And welcome 2011! This first year of blogging (seriously) has been a great one, and I’m looking forward to all the creativity that will come out next year! Here’s just a quick image of what’s happened this year!
One of my gift requests for this holiday was a food processor. I’m an inefficient chef at best, and anything that will make my construction easier and more consistent is a friend to me! I received a Cuisinart from my parents and tried it out immediately upon my arrival home yesterday! Here was my result!
This is my darling apple tart! The apple slices were done in the processor with the slicing blade, and the pastry dough was made in the processor also! Both ingredients were included in the recipes in the instruction manual, but they’re pretty basic. The dough consisted of a little flour, salt, sugar, butter, and water. The apple filling involved nothing more than the apples themselves and a little brown sugar and cinnamon! It was a nice little treat! Also pictured is my new silicon cookie sheet; this was instrumental in creating the 4 dozen cookies we brought to dinner!
Nick has declared this recipe the best one yet in our MyRecipes.com experiment.
I made a few edits: replaced red onions with shallots – a good idea, but fresh shallots are VERY pungent. Tread carefully! We used watercress instead of arugula because we had it on hand; spinach seems like it would suffice very well. Finally, I used a frozen tortellini instead of fresh; it was just cheaper, and it tasted just fine! Create your own edits and enjoy!
One of my absolute favorite things about the holidays is the FOOD. I have a wealth of delightful memories of huge family gatherings (I have six and seven aunts and uncles on BOTH sides of my family… I don’t even have a count of my cousins anymore!) filled with games, gift exchanges, and wonderful foods.
Egg nog is one of my favorite holiday treats. I’m partial to my mother’s recipe, which to me is smoother and lighter than the store bought version. It’s also SUPER EASY to make, with just 5 ingredients (plus some nutmeg!).
Holiday Egg Nog
2/3 cup of sugar 4 eggs 1/2 tsp. salt 8 cups milk 2 tsp. vanilla extract nutmeg to taste
Separate the egg whites and yolks and set whites aside in the refrigerator. Mix the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a large pan until smooth. Add milk to yolk mixture slowly, stirring or whisking constantly. Heat slowly! Once heated, set aside to cool. Make meringue with egg whites and 6 tablespoons of sugar, if desired. Serve with a dollop of meringue and a sprinkle of nutmeg! WARNING: the meringue is made with raw egg whites, prepare at your own risk!
I remember with delight how my mother used to set the pan of egg nog outside in the snow to cool, when there was no room in the refrigerator. How wonderful it was to poke my head out into the cool winter night to bring the cool pan back inside and then enjoy the cold egg nog!
I came across this in the blogosphere this afternoon and I HAD TO SHARE IT. IT IS SO AMAZING. I periodically steal Nick’s new Droid phone specifically to play Angry Birds, so this just blew me away.
It is an Angry Birds cake! And man, is it right on! Anya Richardson created this amazing sweet thing, and while I don’t have any personal experience with cake making, based on all the crazy cake challenges I’ve watched over the years, it is tough stuff! Fantastic work!
Nick and I took a trip for groceries to Target yesterday after a little extra planning on my part. Of course I’m using myrecipes.com to create great menus and work with the ingredients I already have in order to save some money in that department, but I thought I’d try to take it a little further still. Target makes it really easy with their website coupon printer.
Hit “Coupons” at the bottom of just about any page and you’ll go directly to Target’s online coupon book. What makes this even cooler? You can search and print only the coupons you want (there is a program to download, but it’s very convenient and unobtrusive!). Last night I printed about 15 coupons and ended up saving myself around $20. All for about five minutes of browsing through the coupon printer. Best part about this? Target has coupons for their brand, too, Market Pantry. Savings on top of savings! We spent the dividends on dinner at the delicious L&L Hawaiian BBQ!
I would like to have had a better post to make for NOMday, but I’ve been on the couch with a touch of cold all day (really, since Friday, but I did have class on Saturday…), nursing my sore throat and aching body with what else? Tea with honey! Jasmine tea with honey, black tea with honey, chamomile tea with honey, any kind of tea with honey! I will take it! It’s a great little product, honey, so I thought I’d make a little post about that.
We know of course that it’s delicious and has been in use for thousands of years of human history. In addition to that, many people with allergies will go out of their way for local raw honeys that can help them create better immunities to the local allergens. Since honey has antiseptic properties, it’s now being looked at as useful for treating MRSA! Wikipedia says:
“Wound gels that contain antibacterial raw honey and have regulatory approval for wound care are now available to help conventional medicine in the battle against drug resistant strains of bacteria MRSA. As an antimicrobial agent honey may have the potential for treating a variety of ailments. Antibacterial properties of honey are the result of the low water activity causing osmosis, hydrogen peroxide effect, high acidity, and the antibacterial activity of methylglyoxal.”
Wow! That’s pretty amazing stuff! What do you love about honey?
Had a FANTASTIC meal over the weekend (for Nick’s birthday!) of Southwest Flank Steak with Salsa. Not only was it a great meal by itself, eaten fajita style with salsa, guacamole, and tortillas, but the following day it made for an incredible Southwest Steak salad on fresh baby spinach. It was also easy peasy (and inexpensive!), with just the steak, a package of fajita seasoning, olive oil, and a little dry mustard.
So I was thinking this morning, as I began planning out another bi-monthly shopping trip for groceries, about one of my favorite (and Nick’s not so favorite) condiments, balsamic vinegar! A lot of people are familiar with Modena style, which is a reproduction of the originals from Italy, and can be commonly found just about anywhere. I headed over to ye olde wiki for more information on this delightful, tangy, sweet and pungent flavoring.
There are only two ‘real’ styles of balsamic vinegar, detailed and protected by Italian and international law, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena) and "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia" (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia). They begin with a reduction using their specified type of grape juice, and must then be aged for at least 12 years. What a wait! Bottles of this traditional style run to hundreds of American dollars!
The more familiar version, that of Modena, is commercial grade and available for very economical rates everywhere. The production of this wine vinegar is not aged, and emulates the flavors of the traditional by adding caramel and perhaps some natural thickeners. Be that as it may, it’s still a flavor I love, and I will take what I can get!
I’ve found it a great flavor to add to a lot of dishes, and I’m finding it a frequent ingredient in my recipe experiments from myrecipes.com. From there I learned to add it to commercial jarred spaghetti sauce to enhance the flavor and give it a more homemade taste! I prefer it as a marinade for steak and fish, and for grilled fish like salmon, it makes a superb sauce when reduced with a little fresh garlic and honey.
I love this versatile, interesting flavor! What’s your favorite?
Hi, I'm Beverly! I'm an elementary school teacher and artist in Denver, Colorado. I love creativity in all it's myriad forms, and I share it here (as well as at Livejournal and Blogspot, too! Pick your favorite!). I do a little bit of everything: crafting, sewing, jewelry-making, music, graphic design, home decorating, thrifting, and do-it-yourself work, and here's where I share it with the world! Thanks for visiting!
Prefer a different flavor of blog? Charmedseed syndicates to Livejournal and Blogspot as well! Enjoy!