Home Ec: The Prep

Next week is the beginning of the home ec sewing class with FreckledNest.com, and I am PUMPED.  Are any of you all taking the sewing class too?  If you’re interested you can find the details here.
Tonight (after packing for Vegas, Vlogging, and hugging the kittens) I set up my sewing area.  It’s where I have been drawing and such– it makes for the perfect little nook.
I went to the store– got all my gear, snacks, scissors, thread.. 
I meandered the the aisles trying to pick out my fabric for the first three projects– Napkins, Gift Bag, and Reusable Tote.  (Picking out fabric might be the hardest part for me!)
I brought over my iPod dock in preparation for spending hours here…
And I’m nervous!  I am very much a “Jump Right In” kind of person, I’ve never sewed before in my life… I have still not threaded the darn thing… so here’s hoping I like it so much my brain explodes.
Happy Friday.

19. Breaking the No-Cooking Streak

I have talked about how I have really not cooked since moving here. I have really maxed out with a grilled cheese sandwich. I couldn’t justify cooking for “just me” after 2 years of cooking so many meals for “us”. Not just us, my repertoire of recipes is a reflection of who I was cooking for… I learned his favorite recipes, learned to make things the way his mom did.. that sort of thing.

Anyways. Last night I cooked. I cooked a casserole from my Aunt for the lunch club today and I made an apple pie for a potluck dinner tonight. I know I need to get over the not-cooking-for-myself thing… and I will. But it is nice to cook for people again.

The chili-cornbread casserole is insanely easy. Probably should even count as cooking.. there are ways to make it more complicated… by, you know, making the chili or cornbread batter from scratch. I however used Trader Joe’s turkey chili, and Trader Joe’s cornbread mix…. you put the chili on the bottom, put the cornbread batter on top. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes… done.

The crumb apple pie was an actual baking experience… and if I could chose between putting my energy into cooking or baking, I would pick baking every time.

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie

Filling:
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 2 3/4 pounds)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons caramel sundae syrup

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To prepare filling, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Add sugar mixture and apples to skillet; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat; stir in 3 tablespoons flour and lemon juice. Spoon into prepared crust.

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To prepare topping, lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.

Combine flour and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a bowl; cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Drizzle syrup over apple mixture; sprinkle topping over syrup.

Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool on a wire rack.

The next step is to impress my new friend with my baking prowess. :)

Menu Plan #6


Apparently it’s family recipe week in this house.

Monday- Aunt Susan’s Crab Fettuccine Alfred0
Tuesday – Grams’ Meatloaf
Wednesday- Crock Pot Day- Stew with some yummy bread!
Thursday- Indian Food! (Favorite Take-Out EVER)

Susan’s Crab Fettuccine Alfredo (The Secret Family Recipe). When I told Ryan we were having it this week, he was super excited.
Ingredients:

  • 3 T Butter
  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes seeded & chopped
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup cream (whipping is fine)
  • 1 lb. fresh fettuccine
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 cup crab meat (1 can)
  • 1/2 parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup basil

* To seed tomatoes, drop them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. This loosens up the skin so it easy to remove.
1. Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes and garlic and simmer until tomatoes soften and break down.
2. Add cream and 1/3 cup white wine. Simmer 10 minutes. Thinning with more wine if sauce is too heavy.
3. Cook pasta al dente and drain.
4. Add basil, crab, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 3 minutes.
5. Add pasta and stir well.
6. Sprinkle with parsley and rest of parmesan. Garnish with whole basil leaves.

Gram’s Meatloaf
1 1/2 lb ground chuck
1 onion chopped
2 cans tomato sauce (small)
3 T vinegar
1 cup bread or cracker crumbs
1 1/2 t salt 1/4 t pepper
1/2 cup water
3 T Brown Sugar
1 T Dijon mustard

MIX: Meat, crumbs, onion, salt and pepper, 1/2 can of sauce. Form into load, put in pan lined with foil.

Combine rest of tomato sauce, water, vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. Pour over loaf.

Bake 1 hr 15 minutes @ 350 degrees, basting occasionally.


Shopping List

  • 2lbs beef stew meat
  • 1 1/2 lb ground chuck
  • 2 onions
  • Various Veggies for stew. I generally by the big hodge podge bag from TJ’s because if it goes into the crock pot it doesn’t really matter if it’s fresh or frozen.
  • Cream (whipping is fine)
  • 2 cans beef broth
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 lb. fresh fettuccine
  • Can of crab meat
  • Bunch of Parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Red wine
  • White wine
  • Kosher salt
  • Seasoning blend (whatever you have on hand for bbqing, stir-frying, etc.)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Flour
  • 2 cans tomato sauce (small)
  • Vinegar
  • Bread or cracker crumbs
  • Brown Sugar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic

Find your style….

