Homemade Ravioli….

I usually have Tuesdays off, but it’s very are that I have nothing on my calendar. Last Tuesday was special so I decided to try something new with my free time! Homemade ravioli!

I looked for general ravioli dough ingredients online and then kind of played around with my own.  It was fun! I made one batch with only egg yolks…and it flopped…big time! So, I started over and this time included the whites…much better!! So, that’s my tip for those of you that want to try this one!!

Also, the filling involved spinach, garlic, mushrooms, ricotta, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper!!! Delicious!!

Family Bonding…

A couple of weekends ago, Melissa and Tristan came down from Austin for a visit! We didn’t get to be with them during Christmas (they spent their’s in Germany!!), so we planned to make up for lost time!

They arrived late Saturday evening and we met up with them at Camille’s! We enjoyed delicious hand-dipped ice cream bars and homemade lemonade…it was so much fun to have the fam together again, at last!

Melissa, Tristan, John, and Paula were all able to be with us at City Church on Sunday, which was so cool for us because we love our church family so much!! After church, we headed over to the Kline’s for some “bring your own lunch” and a little more “What’s your’s like?”…have I mentioned we love that game? We had such an awesome time with Katie, Doug, Avery, Geoff, Jared, and Meredith!!!

In the evening, we drove out to Pom Pom & Grandma’s (Paula’s parents) for a little belated Christmas time…we spent the evening eating, playing games, taking down the tree along with all the other Christmas decor, and watching John Ryan and Tristan do things that were easier for them to do in high-school…(oh, those glory days…) Also, John and Paula surprised us with stockings stuffed with awesomeness!!

We spent the night there and enjoyed a long, amazing pancake breakfast on Monday morning (so thankful for holidays!…and for John’s pancake making talent!) I was asked to put my haircutting skills to good use and managed to give 4  man cuts in one morning!! …probably a new record for me…(Thanks, Tristan, for helping with JR’s)!!

John Ryan & I played “Settlers” with Mel & T all afternoon until, alas, it was time for them to get on the road back to their homeland. It truly was a sad departure! We love every chance we get to spend with them!

Vegan Valentine!!

I have ZERO pictures of this incredible brownie cake, so you’ll have to use your imagination (as you did with those awesome beans!)….but I have to say that I truly believe, and John Ryan agrees with me, that this is the all-time best brownie/chocolate cake recipe!! The truth is…it’s a brownie, but it’s advertised as a cake, so you decide! Either way, it’s worth the calories 10 times over!!

This cake is vegan, but don’t let that fool you…..it may not use animal products, but it’s just as unhealthy as any chocolate cake you’ve had before!! I’m looking forward to trying other vegan baking recipes since I’ve just discovered a whole world of fruits, beans, and natural oils that can substitute pretty much anything you’d rather not have in your body! I’m all about the guilt-free desserts!!

To try this vegan chocolate cake, you will need:

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (1/4 tsp if using salted margarine)
  • 1 c. unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp organic cornstarch (all non-organic cornstarch is GMO)
  • 1 c. soft vegan margarine
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond milk + 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Frosting: Use a double recipe of Chocolate Fudge Frosting

What you need to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees & oil 2 9″ round cake pans. Dust with flour and set aside
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside
  3. Mix almond milk and lemon juice and set aside
  4. Cream vegan margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy
  5. Beat in the almond milk, water and vanilla
  6. Stir in dry ingredients just until mixed (batter should be smooth, not as fluid as what you may be used to, but just go with it!). DO NOT overmix
  7. Spread evenly in pans
  8. 9″ rounds bake for 25 – 30 minutes, 9″x12″ sheet cake bakes for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean
  9. Run a knife around the edges, and invert pans onto cooling racks. They should drop out easily. If not, lay a cold wet dish towel over the bottom of the cake pan until the cake comes out.

Enjoy!!

The original recipe offers a frosting for the cake…I chose to “86” it and the cake was plenty rich enough on it’s own! I served it with fresh strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries! Mmmm…

*If you decide to try this recipe, and I vote that you do, comment with your thoughts!

The best pot of beans EVER!!!

So, here’s the story…

John ryan and I were having dinner with some friends and I needed to make a pot of beans to take over with us. I searched online for an awesome recipe and found one that looked promising. These beans took about 20 minutes total and they were a major hit! But the coolest thing about them was that something incredible happens overnight in the fridge, and when we pulled them out for dinner the next day they were seriously the best beans I’ve ever tasted!!!

I’ve searched the internet and cannot for the life of me find this wonderful recipe! So, I am going to depend on my memory, and most of you know, that could mean disaster! As with all recipes, I’ve learned, feel the freedom to change and/or add to the following:

3 jalapeños (diced)
1 onion (chopped)
3 or 4 garlic cloves (diced)
5-15 oz cans of pinto beans (drained)
Veggie stock as needed
Chili powder, red pepper, salt, and pepper to taste
Some EV olive oil

Saute’ the garlic, jalapenos, and onion in olive oil.  Add beans and a little veggie stock.  Allow the pot to simmer for several minutes.  Add seasonings as needed….until you have this thought: “Omg, those are some stinkin’ awesome beans!” once you’re at that point, you’re done! Remember, these are even better on day 2!!!

