Monday, July 22, 2013


The clumsy cook indeed. Apparently the forgetful cook as well. I went hiking with a lovely group of ladies from school earlier today and forgot all the things in two different cars. Well, really just my glasses case and my phone.
Sounds okay, yes? But NO. I was NOT okay. I was actually surprised at how attached to my smart phone I've gotten. I was sitting there, staring like a lost puppy, at the place my phone was supposed to be in my back pack. I pawed at the back pack 2-3 times thinking, maybe now I've developed enough magical powers to just make my phone appear? Or...there must be a secret compartment I haven't discovered in 6 years!

Finally, I accept the awful truth: I had left my phone in a friend of mine's car. Yes...I was phone-less. Not un-contactable mind you, but phone-less. Where would I read the newspaper (online.), where would I read my books (real paper.), where would I text people (my texting app on my computer.), where would I play RUZZLE (the true horror.)

All of these thoughts came crashing towards me as I sat, mildly catatonic, on the edge of my bed, clutching my landline. I finally stepped into gear, after much growling and snarling at my he was the only live creature around at the act that he took as love and play only served to fuel my irritation. I called my friend and she was nice enough to drive my phone back to me. That's right, she brought it back to me. Her super-niceness pushed me to realize a few things that I have to say.

Either way, valuable lesson:

1. Nice people are nice, and will be nice enough to drive your phone back to you when the red line is experience serious delays. You are now immortalized in my blogpost for being nice. Thank you :-)

2. Hello, my name is Mita and I am a cell-phone addict. Yes, I am that person on the T who is texting or reading, or moving her finger rapidly on her phone in an attempt to beat a random user at a word game. Yes, I am that person who freaks out when her phone gets slower by a fraction of a second. Yes, I am that person who resort to neanderthalic-like grunts and slamming when my phone freezes. My name is Mita, and I have a problem.

I joke, but it's a legitimate problem. I am constantly being mentally-stimulated by the barrage of information my phone throws at me...updates from the NYT, information about celebrities I didn't know I cared about, and heart-wrenching losses at Ruzzle (if you haven't just don't know). But at the same time I talk about important it is to just have time to yourself to think, to be, to contemplate. Some of my best thoughts come from being forced into boredom .

After all, that's why I took the summer off between 1st and 2nd year. I wanted to be not think or do, but just be. Why not? Being bored is a privilege that I'm lucky enough to have and I get that it's not going to come back. Life is happening and it'll keep on happening, so why not just enjoy the boredom I will pay so much for in the future?

So! I hereby take this try to use my phone more judiciously and responsibly. You might see me on the T using my phone, or sitting at a bus stop, or walking down the street, but I promise I'll be using it to expand myself...and, I'll also just use it straight up less.

In celebration of my addiction recognition--cookies! Now I've searched long and hard for good chocolate chip cookies, and I believe I found my answer on Smitten Kitchen. I tweaked the recipe a little, so now I'm calling them my Chocolate-What-You-Got-Cookies. In my case, I had trail mix, coconut flakes, and chocolate chips. BOOM, delicious.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

0.75 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
0.5 cup white sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2.0 cups all purpose flour
0.5 tsp. salt
0.5 tsp. baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips

EXTRAS -- you can mix and match, use them together, use only one...up to you!
0.5 cup of your favorite trail mix
0.5 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
0.5 cups crushed pretzel sticks

Preheat oven to 325 F

In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: salt, baking soda, flour. Cream together the melted butter, and sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour ingredients into the wet ingredients until just mixed. Then stir in the chocolate and any extras by hand.

Scoop out 1 tbsp on to a parchment paper covered baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Bake them for ~10 minutes. They should be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside...enjoy!

Also, you can freeze any extra dough for future cookies.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Easy Snack: Corn Pizza-tillas, Gluten Free!

Yesterday was our 2 year anniversary, and it was amazing. Great food, great company, pretty wine glasses :-) I'll be posting later what we had for was quite surprising for me.

But today, snack time! Want something quick, something tasty, something not so bad for you? Done! Corn Pizza-tillas. Gluten free and done in 10.

What you need: 

Corn Tortilla
Pizza Sauce (homemade or otherwise)
Any protein you want, I used tofurkey slices, but you could easily use something else.

Heat up a saute pan over medium heat, put the corn tortilla on it, layer sauce, then veggies, then protein, then cheese. Cover so the convection heat melts the cheese, and it's done and crispy on the bottom in ~5 minutes.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

BBQ Tofu and Cheesy Potatoes

So many things are happening in the news that I don't even want to put into words what I'm thinking, but I'm sure y'all can figure it out:

1. Zimmerman got off because of a stupid law in Florida.
2. Texas passed the abortion bill
3. The House passed a version of the Farm Bill with NO Food Stamps. That's right. None.

So the world is happening.

And so is barbecue tofu in my house and seriously, talk about 30 minute meals. I missed the omnipresent BBQ sauce of my years in Texas and Arizona. Every place you went, there were at least be one bottle of BBQ sauce in the place. So I had the biggest craving for a Texizona meal--BBQ Tofu, Cheesy Potatoes, Rice, Roasted Tomatoes, and an Avocado.

Oh man, it was good. And it didn't take long at all. I promise you can make this meal in 30 min. or less.

What you need: 

BBQ Tofu

1 block extra firm tofu
bbq sauce (I used Stubb's, because well, ya can't take the southwest out of the girl!)

