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Thursday, April 28, 2011

chocolate wonderfuls

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i was introduced to these chocolate wonderfuls recently. they've since been made twice, once for a bbq and another time for an office function. they're dw's gma's recipe and we all lurve us some gma stories:

While he was going to college, my father lived at home with Mama (my grandmother) who sent him off to class each day with a bag lunch. These lunches inevitably included an assortment of her delicious cookies, and always more than my father could possibly eat himself. Being a friendly and generous person, he would share the extra cookies with his classmates. When word got back that my father's classmates enjoyed the cookies, Mama naturally stepped up production and began to send him with even more cookies to share. According to my father, he then had to bring a suitcase to school every day in order to carry the extra cookies. Once it was known that my father usually had cookies to share, the other students began to request them, and one student once asked specifically for this cookie, saying "Do you have any of those chocolate wonderfuls?" The story was shared with my family and the name stuck. By the time I was introduced to Mama's cookies, Chocolate Wonderfuls had become what I consider to be her signature cookie.

Years later, I received a care package while I was away at school, and I too was able to share Mama's Chocolate Wonderfuls with my friends and classmates. ~dw

Mama's Chocolate Wonderfuls
Melt - Over boiling water:

1 6 Oz Package (1 Cup) Semi Sweet morsels
½ Cup sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon salt
Remove from heat

Add:
½ cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
-set aside

Sift:
1 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

Cream:
1/2 cup butter
Gradually add 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Add:
1 Unbeaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
-Blend Well

Stir in the dry ingredients and:
1 ½ cups quick cooking rolled oats

Press 2/3 of oat mixture in greased 9x9 inch pan
Spread with chocolate filling
Crumble remaining oat mixture over filling
Sprinkle with ¼ cup pecans

Bake:
350 Degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly brown

Cut into bars when cool

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Springtime Pasta Salad

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the thing about being in a new relationship, you find yourself on your best behavior, you're more agreeable and in my case, completely open to doing things i normally wouldn't do -- like hitting up botanical gardens or opting for whole food/organic ingredients. i also relinquish kitchen control. i'm used to being the one who cooks for others, so when the roles are reversed, it's a pleasant surprise -- one i welcome whole heartedly.

dw's pasta salad

any kinda pasta, in this case, bowtie
bell peppers, diced
onions, diced
1 glove of garlic, minced
2 zucchinis, diced
olive oil
lemon thyme
salt/pepper to taste

boil up some water to cook up the pasta, follow the package accordingly.

dw likes to mise en place like it's going out of style when he cooks. chop all the ingredients. in a deep pan heat up a bit of oil and saute the onions and garlic until translucent. add in the zucchini and cook until desired doneness. at this point, throw in the bell peppers. dw likes them to have keep their sweetness and crispness but still incorporated in the dish. season with salt/pepper and lemon thyme before adding the pasta. mix it all together.

serve warm or cold.

perfect to tuck into when you get home late from yoga, or for lunch... or for a springtime picnic.

currently love, that is, other than dw of course: the head and the heart, down in the valley

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chocolate Avocado Mousse ~ on vices

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Lent comes to an end this weekend, and the two sacrifices i made will finally return to me. it has not been easy. i dropped the occasional bad word and i fantasized about what my first meat-filled meal would be. i can't say i spent this entire time reflecting, praying or even thinking about what jesus went thru during the 40 days he spent in the desert. no. i thought about when i could cuss and consume meat again.

that's just it with bad habits we try to break ~ we fixate on them. we find loop holes. (ahem. i had marshmallows.) and sometimes, we go back to them. i'm being dramatic, of course. there's nothing wrong with swearing or eating meat. they're not necessarily bad habits. however, i do believe there's room for improvement. i've found colorful and imaginative ways to express myself (WHAT THE MONKEY?!) and with dw's encouragement, alternative nourishment for my body. i am no stranger to tofu or veggies, but i am a hesitant and cautious student of most organic and whole foods. i dabble in the stuff, and he is taking my hand and walking me thru this foreign space. and how do i thank him? by re-introducing him to previously discarded vices: watching television.


personally, i enjoyed it. i love me some avocado and this was a lovely treat. dw liked it more when he added gobs and gobs of honey.

happy weekend, friends. any vices you want to share?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2880 minutes

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Picnik collage
Picnik collage

i know, most of the pictures i post in this here space falls into the food category, very infrequently the craft column and as of late (in the last year or so) the still life stuff, usually of the flower and sky variety. the first two, it's pretty obvious why, this is a food/craft blog. but the last? well. i like pointing my crappy lens at things that hardly move, ok? the subjects don't talk back,  and with such prettiness, can you blame me?

so, this is what happened in the 48 hours of my weekend:

