Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cumin Chickpea Patties

Last night I made my favorite vegan meal that I have ever ate. I didn't feel guilty serving it to Geoff & he didn't even complain that there wasn't meat.
It was vegan, oil free, gluten free, & completely home made. I even made enough to freeze & have for future meals. I will admit that there are times that I make a dish that I have high expectations for and it is a total flop. It finds the trash or dog bowl before Geoff even gets home from work & I promise those recipes will never show face here.

I am still on cloud nine.

It all started here...

This is a bowl of dried chickpeas, soaking in water (over night). Why? Well you can thank Edible Perspective. She has a series she calls "Recipes for Mom" and her most recent was cooking beans. I have never cooked dried beans and I go through many of cans of beans a week. Between the wedding, the house, & life I have decided that I need to save money wherever I can & I have put myself on a budget. Beans were a great starting point.

For around $2 & a borrowed slow cooker (Thanks Mama Pink String!), I made 6 cups of cooked beans. This is about 4 cans and at over $2 a can for organic, no salt added, you can do the math.  I followed Edible Perspective's method but had to cook then for about an hour longer & didn't use salt or oil. I am on the search for Kombu to add next time.

Now back to dinner...

I love anything in the shape of a patty/burger except burgers obviously. The recipes are always easy to double, then freeze and have for many more meals.

Cumin Chick Pea Patties

1 Onion, diced
2 Tablespoons Cumin Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
3 Cups Cooked Chick Peas
2 Tablespoons Tahini
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Flax Egg (1 Tablespoon Ground Flax, 3 Tablespoons Water & let Gel for 5 Minutes)
1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour (or all purpose)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray skillet with olive oil and saute onion over medium low heat until softened, around 7 minutes.

Add cumin seeds and cayenne pepper and continue to cook until fragrant, around two more minutes 

While onions are cooking, combine chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, flax egg, and brown rice flour in a food processor. Pulse until a paste forms. Add onions and spices and pulse until combined. Season to taste with Salt and pepper.

Form dough into 12 "patties" and sprinkle with addition cayenne pepper or paprika for color.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.

Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to set. Don't allow your fiance to walk in and think they are cookies and grab one off of the plate.

I served the patties along side sort grain brown rice and the most amazing  "creamed" kale. I have never had kale before and it has been on my list to try for a long time. I was slightly intimidated by the kale in the produce section so instead I bought a bag of frozen kale from Whole Foods. Guess what? There was a recipe on the bag that was for vegan creamed kale. I actually had all of the ingredients on hand so I gave it a shot. The cream part was raw cashews, sauteed onion, vegi broth, non dairy milk (I used rice), nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes as well as white miso and nutmeg. I didn't use the miso or nutmeg and it was delicious. You will have to go buy a bag and find the recipe as well. I WILL be buying more.

365 Everyday Value Blue Curled Kale

This is a great recipe to get back on track to eating healthy and trying new ingredients.
.live creatively well.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

Let's just say I have a smile on my face & its because I just adore the blogging world. People are just so darn nice in blogland.

A few weeks ago I participated in the Pinterest Summer Challenge and made my dinning room table benches. One of the fun things about this challenge was not just the fact that I have benches for my table but getting to see what so many other talented bloggers where able to do in just a few short days.

One of these talented bloggers was Jileen at The Overhaul.

the overhaul

She may have won me over with the kilt, or the fact that she lives in the United Kingdom but either way her blog is so much fun. She focuses on DIY & reno of her family's home. Any blog that features a tour of their home makes me so excited. I LOVE to house crash whether it be in person or with pictures. So much fun.

Jileen presented me with the Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank you Jileen! Now the work begins...

Once awarded this fun award, one must:
  1. Thank the blogger who presented me with the award. Thanks Jilleen!
  2. Share 7 things about ones self. See below...
  3. Pass the award along to 10 other deserving bloggers. Yay!
7 Things About Miss Pink String & Green Beans...

