Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Trigger warning: this post is all (mostly) about wonderful food.  Back. away. from. the. fridge.

I made peach muffins for breakfast (sorry, no picture) that were appreciated even by the non-fruit-lover in our midst (looking at you, Todd!).  Then Kent and Todd rushed off to the Pima Air and Space Museum to geek out over the planes while Iryna and I got down to business (or up to mischief?) in the kitchen.

Iryna concocted dark chocolate-almond meringue torte, while I attacked the butternut squash with wild rice and cranberries.  I had gathered the ingredients beforehand, since it’s quite far to the stores here, but realized in the wee hours of the morning that I had neglected to buy a butternut squash.  Only a main ingredient, no problem.  So I’d gotten up early (pre-muffins) and acquired a squash from the nearest venue. Eleven miles away. Sigh.

Iryna was meticulous with the meringue, and I took a break from squash to melt the chocolate and help dot with almonds.


Yes, it was a decadent as it looks! *swoons*

I finished up the butternut-wild rice-cranberry combo — it made a LOT! and we headed off to meet our starving geeky boys.


We had heard there was an exhibit of Frida Kahlo art at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, so we thought we’d check that out.  It turned out to be only biographical art by other people (though it was still interesting), so not the absolute win we’d hoped for.  But, not having been to the Tucson Botanical Gardens, we didn’t know about the butterfly house.


Black butterfly open…


…and closed.



I thought this one looked like an old colorized photo.


Blue poison arrow frog


Three kinds: blue morpho (closed) on the left, don’t know the center, and owl butterfly on the right.



Kent kept having them land on him because of his yellow shirt

We couldn’t get good pictures of the blue morphos’ open wings because they Don’t. Sit. Still.  Rather, when they’re still, their wings are closed.  And when they’re in motion, they are In Motion! Sort of like putting a bunch of preteen girls on sugar and crack and letting them loose in a Justin Bieber concert.  Like that.  Gorgeous, but we couldn’t even video them!

In the garden proper, there were cacti, of course, various exhibits relating to Frida Kahlo, and some surprises for us non-native Arizonans.

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Afterwards, we got the obligatory kombucha for Kent and Iryna, and rattled around down in Old Tucson.  I hadn’t seen all the neighborhoods around, and a lot of the houses were really cute and inviting.  Not the more warehouse-y style I usually see.

We met Kent’s mom at El Charro for gorgeous Mexican food: tamales, chimichanga burritos, and enchiladas.


Again, we were too tired to do anything but fall into bed when we left the restaurant.  Day Two: Achievement Unlocked.


Girl with a Pearl Earring-esque?



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So this weekend I had great plans.  It is Kent’s birthday weekend, and I planned several nice meals, a special dessert, hiking, and general happiness.

The happiness happened, the meals and dessert did too, but not in in the way I envisioned…as usual.

Thursday I realized I was coming down with the creeping crud, and decided to call out sick on Friday because I couldn’t think about talking with the way my throat felt.  Unfortunately, it still feels like that and I don’t want to call out sick tomorrow.  So…hopefully I can get through that! (teacher gripe: it’s more work to prepare for a sub than it is to just soldier on through the day.)

I was able to get some at-home things done on Friday, though I tried to sleep as much as possible to kick the bug.  I tried to make pizza dough, but my usual luck with any yeast dough presented itself, and a recipe meant to make two 9×13 size crusts made one.  It was still tasty though!

Since I was sick, I couldn’t lead the song service at church on Saturday as I was scheduled, so I asked someone else to do it.  Then the pianist texted me and said she wasn’t feeling good so could I play?  I said yes.  My throat hurts, not my hands.

I woke up early on Sabbath (I can’t manage to sleep in! 4:30, really??) and made blueberry lemon scones for breakfast.  Off to church to practice, where we spent about twice the amount of time at church practicing that we normally do.  I ended up eating breakfast during small group Bible study.  Sigh.  Uncouth much?

I realized at some point in the morning that I’d forgotten to put the tomatoes and onions in the oven for lunch.  I also had forgotten my music at home, but luckily realized that before Kent left the house too.  After the service, and choir practice, I was feeling pretty rotten, so I sent Kent off to eat Ethiopian food with some friends and I went home to try to sleep.

I didn’t really sleep, but got up later and made carrot cupcakes with maple frosting, cleaned the house, and got ready for friends to come over.  We were not only celebrating Kent’s birthday, but also our house in MN closing on Friday, so double whammy.  Only one couple came over (and Kent’s mom, of course), which was fine, considering how crummy I was feeling, but the cupcakes and conversation were great!