+dw purchased wooden spoons & a basket from Ghana for me. he is so good to me. (SFB Crafts)
+ate funnel cake for breakfast. it's how i roll.
+performed interpretive dancing and possible kung fu fighting in a sculpture garden. again, it's how i roll.
+kneaded this bread.
+watched & cried over this.
+there was a soccer game. as well as Hanna.
+and of course, this song on crazy repeat.

tell me: darlings, what did you do this weekend?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

spicy coconut shrimp soup

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"i have an affection for those transitional seasons, the way they take the edge off the intense cold of winter or heat of summer. but i often think that spring + autumn would completely lose their charm without the extremes of weather in winter + summer." ~How to Make an American Quilt, by Whitney Otto

since self diagnosing myself as a lactard last year, i've become quite besotted with coconut milk. i like it in my ice cream, it's got just the right amount of creaminess to it that is required of this treat but somehow, i feel like it's healthier. (despite contradictory studies that say coconut milk & oil are bad for you.) and for any creamy soups, i add a can of the stuff. my thought process: my ass has not grown astronomically in the last year so the hoopla talk about different fats and bad cholesterol etc have to be wrong, right?

moderation is masterbation key.

spicy coconut shrimp soup

note: i find cooking light recipes to be refreshingly cute, but lacking sometimes in full on bold flavors, which, i guess, is the point. if i were to make this again, i would go balls to the wall with the lime juice and red curry paste. this is also the kind of soup that is perfect in the dead of winter but completely acceptable in the heat of summer, and of course, fine in between. it's warm and cool, light but substantial.

3 1/2 cups veggie stock, comprised of half an onion sauteed, three carrots and some crushed garlic cloves
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh galangal
1 heaping Tablespoon red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
3/4 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

in keeping up with my Lent restrictions, i originally was going to use just water but dw demurred so i made a very quick veggie stock. in a bit of oil, saute up half an onion, extremely rough chopped until slightly caramelized. throw in a few crushed garlic cloves, whole and carrots, peeled and again rough chopped. salt/pepper and add in about 3 1/2 cups water. bring to a boil. discard veggies, or in my case, give to dw to nibble on while i finish up the rest of the cooking process.

throw in the subsequent 6 items into the stock, bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes. stir in coconut milk; cook 2 minutes or until hot. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. stir in lime juice and basil leaves, garnish with green onions.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Apple Fennel Salad ~ Simple Pleasures

Apple Fennel Salad
Apple & Fennel Salad
dw told me once that he likes that i love the simple things: evening walks in the city, hands tightly clasped together, rubbing noses and sunday catnaps. oh, and, Happy Hour Reading. it's the little things that make me happy: scrabble annihilations (to be fair, i've yet to kick his ass in this blasted game but i bet it'd make me happy), hot pink pumas, zombie strategery planning, afternoon sunlight. you get the picture. or maybe you're getting that nauseous feeling of being around someone who is entirely too happy for their own good. {hater}

simple Apple Fennel Salad, as inspired by jaleos' Manzanas con hinojo y queso Manchego and sweet & sour slaw. obviously, i ix-nayed the walnuts in the former and the raw cabbage in the latter, but you know, we're talking about my simple pleasures here.

two gala apples, thinly sliced, splashed with lemon juice to keep from browning
two small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
manchego cheese, matchstick'ed

for the dressing, no exact measurements per usual, but please, adjust to your pleasure palate:

olive oil
gourmet mustard
rice vinegar
salt/pepper to taste

mix/toss thoroughly. i made this salad the day before picnic and it was fine, still crunchy, still pretty, still yummy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pickled Eggs ~ unlikelihoods

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Pickled Eggs

i like eggs. i like pickles. pickled eggs tho? not something i ever thought i'd dig into.

further, unnatural colored foods, like blue slurpees or green beer? not a fan. PINK PICKLED EGGS? so unlikely to like.

surprises of all surprises? i liked these.

the thing about being a food blogger (i sound so cliched) is that it's forced me to eat or prepare foods i normally wouldn't. you know. like beets. rhubarb. soy sauce duck. bulgur wheat salad. ok you feel me.

i blame credit dw for these.


note: i used allspice powder, cus i was not about to buy yet another spice for the pantry. that's probably the reason why these eggs are not florescent pink. thank gawd.

taste: firm. tangy. sweet. (thx dw)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

:: avril ::

reasons why i have been so pressed for Spring:

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half-dressed trees... finally, these bare branches will have leaves and looking up toward the sky won't hurt so.

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blooms.

Longwood Gardens, PA
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holding hands, up a road slowly.

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greetings april. you've been eagerly anticipated.

Longwood Gardens weekend set.