Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pumpkin Granola


Have you seen the show Parenthood? I'm obsessed. It's about four grown siblings with families living in Berkley. Yes, I realize that sounds super boring but really, it's human drama. And I want to be a little like the matriarch when I'm elderly. She paints and over accessorizes and has an amazing house. 
It's about real life without being awkward. Bottom line is that I have watched a season and a half in about two weeks. If you'd like to join in my obsession it's on Netflix. 
You know what else I'm obsessed with? Granola. I really enjoy having homemade, non processed, delicious breakfast options and I've been on a total kick lately.
And this one? It's pumpkin flavored with all the delicious spice flavor that comes along. I realize its the end of February but since it's not the fall it means you don't have to fight anyone else for the canned pumpkin. HOORAY.
Pumpkin Granola
Ingredients:
  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup almonds
To Make:

1) Preheat oven to 325* F. Combine oats, spices and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl combine pumpkin, syrup and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.

2) Spread out evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once. Once it's done, take out of oven and add cranberries and almonds.

3) Store in airtight container for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Observation Tuesday: Volume 42

Check out this chef making noodles. It's magic!

One time, I got a text message from an unknown number with a picture of someone wearing a SpongeBob costume. After I asked who it was I got a picture of the man without the head of the costume on, I still didn't know him. I really wish I had this resource about the best way to respond to messages from the wrong numbers. It's hilarious.

I'm seriously considering buying a donut pan so I can make these amazing looking things.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: February 24

My week!

While technically from last weekend, I'm seriously missing this girl.
This was the surprise my husband had planned, my best friend visiting!


Rainy day walk to the bus.

These beauties finally died. My green thumb is no longer.

A post-dentist treat.

A fun Friday night!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Books: Underground, Everlasting Meal and Snow Child


The Underground: A Novel by Antanas Sileika

A co-worker passed this book along to me after hearing that I like historical fiction. From Goodreads,"A tragic love triangle set in a forgotten place during an invisible war. Inspired by true events, Underground tells the story of a troubled romance between Lukas and Elena, two members of the underground Lithuanian resistance movement in mid- 1940s." I feel like stories about WWII are typically set in Germany, France, England. I'd never read anything set in Lithuania and really enjoyed the different historical perspective. However, the characters were not as intriguing for me. I never felt truly connected with Lukas, or the women he loves. Overall I'd give it 3/5 stars. 

An Amazing Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler

Oh, I love this book. So much. Adler writes about cooking with beautiful descriptions like someone who has grown up around and truly loves cooking. She gives (usually) simple instructions on how to make good food apart of your every day life. This is where I got the idea for freezing vegetable leftovers (i.e. parts of an onion I don't use or the ends of carrots) to make homemade broth. She features chapters on how to fix kitchen mistakes, how to cook eggs, and even the best way to throw dinner parties. I was so inspired by this book. I definitely recommend this if you like cooking or reading about it. 

Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

This is our book club book for March. Summary from Amazon"Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees." This book had me from the beginning; from the mystery of where this girl comes from to the characters, Jack and Mabel. I read 100 pages the first night. Ivey does an excellent job describing life in Alaska and making the scenery come alive. I definitely recommend this. 




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Peanut Butter Latte

Even though I live in Seattle, the coffee mecca of the United States, I hold in my heart a fondness for the coffee shops in Tucson, Arizona. There were numerous shops with quirky decor and delicious drinks that I frequented a lot. Especially while in nursing school. I would often hunker down for hours (like 5-8) at a time and study med-surg, cardiac function, the Triad of Virchow and how to put in catheters
One that I loved was Epic Cafe on 4th Ave. The only thing I ever got there was the Peanut Butter Mocha. I know. Your mind may have been blown reading that drink title. That's the only place I've ever seen it on the menu and the other day I got a hankering for it. What to do? Bottom line most of the places here would think putting peanut butter in coffee was an abomination. Anyways, I had to make one myself and I was so happy I did. I didn't have any chocolate sauce at the time but even without it, it was amazing. 

Peanut Butter Latte
(adapted from a drink at Epic Cafe)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup strongly brewed espresso or coffee, hot
  • 2 heaping tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • sweetener of choice
To Make:

1) Gather your ingredients. Make your coffee. I use a French Press (1 heaping spoonful of coffee grounds to every half cup of water).

2) In a blender or cup suitable for using an immersion blender, pour coffee, peanut butter, whipping cream and as much sweetener as you like (chocolate syrup would also be delicious) and blend until mixed and frothy.

