This weekend has been busy in the not so exciting way. Last night and this afternoon I spent my time at my best friend’s family’s home joining them in their mourning of her grandmother’s passing, aka: shiva. I am not Jewish, and this was my first experience partaking in this tradition – however I have got to say, I enjoy this much more than the somber wakes I have attended in the past. It’s more like a celebration and reminiscince of the person who passed, while being comforted by friends.
Comfort. This word is closely associated with food. Many of us eat to comfort us, or have at some point in time. I fall into the category of “emotional eater” although I have become far more aware of that now and try to be more conscience when I get that urge. Well in this tradition, shiva, friends and family who visit the home bring enormous amounts of food with them. (At least this is what I was told to do.) I brought something that I knew would be a fun treat, is incredibly comforting, and my friend wouldn’t be able to resist when placed in the sea of food treasures. A dozen cupcakes.
Above you will find: red velvet, chocolate chip, vanilla sundae, plain jane vanilla, smores, raspberry cheesecake, cookie jar, carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate espresso, oreo cheesecake, caramel swirl, and pumpkin. The pumpkin was left behind for D. Last night I had to have a taste of the cookie jar – which was probably the best cupcake I’ve had in awhile. So moist and cookie-licious, I’d go back for that again. When I returned this morning for my second visit, all but 2 cupcakes had been devoured – and the remaining were gobbled up in my presence. Comfort cupcakes = success!
Fitness After my visit (where I ate lots of unhealthy comfort foods), I was in some serious need of some fitness. With an hour to spare before my gym closed, and it being too nasty outside for an outdoor run, I quickly got dressed and ran 4-miles of intervals, with the last mile being a “fun” run where I found my most comfortable pace and just listened to fun music and ran. I felt absolutely wonderful after the run and was so glad I squeezed it in. I hope my knees agree tomorrow.
Dinner Originally, I had told D it would be a pasta night – our quick go-to dinner option when I’m too tired to cook. However that changed after I returned home from the gym and found a burst of energy has appeared. I decided to make a coconut-rice dish based on the items I had in the pantry/freezer/fridge and a few random recipes.
- 1 1/4 cups jasmine rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 3 chopped carrots
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (ginger would be better)
- 1-2 tsp dried basil (same as above)
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 cup frozen peas, semi thawed
- 1/2 cup natural cashews
- 1/4 cup natural shredded coconut
Pour all but the last 3 ingredients into a pot on high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer and cover for 30-40 minutes until most liquid absorbed. Add peas and stir into pot, let cook until remaining liquid absorbed (about 5-minutes). Meanwhile, toast coconut and cashews. Remove all from heat and top servings with cashews and coconut. Enjoy!
It didn’t photograph well in it’s post-consumption tupperware state with my Iphone, however I thought it was pretty tasty. I think fresh ingredients would have made it far more enjoyable and less bland. Either way I would enjoy it for the next few days happily – unfortunately D didn’t love it and ate leftover chicken instead. Boo!
Dessert After dinner I was feeling the itch to bake. Although I had cake class yesterday, we didn’t bake or decorate a cake – just practiced techniques. What was I craving? Chocolate chip cookies. I’ve had many a vegan chocolate chip cookie failures, and a few semi-successes. I was looking for a recreation of my old classic go-to cookie: Nestle Tollhouse. I scoured the internet for a bit before settling on Webly’s version at Fueled by Popcorn.
I followed the recipe to the T – and used the following specific ingredients: Smart Butter Light margarine; Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips, and unbleached flour. All together in my #1 appliance Mr. KitchenAide:
I baked them much longer than instructed, my first batch were so light and gooey and I like these types of cookie more crispy: increase baking time to 14-minutes. Results? Pretty good. But D kept saying how he doesn’t like ONE thing about vegan cookies: the non milk-chocolate taste of the chocolate. I hate to say I agree. While the cookies themselves are good, and the batter (following many tastings) was quite yummy initially – the cookie was tainted by my expectations of milky chocolate and receiving of… other. Don’t get me wrong, I ate two … not counting the many batter tastings! And I will be enjoying these all week in moderation. Yum! Although – the cookie testing goes on. Any chocolate recommendations?
And now . . . Just relaxing with the t.v. and going to plan my meals for the week (ie: pull out a stack of cookbooks and thumb through each and every one). Tomorrow: working out at my friend’s gym so we can take a strength class together! Yey for MLK day!