attached them to a little cardboard, and wrapped them around our wine glasses with floral wire. They turned out great, and they were really fun to have too!
We drank wine, ate pizza, and got to the movie just in time! I must say, I was really impressed with the adaptation! A phenomenal book, and a great movie too. Yes, the book was better, but isn't it always? The actors were great, the violence was tasteful, and the parts that differed from the book, I didn't mind at all. I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.

Great movie. Fun night. I can't wait to do it all over again for the next installment! :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

peanut butter oatmeal puppy treats

I've said it before, and I'll say it again- the best gifts are food gifts. A million dollars would probably trump that, but until it happens, I'm going to stick with food. I know I love receiving tasty treats, so I thought, why wouldn't our furry friends like the same thing? A few weekends ago I got the chance to see some of my best friends and my parents in the same few days, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to bake up some goodies for all my favorite pups.

I surfed around the web looking for a good recipe, and I finally decided on this one at Jun-blog, because it looked easy, and had just a handful of good, quality ingredients. I added a little more peanut butter and swapped out chicken broth for veggie stock, but otherwise, the dough came together quickly, it made about 3 dozen little star shaped treats, and I'm told all the dogs that got them loved them! :)
Here's Ichabod and one of his playmates patiently waiting for a peanut butter oatmeal treat! Aren't they adorable?My bashful border collie, Maggie also enjoyed hers, even though she looks moderately terrified. She tends to hate children, hoola hoops, and cameras.
Unfortunately, I can't personally attest to the deliciousness of these treats, but as long as the puppies are happy, I'm happy too. Sounds like this recipe is a success. I can't wait to spoil all my favorite dogs again next time!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

st. patrick's day fun

For everyone nursing their green beer headaches today, I hope you all had a very happy St. Patrick's Day! I know I sure did :)
I made some some cupcakes to take over to my friend Dave's house for his annual St. Patrick's Day party, and I'm really happy with how they turned out- vanilla cake batter dyed green, topped with white cream cheese frosting, green sprinkles, and a festive topper. Aren't they cute?

I made the toppers myself with some stickers, cardstock, and toothpicks, and I absolutely love them. The cupcakes were cute on their own, but the festive pick was what really made them extra special. I can't wait to make more for my next round of goodies!
Here's a big cheers to a successful St. Patrick's Day. I hope it was fun for you too. Erin Go Braugh! ♥

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

eggless tofu salad

There are a handful of things that I am completely obsessed with. Besides the SyFy channel and blog lurking, I think I'd definitely have to put egg salad on that list too. Nothing's better than a happy-chicken egg hard boiled to perfection, mixed with a little Vegenaise and devoured between 2 slices of toast with some spicy brown mustard. Yum!

Well, I've been really intrigued with the idea of an entirely vegan egg salad, and finally for lunch today, I decided to try it out with a block of firm tofu that desperately needed to be eaten. Being an egg salad purist, I was pretty skeptical, but wow! It was DELICIOUS!

Stuff you need: 1. Firm tofu 2. Vegenaise 3. Salt & pepper 4. Diced onion, shredded carrot or anything else you like in your egg salad

Start by squeezing the tofu like you normally would. While the tofu is getting pressed, chop up your onion, carrot, and/or anything else you'd like to include. When the tofu is ready, crumble it into a bowl and mix it together with a big dollop of Vegenaise, some salt, pepper, and all your tasty extras. I just used a little bit of onion, since that's what I had on hand.

When all the ingredients are properly combined, that's it! Dig in! You could eat it on a bed of greens, between 2 slices of toast with some kale and mustard, or if you can't wait a minute longer, just stand there in the kitchen and eat it right there on the spot :)
I can't tell you how excited and pleased I am with this recipe! I was fully prepared for this to turn out soggy and bland, but it was surprisingly great! Hard boiled eggs have a moderately neutral flavor, so replacing it with tofu wasn't really that crazy after all. This lunch was a total success. I may be an egg salad fanatic, but I think this tofu version is just as good!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

meat free fast food

Look what I discovered this afternoon while feeding my hangover some much-needed Taco Bell. "All Meny Items Are Available Without Meat Upon Request"- I love it!
Granted, the meatless campaign is centered around Lent, but I love the fact that a major fast food chain is promoting meat-free options! Ten years ago a restaurant like Taco Bell would have never even considered promoting a meatless meal. Why bother when every one just wants a cheap burger or chicken sandwich? Well hopefully times are changing, and people are starting to care more about what they put in their bodies. The benefits of a plant based diet are extraordinary, and I'm just excited to see more and more places offer vegetarian options on their menus. Taco Bell may not be exquisite cuisine, but every little bit helps! Big kudos to the T-Bell :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

pizza spaghetti bake

I don't know about you, but sometimes I need a night all to myself. No gym, no diet, no stress, and probably some nail painting too :) Tonight I definitely needed an erin night filled with Project Runway Allstars, yellow nails, a glass of wine, and this recipe for a pizza spaghetti bake from The Kitchen Is My Playground. I don't know how I stumbled upon this dish, but after a long day at work, it's exactly what I was craving.

