Slicing and Dicing the Blues

I like cooking.  I might even love cooking, but it’s sometimes a hard thing to wrangle when you’re single.  Yes, I could come home from work every night and whip myself up something yummy, and yes I would probably be happier for it in the long run.  But, a single person doesn’t need to have a fridge that’s over flowing with food all the time.  This is why I’ve rather come to enjoy hosting parties and holidays at my house.  It gives me the ability to go to town in the kitchen without having to deal with all the fruits of my labor.

In an attempt to combat the huge quantities of food I sometimes manage to create, but mostly because Lil Sis had a 50% off coupon….I decided to give Blue Apron a whirl.  If you aren’t familiar, they are a food delivery company where you select the meals you’d like every week and they ship all the ingredients to you in a single box.

 

I HATED IT!

Okay, hate is maybe a strong way to put it….but I didn’t really enjoy the process or understand the point.  Yes, it was nice that they shipped only two portions of each meal, yes it was nice to try some new recipes with spices you wouldn’t normally purchase, yes all the meals are sent with very specific instructions to assist even the worst at home chefs, but overall the meals weren’t all that great and the whole process left quite a bit to be desired.

The way I see it, part of the cooking process is going to the store and picking ingredients.  I know that Blue Apron is shipping out thousands and thousands of boxes each week so they don’t have time or the ability to pick through all the veggies and check everything, but that’s the perk of being able to go pick your own.  I received wilted green beans, zucchini with a big, mushy portion, and herbs that were looking slightly past their peak.

Speaking of herbs, I love using fresh herbs, garlic, and ginger….but all are much more convenient to purchase in pre-minced varieties.  I might love to cook, but I don’t enjoy mincing garlic and peeling ginger.  Although, there is something satisfying about whacking cloves with your knife for easier peeling…….I’m not sure that people who aren’t familiar with cooking often would have an easy or quick time of making up any of these recipes.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we…..Week 1 meals

 

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I’m not sure that my salmon really ended up crispy….although I mean a filet of salmon is always delicious.  The major issue I had with this dish was the orzo salad.  Now….I generally like everything that went into the salad:

  • Orzo
  • Green Beans….which arrived wilted and sad 😦
  • Garlic
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Lemon
  • Sour Cream

However, as you’ll notice, my salad ended up much…creamier….than the salad they have pictured.  The first few bites of the salad seemed okay, but the longer it sat the worse and worse it got.  I actually didn’t even eat the second portion of the salad.  I’m not sure if something happened to the sour cream during shipping….or if the addition of the lemon juice caused it it curdle….I just know it became essentially inedible.  Needless to say, I wasn’t off to a great start.

 

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These tacos….specifically the spices used on the meat…where quite tasty.  Sour cream was included to top the tacos, and I skipped it to avoid the same disaster as the first meal.  I might make a variation of these in the crock pot sometime using like a pork roast instead of the sausage.  The sausage was a bit greasy…as sausage is, but I think a pulled pork style taco would be delicious!  Also, the quick slaw was easy and had good flavor.  Overall, this wasn’t a bad recipe which could be improved on and added to my standard rotation of cooking.

 

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A perfectly fine dish.  Wasn’t amazing….wasn’t bad….could have probably used more spice and zip, but I used all the ancho chile powder that had been shipped.  Again, I’m not sure that getting corn off of the cob is something that everyone knows how to accomplish….so I’m not sure that “Cut the corn kernels off the cob; discard the cob” is really going to be enough of an instruction for anyone trying to use Blue Apron to learn how to cook at home.  Even for those of us who know how to accomplish the task….it’s messy!  Again, I made the lime crema…..but didn’t use it on the dish.  I might whip this up again, I might not……but it’s good to have recipe options laying around for when you need to spice up the routine.

I didn’t mean to receive an additional week of meals…especially at full price….which is quite a price honestly, $60!!  

But, I didn’t get it cancelled in time, so….on to Week 2 meals!

