November 27, 2011

Movement- my new home!

by Nicole Lee

So I’ve finally gotten my own domain set up thanks to my bestie, the talented and wonderful, Eric Martindale (owner of RPGateway).

Please click HERE for my new home and bookmark accordingly!!

November 26, 2011

Turning Vegetarian – Jalapeño Tofu Scramble

by Nicole Lee

Tofu is such an up in the air ingredient for some people. It’s something that puts a lot of people off as either a sub par “meat replacement” or just “totally bland”. I, on the other hand, find it both fun to work with and delicious- you just have to know what you’re doing.

That said, this recipe was a little…bland. I think if/when I try it again I am going to marinade my tofu overnight in either a dry rub or a sauce of some sort. It needed more time to take on some of the flavors this recipe put forward, but I think the theory is here and I’m definitely going to make a habit of having the ingredients at the ready! Without further adieu, the instructions below!

Serves: 3-4
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Cost per serving: ≈ $2.25

Nutritional values (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 143 calories, 8.5g fat (1.1g saturated fat), 0mg cholesterol, 30.8mg sodium, 9g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber, 10.8g protein


 1 16-18 ounce package of organic extra-firm tofu
 1 tbsp. olive oil
 2 jalapeños, diced
 1/2 white onion, diced
 2 cloves garlic, diced
 1 tsp. chili powder
 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
 1/4 tsp. salt
 1 c. chopped roma tomato
 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
 Garnish; fresh cilantro leaves


1. Drain tofu, cut in half (horizontally), squeeze as much liquid out as possible, pat dry with a paper towel and crumble into a medium bowl.
2. In a skillet heat oil and saute  jalapeños, onion and garlic until translucent. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt; cook for approximately 30 seconds.
3. Add crumbled tofu to chili mixture. Heat for approximately 5 mintues.
4. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice and serve.
5. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and enjoy!

November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving – A day of way too much food!

by Nicole Lee

Thanksgiving 2011 marks my third celebration of the holiday in this state, and it just so happens to be one of my favorite holidays. It’s not ruled by the ins and outs of a specific religion. It’s not overly commercialized like some of the others. It can be celebrated by anyone in the country regardless of race, gender or denomination. I get to see my friends and my family and the general feeling is nothing but thankfulness for the things we have, the people in our lives and opportunities we have been afforded here in the United States.

And let me be extremely honest: I am so blessed. It is difficult for me to even begin to explain it so I’m not going to. What I have, what I’ve learned this year, and the new places I’m headed are both personal and indescribable, but to all of the support I’ve- well, anyway, thank you, to all of you who have made my life the wonderful existence it is.

Now, moving on, this meal, as the photos below will show, was not entirely vegetarian- but! I did have enough to eat that was and trust me it was all delicious! My plate, toward the bottom, includes mashed potatoes, stuffing, asparagus with roasted red peppers, corn pie, and a vegan pumpkin pasta that I made! I will be re-visiting that recipe in the next week or two as a post on it’s own just as a heads up.

Photos: 1 (above)- brie, 2 (below)- homemade hummus and pitas, 3- meat and cheese platter, 4- veggie platter, 5- Bob carving the turkey, 6- brown sugar glazed ham, 7- asparagus with roasted red peppers, 8- my dinner!, 9- chipmunk salt and pepper shakers, 10- Danny (my brother), 11- Ilona (Bob and Shelley’s renter), 12- Bob (the host), 13- my Dad!, 14- my Mum (isn’t she beautiful?!)!

Also- I would love to hear from anyone about how their Thanksgiving went, just drop a comment and let me know. :)


November 23, 2011

Turning Vegetarian – Lemony Garbanzo Bean Sandwiches

by Nicole Lee

Night two of cooking at home out of the Vegetarian cook book I picked up Sunday. This recipe was insanely simple, incredibly inexpensive and yummy, yummy, yummy! I think I’m going to start adding the cost per serving to my list of “just so you know”s about each recipe.

