Saturday, September 24, 2011

Picnic in the Park

Todd and I went on a picnic in the park date yesterday!  We've been especially meaning to go on a picnic since we received some cool picnic gear forour wedding...

We hit up Trader Joe's for some snacks, including red wine salami, Gruyere, crackers, edamame, and apples.  Since we went hungry, we ended up with way more food than we needed ... I hope no one minds if I bring crunchy veggie sticks to the law library ;)

There was also some beer, per usual.  Ranger IPA for him and Fat Tire for her.


After eating, Todd and I strolled around for a bit then saw The Debt. I loved, loved, loved that movie.  It's suspenseful and a great story!  Admittedly, my eyes were covered for certain portions :)  

What was really scary, though, was the preview for Dream House.  I flipped out big time, like  I'm pretty sure people turned in my direction.  Still, l want to see it!? 

Todd and I are off to get in a leg workout and some cardio at the gym before dinner with Adam and Erica at the new Acaica for Arizona Restaurant Week.

Oh and check out my blingin' new hair accessory.  I got it Claire's!  Definitely forgot about that place when I turned 13 - thanks Cat for reminding me about it ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Macadamia Nut Brownies

Oh, hai!  Todd and I have been having super productive day today!  

The lovely Katy R. and I gossiped over iced tea on the porch at La Encantada while the Mr. Food for Todd met up with a friend at Sparkroot downtown.  I also finished the last of the baby shower invitations!  I can't believe there's going to be a baby so soon!  Happy!

Then Todd and I did back and biceps at the gym.  Here's what it looked like:
Gravitron, 3 sets of 12
Bicep curl machine, 3 sets of 12
Low back machine, 3 sets of 12
High row, 3 sets of 12
Compound row, 3 sets of 12
Bicep curls with free weights, 3 sets of 12 on each side
Traps with free weights, 3 sets of 12
Bicep w/ EZ bar, 3 sets of 12

We also picked up some groceries, including the ingredients for these brownies.  I'm testing these brownies out to see how they work...  forgot to roast/toast the nuts beforehand, so that action will need to happen next time.  I also think I got a little overzealous with the stirring, as they turned out kinda crumbly - or at least I think that's why they turned out crumbly (I know that's why cornbread muffins can turn to crumbles).  Or maybe I let them cook too long.

Or, maybe, just maybe, it was not my overzealous stirring but rather our overzealous eating that caused us to nom these when we should have let them cool longer...

Macadamia Nut Brownies
From Cooking for Seven
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped roasted and salted macadamia nuts plus extra for garnish (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 13×9x2-inch baking pan.
2) Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Mix in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and nuts. Spread in pan. Sprinkle with remaining nuts.
3) Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Cut into bars and serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
Makes approximately 24 bars

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Eggplant and Chickpea Curry

This dish is a winner in our book.  We tend to make a lot of curries, but this one stands out among them.  It's a nice compromise between super spicy and bland, and I really like the addition of eggplant.

Some of the prep ....

Once the eggplant is done roasting, making this goes by quickly.

So, I have a confession.  I may "make" a meal but I always seem to give Todd the most difficult assistant task ;)  Here he is peeling the eggplant ...

And can I brag about Todd a little more?  Here's how I found him one afternoon after coming back from the library! 

And one more picture for the road....

Eggplant and Chickpea Curry
Slightly adapted from Fat Free Vegan
1 large eggplant
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper seeded and diced
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 minced garlic clove
14 ounces diced tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred)
2 teaspoons ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or other hot red pepper (less or more, to taste)
15 ounces chickpeas (don't drain)
1/4 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat oven to 400F. Prick eggplant with a fork several times and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until eggplant is sunken and soft all the way through. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop the eggplant flesh.

Heat a non-stick skillet and then spray it lightly with vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook until it begins to turn golden. Add the bell pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Clear a spot in the center of the skillet and sprinkle the cumin seeds directly on the hot surface. Stir and toast them for about a minute, until they become fragrant. Stir them into the onions and peppers and add the coriander, turmeric, garlic, tomatoes, ginger paste, and red pepper. Add the eggplant and cook over medium heat, pressing eggplant with the back of a spoon to break up large pieces, for about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas in their water, cover tightly, and turn heat to low. Cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring periodically, until sauce has thickened and flavors have blended. (You can hold this dish on low for up to 45 minutes while you prepare the rest of your meal, but add additional liquid as needed and don't forget to stir, scraping the bottom.)

Just before serving, add curry powder and salt to taste.