Today I woke up later, thanks to NyQuil, and had a bit of a lazy morning with some books on my phone (yes, I know.  I have real books too).  Friends came over midafternoon who hadn’t been able to make it Saturday night, and we had more cupcakes and conversation.

I was supposed to start the SuperSister #leanhalloween Saturday, but I guess I’ll be starting Monday.  Since my weekend didn’t go as planned…I suppose it was nice enough, though.  And my house is clean, which is a plus!

Not sure how I’m going to make it through tomorrow with a voice though.

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I had a hankering for baked beans and brown bread the other week, so I stopped by Whole Foods and picked up some Jacob’s Cattle beans, which according to John Gould in his book The House that Jacob Built (a book I love dearly), are the only beans to use for baked beans.  He also says to use a well-seasoned bean pot on a wood stove, and to put in salt pork (or bacon), but I had to adjust a little.  I used a crockpot and some G. Washington broth.  And a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, Maple Baked Beans.

The beans turned out really thick and juicy, although if I do it again, I will put in more beans per broth.  Then I needed to find the brown bread.  I remembered buying brown bread here somewhere, but since this is the Midwest, it’s easier to buy lefse in the grocery store than New England brown bread!  I thought about making some, but I didn’t have any cans.  So I started looking online to see if I could find out where it was sold.  I found some on Amazon I could have gotten with free 2-day shipping (yay Amazon Prime!), but I wanted it NOW.  I finally found some at Lund’s, which is five minutes from my house, and I ran and bought four cans, although they were the kind with raisins…aaah, it’s ok.  And yes, the B&M company is based right in Portland, ME — a little taste of Downeast Home! 🙂

So today for lunch I sat down with some maple baked beans, brown bread, and steamed broccoli with salt and single-source olive oil from Spain….Ahhhh, bliss. 🙂 Who needs turkey?

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28 songs scanned

8 quarts of tomato puree canned

and 3 pints of apple butter canned

1 large pot of apple butter cooking

1 messy church cleaned — or at least enough for now

2 classes taught (1 good 1 bad)

1 post-observation conference and the accompanying paperwork (grr)

2 piano lessons

1 pot of stew made — and eaten

1 pot of beans cooking

5 loads of laundry done

1 grocery shopping list done — almost!

5 books read


back to clean the church some more!


That is all.

(except that it wasn’t all today.  Some of those were yesterday.)


Is this a poem? 😉

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Now I can post about what I’ve been “sitting on” since February 9 — the new spring products from Pampered Chef! We had our Spring Launch here in Minneapolis, and it was a great day!  I learned a lot of good tips and tricks to help me in my PC business, and…I got one of the new spring products FREE!  I was so excited!

It is a manual food processor — I haven’t had one at all since my KitchenAid bit the dust a while ago, but this one is way better!  Instead of the usual two blades, it has three, and they are more angled, so food doesn’t get trapped down on the bottom.  Also, because it’s manual (very easy, though, like a salad spinner), you can control how much things are chopped.  I used to try to chop onions in my KitchenAid and get mush every time, no matter how short a time I tried to turn it on for.  You can make salsa in it, and hummus, and — the best thing for me — there is no center post, so you don’t have to kill yourself trying to get that last little bit of guacamole out because you. paid. for. it. and you are going to get it!  🙂  And no dumb cord all over the place in your cupboard. 🙂

All the other new products are awesome too — I am all over the cookbooks in two seconds, let me tell you!  And the new sauces and rubs!  YUM!  I am doing some fundraisers starting in April, so this will be so much fun!

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Today’s post is a cooking post.  You see, I can’t decide whether this blog is about my crafts, my cooking fetish, thoughts on life or religion, or a mix of all.  So…

May I introduce the Chocolate (Fallen) Cake!  drum roll…..


I got this recipe off of Bakerella, who got it from a magazine.  I made it today for the Bible study group tonight and I hope they love it!

I was going to start making it yesterday, but I couldn’t find my springform pan.  I was sure I had one, because I had used it once to make a cake (that ran all over and made a HUGE mess in my oven).   Not being able to find one, I called Kent’s cousin Martha, who lives just down the road.  “Sure, no problem.  I’ll call you this evening when I get home and you can come pick it up.”  Come 10:30 this morning and still no call, and no answer to my voice mail.  Finally I get the call and race over to get the pan, stopping at the grocery store on the way to pick up 8 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, 8 ounces of dark, and (another) pound of butter.  (I am going to be so fat, by the way, if I keep cooking.  Do you have ANY idea how much butter I’ve gone through this week?)

