Pantry Clear-Out

There has been progress in our list of things to do before we move – we found an apartment! We are so excited, the new place has everything we were looking for including an amazing kitchen. I can’t wait to have a dishwasher and a full sized fridge, not to mention the extra counter space and double oven!

It is miles away from our current space, and I can’t wait to get cooking in there.

In the four weeks before we move, however, there is much still to be done. I’m trying to clear out as many odds and ends from our cupboards as possible. Today I did away with some bits of flour by making this Italian apple cake.

I had a little bit of gluten free flour mix, whole wheat pastry flour and some arrowroot flour left over, and was able to use all three in the cake. We also had some sad looking apples that needed to be used, so this recipe fit my purpose perfectly! We’ll be eating a lot of odds and ends in the coming weeks, I hope they’re all as tasty as this!

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Hurricane Sandy

I hope all of you are safe and dry after the big storm!

I was in Boston for a conference last week, and just barely made it back into New York Sunday after my train was canceled. I hopped off a bus and into a cab to the grocery store for provisions. Doug had been left to fend for himself for the week so we were low on supplies. Needless to say the whole thing was a little disorienting.

Both of us were home from work yesterday and I’m off again today. Thankfully the worst we had to contend with was scary noises from things flying around in the wind outside. We were very lucky, millions of others were less so. The kitty has been extra snuggly and we’ve been soaking up every minute of it, being grateful for what we have.

Unlike last year, the farm was relatively unscathed and we’re expecting double shares next week. For this week, I made a giant batch of chicken soup with rice, chopped up some veggies for hummus, and stocked up on crackers and cheese. It’s back to basics while dealing with the aftermath of the storm, we’re both going to be working long hours with tricky commutes since the subways are down.

I’ve been enjoying a couple of unexpected days with nowhere to be, catching up on bad television. I also tried out my new nail art brushes in an attempt to get into the Halloween spirit:

It’s a combo of Halloween nail art I found on the interwebs. You’ll notice that I stuck with a simple pattern for the right hand because I’m definitely not ambidextrous!

I think they’re pretty cute, and they’ll help keep my morale up through crazy overbooked work tomorrow. I hope my patients don’t mind me being a *little* festive!

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CSA Week 20

It’s that time again!

Only this week I’ll be leaving Doug to wrestle with veggies solo while I head to Boston for a work conference tomorrow. I’m excited about the conference, and to see friends, but it will be a crazy week! There will be 15-16 hours of lecture scheduled per day, and I’m hoping to squeeze in an apartment showing or two while in town. I’m also hoping to do a little meet and greet with some of my soon-to-be coworkers and of course want to spend time with my hosts, two very good friends. I’m tired just thinking about it!

I asked Doug to pick me up some Clif bars as a portable indulgence to fuel my early morning lecture-going for the week. I was super picky about the type of bar that would be suitable, and he came home with these:

Thomas MacDonald

Chocolate mint!? I’m in! Wait a minute, did you catch that?

On the back of the box is an ominous label: “Not recommended for… people sensitive to caffeine.” Eeeeep! Looks like I’ll have just the boost I need to buzzzzzz my way through the conference! Hopefully my toe tapping doesn’t get me into too much trouble!

In the share this week:
Mizuna
 - Spicy green and radish salad
Potatoes - Roasted herbed potatoes
Cabbage - To be determined when I get back…
Parsley - Frozen for soup next week
Collards - Sauteed with garlic
Radish - Spicy green and radish salad
Celeriac - Soup to be determined next week…
Pop Corn - To dry out for two weeks, tempting us…
Garlic - This farm garlic is amazing. We use it in essentially everything!
Gourds - Decoration (we’ll see how that goes over with our pumpkin-crazed kitty…)

Thankfully fall veggies keep well, so Doug won’t be under too much pressure to eat them all without me. Goodness knows I’ll be needing extra veggies when I get back to make up for my week of Clif bars and conference food!

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Slow Cooker Baked Beans

As a young vegetarian I often turned to the old canned standby: baked beans. On those days I was too busy studying or too lazy to cook, I’d pop open a can. When I was feeling fancy I’d even eat it out of a bowl! Fast forward to my adult self (and October Unprocessed), and I couldn’t bring myself to eat such a mess!

This is where my love of the slow cooker comes in.

These beans are almost *too easy* to make, and disappear fast! I always imagine this recipe making lunches for a week, but in truth we tend to eat them all within a day or so!

