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I *heart* stir fry

January 27, 2010

I make stir fry a lot. Its easy, its delicious and my daughter will usually eat quite a bit of it, especially if I dangle a cookie for dessert. I am trying to break free of my stir fry addiction, and admitting it is the first step.

I noticed something when I opened my cabinet this morning: I have about 10 cans of chick peas . Which means two no wait, three things:

a) my daughter at one point in time tried and liked chickpeas

b) chickpeas were on sale sometime over the past year

c) she has never had chick peas since that one time.

My stockpile  means I am always on the lookout for a good chick pea recipe. I saw this : http://www.bhg.com/recipe/grains/quinoa-toss-with-chickpeas-and-herbs/  in Better Homes and Gardens and figured I could give it the good ole Jessica tweak , and cross my fingers that either my husband or my daughter would eat it. Minus the tofu I’m about to add ( for my husband, my girl will eat ‘fu)

Whats a Jessica Tweak, you ask?  Take out the things I don’t eat (corn), substitute packaged juice for actual onions (actual onions make your eyes burn when you cut them ! Wheres the dislike button on this thing? ), and add tofu and broccoli.  Also , ignore time constraints like ” Cover and wait one hour”- surely it will taste just as good if its hot, right ? Why wait an hour? Oh wait, because the recipe tells me to and its probably for a reason.

Oh well. I’m am all about instant gratification.


All the ingredients, featuring Onion juice- my new BFF.

p.s I heart Trader Joes


This is what it is intended to look like upon completion:

I am not a fan of lettuce or corn. Despite being featured prominently in this picture, I thought I’d give it a go anyway.


Here is what mine looked like:

I am really trying to break my stir fry addiction, I swear. But I can’t help but notice …hmmm…my dinner looks suspiciously like stir fry  but with a different grain.

side note: the grain is Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend. Its cosucous,orzo, garbanzo beans and red quinoa. It is delicious, despite what I did to it . Even my husband eats it. I do not think he will be eating my quinoa toss , however, and my girl had a little bit of this:

… and some chicken nuggets.

She did ask me for tofu though! Thats my girl !

” Is this what its Supposed to look Like?”

January 25, 2010

If you find yourself asking that a lot during dinner prep, its not really a good sign. Last weekend, I had a delicious butternut squash lasagna at my friends house. It was so good, I made like a 1950s housewife and asked for the recipe.

I took one look and knew it was ambitious for me.  I carried on though, putting it front and center on my meal planning schedule. I purchased the ingredients. I set aside a rainy afternoon to prepare it. Thats half the battle for me. All systems go.

I made  this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/butternut-squash-lasagna-recipe/index.html. Or tried to. Butternut Squash Lasagna.

A few things went wrong right off the bat. #1- it said to use no-boil lasagna noodles. Well, I couldn’t find any no boil whole wheat lasagna noodles, so I just used regular old whole wheat noodles. Because even though this recipe called for a butter sauce, whole milk and full-fat cheese, I felt it very important to make sure it was healthy. Whole Wheat noodles would up the healthy quotient.

That’ll work. Right?

At some point , it calls for amaretti cookies. What? Cookies in my dinner? Thats awesome- except I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I asked my friend, and she said she used almond extract. Ok, I have some. The problem was I didn’t ask how much. So I improvised. Mistake #2 ?

I’d like to take this opportunity to give you a visual of the smushed up ( official cooking term ™ ) squash. If you have morning sickness or a general aversion to things that look like vomit, please skip ahead.

I’m pretty sure the butternut squash is not supposed to  look like that. Or smell like an amaretto sour.

I don’t know about you, but I find not having a working kitchen timer a hinderance while cooking. I have a cute little rooster timer, but it has been dropped so many times it doesn’t ring when finished. So I set it, and often forget about it. Yeah that happened tonight. Plus I can’t remember if I set it fot he right amount of time to begin with. i feel like it rang way too soon. But when the rooster speaks, I listen, so I took it out of the oven…Doesn’t look too gross , right? Until you lift it up and see that the no stick part of my no stick pan is actually sticking to the  food. That IS gross. It just seems so silly to invest in ‘ good pans’ with my track record in the kitchen. Although- maybe that’ll help? Will it magically improve my cooking? Can I blame all the food I’ve defiled over the years on my lack of decent cookware ?