meatless monday — veggie burrito

at the last “lets do dinner!!!”  jessie brought be some tomatillos from her garden.  this of course is the main ingredient for salsa verde aka the green salsa.  i contemplated doing something else with them but how can you pass up homemade salsa verde.

jessie’s tomatillos

salsa verde is so easy, chop up tomatillos, garlic, white onion, jalapeno,  throw in some cilantro and sugar and viola….salsa verde.

now what to do with the salsa verde????

deciding what to do with the salsa verde turned out to be the more difficult part of the dinner.  just it alone wouldn’t be enough dinner, enchiladas seemed to heavy so i thought why not veggie burritos topped with the salsa verde.  first i sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, onions and green peppers then cooked them in taco seasoning.  the tortillas were then filled with a little bit of refried beans and a big spoonful of my taco veggies. the  burritos were rolled up and topped with salsa verde, tomato wedges and cheese.  i love how one vegetable inspired a whole impromptu meatless monday meal.  thanks jessie!!!

i do love me some burritos

meatless monday — lets do dinner!!!! III

you can really take any meal and turn it into a vegetarian meal.  sometimes you just got to get a little creative to do it.  when planning meals for september’s “lets do dinner” nights i really wanted to do chicago style hot dogs.  so why not just do them with soy dogs was my thought!  on the menu:  chicago style soy dogs, vegan baked beans, homemade garlic french fries, and vegan blueberry brownies.

load up my plate please

probably should have started with desert first

the guest list included my friend jessie (aka the lady i refer to as my other big sis) her husband jason and my friend elise.  topics of conversation included……foods we are repulsed by, the odd social aspects of facebook, our deep love of the tv show parks and rec, and the way to grow supper hot peppers.

ready to eat

regional hotdogs i find interesting, mainly because missouri, i don’t think has one.  i’m personally a big fan of hotdogs that have coleslaw on top of them.  i think that is considered a memphis dog.  how do areas get this special hotdogs?  i think i need to create one for springfield.  so what is on a chicago dog?   dill pickle, tomato, onions, peppers, relish and mustard and of course the buns have to have poppy-seed on them.

poppyseeded buns

since we were eating chicago themed food i decided the only way to enjoy my brew was in a stein of the chicago beer “old style.”

me and my giant stein

what is up next for “lets do dinner!!!”?  mexican!  i’m already on a quest for millet.

RECIPE:  GARLIC FRENCH FRIES

SERVES 6

5-6 small-medium potatoes (washed and leave skins on)

4 TBSP canola oil

3 TBSP sea salt

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp black pepper

* cut the potatoes in half length wise.  then slice each potato half into 1/8 inch wedges.  place the wedges into cold water, this will prevent the potatoes from turning brown.

*heat oil in a large skillet over medium-medium-high heat.  as oil is heating mix together sea salt, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper into a small bowl.

*before adding the potatoes to the oil make sure you get as much water off of them as possible.  i suggest placing small handfuls into a towel to dry off.  this will make them cook faster and be crisper.  the key also to frying….hot oil and not over crowding in the skillet. when frying the potatoes will puff and once they are brown they are done.

*as you take potatoes out of the oil toss them with the sea salt-garlic mixture.  serve with ranch dressing!

Eating in D.C.- Sunday Night Dinner

We ended up at this old, windy townhouse Italian restaurant, Trattoria Alberto, near Capital Hill for Sunday night dinner. Because we had to eat before Hamlet (Yes, we went twice! How often is the Globe in the US?) dinner was at 5pm. This is crazy early for us and apparently DC because we were the only people in the restaurant.

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Why is it when you’re the only people in the restaurant you tend to talk more softly?

I started with fresh mozzerella, tomatoes and capers.

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We mainly watched the restaurant get ready for their evening, which included peeking into the kitchen through a little door on the wall.

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We were both in the mood for simple dinners.

John had a basic tomato sauce.

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And I had a light olive oil, garlic penne with broccoli. I wish every Italian restaurant had a light option like this (ahem, by every Italian restaurant I mean Cascones. Johnny I hope you’re reading this).

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It was a good way to say Ciao to Washington DC.

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Eating in DC: A Surprising Smithsonian Lunch

The last time we visited Washington DC we were not really wowed by the tourist dining at the Smithsonian. It was mostly heavy cafeteria fare, not very veggie friendly, but it was usually named after a state or city like Wisconsin Mac and Cheese, Kansas City Baked Beans, which made it charming.

