Breaking Bread

January 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

One of the gifts my lovely mother gave Scott and me for Christmas was a box full of new baking pans.  Since the baking sheet I had was from like 1974, this was a welcome present.  Included in this package was a bread loaf pan, something I’ve never had before.  That meant I could actually make banana bread, as opposed to banana muffins (which are still good but sometimes a pain to peel from the little muffin liner).  Anyway, I put the pan to good use on Monday night:

So good!

Voila!

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients: 3 ripe bananas, 1/3 melted butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, sprinkling of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, pinch of salt and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.  I used non-dairy butter and a Splenda-like sugar substitute so I can pretend this is somewhat healthier.

After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, I mixed the butter into the mashed bananas while doing a little dance to The Monster Mash in my head.  Then I mixed in the egg, sugar and spices.  After that came the baking soda and salt, then finally the flour.  I poured it all into my brand new (and newly washed) loaf pan and stuck it in the oven.  It said to let it bake for an hour but after 45 minutes I got impatient and nosy so I took a peek.  It’s a good thing I did because it was already cooked to perfection (as you can clearly see above).  It tasted as good as it looked!  And I couldn’t have done it without my awesome new bread pan.  Maybe I’ll experiment with zucchini bread next time?  I’m crazy like that!

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Treats on a Timeframe

December 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

If you’re looking for something quick, easy and delicious to bring to an office party or your family holiday gathering, have I got a recipe for you.  My uncle’s fiance made these over Thanksgiving and I thought she was just about the smartest thing around.  Part of me wondered if this was some ancient family secret of hers but mostly I was happy that she introduced this awesome snack to our clan.  I made a batch of these myself a couple of weeks ago and you can see from the picture how quickly they went.  I made one more batch two nights ago so I can have something cheap yet yummy to pass out to my fellow volunteers at the food pantry and a select group of coworkers.  As I was making Batch #2, I realized the recipe for this amazing treat I’d never seen before this year was actually on the back of the bag of candy I was using.  D’oh.  So this may not come as a new recipe to you but it doesn’t make them any less awesome!

Yeah these are all gone now.

Yeah these are all gone now.

You will need: a bag of pecans, a bag of square pretzels and a bag of Rolos.  And an oven.

Turn the oven on to like 250 or 300 degrees.  Place pretzels on a baking sheet, place one Rolos on top of each pretzel and place one pecan piece on each Rolo.  Place in the oven.  Wait maaaaybe 6 or 7 minutes (basically whenever the chocolate starts to melt).  Remove the baking sheet and place in the fridge to cool.  Unless you want to melt the shelves in your fridge, put an oven mitt down first.  Let cool.  Eat everything.  And if you forget what you’re doing, turn the bag of Rolos over and re-read the recipe there.  Also, don’t forget to turn the oven off.

Yes, it’s incredibly easy but I promise it’s really good too.  I never said I was Betty Crocker, you know.

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A Little Something

October 17, 2011 at 10:14 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

As I get back into the swing of blog writing (and be warned…I’m still in quite the funk over Catsby so my witty postings may be a bit fewer and farer between for a while), I figured I’d take it easy.  I promise to do a post on my trip at some point but today is focused on something I’m able to enjoy, no matter how sad I am – food.

I made this dish last night and it will be serving as breakfast for most of the week.  About 3 weeks ago I found a recipe that would help me use a bunch of yellow squash I had sitting around and this new creation stems from that.  Here’s what I used because I happened to have it on hand:

  • mushrooms
  • zucchini
  • butternut squash (this came in a microwavable bag mixed with cinnamon from Green Giant)
  • onion
  • buttery crackers
  • shredded cheese
  • vegetarian sausage
  • spinach

I’m not very good at following exact measurements or directions in general so I kind of just cut a lot of veggies and the no-meat sausage up and put it all in a bowl.  Then I took all the crackers, smashed them into a pulp with a potato masher and added roughly a half cup of the shredded cheese.  I then took the veggies and put them in the skillet with some olive oil and let them get nice and tender.  I added about half of the crackers and cheese midway through.

Look what I can do!

While the veggies were cooking I took two eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/3 cup milk and mixed it all together.  Then I tossed that all on top of the entire vegetable concoction and took all that and spread it into a glass baking pan.  After adding the rest of the crackers and cheese to the top, I threw the whole thing in the oven and then took a shower.  But you don’t need to know all that.

Roughly 20 minutes later, it was ready to eat.  Actually, it was ready to melt my tongue off so I had to wait a bit for the taste test.  Considering I kind of made it up as I went along, I’d have to say it was pretty damn good.  The bf and a work buddy both agreed so feel free to give it a shot on your own.  Play around with it too – I think that’s how some of the best dishes are born.  Enjoy!

