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Friday, March 29, 2013

Treats and snacks and stuff on my stuff.

First, I want to say that if you read my blog, thank you and I hope you like it.  And if you like it, you should subscribe by email.  See that bar at the top?  Put your email address in it and click submit.  Because, I know you can also subscribe by Google but that doesn't tell you when I update.  But I don't know why and I don't know how to fix it.  And that should bother you.  Because I know you want to know what I write, the moment I write it, and your life will not be the same unless you're getting constant updates from me.

K!

Moving on... 

I like treats, and snacks, and stuff on my stuff. And stuff in my stuff.

What I mean is like I flavors.

But I don't, absolutely do not like weird and complex flavors. I don't like weird stuff or interesting stuff.

I like a ton of milder, more "plain" flavors all tied in together and mixed up.

I like salt. I like garlic. I like sugar. I like butter.
I HATE CUMIN. I HATE CURRY. I WILL NEVER TRY THE INTESTINE TACOS THAT MY ROOMMATE EATS FROM THE TACO STAND.

I'm a simple girl who likes homey "American" stuff at extremes.

So this week I conjured up 2 different simple treats that I'd like to share with you.

I've briefly wrote before about my love for plantation mint tea.  I love that stuff.  It reminds me of my grandma because she used to drink it with milk and it's plain delicious.

At the beginning of the week I had the inklings of a sore throat and I told myself noooooooooo WAY am I getting sick! So I fixed some mint tea with a twist. Everyone knows the old tea, lemon, and honey trick which I did drink first. But, I've got this big box of tangerines just sitting here so... I thought.... Hmmm I bet it'd taste just as good to squeeze a fresh tangerine in my tea. Vitamin C plus yumminess = yay health!

While the water boiled for the tea, I peeled a tangerine, and broke off about 2-3 pieces at a time and squeezed! Things always taste better when you use your hands.


I most assuredly ate the squeezed portion.  Yum... I love tangerines!

I had the tea bag in the cup while I squeezed. I thought about whether it mattered or not for 30 seconds then decided it didn't.

Tangerine Mint tea:


Always use your favorite cup!

I also went for a run this morning ("hahaha," laughed the slightly overweight completely non athletic girl...) and fixed myself an interesting breakfast. I had an apple and I was craving peanut butter so, I sliced up an apple and put peanut butter on it!

But my brain went to the heavens for 5 seconds and I thought... "Cinnamon?"
If you don't like cinnamon, you're crazy cause that stuff tastes like home and Christmas.

I first tried a small piece of apple with cinnamon sugar. Too sweet and just too much going on. Then I tried a little plain cinnamon instead and yum! Plus, cinnamon is good for you so, that's great.

Tasty treat and breakfast!


I ate that with a hard boiled egg that I fixed up with sea salt and black pepper.


I also want to tell you about grapeseed oil.  This stuff was on sale at HEB last week for $5, originally about $10, so I had to buy it.  Because, not only is it grapeseed oil, it's skin care oil.  And my skin mostly sucks so I'll try anything, especially something that's natural.
Each day this week, I've been washing my face with Trader Joe's face wash and a squirt of this oil; only once a day during my morning shower.  My skin has already improved!  The oil helps it to feel more moisturized (whereas it normally feels too dry) and is evening out my skin tone a bit.  If you come across this stuff, especially on sale, buy it!  I'd even buy it at full price.


That is all.

Go forth and be healthy!

One Potato Saves the Day

Food is a science. That I know nothing about.

But every recipe is an experiment because you just add some of this and a little of that and all the molecules and flavors and stuff come together to create something new and delicious every time!
Although sometimes the experiment fails and what you make is gross.
Feel free to quote me on any of that...

I've loved this blog because it's gotten me into cooking way more... and it's tons of fun. It's also helped bring out my creative cooking and experimental side which, I suppose has always been there but I've suppressed. Yay for self discovery! (Another wonderful aspect of the single life!)

We haven't had family dinner in 2 weeks! :( sad! So to remedy the situation, we had one on Monday this week!

I made garlic mashed potatoes.

They. Were. So. Good!!

And everything I did was completely experimental.

Like I said in my last post, Deborah and I got a huge bag of potatoes for only $1.99. So it's been a pretty potato-y week!

First, I started by washing the potatoes.  I guess you should do that since they smell like dirt when you take them out of the bag.  I've eaten them before without washing though.  Oops...

Then, I cut them up in pretty small chunks. I used 4 since there were 4 of us :D I don't have a masher or any other tool to mash them with so I knew that if I cut them small enough, they'd be pretty easy to mash once they were cooked.
I said mash a lot.

Note* I did cook brown baking potatoes and I did not take off the skin! I was chatting with a friend who hates the skin but personally, I love it and it's the most nutritional part!

Then I put them in a big (but not too big) pot of water, making sure to just cover the potatoes. You don't want to sit there all day while the water boils since it has such a high boiling point.  (See... science.)

While I waited for them to cook... I minced more garlic (uugghh!) and grabbed about a half stick of butter from the fridge. 