I vegatized my casserole with some faux sausage, spinach, onions, and soy cheese, layered everything in a tiny dish according to the original recipe, and 30 minutes later, I dug into a hot, gooey, carb-loaded dinner. So good.
For next time, I think I'll add some salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning for a little extra flavor. Also, I think it would help to mix in some sauce with the noodle layer, so it's a little less dry on the bottom. Otherwise, this was everything I wanted for Erin Night. It was hot, tasty, easy to prepare, and comforting. My belly is full, my nails look great, and Mondo is still in the running for Project Runway All Stars. Erin Night is a success. I feel better already :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

lazy bones jambalaya

Even though Fat Tuesday has passed, and Lent has begun, I think I still have that Mardi Gras fever! I looked high and low for a quick, simple, jambalaya recipe to celebrate the season, but I couldn't find anything just right. Luckily, one of my best friends attended Tulane University and happens to be a Mardi Gras expert, so I asked her for her go-to, quick, and easy jambalaya recipe, which happens to be seriously delicious and seriously lazy :)

• Step 1: Prepare a box of Zatarain's Low-Sodium Jambalaya Mix according to directions
• Step 2: Separately cook up some meat-free sausage, and any veggies of your choosing.
• Step 3: Mix together your prepared rice, faux meat, and vegetables, and serve it up. DONE!
I know, I know, a blog post on a box of rice? But yes, of course! Sometimes meals don't have to be complicated. Granted, any meal is going to taste better when it's made from scratch, but sometimes you just don't have the time, ingredients, or the energy after a long day at work. So make do with what you have! Take that boring old box of rice and spice it up with all kinds of meat substitutes, spices, and vegetables of your choosing! Hey, you never know- that boring old box mix may just surprise you with a tasty treat :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

neat market & the vegan van

Happy Monday everyone! I know it's only been 24 hours since Sunday, but I've been dying to tell you all about the Neat Market I attended this weekend, hosted by Plants and Animals Denver :)

Plants and Animals Denver is a vegan advocacy group looking to improve the lives of animals, unite local vegans, and make Denver more vegan-aware. Each month they're hosting an event called the Neat Market, where all kinds of vendors come together to sell their vegan wares. Julie and I made our first ever appearance there yesterday, and let me tell you, it totally blew our minds! Watercourse Bakery and the Denver Seitan Company were both there, along with all kinds of coffees, wines, fake-meats, accessories, cookbooks, sweets, and the best kale chips EVER. Oh, and did I mention the best part? It was all vegan! Yayy!!

After Julie and I dug into some Monster Kale Chips and Tofurky jerky, we had to top off the afternoon with lunch at the Vegan Van, which was parked just outside the Neat Market.
While I've dined at many food trucks, this was my first time at the Vegan Van, and it was outstanding. The menu boasts all kinds of tofuffalo, corned befe, coconut bacon, and walnut parm, but I decided to dig into the "Freak Out" sandwich- veggie-ball, marinara, and avocado spread on a roll, with a side of chips to boot.
Woah. Them veggie balls look damn good, am I right? I am right! The sub was ridiculously delicious, the kale chips are already mostly gone, and the market was absolutely phenomenal. I can't tell you how exciting it is to discover such a badass group of vegans in Denver. This may have been my first Neat Market, but it most certainly will not be my last! ♥

Sunday, February 12, 2012

eggplant ragout

You know what I love? Produce sales at the grocery store. Eggplants were $1 each last week, so, of course, I had to buy a couple of them, and this is the scrumptious ragout I made with those beautiful aubergines.

Stuff you need: 1. Onion 2. Garlic 3. Olive Oil 4. Eggplant 5. 1 can Diced Tomatoes

Begin by heating a large skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, chop up all your ingredients, and open up the can of diced tomatoes. When the pan is hot, place your onion and garlic in a dollop of olive oil, and cook everything for a couple of minutes.

