Monthly Archives: August 2012

Holy Fried Green Tomatoes Batman!

I’d like to start off by thanking M PROFUSELY for my birthday poem (I can’t believe she wrote that!) and for the mile-high cheesecake! It looked beautiful, and I bet it tasted even better than it looked!

Oh, and clearly someone is going through old family photos. Wow. 😉

I’m sure you all saw the canvas photo transfer challenge I gave M a few weeks ago, and saw how fabulously it turned out! Not gonna lie, I was super impressed. Now it’s my turn. M told me that my challenge was going to involve a recipe and I immediately got a little nervous. Cooking doesn’t usually make me nervous but M is much braver than I am in the kitchen. She always tells me about peanut oil, peanut powder (?), and coconut milk and I’m like ‘Ummm, I’m happy if I get dinner on the table, I’m stickin to what I know.’ HOWEVER. When she said I had to make fried green tomatoes, I got suuuper excited. Have you all seen the movie? I love it. It’s a must-see. It’s right up there with Steel Magnolias. For those of you who’ve seen Fried Green Tomatoes, M and I have always been taken in by the crunch noise Ninny makes when she bites into a fried green tomato- it just sounds delicious. I totally replicated that noise when I tasted mine. It was life-changing.

The thing that’s wonderful about the recipe I followed was that I had most of the ingredients in the pantry already, so it is a relatively cheap dish! The one snag that I did hit that I hope doesn’t disappoint too greatly is that I could not find green tomatoes. I know, right? I was bummed, but I made do! I got very firm Heirloom tomatoes instead and carried on! (that phrase seems to be popular right now…Keep Calm and Buy Heirloom Tomatoes…haha) p.s. I didn’t even know what exactly green tomatoes were until my mom told me- just unripe red tomatoes. Sounds kind of self-explanatory, but I wasn’t sure if they were another type of tomato or what!

First I cut up the tomatoes in half inch slices…..

…..approximately lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

just LOOK at those babies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprinkled the tomatoes with salt and let them set while I mixed the dry goods….

Top left is the flour/Cajun seasoning mixture, top right is the milk/egg mixture, and bottom is the corn meal/breadcrumb mixture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I got the vegetable oil heating in the frying pan on medium high, and started coating the tomatoes! (I only cooked three at a time, and I coated each tomato individually right before throwing it in the pan). First the flour mixture on both sides, then the milk mixture, then the bread crumbs.  **key point!! I ALWAYS get ahead of myself and throw food in a semi-hot frying pan. I held back, and listened to Chef Robert (from Restaurant Impossible, love him.). “Do not put food in a warm frying pan! It. Doesn’t. Work!’

Tossing these things in the pan made the most delicious hissssss….

Those bubbles made a yummy noise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….aaaaand FLIP!

LOOK at that COLOR!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

….aaaaand take them out! I laid them on paper towel to absorb excess oil….and bit into it while it was still piping hot. It was so worth it. I did let it cool for a minute, but honestly, you want to eat it hot out of the pan. You get that crunch of the crust, then the hot, fresh tomato…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy patootie, people. It tasted phenomenal.

I will be making this as a side dish quite often, I think. They took no more than 20 minutes and they are really really good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end.

THANKS M!!!!

-K

Fried Green Tomatoes

3 large green (or heirloom!) tomatoes

salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning (the recipe says it’s optional, but I really advise you use it!)

1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk)

1 egg

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup fine plain breadcrumbs (I only had Italian, and they tasted great!)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Cut the tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt. Let tomato slices stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place in separate shallow bowls: the flour and Cajun seasoning, buttermilk and egg, and bread crumbs and cornmeal.

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then buttermilk-egg mixture, then the cornmeal-bread crumb mix. In the skillet, fry half of the coated tomato slices at a time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown. Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain. EAT THEM ALL. Seriously. I did share, but there are no leftovers 🙂

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Mile High New York Cheesecake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I LOVE cheesecake. I love the cheesecake factory. K loves cheesecake flavored ice cream. (M needs the real thing, not just flavored ice cream). I love pretty much any flavor of cheesecake. But you know what my favorite is?