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I don’t love mushrooms…..I don’t mind the flavor, it’s the texture that really gets to me.  A bit like eating rubber bands if I’m honest.  Luckily, the large slices were easy to pick out and around.  Again, this was a nice little dish that I might try again, maybe using a different style of noodle.  The main perk I got from Blue Apron was the ability to try spices like togarashi without having to commit to buying a huge quantity of it.  We’ve all done that…..found a recipe that sounds good and bought a dozen random ingredients only to discover that we hate it.  Then the spices just sit around, and we know we will probably never use again.  The quick pickles were crunchy and well spiced.  I’m also a huge fan of cooked celery and radishes, so that didn’t hurt this recipe at all either!

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Sorry for the less than fancy picture…I made this late one night and just split it into portions for lunches.  It’s just a fancy version of breaded, fried chicken and a warm potato salad.  This potato salad I might make again.  Actually, these were the first brussels sprouts I think I’d ever had!!  Again, it had celery which I do really enjoy.

Much like the blackened chicken with corn salsa…..it was good, not great.  I will probably keep it around just to add some variety to my life.  I was briefly debating adding this potato salad to my Thanksgiving spread, but I’m not hosting this year due to some family shuffling around.

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My cousin and I made these sandwiches as part of our booze and crafting weekend.  The idea of a turnip sandwich was good, but I’m not sure they worked out all that well.  Again, we skipped the crema, because by now I’ve just realized there’s something always a bit off with the creams they send.  Therefore, there was no goo keeping the sandwiches together, so when we flipped them in the pan everything just sorta exploded out.  The slaw was basically just dressed in oil and lime juice.  It was light and fresh, but there wasn’t much to it.  We both ended up adding some shredded cheese onto the sandwiches which added the creamy, gooey-ness we both thought they were missing.  I’m not sure I’d make these again, but if I saw it on a menu I might order it.  It was sorta a bland ending to what was a disappointing food weekend of crafting, bitching, and booze with my cousin!

The other thing I find particularly annoying about Blue Apron is the inability to select any 3 of the 6 meals that they offer each week.  There are usually 3 meat options and 3 vegetarian options.  However, you can’t mix and match any of the recipes, which as someone who eats both vegetarian and non vegetarian food, I find annoying.

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The two combinations you can’t see are Beef and Potato Latkes and Harissa Chicken Skewers.  I just find it annoying the I couldn’t have latkes and burgers.  I’m not sure why that is.  There is actually an option to select that you eat strictly vegetarian and then I’m sure they adjust the given recipes accordingly.  Frankly, any omnivore, the meal plan I selected, who wants to try a veggie burger isn’t going to care if the veggies get shipped along with the meat to make the latkes.

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Heaven forbid you would want to have spicy shrimp linguine and squash curry in the same week!!!  

It’s just stupid little things like this that annoy me, but when the options are either paying $60 a week to have limited options, or going to the store, probably spending less money, and being able to eat anything in any combination that I want…..the answer seems pretty clear to me.  It’s especially easy because the major grocery store here now offers online shopping.  You can either schedule a time to go collect your preselected food from the store, or they also offer delivery options which can be free if your total bill is large enough.  I don’t use these services as I don’t at all mind grocery shopping and I have plenty of time to be doing it, but they are offered and basically serve as a DIY Blue Apron for those who use them.

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The Power of Positive Drinking

Some weeks, you do nothing exciting.  Other weeks, you struggle to work after two late nights of country music and beers.  This week has been a sleep deprived struggle bus, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sunday night started off with one of my favorite bands with one of my favorite people.  Bitch Faced Bestie and I hit up the John Evans Band and Turnpike Troubadours.  We discovered our new personal style icons, and a new catch phrase, “Swagger is what swagger does!”

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This man is my spirit animal!  It was made ever more perfect by the fact that he was rocking high top Converse All-Stars with his skinny jeans.  You, John Evans, are everything I would want to be if I were a man!

 

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Because I’m way too cool to not rock fringe, and the BFB is almost always casually rocking bandana in the most perfect way.

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ON TO THE MAIN EVENT!

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Sometimes taking selfies is harder than it looks…..

