Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cooking with Kye: Ground Turkey Larb

It's Thursday!  And Kauyer (aka Kye) gave us a fantastic recipe from her stash!

Ok, it's my personal request that all of you try this out.  Kauyer (cow-yer), my old roommate, used to cook for me and Mrs Garden Gnome so I can personally vouch for her mad skills.  I'm adding the ingredients to my grocery list asap, especially since it fits right in with my goal to clean up my diet and eat healthier.  Plus, anything with lemongrass is an absolute win.

Mr. Kauyer taste-tested for us :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Forget Oprah - These are MY Favorite Things

Finally!  Sara pens her own Blah post!

Lonnnngggggg time no write, right?  I've finally stepped back up to the plate and contributed to the Blah blog.  Amazing, but total truth!  This week, we're posting our kitchen wish lists, and I thought I'd venture off on my own a wee bit.  There aren't a whole lot of things I need for my kitchen.  I mean, sure, I do need a new set of skillets, but mine should hold out for another year (or at least until I can throw a set onto a wedding gift registry, lol), so new pans aren't really on my radar.  So isntead, I thought I'd list a few of the things in my kitchen that make me happy.  Not all are gadgety (as evident by the gratuitous cookie photo above), but all do make my life better.

I do have a few photos to post to catch you up on me, and hey, surprise! - we're flying to Oregon tomorrow to spend Christmas with my family!  Stuff like that :)  Hopefully, I'll be able to snatch a computer to post some blogs while I'm away (sidenote:  anyone have luck using Blogger's editor on the iPad browser?).   Happy Thursday to you all!!

This mug pretty much just screams me and my style :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cooking with Susan: Spinach Lentil Soup

It's fa-reeeezing here (wind chill of 1 degree, anyone?), so when Susan sent me this recipe to post, I wanted to eat my monitor.  Dear heavens, it looks so, so good!  And hearty and filling and all that good stuff you want when your tank top, long sleeve, wool sweater, and thick coat layers just won't shake the chills out of your body.

Thank you, Susan, for helping a girl out :)  I've got one more guest post to share with you in a couple of weeks, and then I'm back to guinea-pigging recipes here at home.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cooking with Sara: Peanut Butter Balls

You get a double-dose of Cooking this week :)  Really, I just wanted to be sure to get this recipe into your grubby little paws before the holidays zipped on by.  These are seriously too easy to taste this yummy.  Seriously.  Who knew that peanut butter and powdered sugar would be a match made in heaven? 

And an added perk is that they're both dairy free and gluten free (completely vegan if you use dark chocolate for dipping).  We're going to pretend that they're also calorie free :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cooking with Sara: Coconut Macaroons

It's Thursday!  Which means it's my day to cook for the food blog!

As promised, here is the link for this recipe!

These little treats are pretty easy to throw together, but taste amazing.  (They're also gluten-free if you're of that nature.)  Definitely include the lemon zest in the recipe; it adds another level of yum. I'm so, so glad that Marnie convinced me to keep it in.

Tomorrow I'll be posting the recipe from our Peanut Butter Balls.... :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Baking 2010

You know you want our glasses.
So, right before Thanksgiving, my friend Marnie came all the way from San Diego to visit me!  This was a major hurrah because I hadn't seen her since the move way back in February, and we've been fairly inseparable for 7 years now.  We've been doing annual Christmas baking for the past few years, and lucky me - she flew in so that we could continue our tradition.  Hurrah hurrah hurrah!

This year, we made our famous Almond Roca, the Jam Cookies (which Bo insists on calling "Jam Good Cookies!"), our Peanut Butter Balls, and a new recipe - Coconut Macaroons.  And then we bagged everything up to share with friends, family, and neighbors.  Whew!  I'm honestly tired just thinking about it, haha.  But, really, I think we must be getting skillz or something, because the whole to-do went way quicker this year.  Or maybe we just didn't make enough? :)

The Peanut Butter Balls.

Which are actually loaded with roasted almonds.
And then dipped in Dove chocolate.
We don't play.

Ghost Marnie!
Actually, I was playing with the settings on my fancy camera and
she was doing something or other, and came out looking all see-through.

The Coconut Macaroons!!
I'm posting the recipe for these babies next Thursday!

...because our glasses match our aprons ;)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cooking with Mandy: Hot Sausage Bread

It's Thursday! That means it was my Mandy's day to cook for the food blog!

