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!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Punkin Pics

Our punkins.

(For those who haven't yet visited, that's the entryway and front door.)
(The door is big.  I'm not that small in real life.)

Because Dremels aren't just for home improvement projects.

View from our driveway :)