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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cookie Mania!

This week has my last two classes at FISW for the term, so we are of course, making cookies! Sugar cookies:
Maybe ones that look like Blue Man Group?

See? I can't help myself!

And these pecan pie ones, that I swear I'll put the recipe up for soon! Both of these are adapted from Martha Stewart's cookies.. which I cannot say enough good things about. It's my new favorite cookie book!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brussel Sprouts are good?

Of course they are! Just start with some butter (or margarine, if you prefer), and a little olive oil. Chop up some onions... And add some chopped up mushrooms and garlic... (I know! I am generally not a fan of mushrooms, but trust me here...)
Saute for a few minutes, then add some brussel sprouts that you have halved and removed the outer yucky leaves from...


After a few minutes of that, add some white wine, about a cup or so. And some salt and pepper.

Nom, nom, nom! You can also add some (soy) bacon bits on top if you like. Delicious!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Posting Crazy!

It's true. It's recipe mania around here! I've made so many new foods in the last 24 hours that I actually have pictures for.. I have to try to catch up!

Cran-Apple Cobbler:
4 medium sized apples (I used 2 Fuji and 2 Granny Smith)
1 cup frozen whole cranberries (not canned or jel)

Here's where it gets a little hard. I make cobblers A LOT. So much, that I don't really measure things. So, this is kind of an approximation, but it should work just fine.

6 Tbsp. margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar (or a little less)
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup flour (approximate)
dash of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 dashes of ground ginger
1/4 cup walnuts, in small pieces

Spray your baking dish with nonstick spray. Peel the apples, and chop them into small pieces. Add them to your baking dish. Pour cranberries into the dish as well, and distribute them around the apples.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and the margarine. Add oatmeal, a handful at a time. (about 1/4 cup at a time) Mix in the flour, salt, and spices. Add the walnuts, and put small amounts of the topping on top of the apple/cranberry mixture.

Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the apples look soft.

Eat while hot!

I was missing summer...


Raspberries. For $2.50. In November. Cheaper than in the summer? Take that, July!

Corn Pudding!

This is one of those foods that has been made by my family for years and years. We usually make it in the summer, with fresh corn-- that's even taken off the cobs with a device invented by my grandfather (or someone before him?). Anyway, this is a pretty easy version, created by me, with things you can find easily in the late fall.

Corn Pudding:
1 bag frozen corn
1 can creamed corn
3 Tbsp. butter

Seriously, that's it.

In a large bowl, mix together the frozen and canned corn (do not drain the canned corn). Spread out the corn into a well-greased baking pan. The thinner you can get it, the better, because more of it will get browned and extra tasty.

Chop up the butter into small pieces, and place on top.
Add some salt and pepper.

Bake at 350* until it looks like this:
(almost 2 hours. It seems like it takes forever, but it's worth it, I swear!)

Serve hot and enjoy.

Bento Lunches in the future!

We found this really awesome book today, at (of all places) the Seattle Art Museum! After flipping through it in the gift shop, I had to get it. There was no question. It's just amazing! There are pretty things:
And ridiculously cute things:

And even scary things! (not really)

I'm totally inspired to go get us some bento boxes, and make fancy lunches for John and myself. Who cares if I eat lunch at home most days? There are actually a ton of Japanese recipes in it, and other things too, that don't just involve punching shapes into seaweed. I recommend looking through a copy, just because it's so fun!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup!

This is the soup we made in class this week. It is much more tasty than any other squash soups I've made before.

Butternut Squash Soup:

1 Butternut squash
1 small onion
1 cup carrots
4 cloves garlic
1" piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp olive oil
4-5 cups water
2 vegetable bouillion cubes
1 tsp oregano

Cut the squash in half, both vertically and horizontally. Scoop out the seeds from the bottom of the squash, as well as the squishy parts. Peel the outside of the squash, and then cut it into smaller pieces. Dice up onion and carrots. Peel garlic, and mince. Grate the ginger. Pour olive oil into a stockpot. Add onions, garlic, and carrots. Then add the squash, vegi cubes, ginger, and water.