Garlic...

Butter...

Then I got bored and had to wait..... So I put my face over the boiling potatoes and let the steam get into my pores.

After my mini spa treatment, I decided it was time to try making the garlic portion of garlic mashed potatoes.  I put the piece of butter in a pan at about... medium heat (just guessed here)!

Pause!  I always allwayyss heat the pan first before I make anything.  My mother yelled at me once for not doing it and it's super helpful so I do it.

Look:
Pan.
Heat.

Then... after the butter melted for a bit... I added the garlic.  On a complete whim...

Hmmmmmm... It smelled like fettucine alfredo. Garlic butter... hmmmmm.  This could be a really good "sauce whatever thing" for some chicken, too!

I actually had to lower the heat under the pan to about medium low.  I was nervous about burning the butter and the garlic so, I thought, better safe than sorry.  Thankfully nothing burned!  After cooking that for a little bit (8 minutes????) I added some whole milk. Yes, whole milk.  My sister in law yells at me for drinking whole milk but I like it!
(Use organic milk... it's better!)

The pan...

The best part about this was the way the oil from the butter sat on top of the milk.  SCIENCE.

I let that sit for time... and in the process, drained the potatoes.

Then put them back in a pot... and added the milk, butter, garlic mixture.

::freakoutmoment:: It was too soupy!!!  

I got super sad because there was too much milk so my potatoes were swimming.  But no fear, I racked my brain for about 2 whole seconds and quickly cooked up another potato!

See... if you mess up in cooking, you can almost always fix it.  Yay!

Once that was done cooking, I added it to the big pot with the other potatoes and some salt and there you have it!  Garlic mashed potatoes!

Enjoyed and washed down with delicious chicken tenders and biscuits made by the wonderful John!

Happy eating!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

All Natural Fresh Ingredients... Souper!

I cannot even begin to tell you how good it feels to be getting back to my normal routine!

Wait.  Pause.
::Goes away for 8 minutes::

I started blogging without a cup of coffee.


That's better!

Moving on...

For all you Wacoans, if you haven't been to the new grocery store Aldi yet, you need to go!

They have some great deals!  I got a gallon of milk for $1.99, a huge bag of potatoes for $1.99, and tons of fresh ingredients for cheap!

In an attempt to detox my body from fast food, I decided to cook up a soup.  At first I was going to make this recipe, but I switched it up a bit.  I couldn't find corned beef brisket at HEB and I kind of wanted something lighter than that anyways.

I started with these ingredients:


Parsley, chives, 3 potatoes, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, cabbage, yellow pepper, carrots, and baby carrots.  The yellow pepper was kind of expensive so, if you're going to make this recipe, you could always switch it up for a red or green pepper (green is usually cheapest).

I cut, diced, sliced, and minced everything up...

Potatoes...

Garlic...

mince fresh garlic... don't use old garlic.  It loses its flavor after a while and it's just a waste!

minced garlic...

And I hate mincing. One day I'm going to buy a garlic mincer... but until then, it's still worth it to do by hand!

The onion (I almost alllwaaayyyss cook with onion!)

chopped up the onion... I don't know how big or small... this?

Do it however you like; it's your recipe!

Cut up the yellow pepper...

It's so beautiful!

Seriously look at this beautiful piece of the Earth...

Hmmm... nature... Pretty color...

Pretty insides...

This week, I'm going to be a beautiful yellow pepper... maybe......

Diced!

Again, pieces can be as big or small as you want!

Then cut up the carrots:

I also threw in baby carrots. Tasty!

The pot:

Throw it all in a pan like so!

I also added a container of chicken broth then filled the pot with water until the vegetables were mostly covered.

For more flavor, I added some chicken soup seasoning from HEB, a bit of vegetable soup seasoning from HEB, crushed red pepper, garlic salt, sea salt, black pepper, and a bit of olive oil to balance out the flavor of the chicken broth (sorry: I don't have exact amounts.  I don't know how much to put.  Just throw it in and guess.  If you mess up, don't do it again next time and eat it anyways!  More likely than not, you'll discover a flavor that you really love and will continue to use!).  It probably would have been better to cook some of the vegetables in the pot with olive oil so that the oil really separated and seeped throughout the entire soup but... I didn't!  It's still tasty!

I also added a large piece of chicken breast to the soup.  It was frozen and hard so I just threw it in, deciding that I would cut it up after it thawed out a bit.


I pulled it out of the pot little ways through, cut it up, and seasoned it with some Old Bay.  Very good!

Let everything sit in a large pot for.... some time... (sorry!  I almost never watch the time either!  Just cook it until it's done.  You won't burn it so long as you have a sense of smell and eyesight!).


And there you have it!  Fresh, healthy, randomly prepared, chicken and vegetable soup!

It's delicious

Happy eating!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chocolate, chocolate, everywhere!

Sweet Lord Baby Jesus.

For the past week, I have been traveling on a tour bus with 70 other people.  We went from Waco, to Little Rock, to Nashville, to Atlanta, to Greenville, to Greensboro.

