Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Oat Scones

Starbucks has amazing scones, but they're huge and usually have tons of calories. Which is fine, if you're eating a scone for a meal, or if you split it or save some for later. But let's face it: you're going to Starbucks for a fancy drink and you're planning on eating the whole thing. That's why you're there!

If you look up a recipe for scones with the intention of making them at home, and, theoretically, lower calorie, I think you'll still be disappointed. Most recipes I found were still pretty hefty in calories.

So, I adapted a recipe to make it a little lighter. They came out fantastic! Around 100 calories, and not the size of a piece of birthday cake.

Pumpkin Oat Scones
(recipe and nutritional information)


1.5 cups wheat flour
1.5 cups oats
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup pumpkin
1/2 - 3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla


  1. Combine dry ingredients, then add in wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  2. Split dough into two balls. Roll each ball into a disk about 1/2" thick, and cut into 8 slices.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
I also made some apple butter in the slow cooker. The two were an amazing match. (The apple butter was also an amazing addition to a boring oatmeal packet, but I digress.) But, I'd recommend freezing half until you want them; I ended up throwing out quite a few because they got moldy. Sad times, but I'll be making these again!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vegetable Tart

Did you know that October was Vegetarian Awareness month? I meant to tell you. I'm sorry.

I'm not going to preach to you about how being a vegetarian is so wonderful, made me lose 50 pounds, or gave me a sense of moral superiority. I will say that eating less meat made me feel pretty good, and was fairly cost effective too.

In honor of pursuing a flexatarian diet, I made a veggie tart. You can get my recipe and nutritional information here; the original recipe here.

And I highly recommend that you do so. It was amazing.

I'm a little bummed the calorie count is so high, but it's like pizza. Delicious, delicious pizza. With less grease and more good stuff.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Ah, Halloween. Such a great holiday on it's own, on top of kicking off the Holiday Season.

The holiday weekend kicked off with my work party. I love potlucks where people take great pride in what they bring. You have never seen so much food in your life! I made a giant candy corn cupcake cake for my contribution.

We started the holiday proper with the annual Pumpkin run, and reminisced about the previous years when 3.1 miles seemed like crossing a continent. Even though a 5k has become a "light" run for me these days, I didn't feel so great that morning. I still did extremely well, but I missed my PR and 3rd place in my age division by five seconds. Ouch.

In fact, I'm sort of embarrassed about it. First, that I didn't keep up my continuous improvement. And then second, that I was upset about my time at all. Four years ago, breaking 30 minutes was my ultimate running goal. This year I did 27:53. The lesson here is to make this motivate me to work harder for next year!

Afterward, we had some celebratory pumpkin spice lattes and finished setting up the house for wine and Halloween candy tasting. It was a spur of the moment idea, and it came out well!

Even though the day was supposed to be about candy, I made a veggie platter and bruschetta. I'm happy to say while there was candy left over, the healthy stuff was gone! I have such smart friends. I also made popcorn balls and apple chips, although these were both fails. The apple chips were in the oven nearly all day, and never quite got crispy. The popcorn balls turned into a solid ball when I put them in a bowl; I didn't have a candy thermometer to check the temperature. But I'm sure these will appear in the future - they were much easier to make than anticipated!

When it got dark, we handed out candy to the neighborhood kids. My favorites were the under-five set; you can immediately tell they don't know what's going on yet, and they're not sure if they want to be a part of it. Too cute! We gave out candy until we ran out, except I discovered another two bags today! Those will have to go to the Operation Gratitude drive.

I used leftover cake batter from the cupcake cake to send candy corn cupcakes to work with the husband. From what I hear, they went over pretty well. And they do look rather cute, if I do say so myself.

I hope your Halloween was fun, happy, and safe! Now, on to Thanksgiving. I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Alright. This is the story of the Cherpumple.

It started with a link on my facebook page. That my husband happened to see and declare the most awesome thing he had ever seen. I saw it on a couple of cooking blogs, too; apparently it was a short-lived meem (although now it seems to have broadened into a bake-something-in-a-cake meem).

