Tag Archives: cooking

black friday fuel

25 Nov

Or lay-on-the-couch-and-watch-TV-all-day fuel. Or Tofurky-coma-hangover-need-energy-to-tolerate-family-I-only-see-this-time-of-year fuel. Whatevs. It works in any scenario.

While you worry about the food for today, let me worry about the food for tomorrow. Use some of the leftover elements of Thanksgiving that will be lurking in your fridge, destined to mold (ah, we all have such good intentions, don’t we?), and turn them into a hearty, delicious post-Thanksgiving breakfast. Creamy yet chewy steel cut oats join forces with that last little scrap of pumpkin puree, some spices and maple syrup to make an ultimate breakfast. And with leftover cranberries on top? Ooh yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

T-Day Oats

Serves 2

2 cups water
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/4- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (depending on taste)
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1/8 teas. pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teas cinnamon
cranberry sauce (optional)

In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the oats and lower the temperature to a simmer. Let cook until oats absorb most of the water, about 15 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup and spices and mix well. Let cook until oatmeal is bubbly and cooked to desired consistency.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and some cranberry sauce, if using.

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cold weather = hearty food

21 Oct

HP friends, sorry to say there is nothing Harry Potter related in this post. Many more to come, though!

My life, as of late, has consisted of work and baking. LOTS of baking. Not to complain, but woman cannot live on cake alone. (You think I lie. For realz, though, if anyone could it would be me and I can’t.) Thankfully, Jim has started doing some cooking, which is great, but we mostly eat random stuff like really sad bowls of black beans and rice with salsa on top or pasta with red sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you’ve got to mix it up.

Last weekend, inspired by Bianca’s recent post, I bought a spaghetti squash. Now, here’s what you have to understand. This is an annual thing, the purchase of the spaghetti squash. It goes a little like this:

Day 1: Purchase squash. “Yay, I’m so excited to make something with this!”
Day 4: Move squash from counter to sub-counter. “This dumb thing is in the way all the time!”
Day 7: Make excuses to husband about squash. “Yes, I’m going to do something with it! Geez…”
Day 14: Remember squash. “Oh, you. You’re still here, huh?”
Day 21: Become even more indignant to husband. “I am planning to make you a special meal with it. Give me some time!”
Day 28: Smell squash. “Hmm… maybe I should have put you in the pantry or fridge…”

You get the idea.

I don’t know what my problem is, there are just some things that I have no point of reference for and so I literally get freaked out when I think about cooking them. Squash is definitely one of them, as I never had any squash (save pumpkin pie, which doesn’t count) until moving to the Pacific Northwest 4 years ago, so I’m still getting my bearings.

So, after reading Bianca’s post I thought, “This is the year, dangit!” I bought the squash, came home, set it on the counter… and knew my cycle had begun again.

I knew I could break the cycle! So I decided to cook it right then and there. But what to have with it?

Something hearty and filling was in order, so I decided to make a veggie meatloaf, especially after reading somewhere online about how well they hold up in the Baker’s Edge pan. I look for any excuse to use that silly pan. Then, I decided to throw my spaghetti squash’s friend, butternut, into the mix.

Veggie meatloaf with roasted butternut squash sauce, steamed kale and, behold, herbed spaghetti squash!!! I pulled this veggie meatloaf recipe out of thin air and was so happy with it. We eagerly ate through it so quickly that I plan on making it again soon, I wanted to share it.

Veggie Meatloaf

1 medium sized onion, shredded or chopped
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 teas. dried basil
1 teas. dried oregano
2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp. red win vinegar
1 1/2 cup cooked lentils (I used French, any variety would do)
1 1/2 cup cooked grain (I used buckwheat, brown rice would be good, too)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a loaf pan or Baker’s Edge pan.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the onions, carrots, sunflower seeds and olive oil. Process for 30 sec-1 minute, until it resembles a chunky paste. Add the herbs, soy sauce and vinegar and combine. Add lentils and grain to the processor and process until ingredients just come together, scraping down the bowl as needed. If there are still some discernible lentils, that’s fine, but overall it should be thick and paste-like. Hmm… paste-like doesn’t sound very appetizing.

Moving on, spread the loaf into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (closer to 40 for the loaf pan), depending on type of pan. The top of the loaf should brown and get a little crusty on the edges There should still be a little mush-factor if you gently push down on the top of the loaf, as it will continue to firm up as it cools.

Makes 6-7 servings, depending on how much you feel like sharing.

I know I can’t be alone- what foods are purchased with good intentions and then lurk in your fridge only to die a slow, lonely death?

kitchen confessions

9 Oct

We all have things in our lives that we do a little, well, half-baked. We are an ingenuitive species, so when things don’t work for us we either create something that does or modify what already exists. And from that spirit, we also find new uses for old or broken things.

I have purchased a lot of kitchen gadgetry. It’s kind of sick when I think about it, so I won’t. But of all of my chopper/slicer/dicer/flipper/stirrer toys, I have one thing that stands above them all.

kitchen1

The Chef Helper is a little kitchen gadget I bought at the dollar store probably a year into our marriage. I remember where I got it at (Crystal, MN) and I don’t even know what I was doing there, but for some reason I was compelled to buy this. It has metal wires like a whisk, but opens up like a pair of tongs.

kitchen2

Now here is where the sad ingenuity from earlier in the post comes in. It’s broken. It’s been broken for much longer than it ever wasn’t. And before it was broken, I hardly ever used it. Then the spring came loose, some little plastic piece busted off and it was left like this:

ktichen3

And since it’s been broken I use it constantly! I just grab one half and whisk away. I love how it functions like a whisk, but because of it being flat there is more control and I can use it to scrape the sides of the bowl, like I would with a spatula. I have looked at many stores to find something a little less, er, pathetic looking, but nothing that I’ve found measures up to my two $.50 whisk things. I love ’em.

Do you have anything of this low a caliber in your kitchen that you just can’t replace? Any odd, ingenuitive kitchen breakthroughs or uses for other random kitchen toys? I have a silicone trivet that I never use as a trivet, but I do use it open jars with. I’ve also made waffles in the quesadilla maker that we have no use for (quaffadillas!)… you never know until you try!