Monthly Archives: September 2009

Adventures in baked goods

So I’ve been wanting cookies for the past few days. But we ran out of flour, and while our neighbourhood is supplied with Italian and Vietnamese and Chinese food finds, it is sadly lacking in the way of an affordable grocery store for simples like plain wheat flour or eggs.

No flour. No eggs. No cookies? Hardly. Introducing Egg-less Chickpea Peanut Butter Cookies!

chickpea cookies

Here’s my attempt at a recipe (since I don’t measure and don’t write things down, it is understandably approximate):

1/4 cup butter, softened
3 really, really heaping tbsp peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
dash vanilla
2 cups scant cooked chickpeas, well drained
2 heaping tbsp ground flax

Have your chickpeas cooked and drained. If you’re using canned chickpeas, rinse them to remove excess saltiness. In a food processor, whiz up the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Add the chickpeas and whiz on high until it’s fairly smooth looking. Add the vanilla and flax and give it another spin. If it looks like a very soft dough/batter at this point, leave it as it is. If it seems too runny, add a few more chickpeas to even things out.

Drop by tablespoons-full onto a cookie sheet (I used a silicon baking sheet to keep them from sticking) and bake at 375*. Now, I’m not really sure how long I baked them. After 10 minutes or so, I smooshed them with a fork, then baked them for another 5-10 minutes. The first batch baked for a shorter time than the second batch, and I think they taste better baked more than less. Remove to a cooling rack when they are golden brown and look fairly dry and ‘done’.

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Sadly, oh so sadly

*sigh*  There are no words.

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Who would think just a few yarn-overs could be so easy to forget, and could cause such a problem.

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Let me introduce Nancy

Back in June, on the 20th to be specific, Nancy came into my life.  She was a birthday gift from my mother.  Two days later, I watched The Man cart her, along with my wedding gown (including the crinoline!) with his guitar on his back, down the street immediately after the fire.  When I asked him why he bothered to carry her out of the house, he said “It was a birthday gift.”  He wanted to be sure that I had one of my birthday gifts, particularly since I had such a wretched birthday.

So here she is.

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And here’s what we’ve been working on together.

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I have so many other plans, too.  I loooove her!!

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Cheap and Zesty

No, not me: dinner!

When a family is living on one income, money can get a little tight.  When a family experiences a house-fire, bills can add up.  Combine the two, and you get: inventive cheap dinner blog posts!

Start two cups of rice to cook.

Chop one onion (I used half of a big Spanish sweet onion – they were cheap) and press or mince two or three cloves of garlic.  Heat some olive oil in a large pan, and add the garlic, then onion.  Saute until it starts to sweat.

Add half a green pepper, chopped.  If you have celery or anything else, add that.  Keep it on medium heat.

Add a tablespoon or two (do I ever measure anything?  No, I do not.) of chili powder, some cumin (saaaay, 1.5 teaspoons) a teaspoon or two of cayenne (more if you have a tongue of steel) and salt and pepper.

Now add your protein.  I used veggie mince (essentially texturized vegetable protein: believe me, it tastes better than it sounds) but you could use ground and browned meat of any sort, or any sort of legume.  I think lentils would be particularly fantastic in this.  Stir it all together.  If it doesn’t look very red, add more chili.

When the rice is nearly done, add two chopped tomatoes.

Serve over the rice, preferably with some shredded cheese or some yogurt or sour cream.  I think some shredded lettuce over the top would be delicious, as well.

Tasty!

