Monday, September 30, 2013

Ginger Glazed Carrots

I really like cooked carrots.  When we would have some sort of stew or roast, I would pretty much just eat the carrots.  It was kind of a fight between my sister and I actually.

They're really good just roasted with salt and pepper and they're also really good glazed.  The one form that Austin and I can't exactly agree on is when you bake the carrots in milk and crumble Ritz crackers on top.  I'm pretty sure that's a midwestern thing, and Austin's just not into it.
Anyway, now that the weather is changing and the vegetable selection is diminishing, it's time to fall back in love with the "boring veggies" (i.e. potatoes, carrots, cabbage, winter squash).

These carrots are such an easy side to make and since they are sweet, it'd be hard not to like them.  And kids love sweetened carrots, right?  (I don't really know since I never feed children, but I liked glazed carrots as a child so they must!)  This version of glazed carrots will please the adults though too.  With a little spice from the chili powder and the fresh parsley, the don't feel too much like you have to sit at the kids' table.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Project 365: Week 39

September 23 | I have the best BFF forever - she's also a really talented artist.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Corn Salsa

There is not enough time in the day.  Simple as that.  There are so many things that I want to get done in a day, and there are just not enough minutes.  It's pretty safe to assume that food is on high on my list, but even for me, dinner gets pushed aside fairly often.

If we're out late at all, dinner ends up being whatever we can find in the cabinets or fridge.  We eat it on the couch, get through maybe one tv show and then go to bed at 10:00.  (Yes, I'm only 25.)

I understand for some of you out there with families, it's not really an option to not feed your children, but if you're single (or empty-nesters), you should take advantage of the freedom.  Sit down with a bag of chips, a bowl of salsa, and a beer and make it 100% hassle free.
If you make this salsa ahead of time, you could have dinner for at least three days really.  Adjust the amount of chili powder to make it spicier if you want and if there is any good corn left where you're at, it's worth boiling the water and cutting the kernels off the cob.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Soup with Cranberry Apple Relish

I don't know if you know this, but people are freaking out right now.  They are currently running to Starbucks every chance they get and instagramming (it's a verb now) pictures of their coffee cups that say PSL.  Personally, I'm not that into your coffee choice.  Personally, I'm also not that into pumpkin.
All that aside, I feel the need to give you something to fulfill your pumpkin obsession this fall.  I'm never going to give you a recipe here that I don't like though.  So this pumpkin soup had to be good.

I guess there are a couple other things I like that come in pumpkin form.  Namely, this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, these Frosted Pumpkin Bars, this Pumpkin Pie and these Pumpkin Cookies (which are just pumpkin in shape really).
As you can see, I really just like my pumpkin mixed with sugar and butter.  So this is clearly a little diversion from my norm, but I was so happy that it worked out.  The soup is creamy and warm and comforting just like you want any soup to be.  And really it's the cranberry apple relish that sets it apart from just another soup.  You get a little bit of crunch in there, some sweetness from the craisins, some tartness from the apples, and just a tiny hint of spice from the chili powder.  It's all there.

So you can still hate me because I don't share your fascination with Pumpkin Spice Lattes or because I offended your instagramming style, but if you try this soup, maybe we can still be friends?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Perfect Pie Crust

Let's talk about pie crust.

Pie is really easy to make.  You don't have to worry about it falling or rising too much.  You don't usually have to sift ingredients.  You don't have to put batch after batch into the oven.  So, it seems pretty clear that pie is just about the easiest thing you can bake.
One thing that always got in my way of making pie was the crust.  Most of the time, I bought frozen Pilsbury crust which is not bad, but it did feel a little bit like cheating.  Plus, I have a bit of a reputation to uphold.  I always feel a little embarrassed when I tell people that I didn't make the crust.  People kind of assume that being a food blogger, everything I ever eat is a culinary masterpiece accompanied by lots of pictures.  It's not.

Now, after finally perfecting this pie crust recipe, I don't have to feel so embarrassed!
Pie crust should be flaky and buttery and golden brown.  It should not be chewy or doughy or black.  The secret to a flaky pie crust is the vinegar (trust me, you won't taste it at all).  And this crust has plenty of butter, don't worry about that.  Now all you have to do is watch it while it cooks and cover the edges if it starts to get too brown.

So now pie can be easy and 100% homemade!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Peach Pie

I've been begging for cooler weather pretty much since summer started and last week I got it.  Unfortunately, it also came with a foot of rain.  I wish I was exaggerating, but that's a real 12".  I left work early on Thursday, couldn't get to work on Friday and sat around watching more and more rain come down through the weekend.

