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.