Enjoy as a side dish or poured over a deliscious bed of rice (I cook my rice with 2 parts veggie stock, 1 part water…this gives the rice incredible flavor!)

NES – Don’t Nintendo Player Hate Me!

I have been dying to play some old school NES & SNES but keep getting flashing screens and funny noises. After doing some research on youtube and the Goog, I found that the problem is due to bad a connection with the cartridge.

The Fix

Step 1 – Clean the cartridge (for NES or SNES).

  • Windex
  • Cotton swabs. A.K.A. Q-tips

Apply some windex to the Q-tip and wipe away years of dust and oxidation from the cartridge. Let it sit for about 2 min. and you are done!

I hate to say it, but blowing on the bad boy does more harm than good. The moisture in your breath takes along time to dry and helps the build up of crud.  Also don’t use alcohol to clean it. It is too harsh a chemical.

If this doesn’t fix the game then either your game is dead or the 72 pin connector in your NES is lose and doesn’t get a good connection with the cartridge.

Step 2 – fix 72 pin connector (NES Only)

To fix the 72 pin connector you will need to disassemble your NES and replace it with a new 72 pin connector. You can get these online for about $15. However, if you have a steady hand and patience you can bend all 144 pins back into place with a needle. I picked the cheap route and used a needle. Before I knew it I had be NES back together and as good as new.

Unfortunately some of my games were too far gone to bring back from the grave but the good ones are still golden like Super Mario Bros.

Also, Duck Hunt doesn’t work with LCD or Plasma TVs. The Nintendo Zapper gun only works with CRT Technology. LAME.

The Birthday Boy!

The 11th of January was a very special day….it was John Ryan’s birthday!! He’s gettin’ on up there with his now 24 years of experience with life…I’m thinking he’s still got a 0% chance of ever catching up to me, though. Sad, but true!

His birthday fell on a Tuesday this year, the 2nd Tuesday, to be exact….and every second Tuesday we have our YBP (Young Busness Professionals of the Coastal Bend) meeting….so, because of this, I planned to take him out to celebrate on Monday instead.  Being the frugal wife that I am, I searched my wallet for giftcards and found one to one of our favorite restraurants, Thai Cottage (thanks, Katie Kline)!!  Also, we experienced a little bit of drama the last time we went to a movie and, therefore, received two free 3D movie credits!! Call me cheap, but since John Ryan really appreciates this quality of mine, I thought using my noggin to come up with something that wouldn’t cost us might end up being the best gift ever for him!! And….it was!! We had a delicious meal and enjoyed a fun movie (we saw “The Tourist”)…all for about 6 bucks!! Pretty stinkin’ sweet!!

He woke up the next morning to find the kitchen table laden with gifts!! We had coffee with John and Paula while John Ryan opened each of his treasures!! He got everything he wanted!! A new ESV study Bible, a really nice black belt for work, a giftcard to Academy, and an itunes giftcard!! After our YBP meeting that evening, we went over to the Kline’s house for little party! We spent the night playing “What’s your’s like?” (which is actually a really hilarious game)!! We had a great time and made some fun memories! (Mom, you’re influencing me)

PS. Our cat Redbox was taking a nap under some blankets and it was too cute to leave out. Also we are pretty far behind in blogging and hope to get you guys up to date soon!

¡Sprouting!

Last week I tried my hand at sprouting for the first time. It was surprisingly easy and really fun! I know that there are jars and lids made for sprouting, but who wants to buy all that? That is why I sprouted with everyday objects that you most likely have on hand right now! (This mean you have no excuse not to try this!!) I used lentils but you can pretty much sprout any legume. I can’t wait to try radish seeds. They give the sprouts a spicy flavor!

What You Need

  • Glass jar 1 quart or larger
  • Cheese cloth
  • A Rubberband
  • Any legume

How To Get It Done

  • Take 1/2 a cup of lentils and putt them in the jar
  • Fill the jar with 2 cups of water (use about 3 times as much water as seed or bean)
  • Let sit for 12 hours then strain the spouts using the cheesecloth and rubberband
  • Now rinse the sprouts twice a day for 3 or 4 days

Thats all there is to it! Each day the sprouts will get bigger and bigger. Once they have grown you can keep them fresh for about 10 days in the refrigerator.

Tips

  • Keep the sprouts out of the sun for the first three days. Once they are larger you can put them in sunlight for good mesure if you want.
  • I started sprouting at night and let them soak while I slept. The next morning I drained them and started the rinsing process. From there I did it when I woke and when I went to bed. It was really easy.
  • If you don’t want to use cheese cloth you can also use a mason jar and some tulle. Cut the tulle to size and use the outer rig of the mason jar to hold it in place.
  • Enjoy in salads, sandwiches, tacos (sprouts + salsa = muy bueno), and more!