Cook around 20 minutes, until the squash and other vegetables are soft. Using a slotted spoon, remove vegetables and put in a blender. Add a few ladles of liquid too, so that it has something to blend with.
Warning! The soup is very hot! As you blend it, it will get hotter. Try to keep the top on for a very short time. Don't overfill your blender, or soup will try to escape!
The soup will be very thick. Pour back into the pot, and repeat blending until all of the vegetables are pureed. Add oregano, and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Plans

As crazy as this may sound, we are actually doing 3 Thanksgivings this year; 2 with our families, and Friday will be Thanksgiving 2: Electric Boogaloo. The first two will be pretty easy though; really just making 2 side dishes and one dessert. (Brussel sprouts, corn pudding, and cran-apple cobbler!) But the piece de resistance will be Friday: scalloped potatoes, green beans, stuffing, citrus greens, rum pecan sweet potatoes, possibly more corn pudding and brussel sprouts, and either magic cookie bars, or a lovely pecan pumpkin refrigerator pie that I'm coveting from an advertisement. Pictures, and massive recipes to follow in the weeks to come!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I miss summer...

I miss all the flowers, and the squash plants with their climbing tendrils.

I miss being able to make caprese salad with the things growing in my garden. All you need are: tomatoes, basil, some fresh mozzerella cheese, and a little bit of good olive oil. (and maybe some salt/pepper). Granted, cheese does not grow on a plant, but that's not such a hard thing to have around!

So, I look back fondly on my summer garden. See you again in 6 months!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day of Lemons

This is my favorite lemon tea right now, and for some reason, you cannot just buy a box of it at the store. You can get it in a variety pack, or I can sneak a couple home from a large computer company that shall remain nameless-- but why do I have to stoop to such a level? Why can't I buy my I <3 Lemon tea? WHY?! (It is really good though; just a slight amount of mint, and lots of lemon. Mmm...) For some reason, Safeway had NO lemon tea of any kind the last 2 times I've been there; Nothing! Not even Lemon Zinger-- which I like, and is even better for the environment, with the no tags or packaging bit (and I usually only buy Celestial Seasonings, just for that reason).

So yes. To sum up: this tea= very good!


My Meyer lemons are actually turning yellow! Now I just have to find something good to make with them. Hmm...
This sounds very good: http://citymama.typepad.com/cityfood/2007/04/eat_local_chall_4.html (pasta with walnuts, spinach, feta, and lemons

So does this:

http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001560.html (Meyer lemon risotto)

Or something sweet:

http://accidentalscientist.blogspot.com/2008/01/meyer-lemon-season-winter-sanity-saver.html (Coconut-topped Meyer lemon bars)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Favorite Things, Part 2; The cutest measuring cups EVER!

They are a family of geese! SO CUTE!!

And they really do measure, see?! They were a housewarming gift from my best friend, who knew that I would probably not buy them myself, but needed them nevertheless. I <3 them!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Favorite Things, #1

I've discovered a bunch of new favorite things lately. For instance, this granola bar:

The chocolate ones are pretty good (they're John's favorite) but this one? This one takes the cake. Peanut butter, with a peanut butter coating. YUM. And they're like $2 at Trader Joe's, so they don't take your wallet either. :) (Yes, I sound like an ad. No, TJ's does not pay me... yet.)

500 Ways with Oatmeal

Ok, maybe not that many. When I was a kid, I used to LOVE to eat this hot cereal called Wheat Hearts. I would pretty much just have it with some margarine and brown sugar, and it was lovely. In college, I discovered it again, and would usually have it with some dried apricots. Now, I haven't seen this cereal in years; I think it's totally disappeared. (It is for sure NOT Cream of Wheat, which is disgusting.) So, now my go-to hot cereal is oatmeal. Not instant in a packet junk, but real oatmeal, that I still cook in the microwave.

One day, long ago (probably about 10 years or so) I saw Martha Stewart do a bit on hot cereals, and serving them to guests with a bunch of different things to mix in them; like a sundae bar for cereal. I thought it was fantastic, and it forever changed how I make hot cereal. I try to always have some sort of fruit, a type of nut, some cinnamon, and a few other things to make it healthy (ground flaxseed, and hempseed) and yummy (brown sugar... mmmm...). Here is what I've been having this week:

3/4 cup oats
handful of raisins
1 Tbsp brown sugar
8 or so almonds
1/2 tsp flaxseed
1/2 tsp hempseed
1 oz or so, vanilla soymilk
dash of cinnamon

Put oats, fruit, and nuts in a microwave-safe bowl. Add water until cereal is covered, but only slightly (more for dried fruit, less for frozen fruit). Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add sugar, seeds, and soymilk if it dries out too much.

