Archive for June, 2010

Sidetrack: Hair evolution & a small Jersey crisis.

Through the years I’ve gone through many, many hair changes.  For me it’s fun and a way to change things up and express myself.  I’ve done it all and only a few have lasted for more than a year.

I’ve stayed natural and ashy:

lightened up the front:

went blonde:

brown:

black:

and red in an effort to get back to the beginning:

Yesterday when I went in to get my hair highlighted, I was hoping for a blonde look with soft red undertones. I left with a hole in my wallet and as the Jersey Girl poster child:

D’s response? He said it looked “fine” and at least it was “just hair” and not boobs or a nose.  Thank you for your support.

Following an affair of tears (intertwined with laughter coupled with “THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE”), multiple phone calls to the mom, sister, and bff for advice, I took to the sheets and woke up this morning ready to make a phone call.  I’m going to skip all the awkward, uncomfortable details, but I returned to my hair dresser and left much happier than I entered. That’s really all that matters.

I made a yummy dinner tonight – but the past 24 hour events have just left me whipped.  I’ll save that for tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for some Mediterranean Pasta!

Do you change your hair often?  Any hair catastrophes?  Please share and make me feel less insane!! 🙂

June 30, 2010 at 9:24 pm 17 comments

Going mid-America for dinner.

Welcome to my first official at-home breakfast of the season.  I think I’ll be able to squeeze in two of these per work-week and for that I rejoice.  I love to sit in the sun, with my breakfast [above: strawberry muffin, vanilla soy yogurt, yummy fruits] and coffee, no t.v. on, and just watch the birds (or read blogs) as I eat breakfast.  It’s really all about the morning silence, because after that it’s all down hill from there.

Last night after dinner I asked D if he wanted me to make more breakfast muffins, which I had done for two week consecutively and he and I both enjoyed the goods tremendously.  The fact that he’ll eat a vegan muffin without persuasion makes me more apt to offer on 10:00 pm on a Monday.  So strawberry muffins were reborn – and may or may not have exploded in the oven – still good!

Back in the day I would make a mean turkey meatloaf (we’re talking 5 years ago people).  I was never a meatloaf person, but at that time in my life it was considered “healthy” I was going to try my damnest to eat it.  A year later I was eating vegetarian and strangely felt a need to vegetarianize my meatloaf recipe.  I successfully was able to do so and although it didn’t wow D to any extent, it met my needs for a quality comfort-food meal.  Enter: today.   Sifting through my recipes and freezer to continue my pantry cleanse, I encounter my make-shift vegetarian meat loaf recipe and a bag of Boca crumbles.  Are things getting clearer for you?

I veganized my vegetarian meatloaf and I think it’s worth sharing and trying.

Ingredients:

  • Boca Crumbles, entire bag
  • 1/2 medium onion grated
  • .4cup Panko bread crumbs (plain)
  • 1 Carrots, medium grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • EnerG Egg Replacer, 1.5 tsp + 2 T water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegan grated parmesan

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except for 1/3 c of ketchup (pre-whip the egg replacer together before adding to mixture). Place mixture into oil sprayed loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes, remove and cover with remaining ketchup and bake another 15 minutes.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving so it doesn’t fall apart.

I think this was fantastic – the flavors were spot spot spot on! I haven’t had a real meatloaf in like 15 years so I can’t attest to how “true” it tasted, but it tasted good and that’s what matters most to me.  To the point that I would recommend a meatloaf recipe, which is so uncharacteristic for me. D wouldn’t even tried it.  See, real meatloaf even scares him, let alone a vegan one. I served this up some buttered noodles (how mid-western of me, am I right?).  While this meal has most odds stacked against it – I wanted to jump up and down at my success!  Whip up some mashed potatoes and this will make grand-maw proud!

To boot – it makes four hunking servings each less than 250 calories and jam-packed with protein. HOLLA!  Let me know if this recipe doesn’t scare you and you try it! It’s my new baby!

What recipe have you vegetarianized/veganized that seems scary at first but tastes pretty damn good? Do share!