 

This was the second time I’ve seen them in concert, and I would go again tomorrow if they came to town.  Nothing is better than boots, beers, and sweating the the pit of a concert jamming to songs that speak to you.  I know that it sounds gross, but sometimes a good drunk concert is all I need to get me feeling like myself again.

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You’re getting a double dose of Turnpike:

A—I couldn’t pick just one

B–They are my jam

Would you just look at them?!?!  Perfect!

Most of my week continued on fairly uneventfully.  Thursday night Pimp Money, his wife, and I headed out to the fair for some cheap country music, drinks, and fried food!  Usually I would get my yearly corndog fix at the rally, but the 76th Stugis Rally is wrapping up without me today while I sit on the patio and brunch with Scout.

The night as full of man crushes, cardigans in unexpected places, and younger 20 somethings getting their butts chewed for not behaving.

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We even got to meet Gunnar!  This might have maybe been more exciting to Pimp Money than his wedding day, we still haven’t really decided.  

The night had three different bands playing, Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys was the opener, Chris Janson was the headliner, and LoCash played the middle set.  Everything was going along just fine, until LoCash hit the stage in what we could only assume was a women’s cardigan!  First off, it was hot…..so why he thought he wanted a cardigan anyway was somewhat confusing for us.  This confusion was quickly followed up by the fact that it had a belt on it.  Now I’m not much of a fashion expert, and maybe I’m just not up to date on my trends, but around here most dudes aren’t running around in beatable, handkerchief  hemline cardigans!

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I had a better picture of the cardigan, but my phone died and it didn’t save……but there he is, in all his cardigan glory!

 

Chris Janson had never really been on my radar as an artist.  He has a couple popular songs on the radio, but beyond that I had never paid much attention.  I have to say I’m a pretty big fan after he stopped his show because some random drunk girl thought it would be fun to throw full Mike’s lemonades into a crowd that had a bunch of kids in it.  In fact, there was a family with two little guys in boots and pearl snaps who were clearly having their best night ever rocking out to country and it would have sucked a bunch if they had been hit with some sorry excuse of an adult drink!

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My phone died after this pic, so I don’t have any of my own pictures of Chris Janson playing…..

Have you ever seen a 135lb white redneck play the harmonica?!  It’s pretty epic stuff, I wouldn’t lie to you about these things.

 

I had originally thought my Saturday was going to be spent finishing up sprinkler checks for the HOA.  However, one of the guys was sick and wanted to postpone the check, he just didn’t bother to tell me that information.  So, instead of working on getting the bedroom finished, I went to the farmer’s market and restocked my winter supply of dilly beans!

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I also maybe bought myself some flowers….but when they look like that for $20 how can you not?!

I now have 12 more jars of spicy beans to get me through the winter.  Last summer I wrote a more in-depth post about my canning adventures, you can read it here.  This year went a bit easier and smoother since I knew what I was doing.  I did forget to add dill to the fist batch of 4 jars because I got way too excited.  However, I just opened them, added dill, and reprocessed.  They look fine and sealed but up so I think my pickling Hail Mary pass turned out just fine.

After the jars were all stuffed and the kitchen cleaned up, I got to relax with a traditional snack, a nap, and movie.  The snack was kohlrabi with Hidden Valley ranch dip, and the movie was Lonesome Dove parts 1 and 2.  Nothing like connecting with my Peterson farm roots while listening to the satisfying sound of canning lids pop and seal as they cool.  Second year in a row, and all my jars sealed up perfectly for winter storage!

Waking Up Hangry!

I’m a big breakfast eater.  Some times I can get away with just coffee, but especially at work or days I’m going to have a late lunch after a workout…..I need a good breakfast to get me through.  But, I’m also SUPER LAZY in the morning and pretty much refuse to wake up any earlier than I absolutely have to!!

Enter……THE FROZEN BREAKFAST BURRITO!!! 

Fast, easy, customizable, and filling enough to get you through even your hangriest mornings.  Make them ahead and pull them out as you need them.  They are perfect!