The best thing about it is that you can change what you put in it, and it will be different every day. (and still good for you) Some ideas: dried cherries, dried apricots, craisins, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, coconut, dried mango, dried pineapple, fresh fruit, frozen berries, canned peaches... I even have a friend who puts in a swirl of peanut butter (although that doesn't really appeal to me that much.)

MMmmm... breakfast!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Carrot Bread at last!

Argh! This recipe is posting badly, and the formatting is making me mad! Let's see if this will work now...

Pumpkin Carrot Bread, Take 3!

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup wheat bran
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup grated carrots
½ tsp ginger
1 cup cooked pumpkin
½ tsp ground cloves
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup pecans, toasted

Optional: ½ cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375*. Spray bread pan with nonstick spray and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, wheat bran, salt, baking powder and spices. Set aside. In another medium –sized bowl, mash up the pumpkin with a potato masher or large spoon. Add the buttermilk, carrots, sugar, egg, melted butter, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry one, and mix thoroughly. Add the raisins, if you are using them. Pour the batter into the bread pan. Sprinkle the pecans on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Green Potatoes and Sadness

The potatoes that I was so excited about growing all summer are rather green. Meaning, the skin is greenish. All of the research I've read online says that the green part is poisonous, and you shouldn't eat green potatoes. I peeled one the other day, but there was still a bit of green to it, and I decided not to take the chance. This supposedly happens when either the plant gets too much sun, or has extreme heat/cold. Well, 2 out of the 3 happened this summer, which is what I'm guessing caused this... but now I'm sad I can't eat any of the potatoes I grew. Guess next year I'll start a bit earlier, and put them more in the shade. :(

Peanut Butter Cookies and My Favorite Cookbook

I really wanted some cookies the other night, but not too many. Then I thought, "Peanut butter!". These were from my favorite and most-used cookbook, despite the fact that I'm not actually vegan. I made half a recipe, just so we wouldn't stuff ourselves for days and days; it made 13 cookies, which was exactly enough. They were very tasty, but pretty fall-y apart-y (that's "crumbly" to those of you who are not English majors, and therefore, cannot make up words on a whim.) :)

Since I didn't actually alter the recipe in any way (other than halving the ingredients) I don't think it's particularly legal for me to post it here. But, if you really would like it, I might be persuaded to email it to you personally. This cookbook really IS awesome though. I still haven't made even half the things in there, but it's totally worth it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shameless Plug

If you live in Redmond, or anywhere near Redmond, and fancy getting some take and bake pizza- Freshway Pizza, on 164th is fantastic. They have wheat crust! And the Roasted Veggies (sundried tomatoes? spinach? roasted garlic? roasted peppers? Goat cheese?! OMG Goat cheese!) is fantastic. Just in case you were wondering.


Monday, November 9, 2009

How to ripen green tomatoes

This, like many good things I know, I learned from Martha Stewart. If you (like me) have a lot of unripened, green tomatoes still on the plant, simply bring them inside, and place them in a paper bag. The bag traps the gases they release when ripening, and makes them ripen faster. (or something like that... don't quote me!)

Therefore, the tomatoes ripen to a nice red, and you don't just leave them outside for birds or bugs to eat. However, they do sometimes stay a bit hard, so I usually chop them up and put them in a sauce or soup or something. They taste fine by themselves, but not exactly the normal consistency.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cold Weather Gardening

There can be some very nice things about gardening in the fall. (and fall in general) There are lovely trees changing color, and dropping beautiful leaves everywhere; just ready-made compost!

This is our nice, reasonably sized maple tree in our backyard.
Oh, and what is that next to it?
GIANT pieces of a tree that fell down right by it! The tree "bits" are as big as our tree!

My first thought was, "That will not fit in our yard waste container!"

