Moroccan Veggie Stew with Turmeric Basmati Rice

It’s Lent season at my house which means vegetarian food all day errday.

We don’t celebrate Lent for religious purposes in my house, but we do celebrate it for dietary purposes. My mom seems to strugglebus when it comes to cooking vegetarian sometimes, but I cook vegetarian like 85% of the time that I decide to make actual meals (not desserts), so of course it’s pretty easy for me to find exciting recipes to try out.

And of COURSE I got my ass on Foodgawker last night and this morning. Actual morning today because I got up at a semi-reasonable time. I was that excited about making rice.

I knew I wanted to make the rice before I knew what the “main dish” would be. But I found the perfect match  – I wanted to do something with chickpeas again, but a little different from straight up Channa Masala.


So I found this great recipe for Moroccan Veggie Stew.  I didn’t have saffron because that shit is expensive. And if I had known that pitted dates tasted so good in this recipe, I would’ve added WAY more than the 4 it calls for. My tweaked recipe can be found below, and you can follow the link to see the original.


Moroccan Veggie Stew


1 onion
3 carrots peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 baking or russet potatoes peeled and chopped
4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped (I recommend putting a fistful in there)
1 16 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup (or can) of tomato sauce
2 cups of water
1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground cumin
1-2 pinches of ground coriander
1 teaspoons of smoked paprika
A pinch of saffron (optional)
Olive oil/Grapeseed for cooking
Salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan (or dutch oven), saute the onions, carrots and celery on medium heat with some olive or grapeseed oil and a pinch of salt. Saute the vegetables until they start to soften – about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, chickpeas, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and saffron. Stir the ingredients and spices around for about a minute, being careful not to burn the spices.
  4. Add the tomato sauce with two cups of water. Stir in the garlic and the dates. Adjust the salt, cover the pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Simmer the stew on the stovetop for about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer to the stew to the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. I also transferred mine to a Pyrex bowl before I popped it in the oven. If you’re using a dutch oven with no plastic on it, you can leave it in your dutch oven pan.


As for the turmeric Basmati rice, I followed this Jamie Oliver video for how to make perfect fluffy rice because I literally always fuck up rice when I cook it. But LO AND BEHOLD, following this video actually worked for me. And the rice turned out great. I did have to add extra salt after it was done because my “pinch” wasn’t enough when I seasoned it at the beginning.

Turmeric Basmati Rice


1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups water
3 pods of cardamom
10 pieces of whole cloves
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste


  1. Rinse rice in cold water to get rid of starch and imperfections.
  2. In a heated sauce pan, combine your rice, water, spices and salt.
  3. Cover and bring to a simmer-boil for 8-10 minutes (or until water is evaporated). Do NOT remove cover, but make sure the water doesn’t bubble over.
  4. Once all the water is evaporated, remove cover and remove cardamom pods and stick of cinnamon. Stir gently and serve.



Breakfast Clafoutis with Cherries

Hello hello!

I’m back with a delicious recipe I tried out this morning/afternoon. Afternoon, cause I got out of bed at 11:15 and didn’t finish this until after 12, BUT ANYWAY.

I wanted to eat something different from just cereal or eggs or toast, so I got my ass on Foodgawker as usual and found this easy Lemon Dutch Baby with Berry Compote and put myself to work. It’s not too sugary-sweet or too weird and foreign. I thought it was going to turn out like the Finnish “pancakes” I made like 6 years ago, but I realized when I started eating that it’s a whole lot like the Clafoutis recipe I make, except loads simpler to prepare.

Here’s the breakdown of ingredients and directions. I did not make the whipped cream, but I did make the berry (CHERRY!) compote.


for the Dutch Baby:
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
for the Berry Compote:
2 cups frozen berries (‘triple berry’)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
for the whipped cream:
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
your whipped topping of choice

  1. Remove frozen berries from freezer, in a bowl combine berries, lemon juice, and tablespoon of sugar. Toss to mix. Set aside to thaw, toss occasionally while dutch baby is cooking.
  2.  Place 12 inch cast iron (or oven safe skillet) in oven, preheat to 425º F.
  3. In a blender add lemon zest, flour, eggs, milk, sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend until combined.
  4. Once oven is preheated and skillet is hot, use oven mitts to remove the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet, swirl the skillet until the butter melts and the sides and bottom of the skillet is covered in butter.
  5. Pour the batter from the blender into the skillet. Return skillet to oven.
  6. Bake 22-24 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  7. If you are making your own whipped cream add vanilla and heavy whipping cream to the stand of an electric mixer. Beat on high 1-2 minutes until whipped cream is to preferred consistency.
  8. Give Berry Compote a final stir and pour over the Dutch Baby, top with Whipped Cream. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Patch

I was looking for photos I haven’t posted that I could share and I realized I’ve been hoarding these two from a few weeks ago in my archives. My mom and I usually stop by this mini farmer’s market across the street from Yates Cider Mill when we go. They had pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors and I thought this gourd patch looked neat.