  1. I was born in "The OC" which when I went to college everyone thought was the coolest thing thanks to Laguna Beach & The OC TV shows being all the rage at that time. Yes the weather is perfect, the people are fake & it is very expensive to live there. Hence #2...
  2. I moved to Bakersfield a few years into my life.(map quest it, its pretty much the middle of nowhere but has the 2nd worst air in the US) I can bet that if you are eating a bag of baby carrots they are from Bakersfield...
  3. I crave carrots. I always have bags of them in my fridge. I hate cooked carrots though. They can be diced & in a soup or dish but whole or chopped cooked carrots? I won't eat them.
  4. I also love pistachios. I can & will eat them until I am sick. Momma Green Bean makes a makes-me-not-want-to-be-vegan pistachio fudge that I ate growing up that I still crave. I need to figure out how to make vegan fudge.
  5. I have only left the United States once & that was on a cruise with my family to some awful town in Mexico. Remind me to never go on a cruise again. Unless it is to Alaska.
  6. I really want to go to Alaska & Montana & Oregon & Maine & pretty much every state in the US & I hope to accomplish this and do this when I have kids (far down the road... you can stop knitting the baby blanket Mama Green Bean)  Geoff has been to all but 2 states & he is going to one of them in a few months. Not fair.
  7. I have a fear of killing bugs. I feel like it is karma. I had a brown widow spider living in my mail box for weeks/months & didn't want to kill it. I finally told Geoff about it & he took care of it. It was huge, brown & had the red triangles. I would post the picture but I like y'all more then that so google it if you must :)
Now for Passing Along the Versatile Blogger Award:
  1. 6petals I have talked about this blog (& shop!) quite often. Vintage goods + amazing photo shop skills.
  2. M Marie I wish I could do self portraits & outfit posts & get away with it. LOVE her boutique.
  3. A Pretty Penny This blog is just too cute & demonstrates affordable fashion. I need to start bargain shopping.
  4. A Home in The Making More Room Crashing!
  5. Manifest Vegan Chocolate Chip Cherry Brownies that I can eat. Need I say more?
  6. Something Old Something New Weddings planned by sisters? Very well done.
  7. Edible Perspective Dogs, Doughnuts & Enchilada Sauce.
This maybe isn't 10 but here are 7 that I enjoy to read, find I relate to & want to steal ideas daily. I hope you enjoy!

.live creatively well.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple Addicting Cashew Sauce

This weekend was once again spent here....

Watching Geoff save the day. 

As my heart breaks for those up north who were hit by Irene, down in Florida we lucked out big time. We just had some rain, lots of heat, and a good amount of wind. Hence the umbrella flying away.... 

The beach pictures were taken from my iPhone with the Hipstamatic app. I may have found this months after everyone else but it is a fun way to take pictures with a vintage vibe. 

Last week I made a sauce that took a surprising turn to the better. By surprising, I mean I was not sure how I felt about it until I poured it all over my plate & couldn't stop eating it. I have been allergic to peanuts for years (not deathly allergic but highly sensitive to them) and because of this I haven't ever had a peanut sauce. I always see peanut sauces on restaurant menus and all over the blog world and I finally decided I was going to give it a shot but with cashews. 

A trip to the health food store & many licks of the spoons this is what I came up with.

Simple Addicting Cashew Sauce

4 tablespoon roasted cashew butter 
2 tablespoon coconut milk
2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
hot sauce to taste

Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender. I used my small food processor and it did not get smooth enough. I could still taste the grittiness from the cashew butter. Thin with water to reach desired consistency. 

Serve over sauteed vegetables and Asian noodles. I bought the wrong noodles. Even though, they said brown rice noodles they were 40% wheat flour so Geoff got all of the noodles. 

The toasted sesame oil gives this dish a very unique sweet/nutty taste that is addicting. I wish I would have made more. 

As you can see mushrooms are still making an appearance in my dinners. I am trying. I have found that chopping them very small, sauteing them with plenty of EVOO & S&P, and covering them in a sauce makes them easier to eat. They are still not in my top 10 foods. I hope they will get there. Someday. 

.live creatively well. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Where We Are Today: Bathroom

TGIF y'all!

This week has been crazy & I am so ready for the weekend (I am always ready for the weekend, who isn't?)

What is the perfect way to kick off the weekend? With a Where We Are Today update! Remember the Laundry Room update? Well now it is time for the bathroom :)


You are probably trying to figure out why we would want to gut this beauty? It was a tough decision but it came down to space. My 5'4" self couldn't sit on the toilet (with the seat closed & my clothes on) without my shins on the tub & my elbow resting on the sink. Now picture Geoff's 6' plus frame attempting the same task. Not a chance. 

Now for demo & investigations. My favorite/least favorite part. A total love hate relationship. 

