Thursday, July 30, 2009

Freshly-made earrings

This is seriously the only thing I've made, cooking or otherwise, in about a week. No, I take that back...I did make pudding shooters for girl's night at Adrienne's on Tuesday but that hardly counts. Stirring together pudding mix, milk, and alcohol does not count as making something in my book. Unless you count making a mess as creating something. I am pretty good at that! Anyway, I decided to put some stuff on to see if it would sell or if it would just continue to sit in my craft bag. Little did I know that it would take like 100 hours of me randomly snapping horrible pictures to get one OK shot of these earrings. I finally had to call in an expert (Beth) to help me out. Turns out I have to wait for a sunny day so I can take pictures in natural light. I am such a dummy. I thought that I would go ahead and post the only decent picture that came out of that whole 10 hours of wasted time, part of which was spent taking pictures and opening the same web page, literally, 20 times due to blood sugar in the 20's. I have to find a better way to spend my time!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recipe of the week

After consulting an expert in stuff foraging (Mitch), I have come to the conclusion that my herbs were not stolen. Apparently, when you put stuff on the sidewalk it is officially up for grabs. I thought that was the case and told the guy who does my yard (my husband, Ray) that it probably wasn't a good idea to put them there, but he assured me that they would be safe. All I can say is that my new herbs are now safe in the back yard! Anyway...I thought that I would share a new recipe with y'all. I have wanted to make my own liqueur for a while now. I don't know why I have this obsession because neither Ray nor I drink very often. But just in case we decide to I have made 2 bottles of coffee liqueur. Ray doesn't even like coffee-flavored stuff!

Coffee Liqueur
4 cups water
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tbsp instant coffee
2 1/2 cups vodka
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Combine water, sugar and coffee in a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for about 2 hours or until reduced to a maple syrup consistency. Let cool completely. Stir in vodka and vanilla a pour into a large bottle. It is ready to serve and enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Who would steal herbs?

Can y'all believe that someone would actually steal 4 pots of herbs? I potted several different types of herbs about 6 weeks ago and they were coming along beautifully. I went out in my front yard yesterday and realized that all 4 pots were gone. I am so bummed. I just about had enough basil to make my own pesto, but now I have to start all over again. Well, there's my rant. I have been into making jewelry the past couple of days. I just need to take some pictures so I can post them. I haven't taken any pictures this week for headache-related reasons. I hate headaches!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Horse cookie puzzle

This is my new favorite baking craft. I decided today that I have to get one of those large sets of various cookie cutters so I can make these for any occasion. You know, like anniversaries, graduations, wedding showers... or maybe just children's birthdays. This one was for Joel David's birthday present. He loves horses and he had two ponies at his 5th birthday party today. So, I made this horse cookie puzzle in his honor. The picture doesn't really do it justice. I have to say, it's pretty cute. The things I do to keep my boredom at bay.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My first submitted recipe and my first sticky rolls

I just made up this wheat berry recipe today. I am, officially, tooting my own horn. I think that it is the best hearty mediterranean salad ever created! Anyway, the other pictures are the first cinnamon rolls that I've ever made. They turned out well, if not a little underly gooey. They are a Cooking Light recipe, so I should have anticipated the lack of buttery gooeyness. They are pretty low in fat, though, so I am happy about that. I think I'm obsessed with my new tripod. It makes for such clear pictures. I have taken way too many pictures of food today.

