Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tomato Soup and Dinner Rolls

I love cooking, and even more than that, I love cooking something and having other people truly enjoy what I've made.  I think this meal has potential for that. Nothing says love like homemade soup WITH homemade bread.  That says I love you enough to knead this dough by hand, wait for it to rise, shape it, wait some more, and then bake it.  
That says I love you enough to plan this meal hours in advance so I could wait for the bread to rise.  
That says I love you enough to want to know everything that goes in to our meal, and not simply pour soup from a can and pull rolls from a bag.  
Really, what says I love you more than that? Unless maybe we added a salad to the side, but that's a different story.   

Dinner Rolls (from Bakingdom)

I used the recipes linked above, but used about 2-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with about 1/4 cup water instead of the egg, and omitted the egg wash.  I will admit that I tried to halve to recipe in my head while making it because I didn't need 20 rolls. I failed. I put the full amount of water and sugar and halved everything else, so my recipe was a desperate attempt to save that. I tried to follow this, and managed to make a pretty delicious roll. I'm guessing if I had done it right the first time they would have been even more amazing.  
Dough rising

Nice and baked! 

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup (Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

6 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Dash Cayenne pepper
freshly chopped basil
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth 

1. Arrange tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for around 45 minutes. 

2. In a large pot, heat about 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and cook about 2 minutes.  Add garlic.  

3. Add canned tomatoes, basil, and broth. Add roasted tomatoes and dash of cayenne.

4.  Simmer about 30 minutes, then blend.  (I transferred my soup in batches to a food processor, which worked fine and just required some extra heating time at the end. I'm sure an immersion blender would be much more fabulous, but work with what you have). 

5.  Serve and bask in the glory that is homemade soup. 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap, Part 1

So many things to be thankful for this week, so many things that I want to share, and just not enough time or space.  Here are the top things right now

I am thankful for:

1. Having a real kitchen to cook in this past week at home.

2. Tomato Soup and Homemade dinner rolls

3. Being able to appreciate runs in the rain

4. Appreciating even more the runs when it finally stops raining

5. My amazing horse who never fails to forgive me for having to leave him for weeks/months at a time to go to school

6. Being able to wake up in the morning to a new day. Never forget that every second is a gift

I plan to post photos of the soup and rolls soon, because I just can't get over how perfect of a fall meal those were.  Also in the works, vegan pumpkin pie from scratch (but not Carl Sagan style, because I didn't first invent the universe, sorry...)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Running, for your mind and body

Here's a little bit not about food. Click away, that's fine. But I want to talk to you about moving your booty. Get out of that chair. Not because you feel guilty, not because someone told you to, not even because you ate that other half of a burrito last night, or because the chocolate cupcakes in the kitchen are screaming your name.

What's that? Why on earth would you exercise for reasons other than guilt or food? Let me tell you.

Because it feels good. 

Because physiologically, you will feel better.

Because at some point in your life, you might get chased by a bear, and wouldn't you rather be able to run from it?

All kidding aside, I finished my first half marathon almost a month ago, and I really think that running has saved my brain.  Some people run with partners, some people have support groups for exercise or take group classes. My runs are me time. It's my chance to kick anyone and everyone out of my space, and just be alone, me, my legs, my running shoes, the pavement.  It's methodical, it's serene on the outside.
It's never not a struggle.
But I can't say this struggle is because the running itself is difficult. It's because of everything it has come to mean to me, and all the daily stress I work through on these runs.
I can't say I'm not guilt-driven.
I can't say I didn't choose to get out of bed this morning and run so that I could have the fro-yo after dinner.

It's all true, I did those things. (Ok, I haven't eaten the fro-yo yet, but I fully intend to)
But starting to read the stories of others, first marathons, forty-first marathons, first 5ks, first workouts, they are all so inspiring.  Every work I read makes me want to run.  I want to see how far I can go, I want to be amazed at the work my body can do when I ask it. I want to marvel at the fact that my legs can carry me 13.1 miles one day, and still let me get out of bed the next day, no matter how hard my head objects.  I love that the body can mimic a warrior, cobra, dog, or eagle in a yoga pose, and then carry the warrior spirit miles and miles from where it started.

It is this inspiration that makes me want to keep running. To push myself, to save myself, to know myself.  I am determined to run my first full marathon next year, and I love to try and improve my times in shorter races, possibly planning some 5k, 10k, 15k, and half marathons in there.

I have been blessed with a body that is capable, and I appreciate everything that it can do for me.  I'll take care of you and you take care of me, ok?