It was crying out for some vegetables so I quickly steamed up some frozen green beans. While those were steaming, I diced and sauteed half of a roasted red pepper with some garlic. When both were finished I combined them along with some Earth Balance. I found the result pretty (albeit Christmasy) and tasty.
Overall the meal looked much fancier than it should have for 10 minutes of exhausted after-work Friday evening effort.
But perhaps the biggest news of the weekend is the two new additions to our kitchen - the Vita-Mix and the Whirley-Pop!
Thanks in large part to my awesome mother-in-law, Abigail's dream of owning a Vita-Mix has finally come true. In case you are unaware, the Vita-Mix is a serious, serious blender. Abigail has wanted one since I met her, but I was long a skeptic. Who needs such a good blender? I hate blenders anyway! What a pain to use, not to mention the cleaning. How often do we even use a blender?
As if to validate my anti-blender stance, our blender broke a month or two ago. No worries. I had already been avoiding any recipes that required a blender because I hated to use it. Also (this becomes relevant in a moment), our Soymilk Maker broke. I swear we aren't cursed or anything, we just cook a lot. Our stuff takes a beating. We were making Soymilk probably twice a week (or two batches once a week is more accurate) and I guess it couldn't take it. Not mention which, talk about hard to clean!
What does the Vita-Mix have to do with all this? First of all, it is the blender to end all blenders. It is easy to clean, easy to use, and it can make Soymilk! It can also of course make almond milk and rice milk. So now we don't need to buy a new Soymilk maker.
It can also make soup and simultaneously heat said soup.
I'm sure it goes without saying that it makes smoothies, but would you have expected it to make Apple Sauce?
What about ice cream? Yeah, it makes a vegan ice cream too - just add fruit, ice, soymilk, and a little sugar (and for chocolate ice cream, add cocoa and/or chocolate chips). Done on the correct setting, the result is a gelatinous, cold, ice cream. That's just the beginning (did I mention it comes with like an enormous recipe book?)
And it's so easy to clean (a few cups of water and a drop of dish soap, then blend on high for 30 seconds and rinse) that i've actually been using it!
Actually, that's an understatement. We've been using it like 10 times a day. That's a lot of blending. I'm going to have to re-evaluate my stance on blender-involving recipes now. Way to prove me wrong, Vita-Mix.
In other news - I finally got a Whirley-Pop!
I know, why can't I just make microwave popcorn like a "normal" person, right? For starters, we're clearly a more DIY kind of family. Also, we are control freaks.
By using the Whirley-Pop I can choose what kind of corn kernels to use (cheap bulk or fancy gourmet), and I can choose to use very little oil, and to use Earth Balance rather than Butter, and to season it to my taste (I like Nutritional Yeast, garlic powder, and red pepper powder, but not much salt). And it takes about 2 minutes start to finish, so it's not like it takes longer than using the microwave. I was blown away by how fresh and good the popcorn tasted. It seems like every time i'm skeptical about some hippie-ass concept like Make Your Own Whatever, I get proven completely wrong.
I am not sure how much money the Whirley-Pop will save, because I guess microwave popcorn isn't very expensive to being with, but popcorn is one of my favorite snacks, so I win regardless. Plus, it's so much fun! It's like a toy. Spin spin spin, pop pop pop. And the reward is light fluffy corny kernels. Mmmm. Now that's $20 well spent.
In other news, i've been working on modifying a great recipe of my mom's so that it's free of oil and low on sugar. It worked great to replace the oil with apple sauce and to replace the water with orange juice and omit the sugar, but I want to fiddle with the spices and with some kind of topping and/or filling perhaps. It's promising, though.
Now to figure out what I want for dinner tonight...