Next, throw your chopped eggplant into the pan, and cook covered for 5-10 minutes. When the eggplant is beginning to get soft and turn light brown, add in the can of diced tomatoes, and cook for another 10ish minutes.

When the eggplant is to your desired tenderness, season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and anything else that floats your boat. Serve hot over a bed of quinoa or whole wheat noodles, and save the rest for your lunches this week!
I served my first portion over quinoa with some black beans for protein. For lunch the next day, I put the ragout into a whole wheat pita with some spinach and vegenaise, and finally, the following night, I bought a whole wheat pizza crust, and topped it with marinara, vegan cheese, and the same eggplant ragout. Each and every meal- so good!

It was a fun, easy way to use eggplant, and I love how versatile it turned out to be! The chewy eggplant and chunky tomatoes, make this dish really hearty, and the Italian seasonings give it a homey feel. It was super tasty the first night, and the flavors just kept getting better the longer I left it in the fridge. 1 recipe- 3 great meals. I can't wait 'til eggplant goes on sale again! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

saucy tempeh curry

For some reason, this week is moving ridiculously slow for me, *groan* After a very long Thursday, I was definitely needing something hot, flavorful, and easy to assemble. I've had a block of tempeh sitting in my fridge for a week now, so I was super it excited to find this recipe for Saucy Tempeh Curry over at Sketch-free Vegan Eating.
This recipe was great- it was exactly what I wanted tonight. All the spices really came together to make a bold, flavorful dish, and I love how easy it was to make. Brown tempeh, blend spices, combine, and devour. That's it! I think the sauce needed just a little bit more water to make it thinner, but otherwise, it was spot on. It may have been a dull Thursday, but at least the dinner was excellent :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

superbowl snacks

Even though I hate football, I always get excited for the Super Bowl, because it means I get to hang out in my sweatpants with my friends eating fatty snack foods all day. The commercials are usually pretty clever, but let's be honest, the Super Bowl is all about food, and today, our snack table is pretty impressive.
We have veggies, cookies, chips, hummus, Rachel Ray's 7 Layer Dip, wings for the carnivores, and my personal favorite, fried pickles! This is the second year for Super Bowl fried pickles, and I think it's my favorite new tradition. We made the recipe up as we went, and they turned out even better than last years.

Stuff you need
1. Pickle chips 2. Flour 3. Rice Milk 4. Bread Crumbs 5. Canola Oil

Start by heating up about an inch of oil in a wok of skillet. While the oil is getting nice and hot, pour the flour, breadcrumbs, and 1/2 cup rice milk into 3 separate dishes.

Now that you're all set up, you can start breading the pickles. First coat the pickle chip in flour, then dunk it into the rice milk, and then finally roll it around in the breadcrumbs. When the oil is hot and your pickles are prepped, toss them in the skillet and fry them up until they're golden brown.

Let them cool off just a bit on a stack of paper towels, and when you can't wait any longer, serve 'em up! They're great with ranch, but still delicious on their own as well. Drooooool.
So far, these are definitely THE BEST fried pickles we've ever made. Now if you'll excuse me, I have more binge eating to do before my diet starts again tomorrow. Ha :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

bulk up them pancakes

It is a very rare thing for me to eat pancakes 2 days in a row, but then again, I suppose it's also rare to get 18 inches of snow, even in Denver. With the snow laying thick around my parents' house, today became a perfectly lazy Saturday- sleeping in late, wearing pajamas until noon, reading magazines on the couch, and of course, a gobbling up a hearty, delicious brunch. Today Mom made her favorite pancakes, and while I don't normally eat many pancakes, I think these could make me convert.

She basically uses her favorite waffle/pancake mix, and then adds in all kinds of goodies to make it healthier, and heartier. Served with a little fruit, these suckers are crazy good.
Mom's favorite mix is Arrowhead Mills' Buckwheat Pancake and Waffle Mix, and to bulk them pancakes up a bit, she adds:
• 1 Tablespoon flax seed meal
• a small handful of chopped pecans
• 1/2 a banana in bite-sized bits
• and a little water, so it's not too chunky

Mom and Pop put butter and syrup on theirs, but I liked my stack with nothing but fresh blueberries. YUM! I love that just a few simple additions can turn a plain old pancake, into fruit-filled, fiber-packed, protein-carrying pancake of amazingness.

