Archive for the ‘crafting’ Category

Let me start by saying that this pie was DELICIOUS! It also looks like Slimer from the Ghostbusters cartoon. I’d say it also qualifies as a FAIL inspired by Pintrest.

Almost every week one of my favorite bogs, Serious Eats, has a Share Your Sweets photo roundup. This weekend’s challenge was “summer pie.” I had just bought a bag of HUGE, Costco-sized avocados (from Costco) and decided that since I’d purchased them in August they were a summer fruit and therefor I would look for a recipe for avocado pie (also because I realized WTF am I going to do with 7 huge avocados when they all ripen within 24 hours of each other?!). This seemed like a good plan to use up the smallest two (AKA normal sized) avocados.

Here were my inspirations:

Pinch My Salt’s seemingly simple avocado pie, as modified by chez us.

Yeah. Mistakes I made:

  1. We didn’t have any sweetened condensed milk, so I googled how to sub evaporated milk and sugar (hint, it’s 3/4 cup of sugar for every 5 oz of evaporated milk, I eyeballed 1 1/3 cups of sugar into 12 oz of evaporated milk to “keep the sugar content down”). You have to heat the mixture to combine the sugar and then cool it completely before using it, mine was tepid. FAIL ONE.
  2. I misread 3.5 oz of lemon juice for 3.5 Tbls. FAIL 2. Plus, I used lime, but that shouldn’t have mattered as much as the missing 1.5 Tbls of juice.
  3. I tried to “bling out my pie” by slicing a small avocado into thin slices and fanning them in the crust before pouring in the goop. FAIL 3. SPLORT!

Oh, you want to see how mine came out? Sure, OK:

VERDICT: I will try it again with the right ingredients, without sliced avocado, and without the meringue topping and maybe just a dollop of plain yogurt or unsweetened whipped cream. Even with the slightly reduced sugar it was a seriously SWEET dessert. I remember sweetened condensed milk as a more mellow sweet, kinda caramel-y, rather than the assertive WHITE SUGAR sweet that I got from the glop I made. With so many possible easy fixes, how can I not try to make this again in the future?

avocado lime pie

avocado lime pie “glamor shot”

I know I’m not going to win any food photography contests any tim soon, but I really did want to try with this! Look, I had props and everything! I was going to cut open the avocado and display the 1/2 with the pit, but decided against “wasting” good fruit on such a deliciously sloppy pie.

FINAL LATE NIGHT THOUGHT: If I rename this Slimer Pie, would that make it better?

NUTRITIONAL INFO: I don’t want to know. I guessed 7 WW PointsPlus per 1/8th. It might be closer to 11. Like I said, I don’t want to know. I ate my slice 90 minutes ago and now I have a slight sugar hangover.

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This is one of my go-to meals for when I realize it’s after 6PM and there’s nothing to eat for dinner yet. Yes, it’s a pasta dish but it’s also 1/2 good stuff too! Carbs get a bad wrap from some folks, but I don’t care because I know that I’m one grumpy chica if there’s nothing in my tummy but veggies and protein; carbs are what make me feel well fed in a way that other foods don’t.

To me, carbs are rice (brown over white), pasta (depends on the sauce, but regular and whole wheat both have their place), bead, corn, and potatoes. Seriously, it’s not a meal to me if none of those things is present. I was NOT a happy camper during phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. Also, it is expensive to fill up on non-starchy foods. Per serving grains and starchy foods are relatively cheap compared to veg and protein, even organic grains and starches!

Anyway, here’s my newest recipe that is SUPER simple and only takes as long as it takes to boil water and make a box of pasta (about 30 minutes for me).

Kale Chorizo Skillet Dinner

  • 1 box (12 oz) of WHOLE WHEAT PENNE*
  • 1 box (10 oz) FROZEN CHOPPED KALE
  • 1/2 package (6-8 oz) SOY CHORIZO SAUSAGE (chopped up, if in link form)
  • 3 cloves GARLIC, sliced
  • 1 Tbl OLIVE OIL
  • 1/4 cup REDUCED-FAT COLBY JACK CHEESE, shredded
  • bonus ingredients: SMOKED SALT
  1. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil (I used a 4 qt sauce pan). You don’t want to use your largest pot because you want the water to be super starchy. Get your pasta in there as soon as it comes to a boil. Don’t forget to set a timer for the pasta according to your packaging!
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium.
  3. Defrost your kale in the microwave, give that “defrost” button a try!
  4. Sautee the garlic until golden brown, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the chorizo to the skillet, chopping it up with your spatula, keep stirring frequently.
  6. Once the chorizo is heated through (it may or may not start to brown), add the defrosted kale (drain off any water present before adding kale).
  7. Just before the pasta timer goes off, and you’ve got your colander set to drain the pasta, add a few tablespoons of pasta water to the kale chorizo mixture, stir.
  8. Drain the pasta, combine in the skillet with the kale chorizo mixture.
  9. Serve topped with a sprinkle of cheese and smoked salt.

