Add a little turmeric

eggs_0416_01

I have no idea if my thought of making eggs more yellow is even a thing that people care about, but I thought I would share this little tidbit. Now that I’m at home I’ve been making myself lunch. Most days (when I’m not eating a bag of chips (because we ran out)) I make myself scrambled egg with potato and onion. Sometimes I’ll even throw in a dried out Anaheim pepper from last year’s harvest for some extra extra heat.

This “recipe” has no measurements because, well I just dump stuff in and go. Keeps the excitement alive while making and eating the same thing everyday.

When I scramble up my egg I use some 2% milk (I read somewhere it’s better for you than skim, and I don’t think coconut milk would taste good with eggs). I also add in fresh ground pepper (go crazy!), turmeric root powder (makes everything yellow, and adds a little spice, oh and it’s good for you), a little cayenne (much less of this than turmeric), and feta cheese. Like I mentioned before some dried Anaheim pepper might find it’s way in there as well. I also chop up a small red potato and white onion.

There you have it! My fairly simple, takes about 20 minutes to make lunch.

Also for the photography I was trying some bounce flash off my ceiling. Need to keep practicing these photo skills!

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Making brown rice, not the instant stuff

In my quest to cook with more natural ingredients I have shunned instant rice. I now buy my rice in the bulk section of Whole Foods in the hopes that the grain is a little more nutritious. Making rice that’s not instant felt very daunting. I don’t know why, it seems like such a simple thing to cook, but the second it becomes a raw food to cook it seems much more challenging.

After a short search I cam across this blog of Steve Pavlina‘s. He explains the cooking of this rice in a very simple way. Who knew? I only needed about 30 minutes to make it from start to finish. You may be wondering why I am going through all this effort to make rice, well it’s an ingredient in a soup I wanted to attempt. I decided to wing it a little with this soup and come up with my own measurements…now I have a rice side with some turkey breast and pasta sauce in it. The rice is really thirsty.

Anyway, here is how to cook up some brown rice that is not of the instant variety. (What do they do to it to make it cook so much faster?)

How to cook Brown Rice

1.5 c water for every 1 c of rice
I made 2 c of rice. Simple math time…3 c water…and it worked!

put water and rice together roiling boil

First step: put the water and rice together in a pot, uncovered, heat to rolling boil.

cover the rice

Next: lower heat so water is simmering, cover, let simmer for 20 minutes.

all done

Finally: turn off heat, let sit minimum of 10 minutes. Then either eat or in my case add it to my soup attempt.

There you have it, super simple, just takes that little extra time to be prepared.

Chickpea and Spinach Veggie Burger

veggie burgers_0413_05I don’t even know what spurred this, but Friday I decided I wanted to make a veggie burger. Ok I do know a little bit of what started this thought track. My husband and I have been getting Morning Star® on sale and they came out with a new flavor called Mediterranean something. Anyway I saw some whole chickpeas in it and thought, “Well I could make something like this.” Now my only problem is I don’t buy beans in a can. Other vegetables I do, but beans, just something about it I don’t like. Because of this it takes a lot of planning for things like chili, hummus and now veggie burgers.

Since I had no clue where to even start I hopped on Pintrest to get some chickpea based burger recipes. I found this recipe from Splash Dash Mom. It has the basic instructions and the spinach ingredient inspiration. Below is my rendition. I did sample it and it’s actually really tasty.

Chickpea, Spinach and Roasted Garlic Veggie Burger

2 c chickpeas
¼ c black beans
2-3 garlic cloves
½ tsp oregano
½ c (60g) white onion
1 tsp olive oil
½ c (25g) fresh baby spinach
½ c crumbs (I used corn flake crumbs)
1 egg

I started with having to cook Chickpeas soakingthe chickpeas. Soaked them overnight and cooked them for a couple of hours the next morning. Just be aware these guys soak up water like crazy. As you can see by this photo. They were covered not that long before.

Combine all the ingredientsThe next step is to mix everything together. I started out by using a hand potato masher thingy and found that would take a bit longer than I wanted, so I put everything in my Vitamix on low. This did the trick, but I would recommend using a food processor so everything has more room to move.

veggie burgers_0413_03This is everything all mashed up. Next step form it into burgers. I made 8, but they are larger. I use the sandwich thins buns, so I wanted these to fill out most of that space.

formed burgersI tried putting these on a George Foreman, didn’t really work out. Following the original instructions I tried browning them in a small skillet one at a time. This seemed to cook them pretty well. They were a bit crumbly and need to be handled carefully. I think some tweaking will be done to the next go round, maybe add more oil? If anyone has any suggestions for making them less crumbly that would be great!

finished burgersThe finished product. Some I left longer than others, just judge that for yourself, how brown you would like them.

Meringue Coconut Brownies

merignue brownies_0313_06-EditThis is a fun recipe. I managed to read the name and ingredients and still believe I was making regular old brownies with some coconut. I’ve heard of meringue, but had no idea what it entailed to make it. And let it be said that before this recipe I had only successfully gotten my egg whites to create stiff peaks once. Now that I have accomplished this feat for the third time (I’ve had to use my new found skill since) I think I might remember what to do.

