Saturday, January 8, 2011
I’ve been told repeatedly that if you and your partner can decide on what constitutes a ‘clean room’ you can get through anything. Ben moved in two weeks ago, right after proposing on Christmass, and so we have adjusted fairly well to now going from 300 miles separating us to 3 feet.
There is one caveat to this though…The Fridge. When I get in my cooking frenzies I go into the fridge, grab what I need and shut the door. When the cooking is finished, I open the door toss what I had out and call it good.
Wednesday after arriving back at home, I was a little stressed, done with my day. After asking the hunny how his day went, he replied with a standard “fine”…paused, and then said “it would have gone better if I could have found all the stuff to make a sandwich.” Confusement set in, and I asked for a clarification. Ben exclaimed that he couldn’t find the cheese to make his sammie, when he had made a sandwich the day before it was in one place, and today it was in another. It was behind something expired that we hadn’t seen in weeks, the mayo wasn’t in the door like normal, it was all backwards!!
I didn’t know that my hunny would come off the rails like that over lunch meat, cheese and mayo – but this was a tragedy that had to be undone (according to him). He blurted out “What did you do, use the cheese and just throw it back into the fridge and slam the door?!” At this point, l was laughing my butt off watching him exclaim, wave his arms frantically over Colby Jack cheese! The tears were flowing and my stomach was hurting over all of laughing I was doing! (And I do promise you that he wasn’t Mad/mad at me, he was just frantic and in desperate need of a proper sammich.)
A rearrangement of the fridge was necessary. And hopefully a restoration of domestic bliss.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Banana bread is amazing. It’s splendid. It’s homey. How could you not like it? Unless you are allergic to bananas I suppose, which if you are, what a tragedy. I’ve been looking through recipes of old, wanting to find the perfect recipe that isn’t to gummy, but was delightfully bread-y as it should be.
When in doubt I turn to America’s Test Kitchen. Earlier last year after a Saturday morning spent on the couch with a cup of coffee and a remote I was tuned in to ATK when their entire series cookbook was on a commercial. And to top it off, the entire 10th season on DVD. How could you lose?! I am one of those people who apparently gives into “call right now and we’ll throw in the ginsu knife for free” deals…so sue me. No, don’t sue me.
For your Grocery List gather up:
In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together. Also, preheat your oven to 350.
In a medium size bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
Mash up 1 1/2 cups of bananas until they are all mushy.
Add in 1/3 cup of plain yogurt. Or sour cream. Either one is tasty, I’ve tried it both ways and it’s equally good either way.
When they are all mixed seperately, fold them together until just combined.
And since I’m a girl, and I’ve got those chocolately cravings right now – I tossed in about a 1/2 cup of the chips on top. Ahhhh….
It’s just come out of the oven now, so sorry there’s not final result picture. But my apartment smells amazing, and I can’t wait til it’s cool enough to dig in. Maybe with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream?
(No, shut up Stomach – there is a wedding in your future you have to be in shape for!!)
Oh well. Banana Bread is bad enough – but it’s soooo good.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Ben is hard at work studying from his first day of class. He’s holed up in our room, door closed picking the recesses of his brain to regather all of that knowledge he’s sort of forgotten over the last few years of not being in school. Me? Well I’m sitting in front of the TV watching The Office on the floor with a stack of magazines, books, and a couple planners in front of me to gather all of the knowledge I can on planning a wedding. Did I mention that I’ve got a wicked case of hives going on right now? If only this stuff could be made up…
This isn’t to say I’ve gone into complete and total wedding mode. I haven’t, I swear. No decisions have been made, we’ve only been engaged for a week and a half now, but despite watching and taking in all of the stuff I could while Beka was wedding planning, it didn’t prepare me for actually planning and orchestrating my own hitchin’.
Last night Beka took me out to go search for a planner, and I came back with a planner, a few magazines (The Knot and DIY Bride), and “The Wedding Book”. She so kindly picked up “Groomology” for Ben, what a gal. It supposedly encompasses “what every (smart) groom needs to know before the wedding”… One can only hope that it includes how to handle a crazy bride-to-be and whatever catastrophes may come up.
The Knot, how could you go wrong? With 1500 wedding dresses and accessories between these two editions, I’m bound to find SOMETHING I kinda like.
See, plenty of nerdy, type-A tabs to color coordinate the “likes” between the dresses, colors, DIY favors, and all that itty bitty crippity crud you need to include to throw together the perfect bash.
