Friday, November 30, 2012


I have had this post percolating for months now, but left it unpublished because I thought it was "too soon" for another food post.  Then I thought 1) it's been a long time and 2) when is it ever "too soon" for anything food related?  (The answer to that rhetorical question is: after food poisoning)

If a lot of these seem a little summery, that's because, well, we ate most of these things during the summer.  So don't forget these things come next summer!  In the meantime, enjoy your hot cocoas and pies and perhaps some ham. 

Zucchini Rice Gratin
I had never really made anything like this before.  Partly because, well, I just don't really like rice.  But if there's a way to make me eat rice (besides making it sticky), it's to cover it all up with tomatoes and cheese.  This was delicious!  I think as it is, it's a good main dish for two hungry people, but for more I would probably double it, if only for leftovers.

Strawberry Summer Cake
I'm not even sure how many times I have made this cake now.  It's so easy, it's so tasty and it's so pretty.  I love my triple-decker cakes, but this is a little more...shall we say, practical.  (PS, I love smitten kitchen.  It never fails me!)

Pizza Stromboli with Spinach, Mushrooms and Cheese 
Try to look past the unappetizing photos!  It really was good.  I prefer my pizza crust recipe from Betty Crocker, but theirs is fine too (a little tougher/denser).  It was quite a pretty thing to behold right out of the oven!

Avocado Brownies with Avocado Frosting
I know, right??  But trust me, these were SO good.  We ate the entire first batch ourselves.  The brownies don't taste like avocado--just like super fudgy, dense brownies.  The frosting, if you add all that powdered sugar, doesn't tastes like avocados either.  Personally, I thought the frosting was way too sweet, but it's definitely a taste-as-you-go situation.  I liked having it taste a little more like avocados.

Dark Chocolate Banana Cookies
An easy, tasty way to use up bananas.  They aren't terribly pretty but that's never stopped me.
Tomato and corn pie 
I wanted to try this out both because it looked so pretty but also as a different take on our regular tomato pie.  They're both winners, but this one is definitely a little more labor intensive.  Also I had corn all over the kitchen.  It's a small price to pay!  Gosh, I want some tomato pie right now.
Avocado Enchiladas
So delicious you won't even notice they're vegetarian.  I like my enchiladas stuffed so I used 4 avocados, and of course it's flour tortillas all the way because corn tortillas are barfy.  

Smitten Kitchen Brownies 
Well, not my favorite brownies, but, you know...brownies nonetheless.

(Still hanging in there?  Like I said, this has been building up for a while now...)

Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Soup 
Maybe bok choy isn't my thing, but while I liked this soup, it did not amaze me.  I made it a little too spicy on accident, which didn't help, but Drewbles was a big fan so there's an endorsement for you.

Grilled Ham and Cheese Pull-Apart Sandwich Loaf 
This is not high-brow eating.  But it IS good eating, when you're in the mood for something a step up from a Hot Pocket.  We baked ours.  

Jalapeno Popper Dip
Over the last year or two I have become a big, big fan of poppers.  I save them for special occasions when I need something to look forward to, but since this isn't *technically* poppers, I could make it for no reason whatsoever!  And then eat it all.  

Oreo Pudding Cookies
Another item we ate all on our own...with no complaints.  Maybe we need friends?  Anyway, I was a little skeptical about these cookies, maybe since Oreos aren't my favorite.  But, hear me, blog world, you want these cookies and you want them ASAP.  Do yourself a favor and eat them fresh out of the oven.

Panko Mozzarella Sticks 
You KNOW these were good.  Don't even stop to wonder.  Bonus: they fried up nice.  Much nicer than the poor, ill-fated fried cheese curds...

Baked Mac and Cheese
This summer I kind of went on a homemade mac and cheese streak--partly because I've never met a homemade mac and cheese I love more than Velveeta and partly because, well, I've also never met a mac and cheese I didn't like (except YOURS, Ikea).  Anyhoo, this was one of the experiments.  Better than Velveeta?  Hah!  I thought it was a little heavy and didn't have the smoothness that I like.  But that doesn't mean I didn't scarf it down.

Banana Ice Cream
Meaning, made out of bananas.  Though it's kind of annoying to have to use the food processor, this really does work!  And it even tastes like ice cream.  It's just amazing, and worth a try if only to see how it really works.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Consequences of Watching LOST

Lately I've been rewatching (ie, relistening) to LOST at work.  It works out well except when Jin says anything.  Anyhoo, it's led to a few changes in my diet and mental wishlist.  Par example: 

(Pictures link to the original sources, if you're curious)

I want to eat these all the time:
In fact, I do.

I want to eat these all the time:

Alas, they're not in stores.  Do I even like papayas?  I have no idea.

I want to eat this all the time:

In fact, I do.  (And here I thought I had killed my interest in Kraft mac and cheese with too much in the college days.  Not so!  Thanks, Dharma.)

This would be okay too:

(Haven't gotten to this...yet)

I would like to be here:

I also wouldn't mind my body looking like this:

So close!  ...  (We both have four appendages.)

As for everything else, well, I think I'm okay without submarines, dinosaurs smoke monsters and Benry.  FOR NOW.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Did It Myself

Why blog about big exciting things like cruises and holidays and...well, that's it...but why blog about those thing when you can blog about small crafty things you accomplished?  The answer is this: it's a lot faster to talk about crafts than a big trip.  Hold tight, cruise, I'll get to you one of these days.  

Anyway, the last few weeks I have been trying to make some things that we generally buy.  I'm not clear on my motivation, but I think sometimes I see these how-to things as a challenge from no one the universe.  I just like putting my fist in the air and saying, "I can make that!"  One day I will make my own flag to wave in these moments. 

Thing the First: Freezer Jam

I am daunted by the canning process.  I don't actually know what that process is, but I know it involves a lot of pots and a lot of jar boiling.  So, you can see the appeal of freezer jam for me, which involves no pots or jars or stoves.  I used the recipe that came with the pectin but it is essentially this: mash the fruits up, add some pectin and sugar and put it in the un-boiled container.

Thing the Second: Ranch dressing

I re-stumbled upon this recipe and, since we were out of ranch anyway, I decided to give it a whirl.  I have never been huge on ranch, but the Mister would happily use it on anything so we go through bottles regularly.  And while he would gladly eat any kind of ranch, I think this is already my favorite kind!  It's closer to the Cafe Rio ranch than, say, Hidden Valley, but...the Cafe Rio kind is better than Hidden Valley anyway.  

Thing the Third: Glass cleaner

Lately I have been intrigued by homemade cleaning supplies, and this was my first foray (I used the winning recipe found here).  I tried it out in the bathroom, and it cleaned up nice.  No, it wasn't the most amazing glass cleaner in the world and it does run, but since our bathroom is small and windowless, I appreciated the lack of ammonia fumes.  
Plus it works pretty well for general cleanup, as you can see from how I cleaned off the windowsill before taking the picture.  

Now all I have to do is not get it mixed up with this bottle of water for Drew's haircuts: 

You know what else I can make myself?  A sandwich press.