Tuesday, November 16, 2010

White Bean and Garlic with Greens

Last year my big sister Jess gave me a copy of the book Love Soup for Christmas. It's a vegetarian soup and story book and I absolutely LOVE IT. I tried 5-6 so recipes last year. This year I want to document and share my favorites, which will probably be everything we try--Dylan and I adore soup. The first recipe I've made this year is the White Bean and Garlic with Greens. A good friend Adam gave us some some broccoli rabe, (among other organic goodies from the Wayward Seed farm) so I shredded that and used it as my green. Both Dylan and I were starving, but we were content after a bowl. It was delicious, flavorful, and smooth. I'm taking leftovers for lunch tomorrow :).
Here's my lazy (but DELICIOUS) interpretation of Anna Thomas's recipe.

White Bean and Garlic with Greens Soup

1 medium sweet onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, pressed
2-3 TB olive oil
2 cans drained, rinsed white beans (I used white kidney or Cannellini)
2 tsp sage
fresh ground pepper
4 cups water + 2-3 tsp veggie bouillon
OR 4 cups of vegetable broth.
2 cups(ish) of a shredded green, like kale, spinach, broccoli rabe, etc.
1 tsp lemon juice
olive oil

Over medium heat, soften the onions and garlic in olive oil for 10-15 minutes. Add the beans, sage, and pepper and stir. Add a bit of the water or broth then blend using an immersion blender or regular blender. Add the additional water and 2-3 tsp of vegetable bouillon or
remaining broth and stir to desired consistency. Add greens and simmer until tender, 5-10 more minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, additional salt/pepper if needed, and serve with freshly grated parmesan and olive oil.

Friday, November 5, 2010

1 Can of Pumpkin...

two really delicious things. The first was for a staff meeting. I don't know what to call it... Pumpkin Cream Dip? I don't like the way that sounds. Inspired by this and this. Dylan said it's the best thing he's ever eaten. Here's the recipe:

8 oz cream cheese, softened and beaten
2 c powdered sugar, added slowly to the cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree

Combine everything above with an electric mixer, then fold into 8 oz freshly whipped cream.

Eat with Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps, TJ's Old Fashioned
Cinnamon Grahams, Granny Smith apples, and everything else for a week, because it makes a LOT.

The second thing I made with that can of pumpkin was a loaf of pumpkin banana bread. Inspired by my mom's easiest-ever Pumpkin Cake recipe.

1 cup pumpkin (I had a scant cup left, and compensated with a banana)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix, pour into loaf pan, bake 55-65 minutes at 350 F. Delicious with leftover pumpkin cream dip.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Northstar challenge. Round 2.

Second attempt at re-creating the Northstar veggie burger? Not a complete fail-- it was a pretty good burger, but far from Northstar's.

The Kitchn posted a recipe (and the picture below) a year or so ago, and I finally got around to trying it July 4th for a family cookout in Cincinnati.

I made some changes to the initial recipe because in a conversation with an employee I found out they add chipotle peppers. There didn't appear to be anything smoky about the original kitchn recipe.

In my first attempt, I added about 3-4 Tb of adobo sauce, caramelized the onions and canned beets for 30 minutes, threw in pureed dried dates for sweetness, and 1/4 cup or so of oats to help them bind. The final product was beautiful, but a little too spicy, a little too sweet, not quite enough salty, and definitely not enough umami. We used a cast iron grill pan over a gas flame to cook them- 6-8 minutes on each side, and they were good.

My second attempt yesterday was different, but probably equally successful (or not?). Dylan thought they were better than the first. I think the texture improved, but not the flavor. I used a 3-grain blend (rice, spelt, barley) from Trader Joe's instead of short-grain brown rice, and also used a package of their refrigerated cooked beats and shredded them instead of chopped canned (or fresh). I still added adobo sauce, just a bit less; about 2 Tb of unsweetened applesauce instead of the dates; LOTS of ground black pepper; and more sea salt. And some soy sauce. And Kitchen Bouquet. And... a little bit of everything else in the kitchen. I added more rolled oats, and let them sit in the fridge few hours before grilling them, on a real grill. We brushed them with oil, and probably grilled them a total of 15 minutes or so on each side. They were the right sweet, smoky, spicy, and salty. The outside was charred and crispy from the grill, but the inside wasn't bright enough, and it was still missing the depth and richness from umami. I'm not sure what I'll try next time. It's been at least 6 months since I've had the real thing, so maybe I should go to Northstar and then brainstorm.