Now, I’m kinda freaking out.
So I’ll stay out here and learn all I can, as I resist scratching the red hives taking over my flesh. Ben can study his micro-biology.
I’d take all this stress and hives over micro-biology ANYDAY.
Monday, January 3, 2011
My farmer, soon to be “pre-nursing student” has moved in. After two and a half years and something shiny on my hand – we finally did it. Bless his heart, he packed up his life in Pullman and he’s settled in at my place. Whew! It’s been chaotic, messy, disorganized, hectic, and exhausting. But, did I mention that all of this was well worth it!
While unpacking there were boxes upon boxes, and a couple of them were filled with kitchen things. They didn’t include dishes like we needed the extras of, but extra spices, sugars, oils, and flours that I had bought on my weekends out to Pullman when I would bake for him during the hours he was at work trying to impress the heck out of him. Seeing as how I bought them he, being the wonderful man he is, figured I should get them back. With all the baking and such that I’ve been doing these last few months the kitchen cupboards are far from bare. Bless this man for his consideration, only looking out for his hunny’s best interest.
If you can’t tell the cupboard is filled ALL the way to the back with spices…
Now I have four nutmegs? REALLY?
Two full jars of cloves?
And three (more like 4) jars of cinnamon, since one is after all from Costco.
All this being said – is this a dilemma?
Either it’s a good thing that I’ll never have to buy spices again for the rest of my life, or it’s a bad thing because I will have to bake and cook every day until my arms go limp and my jean size doubles. Lord knows I’m to cheap to throw any of this out.
Friday, December 31, 2010
It’s cold here in Seattle. Frigid is more like it. One of the many blessings about this side of Washington in the mild, temperate climate. Sure it might rain, but on those sunny days – it is gorgeous. And today was one of those gorgeous, sunny days – it was just frigid. To remedy the situation I wanted to make something warm and comforting so some chili sounded right up my alley. There’s also a new slow-cooker in my kitchen that I’ve just been itchin’ to break out.
And here it all is.
After getting home to the crazy mutt (and no fiancee, cause he’s currently on his way back across the mountains gathering all of his stuff from his old Pullman apartment), I realized that I was lacking two of the ingredients for this recipe. There are cubbies of canned goods stored away, so naturally I assume what I need is already here…this is what happens when I assume. Go figure. After a manic run to the story, I grabbed the chicken broth and the half and half. And off I went!
For your Grocery List…
~ 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
~ 1/2 cup onion, diced.
~ 1 standard can Cream of Chicken soup
~ 1 standard can of Great Northern Beans
~ 1 standard can Chicken Broth
~ 1 can Mild Green Chiles
~ 1 standard can Creamed Corn (Or regular canned corn if the creamed stuff makes you gag)
~ 1/2 c. half and half
~ 1 1/2 cup, shredded potato.
Dice up all things that need dicing, such as the onion, potato, and the chicken.
Dump all together. Stir.
Set on high and cook for 4 to 5 hours until chicken is cooked through and the dish is bubbling.
Wow, how simple is that on a cold sunny day? It smells good, looks impressive, and technically – it does take you “hours” to make, so when everyone is glowing about your cooking skills, you can legitimately use the “I slaved over a hot stove for hours” line and it counts!
I’m just trying to help you out and get you the credit you deserve. No need to thank me.
Stay warm and enjoy!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
A couple of weeks ago I got together with my cousin Lexi to help her make her Christmas gifts for her friends. On our drive to and from Pullman back in November we talked endlessly about what we could do to make fun, adorably, girly gifts on the cheap. So, in between the T.Swift songs and trying to take breaths from the endless conversation we came up with Sugar Scrub!
Now, I love my Bath and Body Works sugar scrubs, but at 15 bucks a piece I just cringe each time I walk up to the counter. It’s tough to walk by and I just can’t pass them up, they are that wonderful. But when you’re on a budget, you have to find cheap and easy ways to make your dollar stretch a little further. This is it.
The most wonderful thing about this homemade scrub, is that it’s from stuff you’d find around your very own kitchen. Or at least variations of these same things are found in the kitchen. You may or may not have Safflower oil, or Sugar in the Raw, but Olive oil can be substituted for the Safflower if necessary. It really is best to stick with the thick raw sugar as opposed to the regular grain brown sugar which has the molasses and will get more soupy than necessary.