Here's the video. It's actually funny, even if you're not interested in cooking.

Here's the thing: I kind of laughed, and that was it. People don't seriously make this, do they?? Ah, but they do make cherpumples.

Husband was serious. Friend was serious. Suddenly a cherpumple was about to be born.

Basically, a cherpumple is three pies baked into three cakes. In this case, an cherry pie baked in a chocolate cake, a pumpkin pie baked in a spice cake, and an apple pie baked in a yellow cake.

In other words, a logistical nightmare on the proportions of cooking Thanksgiving dinner in one day.

Let's start with the supplies. Three cakes, three pies, and enough cream cheese frosting to last through Christmas. If you were wondering, here's proof cakes are better than pies: a pie costs around $5-6 to make, but you can totally make a cake for $3-4. I did manage to get a pre-baked apple pie from the bakery, but the cherry and pumpkin had to be baked. I got frozen pie crusts and canned filling. What, it's going inside a cake. No points for pretty.

Pie issues: the frozen crusts were underwhelming. They didn't come with a top for the cherry pie, but it doesn't really matter. They take an hour to bake. And, they're nine inches. My largest cake pan is nine inches. Leaving no margin for error dumping the pie in between layers of cake batter.

That, times three.

Cake issues: they took forever to bake. We used all of the cake batter, not 75% of it. Apparently the heat doesn't go through the pie very well, so it was jiggly on top in a circle over the pie. Each cake ended up taking around an hour to bake.

Six hours later ...


This monstrosity was in the refrigerator. We kind of rushed through stacking and frosting because after six hours you just want to eat some cake! Refrigerating helped it cool and set and stop tilting over.

After a week, a third is gone, a little slice is still in the refrigerator, and half is frozen. It's good, but only so good. At this point you could safely say baking a cherpumple should be an Olympic event.

Would I make one again? No. Not unless someone paid me, and it was for a group of ten or more people. I would consider making a single layer, though. That is way more manageable, and still funny.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Newlywed Chocolate Cookies

Lately I've seen a lot of articles on the internet about how your spouse makes you fat. Let's talk about this for a minute. You just got married, theoretically happy and in love, and everything is right with the world. Except those pounds that have crept on. And it's totally not your fault! It's that horrible person that just promised to love you forever!

Good grief, people.

Then again, maybe they got a cookbook as a wedding gift, and made these cookies. They will not last the day.

The secret is the melted chocolate in the batter. Oh dear. Just trust me on this one: go out to the store now, buy some chocolate, and get to work.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Let's widen our horizons for a moment.

All over the world, there's a dish of meat wrapped in a pastry crust. Sometimes they're sweet. It's hard to go wrong with something wrapped in dough. There are a lot of names, but let's roll with empanadas today.

This recipe was pretty helpful in getting the dough and the cooking time right. As for the filling, I put some beef in the slow cooker, and also made some slow cooker salsa chicken.

So, I guess you could say these take a lot of work. First, the slow cooker, to get the meat filling just right. Then rolling out the dough. That is my least favorite step of any recipe - getting the counter all flour-y and then trying to scrape up the pasty flour and dough bits. Ugh.

It's not that bad. Really. And in case you're wondering, the circles were cut out using a cereal bowl as a template.

I would say, just as good as Empanada's Place. But that place really rocks, nice people, and amazing prices. So you should check it out if you're around. Save your time for Facebook.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Macaroni & Cheese

Yes, I have heard of the Pioneer Woman.

I have nothing against her. She's probably really cool. But the recipes ... I don't know. I think I'm intimidated. And we'll talk about the butter chicken someday. Today we're going to talk about macaroni and cheese.

I'll grant that the blue box is rather underwhelming. Am I right? But sometimes you want Mexican food, and sometimes you want Taco Bell. Everyone knows they're not the same, but they both have their place in the world. Although, I'm actually a white-shells-and-cheddar type of girl.