June 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm 12 comments

Refreshing Veggie Orzotto!

While my Boston indulgences are yet to be unveiled, I needed to share this fabulous recipe I whipped up for dinner tonight.  It was the last day of school (a scorching hot one at that) until summer school starts next week, so I desperately wanted to get off my 2-week no-cooking hiatus and bring some vegan flavor back into our lives.

The last time I made this dish was 2 years ago when I was preparing to move from San Diego back to New Jersey and I needed to clean out my pantry.  After an expensive weekend in Boston, I had a similar task at hand: spend as little as possible on food this week.  I went through the cabinets, compiled a list of veggies, grains, and starches that could easily be churned into a recipe, and made a list of meals for the week.  So keep your eyes peeled this week for a new recipe that is simple and cheap – I have four meals for under $20!!!

So let’s start with tonight’s meal: Veggie Orzotto.

Pantry Items:

  • a bag of frozen peppper/onion medley strips [chopped – in it’s frozen form]
  • a 8.5 oz can of corn [drained]
  • garlic [needed 3-4 cloves minced]
  • a box of orzo [cooked per box directions]
  • half a bottle of white wine [need 1/4 cup]
  • olive oil [1/4 cup]
  • Earth Balance [2 tbsp.]

Needed Items:

  • 1 large tomato [chopped]

What to do? Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and pepper medley. Pour in white wine and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato, corn and garlic. Cook 10-15 minutes or until most liquid is reduced. Meanwhile, cook orzo according to package directions. Drain, and toss orzo with sauteed vegetables. Stir hot or cold, it’s delicious both ways!

This meal is perfect for the summer.  It is delicious hot, reheated, or chilled.  I deemed it “orzotto” because it is as creamy as risotto, but with orzo!  The white wine really takes the flavor over the top, and coupled with the sauteed garlic & onions it is absolutely divine.

D was slightly apprehensive about the whole thing [he doesn’t understand why corn is involved in pasta] but loved it! He went back for seconds! ! !  And said it was “really good”.  I haven’t really heard these words from his lips in awhile, so you can imagine the pleasure it brought me.

So do yourself a favor and bookmark this recipe – it is all about simplicity (less than 30-minutes) and being a cheapass.  And no one would know. It also makes about 2-pounds worth of food so expect a LOT of leftovers for basically nothing.  I’m eating this for lunch all week, happily!

After a series of mishaps with my clients after work, I found myself at Barnes and Noble waiting out a rainstorm and pouring over the vegan cookbooks.  A mother of two children was sprawled out on the floor with a pile of books.  Considering we were both in front of the same shelf and selection, I couldn’t help hear her say to her son that she found a non-dairy cheese book and that they were on the right track!  I asked if he had a dairy allergy and she responded exasperated, yes! She shared that it was making him incredibly ill and now that they finally pinpointed the cause she was trying to unravel 8-years of pizza and ice cream – and that life has thus been rough recently. I felt elated that I was able to impart some of my dairy-free knowledge with her.  I shared some dairy substitutes that I approve of for taste and quality, as well as some books that I have found helpful.  She seemed grateful, most especially for the Daiya recommendation. And even if she was moderately creeped out, I hope that my positive attitude toward going dairy-free helped put her at ease a little.

Have you ever had an encounter like this? How did it go? Two weeks ago at the mall I also ran into an elderly couple (we’re talking 80+).  The gentleman was wearing a shirt that said something like “Go Vegan for Life” and I gave him a smile and a sly thumbs up.  That sparked his attention and we talked for 5-minutes about how he and his wife had been vegetarian for 20 years before going vegan, which they have been for 20 years.  The encounter just made my heart sing.

June 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm 10 comments

Wedding Wonders.

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a wedding of a high school friend up in Boston.  It was lovely – take a peek!

Stay tuned tomorrow for a little peek of Boston and some … indulgences. Yes.

June 27, 2010 at 8:26 pm 9 comments

New Layout!!

