Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What I've Been Up To (This One's For You Mom)!

What have I been up to? A lot. Not much. Trying to make it out here in this hard-knock life............or not. I've really just been getting settled into my new city with The Mustache. Enjoying the scenery along the way.

There's not much to do when you're on a super tight budget, and you live in a 400 square foot studio apartment. That's right!

400. Square. Feet.

Have any ideas? I usually like to start my day by staring at my Mustache man until he gets tired of it and tells me to get a life. Next, I'll make us some lunch, followed by a brisk run around our gigantic apartment. Gotta keep the heart rate up, you know?! Then my sweet little mom, or my cute little dad will usually call me. We'll talk for a little while. After our afternoon conversation, I always try to go on the computer for at least a few hours and pretend like I'm doing something.................anything. But seriously, how many times can you read and re-read "Mary's" facebook status?! Maybe one day I'll find out. I hope my boredom doesn't come to that though.

But I really appreciate being home with my Mustache Man. In the middle of the night, I get to stare at his cute little face while he's sleeping. I really should get a life though. The other morning, I counted the moles on the left side of his face while he was sound asleep. I suggest every couple live in a teeny tiny studio apartment together during some point in their marriage. You'll learn all kinds of new and interesting, good and bad things about your spouse. Once we get our lives settled, and have a place to officially call home, I promise I will fill my days with much more interesting and important tasks. Like starting a charity organization that I have in mind. But more on that later.

But for now, when The Mustache isn't working on his business, we enjoy sitting outside watching the waves. This activity is free and oh so relaxing. I haven't seen the beach since I lived in Hawaii. This was my first step on sand in years.....and I loved it.

The farmer's market here has a mini-carnival. You won't catch us on any of the rides though. I asked The Mustache if he wanted to go on a kiddy ride and he looked at me like I was crazy. He said, "What?! You want the 'Stomach Man' and the 'Headache Girl' to go on a ride"? He was right. For a split second I forgot that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING upsets his stomach. And ANYTHING and EVERYTHING gives me a headache. I couldn't even ride the merry-go-round as a child without feeling horrible afterwards. Seriously. It sucks.

So instead of doing something that would potentially make us vomit.....we watched everyone else get on the rides. And then we went home and played UNO! Ah yes...the wild and crazy life of two young newly-weds.

We also, love to feed the pretty ducks that live in the pond next to our apartment. Reminds me of the time when my brother ran for his life when he was being chased by a duck (in his defense he was probably 3 years old)! Don't worry baby'll get your revenge.
No new recipes yet. My kitchen counter space is the size of a medium sized cutting board. I'm not joking! So unless I want to chop onions and garlic for a lamb stew on my bed....I'll be sticking to the easy meals. Hmmm....maybe I'll buy a an Easy Bake Oven, so I can get really creative in the kitchen. I do have some creative ways to cook ramen noodles. If anyone would like to know.

Well parents, that's what I've been up to. Until next time...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Everything I need

I am sitting at home with my husband, parents, and brother. And I have everything that I need.

Sitting right here, on my parents beautiful deck. I could turn my phone off because I don't feel the need to talk to anyone else. Lose my car keys, because I don't feel the need to go anywhere else. Just enjoying my family. Nature. Life. Trying to always remember what God has given me.

My husband and I should be leaving soon to start the new chapter in our lives....together. It feels so great. Scary. Exciting.

I hope the apartment we get has good light so that I can return to taking pictures of food. But for now, family and nature have been pretty good muses. Don't you think? My parents have the most beautiful back yard.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Happy 52nd birthday "Pops". I hope you have 52 more!!!!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

New beginnings

I haven't posted on here for a while, but I have a great excuse.


Yes. I got married on August 18th to the love of my life and I couldn't be happier. We went on a wonderful vacation full of clear skies, sparkling blue ocean, plenty of sunshine.

We're in the midst of planning a big move, so I am unable to cook and photograph as often as I'd like. I've cooked some good food over the past few days though. Fresh fettuccine with seared scallops, clams, and herbs...Cajun-Style Shrimp and Spicy Chicken Sausage over creamy grits with fresh corn-on-the-cob...Mussels cooked in a sauce with garlic, shallots, and lemon zest. Lots of fresh salad.

I wish I could have taken pictures and shared them. I really miss blogging and hope to return to it very soon. But until then.

Here's to new beginnings!!

Until next time...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July DK Challenge: Sweet Corn Soup w/Homemade Dumplings

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for SpƤtzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

So I've finally had the time to do another Daring Kitchen Challenge. We had to make homemade pasta, without a machine, and use a recipe from our cultural background.

Here's the thing.

