Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Strangely Delicious

Last Sunday, hubby and I went to an Ethiopian restaurant for the first time.  We really had no idea what to expect.  We both ordered the Vegetarian Combo plate.  I wish I would have taken a photo of it BEFORE I devoured it.  Here's what it looked like after I was VERY full.

There were 5 different vegetables, served on a GIANT plate.  It was the biggest plate I'd ever seen! I have to say I have NEVER tasted such delicious vegetables in my entire life.  My taste buds were in heaven!  The veggies were:

Gomen - Chopped collard greens steamed and tastefully heightened with garlic, jalapeño peppers, and traditional spices.
Fesolia - A mixed vegetable stew of string beans, carrots, tomatoes, and onions deliciously seasoned with garlic, ginger, and turmeric.
Yemisir Wot (spicy) - Red lentil splits slowly cooked in flavorful berbere sauce with red onions and a blend of traditional spices simmered to perfection. 
Tikil Gomen - Lightly spiced cabbage sautéed in a mild sauce.  
Ater Kik - Split peas simmered in a mild and flavorful herb sauce with turmeric.

I am NOT a fan of cabbage but this was fantastic, probably my favorite. The spongy bread that the food was sitting on is called injera.  It has an unusual taste and texture but compliments the food.  The purpose of the injera is to be used as an eating utensil.  You tear a strip off and use it to grab up the food.  It actually works pretty good although I would have preferred traditional silverware.  I really wanted to eat the rest of it because it was a mix of all the flavors but I was just so full it was impossible.  I look forward to going there again!


Saturday, December 23, 2017

I'm Boring!

Seriously, I haven't posted here since October?  I guess things must have gotten pretty boring.  But boring is a good thing since surprises after age 60 aren't necessarily desirable (or good).  So I will take boring and consider it a blessing.

My news of the day is that the oven broke.  After 17 years, it just quit.  And anyone who knows much about me knows that it didn't wear out from use lol!  So that event pushed us into the question of whether we stay with white appliances or take the leap into some sort of stainless steel? 

You'd think that buying a new dishwasher less than a year ago would have compelled us to ask the same question but it didn't.  The stove broke the camel's back.

So after listening to my "I hate stainless" friends, I began to question my desires.  But then the voice of my "I love Black Stainless" friends began to rise . . . and then it got louder.

So long story short, we had a new stove, microwave, and fridge delivered last Thursday.  It startled me for a minute but I liked how it updated things. (Note, the fridge is not as big as it looks in the photo.  In fact, it is smaller, a counter depth model.)

The oven is a convection, my first.  The stovetop is all grill, no blank spaces.  But as quick as I saw the "new look" (it was installed while I was gone), I realized . . . Houston, we have a problem! 

The fridge was loud, very loud! And to make matters worse, it had a VERY high pitched whine to it.  I HOPED it would go away after it "warmed up and got going".  Nope, it did not happen.  I knew I could NOT live with that noise.  It felt like it was giving me a brain tumor!

The salesman said that new high-efficiency refrigerators do make more noise but I assured him that I could not live with this fridge.  Luckily, he was very accommodating and understood customer service.  So we went back to the store the next day and selected a different fridge.

The new fridge is a door-in-door type.  The first time I saw one I thought it was the weirdest thing ever.  But after seeing the merit of the design I warmed up to the idea.

It looks great on the outside.

By opening up the first door there are quick-grab items and the cold air doesn't rush out of the whole fridge.

Or I can just open it up "regular" for "regular" fridge access.

It has plenty of storage and is a "counter depth" so it doesn't stick way out from the counter.  But best of all is that it is so much quieter!

Fleur out!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is one I've used over the past few years.  It's a smooth, creamy tasting butternut squash soup.  First I get my ingredients together.  

Cutting up butternut squashes 2 days in a row has really taxed my muscles!  Anyway, I forgot to take a picture of the squash so if you need to see it look at yesterdays lol!  I scrubbed up everything really well cuz I leave the skins on when possible.

The (2) yams are technically only yams because they are in this country.  Those out of the USA would still probably call them sweet potatoes.

I leave the skins on the 2 Yukon Gold potatoes.

Skin on the apple too.

Skins are also on the 2 pears.

 Everything is cubed and makes up a pretty mix in a waaaay too full crockpot.  I added 6 cups of vegetable broth.

Ground pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasonings are added (in hindsight I think I usually add them once it's finished but I will adjust "to taste" when it's done anyway.  See, I told you it's too full.  I think I can get away with it though . . .

Cook on low for 8 hours.

After everything is tender, I use a hand blender to make it nice and creamy.  The Butternut is on the bottom so blending will totally change how it looks.

 Ta da!

