Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Summer 2013 Update

It's been so long since my last post, I forgot my password. Since, let's see... May 21st... Summer happened. Summer included our 7th (omigosh 7th!) annual Creekhouse Reunion...

I love these people.
Loved 'em back in 2007, too.
There was also a road trip to Texas, including giant catfish...

And of course a bountiful garden, complete with busy bees.

2 new beds! But for whatever reason *cough*neglect*cough the squash and cukes planted there did not really thrive.

Just before we put the second tier of frames on. June?
The bees have been fun. They're mostly sweet, docile ladies -- no stings except those two when we deserved them. No honey yet... we ought to have checked on them by now to see what they've done up top, but we haven't. I figure they've capped enough honey to make it through the winter on the bottom box. We probably won't harvest all of the top this first year b/c I really want to make sure they survive the colder months, but we may get in there and explore this weekend. I'll let you know. Maybe :). If I post again before next spring.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cauliflower Pasta "Sauce"

Meant to post for "Meatless Monday," which I haven't done in months... Oh well!

We go through phases where we'll eat this dish almost every week. I like to use Trader Joe's brown rice pasta. The cauliflower "sauce" would go well on a number of dishes, though... like on rice or quinoa, or even to top a pizza.

1 med. sized head cauliflower
1 head of garlic
olive oil
1 small onion, sliced thin
maple syrup
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
kosher salt
1/4 c. half & half (to thin, if desired)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lunchbox Brownies

This is my mom's "Fudge Brownies" recipe. She'd whip it up on movie nights or anytime we needed a quick and tasty treat. She does not make brownies from a box, and thankfully this recipe is easy enough, that I  don't either!

Lately, I've been making them to pack in the kids' lunches for dessert (and doing my darnedest not to snack on them all day long). They are addictive... You can halve the recipe and bake it in an 8 or 9" pan if you must -- just lower your cooking time by 10 minutes or so.

It also helps if, after they've cooled, I go ahead and cut them up and wrap the kids' lunchbox portions up individually in plastic wrap. Then I keep them in the fridge, ready to grab. Makes the morning routine just a bit easier when I'm not scrounging around for lunch items, and makes my day a bit less fattening when there's not an entire pan of brownies lying about.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Yesterday was an extremely productive kitchen day for me: first-ever batch of crockpot yogurt, homemade granola, sandwich bread and brownies.

You see, we have re-examined Ye Olde Household Budget. I won't say Josh's discovery of this guy didn't have anything to do with it. "Early Retirement through Badassity"... I sense a new life-motto for my husband, who has always said he wants to retire by 40.

He is 33, which means we've got some serious saving to do. (And by "retire," he means stop having to work for someone else, not stop working altogether, btw.) ANYway. Budgets. We've also hopped on the Mint bandwagon. Which has an app. Which means Josh knows exactly how much money I've spent on mochas. and yarn. Like, ever. I'm happy to report, however, he is still speaking to me ;-).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nutella Spoon Bread

Fact: There are going to be days (exponentially more of them if you are a mom, "room mom," stay/work at home person w/ a busy spouse, Girl Scout leader and/or serial over-volunteer-er)...

There are going to be days when you disappoint.

Repeat as necessary: "I need not be every thing to every one."

It is also a fact that on these days, it is best to realize as much. It is best to stare down your mounting ineptitude and its ensuing guilt. It is best to flip that guilt the bird. (Go ahead - your kids aren't looking.)

Repeat: "I am doing my best." If at all possible, turn off the computer, silence your phone and go for a run/walk, repeating this phrase like a mantra, in time with your steps. Soon, you won't feel so bad. You will feel a lot lighter without all of that guilt.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ruby Red Roast Chicken w/ Rosemary

Who doesn't love an alliterative supper? You'll remember, I told you to "stay tuned" for the candied carrots w/ roast chicken that are so good I fight the children for them... Well, I ended up going a little off-script for this recipe. However, the secret to those awesomely charred and caramelized, yummy-delicious roast carrots is contained herein, so bear with me.

Grapefruits have been good this year. Really good. Really grapefruit-y.

...who am I kidding. You want to know what? I don't actually care for grapefruit much. (GASP!) Yup. I said it. I know. I'm from Texas, where probably the best grapefruit in the world is grown :). And I don't really like it all that much.

Well, to be honest, I do like grapefruit flavor imparted on other things. Like a gin & tonic.

And also chicken, it turns out! Here's what I did:

(Warning: This is more a rambling food journal post than a recipe, but you can probably follow along and end up with a tasty meal of some sort.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dear Reader,

Yeah, so Hi. It's been a month. (Requisite opening line.) Only this time it's more like a month and a half. I was going to write a sweet & lovely navel-gaze-y post about what's been keeping us all so busy, but unless you're related to me, you probably don't care.

Actually, if you're reading this blog, you probably are related to me. So, here goes...

...shoot. There's nothing keeping us busy that doesn't keep every family of five too busy to write. School, volunteering at said school, activities, birthday parties, obsessive late-night knitting.

I'll just keep to the interesting stuff, then... aw hell.  Life is happening, folks. And I'm grateful for that, though it's definitely happening WAY too fast. Maybe you're wondering, Why does she keep a blog? Does she even cook anymore? Does she just feed her kids girl scout cookies and noodle soup every night?

Okay. Well, I can't promise it's interesting, but here's a little tidbit from each of the lives of our family of 5.3 (yes, I'm assigning each of our animals a tenth of a human point. So sue me.)

