Monday, January 19, 2015

Chia Seed Pudding



I am terrible at getting up in the morning.

Like 
sleep-in-my-clothes-for-tomorrow
wake-up-10-minutes-before-I-leave
bad..

Pathetic? Probably.

But listen, adulthood.
I learned how to file my own taxes.
I own a vacuum cleaner.
Isn't that enough for you?
You can't have all of me.
I still want to buy beer that costs less than a pop from 
an airport vending machine
and eat more freezie pops than dinner sometimes.

You can't take that away from me.


So anyways, I suck at waking up.
This means weekday breakfast generally consists of
Instant oatmeal, mints from the bottom of my purse, or whatever baked
goods people leave out in the break room at work.  
(Do I sound like a yogurt commercial yet? Good.)

That's why I was probably a little too excited 
when I tried this chia seed pudding.
It's healthy as crap, it tastes like dessert, and it requires
NO EFFORT in the morning. 







RECIPE

5 TBSP. Chia Seeds
3 TBSP. Honey
1 TSP. Vanilla Extract
1/8 TSP. Salt
1 1/2 C. Coconut Milk


Instructions:  Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
Stir thoroughly to remove lumps.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
Remove from fridge, give the mixture a good stir, 
and top with fruit, jam, nuts or granola. 











Happy Eating!

Until the next!





Monday, January 12, 2015

Sopapillas



Working with yeast has always been a difficult thing for me.
It usually starts with a lot of confidence and anticipation and ends 
 with me swearing at a lot of sad, unrisen dough in the garbage.

So needless to say, it is a very satisfying feeling when it comes out right.
Like the kind of satisfying that you feel when your mom calls and you can report that
none of the plants that she gave you are dead.

It's something that you're pretty sure you're going to fail at,
and then when you miraculously succeed somehow,
you feel both confused and very proud of yourself.

It's a complicated emotion, but us folk that are fumbling our way through
everyday life will take all the high notes that we can get.

As you can see by the puffy and delightful state of the sopapillas pictured, 
this was a successful yeast endeavor. 

AND my mom called to see if the plants were still alive.
And they were. 

I'm nailing life right now. 






Sopapillas are a type of fried dough, popular in South America.
They are kind of like a donut, but less sweet and with a lighter, airier dough.
They are amazing because they are dessert. 
If you don't like dessert, we have an issue.



I went with mitten shapes for mine because it is DAMN COLD outside
and nothing sounded cozier than eating a warm fluffy pair of mittens,
but any shape you fancy will work.

Since i'm no yeasted dough expert, I followed this recipe from one of
my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess.
If you don't read their blog, you're doing it wrong.








Until the next, dears!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pad Thai with Zucchini Noodles



Everyone has weird things that they irrationally, yet passionately hate.
 I am no exception to that, and if you have ever had a
 conversation with me at any point past 3 beers,
you probably know ALL too much about them.

Victims of this hatred include Jack Kerouac, transition lenses 
 and low carb diets.

To me, a diet where you can eat an entire block of cheese for 
breakfast, but an orange is out of the question 
is some serious nonsense. 

So please, don't let this recipe lead you to the conclusion that I'm 
a carb hater. I would live in a sandwich house if I could.
Zucchini is just delicious in this recipe. 
Hear me out!





If you've never tried Zucchini noodles, I highly recommend giving them a shot.
They require NO COOKING and have a very similar texture and
flavor as regular noodles. 
And since you are just eating a bunch of zucchini, you can pig out so hard.

It's a win across the board.

I made mine using a spiralizer tool, but if you don't have access to one,
making thin strips with a vegetable peeler or slicing the 
vegetable into noodle-like strips will suffice. 





RECIPE


Sauce: 

6 TBSP. Soy Sauce
2 TBSP. Sriracha
4 TBSP. lime juice
2 TBSP. sesame oil
2 TBSP. canola oil
3 TBSP. brown sugar

Instructions: Simply whisk all of these bad boys together and set aside!


Pad Thai:

1 package extra firm tofu
2 large zucchini 
1/2 c. shelled edamame
1/2 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
2  stalks green onion (chopped)
1/4 c. cilantro
3 eggs

1/4 c. peanuts (shelled and chopped)
lime wedges for garnish


Instructions:

Start by pressing the tofu

**If you like your tofu on the squishy side, you can
skip on past this.

Cut your tofu into thin pieces.
 Layer 2 paper towels on a plate,
then cover the surface with your tofu slices. 
You can layer more paper towels on top and 
make another layer if you run out of room. 
Layer 2 more paper towels on top of your tofu, and set another plate or heavy
pan on top of your layers of tofu.
This will help draw water out of the tofu and give it a firmer texture 
when you cook it. 