Just. Plain. Old. New Yahwk!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(As you can see, I burned the top of mine a wee bit. Forgive me. Still tastes good.)

Maybe I love it because I only really get it once or twice a year. And I maaaybe make it once a year, because it’s hard to share and then we end up eating the whole thing and all my hard work at the gym goes down the tube and my pants don’t fit. Know what I mean? Just look at how tall this cake is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyways, I mentioned this cheesecake yesterday in my post for K’s birthday, and didn’t want to leave you hangin’ TOO long for the recipe. For me, and possibly some of you, cheesecake is a little daunting to make- especially a reaallly good one. There’s all this hullaballoo about baking it in a water bath…. and changing the temperature throughout the baking process like 3 times…. and using one of those take-apart special pans…. yada yada yada.

You do have to do that stuff, (minus the water bath for this baby) but its really nothing to worry about, given that your results will be wonderfully creamy, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious cheesecake that tastes like the ever popular Cheesecake Factory goodness. It is sooo worth it.

So K didn’t want to order anything special for her birthday ‘cake’ from me, so our little sister “L” and I decided to go ahead and cheesecake it. And cheesecake it, we did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re talking 5 packages of cream cheese here.

Quick little side note for all ya’ll- the reason lots of recipes suggest baking your cheesecake in a water bath is to prevent the ever notorious ‘cracking’ from happening. I did a water bath for the first cheesecake I made (last year) and it worked!! No crack across the top and it was gorgeous to behold. Some of the water did leak through the pan and soggified my crust a weensy bit but it wasn’t noticeable except by my ‘expert’ and critical eye. I opted NOT to do a water bath this time because it makes the recipe juuuust a little more time consuming and difficult- PLUS the cheesecake will taste equally as good with or without a cosmetic scar. (Why do all my baking endeavors have facial issues???)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyways, here’s the recipe, adapted from yet another one of my favorite blogs. I changed around a few things but both recipes are bomb-diggity.  Would you judge me if I had a piece for breakfast the other day? For K, of course…. 😉

Here’s the recipe!

Enjoy!

~M

P.S. here’s another picture of K when she was little- just for kicks 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mile High New York Cheesecake  

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

serves 12-15 people

Ingredients for VERY tall cheesecake filling

5 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 TBS all purpose flour

5 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp vanilla

Ingredients for crumb crust

8 ounces (about 15 sheets of graham crackers) finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers

8 TBS (1 stick) unsalted butter (I used regular salted butter- no biggie, just don’t add as much salt later)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt (if using salted butter, omit this or add 1/8 tsp salt)

 

Directions

Make crumb crust

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides of a buttered springform pan. You can fill it right away but I popped mine into the freezer so it quickly set while I made the filling.

Make very tall cheesecake filling

Preheat oven to 550 degrees**. Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl between additions; I cannot stress this enough as if you do not, you’ll end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese (ew).

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips). Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and bake in the baking pan in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. (***Mine got burned here!! So keep a close eye on it!!***) As soon as it is puffed, reduce the oven heat down to 200 degrees and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken)about one hour more.

Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform pan on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, about 6 hours.

 

 

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Happy Birthday K!!

Good morning! As some of you might know, it was K’s 25th birthday yesterday- I can hardly believe my big sister is already 25! I didn’t get to post yesterday because I had to work, but here is her special birthday post from me, one day late. Enjoy this awfully embarrassing  loving poem I wrote for her, as well as a little ‘picture’ walk down memory lane!

P.S. Cross your fingers for us!! I asked K what she wanted for her birthday and she said she wanted a mini food processor. LO AND BEHOLD, one of my favorite bloggers is having a giveaway (that started on K’s BIRTHDAY) for a 13-cup KitchenAid food processor!! I’m not superstitious, but I’m pretty sure that it’s a sign K’s going to get it. We both entered to win, and we’ll find out Thursday who won… so… just cross your fingers!!