3) Taste and adjust ingredients to your discretion. Enjoy!



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Observation Tuesday: Volume 41

I got to spend a fantastic two days with my best friend over the weekend. My husband told me he was taking me on a "surprise trip"for the long weekend. I thought we were going snowshoeing somewhere but NOPE, Sarah showed up at my door on Friday night. So fun!

If you love good music, or even if you don't, check out Run Boy Run. From their website:
"The unique sound of Run Boy Run is rooted in the traditional music of the Appalachian South. Bands like Nickel Creek and Crooked Still have paved the way for the music of Run Boy Run: dynamic, orchestral, and overflowing with beauty. Run Boy Run exists in the tension between tradition and frontier. Three strong female voices weave a spectacular tapestry of sound. Award-winning fiddle cuts a path for a tightly formed rhythmic front. Every arrangement is—at it’s core—beautiful." You can even listen to them on Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and pre-order their album. 

And finally, for your viewing pleasure: 23 Pictures of Justin Timberlake Doing Amazing Things. hi-larious. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: February 17

Happy Sunday Everyone! I hope you have also had a really excellent week. I've enjoyed a few days off and a weekend away. And I've eaten and made a lot of good food. 

I made Valentines early this week. 
Paint chips, anyone?

This beauties are stil alive and growing. I'm proud.

Played mexican train with some friends and WON

I made myself a peanut butter latte.
The recipe should be up sometime next week

My Valentine gift for my husband? Homemade cheeze its
Punny card from a friend. She had another one that said 
"Whale you be my Valentine?"


Empty theatre seeing Silver Linings Playbook.
I had a love/hate relationship with that movie but the dance scene is one of my favorites

Sauteed asparagus with cauliflower alfredo fettuccini


Friday, February 15, 2013

Honey Whole Wheat Bread


Few things in life are better than homemade bread. Seriously. The smell wafting from the oven, butter spread over a fresh slice, dipping it into a bowl of homemade soup. YUM. 

  And the combination of milk and honey in this recipe? Stellar.
I know the process can be a bit intimidating though. I wanted to write through a few tricky points I've worked over the last few years. First? Proofing the yeast. To do this warm the liquid (in this case water) in the microwave for about 30 seconds. This is about the temp at which you can dip your finger into it and feel it's warm but not too hot to leave your finger in. Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and mix slightly. Leave it alone for about ten minutes. It should start foaming/bubbling at this point, which is when you know it's proofed.
 Second, make sure you add the flour little by little. Too much makes the bread really tough. The dough should stick together. As seen here.
Finally, forming the dough. I'm obviously still working on this, as demonstrated by my uneven loaf sizes below. It's definitely an art form and I look at this link from About.
When letting it rise, I preheat the oven and leave the loaves covered with a flour sack right on top of the oven so it has a little bit of warmth. It should double in size over 45 minutes to one hour.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 packages of active dry yeast (or Rapid Rise)
  • 1 Tablespoon of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup honey
To Make:

1) Start by proofing this yeast. Microwave the water until warm, add teaspoon of sugar and yeast packages and let sit for 10 minutes.

2) In a large mixing bowl whisk together all the whole wheat flour, 1 cup of all purpose flour and salt. In a small saucepan add milk, honey and butter until butter is melted and honey is combined. 

3) Add the milk mixture, and yeast mixture to the flour and stir. Then add the egg. When mixed together, add all-purpose flour, one half-cup at a time. When you can't stir any more in, turn dough out onto well-floured surface and knead for 5 or so minutes.

4) Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick spray and put the dough into the bowl. If you use regular yeast let the dough rise for an hour, or until doubled in size. If you use rapid rise yeast, let it rise for ten minutes then move on to next step.

5) Divide dough in two using sharp knife and form into two loaves. Put into bread pans, sprayed with non-stick spray, and let it rise for 45 minutes to an hour in a warm place. 

6) Preheat oven to 375 and bake bread for about 40 minutes, until top is browned and bread sounds hollow when tapped. When it comes out of the oven, brush with butter and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nutella Yogurt Dip


I bought a jar of Nutella when I made these Nutella-stuffed cookies (months ago) and honestly its been sitting in my pantry since then. Who does that? Who has a jar for that long without scarfing it down on a spoon, or toast, or a spoon....