Roasted Tomatoes

A handful of cherry tomatoes
BBQ Sauce

Cheesy Potatoes
2 tbsp. butter
6-7 small red potatoes
Whatever cheese you prefer, I used a cheddar mixture

As much rice as you would like, I used brown.
1 tbsp. butter

The morning you want to make the meal, strain the tofu, cut it into thin slices and put it on a baking sheet that is covered in paper towels. Cover the tofu in paper towels and try to press the liquid out of it. Cover it up with a fresh towel, and something heavy so that the water can wick away from the tofu all day, and put it in the fridge.

When you are ready to make the meal:

1. Put the rice on to cook first on medium heat, add salt and butter while it's cooking

2. Put the potatoes in a microwavable safe bowl with a little water at the bottom and nuke 'em for about 10 minutes, covered.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 400F

4. While this is happening, pull out the tofu, and put it in a mixing bowl with about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of bbq sauce. Honestly, it's an eyeball type of thing. If you like it really saucy, add extra sauce, if you like it with a hint of flavor, add less.

5. Toss the tomatoes into the bowl with the tofu and mix it up. Make sure to coat each piece of tofu in the BBQ sauce well.

6. Use tongs or your fingers (I just got in there with my fingers) to pull out the tofu and put it on a parchment lined baking sheet. You want to make sure they have a least a little bit of space in between them because you want the tofu to well-cooked on the outside.

7. Put the tomatoes in smaller, also lined baking sheet with whatever extra sauce you have.

8. Put both of them in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

9. Pull out the potatoes and use a fork to make sure they're cooked, if they are, smash 'em with the  fork and add in the butter and salt. Then add as much cheese as you'd like. I added a little less than 1/2 a cup.

10. Check on the rice, and strain it when it's done to your liking.

11. Plate the food! I put the potatoes on one side, rice on the other, layered the tofu on the rice, spread a strip of BBQ sauce on top with some cheese, and the tomatoes and avocado on either side.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Coconut Ginger Soup + Camping + Relay Rides + Woodland Valley Campsite

Our humble abode
So I'll admit it. I had my first experience camping. Sure I went when I was younger once with the girl scouts, but as an adult--never. We went up to Woodlands Valley Park in New York with some friends and rented a camper. You know those old VW campers that had the engine in the back and you could pop up the top and sleep in it? Yeah, we got a new version of those...with the engine in the front and significantly less risk of explosion. We actually rented it through a cool car sharing website, Relay Rides.
Basically people put their cars up on the website to be rented out, you contact the person if you like their car, they rent it out for a price per day or per hour, and Relay Rides takes a cut and covers the insurance, road side assistance, and billing for the person renting the car. It's basically like zipcar, although with a greater selection of cars, and allows the renter to make some money on a car that would be otherwise devaluing in their garage, pretty neat, no?

Anyways, if you're nervous about camping, or new to camping, or just don't feel like sleeping on the ground but want to be outside-ish [pseudo-camping if you will], consider the VW Camper--it's got a propane stove, can sleep 4 and seat 6, a place where you can charge things, storage space, and a fridge. Pretty cool for our first outing, although next time I'll think we're going to go au natural and do it tent-style.

The Woodlands Valley Campsite where we went was great as well. The rangers were helpful, it had toilets and showers, a dip-able river, challenging hikes, and allowed dogs! My only real negative about it was that all the campsites were pretty close together so you couldn't actually feel super alone. But the hikes were awesome--we took the Yellow Trail all the way up to Giant Ledge...a 7.6 mile hike roundtrip with a whole lot of it going up. The puppy was a beast during the hikes: DJ he was dubbed during the trip...climbed up 3.8 miles with us--all 6 lbs of his man-dog. On the way down though, we ended up fashioning a little sarong for him out of our shirts to carry him, the Puppy-Pouch.
First Night Dinner

First night, our pop up bed!


Near the river, Day 2

Our Fire Master's Fire
Our hike and Puppy-Pouch v. 1
The view from Giant Ledge
Another view, post lunch on Giant Ledge!
Since I already pre-ambled a lot about our trip and Relay Rides, etc. So I'll just right into the soup. I've had my eye on this soup for about 3 solid months, and I finally decided I wanted to make it. Hands down one of the easiest "exotic" dinners I've ever made. It doesn't involve a lot of spices or time. But it tastes amazingly different. You'd think that the full-fat coconut milk might be overwhelming, but it's really not, and it compliments the vegetables really well. I took a chance camping, and took a chance on this soup, and both were great. Hope you make it and enjoy it!

Coconut-Ginger Soup
adapted from
Serves 4

2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2, 14-oz cans of full-fat coconut milk
1, 14-oz can of water
1 tsp. of salt and then more to taste. I added about 1 tbsp. in the end
1 packet of udon noodles

Whatever veggies you like. I added:

Hand full of crimini mushrooms
Broccoli stems
Sugar Snap Peas

Lime -- this is actually important, it really brings out the coconut flavor in a savory way.

Put a pot of water on to boil for the noodles. While that is getting hot, in a large soup pan mix the coconut milk, water, ginger, garlic, and salt together over medium heat. Let it heat for about 5-10 minutes until simmering.

Cook the noodles, strain them, and rinse them under water when you're done. The rinsing washes off the extra gluten that can make it stick together.

When the soup is simmering, add in your veggies and cook until they're as tender as you like them.

Serve with the juice of half a lime, cilantro and basil. Enjoy!