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THINGS YOU NEED:

  • Tortillas
  • 2 Eggs per Tortilla
  • Splash of Milk or Cream
  • Cooking Spray or Butter
  • Meat–I’ve been loving Hot Italian Sausage….like you’d use on pizza.  Bacon….ham…..quinoa…..tofu…..DO WHAT YOU LIKE
  • Cheese
  • Onion
  • Bell Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Saran Wrap

 

Precook your meat of choice.  The Italian sausage crumbles as it cooks, but I would dice ham or bacon so that it’s easier to wrap up the finished burritos.  Some spicy, taco seasoned quinoa would also be good if you’re looking for a meat free option.  I just looked back and realized I’ve never posted my Mexican quinoa bowl recipe, so probably I’ll have to do that soon!!!  But, just follow the cooking directions on the quinoa, and dump in some taco seasonings….Cumin, Cayenne, Garlic, Chili Powder, Onion Powder…ya know, the usual…..or buy a pack of seasoning if that’s more your thing.

Dice the onion and bell pepper and throw into a large pan over medium heat with some butter to soften.  Whip the eggs with a splash of milk and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the eggs into the pan and cook to a soft scramble.  This may take longer than you’d think depending on the amount of eggs you make…..just be warned.  Keep an eye on them though, as once they start to set it will go faster.

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Lay out each tortilla on a square of saran wrap.  Starting with the eggs, try and split an even amount into each tortilla.  Add in your meat of choice, and sprinkle with a bit of cheese.  By this time, it’s possible that your tortillas may have gotten a bit dry.  No worries, slide them onto a plate and simply microwave for 10-15 seconds.  Roll carefully, and then seal the roll with the saran wrap.

Once they are all stuffed, rolled, and wrapped….simply throw them in the freezer!  I was slightly worried that since they were warm the tortillas would get soggy and mushy, but they all came out perfectly!  Sometimes, if I planned even slightly ahead, I would pull one out and leave it in the fridge overnight to thaw.  I found that thawed burritos took 45-60 seconds to microwave.  I simply unwrapped them out of the saran wrap and set them on a plate or paper towel to microwave.

For the ultra lazy among us, a fully frozen burrito takes about 2-2.5 minutes to microwave, but flip it over half way through so that the bottom of the tortilla doesn’t get too soggy in the microwave!

I usually ate these at work, with my hands, just as they are.  But, if you have the option for a more plate and fork eating situation these would be great with the addition of some guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream!!

Bon Appetit!

 

Quick and Creative Ramen Bowls

Cup o’ noodles and 10 cent ramen packs….cheap, not delicious, and not great for you.  If college me had known how easy it was to make homemade bowls, I would have skipped the store bought packages all the time!

I’ve never had actual ramen noodles, like at a restaurant, but I’ve seen pictures and it looks amazeballs!!  Huge, steaming bowls of broth with noodles, spices, meat, and an egg.  These are a easy, packable, quick and easy version that is perfect for a quick dinner or a packable lunch.  You can take this base and run with it.  Make them as simple or complex as you’d like.  These could easily be made gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, meat lovers……basically your wish is this bowls command!

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What You Need

  • Ramen Noodles – The brown rice noodles come in 4 prepackaged servings per box and are gluten free!

What I Add

  • Veggies – I use corn, kale, carrots, and sometimes bell pepper.  Whatever you have on hand would be good.  I chop my baby carrots in a food processor, or the pre shredded carrots would also work.
  • Chicken Stock Base
  • Eggs – Most traditional ramen bowls contain an egg even if other protein is added.
  • Spices – I like wasabi, salt and pepper in mine.  Red pepper flakes would add some nice spice, I just never have any in the house! 😦

Other Things You Could Add

  • Meat – Chicken, beef, or pork would all be delicious.  Just make sure they are cooked through before adding to the bowls
  • Fun Flavors – Thai chilies, ginger root, Chinese five spice, a nice splash of soy sauce, fish sauce…..really any of your favorite Asian flavors could really only enhance the dish.  The beauty of making these at home is that you can really experiment and find your perfect flavor combination!