I know it’s officially AFTER Thanksgiving and Halloween and I should be posting like, cute snowflakes pictures, but it’s December 3rd and we still haven’t had a snowfall here in the Metro Detroit Area. And I hope that my mentioning that didn’t just jinx us. I want snow for pictures. But I don’t want it for driving and everything else.

Anyway, enjoy!

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Danielle x Pinup Portraits

Today was pretty exciting creatively. I asked my coworker Danielle a while ago if she’d be interested in being my muse for a photography shoot and after seeing my recent pinup style pics, she said yes.

We both did her makeup, although she let me do the contouring and such. I enhanced contouring in Photoshop to give her face more of that pop! But to be honest, she didn’t really need it anyway. She has the right kind of planes and angles to be a proper model, IMO. Anyway, here’s a few shots from today.

I used my 50mm portrait lens, ISO 400, f 1.8, exposure range 50-80.


Decay and Vitality

I took my annual trip to Yates Cider Mill last month and of course I brought my camera with me. It was towards the end of the foliage decay in this particular section of town, so there weren’t too many subjects to photograph, but I managed.

I used my 50mm lens, partly because I forgot to stick my macro lens on – however, as I’ve mentioned before, I seem to get some really fantastic bokeh shots with this lens and it continues to be my go-to lens for every day photography.

Anyway, here’s a few shots from the day.


I really like the way the above photo turned out. I think it shows a great contrast between colors, but also between the decay and vitality of nature and how strongly something like a leaf can hang on to it’s live-giving branch. That sounds super poetic, but nature is poetic.


I had a tough time choosing between the above photo and another, landscape version of the same leaves. But ultimately, like that poppy picture from this summer, I like the contrast between the orange of the leaves and the serene blue background.


In this last photo, I found this stalk of leaves sprouting out of the ground surrounded by mostly trees with falling leaves and I thought it was just brilliant to see this bright green foliage defying the autumn season.

Lucy Goosey

For those of you who see this on Facebook, you might already know that I’ve been giving my neighbor’s cats snacks. They come meow at our door every day now that they know they’re gonna get food, and I’m okay with that cause they’re skinny and skinny cats make me sad.

Anyway, one of the cats, Lucy (short for Lucifer) is super friendly and loves being petted and often sits in our grass after eating. He kind of looks like he’s protecting the house when he does this.

I’ve photographed him before while he’s been sitting in our grass, but comparatively, my skills at both photography and photo-editing have gotten better in the 5 and a half years since. For comparison’s sake, I’m going to upload the picture from a few years ago too.

The first 2 are from this September.


The picture below is from May 2011. My personal critiques are that my photography was a lot more closed in on subjects. I was pretty obsessed with getting that macro effect, which didn’t allow much space to the subject at hand in the frame. I’m still working on this part because I feel like I close in too much still, but I’m improving.

I also overused really saturated actions and curves in Photoshop. I’m pretty proud of my current more natural, vibrant, color boosting system I use.

I was also using a Nikon d3000 with the kit lens on the below picture, whereas in the new photos, I’m using a d7100 with a 50mm portrait lens. So that also factors in – BUT, I did take some great photos toward the end of my ownership with the d3100. But this particular photo is from the first year I owned it and was learning my way around a DSLR.


Le Crepe

I started today off being woken up twice by phone calls. The second was my friend Kristen, who told me she was in the area and she’d like to hang out sometime today. So I hopped out of bed, and we went on a mini adventure to downtown Royal Oak.

We both brought out cameras (she brought her lenses too, I just opted for my 50mm) and we started off at Le Crepe on Washington Ave. Neither of us had eaten yet, so brunch was a great first stop.

We got hilariously into photographing our waters and her cappuccino before our crepes arrived. I really like the way this shot of her cappuccino turned out.


When the crepes arrived, there was standing on chairs happening (on Kristen’s part) to get good birds-eye view shots.

I don’t really like the colors that came out in the crepe pictures, and I think it has a lot to do with the plates. They were a yellowy-ivory based color with green circle lines. Probably would’ve looked better on some nice super clean white porcelain.


Fortunately, I did catch some nice shots of the WATER of all things. The backlighting was everything in this place. I was pleasantly surprised.