What do you like to put in your batter? How do you spice up your pancakes? :)

Friday, February 3, 2012


Happy snow day everyone! If you braved the snowpocalypse, and made it to work, congrats! I hope you're traveling safe and keeping warm. I'm excited to say that today is my first ever "working from home day" and I'm celebrating with a big pile of whole wheat pancakes topped with sliced bananas.
If you're bogged down in snow like a lot of us Coloradoans, how are you celebrating your day inside? Checking emails? Watching movies? Maybe finishing a crafty project?

I'm pleased to say I'm being quite productive, all from the comfort of my cozy bedroom and my sweatpants. Today is such a treat :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

8 week health challenge

Every time a new year comes around, I decide that this is the year to get healthy. I vow to drink more water, eat better, and workout like crazy until I finally look like a Victoria's Secret model. Of course, the New Year's hangover is followed by my birthday, which is followed by an annual trip to Utah, which is followed by my best friend's birthday, which is followed by Valentine's and Mardi Gras and another birthday etc etc etc. It just seems like there's never a good time to actually stop celebrating and get fit... until now!

A handful of my friends and I, are starting an 8 week health challenge tomorrow. One of my coworkers found it on the Six Sisters Stuff Blog, and we all decided that it sounds like a great way to be healthy and lose weight together! The basis of the challenge is all about promoting healthy behavior- drinking water, eating fruits and veggies, working out, and avoiding sweets. There's also a cash prize to the 2 people who lose the most weight, and live the healthiest at the end of the 8 weeks. Sounds pretty fun right?

If you check out the challenge, and decide you like the sound of it, join in! I'm super excited to get started tomorrow- I already have all my green smoothie ingredients chopped and ready in the fridge! I'll keep you updated on my challenge progress- I plan to eat tons of tasty meat-free meals and lose weight while doing it :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


In order to save money and calories, I very rarely eat out during the weekdays. Today, however, I neglected to pack a lunch, and Julie didn't want her frozen pot pie, so we figured we'd try some new restaurant neither of us had ever been before- Smashburger! I always thought this place was just another burger and fries joint, but I was really excited to find out they also have a meat-free black bean burger!
Julie and I both got the black bean burger- hers with smash fries, and mine with veggie frites, and we both absolutely loved it! The texture is great- soft, mashed beans on the inside, and perfectly grilled on the outside. Some veggie burgers to mush together too many ingredients, but this black bean patty was simple, tasty, and just right.

The veggie frites, while pretty good, were more of a sautéed vegetable stick than a fry. The smash fries were also pretty good, but the haystack onions were totally delicious! Julie and I both snuck some of Greg's fried onion strands and they were super tasty. The veggie frites are definitely the healthy choice, but the haystack onions are definitely the scrumptious one!

I must say this new dining adventure was a total success. If you're in the mood for a fast, delicious, meat-free burger, definitely check out Smashburger. I was pleasantly surprised, and I hope you will be too! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

green smoothie in a mason jar

If you've ever seen a green smoothie, and wondered if it tastes like an ugly liquid salad gone wrong, I have news for you. Green smoothies are freakin' delicious! I made my very first one today for breakfast, and now I think I could have one every morning!

For my first attempt, I kept it simple with minimal ingredients, but I think with this basic base, I can start getting more creative for different flavor and/or nutritional combinations.

Stuff you need: 1. 1/2 cup rice milk 2. 1 banana 3. apple 4. 3 handfuls of kale 4. 3/4 cup water

If you hate mornings like I do, get everything prepared the night before- core your apple, and chop it up along with the banana and kale. In the morning, combine the rice milk, apple, and banana in a blender and start running it.

As the blender runs, add the kale in small amounts. When you add the kale in, I recommend you pour a little water in at the same time, so everything continues to blend together smoothly. When all the ingredients are nicely combined and the liquid is to your desired consistency, pour it up, and suck it down!
Isn't that green lovely?
Some thoughts on green smoothies:
1. If you bring it to work, all your coworkers will ask you what the hell are you drinking? Is it pesto?
2. Once you get over the color and the kale in your teeth, it honestly tastes just like a regular banana smoothie, and is seriously delicious.
3. Don, our IT guy and health guru, recommends adding different greens into the same smoothie for better national value- collards, spinach, carrot tops- all great choices.
4. Don't waste your solo cups every morning! Drill a hole through the lid of an old mason jar, and use that for your newfound green smoothie obsession!

Let's be honest. I'm totally obsessed. It's delicious, it's easy to make, it's crazy good for you, and it actually kept me full until lunchtime! Yeah. I think I'll be drinking these A LOT :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

qrunch burgers

Hey has anybody tried the quinoa patties from Qrunch Foods yet? Last time I was at Whole Foods, the free-sample-man convinced me to buy a box, and so far so good.