I loved this! I went over here and took a quiz and it told me what style I liked. Which is kind of important to know when embarking on a whole new decorating opportunity in the condo this year.

Here are my results:

I am 43% Classic.

What’s old is new again! The beauty of Classic style is how well it takes all of the beautiful forms, colors and textures of the past and reinvents them in a way that feels both fresh and inspired.

The style itself is a mix of European influences and French, English and Italian antiques and replicas are often used together. Furniture is well proportioned and comfortable and the rooms give off an air of sophistication and grace. Oil paintings depicting still-life or nature scenes and emphasizing symmetry of pairs helps maintain the traditional nature of the room. Windows are often covered with opulent fabric shades and/or drapery.

Traditional rooms give off an air of history that seems to say “I was here long before you, and will remain long after you’ve gone.” And yet, even with this level of sophistication, the rooms are soft and inviting.

and then 43% Wine Country Style

Tuscan sun, here we come! The Wine Country style reflects the feelings evoked by the seaside regions of Europe such as the South of France, Spain, Italy and Greece. The style manages to be both refined and casual, such that you can mix beautiful antiques with more rustic wrought iron or wood and the result is both sophisticated and cozy.

Furniture is large and comfortable, colors are bright and cheery, and regardless of the color palette the spaces almost always feel warm. You can easily translate the style into the perfect family environment but you can just as easily emphasize the more formal pieces and make your room the perfect adult getaway.

You should go take the quiz, and let me know what your decorating style is!!

Weekly Menu #6

Yay! I feel so much more accomplished when I do my menu planning for the week. And while I was very productive last week– I also ate a lot of frozen food (mmmmm Taquitos).
Last night we had Tune Noodle Casserole, cause its just so good.
Monday: Macadamia-Crusted Halibut with Pineapple Salsa and Roasted Asparagus with Cashew-Curry Mayonnaise. (Which sounds impressive but it’s Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade)

Tuesday: Fat Tuesday dinner with my sorority alum group.

Wednesday: Ash Wednesday and Curried Beef Short Ribs (From this months Cooking Light)

Thursday: Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken

Friday: And I think Ryan wont be here Friday– So I get to eat whatever I want… like Taquitos!!!!!!!

Recipe for Macadamia-Crusted Halibut with Pineapple Salsa and Roasted Asparagus with Cashew-Curry Mayonnaise

For Macadamia-Crusted Halibut

4 6-oz halibut steaks, about 1 inch thick

3/4 cups chopped macadamia nuts

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup flour

For Pineapple Salsa

2 cans (8 oz each) crushed pineapple, drained (Dole is good, generic is just as good)

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, chopped (from a can)

2 tablespoons cilantro

2 tablespoons bottles lime juice

pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse halibut with cold water; pat dry and set aside. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. For the Macadamia-Crusted Part- place macadamia nuts in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl , beat together egg and water. Place flour in a third shallow bowl. Season halibut with slat and pepper. Dredge halibut in flour, shake off excess. Dip in egg mixtures. Lightly coat with macadamia nuts. Place halibut on baking sheet.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

4. Pineapple salsa: combine pineapple, onion, red peppers, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt.

5. Serve together- yum!

Roasted Asparagus with Cashew-Curry Mayonnaise

1 lb asparagus, trimmed

2 teaspoons Olive Oil

2 tablespoons cashews

1/2 cup light mayo

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon bottled lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil

2. Place asparagus on prepared sheet, drizzle with EVOO. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat. Roast in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a blender, process cashews until finely ground. IN a small bowl, combine ground cashews, mayo, curry powder, lemon juice, and the pinch of salt. Set aside.

4. To serve divide asparagus among 4 salad plates: top with mayo mixture. Garnish with cashews.

In other news, I got a blog award!!!!!!! Thank you so very much Kristen from Something Blue. If you don’t already know Kristen, you should. She is such a sweet heart!

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”!

I give this award to:

Erin over at Cutting the Rope

Nora at Walking Through the Rain

Ashley Paige at I Love You More than Carrots

and Melody!!!!!!

I couldn’t help myself…

You know how Amazon has their “Lightening Deals”? Well, this was the lighting deal at 2 pm today. I quickly emailed Ryan and asked him if I could/should get it. It was 40% off!!!

I waited.

I waited as the deals were being claimed.

The little bar was filling.

Still no word. In fact, I STILL haven’t heard back.

I had to act. I clicked the button.

And now I have to create some space for our new little man.

Introducing……………….

Isn’t he cute? I am trying to think of a name for him. Any suggestions?

Melvyn?

Sheldon?

Clarence?

Give me some suggestions!!! (I need a label maker so I can put his name tag on when he gets home!)

(Edited to Add: Ryan suggested Minkus (ala Boy Meets World). I like it.

Weekly Menu #5

I am going all crockpot this week. Cause I can.

