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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homemade Granola!

I took this from a basic granola recipe, and added fruits/nuts to make it sort of "tropical". It's really tasty, but it did not stick together as well as I would have hoped; so next time, I'm upping the oil just a little bit...

In a bowl, mix together:

4 c. oats
1 c. pistachios
1/2-1 c. dried fruits (I did some dried pineapple and mango)
1/2 c. coconut
1/3 c. oil (next time? 1/2 cup)
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 dashes of ginger
Spread out onto a cookie sheet, in an even layer.

Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Cool, and eat with milk, or on top of yogurt. (YUMMY!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Best. Cookies. Ever!

I was in the mood for some cookies today, so I turned to my new friend Joy the Baker. (Ok, I don't actually know her. But she sure makes some tasty-looking things! Oh, and I am jealous of the fact that she just got a kitten. Very. Jealous.) I started with her recipe, and changed just a few things (of course). I did not want to use any eggs, as I was "egged out" after those brownies from last week. I also didn't want to use an entire cup of butter. (Seriously? Who do you think I am here? Pioneer Woman?) So, for very tasty (and relatively healthy) cookies, read on! Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies: 1/2 c. butter, softened 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce 1 c. granulated sugar 1 c. brown sugar, packed 1 banana (mine was frozen, but still ok) 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 c. oats 2 c. flour 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 3/4 tsp. salt 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli Bittersweet) 1/2 c. coconut 1/2 c. walnuts Mix together sugars, butter, applesauce and banana. Then add in oats, leavening agents (b. powder-salt), and spices. Slowly add in the flour and mix-ins. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased or parchment-covered cookie sheet. Bake at 350* for 15-18 minutes. Makes 4 dozen cookies. (Despite the fact that Joy says it makes 2 1/2 dozen. She must make giant cookies!)
Try to not eat the entire batch at once!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Failures and Successes

Lately I've been feeling that a lot of the things I've tried to make have not been, well, great. Like this Pumpkin French Toast:

Looks tasty, but I used waaay too healthy of a bread (read: whole wheat and SOFT) so it soaked up all of the pumpkin and turned into mush. When I tried it with English muffins, it was much better, and less pumpkin-y. Lesson learned: Use dense bread for French Toast!

Example #2:

This book is completely awesome-looking. I want to make TONS of the brownies in it (as evidenced by all of my flags up there.) But the first one I made was a luscious-looking cream cheese brownie, that's supposed to be kept in the freezer. (I moved it to the fridge after one day.) As a result, the brownies were kind of dry in my opinion, and at around 300 calories for one of them, I topped out after two days. They were ok, but definitely not the best ones I've ever made or anything. John and Patrick loved them; I guess I'm just picky. Hopefully the next ones I try will impress me more.
I guess my point here is that it's good to try new things; even if they don't always work. Figure out what is good about the food, and then try it a new way next time. Change is good! (motivational speech= over)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gardening Update

Current status of the garden, and things that are still alive!

This is the giant shrubbery that I am in the (very slow) process of removing, to replace with much nicer things... like lavender, strawberries, roses, rosemary, and flowering bulbs.

Phase one! (chives, oregano, potatos in a pot, strawberries, lavender, pink daffodil bulbs)

Some onions are actually growing!

Flowers are coming back nicely, along with some chard.

Peppers! (these were a $.50 plant)

More peppers! (also 50 cents- all my expensive pepper plants were unsuccessful. Guess I won't be doing that again!)
Soybeans! A little buggy in the leaves, but plugging along...

Arugula and Fizzy Kale (from starts)

New strawberry patch, from clearence strawberries at HD.


A ton of them! I'll have to make salsa soon...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

I'm not going to lie. Gnocchi is a really dense pasta (at least when I make it) and you have to be in the mood for that in order to enjoy it. It's also pretty time consuming (when making this squash version) and you have to be ready for that too. But it is really tasty, and uses one of our fall staples, butternut squash! Are you in the mood? Good!

Butternut Squash Gnocchi:

1 butternut squash, quartered and roasted (about 1 hour, 15 minutes @ 375* should do the trick)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp nutmeg
5-6 cups flour (I used a mixture of white and whole wheat, hence the scary colors)

Roast your squash, remove the seeds and peel, and mash it up.

Add in the egg and start with the flour. Add some more flour. And some more. The squash will laugh at your attempts to tame it. Don't give in! Add enough flour that it is no longer sticky, but not dry. (about 4.5-5 cups, seriously)

Take a piece of the dough and roll it into a log. Cut the log into small pieces, and roll them over your fork to make a cool indentation.

Boil the gnocchi until they rise to the surface of the water. Drain and cover with your choice of sauce.
My choice of sauce? Pumpkin seed pesto, coming up next!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What's in season

Here is some of what is in season right now, as evidenced by the haul of loot I got at the Farmer's Market today.

Most vendors who have peppers now will have several kinds; they seem to grow better if you have more than one type. These are your basic bell peppers, a hot kind called something like "tophat", and the hottest pepper in the world, a ghost chile (the small yellow one). John has yet to try it! (It's the chile that beat that Man vs. Food guy, even hotter than habeneros.)

There are a wide variety of greens that are coming around now. I got some dino kale, arugula, and my favorite: Chinese spinach (not pictured). Chard is also in season, as are onions, shallots, and leeks.
Winter squash:

I had some butternut squashes over the past few weeks, and still haven't decided what to do with this delicata yet. Maybe lasagne?

It's finally the beginning of apple season. These are called Ambrosia, and they look completely delicious! They also had Cameos, Honeycrisp (which I also love) and several other types. The hard thing about growing apples is that there aren't many types that are self-pollinating; which means that you need several different types of trees in order to ensure that you actually get apples. Someday I will try it!