Here are a few ideas for the next batch
1. Cook rice/grains in a mushroom veggie broth + beet juice for more flavor and color
2. Mince and caramelize portobellos with the beets and onions
3. Experiment with other soy sauces
4. Balsamic vinegar instead of cider

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Current favorite Way Yes song shot with our newish camera:

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Going into school to see my classroom for the first time!

After a long, disappointing, job-hunting-summer, I had a last minute interview yesterday morning and was offered a 6th grade language arts and math position! I tearfully accepted and celebrated by buying school supplies :D

School starts in one week!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

1-Year Anniversary/Father's Day 2010/Matilda's Birthday!

Today is a big day--

It's Dylan and my one year anniversary!
Time is a funny thing. I can't believe the wedding was 365 days ago, but at the same time, it feels like we've been married forever. Our life and love doesn't feel much different than it did 3 1/2 years ago when we started dating. We still stare at one another, asking "is this real?" Things that have changed: we don't play Othello as much, Dylan
has a "real job," we're dealing with a perpetual health insurance nightmare, we have a puppy who we love and adore. Married life could not be better, and I couldn't imagine a more perfect husband than Dylan.

Father's Day!

I'm cooking up a storm today! I offered to make dinner for Father's Day with my in-laws.
Here's the menu:

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne
Tomato Salad with Red Onion and Fresh Herbs
Spinach salad with feta and strawberries

French Baguette

Lemon Blueberry Cream Puffs

Last night I went to Trader Joe's and had the most efficient trip ever. I stuck to the grocery list with the exception of two bottles of wine: Green Fin White Table Wine and Ruggero di Tasso’s Nero d’Avola. Both were under $5, but both came recommended, so we'll see!

The eggplant, peppers, and zucchini are roasted, the lemon curd is cooling, I'm just about to add fontina and basil to finish the b├ęchamel. After I assemble the lasagne, I'll make the blueberry sauce and cream puff shells, then I'm going to have some play time with Matilda on the rug I bought last night:

It's soft and pretty and makes our living room feel like a room. And Matilda can't stop rolling around on it. Which brings me to the third landmark today:

Matilda's Birthday
Pets Without Parents didn't know exactly how old Matilda was when we adopted her last October, but they listed her birthday as sometime the first week of June. We decided to celebrate June 20. She gives me and Dylan immeasurable love and joy, and we can't imagine a better puppy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wedding Album!

We received our albums last week in time for Mother's Day! Our moms seemed to love them, and overall Dylan and I are happy with their quality and price. It's been a lot of fun have one around to flip through and smile about :). Here's a link:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring Cure 2010

Thanks to one of my best girlfriends, Jess, I've started reading Apartment Therapy again. I'm a few weeks late, but so excited about this (click image for link):It's on reserve at the library, school's almost out for summer, and I can't wait to start revamping our home and belongings! And then have a party!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

April's Over...

The past month I've been busy applying for teaching jobs, planning how to wrap up the last month of school in my long-term teaching assignment, reading lots for fun, taking Matilda to the park, taking pictures, playing Carcassonne on Xbox with Dylan, and working on our wedding album! All but the last are ongoing. The wedding album is finished and ordered and should be shipped in time for Mothers' Day! I'm debating whether to share the link yet in case the moms happen to read this before next Sunday... I think I'll wait. I will share two videos I took last night at Dylan's show. Black Love is now Way Yes, and they opened for Karate Coyote and Old Worlds at Rumba Cafe. It was my first time hearing Karate Coyote... and so much fun! Enjoy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oh, Spring...

The past two weeks have been packed full of lesson planning, achievement test preparation, parent conferences, staff meetings, and trips to the dog park. GORGEOUS weather made this past week feel even longer; I'm desperate for spring break. I spent today paging through a new library cookbook, The Flexitarian Table, stocking up on groceries, and now I'm super excited. I have spiced red onion marmalade bubbling away on the stove and am going to start the goat cheese frittata to accompany it. Pictures, recipe, and review coming soon.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I am so, so proud of my husband, Dylan. Despite some really stressful weeks with school, snow, landlords, money, etc... I feel so excited and so proud and so optimistic when I allow myself realize I'm married to the sweetest and most talented man I know. Here are two things I'm most excited about right now.

Beta Self is Dylan's new blog. It's about life with diabetes, traveling, eating, puppy, DIY projects, video games.... He's the best writer I know and I can hardly wait for his next posting. Check it out.

