Friday, July 29, 2011

My Recipe for Happiness

These are the things that seem to be contributing to my happiness of late, so I'd like to share them with you. Please modify them to taste for your own life!

Kelly's Happiness Recipe
(feeds 1 hippie soul)

1 healthy vegetarian diet
1 coffee per day
2 beers per week
1 job I love
Many friends and family I can count on
1 dog to snuggle with
1+ physical outlets for energy and aggression
Just enough money to pay the bills
A pinch of time to myself
A handful of really good books a year
1+ non-work writing outlets

Thanks to all of my readers for fulfilling the last ingredient!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chicago Food

Monday through Wednesday of this week I was in Chicago, eating everything I could get my hands on, namely Chicago-style pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs.

To my surprise and delight, I found a vegetarian Chicago-style hot dog outside the Field Museum. This is one very happy Kelly.

I don't even like hot dogs that much, but I want every hot dog I eat for the rest of my life to taste like this one did.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Favorite Simple Banana Bread

I love banana bread dressed up with natural peanut butter, chocolate chips, oats and yogurt, but sometimes I just want a good, simple banana bread. If I'm asking Mr. CookingOnSkates to make it, it's better to give him a straightforward recipe as well.

Banana Bread
Barely modified from AllRecipes

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed overripe bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and bananas until well blended. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

If Gobs Are Too Hard...

Gobs—aka whoopie pies in some parts of the country—are easy and delicious. In scouring the entire KC metro area for my husband's anniversary gift, I accidentally stumbled on this contraption.

I never knew I needed one until I saw this. Now I want one.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Much My Husband Loves Me

My wedding anniversary isn't for another week and a half, but my hubby and I bought each other gifts online early. The traditional second anniversary gift is cotton. The tank top is cotton; the hotpants are just awesome.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nostalgia for a World I Never Knew

Mr. CookingOnSkates and I stopped by Sam's Tastee Treat last Friday. While taking this photo, I wished I hadn't deleted the Hipstamatic-like app for my Android phone. This place has an original Mrs. Pac-Man arcade game and reminds me of childhood summers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thanks for Putting Up With Me 6 Years

Mr. CookingOnSkates and I have been dating/married for more than six years now. We celebrated with cupcakes, BBQ sandwiches, chips, milk and beer.

We're classy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Coma-Inducing Pierogies

My mother in law, she makes pierogies. Those pierogies, they want me to be fat.

Because she loves me, she took up my challenge to try them with sweet potatoes once. I believe some will always be sweet potato-filled from now on. Also, blue cheese > goat cheese in these.

Pierogies are first boiled.


Then fried in butter so as to stop up your heart.

These make me so happy. I'm thankful that they exist, but even more thankful that I don't have everyday access to them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just How Neurotic Am I?

Last night, I made food for my entire week. For some reason, not knowing what's planned for lunch/dinner can make me kind of anxious. Maybe my Type A personality is a first-born child thing? Or maybe I'm just kind of a weirdo.

I sliced up what was left of my four pounds of strawberries and divided those among five Tupperware containers for breakfasts.

I stuffed a bag with vegan BBQ leftovers, 10-grain bread, organic bananas, Bear Naked granola and Kashi granola bars.

The only videos game I really like and am any good at are Tetris and Mario Kart. Those Tetris skills come in handy, though.

All of this goes in a reusable grocery bag on a shelf in the fridge, ready to grab before work.

Milk and cold-brewed coffee are ready for the next few mornings.

Tofu, red pepper, broccoli and shredded carrots are all sitting in a drawer, waiting to become tonight's lunch!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fruit For Kids (Or Picky Spouses)

Thanks to Crystal for this suggestion. The tricky part for me is thinking of innovative ways to eat fruit that don't involve turning them into dessert with extra sugar. Because I like fruit anyway, I don't have too much trouble with this. And I don't have kids yet, but my husband is reluctant to eat fruit sometimes, so I do understand the predicament.

Here's a bit of a roundup of fruit recipes I've done in the past in hopes that it can inspire you to new ways to eat fruit on a daily basis. You'll notice that I'm partial to apples, bananas, strawberries and blueberries. Feel free to substitute, as always.

Skillet Strawberry Cobbler

Blueberry CakeStrawberry Cake

Banana Granola Bars

Skillet Apple Cake

Strawberry Nutella Muffins

Banana-Nutella Quesadilla

This is healthier done with peanut butter instead of Nutella, and don't fry it.

Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

Breakfast Parfait

Fruit Smoothie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Roundup: No-Cook Summer Foods

My good friend Anita (hi, Anita!) asked me to share some cold summer meals because her apartment is "hot as balls." (Sorry, Grandmas...) I haven't made any new such recipes lately, so here is a roundup of the ones I've featured in the past.

Insalata Caprese

Thanks to Edith of Edith MyRant for this one. You could also Put this on bread and make it a sandwich!

