Thursday, March 29, 2012

Room Without a View

I've been holed up in this room at work all week, putting in crazy long days.  On the one hand, I shouldn't complain because at least the chairs are semi-comfy and the walls have artwork.  On the other hand, zero daylight creeps into this room, and I don't step outside for 12 hours each day.  Ack!  I need fresh air to feel alive!

These long days also mean that my time at home is scarce and .... not spent writing up recipes :(  Boo!  So, I'll save my second recipe for next week with a couple other Easter-themed recipes, okey doke?  Speaking of - anyone have any Easter recipes they'd like to see?  Put in your requests now! 

The Weekend's Almost Here (phew!),

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Monday, March 26, 2012

(Vegan.) (Or Not.) Enchilada Lasagna

(Enchi-lasagna?  Enchil-agna?)

I've been in a weird place with food and cooking lately.  As you know, I gave up sugar for Lent, and I avoid dairy and soy for hormonal reasons.  But as if that weren't enough of a challenge, I'm trying to make vegan dishes a part of our meal rotation (thanks to this documentary), and it feels like teaching myself to cook all over again.  Especially with a meat-and-potatoes eater in the house (read: Bo).  I've been experimenting with scads of new recipes every weekend, learning how to balance the huge piles of veggies I absolutely love with some kind of protein, to keep our meals balanced and nourishing.

I stumbled onto this recipe a few weeks ago, and after making it twice and doing a lot of tweaking, I'm happy to say that it's seriously delicious.  So much so that I portioned out and froze the leftovers for easy and yummy packed lunches.  And, I'm really excited to have found a recipe for homemade enchilada sauce.  Who knew it was so easy to make from scratch?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Broiled Grapefruit

God bless Pinterest.  

I was feeling extraordinarily guilty for not having any recipes to post this week, and then the latest viral recipe on Pinterest popped into my head.

And whyyyy didn't I get any recipes blogged up this weekend?  Why?  It wasn't for lack of cooking.  I tried out four brand new recipes this last weekend, and came up with some yummy things to share!  But.  But, it was 85 degrees outside.  Normally, I'm incapable of sitting and doing nothing, but that's exactly what I did out in our back yard both Saturday and Sunday.  So I wasn't in the kitchen during prime daylight photo-taking hours.  And I don't even have a tan to show for it :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guinness Molasses Bread with Cinnamon Honey Butter

I'm so excited for this St. Patrick's Day recipe!  Last year's Irish Soda Bread was yummy, but this recipe for Guinness Molasses Bread knocks its socks off with simplicity and speed.  I mean, look down there - only six ingredients!  No eggs, no fat, and all you do is stir, pour, and bake.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Doggie Birthday Cake

Yep, you read that right!  Today our dog, Rory, turns a sprightly 8 years old, and I thought I would finally give her a proper birthday cake to celebrate.  And a little party with her toys, naturally :)

(We're forever putting things on Rory's head and snapping photos.  It's to the point now where she freezes her poses when she sees me put the camera to my face.  It's a little cruel, but totally awesome at the same time.  If you want to see more of Rory with things on her head, go here, here, here, here, or a video here!)

This little cake recipe is a cinch to mix up, and it actually doesn't taste half bad.  (Of course, I sampled it!)  It's basically a regular cake recipe with not enough sugar.  Rory wasn't sure what to do with it at first, because it was such a big treat and full of amazing smells.  But once she started licking off the peanut butter frosting, she didn't stop until we took half the cake to save for tomorrow.  She loved it!


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Doggie Birthday Cake
adapted from Allrecipes

1 c. (120g) whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1 egg
1/4 c. (64g) natural peanut butter
1/4 c. (54g) vegetable oil
1/3 c. (104g) honey
1 c. (100g) shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until cake passes the toothpick test. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Optional:  Cut into a bone shape and frost with additional peanut butter.

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Ingredient Lineup:

Allow the cake to cool completely before you cut it into a shape.

{  sniff, sniff  }

Dogs with peanut butter tongues will never, ever not be funny to me!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Fun: Jam Labelizer

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Oh dear goodness, I adore this little site!  The Jam Labelizer is a very simple little tool to create your own jam labels, save the images, and print them out.  Easy peasy lemon squeezie!

Not only do I swoon over the cutesy interface, but it has me daydreaming about coordinating my next trip back to Oregon with the summer fruit season.  If you haven't had an apple, cherry, pear, peach, or plum from the Pacific Northwest, you are very much missing out.  (I'm still waiting for the state of Georgia to kick me out for snub-nosing their local peaches.)  Mom?  If you're reading this?  Can we make jam this summer?

There are a handful of labels that are totally free to customize, save, and print.  And it even lets you choose your jar size, so that the labels fit just right.  Anybody squint to read the directions on this label?

That's right - It says to use milk to stick plain paper to a jar.  What the what?  Apparently, if you print your label on laser paper, you can brush milk on the back and stick it right to the jar.  Who knew!  I love that idea!  If you click the link from the site, it takes you to a message board where people discuss how they attach labels to glass bottles using milk and printer paper.