The best part about these bowls is they only use one pot to prep!  One small pot of water is all you need!

Boil the water and then removed from heat.  Add your package of noodles, stir, and then let sit about 5 minutes or until the noodles are softened.

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Stare into the pot and see your future, and the future is delicious!

I just use chop sticks to pull the noodles out and place them in the bottom of a microwave safe container.  If you keep the water in the pot it means you only need to heat it once, and that just saves time.  Plus…..Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Return your pot to the burner and turn the heat down slightly.  Once it’s simmering again, swirl vigorously and slide in an egg to start poaching.  My experience with the Spicy Sweet Potato Hash taught me that I like a sort of medium poach on my eggs so that the yolks are just set, but they are still bright yellow and slightly custardy.  Takes about 5-7 minutes depending on the size of egg.  Just gently pluck them out and poke them till you feel like they feel set to your liking.  Also, they will cook a bit more when you heat your bowl, so they can be slightly undercooked for this to start with.

While the egg is cooking away, I add my veggies, a generous teaspoon of stock base, and a nice amount of wasabi to my bowl.  This would be a great time to slash in some soy, toss in some spicy peppers, or grate in some ginger.  Once the egg is done add it the bowl, and I top mine with lots of black pepper and a small dash of salt.  That’s it!  Trow in the fridge for later if you want, or give in and eat right away!

When you’re ready to eat, this is how I prep them.  Add water to just cover the noodles and then toss in the microwave for about a minute or two covered to heat and soften the veggies.  Remove, stir, and enjoy!  If you have access to boiling water, you could probably get away without the microwave, but that’s all I have at work and it works out just fine.

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Chicken…..It’s What’s for Dinner

It’s been a few weekends since I saw my Main Squeeze, but he came to visit this weekend…..so, naturally I had to feed him!!  Our running joke is that he only eats chicken, because that’s all he wanted to eat the first weekend he came to see me.  Before I fed him, he decided he needed to take me out on an actual date, so Friday night that’s what we did.  We headed downtown for pizza and drinks……nothing like a night on the town with my Squeeze!!

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Saturday night was chicken dinner at home before some quality time with my Squeeze, my Bitch Faced Bestie, the Hubby in Law, and Cards Against Humanity.  A easy and favorite recipe is Chicken Parmesan, so I decided that I’d make that and some fancy Pinterest inspired garlic pull apart bread.  It’s one of those recipes that comes out of the oven looking fancy, but it’s really quite simple to put together.  Best yet, it’s fast.  It takes about half an hour for me to get it all prepped and in the oven baking away.

We waited a bit late in the day to start making dinner, so we were hungry by the time it came out of the oven.  I didn’t stop to take pictures of the finished products…..sorry about that!

Things you will need:

  • 1/2 Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Package Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins
  • 1 Jar of Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1 Pound Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Italian Spices : Basil, Thyme, Garlic Powder, Cayenne
  • Small Loaf of Bread
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil Plus More for Frying the Chicken
  • 3 Tbs Butter 

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I bought one of the “Bake at Home” loaves of bread, so I threw that in the oven for 15 minutes while I got the chicken prep ready.  Honestly, I’m not sure it did much of anything for the bread, and considering that you’re stuffing the bread with yumminess and putting it in the oven, I’d probably skip that step when I do this again.

Get your chicken started by setting up your breading station.  I like to add salt and pepper to the flour and jazz up the bread crumbs by adding a good dash of all the Italian spices.  Even if I buy the “Italian” breadcrumbs, I still add extra spice!  Crack the egg into a dish, add a splash of water, and beat to mix.  Then just process your chicken through the three stations.  Flour, egg, crumbs!  Place the chicken in a large pan with a generous amount of olive oil over medium to medium high heat.  Cook just to brown up the breading and create a nice crust.  Don’t worry about cooking the chicken through, the oven will take care of that.

