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



Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sorry!

I know I haven't posted much lately; this last week or two especially. I'm looking into redesigning my webpage and moving it to a new host. My goal was to get it done by Feb 1st, but that is just not happening yet. In the meantime, I'll promise some more soups soon ( a season of soups instead of a month?) and a really great curry I'm testing tomorrow. Don't give up on me yet! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cabbage and Sunshine!

Here are some pictures I promised you, of my new favorite cabbage dish (posted below). Have now eaten it 3 or 4 times this week; guess it's my new food phase!
Mmmmm.....
And what is this? Could it be the sun??!!

Filtering through the trees, and filling my yard? Oh happy day!

(Ignore those Christmas lights still attached to our front porch. I'll take them down... sometime!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

My new favorite thing to eat...

Sauteed Cabbage! Very easy, really... It's like the idea of an Asian salad, but cooked. :)

1-2 cups cabbage, chopped
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. slivered almonds
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Spray your pan with some um.. cooking spray. Add the cabbage, and other ingredients. (You could also throw in some carrots chopped finely, if you want. I had that version with lunch today.) Add other ingredients, with the sesame seeds last. Cook over medium heat until the cabbage is cooked; about 5 minutes. You can also add a few tablespoons of water if it seems to need some more liquid.

Pictures tomorrow!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shopping and Organization

Yesterday, I discovered this AMAZING display that someone set up in their house for Christmas. I was intrigued/shocked/jealous but not so much that I would do that myself... but wow! http://www.bakerella.com/candyland/

I love cupcakes, and baking, and all cute pastel-y things related to them.... but I don't think even I am that obsessed. :) Instead, I found these very cute dishes on sale at Fred Meyer today, and instantly bought them.



Then, after reading too many decorating magazines, I decided that my pantry and linen closet needes some extreme organization. Aside from that bottom shelf, I think I have succeeded!!! (just need one more small basket for all those miscellaneous leftover bulk foods in bags.)

It may not make sense to anyone else but me, but that's ok! (Cereal, crackers and things that go on them, jarred staple things, canned goods, noodles, canned fruit/baking things, random shelf with things I don't use often, potatoes/onions and storage.)

You might also notice the very cute pink cake stand... I got that today too. Crazy sale shopping day! (and now everything related to baking fits in here nicely.. and the door shuts!!) There is also a basket for snacks, and one for nuts and seeds. YEA!

I feel so organized!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Slow Cooker Wild Rice and Leek Soup

Sorry, I have no pictures this time. But this soup was so good, and took me (literally) about 15 minutes to prepare. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Wild Rice and Leek Soup
(In the bowl of a slow cooker...)

First, spray the inside with cooking spray, just in case. Then add:

1 cup wild rice
1 cup chopped carrots
2 chopped leeks (or 1 1/2 if yours is small like mine)
1 cup chopped mushrooms
2 vegetable bouillion cubes
1/2 cup french lentils (the brown ones that don't fall apart)
1/2 cup chopped kale

Add enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Set on "low" for around 7 hours. (I did "high" for 2 hours, and "low" for 3 since I got started a bit late.) You might want to stir it once or twice, just to make sure that everything gets cooked (I'm talking to you here, kale!). You may also need to add more water, just because the rice and lentils soak up a lot of it; around 2 cups or so throughout the cooking time.

What (not) to eat when the power goes out

So, our power was out earlier this week, and when lunchtime came around, I was trying really hard to think of something good and relatively healthy to eat. I came up with: frozen pizza on the bbq, and a salad. Reasonably good, right?

I got out my pizza stone (so I could actually get it off the grill once it was done) and turned on the heat. It actually cooked pretty well:

What I couldn't tell was that most of the bottom of the pizza was totally BURNT. Boo! (next time, I'll try it at an even lower heat. It was only "medium"!)
Then, a salad. I cut up some lettuce, carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, and made a dressing. (One of a few culinary things I have learned from teaching at a French school.)
I chopped up a clove of garlic, mixed it with equal parts of olive oil and basalmic vinegar, and about a half teaspoon of dijon mustard, and called it good. (a little salt and pepper are good too. Some people will do more oil than vinegar, but I kind of like it this way.)
Something about my salad was just off though; kind of bitter. I blame the asparagus!
When I got home from class and the power was still out? We went out for dinner. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Classes Starting!

Just wanted to let you all know that new classes are starting this week! I have 3 at FISW, and a preschool class starting on Fridays. There are some soup workshops in January, and Valentine's candy classes in February. If you're interested (and live in the area!) go visit www.homegrowncookingschool.com for more info.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The month of soups!