We were expecting the same situation at the National Portrait Gallery.

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We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful cafe/dining area.

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And some of our most favorite things to eat. We both had grilled cheese (not greasy at all).

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I had veggie chips- very unexpected and exciting. My whole meal was Whole Foods in feel which was surprising.

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The best part– they had pudding cups!

Vanilla for me.

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And chocolate for JY.

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With American old timey folk music playing in the background and it was probably our most fun, relaxing, and favorite meal of the trip!

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dorito wednesday

“is today free chip day?!”

—–“the chips aren’t free but if you want them for your veggie then you can have them”

“YES! its free chip day!!!”

at the middle school level one wednesday a month is “dorito wednesday” or as the kids call it “FREE CHIP DAY.”  the technicalities of this are that doritos are made of corn thus they can be considered a vegetable choice.  at the high school level free chip day exists every monday.  now granted we are only allowed to sell reduced fat and baked potato chips and these chips are offered everyday for purchase.

the first dorito wednesday that happened we kind of forgot about it at the last minute.  the extra rack we fill full of bags of doritos hadn’t been put together so we just kind of pretended it wasn’t happening.  the only kids who asked about it were special ed and frankly i like those kids any ways so i let them get their bags of chips. mr ingalsbe, the 8th grade algebra teacher was also wise that it was free chip day.  the only lunch mr ingalsbe purchases is a coney dog. coney dog day always exists on free chip.  i let him have chips because i’m always trying to win ingalsbe over.  he has yet to eat a single breakfast we’ve made for him.

another experiment with the doritos happened this week, by pure accident.  we just forgot to put out the normal snack rack that has all the chips on it.  it wasn’t until the 7th grade lunch that i realized it wasn’t there.  out of almost 300 kids no one had asked about it.  since the hadn’t asked i decided to see how long it would take them to notice. only one 8th grade boy wanted to know where the chips were.  i think this means…..out of sight out of mind.  they only buy the snacks because they are offered, don’t offer them they don’t care.

the part that makes us all dread dorito wednesday now is the new federal guidelines.  in an effort to get kids to eat more fruits and veggies the new guidelines say that a meal does not have to include an entree (main dish).  a meal can be a combination of side items, 2 fruits and a milk, 2 veggies and a fruit, etc, etc.  we have yet to really promote this option.  can you guess why?  oh you want 2 bags of dortios and a slice of pizza ok that’s a meal.  you want 2 bags of doritos and an apple ok good to go.  all we would be serving is doritos.  i like what michelle obama is trying to do with revamping the guidelines for school meals, but until the government tells lobbyists that doritos aren’t vegetables even if they have corn in them or that tater tots aren’t a vegetable because they are made of potatos, the healthy options for kids at school have not changed at all.

Eating in DC: Somona and a little bit of London

We joined the before-the-theater crowd and dined at a wine bar that also focused on local foods, Somona.

This is a picture of my Syrah headed toward me. After a crazy bumpy flight into town, I really needed a few glasses to settle my nerves!

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We ate here a couple of years ago on our first trip to DC. We ordered the just greens salad then too.

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Needless to say neither one of us remembered this until we took our first couple of bites. The salad has lets say a very “earthy” flavor….

John had a Parmesan and mozzerella pizza. Very cheesy good.

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And I had the pesto, chard, summer squash pizza. I laughed when it showed up because I had been concerned about getting some greens. Ha!

This was my first pesto experience since the dreaded pesto Lyn and I made…

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Yeah, the pizza was good, but I learned I’m still not ready for pesto (dang. When you make the worst meal of your life to really sticks with you!)

After dinner we walked to the Folger Theater to see London’s Globe players perform Hamlet.

The girls who sat next to us at dinner (they ordered a cheese platter and pork) sat near us at the show- tis a small globe after all!

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meatless monday — fried egg sandwich

yes i like to top my sandwiches with pickles

you know what makes a fried egg sandwich REALLY good?  tons of mustard.  and yes i might have just been making this sandwich for moi but i believe you shouldn’t skimp on the details, if i had made this sandwich for another i would have topped it with some cut up pickles so why not do that for myself.  my favorite ingredient to add to a fried egg sandwich is pesto but since steph and mine’s pesto disaster i’m still not back on the pesto bandwagon just yet.  the sweet potato chips however when yummy yummy!