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Open the sauce and add a thin layer to your favorite baking pan.  I find a normal 9×13 to be a bit large for a single package of chicken, but it would certainly work.  I have a smaller Pyrex baker I use.  I have to squish the chicken in a bit, but it works just fine!  Once the chicken has been browned on both sides, place it into the baking pan on top of the sauce.  Continue the breading, cooking, placing process until all of you chicken is in the baking dish.  Use the remaining sauce to cover the chicken, and top with about 3/4 of the bag of shredded cheese.  You could get fancy and top the chicken with a mix of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, but I didn’t have any Parm in the house.  Bake at 375 for about 30-35 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned, and the chicken is cooked through.

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Using a bread knife…….which I don’t actually own…..slice the bread in 1 inch diagonal sections twice, you’ll end up with small diamonds that you can pull out and eat.  Just don’t cut all the way through the loaf, just go down to the bottom crust.  I’ve decided that I think it’s impossible to keep the bread looking nice and poofy and cute once this is all done.  Just accept the slight visual fail because it tastes the same, even if it’s a bit smooshed.

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Place the minced garlic, butter, and 2 Tbs of olive oil in a small sauté pan.  Melt everything together and cook the garlic slightly, stirring often to ensure the garlic doesn’t burn.  While that’s going, stuff the remaining 1/4 pound of shredded cheese, or cheese blend, into the slices.  Place the loaf on a piece of foil, and drizzle the garlic oil over the whole thing.  Tent with a piece of foil, and toss the whole thing into the oven.  Cook 10 minutes covered and an additional 5-10 uncovered to brown up the cheese.

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It was an easy and cute at home date night.

Yes, you’ll end up with garlic breathe, but at least you’ll have garlic breathe together!

Things You Can Do Instead of Homework

Sunday, I planned on doing homework.  I really….with every fiber of my little being intend on committing myself to the two hours of mild boredom and slight torture that is taking lecture notes as a distance student.  This all came crashing down when I got home, during a rain storm…..this becomes important…..to discover that my professor had neglected to upload the Mac compatible version of the week’s lecture.  So here I sat, with a newly repaired MacBook, and nothing to do with it.

Granted, I could have been responsible, gone back to the office, picked up my laptop, came home, and done my lecture.  However…..it was raining, and much like my resistance to snack food, I only have so much.  If the lecture had been right there, I would have done it.  Much like, I’ll only eat snacks if they manage to cross into my house.  If it’s easy I’m all about doing it, doesn’t really matter how much I’d rather not.  I wasn’t however, committed enough to lecture notes to brave the cold, bleak, rainy night for a Windows Media Player compatible computer.  I could go into a whole rant about how this professor should probably spend less time complaining about technology struggles and just figure out how to make things work for the distance students…..but I won’t.  Maybe later…..who knows how I’ll feel about these things later.

I will instead tell you what I did instead of lecture notes……I cooked!!  I basically cooked all the things…..spicy sweet potato hash, blueberry and apple crisp, and bourbon caramel.  I don’t really have recipes for these things, they are just somethings I throw together now and then.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hash

  • 3-4 medium to large sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs cumin, chili powder, and paprika
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Heat the oil in a large skillet and then combine all the ingredients at once (except the black beans).  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the potatoes soften.  The size of your cubes will dictate how long this takes.  Mine took about twenty minutes the other night.  Once everything has softened, add the rinsed and drained black beans and heat through.  Serve with anything you want…..plain, with eggs, avocado…..anything that sounds yummy.  This recipe lead to a new adventure in adulating…..I’ll explain later.

Blueberry and Apple Crisp

  • 3 apples, diced
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1/3 cup white and brown sugar
  • 2 tbs butter
  • cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Add the apples and blueberries to a baking dish and mix slightly.  In a microwave safe bowl or container combine the remaining ingredients and microwave about 30 seconds.  You’ll just need to melt the butter, and then stir to combine the mixture into a grainy, crumb consistency.  Sprinkle the topping onto the fruit, and back at 350 for about half an hour, until you can see the filling bubbling and the topping becomes browned.  I like mine hot, with vanilla ice cream….and possibly caramel sauce!

Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Usually, I make this on the stove…..in a pan…..like an adult.  This time, I was lazy and just made it in the microwave.  It worked fine, it just takes a bit more babysitting.  You can’t just set it and forget it!