Hello Friends!!  I’d like to take the time to share with you that Amanda’s Domestic Adventures has officially unveiled it’s new layout!  I really love it and hope it sends out some new positive vibes toward my blog future. If you are so inclined please feel free to check out the fabulous new layout by clicking here and letting me know what you think/how it views on your page.

Being that this is the last week of work, don’t expect to see any pretty pictures of dinner tonight or tomorrow.  It was straight up southwestern salad night sans photo tonight – we were hot sweaty hungry beasts. I spent tonight updating my Yelp reviews since I haven’t updated about some restaurants I visited way back in November (how I love love love yelp – it was the sole form of therapy I had when I moved across the country alone).

That’s pretty much it tonight. Just checking in.  I ran 3-miles tonight using the walk 1-minute run 2-minutes method and so far my knees are still my friend, so that makes my heart sing in a big way!

I leave you with me, bending over to take a picture.  Because I know I need as much encouragement as possible to get my highlights done.

Question: Do you recommend any must see/do/eat locations in Boston?  I have one day to take D around and eat my way through town this weekend!! That’s a lot of pressure!

June 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm 3 comments

Cupcake Warriors

Word has begun to spread that I enjoy all things cupcakes.  A woman at work who is a friend of a friend asked me to make her son’s rehearsal dinner cupcakes.  She had two requirements: (1) a bride and groom, (2) bridesmaids and groomsmen whatever I thought would look nice.  We decided to go with the bridal party flowers: hydrangeas and white roses. I’ll save the verbal drama and share the goods:

My friend Sarah came up to help me – I couldn’t have done it all without her, especially with my outrageous OCD.  Here she is hard at work on the tuxedo.

After all of our hard work Friday night, you’d think I would have fulfilled my baking needs for the weekend.  But then it was Father’s Day Sunday morning and I woke up, went for a run, and realized I had a pint of strawberries that were slightly beyond their ripest. They were just begging for a cupcake.  So fluffy strawberry shortcake cupcakes it was!

Suffice it to say, there will be no cupcakes baked this weekend, only those that are to be consumed.

June 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm 13 comments

End of Year Dinner Slump & Giveaway Winner

Happy Post-Father’s Day!  As soon as this posts I’ll be swapping over to read all about everyone’s weekends.  I spent mine baking cupcakes, relaxing, and spending some time with family and these cutie patooties:

Anyone who works in a school knows that the last 1-2 weeks are pretty sloppy.  I have a stack as high as my waist of paperwork that “needs to get done” in addition to picking up my kids throughout the day.  As a result the quality of cooking and dinners has diminished severely and we’ve been living off of frozen goods and leftovers for as far as the eyes can stretch.  Fear not!  This weekend was met with many cupcake creations, which are for another time and place (maybe in a few hours).

For instance tonight’s dinner.  When Whole Foods re-organizes or expands my local store, I have no choice but to spend a few extra minutes perusing the aisles and calculating all the ways to spend my money on edibles. When I lived in New York and San Diego, Whole Foods pre-cooked tofu and salads were my lifeline and now that I am paying off my loans and no longer living off them I had to back off a lot.  In any case, tonight was a summer splurge that reminds me of meals a la Cynthia, except seitan panini-less.

On the Menu: Sesame Glazed Tofu, Grilled Vegetables, and Pearl Couscous salad.  This meal probably cost me $6.00 which isn’t terrible considering where it came from.  Of course it was delicious as almost anything that resides inside Whole Foods most definitely is. And for another $6.00 expect to see some leftovers as my snack of choice tomorrow.

Tomorrow I am going to be attending Y@GLYoga at the Great Lawn (in Central Park). Essentially, it’s a class for 10,000 yogis in the middle of Central Park. Or in their words: On June 22, 2010, Flavorpill and JetBlue’s TrueBlue will host the world’s largest yoga event ever as 10,000 people of all backgrounds, sizes, and skill levels will simultaneously practice on the Great Lawn in Central Park, NYC.

After work a coworker and I are booking it to the bus station and high-tailing it uptown.  I’ll be sure to report on the grooviness that ensues – I’m pretty excited!

