Round Up Post

Hi Y’all!

It’s been a really long time since I posted to this blog. If you look at my last blog post, you can see I didn’t carry out that resolution very well.

I’ve got a good excuse, I promise. I’ve been in graduate school. I’m ready to graduate this May, wahoo! I promise you haven’t missed much. You see, while I’ve been in school I haven’t had much time at all to cook. And when I have had time to cook, all I’ve been able to do is take a hasty iPhone photo of it.

I stopped blogging quite a while ago when my got life so busy I could barely keep clean underwear in my house. That’s the best way I can think to describe going to graduate school. It’s like someone hits the fast forward button on your life so you barely have time to do your laundry or vacuum behind the refrigerator, but simultaneously it feels like someone else hit the pause button because it is the looooongest couple years of your life. I had someone say to me a few weeks ago: “Well it was your choice to go back to school!” I’m not saying I didn’t sign up for it. I definitely did. But there is no way I truly understood what I was getting myself into before I was already knee deep in it.

It bums me out big time that I haven’t had much time to do is to cook like I used too. It’s one of the best forms of stress relief for me. But it was the thing that had to give. M started a new job last year that requires him to travel four days out of the week, so most days I’m fending for myself anyway.

As another form of stress relief, I’ve kept my toes in the shallow end of the blogging world by reading this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and that. Haven’t hand time to comment on anything, but I’ve been reading them all religiously!

I’m starting to come out of the fog now. I’ll be done by May 13!! (Woo hoo-hallelujah- jimney-crickets!) Aside from having that degree in hand, I’m looking forward to joining the real world that keeps their eyebrows regularly groomed. It truly is the little things in life.

Because I haven’t cooked much, I don’t have many updates for you all in the way of recipes. I have managed to snap a few iPhone photos on the rare occasions I’ve been in the kitchen. Here’s a roundup:

First one isn’t cooking but it is food! I think these parsley seedlings from last summer are super cute. I grew them on my front porch and started sprouting them in these empty eggshells.

parsley

My dad now thinks I am a professional baker after tasting my all-time favorite no knead bread recipe from the NYT. Don’t tell him that I barely had to lift a finger! Hint, pair with my favorite dipping oil.

no knead bread

A lentil salad I made for my mom a few weeks ago after she had surgery. Martha knows best. First of all, I LOVE anything with goat cheese, but I subbed tomatoes for bell pepper because of what I had on hand. Tip: Trader Joes has amazing pre-cooked lentils in their refrigerated section if you are in a pinch. Definitely will be making this again this summer!

Lentil Salad

My old stand by and one of my first ever blog posts, chicken soup:

Chicken soup

I’ve become obsessed with my new milk frother and pour over from Sur la table. Some breakfast highlights:

Capegg muffin french toast breakfast pour over coffee

A lazy after work dinner, perfected…olives, blood orange, almonds, peppered goat cheese, blueberries, hummus & pita:

Cheese three

My fav liquids of the moment include blueberry lemon drops, lemon and mint infused water and green smoothies:

blueberry lemon droplemon mint water Smoothie

And I saved the best, dessert, for last! A chocolate birthday cake, chocolate covered oreos, chocolate covered strawberries:

Birthday cake chocolate covered oreos chocolate covered strawberries

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I’m Back, with Focaccia.

Hi guys. Let’s just pretend that I didn’t stop blogging for the past 6 months.

I’m back.  And I’m eating focaccia bread.  You can eat it too if you use this recipe.  I found it on Noble Pig.

Making my own focaccia bread is on the bucket list I wrote for myself at the beginning of this summer.  So that is exactly what I did today.  And ooooh man was it delicious.  My favorite part of the recipe was poking my fingers all over it.

And if the 1 cup of olive oil in the recipe is not enough for you, take a dip in this oil.  Marc and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary in Monterey and Carmel last week and indulged in one of the most amazing meals at Piatti.  The dipping oil that they brought to the table for our bread knocked my socks off.  So today, I looked up a copy cat recipe for it.  I used dried parsley because I didn’t have fresh on hand and it turned out delish.