First, I didn't use whole milk. I used skim. And margarine. And some regular mustard. And broccoli. Because I wasn't about to have dinner without some vegetables.

I'd make it again ... maybe for someone else. Because for a party, homemade macaroni and cheese sounds so. Can you imagine showing up to Thanksgiving with this? What? You don't have macaroni & cheese at your Thanksgiving dinners?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Birthday Cupcakes

Gratuitous cupcake shot!!

These were for my coworker's birthday. I know she likes chocolate and ... chocolate. The sprinkles were a risk I was willing to take.

Who doesn't like sprinkles?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Banana. Peanut butter. Chocolate.

Our neighbor gave us this book, the Cake Mix Doctor. I say us, because seriously, do you think the mister doesn't benefit? It's a great book, if you want/need a souped up dessert. The good doctor has a website, too.

And in this case, gave me the right proportions to turn a plain white cake mix into banana cupcakes!

There wasn't too much banana called for in the recipe. But believe me, they were certainly banana-y.

As for frosting, I made peanut butter frosting with some leftover chocolate chips. Which came out looking like cookie dough, confusing everyone at the event. Oh well. I didn't hear any complaints.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ice Cream & Cake

For his birthday, my lovely husband likes ice cream cake. He's a summer birthday, just about the time of year that ice cream is necessary.

A couple of years ago, I spent an amazing amount of money on a ridiculously small ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. The girl at the counter kindly offered to write on it, but who knows where the writing would have gone, and how small it would need to be!

I was kind of sour on the whole thing. (At the time I did not know that Albertson's sells them, but there are only two of us anyway so a cake is bound to last.)

Then Real Simple comes along with blah blah making an ice cream cake is so easy! And you know what? It is. And it only cost around $8, all things considered.

Step 1: Bake the cake. I used a regular chocolate mix in my 9" springform pan. The springform is key, because it makes for easy assembly.

Step 2: When the cake is cool, unhinge the cake and split it. Take off the top half, and rehinge the pan around the bottom half.

Step 3: Set some ice cream out to soften. Spread it to the edges of the pan on the bottom half of the cake. You might want to consider melting a light layer of chocolate on the bottom half of the cake so it doesn't get soggy while you're adding the ice cream, but it's not really necessary. I used almost a whole carton of Breyer's chocolate, minus an enormous glop on the floor. Whoops.

Step 4: Drop the top half of the cake back in, and throw the whole thing in the freezer. No need to cover it, although you might want to later if it's going to be a while.

Step 5: Frost the cake however you see fit. I just did the top with some plain buttercream so I could leave the sides of the pan on in the freezer.

A funny thing to notice: the cake shrinks way more than the ice cream will in the freezer. You could always cover that up with frosting. Don't worry; the cake and frosting doesn't get weird when it's frozen.

I'm not a big fan of ice cream cake. I don't like the ice cream melting and making the cake all soggy. But it's honestly just like Baskin Robbins. So plan ahead and experiment with your own ice cream cake.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Guys, I hate baklava.

Just so you know.

Yes, the knife was standing up on its own.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pho Weekend

I couldn't tell you what I've been so busy doing lately, but it seems like time has been going a lot faster (despite the longer daylight hours). It was busy time at work, so there was that. Then there's the whole ... I don't think my cooking has been as good as it was before. Kind of a bummer.