I'm just dying to try this out.  Homemade jam is easier than you think, and it just tastes so, so good.  I'm pretty sure that I need to take a field trip to my mom's kitchen in Oregon to make jam and photograph the process for a summertime blog post.  I'll make any excuse to get my paws on some jam from the Northwest! :)

Berry Excited!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Microwave Potato Chips

I told you it wouldn't be green! :)

I'd been staring at the directions for microwaved potato chips for a good year before I finally got around to trying it.  Silly, silly me!

Ingredient lineup, whatever! - these only call for potatoes and salt.  Period.  Nothing else.  You can get all crazy and whip out your favorite seasoning salt, but you truly don't need any other ingredient.  Which means, zero oil.  It's bonkers, I know.  You wouldn't think that the microwave could get potato slices crunchy, but it absolutely does.  These chips end up with a texture like kettle chips - a little on the heartier side with a good crispy crunch.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thai Stir-Fried Greens

(When will she ever tire of recipes for dang greens?!)

Here!  A "Happy St. Patrick's Day" bouquet for you! :) 
This recipe is basically a Thai-style way of cooking greens.  You could use just about any green, but the original recipe called for Chinese broccoli, or rapini, so I went with that.  It's been years since I last had rapini, and I'm starting to tire of the kale and spinach that I eat my way through every week.  (Of course, I type this as I'm sucking down my daily green smoothie.)

I love me a good Asian-style sauce for cooking veggies, because it makes eating vegetables so easy, yummy, and healthy.  This green side would work well with our Vietnamese Chicken from last week, but I think it would be best on its own, with some protein added to it.  The greens have a strong flavor, and I'd hate to overpower the chicken because it was just so fantastically delicious.  In the future, I plan to make this recipe with some diced chicken breast and mushrooms added.  With some chili garlic sauce thrown in for good measure.  Yummmm....

I promise that my next recipe with have zero green in it!

Still Asleep,

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Thai Stir-Fried Greens
adapted from The Kitchn

1 bunch Chinese broccoli, rapini, or other sturdy green
2-3 Tbsp. oyster sauce
2 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

Wash the broccoli and shake off excess water. (You want some water still clinging to the leaves, as that will help with the cooking process.) Chop the stalks into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Chop the leaves into bite-size pieces.

In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce, water, fish sauce, and sugar.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Swirl in the oil. Add the garlic and stir briefly, until sizzling and fragrant. If the stalks are very thick, add them to the pan first, stirring for 1-2 minutes before adding the leaves. Otherwise, add both stalks and leaves to the pan, followed by the sauce. Stir and toss the vegetables frequently until the leaves are wilted and the stalks are tender, about 3-5 minutes. Makes 2-3 servings.

Additional Notes:
• You can add a protein like shrimp, chicken or tofu to the stir-fry. Increase the amount of sauce and stir-fry the protein for a few minutes before adding the garlic.

• Although this recipe is fantastic with dark green, leafy, slightly bitter vegetables, the sauce will work with virtually any sturdy vegetable (cauliflower, carrots, celery, etc.), so feel free to mix it up.

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Ingredient Lineup:

Note:  Not what a Southerner has in mind when they say "big ol' mess a'greens":

Two minutes later:  Lil' ol' mess a'greens.

"Hi, my name is Rory.  And I follow Sara around the house, begging for these oyster greens things.  They're so yum that I'll do ridiculous tricks and pose for photos just to get my paws on some scraps."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Fun: Sprout Robot

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Have you heard of Sprout Robot?  I'm not sure how I stumbled onto this site last year, but I think it's just so adorable that you can't help but click around.

The idea behind Sprout Robot is that you enter your zip code, and it tells you what and when to plant things in your garden or patio containers.  I'm super new to gardening (read: Bo does all the gardening while I stand around with my black thumbs in my pockets), so having a list catered to my growing zone is super handy and helps eliminate guesswork while we stand in front of the seeds display at Lowe's.

I entered my zip code yesterday, and this is the list it popped up.  If you click on the Details for any of the veggies, it shows when the seeds should sprout, when to thin the starts, and then when you can expect to start harvesting.  Love that!

And if you click Instructions, it gives an illustrated set of directions for planting that particular veggie seed.

They offer a membership plan which takes it one step further by mailing you seeds for your area and at the perfect time for planting.  Um, how cool is that?

Sprout Robot is on all the usual media outlets, and I do follow them there.  They post fun links on Facebook (including one on making animal shapes out of raw broccoli, lol) and helpful tips.

What about you?  Are you thinking about planting anything this year?  After Bo's bumper crop of peppers last summer, I'm going to ask if he'll start trying more varieties.  And I'd love to have more herbs for freezing and using throughout the fall and winter months.  But, since I'm not the one out there tending to the crops, I'm not sure how much nudging and nagging I should be doing :)

Happy Weekend!
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