Things I Shouldn’t Eat

Nov_13When I’m craving something good to snack on (and by “good” I mean bad), those dried apricots and almonds in the pantry just ain’t gonna cut it man! We usually do pretty well at the supermarket, strictly hauling home only healthy snacks and fruit. But there’s that feeling of regret at the end of the day, when we curl up to watch Netflix, when I’m NEEDING  something sweet to eat! I exclaim to my husband, “why didn’t we just get a box of cookies? We have nothing to eat!”.  The snow has gotten pretty bad here so it’s not like we could just dash out to get some cookies on a whim, so I decided to bake some instead! Desperate times call for desperate measures! I was craving something sweet and citrusy so I whipped up these lemon melting moments. So bad for you, but sooooooo good!

Lemon Melting Moments:

1 cup butter
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 cup corn starch

Filling:
60g softened butter
1 cup icing sugar
5 drops DoTerra Lemon essential oil (other brands will work too)
1 Tbsp lemon juice or orange juice (if the mix is too dry)

1. Mix the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy then mix in the vanilla extract.
2. Sift the flour and corn starch together, then mix gradually into the butter mixture. Mix until all ingredients combine into a smooth ball.
3. Roll dough into balls (slightly larger than a gumball). Mixture should make enough for 30 balls. Arrange on cookie tray and with a fork (dipped in corn starch to prevent sticking), flatten the balls slightly.
4. Bake for 15-20 mins at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When done, cookies should be a pale golden color.
5. Once cookies are cool, sandwich 2 together with a dollop of delicious lemon filling!

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The Gigantic Zucchinis

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So, what the heck are you supposed to do when your husband brings home a bundle of hulk sized zucchinis!? I was stumped, so naturally I asked Google for some help. This recipe showed up and it looked super simple so I tried it out. It turned out delicious! I’d never had zuchinni soup before but it was like tasting something I imagine angels would eat on cold days. It has no dairy in it yet it is heavenly creamy! The recipe called for a little bit of powdered ginger but I used fresh ginger instead. That little extra gingery zing makes all the difference. I suggest you try this recipe if you ever find yourself with a bundle of freakishly big zuchinnis or normal sized ones. This is one great soup recipe I’m going to keep up my sleeve.

Chicken Soup (Jewish Penicillin)

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Do you know what goes perfectly with a cold rainy day? A steaming bowl of chicken soup. That’s what. It’s been pouring down with heavenly rain these few days, and I couldn’t ask for better weather. No, I haven’t gone mad. It’s just such a pleasant change from the scorching 90° heat we’ve had over the last weeks of summer. We don’t have air-conditioning in the house, so this cooler weather made it feel like we kind of did. As usual when the weather starts to change, I begin to feel the onset of a cold coming on. And I know one good ole’ household remedy for all kinds of ailments – chicken soup (also known as Jewish penicillin)! So I decided to simmer a big pot of this golden medicine.

I used this recipe here. We didn’t have a whole roasting chicken like the recipe called for, so I ended up using one third portions of the ingredients listed. The soup turned out beautifully and I could feel the nourishing broth working its magic.
It tasted even better the day after!

The Drive In

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CO_Aug_027Are you enjoying this last month of summer? I think I’ve had my fair share of ice cream and sun burns this season, so I’m totally ready for the cooler weather!

My nausea has seemed to have left, so we took advantage of my new found appetite and tried the burgers at ‘The Drive In’. It’s a cute little ice cream and burger joint in our neighborhood that we’ve frequented too many times to count for ice cream cones and milkshakes. As I had imagined, their burgers and fries were deeelicious! Their Angus beef patties are made when you order and the fries are hand cut so everything tasted fresh, like they really cared about what they were serving you.
Sitting outside at one of their picnic tables, shaded by a colorful umbrella and listening to 50’s and 60’s music crackly out of their old speakers feels like stepping back time.
I adore this place!