In one weekend I,

  • Slept. I earned it.
  • Made english muffins. They were only OK. Stupid whole wheat flour.
  • Went to Tuesday Morning. I've heard about that store for years, and finally went. That place is cracked out and I will not be back. I thought I'd pick up a mandoline on the cheap; the only one they had there was $80. I got mine from Target for $9.
  • Did my shopping. There was a lot to do.
  • Attempted to finish my wedding scrapbook. If only I could be more decisive on paper. The scrapbooking aisle(s) are just way too overwhelming.
  • Started my container garden. No more 1" pots sitting in front of the window! Now I have an array of 6" pots seeded and tomatoes started again.
  • Ordered some bookshelves I've been meaning to order for, oh, maybe a couple of months. Crate and Barrel had the ones I wanted for $139 each, plus delivery. I found them on (not exactly the same, but so close I had to put them side by side to tell the difference) for $80 + $1 shipping. Win.
  • Ran. For the first time in over a week.
  • Vacuumed the whole house, scrubbed the floor, and cleaned. I feel so much better.
  • Visited Food 4 Less for the first time ever, despite our old apartment being just blocks from one. It was FUN. I don't think people there have ever seen anyone actually say "ooh!" out loud when looking at the spice shelves.
It's been a cool summer. The perfect weather for pho, actually.

I don't usually have meat bones sitting around, so I boiled some giant fatty chunks from the roast leftovers. And, I didn't have nice little spice baggies for boiling, so I dumped the spices in two coffee filters and tied them off with thread. Luckily they didn't explode, and the chunks didn't melt! It even got a little frothy on top, which seemed to be a good sign since the sites I looked at online complained about it.

I boiled the chunks and packets for an hour, meanwhile slicing the roast (cold, straight out of the refrigerator) with my shiny new mandoline, chopping up the green onions, and softening the bean strands.

True story: as I was chopping the green onion, I kept looking at the little white bulbs. Ultimately I picked the three most viable-looking (green tops left, and longish roots), came running upstairs, and stuck them in deep holes in an unseeded pot. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that they'd grow again. Husband didn't find any of this peculiar.

Monday, September 6, 2010

English Muffins

One time, I saw this utterly ridiculous video on the internet of a man who made a full-on meal in a hotel room from ingredients available at the corner store. I don't know if I buy the whole thing but it did make me stop and think ... are English muffins really that easy to make?

Sure, with a lot of time and patience. We usually buy whole wheat English muffins, so that's what I made. And truthfully, they are easy to make. But, as you can see, I wasn't very patient and had the heat on too high.

Maybe next time I'll try it on the iron.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Angel Food Cake

For one of my coworker's birthday this year, I decided to make an angel food cake. I reeeeally wanted to make one.

In hindsight, I hardly make angel food, because I've never really liked it. Give me chocolate anything any day.

Did you know it takes nine egg whites to make it from scratch? Nine egg whites, some sugar and flour to make a bowl full of pretty white fluff.

Getting these out of the pan seems to be a little tricky. By the way, covering up a mess with sticky vanilla glaze doesn't make it less of a mess. I felt bad taking it in, because the cakes at the store are all smooth and lovely looking.

No one at work seemed to mind.

You might ask, "but what do you do with the nine egg yolks?" Silly question.

Gratuitous creme brulee shot!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pumpkin Cake

Splenda's website has a wealth of healthy recipes. And, I'm kind of a Splenda fan. Probably only because it dissolves fast in my coffee, and doesn't make nasty coffee-sugar sludge at the bottom.

Here's what you do with an extra can of pumpkin, aging walnuts, and two giant bags of Splenda: pumpkin cake.

It's really more of a pie.

I did use some regular sugar, but here's an important lesson: baked goods made with Splenda will not rise. Whatever sugar does, Splenda (regular, not the type especially for baking) does not.

Although, I made a loaf of my failproof blueberry quick oat bread using 1/4 sugar and the rest Splenda, and it came out perfect. But that's why it's failproof.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Cooking fancy dishes is fun, but sometimes cooking with a neat trick is even more fun. Did you know you can make donuts out of pre-made biscuits?

I wouldn't recommend it.

  1. Frying is a pain. No matter what. You can see some of those little guys are burned, and that's because I hate frying.
  2. Pre-made biscuit dough sometimes has these enormous salt crystals in them. For whatever reason, that grosses me out a little.
  3. Those little holes? They don't stand a chance. (I won't judge.)
  4. You could easily eat a whole can of biscuits, which is about 1,200 calories not including any glaze you might want to add. Again, I won't judge, but just think about that a minute.
Just walk yourself down to 7-11 and pay the $2 for coffee & donut tomorrow, OK?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Easter Eggs

This is a cute idea to make candy Easter eggs. They were pretty tricky to make, and I wish the instructions were a little more detailed. For instance, I've since learned that if you want smooth, shiny chocolate coating, you need to temper the chocolate.

