Sunday, August 28, 2011

Off the Edge of the Earth

I know that you probably think I have fallen off the edge of the earth. I swear to you that I haven't. I just completely underestimated the amount of time it would take to get back into school, start a new second job, and plan two giant parties all at the same time. I have barely had time to breathe - I haven't read a single page of a book or cooked something just for myself or gone for a walk for two weeks! It's been epically insane. Tonight I decided that I must blog, even if it is just to tell you that I am not dead.

Here is a bit of cooking. There is not a recipe, as I used a mix, but the idea was quite cute. You can see the directions by clicking here. I baked this cake for my nephew on his last day at his old school (he is a big boy in proper preschool now). Each of the kids is decorated to represent one of his classmates.

Next step is to catch up on all of your lovely blogs:)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gingery Butternut Squash and Tofu Curry

When I saw this recipe in Health magazine, I was anxious to try it. I love butternut squash but had never thought of putting it in a curry. I adjusted the recipe to use a mix of spices instead of the curry sauce that was called for and was very pleased with the result. Next time I make it, I will be leaving out the tofu. I didn't do an adequate job of soaking up the spices and tasted like an off note to me. However, not everyone who tried the dish agreed with that assessment, so I am sharing the recipe with the tofu for all of the tofu lovers.

Gingery Butternut Squash and Tofu Curry
2 tsp olive oil
20 oz cubed butternut squash
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
4 oz tofu, patted dry
1/2 lb broccoli, cut into 1 inch pieces

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and spices. Cook until onions are transparent. Add squash and continue cooking until squash begins to soften (about 10 minutes).
2. Combine coconut milk and water, whisking well. Place tofu in the saucepan; add milk mixture. Cover pot and simmer until squash is tender (about 7 minutes).
3. Remove lid. Add broccoli; simmer until tender (about 5 minutes).
5. Yields 4 servings, each serving plus 3/4 cup rice contains 291 calories

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stewed Collard Greens and White Beans

Two things very Southern: greens; white beans. Combining them: genius. This recipe that I adapted from the geniuses at Living Simple magazine is an instant family favorite.

Stewed Collard Greens and White Beans
12 oz dry cannellini beans
2 tsp chili oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch collard greens (about 2 lbs) stems removed and leaves cut into 3 inch thick strips
1 3-4 inch piece Parmesan rind
7 cups water
coarse salt
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1. Cover beans with 3 inches of water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover for one hour. Drain.
2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes until tender, about 4 minutes.
3. Add collard greens in batches, stirring until wilted. Add beans, Parmesan rind, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beans and greens are tender, about 1 hr 20 minutes.
4. Season with salt and vinegar.
5. Yields 6 servings; each serving 350 calories

I am having a busy week getting my Avon business set up. Visiting your blogs is a great, relaxing, just for me activity in which I am about to indulge. Shannon mentioned that Avon sells great bubble bath - indeed they do. They even have Gourmand bubble bath just for us foodies; it comes in Berries and Cream, Chocolate Cherry Cake, and Caramel Truffle (click if you want to see for yourself:) As a disclaimer, I get to tell you that I am an independent Avon representative. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Scallops, Zucchini, and Salsa

I am always looking for something new to do with scallops, since my husband is the leading world scallop addict. This one was adapted from a recipe I found on

Spaghetti Squash with Scallops, Zucchini, and Salsa
1 large spaghetti squash
1/8 cup olive oil
2 zucchini, diced
2 cups chunky salsa
1 lb scallops

1. Prepare spaghetti squash according to these directions.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute zucchini until tender.
3. Add salsa and scallops to skillet. Simmer until scallops are opaque - about five minutes.
4. Serve scallops over spaghetti squash.  

Today I started my second or third job (now that the blog is monetized, I am not sure it if is a feels too fun to be a job). I am a brand new independent sales representative for Avon. That's right, an Avon lady! I chose Avon because I was already buying - and loving - their products. I figure this way I get a new job and a discount on the products I already love. For you, I plan to have some Avon giveaways on my blog. The only problem is trying to chose which super cute kitchen product (chili pepper apron? donut cake pan?) or beauty product (vanilla cream bubble bath? pomegranate and mango body lotion?)!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken Marsala

Ode, once again, to the chicken thigh - best of all chicken parts. This is one of my favorite recipes - easy, juicy, spicy, and finger licking good. 

Chicken Marsala
12 skinless chicken thighs
6 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped green chilli
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Wash chicken and prick with a fork.
2. In a large bowl, mix lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chili powder, salt, sugar, and honey. Coat chicken with spice mixture and marinate for 45 minutes.
3. Preheat grill to medium heat. Add the cilantro and green chillies to the chicken thighs and place in a flameproof dish. Pour any remaining marinade over chicken and baste with oil.
4 Grill under preheated grill for fifteen to twenty minutes until cooked through and browned.

Now that I am back on my feet, it is back to life. I have to make a couple of changes in my life. We - the teacher and the librarian - are shockingly (heavy sarcasm intended) in need of extra funds if we are to have any hope of expanding our little family while Stone is in grad school. will soon see my blog monetized. I don't know that it will make me any money at all, but we shall see. Also, I am going to take a bit of a second job. More on that as it develops. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Best Sorghum Cookies: Foods Made for Family and Friends

So...I am finally back on my feet, but two things conspired against my blog. A: I had to go back to work and have been doing a couple of hours overtime every day. B: We had a crazy electrical storm that knocked out the internet two days ago. For no apparent reason, it is back on for the moment (I am not cancelling the service call tomorrow because it will definitely go out again if I do.  Thank you so much for your good thoughts during my recovery. I can't wait to get back to your blogs!

I have mainly been sharing recipes with you that were made for people who had a medical event (childbirth, catastrophic accident) or some personal troubles. These were made for a bit of a different reason - they are "I'm sorry" cookies. I have no idea where my head was and am so embarrassed to admit it, but I completely stood someone up for an appointment. In addition to apologizing profusely and losing sleep worrying about my mistake, I also made her cookies.

These delicious little gems were made using the recipe from the bottle of Muddy Pond sorghum molasses that I purchased at the farmer's market.

Best Sorghum Cookies
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sorghum
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in sorghum and eggs.
2. In another large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Blend thoroughly.
3. Gradually mix flour mixture into creamed ingredients until smooth.
4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls; dip tops in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on baking stone or greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 11 minutes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Easy Sausage Muffins: Foods Made for Family and Friends

Another of my pre-surgery written posts. I am looking forward to getting around to your blogs and catching up. In recovery news, I am having my stitches out tomorrow - they have been rather a nuisance. Your good wishes have made this whole ordeal much, much easier.

I love making sausage bread - it is delicious and it is definitely a comfort food. Recently I was introduced to a very lovely woman who greeted me with, "You are the girl who makes the sausage bread!" The lady in question has gone through some troubles of late and as the days went by after meeting her, I kept thinking of her words. When I found out that she would be attending the same event I would be, I decided I had to make some sausage muffins for her. I didn't have time to make my usual recipe, with the bread from scratch, so I came up with this fast - but still fantastic - version. 

Easy Sausage Muffins
2 cans Pillsbury french bread
1 lb sausage

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry sausage until cooked through.
2. Empty French bread dough into a large bowl. Add sausage and, using hands, mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Divide dough into 12 muffin cups. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until browned.