Let the tofu press for 15-20 minutes, then dice it into 1-inch cubes 
and move it to a large bowl.
Pour half of the sauce mixture over the tofu and allow it to marinate 
for 10-15 minutes. 

Once marinated, cook the tofu in it's marinade 
in a frying pan on medium heat until it has browned 
and has become more firm. 

In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Scramble the 3 eggs
and pour them into the pan. 
Once the eggs have cooked 2/3 of the way,
add the vegetables.
Once the vegetables are tender, add the tofu mixture to the pan
and give everything a good stir. 

Make your zucchini noodles 
(either with a spiralizer or an alternate slicing method)
and plate some up.

Spoon the warmed vegetable and tofu mixture on top of your noodles.
Spoon on some of the remaining sauce 
and garnish with chopped peanuts and a lime wedge.







Chow down, my friends. 
Until the next! 










Thursday, December 11, 2014

Classic Mulled Wine



If you are over the age of 21 and have a family,
you are well aware of how important 
drinking is around the holidays. 

Alcohol is a great thing to have around 
at any family gathering for 
when grandpa needs something to blame for 
the awkward racist comments he made at dinner
and mom needs something to help
her forget that it happened.

It's got everyone's back, for better or for worse. 

If you've ever hosted a Holiday gathering of any sort, 
you also understand that providing such social lubricants 
can be an expensive thing. 

You spring for the $40 bottle of wine 
that gets sucked down before Uncle Jerry is even halfway 
through his conspiracy theory rant.

This is a problem. 
I have the answer. 



Mulled. Wine.
Mulling wine cinderellas the crap out of cheap wines.

It's the same logic as any sort of "jungle juice" 
or "insert cheap alcohol name here bucket"
you had in college. 
Take something cheap, yet alcoholic. 
Cover up the bad parts of it with better things.
Share.

With mulled wine, you can take a few cheap bottles of wine,
add fruit and cider and spices and a little bit of booze,
and it is cleaned up and ready for the ball. 

Trader Joes has a slightly-above-mediocre line of wines
(The Charles Shaw Collection: AKA "Two-Buck Chuck")
 that retail between $2-$4 that are perfect for this.





RECIPE

2 bottles of inexpensive red wine. (I used a Merlot)
4 c. apple cider

1/3 c. honey
3 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise

2 tsp. whole cloves

1/2 c. brandy or bourbon
1 lemon, sliced

2 oranges, sliced

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.
 I don't mind the cloves floating around in my wine,
but if this is something that is going to upset you, you can use a mulling bag 
or a tied up piece of cheese cloth to contain the spices.
Warm on low heat. Do not bring to a simmer or boil, 
this will start to cook the alcohol out.

I like to keep mine on low heat for a while (20 minutes or so) 
before serving, and give it a good stir every couple of minutes to really 
let the flavors blend together. 
Once the mixture is warmed, it is ready to serve!
At this point, you can strain the fruit and spices out if you wish,
but I think it is charming to have little bits of
fruit and cinnamon sticks in the glass. 
Call me crazy. 


                     




Happy drinking, ladies and gentlemen!


                                            

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Stovetop Simmer




If I walk into a place and it smells good, I instantly assume that whoever 
is responsible for where I am really has their shit together. 
Why?
Because the air controls smells. 
If you can make all of the air smell good, you are kind of the boss of the air. 
And that sounds really, really hard. 

It's something that only storybook grandmas that live in log cabins and Martha Stewart
know how to do, and the secret is going with them to their graves.

Well, for all of you poor souls with dwindling hope of ever achieving such aromatic successes,
wipe those tear stains off of your Yankee Candle catalogue. 
I have great news. 
I found a trick.

Simmering stovetop potpourri. 

I know that you're disappointed that the word "stovetop" 
wasn't immediately followed by "Kraft brand Stuffing in a box"
and that potpourri comes bearing the
connotation of 
"that dried up flower stuff that old people keep by their toilets."

But listen.