I made a huge batch for my parents for Easter. Let's just say ... they had to get out of the house.

These are a reasonable approximation of Cadbury eggs, my super favorite candy of all time. In fact, I have a couple of boxes from last year saved in the freezer. You know, in case of emergency.

From what I heard, these didn't last long at my parents' house either.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Garlicky Baked Shrimp

If you like garlic, and you like shrimp, then you should certainly try this recipe out.

That yellow mush is cornmeal. I like it a lot more than mashed potatoes, but those are good too.

I had a fail and bought tail-on shrimp. What a pain. The worst part is I keep failing over and over again ... I think someone is putting the wrong bag in the tail-off boxes at Costco. 'Cause this is getting ridiculous.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monster Mac

One of my friends came by to learn how to make those fad-tastic little French cookies.

Not one to waste batter, we used the last in a piping bag to make ...


That, my chickadees, is a single macaron with a regular-sized one for comparison.

Monster mac was about the size of a slice of bread, which we filled, folded in half, and ATE.

Seriously, am I the only person that's Americanized such a refined treat?

Monday, August 2, 2010


One of the fascinating things I find about cooking dishes from different cultures is that there is always some variation of bread - some combination of flour, water, and heat.

And bread is always good.

Now that I'm pretty much a full resident of southern California, it was time I made tortillas.

Beautiful, no?

I'm glad I tried it. Probably wouldn't try it again. They're a lot of effort, especially if you don't have a press to get them really, really thin. And they're so cheap and tasty from the store, why mess with success?

Slow cooker salsa chicken. Always a win.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Party Ideas

A while back, we had a little get together at our house. I don't want to call it a party, so we'll just leave it at that.

There were a lot of people, so we just got one of those giant sandwich trays from Costco. Love those, by the way. They're always a win.

Now, no event at my house is complete without me cooking something.

Bread is pretty simple to make, believe it or not, so I made a couple of loaves with garlic mixed in, and topped with tomatoes and olives to serve with cheese. Yum. Too bad no one really liked olives.
Then I had the creative idea to serve a simple, easy, but unique dessert. Smores!

Yes, I know most of the fun of these is getting to play with fire in a semi-dangerous situation, but it was mid-day and there were a lot of people. And yes, these are just marshmallows dipped in chocolate and rolled in crushed up graham crackers. And ... they sort of look like little mushrooms. Which would be cute for a garden themed party right?

But I swear I set out a couple of plates of these (LOTS of marshmallows) and they were all gone.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


So I'm scrolling through foodgawker after work one day and see a photo of a popcorn bucket full of crispity, crunchity chickpeas. Really? A healthy alternative to chips?

Essentially, you flavor the chickpeas however you like, and bake them at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring periodically. I couldn't decide between sweet and spicy, so I put honey and cinnamon on one half of the can, and olive oil and cayenne on the other half.

Forty minutes later I had these. I tried a hot one of each, straight out of the oven. I think the sweet ones were a little overcooked, and they didn't taste very sweet. The spicy ones were a little better, only because they were flavorful.

Imagine a flavored nut mix. That's sort of what these taste like.

I'd make them again, but not be shy on the seasoning. And I'd make more! Time to invest in some dry bean bags, rather than my oh-so-convenient cans.

**edit: Still totally love these. I went out and bought a couple of bags of dried chickpeas, but they are a PAIN in the BUTT. Sure, they're cheap, but you really have to plan ahead, and that's just not something I'm going to do.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guinness Cake

In the theme of Irish foods: how about a beer cake?

Here are a couple of recipes to use as a guide, one with sour cream and one with coffee. I didn't add either, so it was essentially a chocolate cake with a bottle of Guinness instead of the water you'd normally use.

