Sunday, September 26, 2010

Impromtu Dinner Party

LOVE LOVE LOVE spur of the moment dinner parties.
Cooking, eating and drinking with friends is my favorite thing to do.
Last night was the most unprepared I have even been while hosting one of these, but that just made it more interesting. :)
Sichuan Green Beans
Veggie Soup
Baked Butternut Squash
Strawberries and Watermelon with chocolate and cream cheese dip

Sichuan Grizzle Bizzles!- I have completely stopped measuring any ingredient when I make this, so again, bear with me.

Fill a cast iron skillet almost to the top with fresh-from-my-parents-garden Green Beans (about 1 1/2 lbs)
Cover well with Olive Oil (like, a lot)
5 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 TBS Ginger, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped
About 1/4-1/2 of a red pepper, keep slices long
About 1 tub of Tofu, cubed
3-4 TB Cooking Sherry/ Rice Wine Vinegar
Soy Sauce (LOTS), needs to heavily cover everything
Sesame Oil, to taste

1. Add oil large pan, enough to thinly cover the entire bottom...and all the green beans.
Cook Green Beans on med-high heat for about 12 min. Until they are soft, some will be browned.
2.Add the Garlic, Ginger and Scallions before Green Beans are completely cooked
3. Once the Green Beans, Garlic, Ginger and Scallions are browned, add the Sherry, Soy Sauce and Sesame oil. Stir and cook for a few more min.
4. Toss Tofu in at very end
Option- Coat and fry Tofu cubes before adding to mix, keeps it nice and crispy

This is sooooooo good.

I don't have the recipe for the soup, but it had Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Corn, Beans, lots of salt and pepper. VERY yummy and had an awesome, hardy flavor! Thanks Dominique and Coop!

The Butternut I just baked the day before with a little Raw Sugar sprinkled on top of each section.

Fruit and chocolate is good no matter what. :)

Thanks to everyone for coming out and enjoying all the food!




Birfday Cupcakes

I wanted to surprise Chris with some birthday cupcakes when he got home from New York....He did get the cupcakes, but they were about a week late. :)
My super amazing plan was to make peanut butter cupcakes with a thick, fluffy coco frosting. This is what really happened...

Peanut Butter Cupcakes! These Rock.

1/2 C Peanut Butter
1/3 C Shortening
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 C Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 C Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 C Milk

Cream together PB, Shortening, and Vanilla. Gradually add Brown Sug; beating until
light and fluffy. Add Eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Sift together dry ingredients, add alternately with Milk.
Bake @ 375 for 20 min, makes close to 2 dozen.

The cupcakes turned out rather dense, but it is Peanut Butter, so I sort of expected that. Not fluffy but full of flavor. NOW! The next step! Fluffy Frosting!
I've never made frosting before. I usually stick with a basic powder sugar icing and use it on cookies. I grew up eating holiday treats with this type of icing and it is the Best, especially after a day or two when it hardens!

My 50 year old Better Homes cook book was going to be my frosting sherpa.

After debating what kind of frosting would go best with PB cupcakes, Plus trying to match what I know Chris liked I decided on a recipe-my the name of it, how I could go wrong?!- FLUFFY FROSTING. Ok, great!
Almost all of the recipes involved boiling the sugar and I was quite excited to give this a try.

Fluffy Frosting:
1 C Sugar
1/3 C Water
1/4 tsp of Cream of Tar Tar OR 2 tsp Corn Syrup
Dash o Salt
1 Egg White
1/4 tsp Vanilla

Bring sugar, water and corn syrup and salt to a boil, cook until sugar dissolves.
Slowly add to beaten Egg White, constantly beating with an electric beater until
of spreading consistency; Add Vanilla.


I beat that mix for over 10 min. It wasn't even remotely close to being "Fluffy Frosting".
At this point I'm still determined to achieve a fluffy frosting status for these cupcakes. Recipe #2 was just called Boiled Frosting, basically had all the same ingredients except in different proportions, but also had a description I had never seen before...
While you are boiling the sugar and water, you are supposed to keep cooking it until "Soft ball stage, 236 degrees" Um, ok. So, with no candy thermometer I was just guessing and....

Again! Nothing!
This one was Slightly more fluffy than the first...but still not even in the same universe as frosting.
Failure, frustration, I gave up.
Any suggestions on how to make Fluffy Frosting would be greatly appreciated.

This time, these little cakes had to go naked.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Facebook Find

My awesome band mate Heather just posted this on The Facebook and it looks delicious:

Oyster Mushroom Recipe!
"This is AMAZING. made it last night and again tonight. get some shrooms at Jay's International on grand."

8 ounces fresh oyster mushrooms (rinsed)
1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon rosemary (minced)
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry white wine (or sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Step 1: Slice mushrooms into pieces. Sauté garlic in olive oil for 15 seconds. Add mushrooms and sauté 3 minutes.
Step 2: Add rosemary and butter and stir fry until butter is melted. Sprinkle mushrooms with flour and stir fry.
Step 3: Add wine and soy sauce and cook until liquid slightly thickens and the mushrooms are tender.

I'm always looking for good mushroom recipes considering I am way too picky when it comes to eating fungus.

Friday, September 17, 2010

1:00 am Lasagna

I apologize in advance for my poor ability to measure things out.

