Tuesday, May 4, 2010

sunshine on a cloudy day

As if to contrast the oppressive heat and glaring sunlight we "enjoyed" this weekend, I woke up to a dismal, humid, rainy Monday.  It should never rain on Monday - it's like the weather sticking its tongue out at you and saying "yeah, you thought it was hard enough getting up and out on a Monday morning..."

Off I went though, but I sprinkled my day with little drops of sunshine in the form of an email exchange with my sister regarding my upcoming trip to her home in Arizona.  It appears, from a link she sent me, that Arizona or at least Tucson is much more veg-friendly than I thought it would be.  I'm getting more excited by the day, especially now that I have such great dining experiences to look forward to. 

Inspired by the Southwest Adventure looming in the near future, I had Mexican on my mind.  I wanted to go to the Chipotle near my work for lunch, but did not have enough time, so I went to the cafe located inside my building.  Today, of course, seemed to be Anti-Veg Day because everything they were serving had meat.  Normally, I can at least count on one vegetarian soup alongside whatever fleshy treasure they're serving the "normal" folk, but today my choices were chicken or beef.  Unless you're inclined to think similarly to a more recently hired employee in my workplace, chicken is actually considered meat.  Even the pizza was meat-lovers.  I kid you not.  So, my lunch was a container of week-old "vegetable crudites" and a big banana.

To make up for it, I made Naked Burritos for dinner.

If you're feeling a little twinge for Mexican-inspired food, click here for the recipe.

We followed up with this tasty treat for dessert:

I have to admit...it smells kind of awful.  If you can get past that, though, there is a pleasant and surprising interaction between the creaminess of the coconut and the puckering tang of the lime, which is quite pronounced!  I don't think this will be a favorite, but I know we'll have it again, and I'm just happy to chalk up one more successful nondairy-frozen-dessert-that-Mister-likes experience.

And, since I'm always thinking ahead (or maybe just because I really like breakfast - having some, that is), I made granola.  I have come to realize that granola is my summer equivalent to my tasty cold-weather breakfast - various incarnations of oatmeal.  My standby recipe is taken from the brain of Sarah Kramer in La Dolce Vegan and it's a good transition from winter into spring: Apple Cinnamon, much like my oatmeal.  However, as summer approaches and as I let my eyes drift to a sunny southwest place where I've never actually been, I wanted something a little more...well, summery.

Summertime Granola
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sliced/slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried pineapple pieces
2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup light agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine everything but the pineapple pieces in a large bowl and mix well
Spread evenly in a 9x13 baking pan and pat down lightly
Bake 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7-10 minutes
Remove from oven.  Stir again and cool slightly before mixing in pineapple pieces

Yield: about 4 cups.

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