Some recent stuff

I just wanted to share these recent pictures of my beautiful princess. The bottom is just a cute picture and in the second one she is making her "mean face." I still can't believe that I had such a beautiful child. Who would have guessed!? The top picture is a little project that I did for Isabelle's friend Olivia. I thought it would be nice to make a cookie puzzle for her birthday. Of course it took me way longer than I thought it would, but it was fun! When we got to Olivia's birthday party Isabelle put the bag of cookies down and when I went to go get them some little boy picked them up, then dropped and broke them. Oh well! That's what I get for doing those time-consuming projects.
I also have to tell y'all that I got the best thing from ebay. I am pretty certain that it is going to change the picture-taking part of my life for the better. I got a tripod! It was $6.99 with free shipping so I said to myself, "Self, I think that you should get this tripod." I did and I am glad. I took some trial pictures with it last night and it makes such a difference. I can NEVER hold still when I'm taking a picture, and as I'm sure you all know, wiggly hands mean blurry pictures. I am so exciting about this tripod (to quote Isabelle)! She always says exciting instead of excited. It always makes me giggle.

Yummy Cajun red beans and rice

I made this super scrumptious dinner last night and I wanted to share it with y'all. I got this amazingly easy recipe from Cooking Light several months ago when I was craving red beans and rice. I usually just browse through recipes and save them to my different online recipe books hoping to one day remember them. I was reorganizing my CL recipes last week and I stumbled across this one. I modified it to fit what I had in the fridge and my modifications worked out beautifully. I will post the way that I made it and the link to the original recipe. I hope that somebody makes this! The link for the original recipe is posted in my "Things I've made recently" list.

Cajun Red Beans and Rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup each chopped yellow bell pepper, celery, and onion
2 links of habanero and monterey jack chicken sausage, chopped
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c water
1 can red beans, partially mashed
1 package of prepared yellow rice

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add chopped veggies and sausage. Saute for about 4 minutes or until the sausage is browned and veggies start to get soft. Add the next 4 ingredients (spices and garlic) and saute for about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Serve over the yellow rice and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sourdough bread

Although this is called sourdough bread, and I did use a starter that I let sit/fed for 10 days, it is not sour! I think that the longer I keep my starter the more sour it gets, though. I will not be defeated. I will try again. Later. It was fun to make even though it didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped. It's the kind of dough that has to sit over night, blah, blah, blah. I also kneaded it by hand, thank you very much. Supposedly, sourdough is not supposed to be so much as touched by anything metal. That includes bowls, spoons, beater attachments. I have even made sure not to stir my starter with anything but wooden spoons. I can't believe I actually remembered that little no no. Well, I have to go feed my non-sour starter so I can't rant about this any more. If anyone has a good recipe for starter/sourdough bread, please let me know.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Healthy recipe of the week

I know it's been a couple of weeks since I've posted a "healthy recipe of the week" so I thought I would give y'all a little something. I have a sweet tooth so I'm always trying to find sweet things that won't stick directly to my bottom line. This is one of the little faux desserts/breakfast shakes that I make. It tastes good enough to fool the likes of me!

Strawberry Milkshake
10 oz. skim or 1% milk
4 medium-sized frozen strawberries
1 tbsp Splenda
1/4 c. crushed ice

Blend all of this together until smooth just like a milkshake. I have a hand blender that works fabulously for things like this. This is a really yummy treat!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bakin' Fool

What is wrong with me? All I want to do lately is bake and eat what I bake. Next, I should post a before-and-after picture of myself. Me--before eating 5 tons of homemade strawberry muffins, ezekiel bread, rolls, bagels, etc.--and me after the above-mentioned 5 tons. I just need to find a way to get rid of everything that I make. Ray couldn't possibly eat all of this and Isabelle is so picky that she won't even try it. Hmmm, conundrum. Anyway, I have been stuck in the house with a very sick baby who only wants to watch movies around the clock, so I have been cooking and looking at recipes online and in cookbooks. I have always wanted to try my hand at bagels, so today I did. I have to say that they are delicious. Hopefully they freeze well! I think I will start taking baking requests. I have about 25 pounds of bread flour so, if any of my peeps that live close to me want something with flour as the main ingredient, I would love to bake something for you. I really don't want to weigh any more than I do right now, but I have no other choice at the moment. I can't let freshly-baked goods go to waste. Way too many comas.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yummy granola bars

Isabelle has been sick for about three days and she asked me for granola bars today. I am such a sucker that I made some for her immediately and then she refused to eat any. She actually took a bite and then spit it out, the little grump. Anyway, I didn't spit any of it out, unfortunately! I think they're great. I got the recipe from recipezaar, but I made some changes, of course. You can pretty much add anything you want, need, or can imagine. I hope y'all like it!