1 box of "oven ready noodles" (even though they kind of suck)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Carrots, diced
1 Yellow Squash, diced
about 2 Cups of fresh spinach
Tomato sauce & Diced tomatoes (I used about 1/2 of 15 oz can of each)
Cottage Cheese (I used about 3/4 of the large tub you can buy)
Mozzarella (or whatever cheese you want to use)
13/9 baking pan

1. Sauce the bottom of the pan, 1st layer of noodles
2. Sauce, tomatoes, cottage cheese, carrots, onion, squash, cheese, spinach, 2nd layer of noodles

Bake with foil cover for 30 min, take foil off and bake for about another 5 min.


Thursday, September 16, 2010



Having to be at SIUE for most of my life during the week has really depreciated my ability to make yummy foods.
It really sucks.
Plus, for about the last week I've been subsisting on peanut butter sandwiches and crackers=no es bueno.
I decided at the beginning of the week that I would make a big thing of lasagna so I could just bring small amounts of it with me each day, brilliant right?!
It took me until Wednesday to actually make it....and I started this process at about 1:00 this morning.
1 AM Lasagna!
I will post the recipe when I'm home and I don't have to rush off to a rehearsal, but the one thing that I was really disappointed with were the noodles.
I was grabbing things as fast as I could in the grocery store, came across these "no cook, oven ready" noodles. I'm thinking, SWEET, because I would like to sleep at some point tonight. Bought them.
They worked...ok...? The ones on top never really got to a soft, cooked noodle state- they mostly crisped up even though I had covered them with tomato sauce.
The others beneath had the exact opposite problem- MUSH! Mushy noodles. Not terrible but not good. It didn't ruin the whole thing luckily. I just ate the last bit I brought with me today.
FYI In-a-hurry-lasagna-makers, the "oven ready" are just not worth it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Eating Eggs- Oops!

@Philsaurus is my good friend K who is has contributed much to this blog at the beginning. What you don't know is she actually has written Even More! that I simply neglected in my inbox and now I feel lame.
So, here is an old lil tid bit from Kelsey:

Eating eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

One of the important dietary things I’ve learned that I must do since (I’m a hypoglycemic: @FIRST BRAVE SOUL, is balance my carbs (which break down into sugars) with proteins (in order to slow
the process. Get this! It’s good for everyone! Here are a few tips.

My fave breakfast as of late is to make some oatmeal, toss in a peach (or blueberries, or whatever
fruit you have on hand), and a dollop of peanut butter (the organic, whole food version is
obviously the best choice). If you need more sweetness, add a bit of honey (organic! organic! no
added sugars) or cinnamon. In addition to this yum yum breakfast, I generally toss an egg or two
in a skillet and serve ‘em up over-easy.

Today I indulged a little bit for lunch and found a sweet sushi joint around the corner. Sushi was
probably the hardest thing about going veg for me. I knew there were options, but really… who
wants to nom an asparagus roll when everyone else gets spicy tuna? So I avoided sushi upon my
return from Istanbul, which is when I stopped cheating (mostly, upcoming blog on my biggest
cheat ever). Then I discovered this wonderful roll at Nori’s in Edwardsville that involves yams
in place of fish. FINALLY! A substantial sushi roll! I think I ate it every other day for a week
until one day, when I was badly craving sushi and Nori’s was closed, I went to Edwardsville’s
other sushi restaurant, Wasabi. I was ready to be disappointed with my asparagus roll, but
frankly my craving was just that bad. And then, suddenly, a bright light shined down on the
menu and I was rewarded for all the good deeds I’ve done in my life: Wasabi had a tamago roll.

Egg + sushi = a combination so delectable it could double as a healthy dinner and dessert

Other egg editions to lunch are, of course, adding one to a salad or, if you have other materials,
slicing one up on a sandwich.

Generally if I’m making dinner (lately I haven’t done much of this since I’ve been on the road),
I’m creating some sort of hodge-podge stir-fry. The one below entails brown rice, some carrots,
green onions, mushrooms, and a hard boiled egg or two. I can’t stress enough how much the egg
adds! In fairness, my mother doesn’t dig it as much, but she’s more of a eggs-for-breakfast kind
of gal.

In addition to establishing the balance, eggs also provide beneficial fats (gasp! the f word! fear
not! when I say beneficial, I mean it!).

Here’s a great recipe for egg salad that I’m dying to try (found via

The recipe for the egg salad is simple:
1. Bring one egg to a boil in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Cool egg under running water, peel, and chop or mash with a fork.
3. Add 1 tsp Vegenaise and 1 tsp unsweetened pickle relish.

OH! And remember to keep ‘em farm fresh kids!


Sorry for the slackin, but with and 2.not having my own crap computer connecting to the internet AND 3.purging my life of the ridiculous amount of internetz I was mentally consuming, I neglected this thing pretty badly.
School is in session and the music computer lab has AMAZING giant new macs, so I will promptly start vegging out on here more often.

Brought to this blog via my friend Ashley. She made this delicious vegan pasta salad for my last party and I ate ALL of it. (Sorry, but I'm not rearranging the way it's typed):

It's pasta (duh), tomatoes, onion, sliced jalapenos, and chickpeas.

The dressing is a combo of tahini (maybe 1/2 c.), 2 Tbsp. vinegar (i used malt vinegar because that's what i had, but red wine or cider vinegar would probably be fine, too), some minced garlic, cumin, sriracha sauce, and salt-n-pepa to taste. You can add a tablespoon or two of water to thin out the dressing if it's too thick to mix well.

This is super yummy and I love the level of spice it had!