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 9 hours

These beans make a hearty, soul-satisfying and easy meal that can be prepped in just a few minutes and left to cook all day. Adapted from here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (16 oz) dried navy beans
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced (optional, substitute 1 tsp liquid smoke for vegetarian beans)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (try homemade or organic)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (try a vegan variety or substitute soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Soak beans overnight in plenty of cold water.
  2. Drain beans and add to slow cooker with bacon (if using) and onion, stirring to combine.
  3. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over beans in slow cooker, stirring to evenly coat. Add enough cold water to barely cover beans.
  4. Heat on “low” 8-10 hours. Serve with salad or steamed veggies and cornbread.
http://www.madebyleah.com/2012/10/18/slow-cooker-baked-beans/

This week we had them with a side of steamed asparagus and freshly baked cornbread (I used Isa’s recipe here, it’s super easy!). The best part is the way the apartment smells when you come in out of the cold to dinner ready in the slow cooker!

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CSA Week 19

This weekend Doug and I took a trip out of the city for a creepy day trip to Philly with some good friends. We hit the Reading Terminal Market for sandwiches, visited Eastern State Penitentiary for an eerie day tour, saw antique medical specimens at the Mutter Museum, ate a delicious horror-themed dinner at Jack’s Firehouse then returned to the penitentiary for the best haunted house you can imagine. It was a fantastic, heart-stopping sort of day!

Inside Eastern State Penitentiary - Picture a haunted house in here!

I think I’m still recovering… my throat may never be the same after all that screaming! Thankfully all that adrenaline was a great release for all the moving-related stress!

In the share this week:
Carrots - Roasted root vegetables
Mixed Greens - Radish and feta salad
Spinach - Stuffed squash
Butternut Squash - Stuffed squash
Radishes - Radish and feta salad
Garlic - Everything (this farm garlic is amazing!)
Celeriac - Roasted root vegetables
Beets - Roasted root vegetables
Broccoli - Cream of broccoli and mushroom soup

Mondays are crazy for Doug and I, so this morning I baked some sweet potatoes for dinner tonight. We’ll top them with seasoned quinoa, salsa and sour cream for a quick, filling meal. If only Doug would get home soon, I’d love to dig in!

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CSA Week 18

Week eighteen already!? Where has the time gone?

Thankfully we have a few more weeks to go (six, in fact). Which means we’ll be able to finish out the whole CSA season before uprooting (hehe) to MA. How convenient and delicious!

 

In the share this week:
Kale – Leek, potato, kale soup
Leeks  - Leek, potato, kale soup
Butternut Squash - Squash, sage and walnut farfalle
Cabbage - Braised cabbage, beet and radish coleslaw
Beets - Beet and radish coleslaw
Sage - Squash, sage and walnut farfalle
Black Radish - Beet and radish coleslaw
Celeriac - Leek, potato, kale soup

Doug and I have a serious case of the sniffles so soup has been our best friend lately. The wonderful thing about fall vegetables is that essentially any combination of them can make a delicious, hearty soup. Bring on the roots!

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Happy Kale Day!

Before this morning I had no idea there was any such thing as International Kale Day! In fact, it may not have existed until this morning… Fortunately my dinner tonight featured this nutritious veggie in all its glory!

Baby eggplant stuffed with sauteed kale and cornbread and raw kale salad with shredded carrots and tahini lime ginger dressing. De-Lish!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Although I’m in the US this Canadian Thanksgiving (and will be in Canada for American Thanksgiving…) I want to take a moment to be grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life.

10. Homemade baked goods
This afternoon I may take advantage of the bounty of apples and the cool weather to make some coffee cake… nothing soothes the soul like like lovingly baked treats!

9. Good books
Thanks to my new kindle my uptake of books is rising steeply! Favorites lately: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The House of the Scorpion. Also: Goodreads is awesome and appeals to the list-maker in me!

8. Warm, comforting soup
There’s nothing like hot seasonal soup on a cool day!

Roasted squash and pumpkin soup, served with local steamed mussels.

7. Wonderful animals
Although I sometimes feel like our apartment is an animal asylum, I love our kooky pets!

Our bearded dragon Icky having a bath in the sink, and our ex-street kitten Vincent, unimpressed with the camera.

6. Pumpkin Season
We are taking full advantage of the abundance of pumpkin this fall, eating it in soup, pumpkin beers, and of course, pumpkin smoothies. We’ve been adding old fashioned oats to our smoothies to make a yummy, complete breakfast!