Vegan BBQ

This isn't cold, but I made it in my crock pot yesterday and had a hot dinner without heating up my kitchen at all. Plus I did three cans of jackfruit at once so I have leftovers for a while.

Iced Lattes

If you're addicted to coffee (like I am), get your morning caffeine fix without the latte-induced sweating. I think it tastes a lot like a bottled Frappuccino for a fraction of the cost.

Best-Salad-Ever Sandwich

Eat this as a salad, sandwich or pita. I'm having this for lunch all this week and it's delightful!

Oreo Peanut Butter Dessert

This requires no baking and no stovetop cooking. Better yet, it's frozen in the end for a cool treat!

Pickled Cucumbers and Onions

I often buy cucumbers thinking I'll use them and then forgetting. This is usually their ultimate fate. Very cool and nostalgic.

No-Guilt Breakfast Parfait

I often eat this for breakfast year-round, but it's particularly good for hot summer mornings.

Antioxidant Smoothie

Last but not least, a healthier alternative to summertime milkshakes.

What's your favorite cool summer food?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strawberry Cobbler

I bought four pounds of strawberries. It was the logical thing to do.

You don't believe me? One pound would have been $2.50 at HyVee. Four pounds was $5. So clearly I needed four times the strawberries for twice the price. My rationale: I'll eat lots for breakfast the following week and freeze the extras.

Or I'll make a dessert out of half of them. That would be good, too.

Feed it to the cutest baby you can find.

Go to the original recipe here:
Skillet Strawberry Cobbler
How Sweet Eats

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Party Veggie Buffalo Dip

A friend brought buffalo wing dip to my in-laws' Fourth of July party. That made me one sad vegetarian; the stuff is delicious, and I just can't bring myself to eat it.

However, I did make a vegetarian version for another party the following weekend. This is based on the same dip recipe you can find countless places online.

I heated up Quorn chicken tenders on the stove in Buffalo sauce.

Put two packages of low-fat cream cheese and about a cup of fat-free Ranch dressing in a crock pot.

When the "chicken" was heated through, I mixed it all together. Next time, I'll break up the chicken a little more. That is, if there is a next time. I'm not sure I can be trusted with this dip ever again.

Try not to eat it yet.

Once it's mixed, dump a bag of shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Cover with a lid.

Heat on low until the cheese on top is melted. Over time, it'll start to crisp up a little and be really irresistible.

I served this with blue corn chips, but you could use anything. I was the only vegetarian at this party, but I had plenty of helpers in eating this.

Please note: this is not healthy. It is delicious and addictive. If you're not careful, you may literally gain five pounds over the weekend and have to swear off desserts for a week.

Vegetarian Buffalo Dip
(serves a lot for a party)

1 bag "chicken" tenders (I used Quorn)
2 (8 ounce) packages low-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup Buffalo sauce
1 cup ranch dressing
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Heat chicken tenders on stove in Buffalo sauce.
2. Combine chicken, dressing and cream cheese in crock pot. Top with cheddar cheese.
3. Heat on low as long as desired, at least 45 minutes.
4. Serve with chips.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lazy Weeknight Burritos

This is going to be an underwhelming post. But if you're a busy, hungry vegetarian like me, I'm guessing you'll try it sometime and like it. Tuesday after work I was positively exhausted, but knew I didn't have any worthwhile food at home. By the time I made it through the grocery store, I really didn't have the energy to cook myself dinner.

Enter: the laziest burritos I've made myself in a long time.

This is a bag of vegetarian "meat" crumbles and half a large jar of salsa. I prefer Quorn but had Boca on hand. Also, I usually use medium salsa but accidentally bought hot. You could also just brown a pound of hamburger (or ground turkey?).

Once it was almost hot, I added a can of black beans for iron, extra protein and deliciousness.

Shredded cheddar happened to be cheaper than the block this time. Plus, like I said, this was a lazy post-work weeknight meal, so I didn't want to shred cheese or clean the shredder. As usual, my favorite wheat tortillas are on the right.

Combine, roll up, and eat! This made enough for dinner (two small burritos), two lunches (one large burrito each) and three more small burritos for sometime. This isn't as healthy as I'd hoped, but not the worst thing I could have made, plus well wiser and cheaper than ordering pizza or Chinese.

Surprisingly enough, the leftovers tasted better and had a more meat-like texture than the originals. Not that I strive for meat-like texture, but it was interesting.

Lazy Weeknight Burritos

1 bag Boca crumbles
1 package tortillas
1 package shredded cheese
1/2 jar salsa
1 can black beans, drained

1. Cook "meat" crumbles on stove on medium in salsa until almost war. Add black beans and keep cooking until warm.
2. Put warm taco filling and cheese in tortillas.
3. Eat on the couch and follow up exactly one serving of Haagen Dazs. Sigh in relieved relaxation.