In typical healthy-eating fashion, I have now dubbed January as The Month Of Soups. Granted, it is now the 7th, with nary a soup to be seen on this blog, but I promise you- there will be many! Today's Asian soup has a rather strange ingredient. They are these noodles that I came across via the Hungry Girl of Weight Watchers. I read about them when I was skimming her cookbook a few weeks ago, and then finally saw them at the store. She claims that they are fantastic, and for $2, I thought I'd give them a try:

They are labeled as a "noodle substitute" and are made from tofu. (Despite the fact that I swear "shirataki" is close to the word for "mushroom" in Japanese... maybe I'm just confusing it with shitake...) At 40 calories for a whole package, can you go wrong?

On the back, it tells you to cook the noodles twice; as in cook them before using them in soup or like pasta. Either in a pan or microwave it for a minute to lessen the "authentic flavor". This bit frightened me. What flavor that is good in it's "authentic" form needs to be diminished? It even gave these directions TWICE on the package, just so you would be sure not to keel over from the real fake noodle flavor. I opened it and rinsed them. A lot. Smelled it; it seemed a bit weird, like tofu. Microwaved it. Got out more liquid. Decided to be safe and microwaved them again, then added them to my soup.


This soup recipe will follow soon, I promise. It is actually very good, with real or fake noodles! And healthy as all get out. I think if I had a wheat allergy, I might be more forgiving of these nooodles. They really were ok, but definitely NOT something I would call "spaghetti"; more like ramen. And kind of squeaky to eat, like they didn't want to be bitten; kind of like enoki mushrooms.

Asian-Style Health Master Soup:

1 clove garlic, minced
1" fresh ginger root, grated
4 dried mushrooms, chopped
2 cups scallions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
1-2 bouillion cubes (veggie)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 cup cabbage or bok choy, chopped
1/4 tsp. hot chili sauce
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

4 0z. firm tofu, cut into cubes

Optional: chopped cilantro (this makes the soup so much better!), 1-2 oz. udon noodles, or fake ones as seen above.

In a large pot, heat about 6 cups of water with the bouillion cubes. Put in the garlic and ginger. Add carrots, celery, and broccoli. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then add tofu, other vegetables, noodles, and spices. Cook for about 10 more minutes, until the vegetables and noodles are done to your liking.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Last Cookies for a while...

I have, it must be said, eaten more than my fair share of cookies over the last month and a half. But, I did promise to post these lovely pumpkin cookies, so here they are. See the sacrifices I make for you? :)

Pumpkin Cookies, with Brown-Butter Icing
(adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies, a book you should run out and get right now if you don't have it.. and have no fear of butter...)

Cookies:

2 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp. ground ginger
¾ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup applesauce, unsweetened
2 ¼ c. light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 ½ c. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
¾ c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Icing:
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
10 Tbsp. (1 ¼ sticks) butter
¼ c. evaporated milk (or regular milk)
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375*. Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix in the egg and applesauce. Reduce speed to low, and add the pumpkin and evaporated milk. Then add the dry ingredients: baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt, and flour last.

Then, drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment-covered baking sheet. (Martha pipes her cookies, but I'm not that fancy.) Bake cookies about 12 minutes. Cool before icing. Icing: Sift sugar into a mixing bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until golden brown. Add melted butter to sugar, and add your milk and vanilla.

Frost after the cookies have cooled. MMmmm... The frosting is kind of eggnog-like to me (which I love) but if you think that's gross, it's really just the nutmeg. :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year (and bath bombs)!

Hello! Yes, I've taken a bit of a break from the blog, but I'm hoping to get back to my normal swing of things very soon. :)

During this time off, I made something that's not food related. Bath bombs! I have to say, they are really great. They smell nice, and are very fizzy (and not $5 a piece like they are at Lush or some place like that).

Enjoy!

Bath Bombs:

1 part citric acid
2 parts baking soda (I did 1 cup:2 cups)
around 1 Tbsp. scent
approximately 1/4 cup water
Food coloring
2-piece plastic mold for shaping

In a mixer, combine both powders. (First two ingredients.... citric acid is a powder, and I actually found mine at an Indian spice store down by Pike Place Market) While mixing, carefully add the scent. (I chose lavender.) Add in some liquid/gel food coloring while it is mixing. About a tablespoon at a time, add some water while it is mixing. This can be kind of tricky, as you don't want the mixture to fizz too much (and never stop fizzing, and then not fizz in the bath.) but you do want it to be able to come together a bit. The goal is for it to look a bit like wet sand.
Then, take the two parts of your mold. and fill them with the mixture. Really pack it in there! When it's together, lay it out on some parchment paper or wax paper to dry. (This is also key; my old condo was way too humid to dry them out properly, and they did not fizz. It works best in an open area with relatively dry air.) Leave them out to dry, about 24 hours or so.
Good luck!