In case you don’t know how to get your egg whites into stiff peaks as some recipes ask merignue brownies_0313_03this is how: Get your electric handheld mixer out and put on the whisk attachment. Put your egg whites in a bowl that you can use your mixer with. Then whisk away. One recipe said it takes about a minute, I would say more than that. So it’s super simple, but for some reason until recently this was a very challenging part of baking for me. Now onto the recipe you clicked on to begin with! Please note that I cut down the sugar from the totals listed below.

Makeover Meringue Coconut Brownies

(Found in Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)

 ⅓ c butter, softened
⅓ c plus ¾ c packed brown sugar
⅓ c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
⅓ c fat-free milk
1 c (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 c flaked coconut
½ c chopped walnuts
3 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar

In a small bowl, cream the butter, ⅓ merignue brownies_0313_01cup brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Press into a 9×13-in greased baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts.

merignue brownies_0313_02

In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Spread over the top. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake).

Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator (this is super important!) They will be super sticky if you don’t.

merignue brownies_0313_04So there you have it, these delicious bars that claim to be brownies in disguise.

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Patriotic Cheesecake

Red, White and Blue cheesecake

I know I promised this recipe a long time ago, but I hit the snag of losing the photos. After a couple of months of hit and miss searching I have finally found the pictures back of the cheesecake I made for Memorial Day. Hence Patriotic Cheesecake. Since I missed Memorial Day, I thought, oh 4th of July isn’t that far off, well the pictures were still lost so much for that. Then Labor Day came and went and now a month after that I finally find the silly pictures to post the recipe with photos. For this recipe you can also use my graham cracker recipe for the crust. Depending on the level of cinnamon flavor you are wanting that is an ingredient you will want to adjust.

Raspberry (Mint) Chocolate Cheesecake aka Patriotic Cheesecake

1.5 c graham crackers
4 Tbsp butter
1 c sugar, divided
16 oz cream cheese
2 eggs
36 g mint chocolate (I use Equal Exchange, the amount I have changes depending on my mood)
dash of salt
1.5 tsp vanilla divided
¼ c red raspberry preserves
1 c sour cream
Stir together crumbs, butter and ¼ cup sugar. Press into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Refrigerate while making the filling.

Combine eggs, cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, salt and ½ tsp vanilla. Beat on medium speed about 5 minutes. Set aside. In a double boiler, or on really low heat melt the chocolate and raspberry preserves. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust. Swirl in the chocolate mixture.

Bake at 250° for 25 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. While it’s cooling mix the sour cream, 3 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. This is when you make it blue if you would like. I went light with this batch, partially from the neon food coloring instead of regular. Spread the sour cream mixture on the cheesecake. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool to room temp and place in the fridge overnight to set. Serves 12ish…depends on how big the pieces are.

Enjoy! Hope you like this hybrid version of my cheesecake. So far everyone that has tried it has enjoyed it. Or they are just being nice. Either way I think it’s pretty darn tasty.

Simple Pork Chop Dinner with Herb Pesto

 
Tonight I needed something easy but super flavorful. It may look like a total mess, but just soak your pan when your done it should be fine. The original recipe calls for some water and all of the spices to be marinated with the pork as least an hour and then grilled. So if that’s something you want to try it can be made that way too. I found this recipe in my Taste of Home (possibly Healthy Cooking) magazine, sent in by Lisa from Mississippi.

Pork Chops with Herb Pesto

150 g pork chops (two boneless pork chops however much you want)
½ Tbsp olive oil (and some non stick spray for your pan)
1 tspish of each of the following: rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, basil, (garlic)
1-2 cloves garlic, mashed then chopped

Put olive oil in the pan. Rub the spices and garlic on the pork chops. Put the pork chops in the pan and cook until 170º. Serve with a side of vegetables or rice or both. I hope you find this as good as me!

BBQ Chicken Pizza from scratch

My lofty goals of the weekend weren’t all met, but I did get a couple of things accomplished. I got through the formals from the wedding. Now it should be pretty smooth sailing.I made pizza yesterday. Completely from scratch too. So if you’re brave and want to make pizza starting with the dough this recipe is for you! I also baked it on an off brand stone which is fun, just because it’s different.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

The Dough

There’s an awesome cookbook called ‘Dining on a Dime’ where I found a recipe for pizza dough. I might be a little odd, but I add spices to the dough instead of to the sauce. I find it adds a lot of flavor to pizza.

1 c warm water (120°)
1 pkg or 1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 ½-3 c flour
The Optional Spices
2 tsp
garlic (chopped fresh if you’re brave)
1 tsp basil, thyme, oregano, paprika, Jamaican jerk, parsley, fresh ground pepper, or whatever else you would like to add.

Dissolve yeast in a bowl with arm water. Add sugar, salt and oil and spices as desired. Mix well. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth. Place in greased bowl. Turn dough over so as to grease both sides in the bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Makes 2 medium pizzas or one large.

The Topping

The cheese is something you can choose whatever you have on hand or you think would taste good. For this round I used some Chipotle cheddar, mozzarella, and feta. I also shred the cheese myself because there are a few less ingredients added. Better for you and still tastes great.