The rather disappointing thing is, it doesn't taste like beer at all. It's a great cake, but I was kind of hoping for a unique flavor. Mint flavored frosting, though.

The decoration was a very cute idea stolen from Martha Stewart. I drew a clover on a sheet of paper, cut it out, and laid the paper on top of the cake. It helps if you press it down a little, so the sugar doesn't get under the template. And stick with a simpler design; the clover might have been a little detailed.

Given the meh results, I may or may not be interested in trying the diet Coke cake any more.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MLB All Star 5k

For all of you who ask, "how do you cook so much and stay thin?" Well, here's how. I don't.

Running in the new neighborhood (which isn't so new anymore, really) isn't as convenient as the old neighborhood. There are hills. And traffic. So I stopped running as often, and what happened from there should be pretty obvious.

First, I caved and bought Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. It's 100% gimmicky but I've heard so much about it, I figured for a few bucks I'd try it. Have I mentioned how much I do not like her? Or the Biggest Loser? I only watched it once but ... we'll, I'll elaborate if you want some other time. Suffice it to say, do not like. New arch nemesis.

Sad to say, it really does work. I haven't done a consistent 30 days because I can't. I hurt so much the next day that I can barely walk, much less do it again or go running. And I fancy myself a fairly fit person.

But this was supposed to be about the MLB All Star game 5k event. They really made this game into a week-long deal. Anyway, I dragged my poor husband at the crack of dawn on a Sunday out to Angels Stadium in Anaheim for the race.

What can I say? The course was nice. It was reminiscent of that-we-can't-talk-about-this-year
and my arch nemesis was there to kick things off. Ugh.

But guess what?

Super PR!! When I saw the clock at 28 minutes, I threw myself a big cheering party across the timing mats. Did I look insane? Probably. Whatever.

And for new runners, or people who are just curious: this is the first race I've run the whole way through, without walking. That obviously contributed to my time, but I wasn't doing poorly walking either. So, don't worry if you have to walk every now and then. You'll get there!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

So let's try again.

Remember when I graduated from school and said I was going to sleep for a month? I may or may not have done that. And then everything was supposed to be all easy and fun.
Instead all this other stuff happened. I was blogging and that was kind of fun, but I never really advertised it because I really don't like attention (true story). But here's the other part of the story: there's a whooooole lot of life outside my kitchen. Plus most of my work is sitting on the computer, so guess what I don't want to do when I get home? There's this huge world of stuff to see and do and being on a computer all the time = not fun for me.

Not to mention the pressure. I cook a lot, and the photos are a pain to edit and upload and all that garbage (I don't like to read blogs without photos). So those add up. Maybe I got burned out on cooking, too, since I felt like I always had to make something new and exciting. Dumb, I know.

But people see my pictures on facebook. Actually, lots of people. So maybe they're not interested in a blog about how to actually make the stuff, but it sure does help me - I make the same thing over and over again if it's good, and every time I make it I think "ooh, next time, I'll do this!" And promptly forget.

Here's the deal: I'll do 50% catch up, and 50% new stuff. Here's catch up #1:

Irish Soda Bread.

Around St. Patrick's Day (MARCH, people), the internet was all about making Irish foods. I resisted, because this must have been around the time that I was getting a little burned out. But then at the last minute, I really, really wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

Hence, the Irish soda bread, which was what I could make late on St. Patrick's Day with stuff on hand. It came out ugly, but so good. There's about 1,000 recipes, but this one worked just fine.

Stick around and if you're nice, I'll let you in on the other good stuff I've been cooking.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's looking at me.

One day I came home from work, and wanted a snack. Specifically, bread and butter. Most people would probably just get a slice of bread and eat that but me? I have to make some skillet bread.

Everything was going fine until I flipped it onto a plate ...

I ate it anyway.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Depression Cake

No, I'm not depressed. But if, say, you were depressed, a chocolate cake would surely cure it, right? As the story goes, during the depression eggs and butter were hard to get, so people figured out how to make a chocolate cake without them. Of course, I want to try!