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs butter
  • a couple splashes of heavy cream or half and half
  • splash of bourbon

Combine the sugar and butter in a microwave safe dish.  I set the microwave for 2 minutes, but stopped and stirred every 20-30 seconds.  Once all the sugar crystals have dissolved, drizzle in a bit of cream while stirring.  If your cream is cold and you don’t stir it will solidify the sugar again.  If it does get a bit chunky again, just pop it back in the microwave.  Once it’s reached a good consistency, splash in your bourbon, stir to mix and enjoy!

I ended up getting a whole weeks worth of food for a couple hours in the kitchen and some microwave skills!  It was all pretty easy, and a relaxing night.  I had never made the hash before, although I’ve made other hash varieties.  I discovered that my favorite way to enjoy it was with some avocado, some cherry tomatoes, and eggs.  Makes for a super filling and satisfying breakfast or lunch option.  The eggs are what caused me a new adventure in adulting.

I’ve never in my life been one for runny eggs…..or really any kind of egg that isn’t scrambled, hard boiled, or maybe on occasion….fried.  Although, scrolling through recipes online has lead to really like the idea of a poached egg…….so I decided to try something new, and I poached my first egg!  It went surprisingly well all things considered!  Granted, I over cooked it, but I thought that I would start with a more solid yolk, and then back down the doneness scale until I reach a point where I don’t like them.  I will say that I’m a big fan of the texture of the egg whites…..they are fluffier than eggs cooked other ways.

So, this week I’ve made several very cute and successful little poached eggs.  I also discovered that with enough focus I can crack an egg with one hand.  This became necessary because I thought that manicures and egg poaching were two activities that could be done together.  I mean…..they can…..but I don’t recommend it.  I’m sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the adventure, I was a little bit panicky about it.  Horror stories of poached eggs gone wrong were flashing in my brain.  However, I had no disasters, and everything was easier than expected honestly!!

It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and it’s always good to broaden your horizons!

 

 

 

 

I Need to Remember I Own a Crockpot

The other day I was scrolling around Buzzfeed and found a collection of crock pot recipes. I rarely make any of those recipes, but one stuck out to me.  It’s from fellow blogger Tieghan Gerard, and her blog Half Baked Harvest.  Her recipe for Crockpot Italian Chicken and Broccoli Rabe Chili sounded like the perfect thing to have cooking away while attempting to brave the last few frozen months of winter on the Northern Plains.

I didn’t change much about her original recipe, but I did make a couple minor adjustments:

  • I have a smaller crockpot, so I used probably a pound and a half of chicken
  • Only three cups of stock, although I will add more when I make it again
  • Just a couple good sized splashes of balsamic vinegar
  • All the other spices and ingredients I used were the same
  • I did substitute chopped kale for the broccoli rabe, but only because I eat kale salads often during the week so it just fit better with my regular food routine.

Her recipe was perfect!  I baked up some dinner rolls, and tucked in on the couch with Scout for some Netflix and way too much food.  It’s healthy, but it’s flavorful and spicy enough that you don’t mind that its healthy.  Plus, that’s just an excuse to eat more, and on cold winter nights that’s what you need!!

I will defiantly being going back and digging through the archives on Half Baked Harvest to find other yummy treasures!

 

 

In totally unrelated news, my poor little MacBook did indeed die last Friday night.  According to the repair dude, it had a major hard drive malfunction.  So, needless to say, I’ve been heming and hawing all week about whether to keep the brand new MacBook I bought on sale at Best Buy, or repair my old one for about half as much.  Side note…..apparently being a mid-2009 model number makes my MacBook vintage…or so I was told!!!  :/

I did eventually settle for fixing the old one.  So the Mac is getting a new battery and a fancy new hard drive, and they promise me that I’ll end up with basically a brand new computer in my old case.  The downfall of this, is that because the old hard drive crashed so hard, they aren’t able to get any of my old photos and documents back.  Let this be a lesson to you kiddos……always use your Cloud Drive!