John is buying some sort of saw as we speak.
Tomorrow I'll have some real gardening advice, such as what to do with tomatoes that missed turning red on the vine.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Coho Cafe

Oh, and at Coho Cafe tonight? The side vegetable was a roasted buttenut squash, topped with a hint of cheese and some roasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds). Mmmmmm.... (Can you tell I'm on a bit of a side dish kick?)

Recipe Larceny

I was skimming the latest issue of Body and Soul magazine tonight, and was SO tempted to buy it, based solely on the Thanksgiving side dishes section! (I just can't justify it though, being that I have a pile of at least 4 or 5 magazines at home to get through) They were: green beans with hazelnuts and gorgonzola, roasted brussel sprouts with pears and shallots (of all things... still looked good though!), farro with cremini mushrooms (I don't even like mushrooms and it looked delicious) and a gingerbread sweet potato casserole that I was so excited about... I took a picture of the ingredients with my phone so I could try to re-create it myself. Yes, I am this sad. It looked fantastic!! (Does anyone else do this, or am I alone in my thievery? If there's only one or two things in it I might like, I will do this instead of just buying the magazine, even if it's totally hard to read later.)

I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What do Julia Child and Halloween have in common?

She was my backup costume if this didn't work out. (We are a family of the sea. I'm a mermaid, John's a marine biologist, and Lulu, the lobster.) I thought that if I couldn't get my costume all together, I would just put on an apron, and chase Lulu around with a pot!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cheesy Polenta

Polenta is becoming one of my new favorite things to cook. It's quick, easy, and TASTY! I even like how it sets up in the shape of your pot after you let it sit for awhile. In this week's class, we made cheesy polenta and 3-bean chili. I went home after class, and made even more polenta!

Cheesy Polenta

2 1/2 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 cup polenta
2 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
Paprika or Chile powder (optional)

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add bouillon cube and stir. When cube is dissolved, add polenta and stir. Let cook for 1-2 minutes, then add cheese. Sprinkle with paprika or chile powder. Serve hot!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vitamin D

It's actually sunny today! To celebrate, Lulu and I will go on our first official walk since we moved into our new house. I'm realizing that I haven't been taking my vitamins very faithfully, for about a month now. My doctor told me that I can take up to 2000 I.U. of Vitamin D every day; and that people in Washington really don't get enough. They don't even know exactly all of the good things that D does for you, (prevents some diseases, reduces inflammation...) but I know for sure it puts me in a better mood. It's not really found that often in foods, which is why they fortify milk and orange juice with it; but there is a significant amount in mushrooms (one of my least favorite foods, but I make a good soup with them in the winter). It's also found a lot in fish, and there's some in eggs too. Try to get some more today!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Growing Potatoes

At long last, a couple of weeks ago, my potato plant finally fell over and died. (This is good because then you know that the potatoes are ready to eat!) I threw the plant into my compost pile, and starting digging around for potatoes... and there were 4! Not so bad from a random sprouting potato in the fridge, right? I'm pretty sure they're Yukon Gold potatoes, which I really like. Next year, I plan to do a bunch of different kinds, including purple and red potatoes.

Now, what to make with them?

My Favorite Spicy Breakfast Potatoes:

3-4 potatoes, well scrubbed and clean

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, sliced into small pieces

Spanish Paprika (this is key!)

Slice up the potatoes into either quartered slices, large dice, or whatever you like, as long as they are around the same size so that they cook evenly. Heat oil in a large frying pan, and once hot, add the onions. Then add potatoes. After a couple of minutes, turn potatoes so they brown on both sides. Add some water once they are brown, and sprinkle with paprika. Cook for around 20 minutes, adding water when necessary. You don't want it to burn, but you don't want it to be too soupy either. Cook until potatoes are soft when you poke them with a fork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.

*You can also cook them with some peppers or garlic if you like.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chocolate Spiders!

Chocolate Spiders are a treat that I make every Halloween, and they are so easy! There are only 2 ingredients:

Chinese noodles and chocolate chips

First, melt the chocolate over medium high heat. (I used 1.5 packages of chips here, to 1 whole package of noodles)

When the chocolate is melted, turn off the heat and add some noodles. Stir.

Add some more noodles...

Keep stirring until they are all coated with chocolate.

Take a large spoon, and drop them into clumps on some wax paper. They will need about 30 minutes to totally set up.

Then you too will have an army of edible spiders!!