Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon

I don't have a food processor. I don't have a blender. This recipe involves the use of both devices, and instead, I chopped the ingredients up pretty small and just mashed them while they were cooking. I get the idea that this soup was intended to be far creamier than it was when I made it. Still, I liked the combination of sweet in the apples and salty in the bacon, and the butternut squash serves as a creamy mediator between the two. However, the soup as a whole felt a little heavy - perhaps this would have been different if I had blended it, or used more squash.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cabbage with Crisp Tofu and Peanut-Lime Dressing

I made this salad last weekend, and I really liked it. The tofu is good and crunchy, and the peanut-lime dressing is really good - I want to make it again and smother it all over noodles and vegetables. However, next time I make it, I'll use less onion and be sure to cut it up smaller, as I found it slightly overwhelming. I think I want to use this tofu prep style on other kinds of salads, too. It would be great on a spinach salad with walnuts and blueberries and strawberries.
Also, I assumed that four servings of this salad meant four side-salad servings, but it's more like four meal-salad servings, meaning that I had a ton of this salad, and it doesn't keep very well, so I ended up throwing out a fair amount of it. Next time, I'll make it for more people, or make a half recipe.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stir-Fried Curried Chickpeas with Potatoes and Carrots

I've had fried chickpeas once before, and they were great. This recipe was a bit of an experiment for me, for a couple reasons - the spices, and the vegetables. The recipe called for curry powder and fresh ginger. I assumed that there was curry in my home, and while I was at the grocery store, I could not find fresh ginger. I threw some red pepper and salt in with the chickpeas, though. Instead of using potatoes and carrots, shredded, I used a sweet potato, chopped up. I think I should have used a larger pan, as well - the frying pan I used wasn't big enough to stir the chickpeas very well, and I think they ended up slightly soggy as a result.
Overall, I think this plan of learning to cook is going well - I've been feeling more resourceful in terms of food, and I think I've been eating healthier. I'm hoping to get friends together for dinner at some point in the next month, but I'm not sure what I want to make. Breakfast for dinner, maybe?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cooking: Spicy Black Bean Soup

Tonight, I made spicy black bean soup, from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Fast" and it was pretty good. I made a couple changes, of course - I didn't include chipotle chilies, because I couldn't find them at the grocery store. I put cilantro in the soup, because it seems ridiculous to have an ingredient that's solely for garnish. A bell pepper that I found in my kitchen also ended up in the soup, because it was sort of going bad. I also used three cups of water when the recipe said to use four, because I like my soups pretty thick.
The recipe was pretty easy, and it made enough for me to have some tonight and pack up to take to school tomorrow, and I probably could have used a bit less water than I did.
On the menu later this week: fried, curried chickpeas!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year's, New Goals

I love New Year’s. love the fresh start, I love setting goals, and I love this shared sense that we have about anything being possible this year. I am invigorated by a new year injecting a sense of possibility into the cold grey of January, and I’ve found a moment of communal reflection and goal-setting to be incredibly valuable.
At the beginning of 2014, I had just transferred to Western Michigan University, and I set goals of making friends, saving money, and getting in shape. Over the past year, I made many friends, reached a savings goal, and I am in better shape than I was a year ago.
In 2013, I set goals of getting an internship, and getting my nose pierced. That summer, I interned at Metropolis Magazine and got my nose pierced on my 20th birthday.
Because of this and previous successes, I'm a huge believer in goals, especially of the New Year's resolution variety.
Sure, people fail on their New Year’s resolutions. However, without New Year’s, most of them would not have even tried to make a change.
New Year’s resolution failure can often be avoided by being mindful in setting achievable goals, making specific plans to achieve those goals, and celebrating milestones along the way.
This year, I’ve decided to learn to cook and write more. Right now, I’m capable of feeding myself competently, but not with imagination. I make pasta, I make chili and sandwiches, but I don’t branch out much. I want to learn how to cook a wider variety of foods. To do this, I got a cookbook and am trying to make things I’ve never cooked before.
In order to write more, I plan to set aside a few hours every Sunday to spend writing. I’ll work on personal stuff - writing for work doesn’t count. I'm not sure what I'll be writing, but I think it'll be a mix of creative nonfiction and fiction. I'll share bits of what I'm working on here, and perhaps release some sort of zine at the end of the year.
I've also decided to spend the month of January without alcohol or caffeine. These aren't permanent changes, just part of a temporary reset to see what my body feels like without those substances. I've been drinking caffeine semi-regularly since I was 16, and alcohol since I was 19, so I don't exactly remember how I feel without them in my body.
We’re a week into the new year, and I've found going without caffeine to be pretty difficult. I can manage without coffee, but I find myself wanting tea or pop most days, in the afternoon. I've started drinking more herbal tea, but it's not the same.
As for the blog, I suppose this is what people refer to as "pivoting." I still love design, but it isn't the main focus of my life right now. I'll still write about design when something big happens, or when I find something that I get excited about, but I'm not tapped into a design community like I was in Grand Rapids.
Right now, I'm focused much more on writing, communications, small business, publishing, and on feminism.
Can all those things fit together into one blog?
I have no idea. Let's find out.