Sunday, July 31, 2011

2 Meals, 1 Post

This is the beginning of the school year for me (already? yikes!), so it's crazy at our place.  The other night I finally went to bed when I realized I had fallen asleep at my work computer (fortunately I didn't do a face plant into the keyboard; imagine explaining THAT computer malady to tech support).
So, this last week, I didn't do much in the kitchen other than make a mess.  I made up for it this weekend, making some tasty suppers for the hubs and myself (HRH is choosing to stick to a diet of peanut butter & Nutella® sandwiches, Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish, and Craisins®).
Shameless plug:
couples - get this book!
Friday, I picked up some lamb shanks.  I just love lamb, but we never make it at home, as usually it's a little too pricey for this cheapskate.  However, I was, a few months ago, the fortunate winner of Table for Two, a cookbook by Warren Caterson.  It's a cookbook designed to make 2 servings of the dishes presented, which is nice for our family, as someone (I'm not gonna name names, but his title rhymes with shmusband) doesn't care for leftovers, leaving someone else (this person would be me) to try to fight her way through eating the same meal for about a week.  Anyway, he has some lovely braised lamb shanks recipes, and, well, those shanks at the store just kind of sang to me - like the sirens did to Odysseus.
I elected to make the red wine version, as we had almost all the ingredients (I substituted dehydrated orange slices for the lemon wedges, but that was my only sub).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One More Lemon Recipe - and a Link

I'm guest-posting over at Blog is the New Black today; head on over there and check out my take on lemon biscotti.  But don't stop there - head back even just a few entries, and prepare to drool all over your keyboard.  I am warning you now - the prosciutto-wrapped scallops had me slobbering like a St. Bernard!

Coffee with a good cause (my dad's foundation)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Challenge Accepted, Enjoyed, and Embraced

I have a gross little secret.

(sotto voce) I love squeezing the gunk out of the pores in my nose.

I TOLD you it was gross.  But don't lie... you've done it before, too, right?

Here's the thing - I think I do it in hopes that there will be that one time when I squeeze... and nothing happens.  That moment when there ISN'T yucky stuff clogging my pores - the moment that I've won the battle with the forces allied together to make me hate my skin.

And then, it happened.  THAT MOMENT - it happened.  Just this week, I saw what I thought was the beginnings of a pimple (yes, I know they tell you not to squeeze them; who actually listens to that?).  It actually turned out to be some dry skin (which is an anomaly in and of itself, considering my life of oily-prone skin), but in that moment I squeezed, I saw that bit of dry skin... and nothing else.  No ickiness oozing out!

What the French toast??????

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Egg on My Face... Because I Was So Hungry!

I needed something hearty this morning.  Zooey and I got up for a 2-mile run (in this heat and humidity, I don't want to risk taking her any farther), which was followed by more physical activity for me in the form of taking down the crib and putting together a new bookshelf for HRH's room (sniff sniff - she's not a baby anymore!).
So I knew as much as I like them, pancakes would not do.  I needed Something Filling.
But what?

Baked Eggs in Ramekins

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c half & half
  • 1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 romano cheese, shredded
  • a few handsful spinach, torn
  • 3/4 - 1 c squash, chopped (I used patty pan)
  • 1 rasher streaky bacon (only because it was in the fridge, and I didn't want it to become that science experiment)
  • 1 green red onion, chopped 
  • 1 shallot, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°.  Beat together the eggs, cheese, and half & half; set aside.  Swirl some olive oil into a pan and soften the onions and shallot; move to a bowl and keep warm.  Add a little more oil (if needed) and throw in the squash; saute until it begins to caramelize, and add the spinach until it begins to wilt.  Add squash, spinach, and onion/shallot mixture to egg mixture; stir to combine.  Pour into buttered ramekins and back 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

This was just a fantastic recovery meal; it had plenty of protein as well as fiber.  It could have been slightly healthier - I did have buttered white toast alongside it (my ultimate vice - white bread with butter).  But since it took a while to bake, it was more a brunch than just breakfast, so I think I'll be happy for a while.
As long as I get a snack here in a bit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meatless Monday Takes on Spaghetti

On Sunday, we received a lovely bottle of avocado oil, and I've been thinking about what to do with it since.
So, today being Meatless Monday, I took advantage of the spaghetti squash sitting on our counter and threw a little something together.  Lately I have been terribly disappointed in my "let's throw all this together and see what happens" attempts, but tonight I was exceedingly happy with the results.
Avocado oil is quite buttery, so a little goes a long way.  I added just the slightest amount to the pan in order to toss the finished product with a little drizzle of more.
But be careful - this oil can go rancid much more quickly than other food oils, so you can be sure that I'll be looking for ways to use this bottle of deliciousness in order to make sure none goes to waste.