1 small can tomato paste
500 g chicken (or about 2 breast halves)
1 Tbsp BBQ sauce (whatever’s your fav)
1-2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/3 c red onion
1 tsp chipotle cheddar
¼ c green onion
50 g chipotle cheddar
50 g mozzarella
¼ c feta crumbled

Once the dough has risen roll it out on your stone or pan, just make sure it’s oven safe (oh and I would put some olive oil down to help it spread. And I just learned that putting a little cornstarch down too to make a more crispy crust). Heat the oven to 400°. While the oven is heating put the crust in for 5 minutes. Once that’s done take it out and put the pan on a hot plate or wire rack. Now put on your tomato paste/sauce and BBQ sauce, make sure to spread it to the edges. Next place everything else on and cover the whole pizza. Once this is done put the pan back in the oven and bake for another 20 minute or until chicken is cooked and the cheese is melted.

There you have it…Some awesome BBQ Chicken pizza made from scratch!

I’m still here

I know it may seem like I’ve fallen off the internet world. I really haven’t, I’m just trying to keep up with my life. I have gotten into a few too many side projects. I have so many things I want to do that I just keep starting things with no sense of where they should go.

I have updated my Etsy with more notecards and a few postcards. Not sure if anyone still writes thank yous or just general how you doing cards, but I make them if you want to check them out. I have been trying my hand at jewelry which is going ok.

Another thing I’ve been trying to do is build up my photography. Just did a family and newborn session two weeks ago. And I have another family session and a wedding at the end of April.

Still trying to cook when I can. Typing up recipes is the next thing I need to get back to. I’ve fallen way behind and my Taste of Home magazines are piling (I get the Healthy Cooking one too).

Anyway I think that about sums things up, I have many interests and just haven’t found what I want to do all the time, so I keep working on a mirage of projects.

Vegetarian Night

My crafting has really gone by the wayside with all my cooking and baking this last week. Tonight I took to Pintrest and my fridge for dinner. I found this recipe for a pasta dish that uses an avocado, lemon and some garlic. Sounds simple enough, but I decided to change it up a little bit..

I have some mushrooms that needed using and some Parmesan reggiano that was just asking to be grated. The recipe may not look so pretty, mainly from the lovely avocado green, but it does taste good.

The finished dish before it was plated.

Avocado Lemon Spaghetti

1 ripe avocado
1 lemon, halved and juice squeezed out (can zest for garnish)
olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
a little extra lemon juice if desired
some salt and pepper
spaghetti, cooked to package instructions
optional: mushrooms, fresh grated Parmesan

Cook spaghetti (or other pasta) according to package instructions. Put everything except spaghetti (and mushrooms/Parmesan) into a food processor, blender, Vitamix, etc. Blend until it is the consistency you want, mine was a paste. Saute the mushrooms in pan with a little cooking spray then pour avocado mixture on top. Heat through, then add your pasta. Mix thoroughly and add Parmesan if desired. It will start to bubble a little which means it should be heated through, then serve and enjoy!

This is super fast and easy and has lots of flavor. Once you get over the bright green color it tastes pretty good.

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The Plan

We all have plans of what we want to do. It feels that my list just keeps getting longer. I started out this year wanting to read more. Now I hindered myself a bit when starting my third book of the year, continuing the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. I’m not even much of a vampire fan, maybe in high school a few years back, but I remember more about pirates than vampires. I think I’m determined to read the books just to say I did and so I will understand any references in the rare case someone might be so inclined to reference books from the ’80s.

Anyway as we have now entered into month 2 of this year I have rediscovered my love of all things crafting. And continuing my new enjoyment of cooking. This week I have meals planned for every night. Mostly chicken dishes. Apparently mushrooms go really well with chicken. But tonight will be the test of my new Star Wars® cookie cutters. I not only decided to try a whole new cookie recipe (to get rid of some sour cream) I am going to test out new cookie cutters. We will see how this turns out. I hope to remember my camera while making them for another post on, well just ending up with cool looking cookies. Sadly I have not mastered the art of frosting, so these will be plain tan cookies.

Also on the horizon are lots of new and a few old projects that I am working on. If anyone is interested I can keep a running progress on a counted cross stitch kit that I have bee slowly working on over the last year or so (too many other things to work on, so it’s been back burnered). I also make these cool note cards out of card stock and old wallpaper samples. I am going to test run some postcards too, not sure if the glue will hold through the mail process. These are my old things that I have been doing for a while. (I just love working with the wallpaper samples and their fun textures.)

The new projects are going to include transferring photos to wood, it looked cool on Pintrest and I am just waiting for some nice weather and a few kids I know to be available to be my models. I hope this can be a project I can promote with Etsy and make custom art from people’s photos. Another possible custom Etsy project are pins. I was thinking “save the date” or even putting a logo or symbol on them for businesses to hand out to potential clients. I think for “save the date” it would be something different than the customary postcard or magnet. Those are the two things that I am hoping to get started on first, but I’m always adding new stuff.

So keep checking in once in a while to see what I might be up to next.