Catch-Up

So it has been awhile!  Hard to believe the last time I posted was in July when my goal was to post often.  So here’s to hoping one good thing of 2017 is I’ll actually use this space.

The biggest thing that has happened since I last wrote is:

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Kedzie Lou! Or Kedzie (kedz, turtle butt, kedzo, kedzabub etc.) as we call her.  I adopted Kedzie from a wonderful foster rescue organization called Almost Home Foundation.  She was 8 weeks old, and had been fostered with Samantha from AHF since she was 6 weeks old.  Prior to that she had been living in a shelter in Mississippi with her mom and 10 siblings.  Their mom came into the shelter pregnant, so they were born in a safe place and spent 6 whole weeks with their mama Chloe.

They are not sure what she is, but a strong lab mix with many other things.  We see so many different breeds at times that we just call her a lovable mutt. IMG_20160802_093930

I am lucky enough that I get to bring Kedzie to work with me everyday as I train her to be a therapy dog….”I” meaning reinforcing what we learn four times a week at Urban Pooch here in Chicago.  She is so sweet and has the best demeanor for being a therapy dog.  The kiddos here at school have really taken to her, and sometimes I think she does more than I can just being her wiggly butt self.

It is hard for us to imagine life before her (except when you wake up with a paw in your face after she lets herself out of her crate).  She loves everyone she meets (except for some old white men, but we are working on that….), and is truly a great dog, especially for a puppy.   I always wanted a dog but I never imagined just how perfect it would be.

Beyond that life has been going along as usual.  We’ve had weddings (one I even officiated at) a little traveling with trips to California and New Orleans next, and moved a couple times.  I’m also starting to train for a half-marathon because even though I said never again, I apparently have forgotten how terrible it all really is.  So I see you Rock N’ Sole.

My next big challenge is purging and packing up my room from my parents house….stay tuned, this is surely going to be a disaster.

 

Hummus Finally!

So here’s the deal, I have always wanted to make my own hummus.  Yet, it intimidated me.  Tahini? Blending?  Why do that when it’s less than $3 to grab one at the store.  However, Ryan and I are on a health kick (hello post 1/2 marathon sloth life) and so I started googling Vegan recipes and stumbled across Dana at The Minimalist Baker.  I’m in love with the 10 ingredient philosophy!

While I am not going Vegan, because I love meat too much, I am going to for the next month eat vegan with lean protein and budget exceptions (vegan cheese haha bye-bye money).  Which should be interesting, but back to hummus!

While pursuing Minimalist Baker I came across her Microwave Hummus Recipe.  When I read it I thought it can’t be this easy.  There has to be a catch….but NO, it was that easy.

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I picked up a can of chickpeas at Trader Joes, and had a head of garlic at home.  I was a little hesitant when I poured it all together because it just looked weird.  I went with 3 heads of garlic, but would go with 4 next time.  I was worried it would be too garlicky, which is silly because it never can be too garlicky!  I microwaved it for 4.5 minutes which was plenty of time.

The next step was combing the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil.  That’s it!  I used a hand blender in a bowl and it worked great…although I am having dreams of a Kitchen Aide mixer under my Christmas tree.  Especially if I keep this cooking think up.

Blending it was super easy.  I was worried it would be too chunky, but it wasn’t.  Also I didn’t measure the olive oil that I added, but just did it based of consistency and it turned out well!

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I also didn’t have paprika which it calls for, but used chili powder instead and it gave a good kick.   It also makes a ton!  I still had a full Tupperware of it after this plate.   It was delicious with pita chips and bell peppers.  With garlic hummus under my belt, I am looking forward to exploring other options of hummus.

The real test will be this weekend when I bring it to share at a outdoor concert we are going to!  Fingers crossed ya’all.

 

 

Old Loves

This summer I am teaching in a resource style classroom.  As a part of this experiment we have talked about the things that we love and why it is important to explore what makes us happy (regardless of others opinions of it).  One kiddo asked what is something I really like, and I heard myself say cooking.  Which is true, but I haven’t cooked a true meal in months.  I have thrown together things with pre-made/cut ingredients, but it has been too long since I cooked everything from scratch.

I learned how to cook in Nepal, a place where pre-packaged meals were too expensive for a JV budget, and it quickly went from stressful, to fun.  I had grand plans of meals I would cook when I got home, but ended up picking it up and then stopping many times over (even attempted a blog about a different Joy of Cooking recipe).

But now that I am no longer in school, want  need to be healthy, and have the ability, I think it is time to return to an old love of mine.

So last week on a nice summer night (read not aggressively hot), I rolled up my sleeves and cooked dinner for Ryan and myself.  I knew I wanted something that wouldn’t require the oven too much and would be fresh.  So I updated a go-to in my weekly rotation: Burrito Bowls.  It’s a super simple recipe and the best part is, you can add whatever you want!

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Mine always includes the same things:

  • Red Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • A Veggie of some sort (this time leftover cabbage and red peppers)
  • Morningstar Spicy Black Bean burger (usually 2)
  • Guacamole (which I finally made from scratch again: avocado, red onion, tomato, dried red pepper, lemon juice, and salt, all mashed together)
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Quinoa

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Voila! It is a tasty, easy delicious dinner.  Best part is, the only cooking necessary is the quinoa so it doesn’t heat up a hot apartment…..no AC, no bueno.

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I also went back to my second love, baking!  I am much more comfortable exploring in the baking realm, and made a this delicious crumble.  Top with some vanilla frozen yogurt, some b-day candles, and you’ve got a wonderful birthday dessert.

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Plus getting to enjoy this all with this guy isn’t too bad either.