Seattle At Night

Seattle At Night

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Life of a Go-Getter

  This week I feel like I have been super productive, on the go, and more social!  It feels great!  I think I was kind of getting into a slump where I worked, went home, cooked, watch TV, slept and worked again.  While I need that some nights, it should not be every night.  So lately I've been trying to break that rut!

I've gotten into a lovely Tuesday habit of hiking the dunes with my girlfriend.  This has been a great Tuesday evening activity to not only get me outside, but off my butt from working all day.  It has also been leaving me with nice endorphins to get through the rest of the week! It is so nice to have a friend to work out with, to get outside, and best of all to get the best views of Lake Michigan once I've reached the top of that big dune that winded me!  My calves are sore from yesterday... :)

Since I moved to a new location, I've been dreading moving all or some of my doctors to my new area.  But this morning when I threw out my old contacts and realized I only had one right one left in my cabinet, I reached a limit.  I can't wear my glasses to a huge rock concert Saturday, they might fall and break or get lost!  I need contacts for my concert Saturday! Crap!! so I first whined to my mom, but quickly realized I wouldn't be in Kalamazoo to get them from her before the show.  So I sucked it up, called the Niles office of my eye Doctor and they let me pick up one contact for each eye and make a new appointment for my annual eye review.  While in the calling doctors office mood, I also called a general doctor's office in Niles and started that process of getting my medical records transferred.  Mind you, my last normal Dr. was a pediatrician... that is how long it has been since I've been in for a check up....

The training i drove to in Lansing today is soooo cool!  I'm so excited to try out what I've learned.  A colleague and I drove to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in Lansing for a few hours GIS mapping lessons.  After only those few hours of training, I can now do what normally we have to pay someone to do with maps!  I can't wait to put it into action by creating maps of our conservation easements and preserves, or create maps to help us plan what properties we want to protect by picking out certain features of the data and mapping that.   This will help our little organization out immensely!! and it is also a really good skill for me to have acquired!  People respond more to maps than to hard data or statistics.  Something about the visual appeal and its spread through an area is so powerful to the human brain.  I can't wait to organize the data the FWS and DEQ had gathered to move people to see the importance of my work!!

besides cooking a fabulous dinner (I will post on that next), tonight was more me re cooperating from over 5 hours in the car today and my butt kicking and toning yesterday.  I hope this can inspire someone to get some things off their checklist done that may have been procrastinated!  It feels amazing and gives me momentum to get more off that list done!

Take Care!
<3 Sue

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pizza Pie!

Saturday night I made a delicious home made pizza with my boyfriend.  Someone saw the delicious photo on Instagram and asked for some information on it.  So I thought I'd write a blog post about how this came to be.  I always, like most people, CRAVE pizza.  The combination of the melted cheese, sweet and tangy tomato sauce and soft but crisp bread is just what my mouth usually craves.  But it has such a bad reputation for being unhealthy!  and it is, if you buy it some where else at least.  Now this is not scientifically a healthier pizza, but I am just guessing that my more natural techniques and and ingredients must make this somewhat healthier! My theory is at least, if the crust is thinner and I pile on delicious veggies on top, then its healthier, right??

 While at Sawall's health foods, I saw a packet of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free pizza dough.  You can probably get any pizza dough mix you like, but I know that is a good brand with pretty natural ingredients.  I had the pizza craving but a few problems:  trying to eat more wholesome ingredients, consume less fat, and have no electric mixer.  I decided to bust out my guns and purchase the dough.  

Saturday I had my normal pizza craving, so we made the dough.  It comes with a yeast packet, which is really handy, not all mixes have this ingredient in the bag (check whatever brand you buy to make sure it does!)

Personally, I ran out of eggs from breakfast, so I used the vegan recipe of no eggs but using flax seed mill set with water for a minute as the egg substitute! (Bob's red mill also makes this if you are interested, lots of health benefits!) Eggs work just fine too though, but this substitute cut out some of the cholesterol.  
The dough was hand kneaded.  I found it to be a little wet, so I'd add some flour once you have followed the dough making instructions. Don't forget to let it rise.  We put the bowl of rising dough on the open top to get some of the heat from the preheating oven to help with the yeast.    
I then realized I have no pizza sauce!  So I made my own:

small can of tomato paste
can of water
1 large chopped tomato
1  1/2 teaspoon of basil (or however much you'd like!)
2 cloves garlic (I didn't put garlic in my sauce because I like to knead minced garlic in my dough!!)

Boil it until it thickens to your liking, I think mine boiled for like 20 minutes.  

Roll the dough out over the olive oiled pan, the mix i used said to bake it naked first, so we did! then take it out, put the sauce on! Then comes the fun part!
We went for a more Mediterranean style pizza, bottom layer of spinach and kale, then some crumbled feta cheese, black olives and artichokes, then a tiny bit of shredded cheese.  I like to shred my own from a block, I used colby-jack but mozzarella is more pizza traditional.  
Bake as long as necessary (for my dough it was about 15-18 minutes depending on how you like your crust to be too)

and VOILA!  you have delicious, and must be more nutritious and definitely less greasy pizza!
It is semi time consuming, but so worth it!! Also great as left overs!
This is the pizza before I baked it!  
There is no after picture because my Su chef and I smashed it all!  

Kinda looks like a salad right?? Hopefully my stomach thought so!!

<3 Sue

Monday, May 14, 2012

Food of India

This past week I decided to take on the food of India!  My newest boyfriend is from India so I thought it would be nice to attempt to cook the fine cuisine of this country!  I thought I'd share the recipes I used and some of my experiences.
First, last week I home made my own paneer, which is cheese.  It was surprisingly easy to make, but a half gallon of milk only creates about a cup - a cup and a half of cheese, depending on the quality of milk you use.  When they say get whole milk, I recommend whole milk and nice milk, like organic or at least more natural milk.  It is more thick and creates more cheese. This recipe I found on The Kitchn was a great help!
Below is my paneer as I'm pan frying it.

You want to pan fry it to about golden brown!
Here is the palak paneer recipe I used.  (Palak is spinach!) Make sure you run the spinach under cold water after blanching it to retain that gorgeous green color!

I also made a Dal (lentils, beans) dish.  I used it out of my wonderful cookbook, how to cook everything vegetarian by Mark Bittman.  This book is amazing!  My advice on this recipe is to add maybe even a little less than an inch of water above the lentils so that it thickens up quicker.  This recipe is so easy and delicious!
I also added tomatoes to this, as this was one alteration in his cookbook.  
Below you can see the beautiful Indian dinner I made!  
On the left is the dal with a bit of Cilantro.  There is brown basmati rice in the middle, and the palak paneer on the right. I also made a delicious mango cocktail to go with it.  it is simply 2 parts mango rum, one part dark rum, one part tonic water with some cut up mangoes in it.  Also a lime is a good substitute if you don't have mangoes.  

Remember, these are spiced heavily, so if you do not have a high tolerance for spices, reduce them slightly.  I actually found the dal spicier than the paneer. 

My boyfriend was happy with the outcome of these dishes, which of course made me feel awesome at my first attempt! And it was fairly easy so I can't wait to try out another food, like Chhole or making my own naan!

All in all we ate very well last weekend! But I was glad to have been able to make him a little bit of home for the night!  

Eat well!

<3 Sue