I traveled my entire life growing up, so I come from a little bit of everywhere, you know? But since I was born in Germany, I decided to make Spatzle, a very common German pasta. The technique that Step from Stephfood used is slightly different than the way I am used to making it. When I've made it, the dough is not extremely thick, because it has to be thin enough to push through a colander or some sort, to make a bunch of very small noodles. In Steph's demonstration, she made big dumpling-like Spatzle.

This was very interesting to me, so I decided to try it her way. I just mixed some eggs with cream and herbs, and slowly whisked in the flour. I was not sure exactly what the consistency should have been like, so I winged it. I put the dough on my cutting board, added a little flour, and kneaded it a little bit until it was a fluffy white pillowy ball of dough. At this point I decided that I had veered from a traditional Spatzle, so I decided to call them dumplings instead.

I cut my do in half and rolled each half it into a log, and cut the log into chunks. Boiled them for about 15 minutes and VOILA. Homemade/Handmade Spatz....oops, I mean Dumplings! I made a very quick and delicious Creamy Sweet Corn Soup and put the dumplings in the soup. Let me know if you would like the recipe for the Soup (it's very basic, stock, cream, s/p, herbs, corn, seasonings).

This dumpling and soup recipe would be excellent topped with left-over shredded chicken.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm Sick

I haven't written in here for a while. It's because I'm sick :(. I have Strep Throat and had to get a horrible shot on my bum. YIKES!

I had to drive home on one butt cheek because the other side hurt so much.

Anyways, I'm feeling better and hope to write a new blog post for Daring Kitchen this week.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pineapple-Ginger Cake, and The Golden Hour

I have recently discovered the beauty of the "Golden Hour", and I must say, it is quite......beautiful!

I see the sun during these times every single day, but for some reason seeing this gorgeous golden tint in a photograph makes me appreciate it much more . I always thought that photographers used special editing software to achieve a beautiful golden hue in their photos, but now I know the secret.

The Golden Hour.

This lovely golden sunlight put me in the best of moods. So good a mood that I actually decided to bake a cake. Yes. BAKE A CAKE. If you hadn't noticed, I have never included many, if not any, dessert recipes in this blog. This is not an accident.

I hate baking. I hate measuring, and with baking I feel like I have to measure everything exactly right, or else the entire dessert will be a catastrophe. But I figured that I needed to have at least one go-to cake recipe, you know?!

This recipe is actually an Olive Oil Cake recipe. I tried it with olive oil, and decided that I'm not too fond of the savory-sweet combination of this type of cake. I'm sorry to all of the Olive Oil Cake lovers out there. Please don't hate me!

So this time, instead of using olive oil, I used coconut oil. Coconut oil is a misunderstood oil. Many people think it is bad for you, but it is actually a great oil to include in your diet, and even in your skincare & haircare routine. So if you ever want to cook with a healthy oil, but you're tired of olive oil....try coconut oil.

I made a strawberry-pineapple-ginger sauce to go with the cake. Delicious!

Pineapple-Ginger Cake

1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot
1 cup pineapple, roughly chopped
a pinch of salt
1 cake pan, loaf pan, baking pan, whatever you have
1/2 tablespoon butter to grease baking pan

Strawberry-Pineapple-Ginger Sauce

1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup strawberries, pureed
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease your baking pan. In one bowl, mix sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk, and ginger. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

Whisk in the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Add the coconut oil. Fold in pineapple

Add cake batter to the greased pan. Bake in oven for about 1 hour. Serve with Strawberry Sauce and whipped cream.

Strawberry Sauce:

Heat a pan on medium heat. Add honey. Cook honey about 1 minute and add pineapple juice and strawberry puree. Add ginger.

Cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Sauce will thicken more as it cools.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lamb and Lentil Stew

Hello everyone, I hope all is well. It's 6 in the morning and I've been up all night. I just cannot sleep for some reason.

So I decided to write.

I feel like everyone should blog. It's a good know what I mean. Even if no one reads your posts.

It's very therapeutic.

I am really loving food photography. Actually, I'm really loving photography. Not just taking pictures of food.

Taking pictures of nature.

I saw the strangest looking bird in my backyard the other day. I tried to take a picture of it, but it saw me getting closer and flew away. I think I need one of those zoom lenses, so I can take pictures of things from far away.

It's really fun learning how to use my new DSLR.

It's also fun going to the farmers market without a grocery list. I did this the other day. I just walked around and looked at what was good. This is rare for me. Usually, I will type up a list in my Blackberry. Then I get to the farmers market before they open, sit in my car and go over my list. I buy everything on my list, and maybe 1 or 2 other things.

But this time, I just went with the flow. I felt like such a grocery-shopping rebel! Going to the store without a list. Yes, I know I'm weird.

