Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Place Cat Here

My friend designed a shirt and then it went viral. The shirt money goes to a fundraiser he's doing for a program called Family Reach. He has cancer and he's doing this fundraiser run before his third surgery to remove cancer.

Photo from Place Cat Here order page
Anyway, cancer sucks, people are doing important stuff, makin' an impact, blah, blah, blah. Buy a shirt. Do it here:

 cat shirt wearing, 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vegan Quiche

Hello! We just finished the spring performances at the ballet school and it's been a very busy few weeks. I'm not really sure if I was coherent the entire time. All I remember is the driving, some crying, and lots of food. So. Much. Food.
Athena the ballerina as a swan with Smart Water accessory.
First, obligatory photo of adult size child in costume. I haven't ordered my photos yet and this was taken quick while she was running backstage. This was her second weekend of performances. The week in between had some rough moments. One of these moments resulted in me making quiche for the first time, late at night after being gone all day and making two trips to the store... Oh, well it all worked out.
The recipe for one somehow made enough for two.

The quiche I was replacing had broccoli filling.
One evening last week the Lady came home to find that her quiche had been eaten while she was out. This was more than she could take at the time. I went to the grocery and purchased the ingredients to make a new quiche (after looking up a recipe). I think I follow directions, but I overflowed the first pie shell. I decided since there were two shells and excess whipped eggs, I should make a second one. What was I really going to do with a frozen pie crust anyway? I sauteed some chard and kale for the second quiche. Normally I wouldn't buy a pie crust, but it was 11pm and corners were cut. It seemed to turn out okay. The quiche smelled great, but I don't eat eggs so I'm not sure about the flavor. It looked right (if that helps at all) and my family ate it willingly.

The photos are from my phone and taken at night. This is what happens when you don't think you're going to be doing things, but then you do them and decide to put it out in the world. Everything in the kitchen photographs just a little extra yellow at night. (Conjuring up horrifying images from Martha Stewart's food Tweets.)
Vegan Quiche
 Mr. Husband and Miss Lady eating quiche all week made me hungry, but I don't eat eggs. I decided to make a vegan version. It could definitely be prettier and I'm sure next time it will be, but it tastes okay. I think I could have added more water or something in order to get a smoother filling for the crust. I used a recipe from PBS.org. It was very simple and involved most of the same ingredients used in tofu scramble.
I was hungry. I didn't wait for it to cool and firm.

A view of the cut away section.
I just read through the quiche directions and I can tell you what I did wrong. Do you see how it looks layered in the photo above? That was a mistake not a preference. I forgot to stir the blended tofu with the cooked vegetables. Oops. I'm sure the flavor is still basically the same, but I would have preferred everything to have been blended together. Not skipping that step might have helped it to fill the pan better. This time I made my crust using the same recipe as before with the pot pies. It's a really great non-vegan recipe and I just sub out some of the ingredients.

Last thing, I follow a blog called Annie's Eats. I've been following awhile and sometimes I will veganize a recipe. I was at the farmer's market on Saturday and I saw a woman that I thought had to be Annie from Annie's Eats. It was her, but I did not speak to her or tell her that I follow her blog. It seemed too weird. Is it strange to be a blog groupie? I'm torn.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

So much food!

I have been doing lots of baking/cooking. I don't really cook meals (unless it's breakfast) and I don't exactly do dinner dishes, but I've been experimenting with making instead of buying. It certainly isn't saving any time and probably isn't saving much money. I can't say it's costing extra either so I'm probably breaking even. I do believe we're getting a better quality product and I'm learning some things. I was also feeling the presence of a food rut and that wasn't so great.

I'm getting good at granola bars. I've been using 2 recipes so far. This one is baked and this one is not. The baked recipe is not sweet on it's own. The flavor is nice, but not sweet. The second time I made them I added about a tablespoon of honey and that worked well.

Most of the recipes I've been looking at include the use of a food processor. I don't have one and I was trying to make everything work without one, but... It wasn't so great. Over the weekend I broke down and bought a Kitchenaid Food Chopper (that name is confusing to me).  I had been looking at them online and the color I wanted was on sale at Target. I have appliance weakness.

So cute!
Yay! Hopefully this will make my bake/cooking easier. I got it home and used it immediately to make a pie crust.  I've made pie crust before, but never like this. It's my best crust so far, but I'm not sure if the new appliance has anything to do with it. 

Hashtag pie
These are the veggie potpies we made. I always end up with a little extra crust. In reality it's probably for the purpose of making a decorative edge or maybe I'm just rolling it too thin. I make silly embellishments.  I should add that my food chopper is too small to make the pie crust the way the recipe says to.  I make it in halves (or 1 sheet at a time) and that works well.

Wheat tortillas
The weekend before, during life without a food processor, I made some wheat tortillas. These were very easy. They just take up kind of a lot of space when making. That weekend also included some mediocre veggie burgers made using the blender (I don't recommend it) and mostly successful vegan meringue cookies.

I've been in a cooking mood lately. Have I finished my daughter's bedroom yet?  Not so much, but I'm going to.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Granola Bars!

For awhile now, I have been thinking about making granola bars. Is that weird? It's something that I keep going back to and last night I finally bought the ingredients. It was kind of fun.  I went to the grocery store that's run by the local food cooperative.  This grocery has an entire wall of bulk bins and a decent selection of natural dried fruits. I needed a few other things from there that I can't get as easily from the regular grocery so I decided to go for it with a new baking adventure.

