Monday

I am so tired.

Two nights of going to bed at 2:30 and getting up before 8 is not good. But I had fun so it was all worth it. And even though I took a three hour nap yesterday and went to bed early, my eyes are so heavy!

Anyway, I don’t have too many things to put up, but here’s a couple things.

Pumpkin oats, raisins, wheatberries, almond extract, and a pinch of salt. One of my favorite combinations.

Lucky for me, I had the perfect amount of peanut butter left in one of our jars.

which led to…

Topped off with some cereal for crunch, and this was perfect.

This is a lunch that I’ve been enjoying a LOT lately. I’m pretty sure I had like 6 or 7 eggs last week…and another two for lunch today 🙂

Lots of vegetables (broccoli, WF Asian mix, and edamame), two perfectly cooked eggs (the yolk MUST be completely runny), a slice of homemade bread, and a few slices of Cotswold cheese. My dad first got this cheese near Christmas, and from them on I’ve been obsessed. Finally he bought it for us. I think it’s basically a cheddar with chives and onions or something.

We also a very good family dinner tonight. After a great and sweaty 90 min workout at the gym, I was more than ready for something good to eat. It took a while because…someone was on the phone…but it was pretty worth it in the end.

Brown rice and black beans

Coleslaw with radishes, green onion, cilantro and dressing of plain yogurt, salt & pep, lime juice, olive oil, and some cayenne.

Some REALLY good shrimp. This was super fresh and from Whole Foods. I think my mom just sauteed it with some olive oil and garlic. They were so soft and sweet. I could definitely tell a difference from the frozen shrimp that I normally use.

Most everyone had shrimp tacos, but I don’t like corn tortillas very much. I just piled everything on my plate instead.

I think I know what I’ll be having for lunch tomorrow…

Banana…

I’m sure you were all just waiting in anticipation to find out what those bananas were for right? Let me remind you…

This would be 4 bananas covered in brown sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of butter. Roasted in the oven for 30 minutes until golden and syrupy.

Well, these bananas were for ICE CREAM! I came across this recipe a month or so ago and knew I had to make it. My boyfriend has been begging me to make banana ice cream for a couple months and I was too nervous to try it! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE bananas, but I wasn’t sure how well it would work. Of course, I gave in and gave this recipe a try. It turned out amazing, and was probably one of my best ice cream creations yet.

Oh yeah, ice cream is kinda my thing. I spent my senior year of high school making gallon after gallon of ice cream for my senior project. A senior project is basically where you pick something to learn about–anything really–and work on it the whole year. 60 cumulative hours. I started with vegetarian cooking, then changed it to Italian cooking, then to bread making, and finally settled on ice cream. I am SO glad I did, because it has been so rewarding and everyone loves it 🙂

Anyway, after roasting the bananas you let them cool completely. Stir together heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. In a blender, you add the bananas and some liquid. You end up with this light brown mixture, and let me tell you, it tastes very good before it’s even frozen. But I decided it would probably be even better as ice cream, so I stuck it in the ice cream maker.

I seriously love this thing. It cost around $50 and is 100% worth it. I’ve made back that money plenty of times over in the amount of delicious ice creams I’ve made.

After 30 or so minutes the ice cream is ready. Of course, I didn’t want this to just be plain banana ice cream. And what goes better with bananas than…peanut butter and chocolate? 🙂 Oh yeah.

I melted a few handfuls of chocolate chips in a double broiler on the stove. While the ice cream maker is going, you slowly drizzle in the chocolate and it hardens immediately into these perfect chunks and ribbons.

Get out your container and put some of that ice cream in the bottom. Using your favorite peanut butter, throw some big spoonfuls in and swirl it around a bit. Keep going layer by layer. I find this gives you maximum enjoyment throughout the container.

Swirl those last scrapings of peanut butter and chocolate into the top and you’re done!

Ohhhhh boy, this ice cream is amazing. Definitely in my top 5.

The boyfriend definitely approved 🙂

Sunday Night Dinners

It’s pretty typical for my family to have people over for dinner on Sunday. My grandpa almost always comes over, and often we have a family or just a few friends over. It’s fun, and it gives us a chance to cook together, try new recipes, and have fun. Oh, and eat some great food of course.This Sunday was no different. A couple of my dad’s friends were coming in from out of town, and he wanted to show them a good home-cooked meal.

Some appetizers were had:

I’m not exactly sure what each of these cheeses is. The log is goat cheese, there’s blue cheese, white cheddar, and I’m not sure what the one with red specks is. And in the back is homemade raspberry jam. White cheddar + jam is amazing!

Homemade bread on the right, and another loaf of bread on the left. Homemade anything is the best. And we’ve started to do this new thing where we make a big hunk of bread dough, and you just pull off a piece of it when you want some fresh bread. Amazing!

Spring salad!! Strawberries and feta are the best together on a salad. I also made some caramelized pecans. And a dressing made of Dijon, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. I think I could’ve eaten this whole bowl.

