Thursday, May 28, 2009

My First Risotto

At the Orchard/Farmer's Market near work, I saw that they had asparagus for sale - homegrown. Since I'd never had asparagus before, I figured why not. The Hubs likes it, maybe I would too.

I found a couple different recipes for spring risotto and asparagus risotto from the WC, which all included blending some of the asparagus into the risotto. I didn't really want that, just wanted a plain risotto recipe with a little spring veg involved. I came across this recipe, and it looked like a keeper. The rest of the site looks cute too!

When it came time to prep, I couldn't find shallots at the orchard, so I had to go with regular onion, to the detriment of the dish I think. Also, my garlic was shot (STUPID GIANT! what is up with all of your garlic turning green and sprouting?!?!) so I had to use *gasp* garlic powder. I know, horrendous.

I thought it would be much more complicated than it was, but I will offer up the things I learned:
- do your prep first. follow the recipe. one minute before you have to add the asparagus is not the time to be cutting the asparagus.
- the liquid absorbed much faster than I thought it would, so keep an eye on that.
- wine makes everything better.

Here is the risotto in my lovely dutch oven:

Here is a closeup of the creamy goodness:

Verdict: two thumbs up for the time will be better. nothing wrong with the recipe though!

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Made for a church event, I tried a different take on this bundt in order to save some time and possibly a little $.

I tried this recipe, and it worked beautifully - evidence below.

Double Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 package (about 18 ounces) chocolate cake mix
1 package (4-serving size) instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs, beaten
¾ cup water
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup oil
6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 10-inch Bundt or tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Beat cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, sour cream and oil in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until ingredients are blended. Stir in chocolate chips; pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool 1 hour in pan on wire rack. Invert cake onto serving plate; cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Turned out very moist, and a great time-saver.

Mom's Bday Cake

For my mom's bday this year the gma asked me to pick up a cake. I figured since I had sooooo much free time, I'd make one. So here it is internets, my first full-on cake, iced and all.

I used the Betty Crocker Silver White Cake recipe, with the Martha Stewart Buttercream Icing recipe. But I also put in a lethal dose of raspberry filling: whipped heavy cream with a little powdered sugar, mixed with raspberry preserves. It was muy bueno, and my mom said it tasted like ice cream.

Whoo-hoo, first writing-with-icing job too! The 'th' got smushed, along with a couple other places, but it drove for an hour so it's to be expected.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TWD: Chipster-Topped Brownies

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie was the Chipster-Topped Brownies, a double-decker brownie with a layer of cookie on top. I actually got pictures this time!

Brought to you by Beth of Supplicious, go take a look at hers because mine don't really do the recipe justice! She also has the recipe.

I halved the recipe and put it in a square pan - first mistake. Should have used my loaf pan, they would have been thicker. Second mistake - the timing. I took them out of the oven too soon I fear, because they were a bit gooey still when we ate them (at the Hubs' family picnic over the weekend). Maybe if I hadn't put a pan underneath as well? Next time, hehe. I omitted the nuts (I'm a fan of the female brownies) and added mini peanut butter cups instead of the chocolate in the Chipster layer.

Getting ready to bake, just look at that cookie layer, YUM!

Out of the oven. Mine got a little dark, mostly because I kept poking it with toothpicks and they were still gooey.


even though mine were gooey, if I had done them right they would be fantastic.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Best thing since sliced...bars

So I've been having lots of bars for breakfast (or second breakfast) lately, because now that gorgeous weather and semi-gorgeous weather is back, my day starts with a wiener walk.
**insert picture of cute-as-pie perfectly groomed dogs with matching leashes and collars and dog tags here**
We take a different route every day, but they almost always all take 20 minutes. Normally I just walk it without having eaten, but I'm thinking it may be better to have a small smackerel of something before. So I picked up one of these, and one of these:

I had a third of the vanilla this morning, and well, it tasted like soymilk. But it was good, and served its purpose. I'm thinking it might be better blended with banana for a smoothie...but I'm not sure if I'm that adventurous.

