Thursday, August 29, 2013

Peanut Butter Cayenne Rice Krispies Treats

The kiddos are back in school this week.  I am extremely aware of this because there is an elementary school behind our house and I get to hear them running around the playground all day.  I also got to see all of the first-day-of-school-outfits.  What I didn't get to see were the after-school snacks...because, you know, that would be creepy.  I'm assuming they had carrot sticks or bagel bites, or whatever else kids eat nowadays.
Darcie (my sister) and I used to eat a lot of rice krispies treats.  It was sort of our own version of after-school snacks.  The type that you come up with when you're alone and have access to lots of butter and marshmallows and you were told not to turn on the stove or oven when you were home alone.

Our version employed just about the laziest possible method to make them.  It also used as few dishes as possible.  We made ours on paper plates.  We spread them across the entire bottom of the plate and then we each would sit down in a barstool and devour the entire thing.
Since then, some things have changed.  Now, I don't really get an after-school snack every day.  I also don't make my rice krispies treats on paper plates.  I do; however, still eat the entire tray.  Some things just won't ever change :)

These rice krispies treats are an attempt at sophistication.  They are still rice krispies treats though, so don't worry, they're not too highbrow.  Just a little extra spice!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pea Shoot Crostini

Now that the nights are getting a little longer, slowing down is so much easier.  Right now, I'm loving sitting out on our deck with the string lights on and having long conversations with a lot of laughter.
I really like having people over to just relax and have some drinks, but it can be kind of stressful too.  There's nothing worse than having awkward lulls in the conversation or having the people leave sooner than you planned.  I find that food and drinks ease some of that discomfort quite nicely.  People need something to do with their hands and mouths, you know?  It's just human nature.

At the same time, you don't need any more to worry about, so your food and cocktails should be pretty effortless.  Food that you don't need silverware for is always a good idea.
Sometimes our snacks turn into dinner and that's ok too.  It's really all about keeping it mellow, enjoyable, and easy.  I'm planning on taking advantage of the rest of these cool summer nights for as long as possible.  You in?

Friday, August 23, 2013

El Diablo

I've always been more of a beer drinker.  Wine makes my face turn bright red after just a sip or two, so I tend to stay away from it, especially in social situations.  Mixed drinks were always a little intimidating.  Oh yeah, and they're expensive.  So I just stuck with beer and I was content with that too.
A little while ago, Austin and I started experimenting with different cocktails.  Just for the fun of it.  We tend to go for the fruitier, sweeter cocktails where you can't taste the liquor much.  It's been working out well (how could it not?).

I assume we'll shift our drink choices once summer is done.  I'm looking forward to a hard cider with maple simple syrup and I've had these cranberry rosemary spritzers bookmarked since last winter, so I'm getting pumped for colder weather and the drinks that go along with that.  But in an effort to be present and live in the moment (letting my yoga teacher side creep in), we're mixing up drinks with lime juice, tequila and creme de cassis (a blackcurrant flavored liqueur).
Keepin' it light.  Keepin' it refreshing.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sweet Potato Chips

I went shopping the other day and noticed how every store has their fall collection in the windows.  They're blowing out their summer stuff, but it seems a little early to me.  Why does every retailer act like summer ends at the end of July?  Don't they know that it's still ridiculously hot?
They just confuse me.  They get me in the mood to wear sweaters, boots, and scarves, but if I did that right now, I would litrally melt.  We're in the middle of a heat wave, which is making it hard to think there will ever be a time for layers and tea and sweet potatoes.  Right now it's still time for hiding inside until the sun goes down, grilling so you don't have to turn on the oven, and citronella candles.

I'm really trying to enjoy the summer and make the most of it while it's still around because I know I will be craving it again soon, but right now I just really want to stop sweating!  That's it.  I want fall to come.  I want the leaves to change.  I want my allergies to go away.  Mostly, I want to be able to turn on my oven again.
But in the spirit of faking it until you make it, I made sweet potato chips.  It's like a mix between summer and fall.  Sweet potatoes are fall/winter food and chips are summer food, right?  I sucked it up.  I turned on the oven really high and I blasted R2D2 (our little window AC unit), and I waited 15-25 minutes.  Then, I burned my tongue on hot chips.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Strawberry Muffins

There was a time when I would have been scared to give these muffins to Austin.  They have fresh berries.  May not seem like something to necessarily incite fear, but it did.  The reason being: Austin is allergic to all fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, soy, dairy, and pretty much everything else.  I know, he's a freak ;)  I mean that in the most loving way possible!
I remember making brownies in high school with pecans and giving a big square to Austin to enjoy.  He didn't enjoy it that much though when he was sitting on my parents' front stoop in the cold trying to breathe.

Then when we moved away to college, I was determined that he could "get over" his allergies.  I urged him to eat a little bit at a time.  Deal with the discomfort and eventually be able to eat out without carrying an epinephrine pen with us.  And it worked.  *Knock on wood!*
Now, I will make 12 muffins filled with fresh strawberries and Austin will eat 11 of them without thinking twice about it.  He'll steal big bites out of my apple, and hog all of the smoothies.  Maybe I did too good of a job desensitizing him?

