Friday, July 29, 2011
I loved seeing the beaches of LA adorned with umbrellas, bikinis, and surfers - just like you would expect. If I had watched Baywatch, maybe I could make some appropriate jokes here.
I had a great weekend in LA, and I'm about to head out to another weekend away. Weeks just fly by, don't they? And every week - a new five things!
avocado slicers? Do they work?
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Normally I split up my vacationy posts into multiple entries, but I don't have that kind of time this week, so you'll just have to deal with all the excitement in one post! I flew into Chicago on Friday night and landed around midnight Chicago-time. I creeped into Anika's place hoping not to wake the baby. That would not be a good way to introduce myself to her.
And I dare say Arianna is lucky to have Justin and Anika too! I had a great time in Chicago - thanks to the Steffens for a wonderful trip!
Friday, July 22, 2011
Heidi Swanson cookbook, and I snagged myself a copy last week on Amazon. This has been my nighttime reading lately, so that I can dream of millet muffins and baked oatmeal (I just finished the breakfast chapter, obviously). It is one of the most beautiful and inspiring cookbooks I've ever seen. The recipes are vegetarian and focused on using healthier grains and sweeteners. I am eager to give the recipes a whirl to see if they taste as amazing as they look.
Harper has had a few beds since we got her, but we recently go this old dog bed out of storage to see if she liked it. Does she ever! She loves to plop in it day or night, and I swear she tries to look as cute as possible when she's in it. Doesn't she look like a doll? So glad I get to come home from work and see her wagging tail every day.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
From Baking Bites
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 medium zucchini shredded (done easily with a food processor), about 1 1/4 cups
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x5 or 9x5 loaf pan with butter. Set aside.
In a large bowl sift together 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a medium bowl whisk together 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cups buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add in shredded zucchini and 1 cup chocolate chips and slowly mix it into the batter until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out of the center clean or with a few moist crumbs - about 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan and invert over a cookie rack to extricate from the pan before slicing.
Friday, July 15, 2011
I was in between books this week and I decided to read this cookbook, given to me by John's mom, as my bedtime reading. Consider it a Cliff's Notes version of Mastering the Art of French Cooking - one that is much more readable in a week. It has a bunch of base recipes and slight adaptations for when you change meats or vegetables. It's a great way to further your understanding of French cooking and to inspire you to seek more precise methods to your everyday cooking.
In Boonville I picked up these gorgeous bowls at one of my favorite stores of all time, Farmhouse Mercantile. They have a slightly rough aesthetic now that the owner said would smooth out through use. I wonder if they were intended to be used with sour cream and onion corn puffs...like I may or may not have just done.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Harper gave me the evil eye when I wouldn't share my ice cream. Sorry, sweetie, even a mother's love has limits.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I love toffee and I love cookies, so these morsels rank pretty highly in my list of Best Things on the Planet. Next to John and Harper. Behind John and Harper, of course. It's best if I don't say how far behind.
Heath Bar Cookies
Adapted from Simply Recipes
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda* (see note)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package Heath toffee bits
3 Heath bars, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl combined chopped walnuts, chopped Heath bars, and toffee bits.
With a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together for two minutes on medium speed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then beat in vanilla. Alternate between mixing in 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the Heath mixture until just blended. (Adding chunks to a stand mixture will cause it to work a little harder, but it works fine.)
Refrigerate your batter for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and place 1-inch dough balls 3 inches apart to avoid them spreading into one another.
Bake 10-12 minutes until edges begin to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
*Many commentors on the Simply Recipes post complained of flat cookies and suggest substituting baking powder. Well, I used baking powder and still had flat cookies, so I'm not sure there is a solution. The depth of the cookies is inconsequential once you taste these beauties, anyway.