Serve immediately and goes well with your favorite rosé or cervesa/light beer!

Serves 6. 6 Weight Watchers Points+ per serving.

*Ben was the cook tonight and couldn’t find the whole wheat penne behind the regular penne in the cupboard, oops. I thought that it wasn’t as good as the last time we made it because it was a) lacking in the slight nuttiness of the whole wheat pasta and b) there is more regular pasta in a box (16 oz rather that 12-13.25) so the add-ins were more sparsely distributed. Oh well.

And while I still have your attention, I’d like to compose a mini love letter to my Cuisinart Ceramic Nonstick pans and dutch oven. After a few years of use they’re getting some nicks around the edges of the pans (either from moving or knocking around in the drying rack) but they cook so wonderfully! If you’re looking for teflon-free nonstick these are my #1 recommendation.

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OMG, you guys, these cookies are AMAZING, tiny, buttery, slightly sweet, matcha scented gems. Plus I got to use my cookie gun. Yeah, you heard me: cookie gun. Well, technically it’s called a cookie press, but look at it!

cookie press

Kuhn Rikon Cookie Press

Yeah, that’s a cookie gun.

For these cookies I was inspired by Food Network‘s Honey Spritz Cookies, found via The Foodie’s Kitchen; but those cookies sounded too wintery so I had to change them without trying the originals or having used a cookie press in probably 15 years. I’m living on the edge here. The edge of DELICIOUS!

Honey Green Tea Spritz Cookies

Honey Green Tea Spritz Cookies

Honey Green Tea Spritz Cookies

  • 2 c minus 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp matcha (potent green tea powder)
  • 1 stick (8 Tbl) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F after putting the racks in the 1/3 and 2/3 position. Move two clean, unlined baking sheets away from the oven to keep them cool.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and matcha in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In your mixer bowl, beat the room temperature butter with the sugar. Beat the butter and sugar on medium high, stopping every few minutes to scrape the bowl down. In about 5 minutes you should have fluffy, glossy, creamed butter.
  4. Use cooking spray to lube a measuring cup and measure out your honey.
  5. Add the honey, egg, and vanilla extract to the creamed butter. Mix to combine, stopping to scrape the bowl down every minute or so.
  6. Following the directions that came with your cookie press, fill the chamber about 3/4 full of dough (I make small blobs and shove them in and then keep packing them in until it looks full). *
  7. Press out your cookies! Fill two whole trays. **
  8. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate the pans front to back and top to bottom (unless you’re cooking in a convection oven, then just subtract a minute), and then bake another 6 minutes for 11 minutes total. ***
  9. Let cool for 1-2 minutes before moving to wire cooling racks to cool completely.

* It will take 2-3 loads of cookie press to shape all the cookies. There will be a bit of ugly, raw dough at the end that you can’t shape., just eat it because you know you want to!

** The first few might come out ugly, that’s OK, pull them off the try and you can re-stuff them into the press later.

*** I baked mine for 6 minutes and 6 minutes and they came out a bit browner on the edges than I’d have liked. If your third tray is going in the oven solo, just use the top rack and bake for 11 minutes.

Nutritional Info: 1 Weight Watchers PointsPlus point per cookie/1 Tbl of raw dough (every nibble counts!)

PS- Does anyone know how to get my baking sheets CLEAN again? Bon Ami and elbow grease hardly make a dent in the baked on brown spots!

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not my cake, but similar looking

Ben’s parents were in town over the long weekend. They stayed at his mom’s brother’s house, with his family, near the Tenlytown metro stop (not far from my aunt and uncle’s house). I’ll recap our tourist’s dream weekend later, for now I just wanted to share a link to the Quick Coffee Cake recipe I served when Ben’s parents and cousins came over for brunch on Sunday (his aunt and uncle went out of town for the weekend).

I’ve never tried making coffee cake before, but I learned, by reading recipes, that the gooey layer in coffee cake is often coffee soaked chopped dates! Who knew? No wonder I was never a fan of the goo, I usually love sweets and really like dates but I just don’t like coffee.

Time to bust out your tube pans (or 1/2 the recipe and make it in a 9×9″ square pan).

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mmm, beer

For those who don’t know: Ben has been intermittently into 1 gallon home brewing. It’s awesome.

This is a public notice that I would like him to start home brewing again :)

Why I Became a 1-Gallon Homebrewer Beer Sessions | The Kitchn.