First home made granola bars
Yesterday before shopping I looked up several granola bar recipes.  Most of them were very similar.  I wanted to sort of figure out a kind of base recipe to go from.  I saw that most recipes included honey, brown sugar, and butter.  I read some blog entries with a few of the recipes and I had a moment; high fructose corn syrup is not the devil. All of the recipes I read included the addition of sugar. Some of the recipes pointed out that commercial granola bars contain high fructose corn syrup and the authors of these posts went on to say that they did not feel good about consuming HFCS. It's fine to have opinions, but they still chose to use sugar in their recipes. If the goal of making your own granola bars is to reduce the amount of sugar you are eating, great! However, eating sugar is still eating sugar and sugar intake of any kind should be kept low. Anyway, I like sugar. I know I usually eat too much of it and this statement about HFCS, just like what I read written in the blog posts of others, is an opinion.  

The recipe that I used can be found here and you know I didn't follow it exactly because for some reason I can't. I made a few substitutions for a vegan version (you can decide for yourself how you feel about honey). I used Earth Balance instead of butter, carob chips instead of chocolate chips, and dried cherries instead of cranberries. Carob chips have improved so much from what I remember eating. The ones I bought yesterday tasted like dark chocolate. I don't even think my daughter (who has never had a carob chip) would have noticed any difference. I just stirred all the chips into the warm mixture instead of leaving some out to press in. The directions said the melted chips would act like glue and I wanted glue.

They were super simple to make and more affordable than expected. I'm enjoying the tartness of the cherries with the other flavors.  These have a nice texture and a range of flavor, chocolaty, nutty, and tart.  I'm planning to try some other variations.

nom nom nom, xoxo,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Break, Easter, and the Bedroom

We had a few very busy weeks recently. Last year for spring break we went to the rain forest, this year we stayed at home. Of course staying at home and "doing nothing" involved bargaining to keep the child happy. The result is that we blew up spring break with a mini Indiana tour.
Wayne White speaking at the FATE Conference.
The first photo doesn't have much to do with spring break, but it's how I kicked off the start of it (which doesn't mean much since it was not my spring break). The 2015 FATE Conference was held at Herron School of Art and Design this year and artist Wayne White was the keynote speaker. So much happy. This is my art nerd equivalent to having front row concert seats or something.
Food and photography
The lady likes food and photo documentation. I took two days off work to make for a four day weekend. The first day of urban exploration we went to a brunch place called Milktooth. She got latte art and a giant pie of a pancake (I guess it was actually a Dutch baby pancake).
Kale pastry; the name is long and starts with an f.
Out taking photos
The final day of my four day weekend we went to a doughnut shop and then walked around to take photos. She kept telling me to get out of the picture.
Mirrors! Finally mirrors!
On Easter we took a lady trip to Ikea. I can't seem to get any photos of that to move on over here. I bought the last piece of furniture for this room and it took me until the next Sunday to finally unload the car. Last Saturday though, I finally got the courage up to wrestle the mirrors again. The first time I tried this (maybe 5 weeks ago?), it did not go well. I didn't have the right supplies and I got frustrated. I spent many hours on a Saturday measuring, drilling, wiring, and lifting only to end the day with sore arms and lots of discarded, broken wire.  I gave up and went to bed. The next day I bought the proper supplies: heavy gauge picture wire and heavy duty mounting tape. It still took awhile to get it right, but this time was much better. I knocked a screw out of the wall while trying to hang the mirror on the right. That had me worried, but it's been 4 days now and they're still holding.

Maybe I'll get the Kallax together by this weekend (just looked at the Ikea website and noticed a price increase on the Kallax).

Monday, March 16, 2015

How Not to Follow Directions

Salted Caramel doughnut and coffee at the General American Donut Company.
I'm doing a book review for the site Cut Out + Keep.  This means that I receive a craft book, look through it, tell them what I like, and then make something from it.  That seems straight forward and easy enough.  I chose a project that I felt excited about and I got all my materials together.  I even learned what a hand cranked knitting dolly is.  Nothing knitting comes naturally to me; that thing was/is confusing.
I spent a couple of hours sitting in bed watching a movie and cranking out cord.  Clearly I was over excited about this because I have cord for days.  Really, I have made the project twice and I still have a pile of cord.  Also, don't make cord in bed, sit at a table or something.  My back and my arms were sore.
Okay, back to the project; I made it and it was frustrating.  Then I looked back at the book and found directions that I did not follow.  I made it again, it was less frustrating, and again, I found myself not following all of the directions.  Maybe this project was written in a general way so that the person making it would be encouraged to take a little creative license?  Maybe I'm just not good at following directions?
I already know I'll be making a third version of this project (I just can't let go!) and I want other people to make their own versions so I can see if they follow the directions or do something more like I did.  This has become less about crafting and more about a curiosity of how each person interprets things differently.  Obviously, I need to get back into grad' school. I'm even carrying the book around with me so I can study it.
Soy latte at the Foundry.  They have great diy OSB tables.
Anyway, in between making versions one and two, I went to a doughnut shop and a coffee shop.  The Lady Bean wanted to explore her home city and we were out of coffee.  I probably needed the break because I think I'm obsessing.  Wanna' come over and make a tiara?  Bring yarn.