We began here with Sugar in the Raw, Safflower Oil, and Pumpkin Pie Spice.
The proportions for this bad boy are 1 1/2 cups of the raw brown sugar to 1/2 cup of oil. If you have Vitamin E oil, then splash a dash (about 1 tablespoon) into the mix too. With the safflower oil in there, I didn’t think it was necessary to invest in any of the Vit E oil, this stuff feels pretty good as-is.
Don’t forget to add in 1/2 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice in there too before whipping it up and mushing that gloriousness together. I know it sounds like you’re going to walk around smelling like a pumpkin pie, but really it just adds a nice warm comforting smell to the whole thing. Would I steer you wrong?
Clearly in the picture we quadrupled the recipe, this was for Lexi’s friends after all.
I had some extra 8oz canning jars with lids laying around, and since they were on sale I picked up a few quarters of pink quilting fabric to top the lids with. Just like cute little jam jars. And of course they’re pink, it’s so Lexi.
Here is the end result. She said they were a big hit with the friends. I couldn’t be happier to help my cuz.
To make some variations on this, feel free to use lavendar oil in lieu of the pie spice, or slice half a vanilla bean down the center and just stick it in each jar to let it’s juice and goodness seep in.
This is a great basic recipe that you can curtail to you own liking. And if you have a group to make gifts for, this will be friendly to your bank account only costing about 4 dollars each to make. What a hit!
Well, go make some, take a bath, sugar scrub up and enjoy the baby soft skin you’ve been missing.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
After two and a half years, I’m one step closer. Progress has been made, decisions are being put into action.
I’m Getting Married!!
It’s been three days and it’s all still sinking in. There is this gorgeous shiny piece of metal and diamond on my hand, a sweet, wonderful and handsome man in my life and there isn’t much I can say that will really put a tangible or accurate word or expression to what is swimming in my head right now.
For most of you who may or may not know about me and Ben – here it goes. We’ve been dating for two and half years, all long distance. Go figure, we lived in Pullman for years together, didn’t really know eachother, and didn’t start dating until AFTER I left back for the west-side. But it has been nothing short of wonderful.
Bless this man for his patience. Bless this man for his bi-weekly 600 mile roundtrip drive to see me. (Don’t worry we switched of driving duties – I drove plenty too!) Bless this man for his patience in dealing with me!! Whether it’s my impatience, my neurosis, my endless hours in the kitchen, baking projects, picture taking, bad jokes, freak outs, crying sessions, or me falling asleep on the phone after long exhausting days. Bless him.
I just couldn’t be more giddy, thrilled and jumpy over this. We agreed a long time ago that we weren’t going to do a holiday-proposal. No Christmas, New Years, or Valentine’s Day confession of love…just not our style – we deemed it to cliche. But really, when your man is getting down on one knee, it just happens, dates or holidays be darned. And Christmas was when it happened.
So, remember when I said Bless him for his patience with me? Well, apparently I made him crack. I freaked him out. He had a bit of a panic attack. A shut down, little mini freak out session. It wasn’t intentional, but after sitting under the Christmas tree in my (now our) apartment, and opening our gifts he said he had forgotten one part of my gift back in Pullman.
Okay, no big deal. Really! Not a worry on my little furry head.
After posing the question of “when do you want to go back to Pullman?”, it happened…he quieted down, and kinda imploded. What is a girl to do when her hunny just clams up?
I tried to help, get him to talk to me. But oh dear. He promptly got up, stated “I have another gift for you in the pick-up. I didn’t want to give it to you today, but let me go get it.”
Well….it didn’t dawn on me that he was planning anything. We agreed – no proposals on Christmas. So to me, I was in the clear.
So he hurried outside, to presumably get my “other” gift out of the pickup. (Only to find out later, he was texting my Bestie Beka freaking out and needing some reassurance and calming down – she didn’t answer) I got on with my business in the apartment, put in a movie and hunkered down with the pupper until Ben came back inside.
Are you as mad at me now as I should have been with myself for not realizing what was happening?
Once he came back in, he dashed into my room to “wrap” my other gift he didn’t intend to give me. So there I sat, still unknowingly waiting for my fate.
Finally Ben emerged with a bag in hand, handing it over to me and sitting beside me. Gingerly removing the tissue from the bag I whipped out a bottle of blue liquid, jewlery cleaner. Apparently this was something I would be needing?