The original recipe called for adding heavy cream to help smooth it out but I can't take something so healthy and add all those calories and fat (51 calories in 1 tablespoon, 95% fat).  I substitute yogurt and it works fine (works great in many recipes).

Sprinkle a bit of parmesan  . . . 

And the best thing is that I have a bunch to put in the freezer (not counting yesterday's soup)!

I will likely never post another cooking post cuz I am done cooking for this decade!


Monday, October 16, 2017

Wheat Berries with Butternut Squash

OK, shockingly, I followed through on my threat to make this recipe.  It is from an ebook I recently purchased (for the ridiculously low price of $1.99) titled "The Ultimate Vegetarian Slow Cooker Cookbook: 200 Flavorful and Filling Meatless Recipes That Prep Fast and Cook Slow."  See it here.

First I gathered all my ingredients.  Although I am a rare cook, I am a neat and orderly one.

The recipe called for 3 cups of Butternut Squash but my crockpot is larger and I wanted plenty to freeze so I used the whole squash.

Seriously, did you think I just tossed the whole thing in the crockpot?  Have you no faith in me lol?

Added 2 cups of Wheat Berries.  This was my first time to use them.

Added 1 cup apple juice.

Added 3 shallots

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

I omitted the teaspoon of salt since the broth has plenty of salt in it.  The book has a recipe for making veggie broth in the crockpot  that I will try sometime.

6 cups of veggie broth.  Oops, forgot to take a picture but you can visualize it.  It also called for 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger but I didn't find any in the cupboard so I experimented and used nutmeg instead (per a suggestion when I googled it).

Mixed it all up . . . 

Cooked on low for about 7 hours (recipe said 6-8).

When squash was tender (7 hours) gently mix in 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese.

Ready for supper!

The Results:  It tasted good, (not as good as the creamy Butternut Squash I will be making tomorrow) but next time I would only use half the wheat berries and would not mix in the parmesan, sprinkle it on top instead.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's soup!


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Back Home

We got home from our trip to Bryce Canyon and the wheelie house is officially winterized for the winter season.  It got really cold while we were there, 10F one morning with the low 50's in the daytime.  The wind blew most of the time but we were prepared for the conditions so it wasn't bad.  At night we had to disconnect the water from the wheelie house or else it would have frozen.

We got home in time to do our long run on Friday.  We didn't run at Bryce because at 8,000 feet elevation it is challenging (even on a good day) but as cold and windy as it was we decided it wasn't worth it.  I love Bryce.  We tried to figure out how many times we've been there and could only come up with "more than 20".

The sky was as blue as it looks in the picture.  With no light pollution, the nights are magnificent as well.  And of course, I love the red rock!

Until next time!


PS - I am cooking tomorrow!  Shocking huh? I am making a dish in the crockpot with butternut squash and wheat berries!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Talkin' Trash

The soil at our house is really bad.  So when Hubby built my garden box last spring, we filled it with compost and topsoil.  I took the extra compost and put it in my front yard gardens where I grow my sunflowers.  After seeing how the compost really fed the plants and made them grow like crazy,  I decided I would like to continue to improve the soil.  Oh, and there's always the "good for the earth" component too.  

Here is my cute countertop compost pail.  It works very well, is convenient, and charcoal filters eliminate all odors.

And then when it fills up I put it in the outside bin.  I have been putting in a mix of greens and browns.  I almost have 1 compartment filled up (it has two).  I can't wait to see my first load of black gold!


Thursday, September 7, 2017


We got home from vacation last night.  So now I am doing all the catch-up stuff related to being gone a couple weeks. I picked a huge bag of tomatoes last night and gave them to a neighbor.  I have a spaghetti squash and more tomatoes for us.  Even though the snails ate into my biggest tomatoes during my absence, there were still plenty of smaller ones. 

I stepped on the scale as soon as we got home.  Isn't that sick?  Anyway, it appears I haven't gained any weight so that's good.  But I do need to get focused!  I am concentrating on some things K10 and I talked about concerning habits.  Seriously, I've been dragging along these extra pounds waaaay too long now!

Because of the terrain we were in at Poulsbo, we haven't run since a week ago yesterday.  This is a rare occurrence but the traffic situation was just too bad.  There weren't many feeder roads that would work either since most didn't have shoulders or were massive inclines.  And tomorrow it will be 3 weeks since we've done a long run (13 miler).  So that means the pressure is on to get out there!  You know what they say "use it or lose it" and that is so very true with running!  Our next run is going to suck!

Unfortunately, the wildfires that have the entire west filled with smoke are presenting us with poor air conditions. We have a wildfire nearby, about 20 miles away. This is the view out the kitchen window.

We'll probably go running tomorrow but will have to see how many miles we can get in.