Monday, January 31, 2011

Little Hens and Chocolate Birthdays

As previously blogged, Simon and I like to roast the occasional chicken. Unfortunately, when we were shopping the other night, the supermarket did not have chickens! Soooo.....we took our chances with Cornish Game Hens! oooOOOooo fancy! To be honest, they were exactly like little chickens...

They turned out pretty cute, and were certainly pretty tasty.

The best part of the dinner, however, was the asparagus, a new favorite quick and easy veg. All we did was put some butter and chopped garlic in a pan, threw in the asparagus, and sauteed it all on medium-high heat for about ten minutes until they turned nice and tender (also delicious). Seriously, that's it; just cut up come garlic and throw it in a pan with some butter and the stalks!

On a less savory note, we've been living in a state of chocolate comatose recently. Simon's birthday was last Wednesday and his co-worker, another crafty Laura who enjoys delicious desserts, made him a wonderful chocolate trifle. I devoured the portion he brought home and then incessantly nagged Simon until he got the recipe from her : )

Ingredients include devil's food cake, instant chocolate pudding, cool whip, sliced strawberries, and heath bars (not pictured). Just like the asparagus this was all super easy. Simply layer everything together in a cake, pudding, strawberry, coolwhip sequence, and top it off with chopped heath bars.

Here's the catch...the original trifle-making-Laura made hers for 8 people...I used the same amount of ingredients for 2. Yes, 2. You read that correctly, I filled a 4 quart (!) pyrex bowl to the brim with chocolatey goodness, and we could not be happier!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meat-ah balls!

Before I get to the cooking, I have to say that my previous blog about my sewing machine turned out to be bad luck. The very next day the machine's belt broke with only 3 seams left on one of my two curtain panels. ugh. I've ordered what I believe to be the appropriate replacement belt...but the machine is from the 60' really knows if it will fit.

That said, Simon and I made scrumptious meatball subs the other night via recipe in this book:

Recipe is way simpler than expected; they also cooked way faster than expected.

Ingredients include:

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 clove minced garlic
2 tbs parsley
1 tbs basil
1 egg
1/2 tps salt
1/4 tps pepper
2 tbs oil
4 cups tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese

Mix it all together, roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and brown in the heated oil:

Once browned, drain the grease and pour in the tomato sauce. Cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. We stirred it occasionally to make sure all of the meatballs stayed submerged in the sauce and didn't dry out.

Once done, scoop them out, place them in some french baguette, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and nom! They were really, really good. The meatballs were really, really hot, so give them some time to cool down before you take a big bite, or at least cut them open a little bit and let the steam fly out.

The perfect winter meal.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Home Sewing Machine 532

Now this is one damn fine sewing machine:

This baby formerly belonged to my Aunt Betty Anne, then found its way to my Aunt Dianne, and has now found a new cozy home in my office. It is a beast. Pure steel attached to a large fold-up cabinet/work station complete with a really awesome knee pedal instead of foot pedal. And most amazingly, my aunts kept the original manual that came with the machine - which has come in very handy as threading this big boy is a complex task.

Check out the fold-out parts list and the massive list of pieces below:

I've played around on the machine a bit. I altered a dress that no longer fit, sewed a pillow cover for a pillow form I had laying around, and have begun a quilted pot holder as I come into scrap pieces from other projects.

Upcoming posts:
-Curtains! I just bought some yellow fabric today to make some uniquely shaped curtains for our super large living room window.
-Hat! Among other gifts, Simon's mom gave me a coupon for where I bought some circular needles in order to knit myself a new winter hat. I love my current hat, but it's very old and has begun to look really ratty....
-Meatballs! Simon and I made some homemade meatball subs today and they were delish. I have pictures on my phone but the meatballs made me so warm and comfy that I am just too lazy to transfer them to the computer right now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Series of (Delicious) Mistakes

A while back...say...before Thanksgiving (!)...I decided I wanted to make these Pumpkin Cookies from the blog Let's Dish. Needless to say, I became so absorbed in surviving the end of my semester that the cookies were put on hold. Also, I was completely unable to find canned matter how many stores I tried I just couldn't find it anywhere. That said, the heavy cream I bought for the recipe expires on 1/2/11 so it was either make them tonight or probably never make them at all. I didn't want to stand in the kitchen all night, so I decided to make a mess of our living room floor in front of our TV, this was most certainly my first mistake...

I was distracted. I didn't have all the ingredients I needed. I made substitutions, screwed up my measurements, and did not pay attention to the directions. I used pumpkin pie mix instead of canned pumpkin, half of my butter was actually margarine, and somehow I only added one cup of flour instead of two; it was sort of a cookie free-for-all, but the dough tasted good so I went ahead with the baking.

The cookies flattened out and turned into pumpkin flavored, very crumbly, pancakes - but delicious pumpkin flavored, very crumbly, pancakes.

It was then time to make the icing! Even after noting all the mistakes I made with the cookies, I still did not have enough willpower to focus on the directions for the icing, and yes, I screwed up again.

The recipe instructs the baker to let the boiling heavy cream, brown sugar, and butter cool before adding the powdered sugar. I did not. I threw that fluffy goodness directly into the boiling gooey goodness. The result was interesting. The powdered sugar mixed in a bit, and then remained in small little undissolvable balls. They look a little funny, but they make for tiny little powdered sugar pockets that are actually quite delicious in the icing.

All in all the series of mistakes made for some odd, but delicious cookies. A recipe that withstands my inattention must be extraordinary when made correctly.


New Year's Resolutions:

1) take better care of my teeth - I know this one is no fun, but it is something I really need to focus on and has to be a top priority
2) run a half marathon - already on my way! here I come Disney Princess Half Marathon!
3) cook dinner from scratch at least once a week AND bring my lunch to work at least twice a week
4) spend some real time crafting instead of planning projects and never starting them
5) dress more like an adult and less like a student - while I love jeans and sweatshirts, I'm 24 and it's about time I wear real clothes more often (this also involves fewer days with my hair in a ponytail).