A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Butternut Squash Shepherd's Pie!

I know you've been waiting for this since oh, October, but finally, the day has come for veganized  shepherd's pie from Sunset! First, roast a butternut squash- about 1 hour at 400*. (You can do this the day before, which is what I usually do.)

Next, compile your other ingredients:
1 onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-2 c. mushrooms, chopped finely (based on your taste)
1 package frozen veggie crumbles (We usually use Morningstar Farms)
3 c. vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. flour (whisked into one cup of the broth, before adding it to the stew to avoid lumps)
1 tsp. olive oil

2-4 Tbsp. heavy cream, half and half, or coconut milk

 In a large stew pot, cook the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is translucent.  Add the mushrooms and saute for a few minutes more, then add the broth.

 Cook until the veggies are tender, and add the broth+ flour to thicken it up.  

 Meanwhile, release the squash from the remains of its skin, and mash with a potato masher or large spoon.  Add in your choice of cream, half and half, or coconut milk (depending on how fattening or vegan you want it to be), and continue to mash.

Pour the stew into a large baking pan, and top with the squash.  Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes, until it's all bubbly and delicious-looking.  You can also broil it for another 5 minutes to get the top a bit brown.

Serve hot, with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

NW Flower and Garden Show, Part 2

So, the theme this year was "Gardens Go Hollywood".  I thought that it was required for the show gardens to be on theme, but I guess not, since there were quite a few that were nice and everything, but had nothing to do with movies!  Here are some of my favorite ones:

His and Hers rooms from "Pillow Talk"

An outdoor movie-viewing area, complete with a "Finding Nemo" stained glass screen.


Now here comes my favorite...

Lord of the Rings!! :)  I have seen really amazing Hobbit Hole chicken coops lately... but the price tag is a bit too steep for me.  Maybe when we can afford that gorgeous Victorian greenhouse

This one I don't remember what it was from, but I really liked all of the blue and the interesting fountain.  I wonder what next year's theme will be?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lentils Puttanesca

Remember your new friend, farro?  We're going to use that lovely grain again today!

Lentils Puttanesca
(from Sparkpeople.com, but their site is so hard to search, I cannot give you a link to it.  Seriously, what is up with that?!)

1 c. farro
1 c. brown lentils
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, medium dice
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 c. dried mushrooms (I used fresh)
16 large olives
2 Tbsp. capers (I left this out)
1/2 lemon (also optional)
2 c. vegetable broth

In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is translucent.  Add the pepper, and cook for a few more minutes over medium high heat.  Then add the lentils, farro, mushrooms, veggie broth, and tomato paste.  Cook until the lentils and farro are soft, about 20-30 minutes.  Mix in the sliced olives when it is mostly done cooking, and serve hot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can also drizzle it with lemon juice and capers.

Here is my weekly menu:

March 17-23
Sunday: Salmon, Acorn Squash, Brown Rice
Monday: Summer Corn Chowder*
Tuesday: Pan Bagna and French Onion Soup
Wednesday: Butternut Squash Shepherd’s Pie
(based on this recipe, but really nothing like it; someday I'll post my version!)
Thursday: Black Bean Mole*, Yams, and Brown Rice
Friday: Pesto Ravioli and Kale Salad

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring is almost here!

Way to Welcome Spring, #1: Go out and look for happy plants

 Like this gorgeous double-petaled hellabore

 Or some other flowers that have been out for the last month or so... primroses, 

 regular hellabores,

 Newly blooming tulips (that hopefully the squirrels will not eat after they are in the ground)

 Vinca (also called periwinkle) that is sometimes the only thing that lives in my shady backyard

My hydrangea is coming back, even though it won't actually bloom until the summer.

 You might also have some perennial edibles, like rhubarb,

 Or overwintered things like onions, kale, or chard.

The best thing you can do is get out there, see what you have to start with, and plan this year's garden!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The joys of Acorn Squash

On a whim the other day, I bought an acorn squash.  It was so delicious, we've eaten it three more times in the last few weeks!  So simple, just cut it in half, put it cut side down in a pan with about an inch of water, and bake for 45 minutes at 400*.  Scoop out the seeds, add a teaspoon of butter and a tablespoon of brown sugar, and call it done!  (I even save it for last and call it "dessert squash")  So good!!!

This week’s Menu:
March 10-16

Sunday: Salmon, Acorn Squash, Kale Salad
Monday: Tempeh and Greens Stew*
Tuesday: Asparagus Soup and Bread
Wednesday: Tofu Stir Fry
Thursday: Corn and Veggie Chowder*
Friday: TBA
Saturday: Under the Sea Party! “Crab” toasts, Kale Salad, and Roasted Veggie Pasta*
(* from Appetite for Reduction... you'd think I was a paid spokesperson for how much I use this book!)

Monday, March 4, 2013

This week's menu

Sometimes, after I've planned out the week's food, things come up.  We end up ordering a pizza or something else.  We are out and don't eat at home.  Things like that.  So, that's why some weeks have a meal repeated from the week before; because we didn't get to it for some reason, but I still have all the ingredients, so we're going to eat it, dammit!  (or something like that)  Other things, like that crazy kale salad? I just eat that all the time now, so that's for real.

This week’s Menu:
March 3-9

Sunday: French Picnic- bread, cheese, peppers, pickles, hummus, spinach, and wine
Monday: Salmon, Acorn Squash, and Brown Rice
Tuesday: Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Tofu*
Wednesday: Moroccan Chickpeas, Zucchini, and Couscous*
Friday: Dinner at the Twin’s House
Saturday: Pioneer Woman’s Cauliflower Soup (of course, minus some of the fat; probably just some sour cream instead of all the real cream and butter she uses)

* from Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

This is that cauliflower soup up for the weekend!

Friday, March 1, 2013

NW Garden Show, Part 1

What started out as a pretty normal day (getting baby ready, picking up Mom from the ferry) quickly turned into COMPLETE CHAOS as we parked and the baby had a hunger meltdown...and I discovered that while I had plenty of formula powder, I had forgotten both the bottle and the sterilized water at home.  (Despite the huge list I'd checked and double-checked the night before.  Yeah.)  I tried to leave the parking garage to wander around Seattle, looking for a drugstore, and forgot that the parking had to be paid inside.  And I had to pee.  So, I turned the car around, parked again, and left my long-suffering mother to placate the baby while I tried to pay the parking so we could leave.  Then I asked the attendant if there was a drugstore nearby, and thank God... there was.  I retrieved baby and Mom, and we headed out into the windy rain, where we found a bottle with a unicorn on it, and a giant bottle of water.  Fed baby successfully.  Then we go to the show, ate lunch, and this happened:

It was now about 1.5 hours after we'd planned to be there, and we decided to just skip all of the classes we'd thought about attending, and just look around.

Vendors and Flowers:

This booth had really cool metal flowers.  You can sort of see them at the bottom of the display; I really liked the tulips.

Gorgeous bright pink magnolia tree

I'd never seen anything like this, and unfortunately, the best picture of like 10 that I took.  They're called some kind of "Tiger Eyes" and looked like little lanterns.

And this booth? This booth was amazing. I snuck some pictures when the guy stepped away for a moment.

Purple. Victorian. Greenhouses.  Want to guess how much they were? The smaller ones were $18K, bigger ones were $36K.  Completely worth it.  :)

This was the window latch.  See what I mean?

Up next, the display gardens!