I served this along side polenta and roasted veggies.

Holiday Catch Up

Regretfully, I have not updated my blog in over a month.  There have been a few contributing factors.  The first is that I found out I have high cholesterol.  (Partially because of all the buttery things I have been cooking and posting on this blog and partially because of the lovely genetic hand I have been dealt.)  It has bummed me out too much to want to make any cool recipes, let alone post them on here.  Seriosly, at 24 to already have high cholesterol?!?!! But after taking a month to grieve over my high LDLs and low HDLs, I have decided to move forward and take it as an opportunity to post much healthier recipes on here.  Well I will start posting healthier stuff after today because these are a bunch of old pictures of incredibly unhealthy treats.  The second factor is that I have been bummed about being unemployed. After we moved, looking for a job turned out to be a thoroughly discouraging task.  Turn down after turn down.  But that all changed on Friday!  🙂  So now I am going into Christmas with a new and optimistic outlook.

In the past month there are very few items I have taken pictures of to post on here.  I will share with you the few that I did take.

Our first Thanksgiving turned out to be a fabulous one.  But in my frenzy, I forgot to take pictures of everything except for the turkey and the table.  I brined my turkey and I don’t think I will ever do it any other way after this because it turned out so darn delicious.

I was excited to use all of our nice china, linens and silverware for the first time.

My most favorite photo is of my new husband carving our first Thanksgiving turkey.

Mostly I was just thankful that the bird turned out beautiful AND delicious.

One of my favorite gift items I made this holiday season was Hot Chocolate on a Stick.  You can find the recipe here from this really awesome blog, Giver’s Log.

I made these extra Christmasey by adding crunched up candy cane to the dipped layer of white chocolate, making it peppermint hot chocolate.

I packaged it all up in mugs to make a cutesy gift.

I also make a batch of snowflake cookie cutters to send with Marc to work for a charity event they are doing.  They turned out pretty cute too.

Carrot Nut Bread

Carrot Nut Bread is wonderful because it tastes very similar to carrot cake, but you don’t feel as guilty eating it. Carrot Nut Bread doesn’t have the word “cake” in the title and it’s not smothered in cream cheese frosting.  You can actually taste and enjoy the flavors of the carrot, nutmeg and cinnamon.

I adapted this recipe slightly from the Joy of Cooking recipe to include nutmeg, slightly more cinnamon and contain less sugar.  I recommend using a food processor to grate the carrots.

Carrot Nut Bread Recipe

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 5- inch loaf pan.
Whisk together:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Blend well in a large bowl:

1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Stir in the dry ingredients. Blend with a few swift strokes:

1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups walnuts

Scrape the batter into the greased pan. Bake until the bread pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

Brownies Cockaigne

Oh man!  Looking at this picture makes me salivate.  Brownies are one of my favorite desserts.  Chocolatey chocolate goodness! About two years ago when I got really into baking, I set out to find a good recipe to make brownies from scratch.  I tried several recipes and I was disappointed to find that the boxed mix actually tasted better.  Just this summer,  I found this recipe from The Joy of Cooking. Hallelujah!  A delicious brownie recipe!   They taste even better than they look.  Now Marc begs for them.  Do yourself a favor and go home and whip up some “Brownies Cockaigne”.  Just try not to eat the WHOLE pan by yourself, though you will be tempted.  Share with a friend.

Brownies Cockaigne, from The Joy of Cooking

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a baking pan lined with foil. Melt in a small saucepan:
1 stick unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

Let cool. If you don’t, your brownies will be heavy and dry. Beat until light in color and foamy in texture:
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt

Gradually add and continue beating until thick:
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla

With a few swift strokes, stir in the cooled chocolate mixture just until combined. Even if you are using an electric mixer, switch to a wooden spoon for this. Stir in just combined:
1 cup all purpose flour

Scrape batter into the prepared pan. Bake about 25 minutes.