apple + walnut oatmeal

Not much noteworthy cooking going on lately. We have been trying to find a new roommate to replace the one getting kicked out because of the fire, hunting down shady contractors and landlords that won't call us back or even get started on the fire room, aaaaand my other roommate Heather loses her job tomorrow. So mostly I've just been trying to stay calm, deal with everything that needs dealing with, and take food when I can get it. February can end any time now. 

Here's a bright spot, though- my morning oatmeal. I have a running contest with myself on the best combination I can come up with (this may tell you something about my current lack of a social life). So far it's a scoop of almond butter and a scoop of raspberry/rhubarb jam. But today's apple chunks, walnuts, and brown sugar was not too shabby!



My friends Paul and Roy are the kind of people I would hate if I didn't love them so much. They are both just a little too perfect. They have an adorable bulldog named Tonka, an apartment decorated how I wish someone would decorate mine, are insanely attractive and, as icing on the stupid, perfect cake, they have the kind of relationship that is so strong it gives me hope for my dating future.

And I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. The part that really does make me want to punch them in their stupid butts- each of them is incredibly talented. Paul is a writer, photographer, and artist, while Roy is, among his stupid, many talents, a pastry chef with an amazing new blog. One of the things that keeps me going with our friendship is that I get to reap the benefits of knowing them. For instance, I have been lucky enough to eat both of Roy's entries for SaidSheSaidHe. I seriously almost cried on the first bite of both the lemon + lavender tart and last week's blood orange pudding (shown above). You may not have such strong responses to good food, but I highly recommend following this new blog.


the great chicago blizzard/fire

This week.... what do I say about this week? Challenging? Maybe that's the word. But let's start at the beginning.

Last Monday I heard about the upcoming blizzard. In a rare act of thinking ahead I trudged to the store and got fixins for a new chili recipe I'd just come across. It touted itself to be the best ever veggie chili and I wanted to test it out, as I love to knock down superlatives like that. So I made it, it was ok, not the best. Then I took a picture of it to post. Then there was a really scary fire (apparently caused by a space heater) in one of the bedrooms of my apartment and it's now unusable and one of my roommates has to move out.  This was all during a record-breaking blizzard. As my now super-pissed off landlord said, "We sure picked a great time to have a fire."

The past several days have been spent in crisis mode- scrubbing down the walls and cleaning like crazy, fretting about getting evicted, watching my roommate sleep on my couch. I'm just trying to keep up with everything, take it all in, and stay positive and focused. Thanks for the calls. It really meant a lot. And now, a chili recipe...

The Best Vegetarian Chili EVER! (but not really) via The Picky Eater: A Healthy Food Blog

1 can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Navy (or pinto) beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used 2- 14oz cans of diced tomatoes, because I had them)
1 cup vegetable broth
4 garlic cloves
1 heaping tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 sprinkles garlic powder
1 sprinkle cayenne pepper
3-4 glugs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds of black pepper

Chop the garlic, onion, and red pepper. Saute lightly over medium high heat in 1-2 tsp olive oil.
Add everything else into the pot. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min or longer as needed