Friday, May 31, 2013

Milty Pics

Despite the fact that this blog is named after him, I haven't really posted a lot of pictures of Milton lately.  Partially because he doesn't really stand still for them.  I'll have some more next week, but here are the last few pre-haircut pictures.  Next time, he'll have his precious Mohawk again.

We tried to get him to just put his paws in, but he didn't want to.

Mommy, can I please have some cookie dough?

Jackpot!  I love that you're such a messy cook.

Hey friends!  How are you?

Looks like these floors have never been cleaned...good thing I'm here to help.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Pintester Movement

So over the weekend I did some epic baking.  From this recipe that I found on Pinterest for pinata cookies.  See, I'm pretty good at the food part of baking (like mixing things and putting them into the oven), but the artistic/fun side I struggle with.  So, when I found out about The Pintester Movement I figured I'd go for it.  The premise of it is that we should move out of our comfort zone and finally make something that we've had pinned forever, even if you think it's out of your league.

As per usual, I have changed a few things about these, which actually is likely why they didn't work.  I tried to do stars, in honor of Memorial Day, but then there wasn't enough room to cut out a circle to make them pinata like.  So instead they were just cookies.  I'm not huge on sugar cookies, but my friends and co-workers liked them.  Remember, even if you think you might fail, you're going to end up with something to eat (or a great story).

Pinata Cookies

This is a multi-step project, so bear with me.  Basically, you make the dough, put it in the fridge, then roll it out and cut it into shapes.  I've never done this before, so it seemed long to me.  However, much of the time is inactive, so no worries.

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Butter (that's 2 sticks)
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter (it's by the spices in the grocery store)
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
5 Cups Flour

First, cut the butter into pieces and let it come to room temperature.  It just saves time.  Put it into a giant bowl, or if you don't have one, a spaghetti pot.

Next, add the sugars and beat together for a while, until incorporated.

Pour some wine and let your friend do the work for you (Hi Liz!).

Add the eggs and oil and incorporate.

Add the dry ingredients in small amounts.  This time, man up and mix yourself.

Next add the extracts.

Divide the dough into portions and color.  Obviously, I used red, white (slash no color), and blue.

Definitely make sure to get a picture of your Dexter hands.

Now this is kind of where the wheels began to fall off of the wagon.  The plan was to make flag shapes and then they'd be big enough to stuff with delicious M&Ms.  However, we (mostly me, let's be honest here) couldn't really figure out how to stack the dough so it looked like a flag.  After some googling, I just wrapped it up and put it into the fridge to roll out as stars the next day.

Refrigerate for a while (I did overnight, but a few hours would be sufficient I think).  Liberally spread your work space and rolling pin with flour (if you don't have a rolling pin, you can use a wine bottle.  If you haven't got one of those, I really can't help you).  Lay the dough out and roll until desired thickness.  Since at this point I had no idea what I was doing, I just rolled until I didn't want to anymore.  Use cookie cutters to make some pretty shapes.

Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.

So the next step SHOULD be to cut a circle out of the middle of a cookie, then glue it with frosting to a second cookie, add M&Ms, then glue a third cookie.  But this is what happened when I tried to cut a hole.

So I didn't do that, I just made cookies.  They were delicious.

Don't forget to go check out other awesome things at The Pintester Movement.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Re-fried" Black Beans

As a quasi-vegetarian (I don't really cook meat at home, I just order it when I go out), I've began to explore the wonderful world of legumes.  I've always liked beans (um, when they melt the cheese on the re-fried beans..SO GOOD) and they're crazy cheap and a good source of protein.  Overall, I'm a big fan of Mexican type foods, because honestly, how can you go wrong with gauc, so making my own, healthier re fried beans was definitely first on my list.

Traditionally, re-fried beans are made with pinto beans and lard.  I'm not a huge fan of pinto beans and while lard is delicious, I'm working on the health thing, so that's basically out.  I got this basic process from Spark People a while ago.  It's simple, you can use canned beans if you want, and it's healthy.  I did quesadillas with mine, but it's also great on top of toast with an egg.

"Re-Fried" Black Beans

1 15 oz can of Black Beans, or about 2 cups
1 Medium Red Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
Hot Sauce
Salt and Pepper
About 1/4-1/3 Cup water

To start, chop your onion.  I find the easiest way to get mostly uniform pieces is to slice in half, from root to tip, peal, then make one slice in the middle, multiple on the sides, and then chop.  Because that is potentially the most unclear set of directions I've seen since someone tried to tell me how to get to the post office using hand motions, I've included pictures.

Add a bit of oil to a medium sized pan.  When it's hot, add the onions and cook until soft.

When the onions are about half done, add in the garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Err on the side of more with the seasonings, especially if you're using dried beans.

When the onions look like that picture, add in the beans, hot sauce, water, and more salt/pepper.  I cannot stress the addition of the seasonings enough.  If you are using dried beans, they taste like nothing right now, so use a heavy hand.

