Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Peas and Thank You

I'm not a huge fan of peas, but we got a ton of them in our CSA so I got to work. I used boxed risotto and sauteed up some thinly sliced sweet onions (also from the CSA), garlic, and peas, then threw them in the risotto with some shredded Parmesan. Fast and easy. Bon appetite!

Yee Haw!

When we made Cowgirl Cookies in class I didn't think I was going to like them...but man they were tasty! And I remembered to chill my dough, so I got an 'A' that day :). I made them at home and they were just as good!

6 oz. butter
5.5 oz. sugar
6 oz. brown sugar
3 oz. eggs
9 g vanilla extract
8 oz. all-purpose flour
.25 oz. baking powder
.25 oz. baking soda
4 g cinnamon
3.5 g salt
10 oz. chocolate chips (and/or M&Ms)
3.75 oz. oats
4 oz. coconut
3.5 oz. pecans or walnuts

1. Cream together sugars and butter, then slowly add in eggs and vanilla.
2. Add in the dry ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chips, oats, coconut and nuts by hand.
3. Portion out cookies (I use an ice cream scoop), and keep dough chilled so cookies don't end up flat :).
4. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes

Such a Tart

Sometime last summer I become privy to the awesomeness that is pie crust and pretty much any savory or sweet filling you can think of. It's a great way to use up the CSA veggies and it's a total cinch. For dessert this week I used our farm-fresh strawberries and some blueberries with fresh whipped cream. It started as a doughy little present like this:

After baking, it turned a lovely golden brown and ooey-gooey delicious!

Here's the recipe, which would work well with peaches, apples, or lots of other types of fruits.

2 cups sliced fruit (I used strawberries and blueberries)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice (I used half of a fresh lemon)
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg white, lightly beaten (I used egg beaters)
1 refrigerated pie crust dough

1. Spray or line pan and roll out pie dough into a flat circle. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a bowl, mix sliced fruit, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and corn starch. Spread mixture evenly in center of pie dough and fold edges around to enclose.
3. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle sugar (preferably raw) on top of entire tart before baking. Bake until golden brown, approximately 45 minutes.

I sliced mine with a pizza cutter and whipped up some fresh cream with a touch of vanilla and some powdered sugar. Makes a fancy looking dessert for guests even though it's super simple!

Let's Be Honest

As much as I love to cook, some nights I'm just not feeling it. On lazy nights like this I like to jazz up a frozen thin crust cheese pizza with some leftover veggies (in this case carrots, spinach, onions, and orange pepper). Not great for you, but YUM!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

On the Road Again

Sometimes my spring feels like one non-stop road trip, with cheerleading competitions and work-related travel. This week alone I drove to Hilton Head Island and back in one day and then Wilmington, NC and back in two days. The Wilmington trip was fun because it was someplace new and because I got to judge a competition for the first time, which I really enjoyed. Here's a recap!

First stop was Georgetown, a cute little place about an hour or so outside of Charleston. I refueled, and took a quick walk along the harbor since it was such a nice day.

Myrtle Beach was just a drive-by....I've been there a million times for family vacations, competitions, work stuff...no need to stop again! While it has a pretty beach and some fun stuff to do, it's also a ton of chain restaurants and crowds and families with small children, so you know, only in small doses.

Finally, about three and a half hours later I made it to Wilmington. After checking in to my hotel, I walked around downtown and it was super cute. I even found free parking at a meter, go me!

I ended up grabbing a bite at Nick's Diner, trying one of their 'famous' mac and cheese skillets...mmm....

Then I got a good night's sleep before checking in at UNC Wilmington for the cheer competition. Getting paid to sit front and center and watch 60+ routines was actually kind of perfect and I really enjoyed it. It's a lot less stressful than actually having to compete. I hope I get asked to come back in the fall!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm a Believer

I admit it, I was a skeptic. I came in to the office with a runny nose and a terrible bout of allergies and a co-worker offered up a homeopathic remedy. She had me put a pinch of Celtic sea salt on my tongue until it dissolved...and in less than two minutes I could breathe normally again. WTF? Turns out it has trace minerals and is great for drying up mucous (mmm...). I immediately went to Earth Fare and bought some from the bulk bin. Here's an article, it's definitely worth a shot!  http://juicing-for-health.com/sea-salt-health-benefits.html

Black Bean Cakes

We made these in my Nutrition class but I decided that they could be improved on in the flavor department :). I made them at home with some shrimp tacos and have been eating the leftovers with rice and pico de gallo. Yum!

They were pretty easy to make, reheated well, and were tasty. Here's the recipe I came up with:

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced bell peppers (red/yellow/orange/green)
1/4 cup diced carrots
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder 
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 egg

Mush about half of the beans in a bowl, and add rest whole. Mix in remaining ingredients, season to taste, then form in to little patties and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Easy peasy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cookie Cake

I totally forgot to take a picture, but this recipe makes the best cookie cakes, cookie bars, and some pretty damn good cookies too. It's from the chocolate chunk wrapper at the Piggly Wiggly (Saco brand). It does have shortening, which I'm not a fan of but man it makes them tasty. Next time I make them I'll definitely get a picture, they just went way too fast this time!

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of butter (unsalted)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
12 oz. chocolate chips/chunks

1. Preheat oven to 375 and combine butter, shortening, sugars, and vanilla; beat until creamy. Beat in egg.
2. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
3. Drop by rounded spoonfuls or press into 9x13 pan for bars. Bake 8-10 minutes for cookies and 15-20 minutes for bars. Dive in!

*Update! I made another cake with this recipe for our friend Kristen's birthday this week! And I remembered to take a picture! Icing was store bought but cake was from scratch. Please ignore the fact that my penmanship needs some work :).*

Monday, April 1, 2013

Little Kitty Boo-Boo

Yes, I call my cat that. Like Honey Boo-Boo but Kitty. She is patient and puts up with our two big slobbery dogs trying to sniff her and play with her. She lets my husband wrap her in blankets like a burrito (see below). She doesn't ask for much (besides snuggles and the occasional treats). She's a good cat and I can hardly believe I've had her as long as I have (9 years!). I feel bad that she and the other cat don't get as much attention as they used to, but she tries to put herself near the action and make sure she's always near us and the dogs...just in case someone wants a cuddle or to drop a cat treat her way.