January 29, 2013

Tofu and Vegetable Simple Curry (with coconut milk)

It's blowing my mind how super easy it is to make curry. I've made a couple of curries since living in the house, but this one has been the easiest by far! I've had a request to make a curry every week, which I really wouldn't mind, especially if they were all this simple. I served this over quinoa, which I'm falling in love with, by the way.

Tofu and Vegetable Curry (with coconut milk)

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep: 15 minutes (chopping vegetables & preparing tofu)
Cook time: 20

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 package of extra firm tofu 
(I fried mine before I put it into my curry. This is a great how-to on how to prepare your tofu.)
1 or more vegetables as desired, sliced or cube
 (I used broccoli, chopped carrots, and frozen corn)
1 can coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes (about 29oz)

Spice Mix
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in one large pan over medium.
2. Add the onion and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the tofu and vegetables stirring frequently for about 2 minutes, or until brown.
4. Add the spices and stir-fry 1 minute.
5. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a bubble.
6. Add the tomatoes. Stir, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer 10 minutes.
7. Serve hot with rice, noodles, or quinoa!

What's your favorite curry dish? 

January 25, 2013

An attempt at making Quinoa yummy

I haven't had many good experiences with quinoa. I really haven't even had that much quinoa. Our house has a 4 lb. bag that was donated to us (from my family). When I was home for break, I asked them what were some yummy recipes they had tried. They had none for me...which might be why I ended up with a huge bag of this super grain. I tried a mac and cheese quinoa that replaced quinoa with the noodles. I was NOT a fan. Blegh. Maybe it was because the taste of the quinoa came through? Can you say, "Zero Taste?"

Well, I'm on  journey to find quinoa recipes that are actually appetizing. That sounds a lot more dramatic than it really is. But we have a 4 lb. bag of this stuff!

I have found a recipe that I really do like! It happens to be really appetizing...but looks GROSS.

Vegan Chili
(featuring black beans, sweet potatoes, and quinoa) 

It looks absolutely unappetizing, but I think that's a theme for chilies, right? I like to think of the sweet potatoes as "little orange rays of hope." I think this is a yummy quinoa dish...because the quinoa is masked by black beans and sweet potatoes. I say it's a success. A super, mega, huge bowl of protein success! 

Nutritional Value of Quinoa
  • Found in 1 cup of cooked quinoa:
    •  220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein)
    • 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value)
    • 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value)
    • 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat)
    • A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250
    • 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value)
    • 20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B)
    • 30 percent of magnesium daily value (beneficial for people with migraine headaches); 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)
  • Contains all 8 essential amino acids and an adequate source of protein 
  • Gluten and Wheat Free
As a Vegetarian, I want so badly to fall in love with this food. I am working on it. Seriously.

Do you even know how to pronounce quinoa? I do now. 
It's not QUINN-OH-UH. Unfortunately. According to dictionary.com, it can be pronounced as either [keen-wah] or [keen-oh-uh]

Do you have any quinoa recipes you'd suggest?

January 23, 2013

When we land at night...

When we land at night… 
The jet plane slowly descending over the illuminated urban landscape,
I press my face against the cold layers of reinforced glass in the airplane's window.
I stare out at the bright, golden lights of Chicago - especially suburbia.
I watch the toy cars moving slowly along skinny roads - at stop lights, turning into driveways.
The rows and rows of golden streetlights help me forget that my face is cold
And I press my forehead to the glass harder to get a better look.
My eyes roam across the skyline soaking in all the glittering beauty of the miniature world below
I don’t want to miss one street lamp or bright, city light

Then we pass over a patch of black
With no street lights to illuminate back roads, nothing must live there
I have completely forgotten myself.
What is it? I wonder. A park? A golf-course? The country-side?

Then I remember that the rows and rows of glittering street lights
Are the reason I can’t see the stars in Elgin…
Orion sits right above my house in Virginia; I don’t know where he sits here
I think about the big stars and the medium stars and the teeny, tiny stars that only show
When you’ve hiked for a day into the mountains of Burma
You probably didn’t even know about the teeny, tiny stars. I didn’t.
But they’re there in a night sky whose brilliance stretches on and on
With more glittering pearls in the sky than empty darkness
My eyes roam over every constellation and speck in the sky
And I want to soak it in, I want to behold it all and never forget it
I open my eyes wider; hoping the enduring essence of the night sky will become a part of me
My heart is full – of joy, I think. Of wonder and awe.
I feel infinite and finite at the same time – that I am everything and nothing.
I am small and yet, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve come to understand about the world

January 22, 2013

Fabric, Friends, and Faithful Prophets

After driving 3,000 miles in 7 days, I took a few days to enjoy being home before heading back to the Offices in Elgin. It was a wonderful rejuvenating long weekend with friends and family in the Valley. 