I like that they're completely unique to anything else on the market.- there's a nice variety of veggie burgers and chik'n patties, but I really haven't seen a lot of quinoa burgers floating around yet. I also like that the Qrunch patty is gluten fee, vegan, and made with just a handful of good ingredients. Unfortunately, they're a little high in saturated fat for my liking, but I think that's probably okay, as long as you don't start yourself on a Qrunch burger IV drip.
Today for lunch I had a Qrunch burger served over a bed of sautéed kale and spinach, with a little bit of Newman's Own Italian dressing. The quinoa patty has a nice texture- light and flaky, with still enough to bite into- and I love the flavor, which I think is best described as buttery. Yumm.

If anyone else has tried these bad boys I'd love to hear what you think! Personally, they're a little high in fat for me, but I think it'll be nice to have these in the freezer for meals every now and then. Thanks Qrunch burger! Big kudos to you :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a scrumptious 25th birthday

Excuse me one moment while I put on my fat pants, and talk about my birthday feasts. Even though today was my actual birthday, I feel like I've been pigging out all week in its honor- man I love birthdays! If you're looking for good veggie grub around Denver and the surrounding area, let me tell you where I've recently binged myself:

• Friday night was my Mom's birthday dinner at India's- I love Indian food, not only because of the unique flavors and spices, but also because there are so many great meat-free options! Saag Paneer, Aloo Gobi, and Navarattan Korma? It was all great!

• Saturday night a group of friends treated me to pizza at Lala's pizzeria and wine bar. The wine selection is spectacular, the pizza is great, the eggplant parm is even better, and to top it off- they have gluten free options! Absolutely fabulous.

• Sunday night the boyfriend and I walked over to Shells and Sauce for some tasty Italian fare. It's a cozy little place with all the usual dishes- homemade pastas, thin crust pizzas, and some nice vegetarian and gluten free options. I got the cheese ravioli and it was ridiculously good.

• I managed to actually cook a meal yesterday, but since tonight was my actual birthday, my parents took me out to Tommy's Thai. After some hefty meals the past few days, nothing sounded better than fresh, spicy vegetables served over steamed rice. Once again, Thai food is great for meatless options, so I happily dug into some tofu spring rolls, and Pad Kra Pow. It was everything I was craving and more- Tommy's is definitely one of my faves.

Well, moral of the story is that it was an amazing, and incredibly delicious birthday weekend! I also got some awesome kitchen gadgets I can't wait to play with, lots of fun new cookbooks and spices, a beautiful flower delivery, and I even found my cubicle decorated this morning at work! A BIG thanks to everyone who made my birthday so special this year. I seriously have the best friends and family in the world. I love you guys! BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

high altitude hard-boiled eggs

I know that Easter is months away, but hard-boiled eggs are good all year round! I got another batch of beautiful, happy eggs from my parents, and since I don't eat them quickly enough, I decided to hard boil a big batch the other night.
Aren't they gorgeous? My parents get eggs from a man in their neighborhood who has a little flock of happy chickens- they have space to roam in, plenty of food, and they produce these stunning, multi-colored eggs. Happy chickens make me happy too :)

Anyway, I don't know if cooking times are different for those at sea level, but these are the directions my mom gave me, and they worked perfectly here in Colorado.

How to hard-boil eggs at altitude
Stuff you need: 1. Eggs 2. Water 3. Salt

Place your eggs into an appropriate sized saucepan. You want the eggs to fit nicely in the bottom, so they won't rattle around, or be too tight either. Fill the pan with enough cold water to cover the eggs, and give the water a healthy helping of salt.

Place the saucepan on the stovetop, and bring to a boil using medium high heat. When the water is at a full rolling boil, let the eggs cook for 3 minutes. At the end of the 3 minutes, place a lid on the pot, and remove it from the heat. Let the saucepan sit for 20-22 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse the eggs under cold water.

That's it! Store your hard-boiled eggs in the fridge, and devour them in all kinds of things- on toast at breakfast, chopped up in a stir fry, sliced over a bed of greens, or my personal favorite, mixed with some mayo in an egg salad sandwich!
My roommate, Molly, got her fancy egg salad recipe from Shape Magazine, but I just freehanded mine. 1 chopped egg + 1 rib celery + a little Vegenaise + salt & pepper = the perfect, quick, and tasty egg salad, which is absolutely divine, served on whole wheat toast, with mustard and lettuce. Happy chickens. Happy egg salad. Happy erin :)