And then with a look of “confuzzlement”, I stared at him as he got down on one knee, pulled the ACTUAL gift out of his pocket and professed his love. Kinda. It came out more as “I’m sick of the 600 miles of driving just to see you, and I love you so very much I just want to be near you. Megan, will you marry me?”
The further he got into it, the quicker and more “word-vomity” it got.
But hey – now that I had caught up with what was going on, I blurted out “YES” and promptly burst into tears hugging him and blubbering like a fool.
Despite it all going so catastrophically “not according to plan” – it went perfectly.
It may not have been his original plan (going to Pullman to recreate our first date – a picnic in the park), and it might have been on a holiday (something we agreed we’d never do) – it still turned out perfectly for us, full of love and a complete comedy of errors. It’s a calamitous cluster that will make us laugh for years and years to come.
I’m a lucky girl.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Chaos is all around us, thanks to the overwhelming nature of the holiday season. We rejoice in this holiday, relax during those precious days off, and open gifts and be merry with all of our friends and family. But in the days before – chaos is what we are handed.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited about the holiday. Ben is spending it with my crazy-loveable families, and in preparation there has been endless time spent in the kitchen, making last second store runs to get what I had forgotten or run out of and a dog dutifully laying at the edge of the kitchen prepped and ready to pounce on any crumb that fell to the ground.
On any given workday I rise well before the sun comes up and graces God’s green earth with it’s warmth and light…4:20 to be precise. And although I had today off, my mental alarm clock woke me up and refused to relent and let me fall back asleep. An hour later, I gave up, got up and got ready for the day. By 6 am the oven was on, the mixer was working it’s little motor out and I was creating disasters…
My cashew crusted eggnog cheesecake turned to soup in the pan, because the hot water bath it was supposed to sit in was not as water tight as it should have been. The red velvet cakes are hard on the edges, the mousse for the red velvet cakes is not smooth, the icing is too thin, and I”m not currently as we speak baking the second eggnog cheesecake in hopes that ONE thing today will go right…
I don’t ask for much this Christmas season, good will towards men, blessings for everyone and for my Baking to turn out properly!! Give me serenity, Please?! Or, a really strong drink.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I really sounds like I’m knocking a bunch of ginger kids right now, but my reference is actually to Gingerbread men/women/persons/etc. Now it has actually taken me quite a while to get to this post, seeing as the actual event happened about two weeks ago… oh well life happens.
There was plenty of good junk food to thrown up on those ginger-houses. Between every kind of candy made in red and green, there were six tubs of frosting, three boxes of graham crackers, spice drops, spatulas, boards and decorating tools. We were ready to get down and dirty!
Beka and Kandace had the brilliant idea of using waffle cones as trees. Brilliant I say! Of course I followed suit and did a couple myself too.
In between the decorating Ms. K whipped up the most delicious batch of homemade mac and cheese. I’m pretty sure I went back for a third spoonful. There may be some covert planning in my future to hijack this recipe… Or I have Ms. Ree’s in my cupboard cookbook, it’ll hold me over for now.
But while she was making said mac and cheese, and attempting to let her poor graham cracker two story house dry, it toppled like a house on a SoCal fault line.
Luckily enough all the houses stayed put after some heavy reinforcement that is. This is a time when I’m glad that I work construction. These were a feat of enginerd marvel. Yup, I said engi-nerd.
This was the final result. Sugar and frosting everywhere, but one beautimus house in the end.
Not a bad way to wave in the holiday season and a wicked twitchy sugar high…with a side of Type 2 diabetes.
The things we do for imaginary gingermen.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Okay, well it’s not me doing the giveaway this time – it’s PW, HP and the BlogHer Network!
Head over to The Pioneer Woman’s website (I do frequently throughout the day) and take a gander around. Today you’ll find several fantastical (yup, it’s a word – look it up. On second thought don’t do that…) giveaways, for Kitchen Aid’s, HP Printers and a Wusthoff knife set on Tasty Kitchen.
Gah, talk about having a major case of the SPS – Self Purchase Syndrome. Or I guess this could be modified to GTS- Gimme That Stuff syndrome. Both of which I’m entirely sure exist.
So to complete my entry, I’m shouting out right here on Wanna Be A Country Cleaver, my baking for the holidays will include an Eggnog Cheesecake with Cashew crust and a Peppermint Red Velvet Cake.
Oi Vie, I need my fat pants – STAT!!
Happy Holidays all and good luck!!