Cheesy Lasagna

Ohhhhhhh is this a good one for you! I am all about this lasagna. We have made it a couple times and it is the perfect thing to have hiding in your freezer for a rainy day or a quick dinner. You may look at the amount of time it takes to make it and hesitate, but never fear friends: those couple hours are very well worth the multiple dinners you can pull out of the freezer and reheat in a pinch. As you may have noticed in a recent post, Will has left  me for the next three weeks, to gallivant around England. However, being the thoughtful man he is, he wanted to prep me a bunch of dinners before he left, so I could focus my time on working on training with Otis instead of stressing about how it takes me a painfully long time to make dinner. This casserole was one of the things he made, after we had  a huge success with it a couple weeks prior. It hits the spot on the “warm, comfy homemade meal” front, but is loaded up with veggies so you don’t feel *too* bad about the entire bag of mozzarella being strewn across the noodles. The eggplant and mushrooms give it that classic lasagna feel, with the addition of bell pepper and zucchini, if you choose, to add a little more texture. It’s a great recipe to have in your arsenal and it’s worth taking a couple hours on a weekend to prep and stock up on!

DSC_0562It’s hard to believe that our first academic year at PLU is coming to an end! I have my final  concert tonight with the PLU concert band and it’s hard to believe that it’s one of the final concerts of the semester! It’s been a whirlwind of an academic and it’s still not quite done yet. With both of us acclimating to new jobs and a new city, the time has flown right by. And while I’m almost done until things ramp back up next fall, Will is not! He actually has yet another business trip coming up! Prepare yourselves to be jealous of this one…..he gets to spend three, yes THREE, weeks in England. Raise your hand if you’re jealous (raises hand). He’ll be working with PLU’s program at Oxford and also likely checking in on other partner programs in the UK and possibly Scotland. (Raises other hand for double jealousy). Unfortunately this was an end-of-budget year decision for his office, so I will not have the opportunity to join him on this trip, but it’s okay because we plan to go back together in the future anyways. He’ll just be working the entire time, right?! RIGHT?!?! He will in fact take a moment of fun to most likely go and visit White Hart Lane, historic home of Spurs, before it is totally demolished this summer, which will be bittersweet after such a phenomenal season from the team. So while I’m sure you, like me, pity the amount of work he’ll be doing, we can all find solace in his one planned excursion for himself. #pitypatrol #sorrynotsorry 

Tempeh Tikka MasalaI think I’ve been holding out on you. I don’t think I’ve shared ONE recipe yet from Vegan Richa, the most amazing Indian cookbook we’ve ever laid eyes on. She has a blog too, but we are just absolutely in love with her hard-copy, straightforward book of recipes. Ohmaigosh. It’s the absolute best. This Tempeh Tikka Masala is one of many we have made and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to share with you! First of all, this recipe went over waaaaaaay better than the first time we attempted tempeh, and was a great substitute for chicken tikka masala, in my humble opinion. Will may disagree, but I found this wholly satisfying and a perfect go-to when I get a tikka masala craving. He can still eat his meat version of this dish and so can you! However, the spice combos that Richa creates are so authentic-tasting that you’ll want to swamp them out for any other tikka masala recipe. That can actually be said for all her recipes – we have yet to have a bust! So if you love Indian food, tikka masala or are curious about tempeh, this is the recipe for you!

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Happy Friday friends! I hope you’re gearing up for a busy, fun weekend, like we are. We’ve been squeezing it all in recently, with the end of the academic year drawing to a close. I’ve been attending concerts and recitals most weekends and this one will be no exception! We’ve also been watching lots of soccer, as the BPL season comes to and end, and Will has been playing a lot as well. Plus, on top of all that, kitten season is nigh, so I have lots of adoption-related activities coming up at The Humane Society including a Kitten Shower tomorrow to garner interest in fostering kittens. On top of it all, we’ve been hosting lots of friends, now that we finally have a kitchen table that Will has completed! We had some friends from college over last weekend and are hosting our Spurs group after final games this Sunday. And then we’ve also been GOING to friends parties, including a Siete de Mayo party at Mandi and Billy’s house last weekend and are going to a Minimalist Baker-themed potluck tomorrow for a friends birthday. All the social activities!