Now this one I liked for dinner, but I think I prefer for lunch. I’ll be bringing the left overs to my office tomorrow and I have no doubt I’ll eat the heck out of it- I might even share if my coworkers are lucky!

Notes: I got stuck looking all over for focaccia, but I could not, for the life of me, find it. I got French bread and it was entirely wrong. I definitely suggest looking around more thoroughly than I was able to get it.

Lemony Garbanzo Bean Sandwich

Serves: 4
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Cost per serving: ≈ $2.50

Nutritional values (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 401 calories, 8g fat (0g saturated fat), 10mg cholesterol, 472mg sodium, 71g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 16g protein


 1 15oz can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
3 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
 1 tbsp. finely chopped red onion
 1 tbsp. olive oil
 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
 1/2 a large cucumber peeled, quartered and sliced
 1/2 c. arugula
 1/3 c. roasted red sweet pepper strips
 1 12″ loaf focaccia quartered


1. Combine garbanzo beans, parsley, lemon peel, lemon juice, red onion, olive oil, and black pepper. Gently mash beans with a fork or potato masher (leave it coarse, you want some texture). Stir in cucumber, arugula and roasted pepper.*
2. Cut bread in half and fill each portion of bread with a quarter of the bean mixture. Enjoy!**

* Honestly, as long as you’re not too harsh you can add everything other than arugula right from the start.
** I did not toast my bread, but I think next time I will. Having the crunch sounds like a really good idea!

November 22, 2011

Turning Vegetarian – Southwestern Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

by Nicole Lee

Yesterday, Monday November 21st, 2011 marked my first vegetarian meal that I cooked myself on my road to transitioning entirely. (I didn’t even realize until I was eating it that not only was it vegetarian, but also vegan.) As my Turning Vegetarian – The Recipes That Made It Happen page notes I am working out of the Better Homes and Gardens 365 Vegetarian Meals Cookbook.

For whatever reason this ended being my first choice and boy am I glad! The recipe was simple, clean and delicious, not to mention inexpensive. The squash was my favorite part. There’s something about the nutty buttery flavor that acorn squash offers that I can’t find anywhere else naturally.

As a side note, I find it incredibly hard to shop for just one person. Either I buy too much and throw things away or I never have the ingredients I need/want to make anything worth eating. It’s incredibly frustrating.

Side note two, now that it’s getting dark at 6:00 and I don’t even get out of work until 5:30 I have literally no light when I finish cooking and start taking photos. So while I work with settings and learn how to edit them into something worth viewing please bear with me!

Without further adieu I invite you to review the recipe below and try this one out for yourself!

Southwestern Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves: 4
Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake time: 60 minutes

Nutritional values (will vary depending on brands)- Per serving: 317 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 1mg cholesterol, 572mg sodium, 63g carbohydrates, 12g fiber, 12g protein


2 small organic acorn squash (mine weighed in around 1.25 pounds each)
1 c. water
1/2 c. uncooked quinoa (rinsed and drained)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 ear fresh organic sweet corn with kernels cut from cob
1 c. chopped sweet pepper or approximately 1 medium (I used orange)
2 green onions, chopped
2 medium fresh jalapenos, diced (I do not seed mine, but if you don’t want too much spice then make sure to remove the seeds!)
1 tbs. olive oil
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained


1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cut squash in half (either lengthwise or across) and remove all seeds. Place each half, cut side down, on a baking pan and bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes (or until squash flesh is tender).
2. While squash is baking take the water, quinoa, cumin and salt and mix in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed.
3. In a skillet saute corn, jalapenos, pepper, onions in oil until vegetables begin to soften.
4. Stir vegetables, black beans and quinoa together and set aside.
5. When squash is ready remove from oven and spoon quinoa mixture in (it will look like you have too much and mounding will be necessary).
6. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 12-15 minutes and enjoy!