I bought some local honey, organic rolled oats (for more granola!), mustard greens, freshly baked pita bread (made at the farmers market), red lentils, and lamb.

And then I went home and made a beautiful lamb and lentil stew, and ate it with the delicious pita bread.

It is a hearty, healthy, and tasty stew that even my 20 year old brother loved....and it was his first time eating lamb. You know how picky young people can be (although I'm not much older!), so I was excited that he tried the stew and enjoyed it. I hope you try.

Lamb and Lentil Stew
serves 4-6

2 pounds of lamb stew meat, with bone or without bone
2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 lemons, zest and juice
1 orange, zest and juice
2 tablespoons curry powder
10 allspice
1 tablespoon ginger powder
5 sprigs thyme
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 bunch mustard greens, cleaned and chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 Basil leaves and 3 mint leaves, chopped (optional)

Season lamb with pepper and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Marinate overnight, or at least 1 hour.

Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add oil. Cook lamb until brown on all sides. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add orange and lemon zest, and thyme. Cook 2 more minutes.

Add remaining curry powder, allspice, ginger powder, salt and pepper, lemon juice, orange juice, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours, until lamb is very tender.

Add lentils and mustard greens. Cook 20-30 more minutes. Turn off the heat and add herbs is using. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Oats, Spiced-Almond Milk, and Spring!

I absolutely love spring. I wish it could be spring forever. When I lived in was! Ah, the good ole' days. I never realized how spoiled I was over there....until we moved to back to the mainland.

The only negative thing about Spring is when these little buggers come out.

I don't know what it is about Spring that puts everyone in "eat healthy mode", but I've jumped on the health train.

Now, I don't eat many unhealthy foods to begin with.....but I've also never made homemade granola and almond milk either. So this extra healthy stuff is new to me! Oats have so many health benefits that I could never go over all of them on my blog.

I think most of us know that we should all try to add oats to our diet. I, not being a big oatmeal fan, had to find different ways to eat this healthy food. Luckily, I have discovered two new ways to do eat oats. to me, at least.

The first being granola. If I had known all these years how easy it is to make granola, I would have started making it ages ago. Sorry Bear Naked, you are delicious, but I've found someone else....and his name is homemade granola. I hope we can still be friends.

Actually, I have a little confession. Granola is easy to make, but I messed it up the first go 'round. Here's a NOT add too much brown sugar or honey. The first time I made it, I added more than the recipe called for (thinking, honey never hurt anybody), and the honey and brown sugar burned. It wasn't pretty guys.

Can you guess where these ended up?

The other way I love to eat oats is muesli. Muesli is a dish made of uncooked oats that are soaked in a flavorful liquid, such as apple juice, or any fruit juice. I soak mine in milk. It comes out so creamy and delicious. I add peanut butter, honey, dried fruit, and nuts just before serving. Now there have been many debates over what exactly can be called muesli, so if this is not the authentic kind then I am sorry. I don't know what else to call it. Uncooked Oats Soaked in Milk just sounds.....gross.

The almond milk is good, but takes some getting used to. Do not expect it to taste like milk, or even like the Almond Milk you buy at the grocery store.

I added dates to my almond milk for natural sweetness. I also heated it up in a pan for 5 minutes, turned off the heat and added cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. I let this steep for a delicious Spiced Almond Milk, made from scratch and oh so much cheaper than the processed store-bought stuff. If you are into the whole "raw food" thing, then just skip the heating.


Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds, skins on
2-3 cups filtered water, this varys person to person

Soak the almonds in water (not the filtered water, but plain tap water) overnight.

In a blender, blend soaked almonds along with filtered water until mixed thoroughly. Liquid will become white. At this point you can add 3-4 pitted dates if you like sweet almond milk. Blend the dates for a few seconds.

Strain using a Nutmilk bag. I didn't have one, so I used a colander. It is not as good as a nutmilk bag, and I will probably buy one for next time, but a colander gets the job done.

There you have it! Fresh Almond Milk.


3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sliced almonds, or any other nut
1/4 cup sesame seeds, or any other seed/nut
1/3 cup flax seeds (optional, but very healthy)
1/4 cup honey
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
a dash of salt
dried fruit

Preheat oven to 320 F. Mix honey and brown sugar in a large bowl . Add oats, and whatever nuts and seeds you like. Mix thoroughly, making sure all of the granola is covered with the honey/brown sugar mixture. Season with a little bit of salt. This will help bring out the sweetness, believe it or not!

Pour onto a greased baking pan. Spread out evenly. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown.

After you take it out of the oven, add the dried fruit (however much you want). Spread granola back out on the baking pan and let cool. Break the granola up and eat with yogurt, cold milk, or plain.


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