Let them cook for a minute or two, then mash them with a potato masher or fork.  I like to mash until about half the beans are mush and half are intact, but if you prefer a smoother texture, go to town.  It will look disgustingly like this.

Let the beans cook until the water is almost completely cooked off, stirring occasionally.  It's really up to you, if you'd rather have a more soupy texture, don't let them go as long.  I like there to be crispy bits, so I cook mine for a while.  The beauty of beans is that they are safe to eat at any temperature, so you don't need to worry about "cooking them through".

What you do now is entirely up to you.  I put mine between two tortillas and added gauc, salsa, and sour cream.

I think that these will theoretically keep in the fridge forever, but mine are usually gone in about a day.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Superb Sunday

Hello lovely friends!  It's once again Superb Sunday.  I have big plans for today and tomorrow, making some epic cookies for The Pintester Movement.  I'm also planning to have a vodka rocks and piece of toast in honor of the glorious return of Arrested Development.  And I took Milton on a really long walk.  He chased some geese and was SO HAPPY.  Without further ado, superbness.

Superb Sweet Treat: Pinata Cookies

This is what I'm going to make for the Pintester Movement.  Except mine are going to be flags, for Memorial Day, and probably not as pretty.  Which is sort of the point.  Either way, they're fabulous.

Superb Style: How to Train Yourself to Accessorize

Overall, I feel that most days I look decently put together.  But sometimes accessories allude me.  This is a super helpful article about how to best dress up your existing wardrobe.

Superb Sip: Jello Cups

Well this is just straight up genius.  How fun for a barbecue.  And, less clean up, which is always my goal.

Superb Advice: Believe in Yourself

Superb Carb-a-Holic: Roasted Beet and Garlic Pasta

Well, I've figured out what to do with the beets I got.  Roasted garlic is one of my favorite foods (see also: single, reasons that I am) and let's face it, pink food is superior.

Superb Cutie: Sassy Eeyore

I love that this giant stuffed animal thing manages to have a distinct facial expression.  I love Eeyore (remember, E is the best letter).

Superb App: Herbed Goat Cheese Spread

If you love goat cheese, then you will probably like this.  Also, it seems super simple, for when people just show up and want food.

Superb Helpful Hint: 10 ADD Organizing Strategies for Everyone

Although this is mostly written for those of us who struggle with ADD and the dis-organization that often comes with it, there are good tips for life in here.  Let's face it, ADD or not, we can all use a bit more organization.

Be on the lookout this week for some fun recipes.  I've just started a new/old job, so I'm still figuring out how to balance.  Since I have more to do at work, I have less time for this during the day.  Oh well.  Have a great week!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Roasted Veg and Goat Cheese Quiche

So I've made this twice now, because it really is just that good.  I have always had a deep love for quiche, it's actually what I used to ask for as my "special birthday dinner" when I was a kid (yep, I was a weird food snob baby).  It's really easy, basically you just dump everything into a pie crust and bake.  Then, voila, you have quiche.  It's also pretty easy to make mini ones too, if you're having a party, but not quite as easy as buying the pre-made ones from Trader Joe's, so I just do that.

Roasted Veg and Goat Cheese Quiche - Adapted from Savory Simple

Well, the pie crust was a bit of a fail.  I got a crust from the store and then when I went to roll it out, it broke.  In a bunch of places.  Apparently you're supposed to let them come up to room temperature before you roll them out, who knew?  Anyways, I tried to patch it back together with flour and water, but it didn't work so well. 

Anyways, heat the oven to 400, try to do a better job of putting the crust into the pie pan, poke a ton of holes in it, and let it pre-bake for 10-15 minutes.  You don't want for it to be crispy, but it shouldn't be raw anymore either.  

While this is cooking, prepare the vegetables.  I used a pint of cherry tomatoes and about one and a half zucchinis.  You can use whatever you like, but since it's summerish I wanted to use summery veggies.  YUM.  

Just chop them up (I halved the tomatoes and square cut the zucchini) and mix them with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Put them into the oven (that should still be at 400 from the crust) for about 30-40 minutes, until they are nicely roasty toasty.

Now, mix up 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, and 1 1/2 cups of milk/cream/half and half.  Add some salt and pepper, because it's delicious.

Knock the oven down to 375.  Crumble some goat cheese onto the bottom of the pie crust.

Pile on the veggies.  I used all of them, but it kind of overflowed a little, so maybe use a few less?  Or a bigger pan.

Finally, pour the egg mixture over it.  Yea, mine kind of overflowed and buried the crust, but whatevs.  It still tastes good.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the eggs are set.  You can tell because it's no longer jiggly.

I can definitely see myself making a million more of these with my CSA this summer.  It's prefect for a light lunch or for a dinner with some salad.