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A little fire follow-up

If you’ve been reading this blog for longer than two months, you likely noticed this post. Since the lace looks about the same (a big blob of grey) I thought I’d give a little update on our post-fire situation.
As I wrote back in July, we have a new condo. It’s nice. We like it. The main floor is pretty awesome: very lofty-warehouse-chic, with it’s high ceiling and open-concept and wall of floor to ceiling windows. What the kitchen lacks in cupboard space it makes up for in fantastic appliances. The upstairs is alright, but it is much, much smaller than the last place. This is posing some serious issues with regard to unpacking. In order to unpack, we need to have a place to put everything, but in order to have that place we need to get the boxes out of the way and unpacked but in order to unpack them…you see? What we are calling “Peanut’s Room” is, in fact, wall to wall boxes, about four feet high. It’s a damned good thing she still sleeps in bed with us: there is no room for a crib anywhere. We’d have to put her in the living room, I think, if she was in a crib.
The neighbourhood isn’t bad. On one hand, we really like it. There are a lot of kids down the street from us, and they often congregate at the concrete barricade (the block is divided to prevent through-traffic) in the evenings, so once Peanut is walking (could be any day now!) I think she’ll really enjoy playing with her fellow toddlers. There’s a fabulous little Italian grocer at the top of the block. The Man has discovered that their fresh cut bacon is both better quality and cheaper than the cheap bacon from the supermarket, so he’s quite happy making weekend bacon runs. And I need to start generating some income if only so that I can support my cheese habit. They have the BEST CHEESE.
We’re walking distance – granted, a long walk – from a farmer’s market, where I have found the best garlic of all time. If you are on the knittyboard, you may have seen my thread in GHS about garlic storage. I still have to figure out how I’ll get and keep a stock of this garlic all winter. It’s just too good to go without. Buying local produce direct from the grower is nice for so many reasons, amongst them the fact that it’s usually less expensive (at least, for the vegetables and fruit I’ve been buying, it is). We like that.
It’s not all cheap bacon and garlic bulbs, though. While the street is largely residential, one end of it – our end of it – is primarily commercial.  There’s a large storage facility for Public Works, a paint store/warehouse, and a smallish factory with several businesses including a presentation company (supply equipment for staging and events) and a couple of printing houses all right across the street from us.  There is a giant semi backing down my street (because, with such a narrow street and that concrete barricade, they have no choice but to back all the way past my house) just about every single day, and almost invariably while Peanut is finally having a nap.
It’s infuriating.  Add on top of that that places to which we used to walk in ten minutes now take about forty-five minutes and it has really started to make me wonder if we made a mistake.  I’m sitting in our living room, the street outside quiet and dark, our main floor so bright and funky, and I want to love everything about this place, but I know that there could easily be a big Penske truck backing down the street at 2am tomorrow morning, should that presentation company strike a gig late at night.  And I know that I’ve barely seen my very, very good friend K all summer.  She lives around the corner from our old place, the one that burned, and took us in the morning of the fire – plied us with tea and strawberries and homebaked bread – and now it’s a chore just to spend a few hours with her.  It makes me sad.
We may have prioritized a little incorrectly.  It seemed so important to get a place as soon as possible, and someplace really nice so that we could essentially pretend that we wanted to move.  Unfortunately, we may have missed the mark with this one.  In fairness to ourselves, though, we only saw this place in the evening and on a holiday, so there was no way to know how much commercial traffic comes through here.
Homelessness is unpleasant.  No, we were never living under threat of having to live under a bridge or in a box or in a shelter, but we were definitely without a home of our own for two weeks there.  It was so unsettling it may have driven us to choose a home too quickly.  Not having a place of our own was just too uncomfortable, too scary.  And the real kicker is that it now appears that the building that burned isn’t being demolished.  It now appears they will rebuild from the inside out all the units which were burned.  The latest report is “all except the last three units”.  So our former home will sit, empty and unloved and untouched and unharmed, for about another year.  While we live here.  It bites.*
We’ll likely stick out our year and then move back into the core.  We really did adore living downtown, despite all the drawbacks, like lack of parking, noisy neighbours, sirens, and drunks wandering around the street.  I think it’s where we’re meant to be.
For now, I’ll just have to be patient, and get used to long, long walks to see my friends.
*I know, I know, living immediately adjacent to a construction zone would bite, too, even worse, perhaps, than living where we currently do.  Plus, there’s the whole “danger” issue.  I think, as a victim of peril, that I have the freedom to be mildly irrational.

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