Between walking around and looking at the damage of the flood, and checking twitter for news (because it honestly is the best source during something like this), I got to turn on my oven.  And if I didn't know that people around me were being evacuated, having their homes washed away, and losing everything, I might have even been able to enjoy baking.
Going through something like this does make you realize how many people you have in your life that care about you though.  It's pretty easy (especially since we've moved around so much the past few years) to feel like we don't know anyone or no one would notice if we weren't around, but then the morning a major flood hits your town, you get dozens of texts, emails, phone calls, etc. all making sure you're ok.  People asking what they can do to help you.
It also amazed me how many people were opening up their doors to those that were displaced.  Friends with animals were taken in, friends of friends were offered places to stay warm and dry, and generally people were helping each other.  Not asking for anything in return, just helping.

I don't know why it takes a major emergency to bring this out of us, but it really shouldn't.  Every once in a while, we just need a reminder to be nice for the sake of being nice I guess.  So even though wherever you're reading this, you may not be going through a disaster, just be nice.  Let's all just do that.  Make a pie for your neighbor, offer to water their plants when they're gone, help a lost person with directions.  Just be nice for the sake of being nice.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Project 365: Week 37

September 9 | Went out to Fate Brewing with some friends that were visiting from DC and I got this Watermelon K├Âlsch - tasted like juice :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Applesauce

Boulder is underwater right now.  Literally.  Starting last night, the emergency sirens have been going off for flash flooding and it hasn't really slowed down much since then.

It is really serious and people are getting hurt.  There's a lot of property damage.  A few people have already died.  Luckily, the city has pretty much shut down.  Austin and I went home from work early, the schools are closed and people are being told to find higher ground and just hang out.
Austin and I are pretty good at just sitting home and hanging out.  Especially when we have enough food and drink.

We've been working on stocking our bar for a while now so we're prepped.  We also just bought a case of applesauce from Costco, so we can have a lot of these.  They taste so good that it would be pretty easy to drink pitcher after pitcher too.
Better not do that, in case we do have to leave for some reason.  If you're in the area, do what we're doing.  Hole up inside, have a cocktail, read a book.  Stay safe!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Austin is still on the search for the best chocolate chips cookies.  It involves a lot of trial and error.  It's really rough.  An especially hard job to taste test them all :)  We're starting to understand the chemistry behind them.  We're also realizing that a delicious dough does not always mean a delicious cookie.
After trying these salted chocolate chip cookies, we found out that the sprinkle of sea salt over the top before baking is essential!  It balances out the sweetness perfectly.  Now, even when we make the traditional Tollhouse version, we do this.

There have been lots of tested recipes, and most have not made it on the blog.  These are making the cut.
We'll continue on the hunt I'm sure, but we are feeling pretty good about where we're at now with the experiments.

I don't know if any of you have ever invested that much time in developing the perfect recipe, but it's kind of fun.  It can be frustrating at times (like when you make a batch that is not as good as you know other recipes could have been), but for the most part, it's a lot of fun to compare and combine recipes and I know it's going to be awesome when we find The. Perfect. Cookie.  (These are close to that!)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Once a month, I have to go into work early.  It's not too bad really, but I do have to be there at 7:00 a.m. so that I can sit through a 2 hour meeting and take lots of notes.  What makes it not so bad is the fact that we order coffee and pastries.
It's probably one of the only days during the workweek that I eat breakfast.  I have a really bad habit of walking out the door with a thermos of coffee and that's it.  Then, sometime around 11:00 or noon, I'll eat a granola bar and suffer a stomachache until I get home in the afternoon and can eat a late lunch.  It's a carryover from my high school days.

Sure, I've read plenty of reports saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I also know how you shouldn't let coffee sit in your empty stomach.  Does it mean that I'm ever going to change?  Maybe someday.
In the meantime, my breakfast intake will be limited to the first Thursday of the month and weekends.  On the weekends, it's a whole different game.  There's still coffee, but it's in a mug not a thermos, and there may even be a granola bar later in the day, but I do tend to start off my Saturdays and Sundays with pancakes or eggs or french toast or bagel sandwiches.  And when those breakfasts include chocolate chips, you know it's going to be a good day!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Beet Arugula Salad

I hope you had a great 3-day weekend.  I did almost nothing...and it was great.  I've already mentioned that I am a lister.  I love a good to-do list.  Really, just ask Austin.  I always have at least 3 different lists going.

I was definitely tempted to fill up my 3 days with lots of tasks and I kind-of did, but then I stopped looking at the list and you know what happened?  I relaxed.  Literally, laid by the pool, read a book, and took a nap.  It was amazing.
Labor Day marks the end of summer and while I am so ready to get out of the heat and into the hot drinks, I am really hoping I can keep some of the relaxation that summer brings into fall and winter.  I also should probably stick with the summer salads for a little longer.  That's probably just a good common sense.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Project 365: Week 35

August 26 | Spent our last night with Austin's parents in town eating Italian food and cheesecake!

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