Category Archives: Cooking

Gimme a Q…

quinoa1As a pescetarian, I need to find foods that are high in protein.  One of the best kept secrets is quinoa – I wrote about it a while ago here.  Currently, I don’t really follow any fancy recipes to make it – I use it in place of rice or a starch of sorts.

I Tweeted the other night that I was eating it and got so many comments and questions on what my recipe is to make it… so here it is:

Ting’s Super Easy Quinoa Recipe

1 c dried quinoa (can be purchased in bulk  aisle at Whole Foods)

1 c veggie broth (I guess if you are not a pescetarian you can use chicken broth)

1 1/2 c water

Combine in a small pan.  Simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender (20 – 30 mins).

Eat!

That is is – so simple yet tasty and very good for you.  Yarbs clued me in (I guess Rachel Ray clued her in) that any sort of grains will taste much better if you use veggie broth to cook them in instead of just plain water.  So I will sometimes use veggie broth to cook brown rice – yummy as well.

Go forth and eat quinoa!

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Sweets

Anyone who knows me knows that I love sweets! and sugar! and I enjoy baking, but sometimes it doesn’t quite as planned…

Earlier in the week, I had found a recipe for cinnamon rolls that looked fairly easy and good. Well, I decided I should try to make the iced cinnamon rolls a bit “healthier” and use half wheat and half white flour. Bad idea – if you are going to make cinnamon rolls, just do it all the way and make them with 100% white flour.

img_2356Here is how they looked before I baked them. Not too shabby, but when I was kneeding the dough, it was not soft and lovely to work with, it was rather stiff and hard! I guess that is what the wheat flour brings to the table.

img_2358And here they are after – they look basically the same, just with some icing (which was quite tasty) on top. They were kinda like little cinnamon roll pucks – not really soft, per se. Boom was a good sport and ate 2 of them (as did I) but I guess we were also pretty hungry.

Last night I made some brownies (from a box) and made myself a brownie banana sundae!

img_2366Under all that whipped cream is a banana and warm brownie – yummy! People who have cut sugar out of their diet have way more will power than me. And no-sugar diets are a sure-fail with me. I think Yarbs is trying not to have sugar as part of her pre – PV (Puerto Vallarta) diet. I think that could kill me, or at least cause me to do bodily harm to myself or some unfortunate bystander. Maybe someday, but I doubt it!

More Martha Book Signing

03-me-in-line-with-a-book-for-ting-and-one-for-me Here’s My Pal Al with our books – waiting in line…

01-the-line-outside-wrapped-around Look at the line!  Martha is loved by so many!!!

img_6979 Oh, the anticipation…

09-ms-signing-other-peoples-books There she is!  Looking exactly like she does on TV and in her magazine.

img_6982 And here’s Al!!! Meeting Martha!!!  So exciting!!!  And Al said she was very nice and wished her well on her new marriage.

So glad Al was able to go so that I could live vicariously through her photos!

A little bit of New England in H-town

Last night, we had a celebratory dinner for me.  and Boom – the most excellent hubby – made us baked stuffed lobster for dinner!  The lobsters were so delicious – Boom did a fabulous job!

This is a recipe of Boom’s mom’s – usually when we go up there she will make us baked stuffed lobster one night.  This was Boom’s first attempt to make the lobsters on his own – and it was a highly successful venture!  The only part of the lobster that gets boiled are the big claws – so those have to get taken off and put into the pot for not too long – like 5 minutes.  Then the body of the lobster is opened up from top to tail – and the meat is taken from inside the claws and stuffed into the body.  Then a stuffing with red peppers, onions and scallops is put on top of the entire lobster – to help keep everything moist.  Then into the oven for 20 minutes and then the baked stuffed lobsters are ready!  Not too difficult – but kind of a lot of time consuming steps.

So why the celebratory dinner?  Well, I am now gainfully employed!  Full time!  Yes, it will likely be a shock to my system and definitely a shock to Ruby, but I am really excited.  I start tomorrow (gasp!).  I will be working for a local performing arts non-profit in the Development department.  I am looking forward to learning a lot and meeting lots of new folks.  I decided that I wanted to take the development track (as opposed to Marketing or Events) in non-profits, ’cause that is such a big, important part of ALL non-profits.  Maybe someday I’ll become the Executive Director for a non-profit, and a big part of that role would be fundraising.  I have been involved in development for non-profits for years – just on the volunteer side.  So it will be really great to see the other side.  That will really help to round out my development experience.

Big changes!  An exciting new chapter in my life.  And Boom has been nothing but supportive – even though it means the House Mouse won’t have much time to do house mouse activities (which is very nice for me, the House Mouse).  I think I will just need to be more organized and plan better to maximize our weekend time.  I often times find I am more efficient and productive when I have limited time – when I have lots of time, I can always put things off until tomorrow.  So I think this will be good for me on many levels.

The worst part about being gainfully employed is that Craft Monday will go away (boo!).  And I won’t get to see Yarbs on a (nearly) daily basis for lunch.  Which totally stinks, but we had a good run.  And I think we will start doing Craft Sunday Afternoons.  Poor Ruby – my working will really be a shock to her system.  And I am sure she will miss seeing Yarbs as well.  Ruby is resilient, and will be just fine, I am sure.