'Mornin!  Long time, no blog!  We had two sets of friends visiting us (with one day between them) plus Thanksgiving plus a huge Sarandipity Sweets order, so once again, time got away from me.  Such is life.  But, I do have piles and piles of photos to post for you.  Marnie and I went on a fun little trip to Cabbage Patch Kids HQ (yes!) and we did our annual Christmas baking, so you can count on lots of cute and delicious photos from our adventures.  We also learned a new craft project from Bo that begs to be shared because it's just so cool. 

But all those photos will have to wait for another day, because...Because!  Right now, I'm posting a recipe from yet another incredibly generous pal!

Here's the scoop:  Mandy and I went to high school together.  Like Devon, from last week's recipe, she graduated a year after me.  But the thing is, our high school is so small that we pretty much knew everyone in every grade.  How small, you ask?  There were 65 people in my graduating class, that's how small.  Yes, so when I joke about being from the sticks or about being a small-town girl, I'm not exaggerating even a smidge.  But back to Mandy - I remember her and her twin, Mindy, as tiny girls with long blonde hair, and to be honest, I couldn't ever tell them apart.  Both of them are all grown up now and authors, which I find incredibly inspiring.  Mandy's books are on Amazon here; you should definitely go check them out!

Thank you, Mandy, for stepping in to help a girl out!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cooking with Devon: Curry Squash Soup

It's Thursday!  That means it was my Devon's day to cook for the food blog!

Holy cow, that soup looks amazing!  Maybe it's because I was a bad girl and skipped breakfast this morning.  Maybe it's because it's 37 degrees outside and my hair is still wet.  Regardless, this soup looks scrumptious, and I'm really wishing I had a big ol' bowl of it right here in front of me.

But I don't have one.

I haven't even tasted a little sip of it.

Because Devon made it for me.  For the food blog.  And she doesn't even live in my state.  So, I'm forced to be content just staring at that photo, wishing I had a pressure cooker and a stick mixer and all the ingredients on my kitchen counter.

Definitely go check out her guest post on the food blog.  And if you make it, please tell me so that I can be jealous all over again :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sugar Coma

Sugar Coma 2010!

So, you know.  Yesterday was a typical Sunday afternoon for me - a gorge fest with 18 different kinds of sweets that left me feeling more than a little woozy about the whole ordeal.  Except that this time, I wasn't in my kitchen, and I had a sidekick.  Presenting, the sidekick.  Yamin is her name, actually.  She sits right next to me at work, so I dragged her to the sugar feast with me.

The event was aptly named "Sugar Coma."  We weren't sure what to expect (other than sugar, duh), so we wandered in to see this:

Basically, a ton of dessert tables, a ton of women, and a ton of lowlighting.  So we stepped on in.  To see mini cupcakes.

Mini cupcakes as far as the eye could see.  At every single table.

At first, I was downright gleeful at the sheer amount of free mini cupcakes being forced on us by the vendors.  I mean, really, how can that ever not be fun??  And then...Well, after about 4 of them plus the scoop of brown sugar ice cream plus the mini slice of sweet potato pie plus the homemade marshmallow plus the bite of a canoli plus plus plus, I was not only dying of thirst, but I was pretty much over the whole event.  And that, my friends, was only 3 tables in.  Seriously.  That was barely a dent in the whole thing.

(Are you feeling me on the mini cupcake overload?)

At last, variety! I thought this was cute, but nobody was partaking. Maybe the milk was warm? But I had to take a photo of it, just for the sheer novelty. I mean, in a sea of cupcakes, milk and cookies seems fancy and new and just so unexepected.

Yamin was sweet enough to hold my treats tray while I snapped photos :)

If you zoom in to inspect, please note that this is only half of what I originally gleaned, and I skipped 75% of the vendors. Really.

Sugar, sugar everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cooking with Sara: Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

It's Thursday!  And that means it was my day to cook for the food blog!

Hello, my dears!  (Spoken in the most non-evil stepmother kind of way.)  We're doing a Thanksgiving-ish themed week over at the food blog, and I have to admit that it took me a long minute to decide what to cook.  Unfortunately, desserts were out, because two of the other ladies already posted recipes for them.  My mom's stuffing (aka dressing) recipe was out because it requires me to boil the turkey giblets in order to make it, which in turn, requires me to buy a turkey a whole three weeks before Thanksgiving.  So, that one was definitely out.  I always insist on making green bean casserole, but that recipe is on the can of french fried onions, so no.  Anyway, I was basically left thinking about mashed potatoes.  These guys are awesome because you can make them ahead (even 3 days ahead), and they still heat up fluffy and creamy and yummy.  And the addition of cream cheese and sour cream gives them a little punch of flavor that butter alone can't bring.  I highly, highly recommend.

