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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Homemade Granola Cereal

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this a dumping of the pantry type of recipe. these are ingredients i normally have on hand, and once again, no exact measurements as it's all about taste and availability. i followed a few guidelines of granola making but not from any one food blogger, i did a search on foodgawker, clicked a few posts and came to my own method.

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excellent on it's own, with yogurt or soy milk, this is easy. it's good. and i'm pretty sure good for you, but don't quote me.

Homemade Granola Cereal

3 cups of quick oats (not the instant stuff)
1 TBL sugar
6 TBL honey
2 TBL grapeseed oil (or something non-flavor like veggie or sunflower)
handful of dried cranberries
handful of raisins
1 cup chopped almonds
handful of dried bananas
handful coconut flakes
handful of chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips)

preheat oven to 300F
in a saucepan, add the honey and grapeseed oil, heat thru till honey loosens. in a bowl add all the ingredents (except the chocolate) and pour honey/oil mixture over it, mixing thoroughly. in a rimmed cookie sheet or a regular pyrex casserole pan even out the granola. bake for about 20-30 minutes, at 10 minute intervals mix granola so it browns evenly.

remove from oven and allow to cool. when sufficiently cool, add in the chocolate and mix well. keep in airtight container for a week. as mentioned before, can be eaten with yogurt or (soy) milk, or on own.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Poached Eggs With Asparagus (Huevos Escalfados Con Esparragos)

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i like asparagus. nuria does not. however, the way i dressed these bad boys up, she likes them better now.

my submission for Beets/Squash.



Poached Eggs With Asparagus (Huevos Escalfados Con Esparragos)
adapted from 1080 Recipes by Simone & Inés Ortega

bunch of fresh asparagus
1 Tbl butter
3 eggs
approx. 1/3 cup of milk
3 slices of bread
approx. 1 Tbl flour
pinch of nutmeg
2 Tbl vinegar
splash of 1/2 lemon
drizzle of olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

toast up slices of bread (in the book, it's fried up like french toast)

cook the asparagus in boiling salted water, cooked to desired doneness, transfer on plate, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and healthy squeeze of the lemon. season with salt/pepper.

meanwhile, in a separate pot bring water to a boil. add in the vinegar and poach eggs to desired doneness.

to make the sauce, melt butter in sauce pan. stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly. gradually add in the milk and cook until thickens. season with the nutmeg and salt. i also threw in a splash of the lemon juice, just to spruce it up. keep sauce warm.

to plate, first layer is the toasted bread. carefully ladle the poached egg on top, next spoon the sauce on top. place the asparagus on top. serve immediately.

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just read: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility. pg. 323

Friday, March 26, 2010

Voltaggio Pop Rock Lollies

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it's no surprise that i am a huge Voltaggio fan. local boys who did very well on Top Chef. i've been to Volt twice already and i have resos for Table21 in May. pressed much?

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for two friends' 30th birthdays recently, i made the NYTimes Chocolate Chip Cookies and Nuria made the majority of these beauties. recipe/video.

basically: Pop Rocks + Melted Chocolate + Love = Party in Your Mouth.

bday cake

another friend, Jean of Spilled Milk Catering, made Bear the Cheeseburger Cake and Jenn Jenn the Blue Velvet Cake.


photo coutesy of 365 Bedtime Stories


Happy 30th Bethanny & Jennifer!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hailey Crochet Baby Blanket

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my college roommate Lindsey had a baby girl in January. it was Lindsey who introduced me to Jason all those years ago...

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Hailey Pattern. i used a larger hook (size K/6.5mm) as the yarn (purchased at Lovelyarns) was a bit thicker (from cascadeyarns, in 100% Superwash Merino Wool). trim was in olive (Lion Suede) and i did a row of double crochet.

