waffles

Sunday means waffles

Good morning, Blog.

Gray and I have been trying to recover from a rather long week, so I thought comfort foods were the right way to go this weekend.

Last night, I made Eat, Live, Run’s spicy pork and kale soup. And this morning, I finally tried a new waffle recipe that I’d been eying on Pinterest. Well, to be fair, the bloggers Kevin & Amanda adapted it from an Alton Brown recipe, and I adapted it from them.

My adaption was more out of necessity. On Pinterest, the words cinnamon-nutmeg waffle immediately caught my eye. Of course, this morning, as I was dragging down my waffle iron from a high shelf, I realized that we were out of nutmeg.

So, it became more of a cinnamon-ginger waffle. I subbed out nutmeg for ginger and also reduced the amount of sugar. Their recipe called for 2 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tbsp granulated sugar. I skipped the granulated sugar.

20141123_103543

Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda,1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon,1 tsp ground ginger, 3 eggs, beaten,4 tablespoons butter, melted, 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

Directions: Combine the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. In a large bowl, beat together the buttermilk, eggs and butter.
If needed, spray waffle iron with PAM and ladle batter onto your waffle iron. Cook according to your waffle maker’s directions. (I use about 1/2 cup batter on mine.)
Serve with your favorite toppings — syrup, fruit, applesauce, etc. My batch made seven waffles, but I probably could have stretched it to eight. So, depending on how many people you are cooking for, you might have leftovers.
Both Gray and I were big fans of this recipe. The waffles were light, fluffy and flavorful. i definitely would make this again.
Next up: Vegetable soup.
1966804_10107576726251744_488492020370023195_n

Orange-Rosemary cookies equal awesome

Dear Blog,

I realize it’s a bit early to start talking about Christmas baking. But, I can’t help myself.

I love the holiday season. I’ve been pinning recipes and decorations on Pinterest and humming Christmas carols on my way to work. And yesterday, while flipping through the channels, I noticed a show called the “Holiday Baking Championship” on the Food Network. So, naturally, I stopped changing channels to watch the contestants present their holiday cookies.

A home cook named Nayley LaRochelle presented an orange and rosemary cookie that the judges were raving about. And, lucky me, Food Network had indeed posted such recipe online.

This cookie is phenomenal and fairly easy to make. They are light and buttery, and the rosemary and orange flavors both come through. Plus, the only thing I didn’t happen to already have in my kitchen for it were the oranges.

These cookies just made me happy. Even Gray, who is not a big sweets person, sneaked an extra one while they were cooling.

From Food Network:

Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups  all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 small sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped, 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 orange, finely zested with juice reserved, 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary in a medium-sized bowl. In larger bowl, cream butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until it is light and fluffy (about 4-6 minutes). Add the egg, vanilla and orange zest.

Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and thoroughly combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. (I forgot the parchment paper and just sprayed the sheets with PAM.) Roll the dough into one inch balls and bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

While the dough is baking, combine the leftover juice from the orange with the confectioners’ sugar.

Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for about five minutes. Then, spoon the glaze over them.

Eat and be happy. :)

20141115_184931

FullSizeRender(1)

The great outdoors

It took me a long while to appreciate some of the really great things about living in Tallahassee.

The abundance of great outdoor activities was one of those things. There are lots of trails for hiking and the beach is a 90 minute drive. Even closer are opportunities for boating or kayaking.

So, on Saturday, our friends persuaded us to go kayaking on the Wakulla River. Though Gray and I have gone kayaking in North Carolina a few years ago, we’d never managed to go to the river practically in our own backyard.

20141108_112833It was awesome.

The weather was cool, but not too cold. We did not see any gators, though I’m sure they saw us. We did see plenty of birds, manatees and turtles.

After we returned the rental kayak (and I gashed my finger open, but that’s another story), we headed to the Riverside Cafe in St. Marks, where the four of us devoured several orders of steamed oysters. They were so tasty and bathed in butter and garlic. I’m not a huge fan of raw oysters, but I love them cooked.(Sorry, no oyster photos, but here’s Gray and me in the kayak. Check out our reflections in the water.)

FullSizeRender(1)

Gray and I were still on an outdoors kick the next day because we chose to take a picnic lunch to a newish park downtown. After years of talking about converting a space downtown into a park, they finally did it, complete with an outdoor amphitheater, a jogging loop, fountains and a children’s play area.

So, we took a picnic and walked around.

20141109_125540Publix subs are delicious, and our new picnic basket is cute. (Thanks  mom and dad!)

20141109_125544

Tallahassee is a small town, and though I’d love to be in a bigger city, it definitely has it charms. Like any place, you have to figure out where the cool things really are.

Kayaking and picnicking in November definitely qualify as perks.

10455167_10107550549674814_3170792582830414293_n

Sometimes you just need soup

Hi there,

So, let’s be honest, soup is awesome. You can really never go wrong. Roasted red pepper, chili, broccoli cheese, tomato basil, etc.

My sister, a fellow soup lover, gave me this recipe from Heather Likes Food for chicken tortilla soup that is so easy and fantastic. It’s fantastic even when you forget to buy enchilada sauce, a pretty key ingredient for the soup. (oops)

I actually did make this once before, but never blogged about it, so I can with some certainty that the finished product is better with the enchilada sauce. However, it was still quite tasty without the sauce. Gray added some hot sauce to his to give it a little kick and proclaimed it a good substitute.

The best thing about this soup is that it is a crock pot soup. Throw everything in the crock pot in the morning and let it sit for eight hours. And voila!

The only thing is when you do this, maybe do it on a day that your husband isn’t working out of the house and you’re not working late. In the situation where the husband is working at home and you’re at work for an extra hour, you get a very hungry husband who has been tortured by the delicious smells coming from the crock pot all day.