Black Love is Dylan's band. He's played drums recreationally for forever with our friends Glenn and Travis, but they're getting serious. And it's really really fun. They played a show at Carabar last night and it was awesome. Strangers were dancing and smiling. Here's a video of them playing one of my favorite songs at Monster House a few weeks ago:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach

I love Mark Bittman. I can't wait to go home and try this tonight, with soy chorizo from Trader Joe's. Not the same as Spanish chorizo, I know. But still probably delicious.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Panda Dog

Matilda thinks she's a panda, eating bamboo the way she does.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vermintine day?

Last Sunday (Valentine's Day!) Dylan and I were invited to attend a
worm-composting workshop co-hosted by our good friend Britany. In the spirit of the themed celebration, Britany provided nostalgic "dirt dessert". I thought we needed a savory worm food, so made worm-shaped soft pretzels. I used Alton Brown's recipe but made a few changes; half of my flour was whole wheat, I split the dough into 16 parts instead of 8, and I added wormy segments by scoring them with a knife. The end was result was delicious. I'll definitely use Alton's recipe again.

Pictured above: boiling worm, boiled worms waiting to bake, and the finished product.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

homemade v-day cards

cheesy scrapbook valentine by laura: adorable, sweet, kissy, valentine by dylan:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Frozen Meal Co-op

me and dad circa 1985.

I come from a family (i.e., father) who gets excited about living on a tight budget. We purchased food, office supplies, and housewares in bulk; mom cooked dinner from scratch nearly every night; Dad recorded/cataloged movies off the satellite dish instead of renting/buying/theaters; we packed snacks and meals for road trips instead of stopping...

Of all the thrifty habits my family developed, my favorites by far are the frozen lunches in our deep freezer. For as long as I can remember my parents have had a deep freezer containing milk crates filled with ziploc bags of frozen soup and chili. To avoid the costly (for $ and health) habit of eating out for lunch, Mom would (and still does) make 1-2 big pots of soup a few times a month for him to take as lunch. Dad bags, labels, and freezes the bags flat and then "files" them in crates. At any given time there are 6-8 types of soup, chili, and pasta in their freezer.
I've always planned to follow suit when I grow up and have a deep freezer. Now I'm excited about doing more than just soup.

My friend Jess just pass along the following story about a freezer meal group, and it has me daydreaming about all the freezer-friendly meals I could be making and sharing... (click the picture for the site)

anyone interested?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweater and Snow Walk

Matilda has a cardigan. It's a human cardigan altered just for her. I'm a far way away from perfecting clothes for her, but I guess I've got to start somewhere. She's really proud of it, as you can see in the second photo :). She's all dressed up for a major family snow walk.

Dylan and Matilda in the Wahalla Ravine

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Homemade mayonnaise

Ciabatta, tilapia, spinach, lemon, a hungry husband... but no mayo! What's a girl to do snowed in, craving a fish sandwich?

A quick search for homemade mayo and I found
this. Dylan has a mustard phobia, and I LOVE lemon, so here's my adjusted recipe for aioli (basically mayo with garlic):

1 egg yolk
1 tb fresh lemon juice

1 t white vinegar

1/2 t salt plus more to taste

3/4 c olive oil

1 t finely minced garlic

I used a whisk to beat all but the oil, then whisked in a quarter cup, one teaspoon or so at a time.

The last 1/2 c I drizzled and whisked in very slowly. This all took about 10 minutes, but by the end I had 3/4 cup of legitimate mayonnaise-like delicious sauce for our sandwiches. I'd nearly broken a sweat in our 62 degree kitchen and I'm sure burned at least as many calories as are in 3/4 c of olive oil ;).

Final product:


I know this is a little ridiculous, but one of the reasons I haven't blogged as often as I wish is because I created this from my lauradolle account. I don't use that account anymore. I use a meister account. And every time I think about blogging, I know I have to sign out of my meister account and log into dolle. Well I finally fixed that. And added another Meister to the mix. Dolle-made is now a group blog with Laura Dolle, Laura Meister, and Dylan! I'm not sure if we'll hear much from Dylan, but he has the ability to blog now. We been discussing starting a new blogger for our adventures as Meisters, but for now I can't part with dolle-made. And meister-made will never sound as good.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lazy Blogger

I want so badly to be a regular blogger. but life is so hectic, sometimes.

Big news:
Dylan and I were blessed with a sweet-tempered, vegetable-loving puppy in October. Her name is Matilda and she's wonderful. Here she is in her homemade scarf (XL sweatshirt arm). We recently poked ear-holes in it. She rarely leaves the house without it.

Other news, last week, for the first time, I poached something other than eggs. Quick dinner for 5 friends= tilapia and salmon fillets over sliced onions, zucchini, and summer squash. With thyme and white wine. Baked covered for 25 minutes. And mashed potatoes.