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Welcome to the World Baby Lily Ayn! i am so looking forward to meeting you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

First Spring Weekend

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it was a lovely weekend spent outside, by the water with friends. what a perfect way to welcome in Spring.

i heard there were some snowfall in Chicago and parts of TX. crossing my fingers it's not moving east.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yogurt Cranberry Bars

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brace yourself. this is another repeat. due to some better quality pictures, slight alters to the recipe and well, this time i actually made the dish on my own and not with fellow classmates.

original post on Sour Cream Cranberry Bars.

slight changes:
i used 1 cup of yogurt instead of sour cream
1 threw in about 2 TBL candied orange peels and 2 tsp of orange dust.

verdict:
still yum as ever. i brought them in along with the Rosemary-Apricot & Orange Scone Cookies on my first day of work and they were a hit.

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it's spring outside, i'm thinking about picnics or hikes. these would make great snacks.

have a loverly weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jumping the Shark? - Upcoming Product Review

i've been blogging for just over two years and i have a fairly strict rule of no advertising on my page. i have a thing where i lose interest in anything if there is a monetary value put on it, it'd turn into work and not so much a fun hobby. to me blogging should be like sitting on a bar stool & hanging out with friends, i don't want it to be a job.

i was contacted today by CSN Stores, they wanted to know if i'd be interested in doing a product review or giveaway. i've done a product review and giveaway before, but it was on a smaller scale for a friend's company. this is a little different. it's advertising, right? am i jumping the shark?

well. i guess so. i don't know how i feel about it. i do know that i can't endorse a product i haven't tried before, from a place i've never bought from; a giveaway is out. so, as punishment for doing something that i never thought i'd do, i will accept a free product and review it. it's the least i could do. :)

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Athenian Scarf

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for my blog friend Trish's birthday this year i made her a scarf. granted, she lives in Texas where it doesn't get *that* cold.



until this year when it actually snowed down yonder. i sent the scarf to Trish mid February in the hopes that she'd be able to use it this season. it's a relatively light scarf, i used a small hook (size F/5 3.75MM) and the yarn was Red Heart, their Designer Sport line in Berry (Light 3oz).

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i fell in love with this pattern some time ago but it was intimidating. it looks difficult but i made myself sit down one day and learn it. the tension is a bit off and there are some lines of loop that are waaaay small but i think it came out well. i probably will make this again, using another kind yarn, and maybe a bigger hook.

Happy Birthday Trish!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

weekend away

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it was a cold, dreary and grey weekend away.
but lovely.
because i spent it with jason.
here's to a great week.

just finished reading: The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. finally. {tears}

we are walking down the street, holding hands... and i run to the swings and climb on, and Henry takes the one next to me, facing the opposite direction, and we swing higher and higher, passing each other, sometimes in sync and sometimes streaming past each other so fast it seems like we're going to collide, and we laugh, and laugh, and nothing can ever be sad, no one can be lost, or dead, or far away: right now we are here, and nothing can mar our perfection, or steal the joy of this perfect moment. pg. 240-241

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rosemary Apricot & Orange Scone Cookies

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i started my new job on Tuesday. i brought in treats. it's a slightly modified repeat of the Strawberry & Rosemary Scones. i made these in part because i had all the ingredients handy but mainly because last time Nuria made them and i failed at taking good pix of them.

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modifications:
i used apricot preserves instead.
i added 2 TBL of minced candied orange peels and 2 tsp of orange dust

verdict:
it was well received at work. apricots are a bit more mild than strawberries so the scones came out slightly bland in comparison. not exactly sweet but lovely with coffee in the morning or tea in the afternoon.

i'm headed to Atlantic City for a long weekend with jason. Alice in Chains has a show and naturally jason has VIP tickets. i'm just along for the ride. have a loverly weekend.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Suisse Mocha Cheesecake

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for nuria's birthday she requested a cheesecake. i had made one for her when she first came to america.

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so i made her one for her birthday.

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Suisse Mocha Cheesecake
adapted from Suzie The Foodie: Cappuccino Cheesecake

Crust
1 cup cookie crumbs, i used teddy graham chocolate bears
3 Tbl melted butter
2 tsp instant espresso powder, i used general foods international Suisse Mocha coffee drink mix

grind up the cookies and combine with the butter and espresso powder. press into springfoam pan, being sure to make it as even as possible. bake for about 10 minutes at 350F.

after that, remove from oven, bring temp down to 325F.