After this, I head to work and have second breakfast, which is usually a Luna bar of some sort - the White Chocolate Macadamia are the bomb diggity. But currently, I have fallen in love with a bald guy and so changed my ways - this is my new second breakfast love.

MMMMMM so dang good. There are other kinds too, dontcha know. I'm munching on the chocolate walnut right now. And I don't even mind the walnuts (usually I prefer things sans walnuts, or female).

Dr. Weil, you have my vote. Well done, old chap. I'm not sure if you're British or what but I seem to remember you having some sort of an accent.

TWD: Mango Bread

This week's recipe was chosen by Kelly of Baking with the Boys, you can find the original recipe here.

I was especially excited about this one because I'm not a fan of mango normally, but I have found a few instances where I enjoy it, and breads and muffins are my favorite things. I'm making it tonight after work, so it will be a true Tuesday with Dorie. I'm not sure yet how I'll tweak it, but I saw muffins over at Sing for your Supper, and that will take less time, so I may do that. I'm not sure if I'm going to take class tonight (8-9pm) or not. I may skip it, to the detriment of my waistline, but to the benefit of my blog. Because, believe it or not, *insert gasp here* I haven't blogged in a long time and have some items which are past due!

And once again, you will have to wait for pictures as I started baking very late and my pictures take about 20 minutes to upload to blogger and I'm going to bed!

(awaiting first try, my muffins were too hot and I'm giving them some resting time so tomorrow is it!)

Monday, May 18, 2009

In the beginning...

there was a blog.

Pay no attention to the date this blog started, as currently it is just a way for me to keep track of all things related to small carbon-based lifeforms. I'm 27 and thinking about planning to TTC. It's a lot to deal with, even without all the problems that go along with it (as currently we have none). My biggest issue right now is how to plan? I can't control any of it, except for small key factors of my body and health (come on, last 20 lbs, get out!) so it's a bit scary.

The when is puzzling too, as the hubs graduates June 2010 and I'm not sure if poppin out a wee one is advisable before or after he has a job in his new profession. My goal is to be a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), but that is just a goal, not a plan (see P. 1, "I can't control any of it").

So for the time being, I will stock up on all the information I can find. Welcome to my teapot.

Monday, May 11, 2009

warning: sci-fi post ahead

So, went to see the Star Trek movie this weekend. On the Imax screen. And now, all I can think about is when I'm going to see it again. Yeah, it was that good.

There were a couple things I didn't like, and since I love lists so much here they be:
1) Chekhov's accent, I think they overdid it just a smidge.
2) the Kobayashi Maru sequence - really? Kirk would have been sitting there laughing and eating an apple?
3) the alternate reality thing. at least it was done in a way that made a really cool movie possible this time.
4) the red shirt dying. you really have to accent that?
5) someone spoiled the spock's mom thing for me (who plays her) and I just couldn't take that character seriously after that!

Other than those...I just really want to see it again. I'm sure there are parts I missed because I was squealing over zachary. I would contemplate leaving my husband for him, but I'm not quire sure he plays on my team. LOL.

My favorite moments:
1) the ship coming out of the cloud of red planet-ness, awesome.
2) the scene with kirk and spock saying goodbye in the transporter room (uhura, scotty, priceless)
3) kirk running screaming on the snow planet - so nice to hear a 'kirk' scream for once lol
4) any scene with spock

so... who's comin with me?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TWD: Tiramisu Cake

This week's TWD brought to you by Megan of My Baking Adventures. This one looks good, folks!

I was all set to make this last night, but we got distracted by house stuff... so again, Tuesday is the night for me. Hopefully I won't get held up at work and I'll be baking by 830pm!

