30 September 2012

Mostly Moosewood's Navajo Stew

Today we drove to Muncie for September's Super Secret Saturday Surprise (even though it is Sunday). Our plan was to go to a family fun park for go karts and bumper boats and such, but they weren't open when we got there. Instead, we had a picnic and did a little shopping (Target for things like dishwasher soap and Kohl's for some new fall sweaters).

Although it was warmer than we expected it to be during the day, it was still a beautiful fall day. In addition, the drive to and from Muncie was beautiful. It seems that just in the past two days more leaves have started to change color, which made it really feel like fall. Well, that and the fact that it's dropping down into the 40s for low overnight temps.

Luckily, our dinner (currently cooking - the house smells amazing!) is perfect for a fall night. This dinner totally takes advantage of savory, hearty flavors. I can't take credit for it, nor can I even take credit for finding it. The recipe (mostly) comes from Moosewood Restaurant's cookbook Simple Suppers (I did edit it a bit). Shana and I had it for the first time at the house of some friends of ours when we were still living in western New York. Every time we make it, I think about them (and their super cute daughter!). I'm not sure why Moosewood named this recipe as they did, because I don't think it is really traditional. Regardless, it's delicious!

25 September 2012

Maggie's "Quick" Barley Soup

I noticed tonight while I was looking at past blog posts that we eat a lot of soup. This is my 16th post and the 4th about soup. To be perfectly honest, that's an almost accurate representation of our autumn/winter eating. It's incredibly common for us to eat two soups per week during the colder months. Part of that has to come from my deep love for all things soup. When Shana and I were first dating, we somehow got to talking with friends about what we would eat if we could only eat one thing for the rest of our lives (aka our favorite foods). I replied "soup" and Shana called me a cheater. Maybe it is cheating a little bit, but soups are awesome! You can throw stuff in a pot and out comes (9.8 times out of 10) something delicious! I know I'll be posting more soups here, including one we affectionately call "fatty fatty potato soup" (which is a bit fattier than other soups we make, but isn't too bad...).

Okay, enough babble and on to the recipe. On our meal plan for the week, we'd planned for a barley soup last night. I wasn't feeling a regular "veggie" soup with the simple inclusion of barley, so I got creative. Luckily, what I came up with was good! Plus, this soup is full of umami flavors, which is one of the major complaints people have about vegan food (even though they often don't phrase it quite like that). Although I've labeled this recipe "quick" barley soup, it's not a super fast soup because barley takes a bit of time to cook. This one saves time by using "quick" barley (think "quick" oats), but still has about 20 minutes of simmering time before the barley is ready. It's worth it though!

18 September 2012

Crockpot Minestrone Soup

Today was the perfect beginning-of-fall day. It didn't get above 70, there were blue skies with white puffy clouds, a nice breeze, and fall smells lingering in the air. This time of year is, hands down, my all time favorite. If nothing else, I get to wear sweaters, and who doesn't love sweaters?!

Normally (at least, as of this semester), Shana stays in Indy on Tuesday nights as a way to break up her weeks and avoid at least one morning of super early rising. However, tomorrow night is parent-teacher conference night, so she's staying tomorrow instead. That meant dinner had to planned for tonight. However, on Tuesday nights I'm on campus until 8:30 because I'm singing in a Gregorian Chant ensemble this semester (I'm learning SO many new things!). Thus, we planned a crockpot dinner.

I made this soup one night a few weeks ago and enjoyed it, but since Shana hadn't tried it yet I was hesitant to post it here. Just because I like it doesn't mean it's good. :) When I walked in the door tonight, Shana basically said "Hi! The soup was AWESOME!" Confirmation of deliciousness = new blog post for you all.

14 September 2012

Maggie's Garlic Wine Pasta

Two posts in two days? Believe it!

Here's the story behind this dinner. A while ago (6 months? a year?) I was craving something creamy and garlicky but nothing I found was sounding quite right. I asked Shana if she minded an experimental dinner and (after a bit of explanation) she agreed.

The first concoction was WAY to thick. Tasty, but thick. The second time I made (seriously, it was good), I adjusted too far the other way and it was way too thin.  The third time it was finally what I wanted it to be: a garlicky, creamy, wine-y, sauce over pasta and veggies. Plus, it's pretty quick and super easy. All in all, a huge winner!
so much creamygarlickywiney goodness

13 September 2012

Maggie's Green Bean Casserole

Yeah, yeah, it was 82 degrees outside today. That doesn't mean that we can't still have delicious fall-style casseroles. But just imagine a crisp fall day, leaves crackling underfoot, cold noses, warm sweaters, and the rich smells of something baking coming from the oven. It sounds almost perfect, if you ask me. Maybe we should have waited until tomorrow (high of 69), but dinner sure was delicious!

Most non-vegan green bean casseroles use condensed cream of mushroom soup, which isn't vegan. Most of the vegan recipes out there call for soy milk or soy creamer and lots of herbs. The soy milk would be fine, but when I started making this I wanted something with a simple taste profile. Also, many of them use canned green beans, which I just will not do (unless they are from my dad's garden and he canned them).

The other major issue (at least for us) with most of the other vegan green bean casserole recipes you can find is that they call for chunks of mushrooms. Neither Shana nor I are up for chunks of mushrooms (although I'll get to a recipe that has chunks sooner or later). This recipe skips the chunks but has lots of mushroom flavor. Not to worry, though, because you can always add the fungus chunks back. This could also easily be gluten free if you used a different thickener than regular wheat flour.

05 September 2012

Maggie's Savory Butternut Squash Soup

Well, the semester is in full gear. And by "full gear" what I really mean is "hold on tight or you're bound to fall off and we won't wait for you so suck it up." Same thing, right? It toooooootally feels the same. In all honesty, this semester is going to run me ragged, even though I am really excited about everything I'm doing. My classes are going well (and the students seem to think so, too), the multiple research projects I'm overseeing (19, which doesn't count my own research) are looking like they will be really interesting, my "campus leadership" seems to be manageable, and I'm even learning new things (basic html and Gregorian Chant music/notation).

It should come as no surprise that with all of this going on, I'm sometimes overwhelmed to think about adding "make dinner" to my never-ending to do list. Luckily, on Monday I didn't have to make dinner! Shana was off from school for Labor Day and she agreed to make dinner for us. We picked a meal that I knew she could make and that she felt comfortable with, as she doesn't cook nearly as often as I cook. Plus, Labor Day means September, which means squash and sweaters and apples and crunchy leaves and cold noses and pumpkins and and and... Even though most of those things aren't happening quite yet, the tables were turned when I was able to come home from work to smell of a lovely autumnal soup, which we paired with crusty bread dipped in olive oil.

The napkin in this picture was woven by a student at my school!
This soup is very straightforward to prepare, even more so if you can find pre-cut butternut squash. Plus, it's an interesting twist on a soup with butternut squash, as I find those tend to be a bit on the sweet side. This one has sweet undertones, but the other ingredients and spices included really kick this soup up a notch! I even have an alternate version in the Helpful Hints that increases the protein content while maintaining deliciousness.