Remember my Soy Candles by Phebes Reivew & Giveaway?  I know I’m about 3 days late in revealing the winner, but better late than never!

The winner: Danielle, who said:  “I’m curious about the “butt naked” scent – sounds fun! :)“.

Danielle please e-mail me your information so I can get you in touch with Phebes for your free scent (you didn’t leave your e-mail on your comment)!

Everyone else: Even though you didn’t win one free scent today – Mike at Soy Candles by Phebes has generously extended this offer that I encourage you to check out: “

Come to www.soycandlesbyphebes.com and buy three candles and get a fourth free!  Simply mention that you found us on Amanda’s Domestic Adventures and indicate what scent you’d like for the free candle and you’re in!”

June 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm 2 comments

Soy Candles by Phebes – Review & Giveaway!

When Mike from Soy Candles by Phebes contacted me and offered to send me some candles to review – there was no doubt in my  mind that the answer was yes! I had visited their website a few days prior to when they contacted me, and at that point I had already had it in my mind that “Sweet Cotton” was a candle I needed in my life. So this was quite a fortuitous offer!

According to their website, Soy Candles by Phebes are handmade in America (Georgia) and are hand poured at the time of each order – talk about made to order! The candles use only essential oils and plant derived fragrance oils, and are blended with 100% American grown soy beans!   To boot, they are vegan owned and operated!

And if the fact that they are vegan made and eco-friendly doesn’t win you over, you need to check out their list of available fragrances. I have to say the variety of scents they offer on their website truly are both unique and modern.  I was lucky enough to receive the scent that I had been coveting, “Sweet Cotton” and a surprise scent “Osmanthus Fragrant Tea Olive”. Check out the sleek and simple glasses the candles are sent in, which are unadorned with stickers and are all neutral in color.

“Sweet Cotton” was everything it is described as “Fresh Green Apple with hints of Orange & Pineapple on a Downy Base”. This candle is out of this world delightful! I love a crisp fruity candle, and I am not exaggerating when I say that this is my officially my favorite summer smell.  Even unlit this candle’s fragrance fills our office – which also houses the cat’s litter box, so that says a lot.  The strength of this candle is quite unreal, and upon entering the room my nostril’s are instantly greeted with a light fruity fragrance.  I LOVE IT!


The “Osmanthus Frangrant Tea Olive” was my surprise scent.  Traditionally, I enjoy two types of candles: fruity and desserty, florals rarely make their way into my home.  However this scent manages to pull off floral with a hint of fruity – and that’s how it won me over.  Again, the strength of these candles is astounding. I’ve found the perfect home for this calming scent – in my bathtub for a spa shower/bath.  It’s soothing and quickly fills the bathroom with it’s aroma.

By now you should be practically drooling at the endless possibilities that Phebes can offer your home – and you may be lucky enough to receive one free candle of your choice!

The kind folks at Phebes have offered to give one lucky reader a candle of their choice!  How do you enter?

  • First and foremost, visit Soy Candles by Phebes website and comment on this page to tell me which scent you secretly are coveting!
  • For an “extra” entry and to spread some Domestic lovin’, link back to this post and let me know you did in the comments!

The contest runs until Friday at midnight – and I’ll randomly choose a winner on Saturday morning! Good luck!

*SPECIAL OFFER: Visit www.soycandlesbyphebes.com and buy three candles and get a fourth free!  Simply mention that you found us on Amanda’ss Domestic Adventures and indicate what scent you’d like for the free candle and you’re in!”

June 14, 2010 at 9:39 pm 26 comments

A new quest…

I think it’s fair that I rewind to last Thursday, when I made a delicious Tempeh Tostada – and learned essential life lessons involving broilers, knowing where fire extinguishers reside, and the flammability of tortillas.

Friday further amplified Thursday evening’s lessons, and so I turned to my dear friend the larger than life-sized Happy Hour Margarita to ease my stresses.