I saw on the TWD site a lot of people were having trouble finding the instant espresso powder and mascarpone. Well, thanks to my local Italian grocery (only open til 6pm so I had to book it over there after work!), I was able to find them with the greatest of ease. When I was scoping out the coffee aisle for the espresso, one of the owners said "do you need ladyfingers next?" I actually had to laugh and say, "nope, it's a variation on tiramisu." I heart Russo's.

However, I now have 16 oz of mascarpone, so I'm going to have to find something else using it.

The cake is made in three steps: cake, espresso syrup, and the creamy filling (where the mascarpone comes in). Unfortunately, I don't have a icing spatula, and I don't have Kahlua, and my pastry brush is - er - a little stiff from something that I can't quite remember. So, it might look a little less than appetizing, but luckily I can cover the whole thing with cocoa powder and call it a day.

Wish me luck!

and PS - I'm still working on pictures from prior yet-to-be posts. If that makes any sense at all.


aaaaand I'm illegal again - I actually posted this yesterday but fell asleep last night before I got to post again!
Well I was right about the cream, it didn't look too fancy or anything, but it sure tasted good! Pics to follow as the camera was not where I expected yesterday. So it's really going to get that refrigeration that it needs. Apparently it tastes even better after being reefer-d but I don't know how that's possible - cake, espresso syrup, mascarpone cream? mmmmmmmmmm


Monday, May 4, 2009

Savannah Trip

I know I haven't been here in a while, I've been busy! Taking trips, making cupcakes... the usual.

Here are some highlights from the trip:

- The scenery. Savannah is fabulous for the Southern charm of the houses and the waterfront.

- The food. We dined at Huey's (twice), The Chart House, and The Lady and Sons (mom's choice, it's her bday), all fantastic. I must say, the salads at Huey's made me really happy. I'm a sucker for a good salad dressing.

- The tours. Now, I am not usually a fan of tours in any city because it's very touristy (natch), but the Paula Deen tour was highly entertaining, what with Cindy, our flamboyantly southern tour guide. The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil tour was just as entertaining, with a glimpse (however truthful it was or not!) into the society and a bit of corruption of Savannah.

- The weather. While it reached a balmy 90 in PA, we were enjoying spectacular walking-around weather in GA, perfect for peeking into storefronts and stopping to have a cafe au lait.

The not-so-good: train. I have one image for you:

That is my sleeper car. Top bunk. Train going faster than normal. Enough said.

Onto the rest of the slideshow:

Our view from the hotel, I think this is a museum.

one of the small tugs (just like Michael's boats! screams the flamboyantly southern tour guide of our Paula Deen tour) outside our hotel window

a really cool bridge on the river

out back at Uncle Bubba's (Paula Deen's brother's restaurant), notice all the docks and stuff, because it's a swamp, people. sidenote: this very much reminds me of the tree level in Myst. anyone? no?

part of the historic district of Savannah (and my aunt taking a picture)

Mercer House (of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame [or as mom calls it, the garden of good and plenty])

the sidewalk chalk portion of a SCAD art show - these art kids are pretty heavy, man.

Fountain in the middle of Forsythe park, love it.

meal at Huey's - salad, salad, salad, beignets. you can tell who's just in it for the dessert.

meal at The Lady and Sons, we got in pronto because of misinterpreted directions via the flamboyantly southern tour guide. Kim told me to take a pic, and this was where I was when I stopped stuffing my face and remembered.

the FABulous 70's-era train station in Savannah. the moms is not a fan of flying sans drugs, so we took the train. See those candy machines? they were 25 cents! I stocked up on chicle-type things and candy-that-turns-into-gum for the train ride home, thinking it would be boring. WROOOOOOONG.

again, proof of love for all things aqua-colored and 70's-esque.

Kim, for your viewing pleasure, the fully documented The Lady and Sons food picture (click to view larger):

PS - did you see my Kate Spade diaper bag in that train picture??? I love love LOVE that bag. I got it on eBay and I don't even have kids, I just wanted to have a really cool bag for when kids happen or trips to Savannah happen.