October 17, 2011

Hot liquids

Today was the perfect Fall day! It was sunny and dry with a crispness to the air. I didn't realize how crisp it was until I finally sat still for more then 20 mins. So I steaped a cup of rose tea, half way through it dawned on me that it was Fall... why was I not drinking something more Fall like? So I dug out my jar of mulling spices and grabed the apple juice. I usually like to get the apple cider to start with then add the seasonings but this works in a pinch. Mmmmmm delish! Cheers!

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October 11, 2011

Zucchini bread of amazingness

With the summer coming to end and the yummy squashes ripening I have been craving zucchini bread. I remember eating it all the time growing up. We used to grow our own zucchinis till they would get massive like something out of a sci-fi movie. Since I don’t have a garden in this apartment right now I went out on a hunt for zucchini, sadly the ones at the stores are small and expensive, so I thought I would hit up the farmers market. After walking through the market I gave up hope of finding any, it is late in the season so I figured I just missed out. But just then out of the corner of my eye I see a box on a table filled with giant zucchini for $3 each. That was cheaper then the $3.99 /lb at the store. After starring in delight for a couple seconds I quickly said “I’ll take two!” When I picked them up I noticed that they each weighed more then my son! I was very excited to get home and start baking. I followed my grandmother’s recipe for the first batch then tweaked it a little for my taste adding some nuts and honey. I decided to vacuum seal some bread and the rest of the zucchini to have through out the rest of the year to fulfill my need. If you have never had zucchini bread before I encourage you to try it. If you like banana bread then you will like this!

Zucchini Bread Yields:  2 medium size loaves.
3     Eggs
2 C Sugar
1 C Veggie oil
1  t  Vanilla
            Mix together then add remaining ingredients.
3  C Flour
1  t  Salt
2  t  Cinnamon
1  t  Baking Soda
¼ t  Baking powder
2 C Grated Zucchini

You can also add ¼ C honey and ½ C chopped walnuts as well as swap one of the cups of flour for Whole Wheat Flour.

Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake for 40-60 min at 350 degrees. Let cool on wire rack or wood cutting board. I like to spread each slice with butter but it is also good without J

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October 05, 2011

Comfort food - Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Tater Tot Casserole

You know when you have one of those days where you just want to sleep?  Today was one of those days for me. It started yesterday night, my infant son did not want to sleep more then 20 minutes at a time so I decided, since I was up I might as well make something. I didn’t want to go all out baking so I used my bread machine to make some dough then I rolled it out and added butter, sugar, cinnamon and raisins then let it rise for a couple hours. By then it was 5am and my husband was getting ready for work. He was bummed that it was not baked yet at that point. After he left I baked it and then added some butter and brown sugar on top to caramelize.

Later in the day, after I finally got some sleep, I started reminiscing about fall weather foods. Pot pie, pot roast, and casseroles. Growing up we were not rich and not really poor either, but my mom made due with what we had using the food that was cheap but filling. One of the dishes that I always think of is tater tot casserole. It is really simple to make and can feed a family with little money and not a lot of ingredients.

To make it here is what you will need:
1- 1 1/2 lbs  Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
1/2 C           Minced Onion
1 Pkg          Brown Gravy mix
Spices as desired- I recommend pepper, seasoning salt and paprika
2 - 10 3/4oz  Cans of Cream of Mushroom soup ( My mom recommends Golden Mushroom, but you can use Cream of Chicken if you don't like mushrooms like me)
1/4 C         Evaporated Milk (You can use any type if you don't have that)
1 Pkg        Tater Tots Frozen (You can use hash browns in a pinch)
1 C            Shredded cheese for the top (opt.)

Brown the meat with the onion and spices, drain off any fat then spread in the bottom of a 9X13" baking dish. Wisk together the two cans of soup, packet of gravy mix and 1/4 C milk then pour over the meat. Layer the frozen tater tots evenly across your dish. If you run out you can use hash brown like I had to.

Bake at 400 F Degrees for 30-40 mins. Top with shredded cheese if desired. Serves 4-8 people.

My mom would also get tricky and sneak in a can or two of green beans on the bottom layer to make us eat our vegetables. But no matter what you put in it, just eating it brings back good memories. My husband and I were just disscussing that same idea the other day. How food is such a powerful part of who we are as people and a culture. Something as simple as food is enough to evoke emotion, memories and a sence of belonging. My suggestion to anyone that is having a bad day is just make something to remind yourself of who you are and where
you come from.

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October 02, 2011

October has arrived

Yesterday I got inspired to create a blog, so here we are. I am not really sure what I want to add on here but I know it will most likely include crafting and cooking. As these are two things I love to do. In the spirit of which I ended the day making cupcakes and being all wide eyed over the good finds I got at the craft store today. Needless today I am ready for the holiday season of card making.

After thinking about it I reminisced about how I was so good at making cards for every holiday, even "holidays" that were not really a holiday, just a day to send out a card (EXAMPLE: Grandparent's day) ...any who... I have decided it has been too long, so I will start once more. However today was cupcake day, I realized we ned to go grocery shopping so I was working with what we had. Not enough for a recipe from scratch but I could use the box mix. I really don't like the box mix kind but I got it on one of my couponing adventures, story for another day. I decided to jazz it up with some frozen blackberries that I was trying to use and some left over cream cheese frosting. In the end they ended coming out looking like a princess party cupcake for a five year old. My husband didn't seem to mind as he ate it in two large bites and asked for another, so all in all a success. One in cleaning out the box mix and two getting ride of some berries and sprinkles. Win / Win :)

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