5. Wonderful job
I’m so very fortunate to have a day job that I love. I have a great group of colleagues whom I will be very sad to leave, but no matter where I end up I know I’ll have the opportunity to help families in a powerful way.

4. Community Supported Agriculture
Thank goodness for our farm share!  I think you can see my enthusiasm through my weekly produce posts. It is so wonderful to have this weekly delivery of seasonal produce, knowing that it’s fresh and of the highest quality. I swear Icky can tell the difference between grocery store kale and the yummy stuff we get from the farm!

3. My family
I’m lucky to come from a loving family that gave me my love of food! I’m grateful that they have shared their recipes with me and I wish I could be with them for this holiday!

Doing yoga with my family in my parents' backyard!

2. My guy
Not to get mushy, but I am so lucky to have found someone as kooky as me in Doug. I can’t wait to start a new adventure with him soon…

My favorite picture of Doug and I, all snazzed up for our friends' wedding.

1. New adventures!
As I recently announced, Doug and I are on the precipice of our next stage in life. I can’t wait to get started on the next phase of our lives in a new city (new to me, anyhow). Between Canadian and American Thanksgivings we have a lot to do, but by the time folks on this side of the border are finished their leftover turkey, we’ll be on the road to Boston!

What are you thankful for?

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CSA Week 17

This past week has been a blur, so much so that I almost forgot about our Thursday veggie delivery!

With the big move coming up, our To Do List has reached a ridiculous length. Ranking at the top of that list are finding Doug a job and finding us an apartment… I don’t think I’ll have a good night’s sleep until those (rather important) details are sorted out!

On the more fun side of our busy-ness has been our attempts to see loads of people and accomplish some things from our New York “bucket list.” Last weekend we visited the Ghostbusters’ Firehouse, went for soup dumplings in Chinatown, toured Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and peeked in to the New York Public Library.

Posing for a picture in the dungeon at Ripley's

We’re trying to do all of the things we’re always meaning to do but never got around to while living here.

As for October Unprocessed… I’ve come up with a variation that works for me in this crazy time. I have decided that while grocery shopping I will buy only unprocessed ingredients that can pass the kitchen test, but given our stress level (and our need to clear out our cupboards for the move) I will not restrict our use of ingredients we already have. For the most part this includes condiments and various freezer goodies, but we tend to avoid processed foods in general so I have yet to find any HFCS lurking around!

Have I mentioned how great the CSA is for October Unprocessed? It doesn’t get much more unprocessed than food directly from the farm!

In the share this week:
Siberian kale - Tahini kale salad
Delicata squash - Roasted squash soup
 Leeks - Roasted squash soup
Chard - Sauteed chard
Potatoes - Roasted herbed potatoes
Pumpkin - Roasted squash soup
Parsley - Roasted squash soup
Eggplant - Stuffed eggplant

Once again you can see we’re employing the soup trick to get loads of veggies into our bellies before our new delivery on Monday! It will also make great fuel for our adventures this weekend: a couple’s scavenger hunt and a mini food tour of the East village… yum!

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Big News!

Was my clue about boiled dinner too vague? What if I was to offer more food clues: clam chowder (the creamy kind), baked beans and Boston cream pie!?

That’s right folks, we’re moving to Boston!

We’ve been planning this kind of move for a while; both Doug and I have been wanting to relocate to Boston. We both love New York but feel we’re done with this city and are looking for a new adventure.

I’m very excited about the new job, which is exactly what I was looking for. Next steps include finding Doug a job and a place for the two of us to live. It’s going to be a busy couple of months – we move December 1st.

But in the meantime we have lots of cooking and eating to do, so let’s talk unprocessed. October Unprocessed, that is.

Every year, Andrew at Eating Rules challenges people to go the entire month of October without eating any processed foods. I encourage all of you to take the pledge, or at least read his (and his guests’) helpful posts on the subject!

I took the pledge, with a caveat – that I will not allow foods to heighten my stress level this month. With all the preparations we’ll have to make and the trips back and forth to Boston it would be near impossible to be “perfectly unprocessed.” However I don’t think these are reasons not to try, because any little change in the right direction can be powerful.

I was relieved this morning when I looked at my grocery list for next week with a critical eye and found only one thing – pre-made pumpkin ravioli – that would need to be quashed to meet the challenge requirements. I’m happy to say that our diet is unprocessed more often than not. My personal challenge for October is to be more conscious of processed foods and additives, and to find unprocessed alternatives whenever possible!

Challenge yourself to make a change this October! And please bear with me as we launch into preparations to move out of state. Nine weeks to Boston!

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