Spring risotto. It had peas, leeks, asparagus, and probably some other things. A drizzle of heavy cream at the end made it rich and…creamy. This just reminded me of Rose, who made risotto the other day! I agree with her–even though it takes a while, it is SO worth it.

And what would a trip to Seattle be without…

Fresh salmon. I don’t know what exactly was on it, but I know it was a mix of herbs and Dijon mustard. Mustard and salmon is SO good. This is probably one of my favorite ways to have it. My other favorite way is to sear it on a HOT pan for a minute or two, and then finish it off in the oven for a few minutes. It gets crispy and delicious. I love having salmon so readily available here in the Northwest.

Perfectly cooked.

We had a pretty cool dessert as well.

Bananas Foster!

I think everyone enjoyed it 🙂

Oh my goodness. I just finished making something in the kitchen, and it’s just incredible. It has to do with bananas. I’ll leave you with this…

Roasted bananas with cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. You’ll see what it is next time 🙂

Stuff You Should Know

1. It’s impossible for me to sleep in. Despite waking up early yesterday, going to the gym, school, to friend’s houses, and being out until 1, my body refuses to let me sleep later than 7:30.

2. The promise of a bowl of pumpkin oat bran makes me feel a little better about getting out of bed so early on a Saturday.

1/2 cup oat bran, ~1 cup water, 1/2 cup ricemilk, 1/2 banana, cinnamon, ~1/3 cup pumpkin, salt, and almond extract. The mix-ins and toppings included a spoonful of wheatberries (I love how they pop!), raisins, sliced banana, some raspberry/peach bar chunks (something Bianca made the other day), and lots of peanut butter. All eaten with my favorite little spoon that Grace got me for Christmas. And photo taken on my windowsill. I ate this in bed 🙂

3. It is an ugly, gray day here. And my mom wants to take our family to this tulip festival that happens every year. A rainy day and walking through dirt is not going to make me very happy today.

4. Saturdays are my favorite day to bake. I don’t even normally eat what I bake (except for muffins and banana bread), but I just love the whole process of baking. Since we’ve put out our cookie jar on the counter, everyone expects it to be filled with treats all the time. And for some reason, everyone always asks me why it’s empty…not sure why. Unfortunately, we don’t have any butter so I can’t bake! Although I know there are tons of subs for butter, I don’t think any of them are nearly as good as the real thing. There will be no applesauce in my cookies or sweet breads!

5. There’s a ton of music that I’ve been loving lately. Here’s some stuff I’ve been listening to!

“Ashamed”-Deer Tick

“With Arms Outstretched”-Rilo Kiley

“Hoppipola”- Sigur Ros. This is one band that I would LOVE to see. I’m pretty sure it would be the most unreal, magical experience. If they ever come here, I would totally shell out some money to see them.

6. From May 29-31, I will be having the greatest time of my life. The Sasquatch! Festival will be here!! I can’t even explain how excited I am. 3 days of camping, music, friends, and sun. Tons of my friends are going and I just can’t wait. Some of the bands I am most excited to see are Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend, My Morning Jacket, City and Colour, Miike Snow, MGMT, She & Him, and soooo much more! It’s in this amazing “venue” called The Gorge. It’s in George, WA. Last year, I went there to see Coldplay and it was incredible. It’s literally a huge stage in the middle of these canyons. Oh boy.

During the day, it was SO hot. There’s a huge hill where tons of people just hang out. Unfortunately, there is no shade from the sun. All part of the experience though. What was incredible however, was the view at night once the sun went down.

Ah, just so incredible. And Coldplay was just great as well too.

7. Lately I’ve gotten really into these podcasts, “Stuff You Should Know” (hence the title of this post). Go to itunes, and type that in. These two guys just have tons of podcasts that talk about everything. They’re funny guys, so listening to these and learning is pretty fun. Right now, I’m listening to one about Tourette Syndrome. Just a small fraction of the ones they have include “Who are the Amish?”, “How witchcraft works”, “How food cravings work”, “How do dogs perceive time”, and “Is it possible to brainwash someone?”. I love them! Check them out, they’re pretty cool. They’re part of this website called HowStuffWorks.

Okay, hopefully that was enjoyable to all 🙂 Time to find something to do.

Kind Strangers

This morning after the gym, coming home, and eating breakfast, I was getting ready to head to school. About five minutes before I left, I realized I wanted my ipod to listen to before class started. Of course, I looked in my gym bag and it was not there. I panicked, and started searching everywhere, and definitely in places it never would have been. I was really freaked out, and knew that I must have left it at the gym. It was weird because I honestly never lose things, and never misplace anything.