Granola Bars
4 c. oats
3/4 c. sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. oat bran
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients (oats through salt). Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low-medium heat. Add the sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, and flour and stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium and stir occasionally so the mixture doesn't burn or stick. Once it gets warm, stir in the peanut butter. Grease a 9 x 13" baking pan and line it with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Bring the butter mixture to a boil and let it boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour over the dry mixture and stir. Make sure that it is evenly mixed and that all of the dry ingredients are coated. Let the mixture cool until slightly warm and stir in the chocolate chips. I didn't wait long enough so all of my chips melted. Tastes good, but I like them whole! Press the mixture into the prepared pan and top with a greased piece of foil. Find another pan, board, book, whatever, that fits in the pan over the bars and press down firmly to compact the mixture. You can even stand on it! Cut into bars and cool completely. They will be soft, but they firm up after a while. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My new best friend

Yea, that's right. This bread is my new best friend. I have eaten close to a whole loaf by myself in the past 2 or 3 days. This is the ezekiel bread that I posted the recipe for a couple of days ago. It was a little time-consuming to make and it has mashed lentils in it (yuck!), but I really do like it. It is very dense and wheaty tasting. It has wheat flour, barley flour, rye flour, and millet flour in it and it is still good despite all of that. Just wanted to let y'all know about my new friendship. I really love baking! Right now I have a batch of country white rolls in the oven for dinner tonight. Food-wise, it doesn't get any better than fresh-baked bread.
While I'm on here, I think I will post a great little kind-of recipe for all my peeps. I ran out of powdered sugar the other day and I remembered that I saw a recipe for it on recipezaar some time ago. All you have to do is grind 1 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of corn starch in a blender until it is powdered like- surprise, surprise- powdered sugar. You can do the same thing with Splenda! 3/4 of a cup of Splenda to every 2 tbsp of cornstarch, I think. I plan on doing the Splenda one soon to see how it works. If one of y'all does it first, please let me know how it turns out. I think it's funny that I write like people are actually reading this! I guess I can just pretend.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Have you ever seen anything cuter?

Muffins, sweet muffins!

These may be the best muffins that I have ever made. I got this recipe from recipezaar (of course) and, I can assure you, it doesn't disappoint. You probably can't tell from the picture, but these are jumbo muffins. I think that this will be my new base recipe for muffins. I can just add in different spices, fruits, zests, nuts, etc. The possibilities are endless! They are also made with ingredients that are usually on hand and, if not, you can easily improvise. I'll post the direct link to these Kittencal's muffin shop jumbo strawberry muffins. They are definitely worth the effort which, by the way, is minimal.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No more television, please!

I finally got to bake today!!! I think my migraine is on the decline, so I got off of the couch (where I have been since Sunday) and made some dinner and some cookies for Isabelle's teachers. I have been going through cooking withdrawals for the past three days. I wasn't even really able to look at many recipes or websites either. Those of you who have headaches know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I am simply going to post some pictures of some of the things that I made last week and a couple from tonight. I don't know why I didn't post these last week. I am especially proud of the camping cake. The cake was a carrot cake cheesecake. Does it get any better than that? Maybe my simple baby back ribs top it, I don't know. I also made strawberry shortcake last week. Who doesn't like strawberry shortcake? I know I do. Tonight for dinner I made fish tacos that were sooo yummy. I made homemade corn tortillas for the tacos. Tortilla presses are amazing! The cookies that I made tonight are whipped shortbread cookies from recipezaar. Very tasty. I think that those of you who read my blog may be able to
tell that I have taken a strong pain-killer for this migraine. This post is not my best...sorry!