Thursday, January 31, 2013

the very last of the season

yes. i was terrible. 
i was one of those people.  

to be fair, i took down almost all of the christmas decorations at a very reasonable date in early january.

but i left up the wreath, garland, and stockings, because they were just so cute, and well, it was going to look so sad with nothing up, and i had yet to finish my valentine's day garland (post to come soon).

so i finally took it all down january 28th. ashley gave me until friday, but it's all gone now. 
not a speck of holiday cheer is left in the house.


except for the candy canes. there are still candy canes in the candy dish.
but they are in valentine's colors so it's okay!

but anyway, since all the christmas cheer has left the house i thought it a good time to post the advent calendar i made for the boy that was well documented in the tumblr but got no love over here.

So, the recap:

goodbye christmas, see you in a few months!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

crunchy + creamy

this dish is not for anyone on any sort of diet. It is high in fat, sugar, cheese, carbs and pan-fried to optimal deliciousness.

It's probably best if you just look away now because i think i took a year off of my life by consuming this, but it was so frigging delicious, i'm probably going to make it again, next year.

So what is it? 

Cornflake-crusted, Ricotta-stuffed French Toast, with Caramelized Bananas.

Enough said right? 
So how did this ridiculous concoction come about? Well I happened to see two recipes for french toast within a few days of each other.  And one night, left to my own devices, I decided to combine the two.

The crunchy inspiration came from this recipe for crispy french toast from a beautiful mess (a blog i read daily).

The creamy inspiration came from this recipe for ricotta stuffed french toast with caramelized bananas from our eyes eat first. 

Clearly, it was a no brainer to combine the two and tweak accordingly.  
Here's what I did:

Sliced one banana and tossed in a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon:

Combined 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese with 1 Tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract:

Prepared an assembly line of: one slice of bread, ricotta mixture, a dish with 1 egg, 2 Tablespoons of whipping cream, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a dish with crushed cornflakes:

Step 1: take the slice of bread (I had the sandwich variety at home) and top with a hearty dollop of the ricotta mixture:

Fold ever so gently and dip into the egg mixture.  Let it soak for about 30 seconds on each side:

Transfer to the cornflake dish and press in said cornflake pieces all around.  
Remember to be gentle! This a fragile endeavor people.

Finally, melt some butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and gently place this delicate piece of 'toast' into the pan, and then surround with banana slices. 

Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown (and delicious) 

Then, a very important last step: take bananas and toast out of the pan and onto your plate.  Return to your skillet and add the remaining egg-cream mixture to it and scramble up.

My dad always did this after making french toast and it was always so good - the sweet and salty in the egg is a needed contrast to the sugary toast. 

But don't worry, that will take less than a minute, and then you can add it to your plate and feast on something that looks like this:

and this when you crack into it:


really people. it was as good as it sounds.

i apologize in advance for the pounds this might add.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

creamy cauliflower

I've got more soup because it's still very much winter around these parts.

This time some roasted cauliflower and potato, pureed of course.  

First up, roast 1/2 a head of cauliflower at 425 for 15 minutes.  
I sprinkled mine with olive oil, pepper, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. 

While that is going, saute up one chopped onion, two cloves of garlic, and your choice of seasoning.  I used a bay leaf (which I never use, I don't know why I felt this needed it), pepper, salt, garlic and onion powder, cayenne, and italian herb mix:

Once that is going, say after 7 minutes, add in one or two potatoes, chopped, depending on size, about two cups worth. 

When the cauliflower is done, add that in and stir up over medium heat to get everything crispy.

Then add a carton of vegetable stock, cover and let simmer for about fifteen-twenty minutes until the potatoes are tender to the fork.  

Pull out your handy dandy immersion blender and go to town until you have this beauty:

Top with some parmesan and call it a delicious day, inside away from the cold


Monday, January 28, 2013

pizza and spoon

In case you missed it, little Spoon was on the Fluffington Post today

Omg such a proud human. And of course it was for his crafting spirit.
I knew all those knitting lessons would pay off one day.

Also, I have a lot of things to put up here, I'm very behind.  Graduate school seriously gets in the way of my preferred activities.  Maybe I can change topics and write a dissertation on crafts and cooking. 

And for proof that I'm doing more exciting things than dissertating, 
here is some delicious pizza I made a while back:

Pesto and Ricotta base
topped with Zucchini, Veggie Italian Sausage, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Mozzarella:

More to come soon!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

a bicycle: how we got to this point

I think it is fairly well known that I do not know how to ride a bike.