A Sweet Challenge

A few weeks ago, I admitted that I have stopped washing my hair with shampoo and my face with soap, replacing those routines with, respectively, baking soda/vinegar and oil.
When doing the research that led me to make those decisions, one of the websites that really spurred my interest in hearing down the more natural path was Crunchy Betty.
Well, she's at it again!
This time, it's the Crunchy Betty Honey Challenge!
OK, it's not really a challenge.  I think.  The objective: wash my face with honey (and water) for the next two weeks.  That can't be that hard, right?
I mean, unless I bought the wrong honey, which is entirely possible, as I just saw a sneak peek of Crunchy Betty's video (watch it - it's super cute and funny), and the honey that I bought it waaaaaay thicker than that.  If it's too thick, maybe it will be a disaster!  But it's all gonna be OK, right?  Right.  Phew.  Thanks!
Well, if it's anywhere near as fantastic as the oil cleansing method, I'm totally game for doing this.  Bonus - the honey smells amazing!
So who's up for taking part in the challenge, too?  The list of goods is short:
  1. raw, unpasteurized honey
  2. water
  3. a clean towel
That's it.  The honey can be found at local health food stores (I got mine at Sprouts - they had lots of brands).
For instructions, check out the challenge page - it's looks pretty darn easy.  I can't wait to see what happens!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Strength in Numbers

Since I work from home, email is the main means of communication for my co-workers and me.  That being said, I am absolutely TERRIBLE at checking my person email (I have like three people for whose names I scan, and then I go to my next task).
Shame on me!!!!
Using this habit, I overlooked an email from Foodbuzz, a food blog community (of which I am a featured publisher), that, when finally read, made my heart go pitter-pat with joy.
Yahoo® has agreed to donate $20,000 to Share Our Strength® on behalf of Foodbuzz!  If you don't know about Share Our Strength®, it is an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in the United States, a goal the group believes that it can attain in this decade.  This donation from Yahoo can and WILL make a huge impact on the lives of children in our cities and towns across the nation.
So how can you help?  Support Yahoo® by making it your homepage.  It's quick and easy (just like your favorite recipes), and it's even completely painless (unless you have sharp thingies coming out of your keyboard; in that case, go to the store, get a new keyboard, and THEN make Yahoo® your homepage).
But don't stop there - tell your friends, neighbors, likers (on Facebook) and followers (on Twitter) about this great way to help ensure that every child has access to the food he or she needs to thrive.  And don't forget to head over to the Share Our Strength® website to see how else you can make an impact in your community.
I am only too happy to say "thank you" to Yahoo® for making this donation in order to help end childhood hunger.  I once told my daughter, when she was too young to respond with more than a gurgle or coo, that I would never let her go hungry.  I wish I could make that same promise to every child.  This is one way I can work toward that.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm 'Posted Up in Here

 This is a picture of my leftover food - tops/bottoms of onions, apple cores, eggshells, onion "skins," banana peels, stem ends, etc.  Yes, this is my compost bin.
I did take this picture right after I threw some leek remains in there, so I spared you the funk that was underneath (what I think is) the pretty green and white "leftovers."  And believe me, it can get pretty funky in the bin.  And not funky in a fun, 1970's-esque way.  Funky in an "EWWWWWWWW!" sort of way.
You see, our compost bin is a large plastic container that lives on our kitchen counter:

Now, the objective of most compost pails is to put them in a "real" compost bin.  But I'll be honest - I am terrified enough of scorpions (and we do that have them - in spades - here in AZ) to err on the side of caution and NOT have one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pizza! Pizza! (and a tribute to Frau Ramm)

I just returned from my trip to the Pacific Northwest.  While I didn't get to as many places as I had hoped, I still managed to chow down at a few venues that you NEED to know about.
Most people have heard about the Pike Place Market in Seattle.  It's a fantastic market.  But one wonderful aspect of the PNW is that there are farmers' markets everywhere.  The rain that many people bemoan allow veggies and fruits of all kinds to grow easily all over the western half of the state.  Olympia, my home town, has a rockin' farmers' market that has been a staple for years, so it was fantastic to be able to hit it.  I was jealous of all of the stands that offered plants that could be taken home and popped in the ground.
Well, of course, HRH was bored, even after she got a balloon butterfly, and she promptly asked for ice cream.
Have you ever seen three-color cotton candy flavored ice cream?  Neither have I, and while just the name makes me cringe, she yummed it up as fast as she could.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Decadent Phourth

Happy Independence Day!  I am sitting here on the couch, drinking an Arnold Palmer, flat exhausted from the long weekend.
It was worth it.
Saturday I made this cake:

Isn't it pretty?  I don't often make cakes anymore, and I most certainly don't have the time to decorate like I used to, but we had friends stop by on their way home from Tombstone, and since we rarely see them (they live in Lake Havasu City), I wanted to make sure that we had a nice afternoon.
Thus, after lunching at San Tan Brewing Company, I proudly served my little white cake.