Oct 31

bread and tomato soup

You guys. It’s chilly outside in here in NYC. It snowed this past Saturday. The heavy duty blanket has been pulled down from the top of the closet (much to Court Kitty’s disapproval, he hates it when we mess with “his” closet). I’m wearing Moose’s socks around the apartment instead of just flip flops. I made soup.

That’s how you know I’m serious about cold weather nesting. I make soup.

This soup is from Jamie Oliver and even though I cut the quantity of oil in half, it still turned out great. I think that adding the stale bread transforms what could be called a summer soup into a thick, comforting soup that’s perfect for chilly fall days.

Bread and Tomato Soup
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver
Makes 4 servings
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ripe grape tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, sprinkled to your preference
  • fresh ground black pepper, sprinkled to your preference
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes*
  • 2 large handfuls of thick, stale bread

*If you’re worried about BPA, try whole tomatoes from Eden Foods

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grab your pretty little grape tomatoes. If you want to keep the grape tomatoes whole in your soup (that’s what I did, I like big bites), take a toothpick and poke a hole into each tomato.

 

Feel free to chop up the grape tomatoes if you want to use smaller pieces in your soup. Just skip the toothpick poking step if that’s the case and slice them up instead.

Chop up your basil

And toss the grape tomatoes, 1 diced garlic clove, and 1/4 of the basil into a small roasting pan. Stir in two tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Stick the pan in the oven and let the tomatoes roast for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, place the remaining garlic, basil and oil in a large pot

and cook on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, softening the garlic.

Pour in the canned tomatoes, then fill the empty can with water and pour the water in, as well

Break apart the tomatoes with a spoon and bring the soup to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer and let the soup cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the grape tomatoes from the oven

And add them to your pot of soup.

Reduce the heat to low so that the soup is barely simmering, and add in large pieces of the stale bread. Be sure that the bread is stale. Fresh bread will just turn to mush.

Let the soup simmer for another 10 minutes. Try a taste and add more salt and/or pepper if you wish.

Remove from heat and serve immediately

So cozy!

Oct 23

peanut butter popcorn cake

The other day I was sitting around, tweeting about how I was thinking about having ice cream for dinner. I mean let’s be honest, there have been been several times in my life when I have had ice cream for dinner. I had ice cream for dinner as recently as two weekends ago. It had cherries in it. That means it’s health food.

Anyway…

Jen suggested that cake and popcorn would also be great dinner options.

In my mind I was all like, “oooh cake! oooh popcorn! oooh popcorn shaped into a cake!”

End of riveting story.

If you live in one of those neighborhoods where kids come ’round trick-or-treating, that’s great. I live in an apartment building and no one rings our buzzer on Halloween unless we’ve ordered a pizza. But if you live in one of those nice neighborhoods or nice buildings where kids come waltzing up to your door in search of goodies, and it also happens to be a neighborhood in which parents will let their kids eat a homemade treat that you’ve dropped into their bag (wait, where are you living? The 1950s?) then I suggest wrapping up some cake slices for those little masked beggars.

Or do what I do and eat three slices while watching hours upon hours of college football.

Peanut Butter Popcorn Cake
Popcorn adapted from Taste of Home
Makes roughly 15 servings
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup pretzel pieces
  • 3/4 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup vanilla coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Start by stirring together your popcorn, peanuts and pretzels in a large bowl

 

In a saucepan, bring the refined sugar and light corn syrup to a boil.

 

Remove from heat as soon as the mixture begins to boil and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract

 

Pour the mixture onto the popcorn and stir until all of the popcorn is covered

 

Divide the popcorn into two 9″ round nonstick cake pans, using your hands to press the popcorn down into the pans (be careful, the popcorn might still be hot to the touch)

 

Allow the popcorn to cool completely before removing it from the pans.

 

To make the frosting, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined.

 

Remove the “cakes” from the pans and frost the top of one cake.

 

Place the second cake on top of the first and spread the remaining frosting on top.