The vinegar in the recipe was kind of a turn off, though. It's just there for the chemical reaction, but doesn't it sound gross?

(Sorry for posting giant pictures of delicious cake.)

This was probably the densest, moist chocolate cake I've ever eaten. Almost like the cake you'd get at a restaurant. Which makes me wonder - do they not use eggs or butter in their cakes either? I could see that being a sweet cost-cutting trick.

I tried making Martha Stewart's champagne truffles a while back, and it didn't go so well. So I melted down the leftovers and poured it over the whole cake. It eventually hardened to a fudge-like consistency. Yum.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pi Day

Did you know that March 14 is Pi Day? Probably, if you're reading my blog. If not, I'm not making it up. I put it on the calendar and everything.

The only question is: what kind of pie to make?

Years ago, when I first started collecting recipes off the internet, I printed instructions to make hand pies. The recipe was specifically for blackberries, but I had blueberries. Same difference, if you ask me.

Since there's no link to be found, here's what I did:

Blueberry Hand Pies

For the filling:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Boil these all together until it gets thick and syrupy. It should only take a few minutes, and the thicker the better so the filling doesn't run all over your crusts.

For the crust:
  • 1 & 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs water
  • a little salt
Mix these together until it gets crumbly. I did it in my mixer, but I know some people do it with a food processor or by hand. Whichever you like, just make it doughy. Depending on how you mixed it, you should probably throw it back in the refrigerator to get the dough stiffer. I went straight to the rolling out, since the mixer doesn't really heat up the dough at all.

Roll the dough out pretty thin - it will get a little thicker once baked. I used a mini tart pan (about 4-5" wide) to cut out pretty ruffly circles. Put each cutout on a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop a spoonful of filling onto one side of the circle. Fold the dough over in half, and seal them with either a little water, extra dough, or a fork.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

My circles were on the bigger side, so I only got five out of this recipe. But oh, they were good. The perfect size for just a little pie, and not overwhelming with blueberries.

Oh, and I entered the nutritional information into a calculator for you, if you're interested. You're welcome.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Remember how I said I had my "I am woman, hear me roar" moment? Here it is.

Houses around here have all different laundry configurations: upstairs, downstairs, garage. Our laundry is in the garage. It's neither here nor there to me; it's not like the house is so massive it's a pain to run a load downstairs. And it's not like we're waiting two weeks in between laundry loads any more. Have I mentioned I love having my own machines at my disposal? I do.

Anyway, the only downside is the garage is concrete, and has two concrete steps down. And it's nasty to step barefoot on cold, cold concrete. We put a big piece of carpet scrap down in front of the machines, but it's old and nasty and dirty. And you still have to travel down those cold steps.

Plus, two cars barely fit despite being a two-car garage. It's not like it's full of stuff either (so don't bother coming to rob the garage). The steps are in just the right spot to block your car door, if you pull in far enough.

Obviously the solution is to carpet the steps. And DIY, not actually pay a professional. Duh.

We bought some relatively inexpensive carpet from Home Depot on a trip (long, long ago - the Christmas overhaul in which I did not participate really wore me out). It was less than $1 per square foot. I measured six ways until Sunday, and we over-bought. I think, in total, $30. Seriously, I only used about half.

I measured each cut about three times, marking the back with a sharpie, then cutting a little with tin snips. Measure, mark, measure, snip, measure, mark, measure, snip. The sides required more cutting, but were actually easier to cut; the smaller pieces were a little more wieldy than the long strip down the face of the steps.

We bought a little tub of carpet adhesive based on the Home Depot guy's recommendation of what would stick to concrete. The alternative was a giant tub. I used the whole thing, without even a little to spare. It was a lot like frosting a cake! There were some bubbles and I was afraid it wasn't going to stick (although I got some on my fingers and then couldn't get anything not to stick) so I set random junk around the garage on top. See what I mean about robbing our garage?