Wish me good luck tomorrow!

Reflections on Baking (maybe I’m a little bit of an edjeet)

Growing up, Marm was a very busy enginerd-type professional. Work kept her busy and also she and Dad were always off doing something – playing tennis, yoga, working out, taking dance classes, out with friends, etc. I remember when my friends would spend the night, and my parents would be out later / doing many more things than us! And my friends always commented on how much busier Marm and Dad were than we were.

So Marm was never one to bake (she also is very physically fit and slender, so she didn’t want us to get to fat eating a ton of sweets, which is a good thing). I was never the kid in grade school who’s mom brought in cupcakes for her birthday (not to mention that my birthday was in June, so I was always out of school by the time the actual day rolled around). I think maybe that is why I enjoy baking now (or maybe it is just because I like to eat the end product, and that end product has more staying power than just cooking dinner).

I made a dozen Banana-Chocolate chip muffins earlier in the week and now there are only 3 left! Yarbs ate one, and the other 8 are in my belly (over a few days, not all at one time). I really like these puppies – they are hardy, but still sweet (but not too too sweet).

Anyway, when I was baking, I was thinking about my baking path. I think I was in the first grade, with my sister at her friends house (back when we lived in Charlottesville), and the friends mom had made brownies, from scratch. I didn’t know what that meant – I didn’t know until that exact moment that you could make brownies not from a box! That brownies could be made with flour and cocoa powder, etc. It really threw me for a loop.

Another good one was the first time I had ever used a spatula. A SPATULA. It was my SECOND YEAR IN COLLEGE! We didn’t own a spatula in my household. I had seen them before, but didn’t really know what they were used for – and the first time I used one, it was awesome! It was so easy to get every last bit of batter (I was likely making brownies from a box) off of the bowl and into the pan. I had never experienced such a thing!

It was not until my third year in college that I learned that you could make pancakes from scratch as well. It never dawned on me that pancakes could be made from anything but pancake mix. (My roomie, KK, that I lived with all 4 years in college liked to cook a bake, so I learned much from her.)

After I graduated from college, my good friend – Ward – and I made brownies (from a box) to bring to a party. We used 2 boxes of brownie mix in one large pan, as we wanted to bring enough brownies. However, we failed to double the baking time, so the brownies were totally raw and the pan weighed about 20 pounds.

Now if only I could make some more strides with my cooking (of dinners and the such)…

Miscellenous

Yesterday, and today, the Latins have been in prepping the downstairs and upstairs built-ins for painting.  They seem perfectly nice, but they love to blare their Spanish music, and most songs have a frenzied beat, so drives me a little crazy!  I have resorted to playing my music from the computer when I am on the computer (I broke the plug for my laptop, so need to get a new one, but am stuck in the house when the workers are here) in an effort to drown out their music / radio stations.  I will be really glad when they are all done!  And it will make our house seem that much more done, which is great.  Just a few more days…

Last night I made a Tuna pasta dish.  It was really good!  Kinda surprising, since tuna dishes always remind me of something a ’50s housewife would make when they ran out of grocery money.  Anyway, the recipe called for peas and 2% milk.  Since I hate peas, I subbed edaname and since we don’t drink 2% milk, I used skim.

It also called for a chili garlic sauce that I could not find at Whole Foods (and the recipe was not very specific), so I just used chopped garlic and red pepper flakes – YUM!   Recently I have been really into using red pepper flakes – it adds just a bit of heat and interest.

I have been super tired lately.  Suspect it is due to getting up at 5am – so today I skipped Seals and slept in until 7am.  It was lovely.  I am such a wimp these days – back in RIC, I would get up everyday at 5am and never really think about skipping Seals.  I need to go to yoga tonight (would normally go today at 930, but can’t with the workers) and Boom and I also need to hit some balls, as our tennis lesson is tomorrow.  Too many things!

Dindin

Last night I used a recipe I used last week to make sea bass on a piece of halibut. It was quite delicious! Baked, with garlic and ginger and soy sauce and sesame oil (sesame oil makes most everything very yummy!), in tin foil, so clean up is pretty easy.

I also sauted some spinach with garlic and red pepper flakes (for a little heat!) and made some risotto (from a box) and surprisingly, to me at least, the risotto took the longest time to prepare.

So we had a really nice meal at home last night. Boom had called and offered to take me out to eat, but I had just paid 200 bones for groceries, so we really need to eat it all up!

I am realizing cooking is not that hard – as long as you choose easy recipes to make and do a little prep work in advance (ie having all the ingredients you need). And although I do enjoying dining out, eating in definitely has it’s advantages: 1) you know what is going into the meal (sometimes eating out is way too greasy or fattening or heavy), 2) it is on your schedule (since dining out is usually a production, I feel like we do more with our time when we eat in), and 3) it is a good cost saving measure (I guess also not buying all of our groceries at Whole Foods could also be a cost saving measure, but I am not willing to go there yet).

Maybe one day I’ll actually enjoy it – at least I don’t loath cooking.