One would have thought that this house had never been updated. Boy was I wrong. 

Below the very attractive, hairspray & dirt covered faux wood paneling was this faux plastic tile. Sea foam green is always a good choice for the bathroom. This demo duty was all mine  & lucky for me the wood paneling was in sheets and only held up with small brads, trim, bathroom hardware & glue. The tiles were only held on by glue and they were not connected to each other. After removing the additional bathroom hardware, trim & decorative items, it was time to tackle the floors. I once again assumed that the linoleum was original. Nope. The bottom of the three was though. I wish I had pictures. There was actually hardwood floor under the linoleum. Most of it was rotten because of water damage but some I saved for patching. 

It was now Geoff's turn. 

Since our home was built in the 1940's the walls are plaster. Plaster is some strong, heavy stuff. I still have nightmares. Geoff used every tactic out there. Sledge hammers, power tools & man strength. Notice the sweat? Ya. It was summer, in Central Florida. Have I mentioned that he is a total stud lately? 

While we were in demo mode we also took out the closet & water heater that took up valuable bathroom space. 

Then I had to remove all of the nails. Hundreds of them. I think I could have sold them for scrap and bought myself something pretty. Something pretty being my swimming pool that happens to be located in my bathroom. 

I measured (twice) and the tub that took me months to find seemed to fit perfect. It didn't seem too big on the internet. Yes the world wide web. Well actually I found it online, priced it online & went to Lowes and flirted bargained with the commercial sales guy to special order it for me at the same price. He did. 

A few weeks later it arrived. When I walked into my kitchen, I wasn't sure if I should jump for joy or start crying.  A minor freak out, a few beers, and about an hour of sitting in it, it was decided that it would work perfect. The bruises on my inner thigh from stepping into on a daily basis may tell a different story (you DO NOT want a picture). The tub sat in the kitchen for months. Literally months, maybe 6. 

Measuring, concrete board, framing, water proofing, insulation, and all of that followed. Not in that order. 

One the room was brought back to a room I could get involved again. We once again decided to go with 6" tongue and groove boards. I HATE drywall.  I agree that it has a place in the construction industry but not in a home that was built 60 years ago that has plaster everywhere else and not when Geoff will be the one doing it. I love the look of the boards. They add a texture and detail that can not be accomplished with drywall. There is a whole lot more room for error. 

The boards went up with only minor problems. Geoff loved the look of the raw boards but I had to explain we live on a lake and not on a mountain. I said he could leave his closets raw. Deal. 

Painting is my job. Painting is something that I always thought I enjoyed. Not so much any more. Renovating a house will do that to you but I love how a can of paint can transform a space. We went with a straight from the can white. 

Now for where we are today. This is really exciting for me just FYI. This is my favorite room. 


I hope you can notice the difference. It is a little more white & a little less brown. 

Ah. Geoff's thrown. A birthday present from Mama Pink String :) 

The ceiling is blue. I never thought I liked blue but it has been a trend. It is amazing that your eyes aren't drawing to the ceiling. It is not over powering at all. I love the added punch of color. 

A white floor mat is a horrible idea. On the search for a new one...

Restoration Hardware lights. These make me very happy. The fact that they were on super sale when we bought them makes me even happier. 

Try taking pictures in a small room that has a mirror and not take a peace self portrait. 

Pedistool sink that was donated to me by my last job. "You uninstall it, you get it" (It was a model & never hooked up to plumbing) 

The original house hardware. Once again, Love. Notice the yellow tinge of the door? We have a solution but its a secret. 

My pony, privacy wall/door stop. 

I am extremely happy with how it turned out. You would have no idea how it used to look & that is the idea. Between the marble tile, subway tile, pedistool sink, swimming pool, hardware, fixtures, & ceiling I can't quite pick a favorite. 

Things I would change:
  • Would not have bought a white bath mat (easy fix)
  • Would have gone with a darker grout for the floor tile

We still have plenty of work left though. 
  • Storage, storage, & more storage. 
  • Artwork
  • Repaint the door
  • More storage
  • Repaint the mirror frame
I suppose not too much more to do besides keep it clean. We chose polished nickel for the hardware & I am having the hardest time keeping it clean and getting all of the water spots off of it. Any suggestions? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arugula Pesto Pasta Salad

Wow. I am not sure if I feel like it should be Friday already or if I am having a case of the Mondays. Either way life is busy (in a good way) & last weekend was so much fun.  The past few days I have been at another trade show and haven't had a moment to breath, let alone post.