And becasue I found this blog, where she used her crockpot every day for a year. Wow. That’s some crockpot love.
Wednesday- Baked Potatos (Yes, IN the crock pot. Yuu just poke with a fork, wrap in foil and cook on high for 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on size of spud.)
Friday- Eating out with The Bestie!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have to figure out what I am going to make for Valentines Day… I usually go all out, so stay tuned. I am so excited for Valentines day, we’re going Model House parusing and to see He’s Just Not That Into You.
Wanna know how I got Ryan to agree to go with me? I made him watch this video. I told him, if he laughed–He had to take me; and boy did he laugh.

Tour of My House.

This is my kitchen. Those are the ONLY two freaking drawers int he whole place. I have always wanted a knife magnet thing. I love my coffee maker to, it is the kind where if brews inside and then you push on the little dispenser thing to get the coffee out. Oh! And you can see my stand mixer, which is pretty kick ass. You can also see the white of EVERYTHING. Oh how every surface of this kitchen get covered in color splats all the time. I hate white.
This is Yo. You met him yesterday, and he’s helping out with the tour. He tried to show you the litter box, but I told him you wouldn’t be interested. Then he punched me.
I love my little red microwave. The wire bowl thing on the counter got put up today, because that little space is the most functional counter space I have. I’m stoked to get the fruit of the counter!
This is my “Office”. It used to be my kitchen table and dining room– but things changed one day when I FREAKED out about not having space.
I sit there on the left most of the time while blogging. And the kittens usually lay on my legs when the seats are reclined.
I like to read. You can also see Ryan’s desk off to the left. It’s about 3 feet wide. And he has two monitors, but he mounted them on vertically because he could not fit two side-by-side.
I hate that there is nothing above the bed. The comforter is brown, but because it’s been cold and we don’t have a heater, we’ve been using these blankets. Ryan’s grandma gave them to him when he was really little, and they’ve been everywhere with him.
In our room, more books and Paris.
Here is my closed and shoes… I call it the dressing area.

And here’s Ryan’s little closet. Poor guy could really use a full size closet.

Wasn’t that fun? That’s basically it! Oh my little 570 square foot apartment. I am TOTALLY NOT GOING TO MISS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Weekly Menu #3

I had such an amazing weekend. On Saturday, I got to surprise my dearest friend Jimmie for his birthday and I got to do it with a friend who I haven’t seen in at least 5 years who had been one of my best friends in middle school and high school. We got to go out in West Hollywood– with the whole VIP access with a table thing. I had never done that before, it was pretty fabulous. We also stayed at the Beverly Hilton, which is where the Golden Globes were last week. It was a blast.

It was also so nice to come home!! It’s so crazy, because I was only gone for 24 hours, but my heart is just so happy when I get home and I am with Ryan. It was nice to hold his hand, and kiss his face. He curled up on the couch with his head on my shoulder while I was blogging, and totally fell asleep and drooled a little on my arm.

Anyway, after recovering from the festivities of the night. I did manage to still go grocery shopping for the week.. Here’s the plan:

Monday: Lamb with Port Sauce, with some quinoa that I am going to improve a recipe for- the current thought is to make it with some garlic and spice… and some yummy veggies.

Tuesday: Double Date with Jimmie and Anthony to celebrate the Inauguration.

Wednesday: Totally making Tune Noodle Casserole. It is just SUCH a comfort food and it sounds so good!!! I think Ryan would be ok eating this every week. The recipe I use is like this, but I add a little tobasco sauce to it too.

Thursday: Paprika Roast Chicken with Sweet Onion, from this months Gourmet magazine. I couldn’t find the link to it on their website, and because it looks so tasty I will write it up here:

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 lbs and cut into serving pieces)
1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F with rack in upper third
Mix oil with spiced, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in large bowl, then add chicken and onion tossing to coat. Arrange chicken, skin side up, and onion in a 3-qt shallow baking dish
Bade until chicken is cooked through and skin is golden, about 30 minutes.

Friday: Pizza! Yum yum yum. I don’t make pizza from scratch, but maybe one day I will. I get my pizza in the frozen food section at Trader Joe’s. :)

How to Make me Happy…..

This just made made my day. I could write an entire ode to my crockpot. (Side note: It’s totally not even my crockpot… I borrowed it from a friend and never gave it back!!! But I swear I am not horrible! We have discussed how I still have some oit and we just haven’t been coordinated enough to get together to return it. )

I digress… I found today on Cooking Light HEALTHY CROCKPOT RECIPES!! Yay!!!!

Look how good this Char Siu Pork Roast looks!!

and then this Beef Daube Provencal! I am pretty sure Beef Duabe Provencal just means Country Beed Stew, but it just goes to show how things sound better in French…

The list over these and another 6 recipes can be found YONDER.