Thursday, March 27, 2014

'Healthy' is not a four letter word...

Swimsuit season is not only inevitable, it's up on us.  Time to think about eating some cardboard and suffering the days away.  Well unless...

Unless you make your granola at home.  I have to say, granola has never been something that makes my mouth water.  But in my search for healthy things to put on the table, I tried making some myself.  It's high in fiber and protein, but low in sugar and bad fats, none more so than when it's homemade.  No unappetizing preservatives, colorings, or chemicals. 

And if that's not enough, you can control all of the ingredients so that it tastes exactly to your liking.  Hate raisins?  Ditch 'em.  Prefer walnuts to pecans?  You should totes magotes swap them out.  Many many options and alternatives.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Freeze-n-bake Cookies

Hubs loves chocolate chip cookies more than anything.  Well besides, you know, his loving wife that makes them from scratch for him.  And his adorable son.  And Jumbo.  But that's it, he loves chocolate chip cookies more than anything other than us.  (Sorry Poose.)

Mmmm, minty...
I love cookies, but I do feel the need to change them up every once in a while.  The clearance rack at the grocery store had some mint and chocolate nibs for $0.84 a bag after Christmas, so I nabbed a crap ton of them.  And I thought they'd be good with chocolate cookies.  So we gave it a whirl.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ermahgerd! Merzzahrerler!

Guys.  I made cheese.  I did.  
Hubs got me a cheese making kit for Christmas, and it took me three months to work up the nerve to try it out.  But the good news is it was incredibly easy.  The kit makes ricotta or mozzarella, but I did the mozz on my first go.

My supplies gathered.  Looks like I'm ready for some minor chemistry.  

Things you need and probably have:  measuring cups and spoons, a stockpot, a colander, 
ice, a candy thermometer, and a bowl or two.
Things you need and probably don't have:  rennet tabs, cheese salt, and citric acid.
(Which are all included in the kit, plus a thermometer)

The one thing is, you can't use store bought organic milk.  Most, if not all organic milk from the grocery store is ultra-pasteurized, and it just won't do for making cheese.  So you either need to buy normal milk (which is the route I went) or procure some fresh milk from a local farmer.  I'd like to do that sooner or later, just need to get a connect.

This is not so much a tutorial as it is a step-by-step look at what it takes to make cheese.  I was intimidated by the process before I did it, but I'd like to encourage anyone who's thinking of trying to go for it!  
It's really not hard.
That and I can't remember the precise temperatures and measurements.  The instructional booklet 
is in the other room, but today's my lazy day and Anthony Bourdain is on.  So no.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nature Porn

Things are beginning to come alive in my backyard.  Although not in a creepy, zombie-like way.  Spring has sprung and things are blooming.  We're planting and planning and wishing and hoping.  So far we have a few things blossoming on their own.

It's cold today, although not unbearable, but after the bits and pieces of delectably warm weather we've had, I am not amused.  At least I have some flowers to look at to thaw out my soul.  

Mondays.  Ugh.

But here's some pretty flowers to brighten your day!

Our Belle of Georgia peach tree.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reupholstering? Me???

When someone says "DIY" I die a little inside.  Combine my impatience for doing things the correct (and often lengthy) way with my illusions of grandeur, and then slap it across the face with the reality of what actually happens when I do try to Do It Myself, and you have a giant glue and spray paint covered mess.  

For one thing, I get so irritated with this huge wave of diy zeal that has come about thanks to the pinthing.  If you glue a bunch of plastic spoons together and spray paint them red, I have a real newsflash for you as to what you're going to end up with.  A bunch of spray painted plastic spoons.  And you'll never get me to believe, dream, see, or visualize otherwise.  (I am for real, this is a thing.)

That being said, some people can do the damned thing.  I salute you, master of the glue gun, puffy paint aficionado, and sharpie sherpa.  (Okay, so that last one didn't make sense.  But it just works too well.)  And if you can do it, you go on with your bad self.  I only hate you juuuuuuuust a little inside.

But I digress. Hubs brought home some chairs from a storage shed months ago, thinking we could use them on the porch for extra seating.  They have life, but not so much in the way of looks.  So I figured I'd go ahead and try my hand at fixing them up.

Straight out of your favorite Sunday school room.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Taste of Summer

This WEATHER.  Ugh.  I'm not usually one to spend the entire Winter wishing for Summer, but even I have reached my breaking point.  I'm craving balmy nights, friends on the front porch, fresh vegetables and meals made on the grill.  Obviously I have no pull in the weather department, but I can control what I eat.  So last Wednesday night we had a summer inspired meal.  Pineapple bourbon burgers on homemade bacon rolls, tangy spinach salad and potato wedges.  And for dessert?

Grilled pineapple skewers with brown sugar-rum sauce!

Step 1- stab with pokey things.

Friday, March 21, 2014


There's something about cleaning out the fridge that is really disheartening.  Disposing of all of that food that never got utilized makes me feel like I did something seriously wrong.  Sometimes I think maybe I should just go ahead and yank a 20 spot out of my pocket and toss it in the garbage instead.  But it happens.  You have a little bit of leftover this or that, three tortillas left from tacos the other night, maybe some chicken.  Two pieces of bacon.  Not enough of anything to really do much with.

Personally, this is when I find myself discovering new recipes.  Sometimes I change the world with said  discoveries.  Sometimes I burn my wallet in the front yard.  Try, try again, right?

As for the tupperware container of tuna casserole that got left in the back of the fridge and has turned into penicillin, I have no real solution for that.

However, recently I struck gold.  Not sure if I've mentioned that we are Mexican foodies, but there is a recurring supply of cilantro, tortillas, and avocados in our fridge.  One day I noticed that there was just a little bit of every thing, and I was just NOT going to the store.  So I decided to do an umpteen layer dip.  But healthier.  Kind of, anyway.

After we devoured half of it.