Here goes for real: Joshua is in the planning stages of a very exciting business venture. Intrigued? Well, sorry. It's a bit beyond the scope of my little food blog. Next! Ingrid is an 8 year old. She will start horseback riding lessons next week. She's officially left me in the dust with our whole "let's learn violin together" idea from a while back. She's amazing. Malcolm learned how to knit and is now teaching his kindergarten class this valuable life-coping skill. Beatrix is still the boss, but as her second year wanes, she is becoming somewhat of a more benevolent dictator. I will give her that. Canines: Hutch has some sort of endocrine disease that makes him drink a lot and get fat and anxious. (There but for the grace of God, am I right?) Young Rose gets yelled at less and less as her second year wanes. She's a pretty good dog. The cat still bites.

As for me, I will share that I'm no longer employed on the weekends, but am still working part-time from home on this and that for my awesome local yarn shop. I am also as-of-now renewing my vow to blog more consistently. (Btw, I did not so much stick to the plan outlined in the previous post. Are you surprised? It's girl scout cookie season, people.)

Lastly, I'm roasting a chicken tonight. I'm going to steal Josh's secret for making the carrots roasted with the chicken taste like candy. So much so that the kids actually fight over the carrots! And I have to settle the fight by eating all of them. (The carrots, not the kids.) Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Juice for Breakfast

Click here to get an idea of what I'm up to for the next 3 weeks... This magazine just showed up the other day, and I thought it's New Year "action plan" looked pretty good. Today's breakfast was supposed to be a Mango-Tahini Smoothie, but the green grocer was out of mango this week, and I don't fancy a trip to Trader Joe's today.

Have I mentioned Washington's Green Grocer before? I'm sure I have. If we've spoken in person about food, then I know I have. They have a new local-only box that we recently switched to; then I just add on whatever else we need for the week. Since we joined a couple of years ago, they've greatly expanded the selection. If they sold paper goods & toiletries, I might not go to the store at all!

Anyway, back to breakfast! I opted to adjust tomorrow's scheduled breaky for today: 

Pears, cucumbers and ginger from the original recipe are a check, but I also added some mint, a beet and a few carrots that were screaming for my attention. (That's the great thing about juicing - even if a juicer seems expensive, it'll probably save you lots of wasted produce dollars over it's lifetime. It doesn't care if the carrots are a bit limp-ish.)

I peeled/cored and chopped all ingredients because our juicer works better that way, and it was good. I tossed it in a blender with a handful of ice and blueberries and strawberries (juicer's not so efficient with soft fruits)... and it was GREAT.

P.S. The orange thing on top of the mason jar is a cuppow. As long as I'm recommending things, I love that, too!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Start Fresh!

Well, somebody must've gotten me a subscription to Whole Living magazine for Christmas... Was it you? I really don't know who! If it was you, then Thank You. The feature article in this Jan/Feb edition is "Reboot Your Body." Page 40. And I think I'm going to give it a try! What I like about this plan is it's simplicity and it's non-craziness. I won't be eating pulverized kale 3 meals a day for a month. Instead, for the next 21 days, I'll stick to "cruciferous vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins."

During week one, that means lentils, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A bit more variety, including fish, gluten-free grains and eggs are introduced in weeks 2 and 3. I'll modify the menu a bit here and there for what we've got in the fridge, and I. will. not. cut. coffee. But I will opt out on dairy and sugar, so I'll drink my coffee black. A personal goal is no coffee past noon, with hopes of sleeping a bit better. And tax on my liver be damned, I may opt for a glass of red wine here and there. Let's just be honest.

Not counting book club last night, which was at a yummy wood-fired pizza joint that has Bell's Two Hearted Ale on tap, I've really limited refined grains and dairy, and have pretty much cut beer and sugar (well, excessive sugar) so far this year already.

I think my chances for sticking to this (only slightly modified) reboot/detox are pretty good. Won't you follow along? Do you have a favorite detox plan or something you do to get healthy after the holidays?

Tomorrow's menu = smoothie for breakfast; French Lentil Salad for lunch and Creamy Broccoli Soup for dinner. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Basic Granola

Happy New Year all! Yesterday, I woke up moved to make a batch of this:

Not a bad way to start the year. Actually, I go through phases where yogurt & granola is my set breakfast, for months at a time. And I'm not complaining! A daily dose of probiotics from yogurt is great; nuts provide long-lasting energy and a bit of get-up&go from sugar & honey doesn't hurt, either (in my opinion). 

If you've never made your own granola before, then may I suggest 2013 be the year you begin. I'd wager you don't go back to the store-bought kind, if for no other reason than making your own -- and experimenting with endless add-ins and substitutes -- is so much fun!

I've tried a lot of granola recipes. Some use a bit of water, and this is supposed to aid in clumping; some warm the wet ingredients before combining with the oats. Some use a million spices. Peanut butter... agave nectar... bran... wheat germ: endless combinations, and none of them bad. But this recipe here is my current go-to, and I rather like it. If you prefer a less clumpy granola, skip the pressing part. 

Try this recipe as a jumping-off point. Experiment, then enjoy your unique creation w/ berries and yogurt (my fave) or on top of ice cream or all by itself. Hippie! ;)

2 c. rolled oats (not quick-cooking; I used Trader Joe's gluten-free)
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
pinch (no more than 1/2 tsp.) kosher salt
1/8 c. cacao nibs or flax seeds or combination of both
3 TB plus 1 tsp oil (I used Trader Joe's coconut oil; vegetable oil or even extra-virgin olive oil works, too, though it does impart some flavor)
1/4 c. honey or pure maple syrup 
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 c. nuts (I used half sliced almonds, half chopped pecans)
2/3 c. dried fruit (I like sour cherries)