10455167_10107550549674814_3170792582830414293_n

You could serve it with cheddar or sour cream, but I’m quite happy to eat it plain.

Cheers!

wedding

Dear blog…

Dear Blog,

I somehow got away from posting and even cooking a lot, this past year.

That’s not to say I haven’t cooked, but I found myself falling into routine with old standbys, nothing new. (if my friends Sandi and Kat didn’t institute baking days, it’s unlikely I would have made much new at all the past few months.)

I mentioned this to one of my best grad school pals, Andrea, who in turn gave Gray and me the Smitten Kitchen cookbook as a wedding gift.

Oh wait, married? Yep, that happened.

weddingOur day was perfect and beautiful. We felt so lucky to have so many family and friends make the trip to be with us.

But anyway, back to food. :)

I’m hoping to recommit to writing this blog and cooking more. I tried to start last Sunday by going on a bit of a cooking bender.  I made a delicious Smitten Kitchen recipe, meatloaf, tomato soup and a chicken-veggie-quinoa mix that was pretty awesome.

smitten kitchenI’m still figuring out the menu for this week, but leek fritters and chicken tortilla soup are primed to make an appearance.

LA, Soccer and Pesto

Hello! Well, my last post was in March even though I’ve been cooking, traveling and doing lots of things that I should be posting here. It’s actually been a crazy spring/beginning of summer.

The biggest trip was out to LA to see my sister.

We had a wonderful few days together over Memorial Day weekend that included a tour of Warner Brothers, visits to all of the touristy places and lots of movie watching. We saw Chef while I was there, and I highly recommend it. You will also want to eat immediately afterward, so plan ahead. We had delicious crepes after we saw it.

Of the touristy things, visiting Warner Brothers was definitely the highlight for me. We visited the sound stages for “Big Bang Theory,” “Ellen” and “Pretty Little Liars.” We got to see their stock city neighborhood that has been used for dozens of films and TV shows over the years. We also got to see Central Perk from Friends!

See if you can guess what movies these photos are from:

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 10.28.24 AM

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 10.28.09 AM

But, even if we didn’t do all the touristy things, it was just great to hang out with my sister. It had been about 17 months since we’d last seen each other (two Christmases ago) and I really wanted to spend some time with her before my wedding.  And it worked out perfectly travel wise because Gray went to NYC that same weekend to hang out with his sister. (Our sisters work/live in far cooler places than we do.)

We followed that weekend up with a trip to Tampa to see our lovely friends Kat and Mike tie the knot. For some reason, I didn’t take a photo of them, but I did get one of the champagne. It was a beautiful wedding and the bride was stunning.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 10.26.59 AMThen, the following weekend we spent Saturday night with friends in Jacksonville and went to the U.S.-Nigeria game. Gray and I are fairly convinced half of Tallahassee was there because we knew a ton of people going.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 10.28.55 AMAnd finally, this past weekend we were back at home. It was nice to just relax and run normal errands. There was hiking, a kid’s bday party, soccer watching and the Game of Thrones season finale.  I also made a delicious pesto to go over tortellini for dinner.

And next weekend, we’re off again. This time, my cousin Adam is getting married!

 

 

 

chicken corn tomato

A carniverous type of weekend — New steak and chicken recipes

Hello!

It’s late Sunday and I’m pretty beat (I literally cleaned for five hours today — the house looks awesome), but I wanted to share these two recipes that were just amazing/delightful/delicious finds.

Saturday morning, I came across this recipe for grilled chicken with a corn and tomato salad via Weight Watchers and decided to give it a whirl for dinner. It was pretty awesome and gave us a taste of summer. It was also the  first time we grilled this year. (!!!!)

chicken corn tomatoIt went quite nicely with a pinot grigio that Gray picked out at the store.

*************

Ingredients:  1.5 cups uncooked yellow corn, fresh (or frozen and cooked),1 large tomato, diced,  1/4 cup fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 tsp ground cumin, 3/4 tsp paprika, 1 pound chicken breasts

Directions: In a medium bowl, combine corn, tomato, cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, oil and 1/4 teaspoon each cumin, salt and paprika; set aside for flavors to blend.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, 3/4 teaspoon cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon paprika in a small bowl; rub over chicken.

Grill chicken, flipping once, until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes; serve topped with corn salad.

(I left this out, but the WW version also calls for scallions and salt. I forgot about the scallions and generally cut out any extra salt when I can. It also says to coat the chicken with cooking spray, which I skipped and to add olive oil to the salad mix. I skipped both of those as well. )

*************

We both loved this recipe. I should have ideally let the chicken marinate a while, but  I was cooking later in the evening and didn’t have time.

Our other recipe involved steak from Skinny Taste (aka one of the most awesome recipe sites ever). We were definitely carnivores this weekend.

steak bruschetta

*************

Ingredients: 2 lb flank steak, fat trimmed, kosher salt and fresh pepper, garlic powder, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic, 1/3 cup red onion, chopped,3-4 tomatoes, chopped (about 3 1/2 cups),1 tbsp fresh herbs such as oregano, basil or parsley

Directions: Pierce steak all over with a fork. Season generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder and set aside about 10 minutes at room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine onions, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Let onions sit a few minutes with the salt and balsamic to mellow a bit. Combine with tomatoes and fresh herbs and adjust seasoning if needed.

Heat grill or broiler on high heat. Cook steak about 7 minutes on each side for medium rare or longer to taste. Remove from grill and let it rest on a plate for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Slice steak think on the diagonal; top with tomatoes and serve.

*************

I generally followed these directions, but left out the olive oil.

It was pretty freaking delicious and the steak juice mixed with the tomato and balsamic was  pretty delightful.

Well, that’s it. Hopefully, this makes up for my drought of cooking last week. Happy start to the week!