Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Hate Halloween

Dear Lt. Veggie Nugget,

Thank you for getting me this awesome mug (and its identical twin) two years ago when I was pregnant and in a bad mood one day (read -- every day): 

Although I hate Halloween, I love this mug. It brightens up a dark morning (see window). Even when it's that dark at 7:20 AM. And it keeps my chai hot for hours (for real). Why do I hate Halloween? I don't know, I love fall. I love fall skies:

Actual backyard
 I think that I hate Halloween because our mom hates it, too.

Actual conversation:

Me: Mom, why do you hate Halloween?
Mom: Because my mom hated it.

It's genetic.

I also hate it because of hippie moms who try to mess with my perfect M and Ms. Oh, what was that? Am I a hippie mom? Well, yes, but I would never go so far as to ruin nature's perfect food.

All I want is my fair share,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Dear Turkey,

Problem: you want to make cupcakes, but some of your constituents are on a diet. 
Solution: muffins with streusel topping -- still whole wheat, still made with vegetables. They just happen to have some delicious little crumbs on top. Which happen to be made of butter and sugar, glued together with flour. 

This recipe was modified slightly from my new favorite blog with way better photography than mine. For the muffins (makes 24, if you eat enough of the batter so that it fits in the muffin tins):

2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/3 c white flour
2 T baking soda (here's another clue that they're not really muffins)
1 t cinnamon
1 t cardamom
1 t allspice
1 t nutmeg
4 t orange peel
1 c oil
1 stick butter, melted (yes, butter AND oil)
3 c sugar
1 big can pumpkin
Mix, but don't overmix. Spoon into muffin papers. 

For the streusel:

1 stick butter, fridge temp
2/3 c brown sugar
2/3 c flour
1 T cinnamon 
Chop it with the tuna chopper until pebbly. Sprinkle on top of muffins and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 mins.

Just accept the fact that this is messy and you will have to wash the muffin tins afterwards.
See what I mean?

I moss you,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Relax, it's Tuesday

Dear Turkey,

My mom loves summer. I love fall. It's cozy. It's when I fell in love. It's when there are tons of Charlie Brown movies to watch.

It's when geese can poop on you (my actual yard).
And you can eat seasonal things like this for lunch.
For dessert, Cocoa Quick Bread: 4 c flour, 2.5 t baking powder, 1/2 t salt, 4 T cocoa, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 c canola oil, 1 c sugar, 1.5 c milk. Bake in a greased pan at 350 for 45-60 mins. Then pose it for a picture on the vintage Jenn-Air range.
Treats from your mom.
Actual feet. Actual red color because it's that hot.

I moss you,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It Smells Like A Fajita Joint In Here

Dear Johanna Yorke,

Since you don't know that I exist, I am writing this dispatch to you in big letters in order to get your attention. And since you are my hero, I thought that you might be interested in this update regarding my lifelong quest to make beans as good as yours.

Last night, I had an epiphany: Why are the beans at my favorite local Mexican restaurants so much better than mine? Follow-up question: why do I always gain two pounds after going out for Mexican, but not when I make Mexican at home? Epiphany: you guys don't drain your beans (follow-up epiphany: either that or you get them dried and cook them yourselves with tons of salt). Yes, Johanna, salt is delicious. I am on to you. 

But would the beans taste all can-ny like un-rinsed chick peas on the salad bar? I wasn't sure, so I consulted the back of the Goya can. And, there it is, right on their proprietary rice and beans recipe, "1 can Goya black beans, undrained." 