I'm pretty happy with the results! It's not perfect or professional, but it's cushy and not cold when you step out to do a load of laundry.

The remnant will probably go to replace the beige remnant that's already in front of the machines. I think there's enough left over to almost cover between the steps and the door.

Maybe one of these days we'll do a project inside the house!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ice Cream Pie

Prepare yourselves, my dears.

Remember that whole one-ingredient ice cream fad? Leslie has one-upped us all. And of course I show this to my husband and over the drooling I think he said something like "make this please!"

So I did.

First, we need a pie crust. For whatever reason I could get to Target, but not the grocery store, so I ended up with nilla wafers upon request rather than a pre-made graham or chocolate crust. Unfortunately for waistlines everywhere, I used this Southern food recipe. I baked it much longer, about 20 minutes, because it wasn't going to go in the oven again.

Then I dropped two bananas and a big scoop of peanut butter into the food processor. Two layers was just a little too much work! Once in ooey-gooey state, I spread it into the pie crust and plunked the whole deal into the freezer.

What's that in the background? Oh yes. No chocolate syrup here. I topped slices with Nutella.

Something about the freezing really brought out the peanut butter flavor. I was a little worried that it wouldn't be peanut-buttery enough. And as an added bonus, nilla wafers seem to be a fairly light alternative!

I think I'm off the hook ever spending $30 on the smallest ice cream cake available at Baskin Robbins.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oven Fries

I try, very hard actually, to eat well. Stick to healthy food, more vegetables than cookies, easy on the meat and carbs.

But we went to BJ's. I had chili, which was good, but other people had fries. French fries!! Rolled in trans fats and dipped in MSG!

As soon as we walked in the door I started chopping potatoes, without any real direction.

I'll guess I cooked these until crispy-looking at 350 degrees. With Lawry's salt and ketchup.

Why don't I make these more often?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Red Lobster Biscuits

Don't laugh.

You've been to Red Lobster. You know these biscuits are probably the very best part of a trip there. Actually, Red Lobster is one of my family's places. There aren't a lot of places to get good seafood there - we're so spoiled here on the coast! And I will not eat something out of the Mississippi River. Just trust me.

Plus, I have a special memory from a dinner there. My grandmother, who by the way is one of the coolest people ever, told me to try one of her crab legs. And I did, even though I wasn't a seafood-eater at all. Thus started an expensive habit.

Anyway, recipes kept popping up everywhere. To the point that I finally gave in.

And, sadly, these didn't cut it for me. But I'm pretty sure it was my fault. I bought this "heart smart" Bisquick the last time, and I don't think it's as good as the real thing. And then I didn't have any oregano (I know!!), so I substituted parsley. Fail, guys. Fail.

I'd try again, and pay better attention to the recipe. But I'll stick to my California seafood.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Baked Potato Eggs

Why didn't we think of this before? I agree. Why didn't we think of this before??

Why baking a potato, hollowing it out, and cracking an egg inside it was suddenly the talk of the day, I'll never know. Such is the case with all the blogs I read. They all seem to get the same brilliant ideas at the same time.

Think of these as a kind of twice baked potato, without the mashed potato filling. I used a recipe from Real Simple, but there's a lot of opportunity here.

Have you ever noticed how enormous the regular white potatoes are? Is that just my neighborhood? I swear each one itself weighs a pound.

Step 1: Bake potato.

Step 2: Hollow out, insert egg. Be careful, and hollow out as much as you can. They're delicate. I don't know about you, but I always buy extra large eggs. No reason.

Step 3: Add cheese. Everything is better with cheese.

They ended up being kind of a lot of work, because it takes a long time to bake a potato and you almost have to bake it twice. I know you can make baked potatoes in the microwave, and I wouldn't blame you for trying it. On the other hand, they keep well, so you could always make a big bunch and refrigerate or freeze them. A half of one of those giant potatoes? Perfect for a relatively healthy lunch (if not smothered in cheeeeeeeese).