Anyways, I found this recipe for Nutella yogurt dip and knew I had to bust it out. It's a perfect tangy and sweet combination for fruit. And it's hardly even a recipe it's so easy to make. 
 Nutella Yogurt Dip

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Nutella
  • dash of cinnamon
To Make:

1) Combine all ingredients in a bowl using spoon or immersion blender if you want it extra smooth.

2) Serve with fruit and enjoy!



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Observation Tuesday: Volume 40

Remember the Go Pro Dubstep Baby commercial? Well, I did a little You Tubing and found this gem. I don't want to give any spoilers so just go watch it

I love comedian Mo Rocca, from on Wait Wait! Don't Tell Me among other things. Wonder what he eats for breakfast? Check out his morning as featured on Bon Appetit's My Morning Routine.

One of my kitchen pet peeves? When I have something on my finger that would not be delicious to lick off. I.e. when I wipe garlic off of a knife or butter. It's such a buzz kill.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: February 10

I finished a hectic work schedule this past Tuesday.
This sandwich was my reward, it's from Paseo's in Fremont and it was amazing.

Bought myself some flowers at the store this week. Best $1.66 I spent.

Spontaneous ice cream date Thursday afternoon. 

Saw this during the week.
The clouds here totally make me appreciate this even more

A semi-lazy Saturday morning. Studying was a necessary evil but the rest of it was lovely.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Cookies

You guys. Taxes are real. And stressful. I even use online tax software and almost owed the government $900 because I mistyped one little letter. Thank goodness for moms.
You know what's not stressful? These cookies. They're simple and awesome. Coffee + chocolate = winning. always. I often forget the impact a little espresso powder can make in a dessert. It really takes these babies up a notch, a tasty and delicious notch.
I think the alliteration in the title (4 C's!) makes it even better.
Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
To Make

1) Cream butter and sugars together until well combined, about 3 minutes. Then add egg and egg yolk and beat at medium speed until fluffy, finally stir in the vanilla. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

2) Mix the flour, soda and espresso powder in a bowl. Dump this into the wet ingredients all at once and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips at the very end. Once all mixed, chill for 45 minutes. 

3) When dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350*. Drop the dough using a melon baller or by tablespoonfuls only baking sheets. You can use parchment paper if you want to as well. Bake for 12 minutes and remove from oven. Then cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes or as long as you can handle it. Enjoy! 



Monday, February 4, 2013

Observation Tuesday: Volume 39

I actually watched the Superbowl, the whole thing, for the first time ever I think. My fav parts? The blackout, Beyonce and the gang, the Dubstep Baby.

I'm too lazy to figure out how to make this a link on my phone but this is my new favorite SNL video.

Finally, check out the article about my brother in law's parents' Meat Market. Did that make sense?

Chunky Carrot Soup


Guilty pleasures. We all have them. That's what I want to talk about today. Mine include: The Bachelor (which I judge myself for), not showering for as long as I can get away with, cookie dough and documentaries on Netflix. 
All of those things can be balanced out by this soup. I'm not totally sure why it makes it okay for me to watch The Bachelor, but it does. It's vegan after all! And thankfully vegan in this case dose mean healthy. 
Just look at these veggies! Of course they're good for you. I love the colors in these pictures, they veggies just shine through. And they've cooked down with spices, broth and Field Roast Sausage.
Never heard of Field Roast Sausage? Me either until a few weeks ago. It's a vegan sauge made from grains, veggies, local wine and delicious flavorings. Honestly, it's delicious. They have italian, mexican chipotle, and smoked apple sage. I used Italian for this recipe but the original recipe recommends the mexican chipotle. I don't think you could go wrong.

Vegan Carrot Soup
Ingredients:
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 Field Roast vegan sausage
  • 5 large carrots
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 egg noodles (or any dry pasta)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-4 cups of water 
  • s&p to taste

To Make

1) Prep your ingredients. Wash, peel and cup the potato into bite-sized pieces. Dice the onion. Roughly chop the sausage. Cut the carrots into large rounds. Wash and finely chop the parsley. This can be done ahead of time.

2) Heat olive oil in large pot. Saute the garlic, onions and sausage for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent garlic from burning. Then add the carrots and potatoes and cook for another few minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. You can adjust the amount of water to add depending on how thick you want your soup. 

3) Once the pot has boiled, reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour or until carrots and potatoes are tender and pasta is cooked. The longer you let is simmer the more intense the flavors will get. Once you've simmered for the right amount of time serve piping hot with some delicious bread on the side. Enjoy!