August 24, 2010

I love cool evenings, it's official.

I was a lazy ol' lard most of the day, but in my defense, I've been exhausted since last Thursday or before. lol Evenings are usually when my magic comes in to play anyway.

I made a tasty lentil soup(based on the lentil soup recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook) and a chocolate cobbler tonight!

Lentil soup:

2 cups dry lentils (rinse 'em if they look dirty, after all, they are a ground-dwelling legume)
6ish cups water
2-3 mid-sized tomatoes (I'll tell ya what they're doing in a sec)
2 carrots, sliced or diced, your call
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 biggish yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced with seeds and membranes cut out
6-8 cloves of minced garlic
spices of your choosing (I used 1 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, a buttload of black pepper, salt and cayenne)

Put your water on to boil in a reasonably big pot. While you wait, rinse and core your tomatoes, then when the water is boiling, put the whole tomatoes into the water for about 15-20 seconds. The skin will split a little and the flesh will soften a smidge. Take 'em out of the water, peel the skin off, and then squeeze the excess juice and the seeds out. Dice up the emptied, softened tomatoes and set them aside.

Put your lentils and about 2 tsp salt into your water you used on the tomatoes. Let it get back up to a boil, then turn it down to a low simmer and cover is partially, let it cook for about 30 minutes.

Now, you have plenty of time to prep the other veggies! Get everything rinsed, diced and ready! Once the 30 minutes of solitude for the lentils is up, put your veggies and garlic (BUT NOT THE TOMATOES!!!) in the pot, along with most of your spices. Don't go crazy on the salt just yet, I added most of mine right before serving. I also adjusted the spice level before serving. Let all the veggie/spice/lentil goodness simmer for 20-30 minutes, partially covered. When that time is up, PUT IN THE TOMATOES! Let it cook for 5 more minutes, then adjust flavor levels as you see fit. Guess what? You just made a vegetarian soup!!! I served mine up with a corn muffin and topped with a spoonful of plain yogurt. Mmm-hmm!

Chocolate Cobbler(aka Hot Fudge Pudding Cake):

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (I used soymilk, it tasted just fine)
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/4 cups hot water
Whipped cream

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Pour batter into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa. Sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Pour hot water over top, and DO NOT STIR IT. DON'T EVEN CONSIDER IT!!!

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until center is almost set (not jiggly). Remove from oven. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve it up, being sure to get both the crusty top and the saucy underbelly in there. Garnish with whipped cream and enjoy it with some friends!

I'm glad dinner was so healthy, because dessert was ultra-decadent. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM all-around. :D

Enjoy the cool week, and eat well!!!


August 23, 2010

What a weekend!!!

First off, my chorus's 20th anniversary show on Saturday night was magical, to say the least. All the sweat and hard work definitely paid off. :) After the final bow, there was cleanup, a glorious night's sleep, then off to Tulsa for some sightseeing and relaxation.

First stop was Leon's for a quick bite before heading out to The Philbrook Museum. I soooooooo wish we would've had more time there, we only saw the ground floor before they closed up! Breathtaking artwork, gorgeous place. We will definitely go back to see the rest and check out the giant landscaped gardens.

After begrudgingly leaving the museum, we made our way to The Victorian Lady in Jenks to check in. It was a smidge hard to find, since it was amidst a neighborhood, but that ended up being a great asset. It made for a very peaceful and tranquil stay(the fact that we were the only guests Sunday night didn't hurt!). Jetted tub for two? Check. Ridiculously plush bed with giant pillows and million threadcount sheets? Check. Amazing homemade 3 course breakfast with freshly squeezed juice? Check. The innkeeper, Deena's, major attention to every detail and more hospitality than you can shake a stick at? CHECK. Definitely check this place out. It's worth every cent.

For dinner, we moseyed back to Brookside and ended up at Fuji. Little did we know, we had stumbled upon "Tulsa's #1 Sushi Since 1986." We ordered a Yokohama combination platter, which has salad, soup, tempura shrimp and assorted tempura veggies, 6 pieces of Makizushi (we chose spicy salmon), and 7 Nigirizushi of the chef's choosing(the fresh and smoked salmons were my fave, followed closely by the bluefin tuna). We rounded it out with an additional roll and made very happy plates! It always feels weird to say I got full at a sushi restaurant, but I did. lol

To work off our big ol' bellies, we went to walk by the river. There's a giant path along the eastern shore of the Arkansas River that's miles long. We were about 3/4 of a mile from the nearest restroom and I developed an urgent need to GO. I'm pretty sure I've never walked that far, that fast before. LOL

Then, it was back to the inn to take a soak in the tub and sleep so we could get to that amazing breakfast! After we were fed and rested up this morning, we headed out to the Oklahoma Aquarium. I had heard about it, but was definitely blown away by how cool it was! So many different animals to check out! I can say with confidence that I have now petted a sea cucumber. :D Sadly, we had to leave before they fed the sharks, but maybe next time we can watch that.

On the way back to Norman, we had lunch at Be Le, which is a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant. MAN OH MAN IT WAS TASTY! I got a fried tofu and black mushroom dish. I wanted to marry those mushrooms... The service was great, though unexpectedly funny. Our server, whom I have dubbed Be Le Man, has the power to be hilariously frank. Be Le Man brought another patron one of those drip coffees with the condensed milk that brews into the cup, then is stirred and poured over the ice. The patron asks Be Le Man, "What is this?" to which Be Le Man replies, "Coffee," in an almost exasperated tone. He then gives the patron what sounds like dating advice. lol Zach ordered the aforementioned coffee at the end of the meal. While he was drinking it, Be Le Man asks him, "Hey! Are you going to let her have any?" I drank some to make Be Le Man feel better. It was strong. :) So, in short, great food at a great price, and unexpected hilarity.

This evening, after having dinner at Pepe's, we drove toward home, only to find a dachshund puppy wandering down Duffy. We scooped her up, parked the car at home, then set out to find her family. After about 10 minutes of walking and a series of helpful tips from neighbors, we got little Gretchen back to her dog friend Maggie and their owner Marge. Happy day! :D

PHEW! I'm pooped, how about you? I think I may turn in a little early tonight!
Never fear, I'm off work tomorrow, so maybe I'll make a little something for dinner!

Eat well(and have fun adventures, too!)!