In all seriousness, I would much rather cook for someone who can enjoy it than have it all to myself.
If anyone else has or knows someone who has these same allergies, we would love to know what it is about fresh produce that causes it!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Strawberry Daiquiri

At this point, everyone has at least one drink or liquor that just the smell of incites pretty strong gag reflexes, right?  Luckily, it seems that you can get over that.  I'm sure it depends on the intensity of the hangover and the amount of time that's past since the 'incident.'
Basically, strawberry daiquiris were the drink for me.  Actually anything with rum.  And I don't have any story about going to some crazy party in high school or at a frat house.  I can blame my sisters and cousins for this one.  Yes, family, is the cause.  They're the ones that bought me meter long daiquiris in a shady bar (obviously -- they let a 14 year old through the door) in Mexico.

Since my middle school days, I like to think I've become a much savvier drinker, but still the most valuable information I ever got was that same Mexican daiquiri night.  My cousin, Josh, told me, "drink as much water as you possibly can, then drink one more glass."  The other good thing that's happened since then is that now I can drink rum again!  (That light green Gatorade is a different story.)
The great thing about these daiquiris (also the thing that will allow you to drink a meter (meter, not liter) of them) is that they have real strawberries to sweeten them.  No artificial sweeteners that are most definitely the cause of your next day headache.  So, drink up!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Obama Burger

There is a reason for the name of this burger, and I'm not going to be taking a political stance (not really) on this blog, so don't worry.

Do you remember back to the 2008 election when John McCain was running against Barack Obama.  Remember how people decided to run an attack campaign against Obama just because of the lettuce he eats?  I remember when that all unfolded and I remember thinking how there are plenty of faults that are far more significant with every politician, so we probably shouldn't waste our time on his/her veg choice.
That being said, I wasn't much of an arugula fan either.

But then it grew on me, and when you soak it in sweet balsamic vinegar and when it's laying on top of a grilled burger and melted mozzarella, it gets significantly better.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Black and Blueberries

I'm going to a wedding tomorrow which has obviously gotten me thinking not about love, or family, or the future.  Mostly, it's gotten me thinking about registries.  Most things that people want are pretty normal, practical things like dish towels and place settings, but then every once in a while there will be a couple that registers for the most random stuff.

I'm sorry, but I'm not going to get you a mini pie maker.  I'm also not getting you a sno-cone maker.  Where would you even put it?
In that same realm is the SodaStream.  Have you seen these?  Mostly, I see them at Costco where they seem to always be giving away samples of the stuff.  You've got to really love soda (or really hate water?) to want to take up precious counter space with a soda maker.

Sorry, that's presumptuous.  Maybe you have tons of counter space.  And maybe you really do love sodas.  So even though I'm totally judging your choice of kitchen gadgets, don't think that if I come over to your house and you have one of these I'm going to pass up on a freshly fizzed soda.  I may still make fun of you for it though.  I understand if you never invite me over now.
If you don't want to buy a soda maker, but you still want soda (especially, soda without high fructose corn syrup), don't worry!  I have the answer for you!  Black & Blueberries!  The only equipment you need is a blender - a much more versatile tool if you ask me.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stone Fruit Macadamia Nut Cobbler

Recently, I started getting fresh, organic produce delivered to my door.  And milk.  And sometimes bread.  I pretty much don't have to go to the store anymore.  I didn't know how much I would really appreciate the home delivery aspect.  I originally signed up just to get a good selection of local produce without having to battle my way through the farmer's market every Saturday.
But now that I'm used to it, I don't know how I'll ever stop.  It also got me looking into what else I can get delivered to my door.  Did you know someone will bring you dog food?  And makeup?

Through searching the interwebs for services that would complement my laziness, I came across Oh Nuts!*  Not only do they deliver fresh, amazing quality nuts (and candy!) to your door, they are SO fast - probably faster than it would take for me to get up the motivation to drive to the store.

If you've never tried having food delivered, I encourage you to try out Oh Nuts!  They totally allow you to be lazy and they even kind of encourage it.  My kind of company.
And once you get your delivery, try not to eat them all at once (it's hard not to - just ask Austin!).  Instead, chop them up and put them on top of your fruit that you also have delivered to your house.  Next, maybe you can hire a personal chef and just tell them you want cobbler, now!

I made this cobbler with a variety of stone fruits (nectarines, peaches, plums, and pluots), because that's what I had (from my CSA box), but if you have any single type or a combination of stone fruits, just use what you have.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tequila Sunrise

There's a new show you need to be watching now.  It's called Drunk History.

You need to watch it because a) it's hilarious; b) you might actually learn some history; and c) it's hilarious.
It's actually been around since 2007 (as a web series), but Comedy Central just picked it up last month. What happens is a historian gets super lit, tells a historical story and comedians act it out.  Genius.

You know how they keep saying that the gen x-ers and millenials actually get all of their news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert?  Well, I have no doubt that in a few months, the only thing I (and most of my peers) will remember about history will come from this show too.  Baby Boomers, be prepared to get in a huff.
When they "get ready" to film the show, they usually just down a bottle of whiskey or something.  They aren't typically sipping on fruity cocktails, not saying they shouldn't be.

I remember wanting to drink tequila sunrises since I was very young and definitely not old enough to drink them.  They are just so pretty!

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