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December Book Club and Restaurant Review

December 14, 2010 at 11:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

A couple of weeks ago, the fine ladies in my book club met up at Greek Islands Restaurant in Greektown (I meant to get this post up earlier but you know what they say – the road to hell is paved with good intentions).  It was my first time at the restaurant

I can see my office! Well, not really

(and in Greektown in general) and it was conveniently located a ten minute walk from The Tower Formerly Known As Sears, so I worked a little late and headed on over.  The place was huge, much larger than I would have guessed, and it was hopping.  Large rooms branched off in every direction and there seemed to be another one every time you turned around.  We met up on a Wednesday night when typically places aren’t super crowded but Greek Islands had a line out the door.  Thankfully, we had reservations so once the majority of our group showed up we were ready to eat.

I should preface this by saying I love Greek food.  Pita, hummus, spanakopita and flaming saganaki cheese are all wonderfully tasty treats that I should be enjoying more often than I do.  We ordered drinks and appetizers and, after an obligatory amount of time spent generally catching up, we were ready to begin discussing our book for the month, The Bastard on the Couch by Daniel Jones.  It’s a compilation of 27 essays by men on “love, loss, fatherhood and freedom” and some of them were written by well-known male writers (for instance, one was by Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead).  The stories told of men

Porn for Women

dealing with the pressure to be “men” in a society that isn’t always clear on what that means and even had a few tales from stay-at-home dads who tried to explain their experiences living a non gender typical lifestyle.  I thought some of the essays were really insightful and thought-provoking, but others were dry and uninteresting.  That’s pretty typical of essay books, though.

I must have had a slight aneurysm towards the end of our meeting because I heard myself volunteering to host our next one at my apartment while we discussed places to convene.  In the year and a half I’ve lived in this place, I’ve never hosted anything more than a mismatched group of friends who showed up for a movie.  I’m strangely looking forward to it though and even volunteered to make a pecan pie for dessert (it’s going to be a potluck).  I’m planning on channeling my inner Martha Stewart and sprucing the place up so I can properly entertain these entertaining women.  I might even wear a dress.

Okay that last part won’t happen but it should be fun nonetheless.  I just have to practice my pie-making because the last time I baked I screwed up the crust and ending up  having to eat the whole thing out of a tin with a spoon.  Not such a bad way to dine on dessert but I don’t think Martha would approve.

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Pumpkin Lovin’

October 6, 2010 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Look what I found!

In walking around this week, I stumbled upon a scene that reminded me of my home sweet home.  Living in the city, I take many things for granted…easy public transportation, the fact that there’s a lot to do at any given time and ample vegetarian friendly restaurants, just to name a few.  There are a few things that I miss about more rural living though…seeing lots of stars at night and hearing animals instead of traffic are among them.  One thing that I didn’t even realize I missed is the abundance of pumpkin patches in the fall.  I grew up not too far from a family farm turned restaurant/winery/pumpkin and apple orchard, and I have many great memories of picking gourds there.  Sadly, there aren’t many places in the city (other than grocery stores) that will allow you to grab a pumpkin.  But I found one!

The above photo was taken a mere few blocks from my apartment.  I was walking home the other night and was drawn to the soft warm glow of artificial light.  My excitement grew as my eyes took in the sight and I instantly felt ten years younger when I realized I could walk through this makeshift pumpkin patch and pick out my own.  There’s even a trailer in the background, to fully complete my Indiana visual.  Sadly, I didn’t have any cash on my that night but I have plans to go back later this week and nab one for carving purposes.  I’ve only ever carved a pumpkin once in my life but all that will change in the next week.  In fact, I didn’t ever carve a pumpkin until I was well into college – we always painted them growing up.  That’s probably because my mom never trusted me with a knife and to be honest I don’t blame her.  I’m not even sure I trust myself, but I’ll sure give it another stab (hahaha I am so punny).  And yes, I will probably blog my finished product.

These are not my feet

I happen to really enjoy the fall and it seems like we’ll actually get one in Chicago this year.  I love the smell of it, which is something I can’t really describe.  Hearing leaves crunch underfoot is nice even if it means walking on the dead carcasses of tree parts, and I like wearing the jackets and scarves I haven’t worn in a while.  This does NOT mean I’m ready for heavy winter coat and boot weather, so hopefully it’ll stay fall-like as long as weatherly possible.  I also like to start baking again, which my air-condition-less, sweltering apartment prohibits me from doing in the summer.  Pecan pies are wonderful even if they are caloric death traps and I might get domestic enough to try to create a pumpkin pie this year as well.  More than anything though, I’m excited to attack a pumpkin with a blade and see what I can come up with!

I’ll just make sure I don’t do it alone, in case I sever something important and need to be escorted to the hospital.  That’s what friends are for, right?

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