Deliciousness!

This past week was a small success for both John Ryan and I! We established a new workout routine (one that works with our schedules for now) and I managed to find and try a few awesome new recipes. When choosing recipes, I usually look for something not only healthy, but also quick and easy.  My goal is to begin incorporating some ingredients that have never really been a part of our regular diets (well, mine anyway…John Ryan’s eaten things I didn’t know existed!!)  Here is a favorite from this week….

Basil Couscous With Red Pepper And Toasted Sunflower Seeds

  • 2 c. whole wheat couscous
  • 2 c. Boiling water
  • 2 c. lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 c. lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 1/4 c.vegetable stock
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 med Red bell pepper, halved, cored, seeded & minced
  • 1/3 c. Toasted sunflower seeds
  1. Place couscous in heat resistant bowl and pour the 2 c. boiling water over it.
  2. Mix well, cover the bowl with a lid and let it stand for a minimum of 10 min. Meanwhile, bring about 4 c. of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Blanch the basil and parsley by dropping them into the boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Drain the herbs well and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add in the broth and garlic; process till smooth. Add in the bowl, salt and pepper; process just till incorporated. Fluff couscous with a fork to separtate the grains. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Add in herb mix and combine it well with the couscous. Sprinkle on red peppers, toasted sunflower seeds, and lemon and toss well.

My notes: I found this basic recipe here, it’s #10 in the list of recipes.  You’ll notice that I chose to add and change a few ingredients to taste.  The couscous I found at HEB. Couscous in the box is a lot more expensive than in the bin…I found whole wheat couscous for $2.29 per lb…just remember, what’s in the bin needs to be pre-washed a bit before cooking. Also, I bought 2 (two) bunches of basil, and got close to 2 cups…it seemed just right, but feel free to put in more if you like a strong basil flavor. The garlic is approximate, but don’t do anymore than 4 cloves!!! John Ryan and I LOVE garlic and 4 was plenty!! If you’re not too sure how you feel about garlic, use less for sure!  This recipes fed 4 (four) people two days in a row…and it was definitely better the second day! Finally, I served this dish along with a green salad and olive bread, but have fun with creative sides of your choice!  Enjoy!

New Year, New Habits

Well, it’s a new year and John Ryan and I have come to the conclusion that this year should be our “try new things” year….so here we go! After much deliberation, we’ve managed to compile a list of new health habits we’d like to form in 2011…not included in this list is our attempt to blog more (which is actually more intimidating to me than anything else!!!). Some of you are thrilled while others may not really care, but this is our way of learning new disciplines for coming years…(and for family members who continue to beg for more posts!! 😉 We plan to document our journey through the year, so if any of the following items interest you, keep up with us…if not, keep up anyway, we’re bound to interest you at some point along the way!!

DIET

  1. Total vegetarian diet
  2. No store-bought desserts (ice cream, cake mixes, cookies, pies, etc…)
  3. No sodas
  4. No candy (candy bars, M&Ms, tootsie rolls, skittles, etc…does not include dark chocolate)
  5. Less dairy (cheese, butter, and creams)
  6. More raw foods (nuts, fruits, berries, veggies, beans, and sprouts…)
  7. Fewer grains (pastas, breads, rice…)
  8. More water!!

EXERCISE

  1. JR-Marathon & Triathlon, B-Half-Marathon
  2. More running, walking, and cycling
  3. Develop core strength/tone
  4. More Yoga
  5. More foam rolling

We plan to make, at least, one blog post a week so look for new vegetarian recipes, workout stats, and whatever random daily events occur in  the Seaman world!!

PS. We updated our RSS feed to http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheAdventuresOfJrAndB

St. Emillion & Agen – Day 8

We left Amboise early Sunday morning. We had about five hours of driving ahead of us and we wanted to get it done fast. Our first stop was St. Emilion, one of the most famous wine producing cities in the Bordeaux area. We had a great time as this beautiful town looking at wine and watching a one hour film on the wine making process. Who knew it was so complex?!!

After St. Emillion we got back in the car for our penultimate stretch of driving, the route to Agen. By this time Bethany and I were so tired that we could barely talk to each other. One whole week of nonstop site seeing had taken its toll!

I don’t think there was any better feeling than driving into the driveway of my French family. Bethany and I both knew that we had finally found refuge! The Galan family was so excited to meet Bethany for the first time. She was a great addition to the family. I don’t know how we lived without her in this multi-cultural adopted family!

That evening the Galan’s made an amazing dinner for us, (well they make great food every night so maybe it wasn’t just for us.) We also had a visitor come over for dinner. It was great to see Flo and Max’s mother one more time. She is a character, as you can tell from the pictures. All this to say…being at the Galan’s has been better than any other place we have been!

A Seaman Storybook