Once I reached school, I called Gold’s and asked if anyone had turned in an ipod. The woman that answered said that their lost and found was so big that I’d have to come in and look for it. I thought that was weird…anyway just now I went to the gym and told the guy at the front desk that I’d lost my ipod. He opens a drawer right next to him (I don’t know what that other woman was talking about…) and he hands it to me! I was SO happy. I was really going to cry if I’d lost my ipod. So I just want to say thank you to the kind stranger that turned in my ipod instead of taking it 🙂

Whew, long story. Kind of. After school (and the easiest Spanish test ever–seriously took me 5 minutes to do), I headed home, relaxed a little, then made some lunch.

This is the same exact meal I had last night. Spicy black beans on top of coleslaw with a little feta, mixed vegetables, and a fried egg. Also, a little avocado. I overcooked my egg though and it wasn’t all runny like it was last night 😦 I hate when that happens.

‘Twas still a great meal though. Complete with tons of Franks hot sauce.

Well, it is a beeeautiful spring day. We haven’t had a nice one in a while. I believe it’s over 65?! I hope it stays like this all weekend.

Random Assortment

So yesterday I made this amazingly delicious dinner…and my camera battery was dead! I was upset. But the meal was so good, I think I’m going to make it again today 🙂

I have tons of pictures of food on my computer, so I thought I’d share some of what I have. First off, I know Easter was a few weeks ago, but my family had such an amazing dinner that I wanted to show it off a little.

Deviled eggs are a must on Easter of course. These were topped with pink peppercorns.

Homemade pita bread by Bianca. Store bought doesn’t even compare to these!

Toppings for the gyros included red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, homemade hummus, olives, feta, and tzatziki. I absolutely love tzatziki! It makes the sandwiches so fresh and adds such great flavor.

Lemon-rosemary grilled chicken.

There were a few other things, but what really ended the night on a high note was dessert!

One of our dinner guests and close friend, Anne, made this cheesecake with a lemon-basil sauce. Cheesecake is totally one of my weaknesses, and this was amazing. I love graham cracker crust!

Bianca made this pavlova. It was topped with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, and toasted almonds…in the words of Ina Garten, “How bad could that be?” 😀

I love taking pictures of things other than food of course. Here’s some from the past few months.

The famous gum wall in Seattle.

Okay, lunch time. Adios!

Hello Again!

So after a couple months of hiatus from blogging, I am back again! The break was pretty nice. Blogging sort of lost its fun, and I really never wanted to do it because it was an obligation or anything. But I’ve been inspired to start again, so let’s see where this takes us.

I just started school again (FINALLY) after a couple months off. When I came home from UMD, I had already missed the chance to start winter quarter at the college near me. I had to wait until spring quarter began, which was only last Monday. Although it sounded fun at first to have a couple months off, it was anything but. Okay…maybe in the beginning. But I was getting seriously stir-crazy. It is SO hard to find a job right now, and I’ve totally been working on it. There’s a prospective job out there right now, so fingers crossed I get it.

I’m taking biology and Spanish right now. At UMD, I was a journalism major. I’m really hoping to get into UW for fall. We’ll see how this bio class goes because that’s what I’m hoping my new major to be 🙂 I would love to get into the medical field, but I just don’t know if my brain is equipped to handle math and science…it hasn’t been proven in the past but I’m prepared to work hard. I truly love nutrition and health, and would love a career that incorporates both.

Anywho, you’ll be hearing a lot about school in the upcoming months I’m sure.

So, food is something that is very important to me and also to my family. We love entertaining and do it all the time. My sisters and I have fun baking, cooking, and trying out new recipes together. Just to give you an idea of what we’re about, here’s a slew of pictures from the past couple months!

Homemade Irish Soda Bread is SO easy and has become one of my new favorite things!

Homemade tamales are one of my favorites.

Bianca made this awesome pavlova on Easter. Topped with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, and crushed toasted almonds.

I made these homemade English muffins a week or two ago. So easy, and fun to do. Nothing beats fresh and homemade food. It’s all about using real ingredients.

Anyway, those are just a SMALL tiny fraction of what my family likes to eat. I fell out of the habit of snapping pictures of all our food.

Something interesting I did this weekend though…I went to VegFest 2010 at the Seattle Center! I went last year and it was so fun. Basically, you pay $8 to get in, and there are just TONS of samples everywhere and products to try. Many were from companies I already knew about (from the store or from seeing them on blogs), but there was a lot of new stuff too.

Amazing donuts from MightyO Donuts.

And the best booth–Dave’s Killer Bread. Oh, how I love this bread. Why must it cost $5.99 a loaf?!

I almost died when I saw the samples of this…

Sin Dawg! After seeing this on so many blogs, I have been dying to try it for so long. Considering it’s not sold in stores and I would have to fork over like 20 bucks to have it, I didn’t think I’d ever get to try it. My sisters and I chatted up the guy working there (after going back for samples two times) and he apparently liked us and gave us a whole free one! Score! So seedy, wheaty, gooey, and delicious. Everything I dreamed it would be. And I’m not dramatic.

Okay, that’s it for now. It’s taken me a solid hour and a half to begin this blog again. Hope you enjoy it!