This stovetop potpourri is like an air Nazi. 
Keep it simmering on your stove for the afternoon
and it will reign over all of the air in your entire house.
It has serious powers. 
Everything will smell like Christmas and
every person who walks into your home will say
"Everything smells like Christmas."






This is the perfect thing to make people think that you have your life together.

Nobody is going to think
 "This girl's house smells amazing, I'll bet she just learned how to write a check."
or 
"This girl's house feels like sticking my nose in Christmas, she probably 
had to instill a personal rewards system to get herself to shower regularly."

Nope. There are no thoughts beyond the "put together" one.


The best thing about this is that it is ridiculously simple.
You pretty much just take a laundry list of good smelling things,
put them in a pot and let them do their thing.
It can also be changed up for different holidays and seasons by putting
different spices, fruits and aromatics in it.






RECIPE

1 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger
2 oranges, cut in half
1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
3 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean + 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup. apple cider
3 c. water
1-2 pine branches

Combine all ingredients in a sturdy pot. 
Simmer on low heat, adding water as needed.


TAKE NOTE:

-When you first put it on, it looks marvelous.
After simmering all day, it looks like a pot full of mud with sticks in it.
Do not be alarmed. We can't all stay pretty forever.
It'll still smell good.


-Keep adding water!!
This bad boy loses liquid pretty quickly. Keep stocking the pot
with water to keep everything from burning, and thusly
negating the whole "this person has their shit together"
sentiment. 

-If the scent weakens, you can add more vanilla extract 
or more cider to lift it back up again. However, you likely won't need to. 
The scent lasts a LONG time. I simmered mine for 9 hours before 
I felt the need to add anything to it. 

-People are going to try to drink it.
Don't let people try to drink it. 





Until the next, dears!









Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mexican Hot Chocolate


A few months ago, I moved into an apartment.
Nobody else moved in there.
Just me. By myself.
And it...has been..AMAZING.


It has taught me that you never realize the limits of your 
strange-ness until you've lived alone.
It's like how you act when you're alone in your car...except all of the time.
All the weird things you say to yourself in your head
are now aloud to come out of your mouth. 

Off the record. No repercussions. 

You can say the same word 50 times in 50 different accents if you want.
That word can be "boobs."
All of the accents can end up being vaguely British.
You can wear the furry monster boots from your Halloween costume 100% of the time.
You can sing Taylor Swift to the tune of traditional a capella christmas songs.
You can do that for 6 hours straight.
You can leap everywhere instead of walking.
You can pretend you have Barbie arms all night and only pick up things with 
bent elbows and flirty stuck-together fingers with the thumb sticking out.
You can give up on putting on a shirt, because that is a very hard 
thing to do with Barbie arms.
You can cover every square inch of the place with warm soft things
and drink this entire recipe of hot chocolate. By yourself. 

Have I sold you yet?





See that bowl of spices? I drank all of that.

But really. Look at all of that. This hot chocolate has no shortage of flavor. 
If you've never tried Mexican hot chocolate, it is a spiced version 
of the classic hot chocolate. 
It is slightly less sweet, and packed with warm, cozy, spicy goodness. 



INGREDIENTS:

4 cups milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS:

-Combine all of the dry ingredients.
-Heat the milk in a sauce pan on medium low heat. 
You don't want to burn the crap out of it, do you? Right. 

-Pour in the vanilla and whisk in the dry ingredients
until the milk has warmed and the spices are fully combined.

-Drink 1-4 cups of Mexican hot chocolate. Alone.





For your listening pleasure, here is a tiny playlist of songs to get cozy to.

Until the next, babies!



                                          

Monday, September 22, 2014

Good-bye Summer




That's all, folks. 
The season-change fairies have posted their Facebook statuses 
about loving sweater weather. 
They've swooped down to earth, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes in hand,
and they've taken every vestige of summer that we had left
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" style.
Just shoved all of our summer fun up the chimney.
They even took the last can of Who-hash.
And replaced it with "pumpkin flavored everything!"


It's officially Fall. 


Let's cherish these few palatable moments that we have left
before Polar Vortex round two rolls into town. 

To kiss the summer good-bye, here are some photos from a picnic 
I took a few months back.
Back when we were kicking our air conditioners and sweating 
through the backs of our t-shirts. 
You remember, the good ole days. 













Good-bye peaches.
Good-bye not wearing socks.
Good-bye rolled-down car windows.

I'll see you next year, dear friends.

Hello, Fall.