Bits of My Birthday

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Birthdays. I’ve never kicked up a fuss about them or expected special treatment, but who can complain when people are extra nice to you and give you delicious things to eat? Now, that last part, I can certainly get behind!
The day started off with a special delivery of donuts for breakfast. So far so good, right?
In the afternoon, after talking to my clients about a project, they said I didn’t have to do any more work for the rest of the day, because it was my birthday! Man, people really take this birthday stuff seriously!
CO_Aug_007Danny took me to Uchenna, an Ethiopian Restaurant I had been dying to try in Old Colorado City. Maya, the lady who owns the restaurant was so welcoming. She just had a warmth about her and was one of those people that you meet and feel like you’ve known them for years. Since it was our first time eating there, she showed us the customary way of eating Ethiopian food. Using your right hand, you tear off a small piece of Injera (that spongey pancake you see rolled up on the plate), pinch up your curry with it and pop that juicy little thing in your mouth. Oh, and it WAS juicy, and spicy, and tangy and delicious. And to wash down that spice, I had a beautiful rose water lemonade. Eating that way really slowed down the pace of our meal and we savored every mouthful.
It was such a fun and intimate experience.

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Camera shy, as usual..
Oh, which reminds me, have you seen this Dove commercial yet?
When DID this shyness and low self confidence start creeping in? This is something I have to work on, at age 26.

CO_Aug_009We felt we could squeeze in a little dessert so we shared this Cataif, a shredded wheat parcel of almonds and honey. This thing was SWEET! Cavity inducing sweet. But, that only means it was terribly good.

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After dinner we walked around the old city and admired the incredible detail on some of the murals. I liked the colors of this particular one.
CO_Aug_012We spent a lot of time fogging up the glass of the Michael Garmen gallery, mesmerized by his painted brass sculptures in the windows. The gallery was closed but we are making it a point to go back there as soon as we can.
CO_Aug_013Look at his attention to detail! Those cigarette butts in the astray? Too good.

CO_Aug_014CO_Aug_015And I had to add this last photo. On our drive home I yelled out ecstatically, “OH MY GAHD, a raccoon! I think I just saw a huge raccoon by that house!”, pointing my finger out the window like an overly excited child. Danny pulled the truck over so I could get a hurried blurry picture of the critter. I’d never seen a raccoon in real life before, so this was kind of momentous. And just my luck, there were two of them!

26th Birthday, you were a pretty good one.

Peanut Butter & Black Berry Pancakes

CO_Aug_001These pancakes are less than perfect looking, but taste phenomenal.

As you know from my previous post, we just moved into our new house. We don’t have much (just the essentials at the moment) and are working towards making the place feel more like a home as we slowly collect art, rugs, and other homely things. But, I’ve felt whenever we sit down together in this seemingly empty house, that there’s nothing quite like a home cooked that makes me feel, well, AT HOME.

Here is the pancake recipe below if you’re interested.

Favorite Pancakes
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk ( we substitute 1/2 a cup of milk for greek yoghurt)
2 tablespoons salad oil
Sift dry ingredients together. Combine salad oil, milk (and yoghurt *optional*) and egg. Stir until just moistened. Ladle 1/4 cup puddles onto a hot griddle. Flip and stack them as high as you like!

We topped ours with a homemade black berry sauce and of course, peanut butter.
Black Berry Sauce
1 handful of black berries per person
2 tablespoons brown sugar
splash of water
Simmer berries, sugar and water on medium heat until berries break down. Too easy!

Homemade Pizza Night

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I need to share with you, the pizza crust recipe my grandmother-in law passed down to us.
It’s delicately CRISP on the outside and gives you that SOFT/ SPRINGY bite you want from a good dough.

Instead of going to the movies and a restaurant, we decided to stay home, take our time to make our own pizzas together and watch that scary movie, ‘Mama’, on TV. Our pizzas turned out fantastically! But, I’m embarrassed to show you the photos I took, because the lighting in our dining room tends to tinge photos a horror-show red. I don’t want to scare you away from trying this recipe with bad pictures! And I assure you the movie was the scary part of our evening, not these DELICIOUS pizzas!!