I've wanted some modest, long skirts, but haven't been able to find what I want at Goodwill. So, Mom and I took to Ragtime Fabrics to find some fun material. 

In addition to the fabric I found at Ragtime, I had some lovely woven fabric from my trip to Burma. Grandma started with this one first. 

Grandma's hands at work. 
She's become QUITE the quilter and had a T-Shirt quilt waiting for me when I returned home from India last year. I ended up providing the fabric and she crafted two skirts for me! 

Camp Music Jam Session? Yes, please! 
I have missed singing camp songs with wonderful people. 
Happy Heart! 

On MLK day, I went with some BC friends to see Shane Claiborne speak at EMU. 

Some blurry Bridgewater friends and Shane.

This is the wonderful weather I'm returning to in Elgin! BRR!

January 21, 2013

Good Friends and Good Music

Momma once told me
You're already home where you feel loved
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

January 20, 2013

Road-trip Roundup: Day Eight

Concord, NC to Weyers Cave, VA 
(via Morrow Mounain & Charlotte, NC)
694 Miles

We were so worried that Winter Storm Iago would disrupt our day, 
but there was only a light dusting when we woke up!

We stopped by a volunteer location and met their friendly HUGE dog. 
Precious pups. 

Then we headed to Morrow Mountain State Park and checked out their museum. 
After we got lost trying to get there and got help from some friendly town folk. 

Funny Story: We stopped into the Park's office to ask about how much swimming would cost next summer. 
One. The staff did not seem interested that we were visiting 
or surprised that we had actually found the place! 
Two. Pretty sure, they thought we wanted to go swimming in January, 
because they made sure to inform us that the pool wouldn't be open until Memorial Day. 

Road-trip Subway Count: 5

Leaving Charlotte... 

What up, I-77! 

I had to stop and refuel! 

Grandma and I celebrated the end of our LONG trip with ice cream!

The sun starts to set on our journey. 

On the final stretch of road! Hello, I-81, old friend! 

It's dark as we cross Fancy Gap. 
This stretch of roads has the prettiest views and I drove this way twice on this journey. 
First, it was CRAZY foggy. 
Second, it was nighttime. 


Two weary travelers home at last after almost 3,000 miles! 

2013 Trips & Miles
Total Miles Traveled:
Miles by Car: 2974
Miles by Plane: 1130
Plane Trips: 2

January 17, 2013

Road-trip Roundup: Day Seven

Jacksonville, FL to Concord, NC
393 Miles

Mmm. Breakfast. 

Hello, I-95! 

SUN. I will never forget you! 

Refueling for a long day of driving!

"Gals: The seat will always be down." 
Who keeps perpetrating these stereotypes that women pee with the seat down? Seriously. 

Greetings, I-77. 

The dark sky looms up ahead. 
Good-bye, Sun, I will not soon forget you and your lovely warmth. 
I think it's the beginning of Winter Storm Iago. 
Did anyone jump to this when they mentioned that the storm was called Iago? 
Because that's where I jumped. 

Subway Count: 4 

And it starts to RAIN at the church we're staying at. 

We waited about an extra 45 minutes for Becky to even be able to get off the plane. 

Then she had to wait another 20 minutes for us to get to the terminal. 
But eventually, we picked her up and made our way safely back to Concord. 

Does anyone else find this license plate funny?

2013 Trips & Miles
Total Miles Traveled: 3410
Miles by Car: 2280
Miles by Plane: 1130
Plane Trips: 2

January 16, 2013

Road-trip Roundup: Day Six

Zephyrhills, FL to Jacksonville, FL (via Springhill, FL)
223 Miles

Today ended up being a visit family and regrouping day.
We visited with Aunt Reva over breakfast
and then drove for about an hour to have lunch with Phyllis and Hal.


Grandma and I started toward I-75 and this is what we see. We had seen the smoke from about 2 miles away, before we even got onto the road. 

Turns out there was a semi engulfed in flames! 
News Report here. The driver was okay...his semi...not so much. 

Last drive on I-75! 

Lovely Floridian countryside. 

The sun setting on our drive. 

Our trashcan also doubles as an ice bucket to help refill our cooler. 

Grandma catching up with people at home. 

We forgot plates. 

2013 Trips & Miles 
Total Miles Traveled: 3017
Miles by Car: 1887
Miles by Plane: 1130
Plane Trips: 2