 

Slice as you would a normal cake and you’re all set

 

Oct 16

chocolate gravy

Last week was a bit of a doozy. It started out with a work trip for me

and a vet trip for Harrison.

By mid-week I had come down with a killer cold and Harrison was sporting what appeared to be a Snookie-esque boot

Luckily I was feeling better by Saturday, when Moose and I enjoyed a ride through traffic

to his happy place.

Today all I want is a giant blanket, a nap, some kitteh snuggles and this chocolate gravy. Yeah I really just said that. Chocolate gravy.

Chocolate Gravy
Recipe adapted from The Homesick Texan
Makes approximately 12 ounces of gravy
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups vanilla soy milk*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
*I’ve only used soy milk for this recipe so I can’t say for certain that all non-dairy milks will work as well.

This gravy is simple to make and it gives you an excuse to pour chocolate over top of every food on your plate, during every meal, every single day.

First gather all of your dry ingredients

and whisk them together in a saucepan

Add in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring very frequently until the mixture bubbles and thickens. It should take 10-15 minutes. Don’t overheat the gravy, but if it’s not bubbling after 8 minutes, turn the heat up just a bit. Stir in the vanilla and the Earth Balance and remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the gravy sit and thicken for another 3-5 minutes without stirring, then eat up!

Comfort food, meet my belly.

 

 

Oct 06

maple candy

The air is crisp. The leaves are changing. And HOCKEY SEASON IS BACK!

Plans have been made.

Jerseys have been dusted off.

And the DVR is about to be filled to capacity.

To celebrate this glorious day, I think we should all eat a few (dozen) pieces of maple candy.

They’re simple to make. They taste like Fall. They’ll be great company for your belly during those marathon weekends when your team and your husband’s team both have back-to-back games on opposite coasts and you find yourself spending 6 hours straight in front of the TV, two days in a row.

Maple Candy
Recipe from Allrecipes.com
Makes 15 candies (depending on the size of your mold)
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces maple syrup

That’s it. Maple syrup is the only ingredient you’re going to need. But you’ll also need a candy thermometer and a candy mold. That is, unless you want to eat the candy straight out of the pot when it cools or maybe you just want to plop down lumps of candy and eat messy candy lumps, which is also totally fine. No judgment. Just eating.

I used this delicious syrup from Trader Joe’s.

Canada. Where the Flames play. Did I mention that hockey is back?

Bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until the syrup reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit (110 Celsius).

Remove the syrup from the heat and allow the temperature to drop to 175 degrees Fahrenheit (80 Celsius). Don’t stir the syrup during this step, just keep an eye on it. When the temperature hits 175 F, stir the syrup continuously for five minutes. I suggest using a heavy plastic or wooden spoon because the scraping sound of metal on metal for five straight minutes might drive you mad.

The syrup should now be creamy and its color should be much lighter than when you first started stirring.

Pour the syrup into your candy mold

And allow it to cool completely before removing it.

That’s it! GO FLAMES GO!

Also, go Flyers in the event that the Flames are not playing the Flyers.

 

Oct 04

a great gift idea and a giveaway! – updated

Congrats to Cindy! You’ve won the LifeonRecord package!

The details are on their way to you via e-mail. I hope you love LifeOnRecord just as much as I did!

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Let’s go way back in time…to two whole days ago…

This past weekend I flew to the bluegrass state to surprise my mom for her 50th birthday. She had no idea that I was coming. She had no idea that my grandma and I had planned a surprise party for her. I even showed up with a little vegan decoy cake from Whole Foods so she wouldn’t think any other surprises were in store.

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I’m thinking Harrison might want one of these for his birthday next year.

The entire disc can include his favorite phrases from me, including “It’s dinner time!” and “Who wants a tummy rub? You want a tummy wub you wittle baby waby?”

 

Disclaimer: LifeOnRecord didn’t pay me a dime to ramble on and on about how great they are. I just think they’re great.