Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's cookin?

In the last three months, I've cooked a lot of things for the first time and tried a lot of new foods. Here's a quick list of recipes I've tried:

"Delicious stuff I've made more than once..."
Mackerel chowder
Salmon Burgers
Whole wheat sourdough with olive oil and herbs (I made the snacks, not the bread...)
Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Robyn's Beet Cake (kinda new, we've made Andrea's before and they're about the same)
Cornbread (from scratch, I've always used a mix before)
20-min granola
Toasted pumpkin seeds
No-Knead, Slow-rise, Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread (this recipe is crazy-hard, but I keep making it, hoping to figure it out)

Yum! I'll definitely make this again
Braggs Vinaigrette (me and husband's favorite dressing, we love the raw apple cider vinegar flavor!)
Crockpot Refried Beans
Walnut-Basil Pesto
Mushroom Chicken Thighs
Creamy Caesar Dressing (made this up all by myself)

Just okay, nothing special
Spicy Ranch Dressing
Cool Ranch Dressing
Basic Vinegar and Oil Dressing
"Simple Whole Wheat Bread"
Ice Cream Cake

Not a big fan of this recipe
Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup (We have another pumpkin soup we love, but this soup was too bizarre for me)

Braggs Dressing
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 C raw apple cider vinegar
1/2~1 tsp Braggs liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1~2 tsp honey
1~2 cloves garlic
pinch of an herb blend of your choice or Braggs 24 herbs and spices
Mix it all in your blender.

Mackerel Chowder
I make chowder with canned mackerel and it is delicious--the highest and best use of the product! Place 1 can of fish in a two quart pot, bones, juice and all. Break up the mackerel into fairly small chunks and add 1 can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes. Dice and add 1 onion, two tablespoons of raw rice or a cubed potato and salt and pepper to season. Add 1-2 cans of water or chicken broth. Boil vigorously uncovered for a couple of minutes and then cover and simmer for a half hour or so. The longer it cooks, the more tender the fish becomes. This is very similar to bluefish chowder. Enjoy! (2 1/2 Tbs rice and 1 can broth makes a nice thick stew, add more liquid if you want it more soupy)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Crysta, Boba Fett, Puppy, and a Frog

Update: To make this Crysta Costume we used two colors of red fabric from JoAnn's. The bottom was just a skirt with elastic waistband. The petal shape of it is what makes it unique. I wasn't willing to let my daughter show as much skin as Crysta does in the movie, I showed her how Disney fairy costumes add a contrasting fabric to the tops where the real fairies are shoulderless and that is what we decided to do with our Crysta costume. So, the top was inspired by a blog post we saw on wrap around t-shirt crafts. The girl had taken two t-shirts, cut them up and sewed them together. We traced some of my daughter's t-shirts for our pattern. We used the two different colors of fabric on the various sides of the wrap. That lets us make a nice Crysta costume with the right feel that was modest enough for a little girl to wear. The wings were tights over wire hangers, school glue and glitter. we tied them on with long strips of the red fabric. I think if I did it again I'd get all-a-dollar wings. They are the best because they are small and light weight. We bought nicer ones that were to big and awkward and the ones we made had that same problem. All a-dollar wings could still be reshaped and glittered after you buy them.

Whew! We made it through Halloween. I love making costumes and planning parties and cringe at the candy over dosage.

I usually make at least one homemade costume a year. This year it was Crysta the rainforest fairy from the 90's movie Fern Gully. I made the pattern, sewed the dress, and made the wings. Needless to say I was very pleased with myself, even if the fit was a bit off, it was good enough for one day!

The school doesn't allow masks, so I made a Boba Fett helmet out of a cracker box and milk carton. Mixing the paint colors was lots of fun. It was a bit small, but that kept if from falling off *grin*

A puppy with a blankie...

No one would ever wear the froggy costume because it was too hard to put on, but I finally put a zipper in it, and what do you know it worked great for a baby costume. AJ said it was a rainforest costume like hers and that was very cool.

Halloween parade and class party

I was in charge of the first grade class party. One of the other moms did a station and then I planned the other three. We made popcorn, noisy, messy, and very fun! (glad I brought a dustbuster)

They made Halloween decorations. AJ and J came up with this one, I told them to think something up for the party and they made a picture frame with popsicle sticks to decorate.

The kids were supposed to make a mummy and then take a picture of the group at this
station. Then they played ring toss.

The class ended the party by going on a halloween treasure hunt. Grandma had made a bunch of bats and ghosts and pumpkins with letters on them, which I hid all around the classroom. The kids had to find the letters to the word "BOO" in order to get their brownies. AJ said this was her favorite game. AJ and I put chocolate eyeballs on all the brownies to make them look creepy. That was fun and they turned out really cool looking.

The Halloween Parade

Crysta the rainforest fairy from the movie "Fern Gully"

"Boba Fett" from Star Wars

Guess what this is

We've had this trivet hanging in our kitchen wherever we have lived since we were married. I like the colors, it makes me happy. Anyway, for years we debated about what fruit or vegetable it was supposed to be. Finally my Dad put the issue to rest when he identified it as a persimmon. This week persimmons were on sale and my kids enjoyed trying out a new fruit.

To be safe, persimmons need to be fully ripe before eating. Leave them on the counter until they are soft. When fully ripe they range from yellow to orange to reddish orange. They have a hard skin and are orange inside with a pudding-like texture. They are very sweet like brown sugar, known in mythology as "the fruit of the Gods". We really enjoyed them in smoothies, they added creaminess like bananas do.