The weekend was a happy mixture of relaxation and family time (think: super pet adoption day and a graduation party). Monday mornings always come way too quickly, and a gray Monday is just like hell on earth.  I responded with another version of a soy-yogurt parfait, a straight up traditional parfait including:

  • sliced strawberries
  • sliced bananas
  • vanilla Whole-Soy yogurt
  • a combo of Kashi Go Lean & Heart to Heart cereals

This combination kept me full all morning, and was 110% the summer breakfast of champions I was feeling like I was missing out on!  *Super secret: if you let the sliced strawberries chill in the yogurt for about an hour or so their juices combine with the yogurt to make a fantastic strawberries and cream!

So tonight after tackling 3.0 miles without pain (holla!) I tackled this recipe for a black-bean veggie burger which was created by Emily at the Front Burner blog.  This is officially my first attempt at a homemade veggie burger, and I convinced D he had to try without any substitutions – to which he surprisingly agreed. I followed the recipe aside from excluing  cumin (I learned during the Tempeh Tostada event that cumin makes D want to vomit) and chili powder – which we are just out of.

These came together wonderfully! I totally enjoyed the cinnamon meets cayenne pepper combo – it works. I managed to gobble down  1-1/2 of these, with some cheddar daiya melted on a toasted bun.  What would have taken these over the top? A pickle.  It’s the simple things.  I froze the 3 leftovers and am crossing my fingers that they defrost well.  As for D, he ate 3/4 of his bean burger but almost immediately started getting all antsy about how these spices do not belong in a burger. I made sure to remind  him that these were not trying to be a beef burger by any stretch of the imagination – they were just a bean veggie patty straight up!

Verdict? Delicious and not too beany, for once!  I think this may have officially kicked off my quest for the best summer veggie burger, so look out for future attempts in the near future.

I’ve got one more special post up & coming and need to do a whole lot of blog reading catch up!  Here’s for a quick and yummy week!

June 14, 2010 at 8:48 pm 6 comments

Squashta for Dinner.

Consider yourself forewarned.  Yesterday I shared that this was squash week and tonight I did my best to follow up a Mexican dish with an Italian. I couldn’t shake the calling for grilled vegetables though, so again I turned to my grill pan to round out my meal. I present you with, “Squashta” (100% creative rights goes to D for this name).

  • 1 zucchini halved
  • 1 squash halved
  • 1 onion sliced about 1/4″ thin
  • 2 tomatoes, cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 T basil, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 6-8 oz penne
  • Salt/pepper to taste

With the pan on medium-high heat (closer to high), drizzle 1/3 of the olive oil on the pan.  Add all the vegetables and the garlic to the pan and drizzle remaining olive oil atop and slightly salt to taste . Mix all the vegetables until well combined and covered.  Meanwhile, start up your pasta water in a covered  salted pot. Turn the vegetables every 5 or so minutes for about 12-15 minutes until the onions and squash are soft. When the pasta is ready, drizzle with olive oil to keep from sticking and mix in basil. When the vegetables are ready remove the squash from the grill pan and halve the halves and slice them (making many quarter moons) before returning to the pot of pasta with the remaining vegetables.  Add to the pasta and mix well.

This was nothing short of awesome and amazing. The vegetables all complimented each other and I swear they tasted sweet – I’m not sure if I should blame the basil, the tomatoes or the squash.   The proportions were also just right, with a pretty equal balance of veggies to pasta.  And the best part is that you don’t even need any cheese – vegan or not.  D is my witness (he refused to add any to his bowl).  There is NOTHING bland about this pasta, and I cannot encourage you enough to get off your roasted vegetable kick and grill up some veggies.

If it counts for anything, D went back for TWO extra helpings.  He my have left the yellow squash behind on his plate, but I think he just have color issues with his vegetables (to go along with the tactile issues).

So yes, dinner was pretty damned delicious and I’m nice and full and although I did a 2-mile jog/walk combo, I still have Day 3 of the 21-Day Shred to complete. And also need to finish off my pomarita before calling up some new clients (this may be dangerous).

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite vegetable to grill up?  I’ve never been a fan of mushrooms, but I do love grilled onion.  Is it weird that grilled onion is my favorite grilled vegetable?

June 8, 2010 at 7:08 pm 13 comments

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