Are any of you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year?  We have an enormous dining table and service for ten, so I always try to finagle my way into hosting.  Plus, it's my one opportunity each year to make stuffing and pumpkin pie and that nasty-good green bean casserole.   This year, we've invited some couples over, but it may just end up being four of us at dinner.  I like a crowd, but I'll take whatever I can get :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cooking with John: Neatloaf

Gooood MORNIN!  I'm still not yet awake, despite having been up for nearly 2 hours now.  Such is life, no?

Between now and Christmas, I'll be highlighting a handful of incredibly generous Substitute Food Bloggers over on the Blah blog.  Sarandipity just gets beyond crazy this time of year (read:  Sara gets beyond crazy), so at Bo's encouraging, I'm enlisting the talents of some friends.  We had adorable Jenny a couple of weeks ago, and this week we have John, from Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes.  You should definitely check out his blog; his style of writing is highly entertaining; plus, it's all about life now that he and Alycia have moved to North Dakota.  (He's a San Diego native - imagine the climate and culture change, crazy!)

Hi, Leesh!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Happy Day Trip

On Saturday, we took a drive up to the hills.  A drive that was sorely needed by a one girl in particular.

The past few weeks have been so incredibly stressful for me, and they've really begun taking their toll on my mood and how I feel and how well I've been sleeping. I kept reminding myself this last week that, if I could just make it through five days of work, I could reward myself with some time spent under God's beautiful Autumn foliage.  And let me tell you, that reward was my saving grace last week; it was an intense stretch of days, to put it mildly.

Fall is my most favorite season, and I wanted to be sure we could take a drive up to the mountains to see the amazing colors before the trees lost all their leaves.  Another little tidbit about me is that I absolutely love the mountains, and I've missed them so much that it's left me feeling a bit disoriented and not at all grounded.  Growing up, I never understood my mom's obsession and love for the ocean.  During the eight years we lived on the Oregon Coast, I got so tired of driving to "see the ocean."  My mom was forever wanting to "see the ocean."  Well, now I understand.  Having spent nine years in San Diego, I got really homesick for mountains.  You know how when some people talk of where they'd build a dream home, and it's always on some amazing beach?  Pshaw, the beach is for stinky fish and loud birds.  Without hesitation, I'd build my dream home in the mountains.  It took living in San Diego and then moving across the country for me to realize how much mountains and trees are a part of who I am.  Take that away, and I don't feel like a whole me.

Our Saturday drive followed a meandering, unplanned loop north through Tennessee and North Carolina, before returning South through the Chattahoochee National Forest into Georgia.  We stumbled onto a trail head near the southern tip of the Appalachian Trail.  Having grown up in Oregon (ahem, we have our own famous Trail), I had no idea that we now live so close to the Appalachian Trail.  

This shop and hostel at the trail head also had an amazing stone structure off to the right, with a breathtaking view of the valley.

You Know Who gave it a big thumbs up.

Being out there on that trail made me want to grab a hair tie and go for a run, boots and all.  I really, really miss trail running.

Of course, we brought her with us :)

This is where we stopped in North Carolina for lunch.  Bo was so excited that he was nearly jumping up and down as we pulled into the parking lot.  I just thought it was only fair that we stop there since he'd been doing all the driving.  I'm not so much a fan of bbq.  That, and my indifference to peach pie are pretty much going to get me kicked out of the state of Georgia.

That porch, however, was pretty great for photos. 

In case you were wondering, a salad at a bbq place pretty much just consists of lettuce, some tomatoes, and an enormous pile of meat.  I'm wearing my fake excited face here :)

One of the two of us was really happy.  Happy enough so that the other one of the two of us was happy in response.  

I was so excited to try my first fried pie.  Any restaurant here in Georgia that claims to be "Southern" or "Real BBQ" has fried pies on the menu.  I greedily snatched one of these up and waited a whole 15 minutes before tearing into it in the car.  Verdict?  Yuck.  The fried part tasted fried, and the filling was from a can.  I miss my mom's amazing apple pies!

I love this photo.  Props to Bo!