The show was at the Gaylord Palms. Last year we did not stay over night and drove back & forth but this year we got to stay & check out the view from my room:

Reminded me of Vegas minus the slot machines & ability to stay up all night. It was storming outside but perfect inside. 

Normally for trade shows I have to pack my own snacks because the provided snacks are normally foods I do not eat but this show I lucked out...

Trail mix bar! This is somehow going to be incorporated into my wedding. A second food option they had was Go Picnic's. 

It included gluten free crackers, hummus, nuts, soy nuts & chocolate. It was all vegan. I could only eat the crackers, hummus & chocolate but that is still better then nothing. I was thrilled & had a full belly the whole time. Now back to the weekend...

Wednesday's Weekend Update:

Friday night we went to the local country club for a few drinks & to listen to a local cover band play. We were all about 25 years younger then the average age... at least but we still had a good time.

Saturday morning Geoff & I may have regretting going out the night before because we ran our last Watermelon Race of the season. The Watermelon race was a series of four races put on by a local runners club for only $30 for all four races, including a Tshirt. Their goal of these races is to get people to continue to run even in the hot summer. Awards are given out after the fourth races to runners who ran all four. Unfortunately, we only ran three. I came down with the summer flu for the 3rd race and there was no way I could run 3 miles. 

Geoff took off from the beginning after saying he wasn't going to run very fast. He was motivated & I was motivated to try to keep up for the first two miles and then I crashed and ran a very slow mile three. I always forget to pace myself when I run with him. This crash caused me to run my slowest 5k in a long time (not counting the 5k portion of my last tri.

We had fun & enjoy the inexpensive motivation. The alarm did go off this morning to run & we both hit snooze.... 

After the race we went to Ace to get charcoal and starters for the new grill Geoff won & then it was time to clean our house for a visitor. My bridesmaid Hannah came into town & got to see our house in person for the first time. 

Having our first house guest meant that Geoff had to paint and hang a door for the bathroom. This caused an obvious issue after the door was hung. Even after priming the door and three coats of white paint, the yellow from the wood still bled through. I am extremely excited about our solution and it may have been influenced by this post but I am not spilling the beans yet :) 

Hannah got to be an official taste tester for me that night as well. I have been working on a Arugula Pesto Pasta Salad for a while now & we perfected it.

Arugula Pesto Pasta Salad

5 Ounces Arugula
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Avocado
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
S&P to taste
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Pasta Salad:
8 Ounces Pasta of Choice (I used a brown rice pasta)
1 Cup Frozen Baby Lima Beans
1 Cup Cooked/Canned Chick Peas, drained & rinsed

In a food processor, process arugula, olive oil, avocado, & lemon juice. Pulse until you have reached your desired texture and season to taste with salt & pepper. Add red pepper flakes if desired.

Bring large pot of water to boil and salt. Add Lima beans following directions on package. Add pasta to the same pot when the pasta cooking time remains on the Lima beans. My Lima beans took 18 minutes and my pasta took 12 so I added pasta the last 12 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta & Lima beans and rinse with cool water.

Add the drained pasta and Lima beans to a large bowl and add the chick peas. Add desired amount of pesto to the pasta salad. Taste and then season with additional salt, pepper or red pepper flakes if necessary. 

As you can see I also added broccoli. I had a bag of the "steam in the bag" broccoli in the refrigerator that needed to be used and right before serving decided to add it. I try to add more greens whenever possible. 

This dish is vegan, gluten free & high in protein thanks to the brown rice pasta, Lima beans & chick peas. Geoff grilled steak & chicken for himself & Hannah and they both approved of the dish :) 

Saturday night was spent glued to the couch watching the woman's national gymnastics championship's on TV. It made me miss being in the gym.

I think I still have this blue leotard somewhere..... 

Sunday, Hannah & I took the pup for a walk & then I went for a bike ride with my sister in law. My SIL

Geoff got home from work & decided I had had enough couch time & wanted to go on the boat. No complaints here...

Thank goodness for sun glasses & hats after a long weekend :) 

For dinner we had a Stir Fry with a Cashew Sauce. I can't wait to share how it turned out & changes I would make next time. 

Hope everyone had a great weekend as well!