Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Break

Okay... so there was really no excuse for not-so-many posts this week, especially since I'm on spring break. But yeah, that was also the reason - I really just felt like playing video games all week. I know someone who was incredibly happy to see me home all day, every day...
Even so, I didn't get much baking/cooking done like I had originally planned because, well, I am on a super-diet and I haven't been eating much other than a simple fish filet with some steamed veggies, and none of it has been very blog-worthy. UNTIL NOW.
I made this BBQ sauce for some awesome salmon burgers we bought in the frozen food aisle. I swear though, these are the best burgers EVER. LOTS OF CAPS LOCK. Please buy these burgers, then slather this delicious sweet & savory sauce all over them. Your spouse/parents/babies will thank you. I know my baby did.
"Yup. I'm just a babeh."
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce
Ingredients:
- 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (blueberry flavored is preferred, but not what I used)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
- 2 tbsp Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Barbeque Sauce
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce


Procedure:

  • Heat a small saucepan over low heat and add the blueberries; heat until they begin to burst, about 5-8 mins., then mash completely with a fork.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk well to combine and further break up the blueberries, then turn the heat up to medium.
  • Heat until the mixture bubbles, stirring every few mins., then turn the heat back down to low and simmer for 20 mins., stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • The finished product will be thicker and lumpier than regular BBQ sauce; serve on burgers (particularly of the salmon variety) or other meats, or as a dipping sauce.


Butter liked it so much, he wanted to bring along his baby to share in the goodness. 

"I like to carry my babeh by his stomach. With my teeth. Also, please ignore the fact that his face is ripped open."
This sauce is nice and thick, and would probably also be good with a bit of honey added in. It's sweet without being sickening and tart and tangy without being straight up sour. You know me, I looooooooooooooooooooooove mixing together opposite flavors/textures/colors. And it's practically time for "summer" backyard BBQs in Florida already, since the weather is getting up into the mid 80s (woo.), so this recipe is not only tasty, but quite relevant!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Chair

I got this chair on Craigslist in Tallahassee for only $20... it's a soft and comfy chair, with a velvety fabric and poofy cushions. Great for curling up with a good book - until it got absolutely pilfered by His Beaniness.
Now, it's completely and totally HIS chair. He lounges on his back as though he's laying on a cloud. 
"Draw me like one of your French girls."


Like a little scout at a tiny outpost, he watches the goings-on in the house. 
"Me gusta."


From up there, he has a line-drive view into the kitchen. And when he saw (well, probably smelled) me making these fajitas, it sent his lil' nubbins into a waggin' frenzy!


Mango Shrimp Fajitas
Ingredients:
- 1 bag medium frozen shrimp
- 1/2 mango, cut into chunks
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
- Sour cream, to taste
- Whole wheat tortillas


Procedure:

  • Place the oil in a skillet with deep sides over medium heat; add the sliced bell pepper and cook until almost tender, about 5 mins.
  • Add the shrimp, chili powder, cumin, and curry powder to the skillet and cook until the shrimp are no longer frozen and the peppers are soft and tender, about 3 mins.
  • Arrange the shrimp and peppers on a tortilla however you like, then add mango chunks, sprinkle with cheese, and dollop on some sour cream, if desired.
  • It's as simple as that! Roll it up and enjoy!


Butter-Bean of course was able to pilfer a shrimp or two out of me... in addition to my chair, one of my blankets, money, treats, my heart, etc. And I think you'll love this as much as he does - the cool, juicy mango is the PERFECT complement to the spicy kick of the hot cooked shrimp and peppers, and it's definitely what makes this concoction so special. I could eat 20 of these in a sitting, I'm sure. But then I wouldn't be able to fit in my chair.




Friday, March 2, 2012

DIY Day: Hanging Key Holder

So, I've been totally obsessed with Pinterest lately - like most people I know - and there are so many cool, inventive crafts and ideas floating around that I knew I had to get into the crafting scene. 
I had this old, small shelf from Target that I wasn't using, and I knew I wanted to do something with it, so I got inspired to make a hanging key holder for the foyer. It turned out really well, I think, and it didn't take me very long to make.


DIY Hanging Key Holder
Materials:
- 1 small shelf or piece of wood, to be the base
- 4 hooks
- Spray paint in a color of your choice, for the hooks (optional)
- Pencil
- Sharpie or paint/paintbrush
- Twine
- Push pins


Procedure:

  • First, copy a picture of a vintage-looking key, or letters to spell 'key' onto your base using the pencil; when you're satisfied, go over it again in sharpie or paint.
  • Spray paint the hooks a color of your choice if desired, and allow to dry.
  • Measure out the distances for the placement of the hooks, and screw them in (I hammered a nail in first to make a hole, then removed it and screwed in the hooks).
  • Cut a piece of twine for hanging and secure it with push pins.
  • Hang your work of art!

This project was really fun - I decided to do it outside on my balcony to get some fresh air and of course the little one followed me out there and stayed by my side the whole time. I don't know what he was hoping to get out of it... I guess he knows that when I get creative, usually yummy stuff happens. 
"Yup. Always by my side. ALWAYS."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hiatus Already?

Well, friends, I'm back again. Graduate school is getting intense this semester (go figure), so I haven't had much time at all to myself. Last weekend, I was able to spend most of my time with Mikey and BB doing Valentine's Day stuff, which was wonderful.
This weekend is also going to be awesome - we're going to the North Florida Scottish Highland Games tomorrow! I'm going to drink a kegs-worth of the most delicious root beer ever, and eat Scotch eggs and haggis and watch caber-tossing and participate in an axe-throwing competition and it's going to be such a ridiculously awesome day, if it's anything like last year. 
On Sunday, my friend Anna is having a bridal shower, so we're going to a Mexican restaurant to have gigantic margaritas and eat tons of burritos and drunkenly sing karaoke. So yes, awesomeness in my future.


But don't feel left out! I have some awesomeness for you too! This recipe couldn't be easier, and it's a very subtle yet flavor-packed version of the original (which can usually be too overpowering with all the clam juicy-ness).


Modern Clam Chowder
(disclaimer: I actually have no idea what's so "modern" about it, but just go with it... recipe titles with three words just sound better than plain ol' "Clam Chowder".)
Ingredients:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 gold potatoes, diced
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans clams in juice, undrained
- 2 cups chicken/vegetable stock
- 2 cups milk OR sour cream (I used sour cream)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp cumin
- Salt and pepper, to taste


Procedure:

  • Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat and add the oil, celery, peppers, potatoes, carrots, and garlic; cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 mins.
  • Pour in the chicken/vegetable stock, plus enough water to just cover the veggies, and heat until boiling; turn down the heat to medium-low.
  • In a small pan, heat the butter, then add the flour and stir until no lumps remain to make a roux (thickening agent).
  • Add the milk/sour cream, half-and-half, roux, and clams with juice into the pot, seasoning with salt, pepper, and cumin.
  • Cook for an additional 5-10 mins., then remove from heat and let rest for 10 mins. so all the flavors come together. Serve with crackers or crusty bread.



Whoaaaaaa, this soup is tasty. So tasty, in fact, that Mikey brought me a bunch of beautiful tulips to thank me for making it. It's easy - make this, and people will bring you tulips. Butter-Bean wanted a potato chunk, but it was too hot, so he left it on the floor. But he returned as his alter-ego Bat-Dog, and gobbled it up in the name of justice. 



"...And also to prove I'm a total badass."