Ode to Kaitlin Faye, on her 25th ‘birthdaye’

There once was a gal named Kaitlin Faye

who grew up loving to laugh and play.

Her auburn curls were the envy of her younger sister,

who had a bowl-cut, and was convinced only her mother would ever kiss her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaitlin was responsible for keeping us all in line,

even when all we’d do was fight and whine.

She rarely got angry, and just patted our heads,

saying- “If you two don’t stop fighting, in Barbies, you’ll play KEN!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She was our fiercest protector,

everyone knew this, if they had met her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Kaitlin was gracious and kind to all,

either young or old, big or small.

as she grew up, her character blossomed, and so did she!

Growing into a woman whom all would hope to be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She loves the Lord and works hard daily,

wearing a smile for all, especially Israelis! (sorry couldn’t find a better rhyming word)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With each year passing, it has come to my attention

that Katie grows sweeter and stronger, and funnier, not to mention!

Her twenty fourth year has come to a close,

and now she’s the big 2-5! Man, how that number grows! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie, I love ya dearly and I know I speak for all,

that you are an amazing sister, wife, daughter and friend, no matter how un-tall!

Thanks for being my best friend, my sister, my confidante-

with a sis like you, what else could I want?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s to number 25!

May it bring blessings to you, with none to hide-

make this one count, as you did all the rest

remembering that to me, you’re the BEST!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love,

M

P.S. For your birthday I made you a New York Cheesecake! It’s like 5 inches tall and I had a slice for you for breakfast. Happy Birthday!!!

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Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is probably my favorite snack to have on hand. At all times. Just writing about it now makes me want to hop back in the kitchen and whip it up… but seeing as we have 3/4 of a cheesecake in our fridge right now, maybe I’ll hold off on that idea for now.

For now….

Meanwhile I’ll just talk about how much I love this cake! The title of the recipe is a mouthful, but once you bite into it, you’ll see why the long title is such a GOOD mouthful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Eat Live Run. What’s kind of funny is that I had the SAME issue that she did when she blogged about it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My poor snackie cake didn’t want to come out of the pan. (By the way, it’s kind of a rule of mine that whenever I bake with chocolate chips, I always add oh, about a cup more than the recipe calls for. Sorry I’m not sorry!!)

Luckily, I have had to do facial reconstruction surgery on a cake before…. remember? So I was more than prepared for this little mishap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to see muuuch better pictures, head over to Jenna’s website! It’s kind of funny the similarities that we had in our baking experience.

So the reconstructive surgery that I had to do on this cake made it a little difficult to cut into nice slices… also maybe the fact that I cut it while it was still piping hot. I couldn’t wait, ok!? I ended up cutting each slice in half and put them in little baggies… and right into the freezer.

Is it weird that I think the best way to eat this cake is while its frozen? Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it! It’s great warm too, but there’s something just so exciting about knowing that you have as long as you want to enjoy this little loaf cake… whereas it might be dangerous to leave on the counter all the time. But hey, either way is juuust fine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the recipe!! Don’t forget to check out Eat, Live, Run– she has tons of recipes I use all the time and she’s super fun to read!

 

Enjoy!

 

~M

 

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

serves one. Just kidding. Serves however many you want to share with!

Ingredients

2 cups pastry flour ( I used whole wheat pastry flour, I’ve never tried this recipe with regular AP flour so I can’t vouch for the turnout)

1.5 cups packed dark brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, soft

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (up to you on the choc chip ratio!)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325.

In a medium sized bowl, combine your flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream together your soft butter and brown sugar. When it’s light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time (being careful not to get the shells in the butter!) and then the vanilla. Beat until creamy and well combined.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat only until incorporated. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Spread batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 75-90 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when stuck in the middle. The top of the cake will get quite dark…this is normal. Let cool in the pan for ten 30-40 minutes before turning out and serving.