Right.  So I begin the recipe at 12:40, knowing the cake HAS to be in the oven by 1 PM in order to bake for an hour and cool on the counter for an hour before I put it in the fridge to finish cooling as I run out the door to teach piano lessons.  Commando mode!


I melted the chocolate and butter.  My bowl is actually blue, so that gives you an idea of how washed-out that photo is.


I had already separated six eggs while waiting for the phone call, so I happily mixed in 1 1/4 cup sugar and the six egg yolks to the melted chocolate.


Action shots are a little tricky.  I proceeded to beat the six egg whites.


When they were lovely stiff peaks, I folded them into the melted chocolate mixture with my wimpy plastic spoon (wimpy because its mate melted in the pot once when I was making fudge).


While the chocolate was melting, I had put a piece of parchment paper inside a 9.5″ springform pan and greased it.


Now the lovely chocolate-egg white mixture got poured right in.


I tucked it into my preheated 325 F oven at precisely 1:03.  Victory!


Here it is an hour later, fresh out of the oven and a little jiggly.


And now, after cooling for another hour, very nicely fallen.  Hopefully fudgey and truffley, like the recipe said.

It has to chill in the fridge for four hours, so Kent will be bringing it to Patience’s house.  If he forgets, he’s in big trouble!  Let you know how it tastes.  🙂  I’m off to teach piano lessons!



Well, the cake was very fudgey and truffley, and everyone loved it!  Patience mugged for a shot with her camera, so when she sends it to me, I’ll post it here.


I really love the way the cake turned out, but it is SO rich!  I did hear one comment of “better than sex”…but the commenter shall remain anonymous. 😉

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I’ve decided to join NaBloPoMo.  I like to write but don’t always take the time, because I think I have nothing to say.  I also don’t like writing posts when I feel like no one reads them.  Probably, however, no one reads them because I don’t post often, and I really do have things to say on a variety of topics, if I would just get a move on and do it! 🙂

Enough about that.  Some content is required.

I’m currently on spring break (yes, it’s late) and so far have had some lovely days of it. The weather has been pretty nice, and Kent actually got an unexpected day off yesterday, so he got to spend part of it with ME!  🙂  We also had friends over.  Kerrie S. came over in the morning to go to the yarn store and try some recipes.  We decided to try Hungarian Mushroom Soup from the Moosewood Cookbook, which I can highly recommend, as well as the Wild Mushroom and Stilton Galette from Smitten Kitchen’s blog.  (Only someone as crazy about mushrooms as I am would try to cook two mushroom-heavy dishes for the same meal.  Yum!)  I did change the recipe for that, as neither of us like bleu cheese.  I used a 90-day-old cheese from Trader Joe’s (where we got the mushrooms) called Raclette.  I am usually scared of melted cheese in great quantities, as well as strong-flavored cheeses, but it was perfect!  I also neglected to read the Galette recipe before we started cooking everything, so when I saw that the dough had to be chilled for two separate intervals of an hour each(!) I substituted my tried-and-true pie crust recipe, which worked fine.  I’d like to try the other sometime though; it sounded really tasty.  We also made my family’s tested recipe of Spinach Balls (since Kent hates mushrooms) and used the other half of the pie crust to make rhubarb pie (loosely translated from my Joy of Cooking book, which I always use as a reference).  Michael, Kerrie’s husband, came over after he was done with work and ate with us.  Camden, their baby, ate several freeze-dried green beans, seven spinach balls, and some pie, as well as his usual bottle!

I’ve spent some time stitching already this week, working on my wedding sampler, which I hope to have finished by this anniversary, which is our 5th.  (I started it last year on our 4th, so give me some credit!)  I’m about 1/3 done.  I’ll post pictures when I get more finished, probably this weekend.  I’m hosting my stitching group’s monthly GTG here this Sunday, so there’s some four-five hours of uninterrupted stitching time right there!  I also finished my mom’s Christmas present (yes, the one from 2008) this last Sunday and got it framed up.


I should be starting my cousin’s wedding quilt.  I’m kind of afraid to, for several reasons.  My sewing machine is not cooperating and I can’t figure out why.  Also, the quilt is entirely Chinese-style brocade material.  I’ve never used it before and I’ve heard it’s a pain to work with.  I really need to start it so I can get over this phobia.  It’s always easier to do something you know you’re good at and will be successful at than something you’re not sure isn’t going to be a colossal waste of time and burst blood vessels into the bargain.

Plus, I should be doing my midterm grades.

So now you know.

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