A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hot Hot Heat

Since it is acting like summer again, I thought I'd come up with a list of things to do and eat in the heat.

1.) Running through sprinklers- there's something about it that makes you feel like a kid again, even if it's just someone watering the sidewalk you're walking down. (Or at Home Depot, when you're looking at plants. No one will notice!)

2.) Blowing bubbles, even if your dog doesn't like to eat them. (my childhood dogs always did...)

3.) Lie around, fan pointed at you, and read a long book.

4.) Ride a bike around, preferably after the heat of the day is over.

5.) Swim! I can't tell you how much I love swimming...

6.) Make some summer food, that doesn't require much indoor work, like:

-Tabbouleh: Greek food is my go-to food in the summer. Cook the bulghur with microwave-heated water, let it sit until absorbed. (I usually use about 1 1/2 cups of bulghur, and enough water to cover it. If it's not all absorbed after about 15 minutes, you can microwave it for 2 more minutes all together until it softens.) Add about 1 cup chopped parsley, 3 chopped green onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 chopped tomotoes, 1 can of drained chickpeas, juice from 1 lemon, and about 2 tbsp. olive oil. Garnish with salt, pepper, and a little feta if you like.
-Fruit salad
-Caprese salad: fresh mozzerella, tomato slices, basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper. What else do you need?
-Homemade popsicles: with juice, pudding, yogurt, blended fruit... whatever you like.
-BBQ'ed veggie skewers
-Hummus: all done in a food processor! (1 can chickpeas, drained, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp tahini, 1 lemon's worth of juice, and a little water if it's too thick.)
-Grilled pizza; I have yet to try this, but I am assured that the secret is really just a lot of oil on the grill... and flip it before topping it.
-Fat-free Frozen Yogurt: I did this a couple of weeks ago- take a giant carton of yogurt, add about 1/2 c. sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/2 - 1 cup nonfat milk. You want it to be slightly liquid-y, but not really thin; just until it is pourable. Add to ice cream maker, run for 40 minutes, and enjoy! Some additions: blueberries, almonds, chocolate syrup, raspberry jam...
- Grilled pineapple: OMG. So easy, and so good! Add to veggie burgers, couscous, salad, ice cream....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trail Mix Waffles

I love waffles. Ever since I got a certain overly-used vegan cookbook a few years ago, I've made just about every kind of waffle possible (converting both pancake recipes and muffin recipes into waffles... mmmm....)- but these, I made up myself. Trader Joe's has a very yummy trail mix cookie, so one day, I decided they should be waffles; and I haven't looked back. Enjoy!

Trail Mix Waffles:

1 very ripe banana OR 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I like the pre-portioned kind)
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated/ground nutmeg (the secret to making all baked things great!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup raisins or craisins
1/3 cup coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Mash up banana, or add applesauce to a large mixing bowl. Pour in the soymilk, and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda and powder, spices and salt, and mix until well combined. Add the oatmeal, mix in, and let rest for about 5 minutes for the oats to soften a bit. Put in the sugar and the oil, and then the other "trail mix-y" add ins. (If there's something you don't like, or would like to add, feel free!) Depending on the extras, your batter may be very thick. If it looks like thick cake batter and doesn't stir well, add a bit more soy milk, 1/4 cup at a time. If it looks like it would spread out a little bit when poured into a waffle maker (but not escape out the sides, like pancake batter) it is probably perfect! Heat up your waffle maker, according to your manufacturer's directions (usually, this just means "plug in") and when it's ready, make some waffles!


-USE COOKING SPRAY to keep waffles from sticking in your waffle maker. Even if it says nonstick, I always use it!

-Pour some batter into each section of the waffle maker.

-If you over do it, wipe off the batter escaping from the sides with a wet paper towel.

-If your waffle maker only has one setting (i.e. red light, green light), you can leave the waffles in a little bit longer to make them more toasty.

-Experiment! Waffles are tasty, but sometimes they take a little practice to get right. I used my old waffle maker for about 3 years before it stopped working well- meaning it would always pull apart my waffles, despite using tons of cooking spray to keep them from sticking. Finally we broke down and got a new one, and it's been great!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gardening Update

Just wanted to show you... look at my potato plant now!!

Apparently, it has to turn all brown and fall over and die before I know that the potatoes are ready to eat... but first it becomes tall enough for King Kong to climb. It's gotten ridiculously huge due to the crazy heat and general sunshine. I'm pretty excited though!

Also, my giant petunia:

and... one of two new citrus trees I got with Shelley! This one is a Meyer lemon, even though right now it looks like a lime. The other one is a naval orange tree, but it doesn't have any fruit or blossoms on it yet. The fruit is supposed to be ready in "winter". Guess we'll see how it goes!