Chocolate Ganache Filling
6 oz of semisweet chocolate
2 cups whipping cream

heat up whipping cream and pour over chocolate. mix well together.

Cheesecake
16oz (2 packages) of cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1/2 cup of Bailey's
2 tsp espresso powder
2 large eggs

basically, mix all the ingredients together, making sure to continually and consistently scrape down the sides of the bowl. it's a soupy mix. add in the ganache and again, mix the ever loving hell out of the mixture.

pour mixture over top the crust. to be safe, be sure to foil the outer pan in case there is leakage. bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes (i got scared and baked it at 45 minutes). turn off oven and leave in there for another 30 minutes, being sure to NOT OPEN THE OVEN AT ALL.

after, take out and cool to room temp. then allow to sit in fridge overnight.

i decorated with sifted espresso powder on top, as well as some shaved chocolate. lastly, i dropped a few chocolate covered espresso beans to make it all pretty.

verdict: it came out silky smooth and even tho it was soupy when it first came out of the oven, it did set as it reached room temp. i'm thinking next time that i will suck up the anxiety and bake it for just the 30 minutes and see just how soft that one turns out. either way, nuria liked it and so did her coworkers.




picture courtesy of 365 Bedtime Stories

Monday, March 8, 2010

Words on Canvas



for my Love's jason's birthday this year, i made him something. i painted him a picture. inspired by Matthew Heller's Homage to Music. i put Layne Staley's words on canvas. actual quote: Whatever dramas are going on in my life, I always find that place inside my head where I see myself as the cleanest, tallest, strongest, wisest person that I can be.

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i enjoyed the project so much i made one for myself. only i put up an original haiku. i credit tyler knott for getting me back into writing. i've nicer words i spew.

today's album: Counting Crows, August and Everything After

some couples have a song. we have an album.

Friday, March 5, 2010

the sky's the limit

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quit my job this week.
eyes upward, towards the sky.
it's what i'm choosing to look at for now.

have a lovely weekend.

today's song, The Script, Live Like We're Dying

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fondant: Hello Kitty {Meow}

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for a friend's 25th birthday recently. she requested something hello kitty. meow.

what you need:
fondant recipe. i halved this.
black icing
i was going to make the eyes and nose out of fondant too but i had some leftover gingerbread house candy.

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what i learned:
color the fondant as you're making it. don't wait till the next day. it's a bitch.
duff of ace of cakes makes it look easy
it's great having a willing sous chef like nuria who enjoys the rolling part.

i put the fondant together and made the bows. Nuria rolled out the faces, cut up the ears and added on the whiskers. wonder twin powers! ACTIVATE.

we put the kitties on top of strawberry coconut cookies made by K1mposs1ble of Put a Spoon In It. she hasn't posted the recipe just yet. however, if you're interested in it, email me and i will share the doc.

inspiration and how-to found here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

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recently, my Love jason turned 35. i've known him since he was 22, and without disclosing my age, i was just a teenager. for his birthday, i made irish car bomb cupcakes. he loves my Chocolate Guinness Cake. for a spin, i made a bailey's ganache filling and bailey's icing to top it off.

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the chocolate ganache was luxurious, i was hoping for a surprise burst when you bite into the little treats, lending the cake even more moistness.

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with the extra batter, i made a simple cake, for those more interested in having a big slice. :)

Chocolate Guinness Cake recipe.

Bailey's Chocolate Ganache Filling:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbl. butter, room temperature
4 Tsp Bailey's Irish cream

put the chocolate in a bowl. meanwhile, bring the cream to a slight boil, pour over chocolate and ignore for a minute. add in the butter and irish cream and mix well.

when the cupcakes are cool, make a hole on top and pipe in the ganache. a little goes a long way but then again, you can never go wrong with lots of chocolate. :)

Bailey's Icing:
8 Tbl unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
10 Tbl Bailey's Irish cream

with a hand mixer, beat butter until fluffy. gradually add in the powered sugar. i'll be honest, i may have used less than 3 cups, i was not really measuring. it was all based on consistency. i poured in the irish cream gradually. mix well until desired consitency has been reached. pipe on cupcakes and devour.

Today's song: Alice in Chains, Check My Brain