Spicy Lentil TacosIt’s another taco truck! Beep beep! We’ve been having lots of fun in the kitchen trying out new vegetarian recipes and this was another winner from The Southern Vegetarian. While we’ve made lentil tacos before (I am hardcore cringing at those photos), we both definitely rank this recipe higher than the previous one. This had a distinct, smoky tex mex flavor to it that really played into the lentils well. It’s such a straightforward recipe and my biggest suggestion is to ensure that you definitely use the two different types of chili powders; I would even encourage you to add others in! It makes all the difference in the world flavor-wise for making this more exciting than “oh, we’re having lentils for dinner.” I would also like to point out that we ended up with more lentil mixture and toppings than we had tacos for, so we made some rice and made taco bowls out of them! They were equally delicious 🙂

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So the other day Will and I registered for a couple races. The first is a virtual race benefiting the National Parks in honor of National Park week. We just have to run a quick little 5K, submit our times and voila! We’ll get our super-fly National Parks week virtual race medal in the mail next month. Despite having totally fallen off the running train, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to accomplish. Otis and I have been running recently and while we’re working on pacing, he’s at least getting me up and moving. Will plays soccer weekly, so while that’s not designated running, it’s enough running to make a 5K no big deal.

Vegetarian Gumbo

This is not the first time I’ve highlighted a vegetarian dish of Southern origin in the last couple months and it definitely won’t be the last. While the last trio of recipes was from Budget Bytes (the author lives in New Orleans), this recipe comes from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook, which we recently acquired after seeing it on the bookshelf of some good friends in Little Rock. The cookbook is based out of a blog called the Chubby Vegetarian, which is run by Southerners who try to enjoy “classic” Southern meals without compromising their ethical wishes. This was the second recipe we’ve made out of here (never captured photos of the first, plus we weren’t overly successful with it) and this one is a winner! I would make this over and over and over again. True in its Southern style, this gumbo is spot on and probably the best gumbo I’ve ever had, in the South or not.

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As faithful readers know, on this blog we share recipes that we make in our regular day-to-day life, meaning we often only make them once. Since we are recipe sharers and not curators, we don’t have to try a recipe several times to perfect the proportions before sharing it with the world! Instead, we try recipes, adjust them as we go and then report to you if/how we thought that turned out. Therefore, it is rare to make a recipe more than once in our household, much less to do so within the same month. This stew was just that good. I tried it on a cold week while Will was soaking up the sun in Trinidad and it fed me for the entire week. Best part? I never got tired of it. Every day, it improved. So when Will returned home, I bragged and bragged about this awesome stew that I made and he finally said, “well why don’t you just make it again for me so I can try it to?” DUH. So I did and chef Willis was impressed. This recipe seems soooooooo unassuming at first and I really just picked it because I hadn’t had wild rice in a long time. Even looking at the ingredient list I was like, “eh, whatever. It’ll at least feed me for a few days.” But the nugget in this one is the beautiful beautiful flavor of the mushrooms. Let those babies release their juices as long as you can possibly bear, because THAT is what makes this a gem. Sure, it’s creamy, sure there’s other veggies. But those mushrooms. Those are what you’re waiting on. Anywho, it’s still early spring and this is a good fill-you-up meal to have in your fridge while the weather is doing its thing outside!

Pike Place Mac n CheeseTo wrap up posting about Courtney’s visit, I wanted to share the recipe we made while she was here, with ingredients primarily purchased at Pike Place Market in Seattle! While the market was manic the Friday we visited, we still managed to get harassed by Pappardelle’s Pasta as we walked by, forced into trying some dark chocolate pasta. Upon discovering that was good, we tested some others and settled on getting some garlic and chive shells to make for dinner. Without much more of a plan, we kept shopping and thinking about what to make. We were planning to swing by Beecher’s cheese for the samples anyways, when it dawned on us to make a mac ‘n cheese from our ingredients! We picked up their flagship cheese, plus some Gruyère to round out the flavors. We had our plan and went about the rest of our day in Seattle.

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This past weekend was a doozy for me! I spent over 12 hours volunteering time for the Humane Society and the Point Defiance Zoo, before finally crashing to just hang out at my zoo at home. Will had a productive weekend too, as he picked out the wood for the kitchen table he is building us. He found it at this cool shop, Earthwise Salvage; it’s old mill wood that’s been painted many colors on the edge, most recently blue. We got lucky because we had them haul away some items found in the basement of our rental house and we got a great store credit that covered almost our entire purchase for the table. The piece is a huge piece of lumber and Will spent a few hours working on sanding the pieces down. He’ll ultimately stain the top for eating off of with a beeswax coating. So far, the project is looking really cool! Sadly, the table won’t be done in time for Courtney’s visit this week.