With newfound confidence, I made the following enchiladas. And I was not disappointed:  

For the rice, I made basmati with 1 T olive oil, 1 t turmeric [since we all know that yellow things taste better than white things], 1 t garlic powder, 1 t smoked paprika, 1 t salt, and 1 t American saffron (all dumped right in the rice cooker before turning it on). 
Top left -- tomatillo sauce: 1 c tomatillos (from a can), 1 t minced garlic, 1 t olive oil, 1 shallot (diced), 10 splashes of habanero Tabasco sauce; cook on medium heat until tomatillos are broken up and saucy (you'll know it's ready when it smells like enchiladas).
Bottom right -- poblanos: cook on high heat with some olive oil, one shallot (sliced), 1 t minced garlic, 1 t salt, and 1 t cumin. You'll know they're ready when the shallot browns and it smells like fajitas.
Bottom left -- the magic beans: heat a few T of olive oil and add 1 t minced garlic, 1 T cumin, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T honey, 1 shallot (diced), and 1 t green Tabasco sauce. Then add 2 cans of UNDRAINED (gasp!) beans and a few T of chopped cilantro. Cook on low until the beans are almost falling apart.
Yes, I am a multi-taskin' mama. 
I microwaved some flour (bottom) and corn (top) tortillas. Even after microwaving, the corn ones are hard to roll. Stuff them with the poblanos and a slice of cheese, place in an OILED baking dish, and top with the tomatillo sauce and some salsa. Bake at 425 degrees until starting to brown, 15-30 minutes. 
Rice on one side, beans on the other.

Your Stalker-Friend,

Monday, October 14, 2013

How To Impress Your Parents

Dear Turkey,

Here is another one of my famous money-saving tips: if you are in the mood for Asian food, ask your parents to take you out to get some; that way you can order lots of different dishes at no cost to you. If that doesn't work, here is a Plan B to impress them. They'll be so amazed that they'll be sure to take you out to dinner next time.

First, the miso. Since they are paying, be sure to get delicious barley miso. Put it in a pot with water, spinach, straw mushrooms (from a can), tofu, and green onions. Heat until almost boiling (don't kill it!). Remember, for miso, more is more. 
Sesame noodles: cook one bundle of soba. Combine the following in the blender: 3 T tamari, 2 T mirin, 2 T rice vinegar, 2 T peanut butter, 1 T sesame oil, 1T honey, 1 T minced garlic, 1 t chili oil. Toss with the noodles. 
Dumplings always impress people. For the dumpling filling: 1/2 block extra firm tofu, 2 T ginger, and 1/4 c celery, all minced. Then microwave some spinach to yield about 1 c wilted; cut it up with scissors. 
To that mixture, add: 1 T mirin, 1 T tamari, 1 T cornstarch, 1 T lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. 
I wrapped them in pot-sticker wrappers (from the store). 
Steam (for wusses), or fry until deliciously black. You will need to use the lid of the pot as a shield. 
For the sauce: 1/4 c tamari, 2 T rice vinegar, 2 T lemon juice, 1 t minced garlic, 1 T sugar, and 6 ginger slices.
Parents are impressed. 
For dessert, you are tired, so they will buy the gelato. 

I moss you,

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Dear Turkey,

I'm having my family over for dinner tonight. In other words, I said, "Mom, do you guys want to come over for dinner?...Okay...You bring the salad...Do you have bread?...Oh, and it's bring your own wine...And wine glasses...And a stool, because we only have four chairs." Thus, a plan was made. 

In order to impress them, I will provide the cute baby, the risotto, and the Pumpkin Pie Bars. I just invented them. In other words, I combined one easy recipe and one hard recipe to make one really easy recipe.

For the crust:

1 c sugar
1 t baking powder
3 c flour
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 egg 
1/2 t salt

Mix until dough comes together, but is still crumbly. Smush into the bottom of a big baking dish (no need to grease it!). 

For the topping (shamelessly ripped right off the back of the pumpkin can):

1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cloves

Mix until combined and gently pour over the crust:

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes:

I moss you,

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Butternut Squash Risotto

Dear Turkey,

Last night, while my baby gnawed an "apple-y," I made something that wasn't muffins. 

Butternut Squash Risotto:

You know how to make risotto so I won't bore you with that part, but here's the basics:

1 onion sauteed in 2 T butter and some black pepper
Add 1 c arborio rice and cook it until you absolutely can't stand how dry it is
Add 1/3 c white cooking wine and 2 c mashed baked butternut squash
Risotto-ify with 5 c warm veggie broth
Stir in 1/3 c parm
If you think it needs something, try lemon juice or fresh sage

It's the kind of comfort food that you just keep eating out of the tupperware that you're trying to put into the fridge. It will probably be gone by the time I get home, along with the new batch of muffins with twice as much nutella.