We ate a whooole lot of sh*t including mall food and unhealthy sandwiches. 

I'm not trying to complain and if I'm being honest, I love to eat at a fast food restaurant as much as any other red-blooded human being.  But, in general, I try to stick with whole meals that I prepare at home with foods that have come from the Earth, not the freezer.

And, I often prefer to eat those meals alone.  In my apartment.  In a robe.

Can I just say how happy I am to be back in my sweet little home?!

Anyways!  This morning as I was getting ready for the day, I was searching through my "Eat" board on Pinterest for some meal inspiration and stumbled upon a pin for a dark chocolate blueberry clusters recipe.  You better believe I added this to my grocery list!

If you want the recipe, it can be found here!  

The creator used dark chocolate, pecans, and blueberries.  I decided to use walnuts instead because I liked them more!

To melt chocolate chips, you can either put them in the microwave or in a double boiler.  I don't like microwaving them because it takes too long and you run the risk of burning the chocolate.  Ew!  And I don't have a double boiler.

Not a problem!  You see... I'm a genius... so, instead of doing either... I filled a pot with hot water, turned on the stove to a little less than high, and put the chocolate chips in a pyrex bowl to melt.  Don't forget to stir for smooth consistency!

Exhibit A:


Yeah our stove and the outside of that pot is dirty.

Then, once the chocolate melted I added about a thing and a half of blueberries.  You know... those things they come in at the grocery store with the holes in it.

Here is a picture of the chocolate being almost gone and super melty.

Exhibit B:


Then I lined a cookie sheet with this stuff....

Exhibit C:


And placed spoonfuls of the chocolate covered blueberries on it.

Exhibit D:


Exhibit E:



I had walnuts in a bag; I smashed the bag around for a bit to crush them and sprinkled them on top.  I tried being neat at first but that got hard and tedious so I stopped.

They look delicious!  Currently, they are cooling in the fridge.  I can't wait to eat them!

In case you're worried, it is perfectly acceptable to eat leftover melted chocolate with your fingers.  Or to dip pretzels in it.  That is chocolate on my fingers, not dirt!

Exhibit F:


I enjoyed creating these with a cup of Plantation Mint tea.  My favorite!

Exhibit G:


AND... I got two plants today with my roommate!  I promise not to eat them unless the economy crashes and we run out of of food sources and I'm starving.


Happy eating!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Single Girl Lunch... with my Roommate and her Boyfriend.

Yep... definitely ate a single girl lunch (dinner, actually) with my roommate and her boyfriend.

How do I get myself into these awkward situations?

In this particular case there is a good explanation!
(And it wasn't awkward at all)...

I am currently sitting on a tour bus and have been for about 6 hours.  Because I am a musician and we go on tours.  

This tour is an 8 days long; we go from Waco, TX to Little Rock, AR, Nashville, Tennessee, Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Greensboro, NC.  It's intense.

But because of this great intensity, my roommate and I decide to finish just about everything we had in the fridge and freezer!

This was especially epic because we were also on spring break this past week so we basically had no food!!

It was fun.

First, we started off by making a teeny tiny amount of brown rice.  I added soy sauce to mine once cooked.  I could be Chinese by the amount of soy sauce I use on rice!

Then, I made sweet potato fries from 1 sweet potato.  And it heartily fed 3 people!

I started by cutting up the potato in medium to small chunks (wash it first!)


seasoned it with this stuff


(don't ask me how much of what... just throw it all on there until it looks right and mix it with your hands.  If you put too much, then add less next time. Duh!)

and threw it all in a bowl!


Heat the oven to 450 degrees, grease up a pan with some olive oil (I find that heating the pan in the oven while it preheats makes it easier to grease; oil spreads easier), and cook for as long as it takes for them to cook!  I seriously don't know how long, just check on them every once in a while.  And if the oven starts smoking... you left them in for too long.

Next, I cut up 2 carrots (yep... from Dr. Pepper chicken night!)


(I most assuredly ate a ton while cutting...)

And I cut up some extra sharp cheddar (CHEESE)


And set it out for the masses to eat!  Ok mostly Matt and I.  Deb doesn't like sharp cheddar.

Next... meat.  And my brown thumb.


I seasoned up 2 pieces of pork with pretty much the same stuff as the sweet potato plus crushed red pepper and some...


This stuff is so GOOD!  And it tastes delicious on pork!
(No paprika on the pork though!)

I threw some olive oil in a pan and cooked it up!  Again, I don't know how long.  Until it turns brown and cooks?


It was as delicious as it looks.

Lastly, Deb cooked up some Pillsbury crescent rolls stuffed with shredded cheese.  Bread and cheese; you can't go wrong there.


She also diced up a few Roma tomatoes, added pieces of mozzarella (cut up mozzarella sticks... fancy), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and thyme.  I added salt and pepper to mine as well.


Probably one of the best single girl meals I've had.  And who am I kidding... food is always better with friends!


Happy eating!

<3