Here is the recipe below if you’re interested.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 1/4 c. warm water (110° to 115°)
3 1/2 – 4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
 1 Tbsp. honey
(makes 2 pizzas)

• Sprinkle yeast on warm water; stir to dissolve. Add 2 c. flour, salt, and honey. Beat thoroughly. Stir in remaining flour. Turn onto slightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
• Place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
• Turn onto board and knead just long enough to force out large bubbles. Divide in half. Roll each half to make an 11″ circle. Stretch each circle to fit an oiled 12″ pizza pan. Top with filling of your choice.
• Bake in very hot oven (450°) 20 -25 minutes. Exchange position of pans on oven racks once during baking to brown pizzas the same.

We made one of our pizzas with ham and pineapple, and topped it with fresh tomato slices. And the other with pepperoni, black olives and red bell peppers. Both were devoured that night.

I know it can be difficult to find the time to make things from scratch these days but trust me, this pizza crust is really worth it!

Is That Asparagus!?

CO_May_41 What do you do when you find Asparagus growing wild in the middle of your field?
Do a happy dance of course!
CO_May_42 I was so excited when I spotted these ladies the other day. We’re guessing that someone planted them at the abandoned homestead nearby and the cows have been eating them and spreading them around the pasture with their lovely poop.

CO_May_43 This vegetable grows crazy fast so new spears are shooting up everyday! We’ve been able to harvest 3 bundles so far and more spears are noodling up from the ground as I speak!

CO_May_44 CO_May_45 We roasted a bunch for lunch with some olive oil, coarse kosher salt and black pepper. They are THE BEST asparagus I’ve tasted. I think cow poop does wonderful things to Asparagus. Haha!
CO_May_46I toasted some Almond slices with ours. Sooo good.
I think my new home keeps trying to make me fall in love with it and it’s working!!

Five on Friday

Me as a Cat
5 things that I didn’t like at first:

1. Self portraits. I used to think, taking self portraits was a vain thing to do. To some point they are self indulgent and contrived, but I think it really depends on the intent behind them. I realized, while I was trying to find a current photo to change my profile picture (on the right) from an illustration to a real image, that I basically had no recent photos of me. It made me sad that I had such a bleak visual record of my past few years. It’s made me feel differently about self portraits. Instead of hiding my face from the camera, I’ll let the camera capture me because I don’t want to forget what I was like at that moment. The self portrait above is at least 3 years old.

2. Joanna Newsom. She is one of my favorite musicians but, to be honest, I kind of winced when I first heard her sing. I’m sorry, Joanna! It just goes to show that first impressions don’t always last. She is one exceptionally beautiful, talented lady and I feel lucky that we got to see her perform last year. It was an enchanting evening.

3. Tomatoes. I could not stand them when I was little. I’d literally gag if I’d bite into a sandwich and one of those suckers touched my tongue. Today, tomatoes and I have a different relationship. They’re pretty much in most of my meals. If I could only eat one vegetable for the rest of my life, it would be cherry tomatoes.

4. Chris Rock. Before actually taking the time to watch a full comedy routine performed by this guy, I had seen him in movies and he annoyed the heck out of me. I just found him really obnoxious. But, then I watched his stand up stuff, then I got him. Once I got past the vulgarity, I realized that man has some decent things to say. Hilarious man, straight up!

5. Coffee. Before college, I couldn’t understand why people would put themselves through drinking the stuff (sometimes more than once a day)! I started drinking it as a way to perk me up for those early morning lectures and now I can hardly get through the day without one. But I’m trying to cut back and drink more green tea.

Cheers to Summer!

happy smoothie

I decided to make myself a delicious healthy smoothie with the left over frozen raspberries we had in the freezer from Christmas. We also had banana’s, so I threw one of those yellow fellows into the blender too! I was hoping to find natural plain yoghurt in the fridge but all I could find was a banana custard flavoured yoghurt pot so I made do and it worked quite well actually. Then a splash of milk and orange juice and I blitzed away! What I love about smoothies is that they’re so easy and fun to make! The only annoying thing is cleaning the blender afterwards, *sigh*.

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Raspberry Banana Smoothie – Serves 2
In a blender, blitz the following:
1 cup of frozen raspberries
1 banana (sliced)
1 single serve pottle of yoghurt
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of orange juice (add more or less depending how thick you like your smoothie’s)

Then, enjoy drinking pure happiness in a glass!