I moss you, 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Those Muffins? Yup, They're Gone

Dear Turkey,

Still trying to decide whether or not to make those muffins from yesterday? Well, you can't stop by for a sample because we ate them all. All 24. And there are only two of us who really eat food that requires chewing. Another complication would be that you live 5 hours away. 

I had a chai this morning:

Chai = Happy Wifey
Here is another reason that I was a happy wifey yesterday. These were so good; we decided that they are our new crab cakes. We even skipped the egg whites entirely and just threw two eggs into the batter. We served them with cilantro/lime mayo. So far this blog has not failed us (ATTN: Mom -- if you don't know what I'm talking about here, those words that are a different color with an underline are a LINK that you CLICK ON).

I moss you,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nutella Marmalade Muffins

Dear Turkey,

Nutella (aka "EllaElla") is part of this complete breakfast, lunch, snack, second lunch, and dinner, if you ask me. It is good for you and makes tasty breast milk (so I am told; I only taste my breast milk when I've had garlic or something and I want to make sure that my audience will be satisfied). 

It also makes tasty muffins. If you are sick of muffins, I disown you. Or, you can make this into a cake and we can still be friends.

Nutella Marmalade Muffins:

2.5 c flour
1.5 c sugar
5 t baking powder
1.5 c yogurt
1 c water
1/2 c olive oil (trust me)
1/2 t salt
1/2 c nutella

Mix. To protect against over-mix-ing, make sure that the nutella makes a swirl. Spoon into 24 muffin papers (it will be messy, if you are lazy like me and you aren't trying too hard; just take your finger and lick up all of the drips). Put 1 t of orange marmalade on top of each muffin. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes.

I moss you,

Friday, October 4, 2013

Peanut Lime Noodles

Dear Turkey,

Remember when you and my family had those peanut lime noodles at the farmers market in 2006? Well, we have been trying to replicate them ever since, which is especially hard for me, since I wasn't there. 

That said, these are approximately just as delicious.

Peanut Lime Noodles:

Cook 3 packages of udon (and, no, nobody likes their udon al dente).

For the sauce, blend the following in your Vita -- ahem -- blender:

2 carrots (or 1 apple)
2 T fresh ginger
Juice of 4 or 5 limes
1 small jalapeno
4 T mirin
1 c water
1 c peanuts
3/4 c peanut butter (I use natural but I'm sure it would be really delicious if you used un-natural)
1/4 c chives or green onions
2 T miso (any color will do)
3 T sugar

I moss you,

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Had a Chai

Dear Turkey,

When I was pregnant, caffeine gave me meltdowns. It made me feel really awesome for the first 12.9 hours of the day, but, when I got home, I would always find something to throw my phone in my husband's face about. So I gave it up. Since then, I have had  few accidental regular lattes, and some non-accidental free bubble teas. I wasn't sure if the occasional caffeine would make my breast milk (and, therefore, my baby) wired, but it didn't seem to.

Two mornings ago, I woke up and decided that it was time to treat myself to a chai. A chocolate chai (what other kind is there?). It was delicious and my baby and I both went to bed on time that night (no meltdowns). I was surprised, however, that I enjoyed the smell of the chai as much as the taste (I guess it's not really a surprise if you think about it); the smell took me right back to the last time that I had one -- and every time before that. 

This morning, when it was time to make my before-work muffins, I decided to replicate that smell. So I made (decaf) chai muffins. I invented them (at least this version); since I've been making so many muffins, I'm trying to expand my repertoire: 


3 c flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
5 t baking powder
1.5 t salt
2 c soymilk
2/3 c canola oil
3/4 c sugar
1 decaf PG Tips (the best) teabag that you ripped open (sans bag)
1 t cinnamon (all spices are ground -- these are the ones that I use [whole] when I make a chai)
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t corriander
1/2 t fennel 

Mix until just combined. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Makes 24. Too bad I can't take a picture of a smell.

I moss you,