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Not that I don’t have enough pretty things, but Ben is going away for a 5 days to a conference and I can take over the kitchen table with all my sewing stuff while he’s gone! Plus, we have a wedding to go to in three weeks…. I’d really like to make this beautiful Anne Fogarty dress, that I saw on-line while looking for “circle skirt dress pattern.” It didn’t take much hunting to find a pattern for it (from what I understand lots of ready-made dresses from that era were also published as patterns.

The problem with the pattern is that it’s for a 33″ bust. Seriously. Thirty three inches, including the girls! I’m sorry, but my rib cage is even larger than that (36 or 34DD = 41 inch bust = rib cage + the girls). Does anyone out there want to take on a project and scale this pattern to fit me? I’m somewhere around petite 18 in the world of sewing patterns (roughly a 14 petite in current sizing for store bought clothes).

Those chevrons carrying over from the bodice to the skirt just make me happy. Maybe I was secretly born in the wrong decade, late 50s early 60s clothes are just so pretty! I guess that’s why I loved my tea length wedding dress so much too, I tried not to play up the vintage styling too much with my dress, but it was such an awesome vintage shape!

I ♥ circle skirts. Maybe I’ll just try and make a chevron-y circle skirt to wear to a friend’s wedding in a few weeks. I’ll go look at Jo-Ann and see if I can find some decent fabric. There’s a fancy suiting/upscale fabric store in town, but other than that I’d have to go to south Denver to find any original fabrics. Oh well, a girl can dream!

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This recipe make a TON of scones. I baked them like a cookie bar a 9×3 AND an 8×8 lined with parchment. You could easily half the recipe and make it either as written or in an 11″ spring-form if you’re like me and too lazy to shape your scones without letting a pan do it for you.

I served these scones with Rhubarb Vanilla Jam, a small batch recipe from Sweet Domesticity. Though next time I make this jam I’ll use a low-sugar pectin and only 3/4 of the sugar called for. It is way too sweet for my taste, but I only made it a week ago, so maybe it just needs to mellow out some more. Also, when making jam I always use Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, instead of vanilla extract because it gives you those awesome little vanilla flecks without the expense or hassle of a whole vanilla bean. Yes, it carries its own over-sweet notes, but those cook out in a good jam anyway and blend with the sugar and fruity flavors of whatever you’re making.

The scone recipe is below the jump.


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almost caught up

If Ben and I each write 3 thank you notes tonight, we’ll be all caught up!

If I cut 30 yards of ribbon into 2′ lengths, singe the ends, and use toxic glue to attach them to wooden dowel rods, we’ll be all caught up with the ribbon wands.

Water bottle labels, are they really necessary? I’m starting to think they’re not…… If I decide that they are, they’re a good TV watching activity.

Once we edit the welcome letter and Ben prints it at work (COLOR LASER PRINTER FTW), we can finish stuffing the flat things into the welcome bags and add the snacks and be done!

Programs….. Honestly, I’m tempted to let them sit and rot until my mom gets here. They are really a job best done with someone else, near the printer, possibly with some wine.

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Somehow, since my bitch-fit on Tuesday this has sunk in. Holy crap!

Things are getting checked off the list (with annotations):

  • Ben took his suit/tux to the tailors, it will be ready a week from yesterday
  • we met with the pre-marital counselor last night, apparently we’re happy and well adjusted
    • I was indirectly, and accurately told, that once we have kids I have to remember that I need to put my airplane oxygen mask on first, THEN them. That I can’t take care of other people before myself.
  • My mom claims to have my bracelet (my something old), and I ordered/received earrings to wear
  • I have BLUE toenails! They’ll be my something blue. I’ll see how they look at my fitting tomorrow (hopefully not TOO ridiculous)
  • the fabric and pattern have both been acquired for making Ben’s kittle. now I just need to DO it

Things that are getting done, but aren’t done yet:

  • dress fitting is tomorrow!
  • vail has been ordered, but not shipped yet. BOO! I was hoping to have it to wear tomorrow. oh well.
  • I almost maxed Ben’s credit card ordering him 8 pairs of shoes to try on with his tux
    • one pair of the four that have arrived fits well
      • they’re patent leather work-boots, made for waiters!
      • there are still 4 or 5 more pairs en route, hopefully one or more fits just as well and is a bit dressier than work boots, but whatever. I’m just glad he agreed to wear shiny shoes!

Things to work on:

  • thank you notes
  • welcome bags
  • finalizing music selections
  • finalizing floral selections
  • programs
  • signage
  • table assignments
  • table cards
  • making Ben’s kittle
  • making my bouquet

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craft time!

We’ve been hitting up Michael’s and Costco every weekend to stock up on crafting supplies and goodies for the welcome bags. So, expect to see awesome programs, home made yarmulke labels, ribbon wands (Ben won’t let me have bubbles and Boulder won’t let us have sparklers), and all sorts of other crafty goodness.

Here’s my current favorite logo for the welcome bags, bonus points if you recognize it’s origins:


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