Some may be shocked by such a concept, but people like me are more common than you would think.
There are a variety of reasons that lead to such a state of being, for example: 
1. your big sister decided they didn't want to learn and you wanted to be like them
2. When you had that cute pink bike with a white basket and streamers and training wheels, you lived on a hill and there was little biking opportunity
3. Like the hill, you were in a city and there was little chance to ride a bike

So you see, that's how I got to be 25 and not know how to ride a bike.  I have been able to live my life up until this point perfectly fine in such a state, biking was never a reasonable or popular means of transportation and I coped with the truth that I would never completely understand the true meaning of the phrase "it's just like riding a bike"

But now I live in a place where biking is so very popular and it is a frequent means of transportation for some of my nearest and dearest.  I thought I wanted to learn, but that's kind of a crazy idea, right? I'm much taller than your average six year old, thus further from the ground for the falls that take place when learning how to ride such a device, and I am a severely risk-averse person.

Little did I know Jonathan had set out to get me a bike for me for this very purpose. 

He found one. 
And it's very adorable. 
It's a cruiser, which means I peddle backwards to break and there are no gears to complicate the matter.

But to take a step back, he got me a bike which, while amazing is also terrifying because it means I now have to learn how to ride a bike. 
See reasons above for why this is a crazy idea. 
But apparently he is confident this will not be an issue.

Uh huh. We'll see. 

Step one: sit on the bike.
(me on my bike right after I got it)

And yes, in addition to being adorable because it is a cruiser, it is also called a Savannah cruise, how appropriate!

So now what? Now I learn. 

Stay tuned.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

some asu pride...for him

Last fall Jonathan was so sweet to drive with me all the way to Arkansas one weekend to visit my grandparents when my papa was sick, don't worry, he is all well now. 

But really, 30 hours of driving in four days! 
Don't worry, I know I've won with this boy.  

But anywho, I wanted to make him something as a thank you, so I decided to make him an ASU scarf because: he likes a scarf, he loves ASU, and he knows that me making ASU paraphernalia is quite a sacrifice given my deep pride in USC.

Of course, my initial speed on the scarf got sidetracked by work (ridiculous!) and then Christmas presents.  But I finally finished it over Christmas, just three months after I started! 

So, here is what I did: 

I wanted a thick scarf but when I was yarn shopping there was no large gauge maroon! Can you believe? So I doubled up and used two strands of yarn to get the bulk I was looking for.

4 balls of lions brand burgundy, US 9 
(I used all of two and just a little of the second two)
2 balls of lions brand gold, US 8 
(I probably used about a third of the two balls)
2 US 13 needles

As I said I worked with two balls at a time so I just joined the two ends from each ball and knitted as if it were one strand. 

Cast on 30 stitches
Knit rows 1 and 2
For rows 3 and on: knit 3, purl 3, 
bringing the yarn to the front/back when alternating between knit and purl. 

I wanted to do stripes of maroon and gold so I did a chunk of maroon and then switched to gold and then back again as I saw fit. 

The end product:

An ASU thick and cozy scarf:

The things I do. Fight On!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas in Arkansas

Christmas was spent in Arkansas this year with the whole family.  It was a very relaxing week filled with lots of great time with the family and so very much food.

-- Some highlights --

I made gingerbread cookies before I left using Martha's recipe and some royal frosting:

Once in Arkansas, Mema put us to work making the peanut butter and coconut candies (two types, not together):

There was so much food but little photographing of it, I was too busy eating of course!
But here is one: roasted potatoes, black-eyed peas, slaw, and bacon wrapped green beans. 
These were the sides that accompanied the fish fry.

There was much card playing per the usu:

And SNOW! 

Yes Arkansas had a very white Christmas for the first time since 1926! 
It was beautiful and there is plenty of proof:

I really liked the snow, if you couldn't tell.  And it was a good snow,  a few inches that stuck around a couple of days but no ice. So perfect.

Hope y'all had a very merry Christmas!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

leftovers: peppermint frosting style

As mentioned previously, Ashbash and I were lucky judgers in the News and Observers Holiday Cookie Contest.  

I know you are jealous, and yes, it was a wonderful sugar overload. 
A couple of recipes really stood out though, and after making some of my chocolate peppermint cupcakes, I decided to put the leftover frosting to good use with one of the recipes.

Ashley suggested I make a chocolate cookie sandwich with the leftover peppermint frosting, so I did, using this recipe for World Peace Cookies.  They are a chocolate slice and bake and thus pretty easy to make with the handy-dandy-stand mixer.  Though next time I might consider adding an egg, they could use the extra binding I think. 

So, follow the recipe, or maybe add an egg (I'll update you once I test out the adapted recipe),

Slice up the log:

Bake up the cookies and let cool:

And then, apply a smear of frosting to one cookie, and top with another, 

Peppermint frosting (full) recipe:
This recipe frosted 9 big cupcakes, 24 mini cupcakes, and 12 sandwich cookies
15 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Beat butter in the bowl of a standmixer, adding in sugar by the half-cup.  Once all the sugar is incorporated add in the vanilla and peppermint extract to taste.

I also like to stir in some crushed up candy canes for good measure.

Hope you keep the holiday spirit alive a little bit longer!