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Quick Craft! Words on Canvas

Ohh man, busy-ness is totally taking over my  life! I can’t wait til I’m all settled in the school/work mode and am able to figure out how to manage my time best. My crafting time is seriously lacking right now, and it makes me sad. However, on a happy note, I am getting much better at cooking dinner nearly every night and doing it HEALTHILY. 🙂 M is giving me awesome tips right now on how to cook for a husband who enjoys meat and potatoes (every night!) but still making meals that are healthy and yummy for those of us who cannot drop 5 pounds just by thinking about it (why are men like this?! Who came up with that?!) and also some tips on fitting exercise into a busy week without getting burnt out. So far, I’m very excited about all these changes and am still trying to work out this new schedule 😉 So, thanks M!

So, for a last hurrah on crafts now that school has started, I tried a combination of crafts that I saw on Pinterest here and here. I am currently loving the whole ‘paint the canvas one color’ thing, but not wanting just a random design and being super picky about what wood letter fonts I can find forced me to combine the two  and use a hot glue gun and do something using my own handwriting.

First, I freehanded the quote I chose onto the canvas using pencil. Then, using the hot glue gun (and probably 10 glue sticks or so) started lettering it in.

It’s hard to see the raising up lettering with my lame-o camera unless I do a funky side view….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wonderful thing about using hot glue vs. Elmer’s or Tacky Glue is that once the hot glue dries it’s very easy to pull off if there’s a mess up. The other two glues smear and will show up when the canvas is painted.  Unless you’re me and you don’t wait til the glue dries completely and you burn your fingers nearly every time. I never learn.

Also, I’m weirdly fascinated with the color of M’s bathroom at her house…and that sounds weirder than my infatuation actually is. I’m painting my kitchen the same color (I think I’ve mentioned this) and had a sample can of this beautiful blue-green-grey wall paint that I totally used on this canvas. So, I can’t hang it in the kitchen cuz it’d get completely lost, but you know, whatever. 🙂

So, here’s the final project!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, there ya go! I love this quote 🙂 and I think it turned out really well!

*sigh*

I’m really going to miss crafting all the time. I will be doing some here and there, but keep an eye out for more recipes from me!

-K

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The Weekend that Flew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahh… I hope everyone has had a spare moment weekend this summer to take a step back and relax! We just got back from a quick trip to the coast with some friends- and it. was. fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first stop was our favorite winery in the area- Tobin James. It’s in Paso Robles and is such a fun place to spend a few hours. Our friend Katie (Jon’s wife) is doing her clinicals for grad school down at Shell Beach, and she couldn’t met us here because she was still working. We brought her some tasty vino later though!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, even just to smell this wine is wonderful! We went home with 2 bottles of our favorite- the Sangiovese. We hung out there for a while until Katie was done with work and then headed to the house to chill for the night! It ended up being the perfect weekend to get away- it was 107 degrees!!! at home. Just the thought of that heat makes me crave a cold glass of water. It was my absolute favorite weather down there- cool enough to wear jeans (JEANS!!!)  and a fleece jacket at night, but warm enough for shorts and a tank during the day!

When we got to the house, Katie was waiting for us and we decided to get dinner pretty quickly. We opted for the ah-mazing pizza from up the street- we ordered  in and enjoyed it from the patio overlooking the ocean. Be still my heart…

After that oh so very filling meal, we all went for a long walk along the coast and checked out all the cool beach houses. We stopped at one point because there were WHALES breaching!! (I guess that’s the proper term for when they come above the surface of the water) It was the very first time I have ever seen a whale and guys, it was SO awesome! We watched for at least a half hour, but then had to start walking back because it was getting pretty dark. Katie said that rarely happens that whales come so close, we we felt incredibly blessed to witness it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See?!? Just kidding. Obviously this is not a real picture from me, and the whales didn’t jump like this, but we did see their noses! It was too far away for a decent picture, so this will have to do 🙂

We got back and sat on the patio for a while, then tuned in for the Olympics after a long day of driving. GO USA!!!

 

Then… sleep.

Its a good thing we all slept wonderfully- because the next day was packed with activity, fun and good food. It’s amateur hour for me with my lack of pictures of the gorgeous coastal pictures… sorry. We started out the morning with a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs with aged cheddar cheese, some fresh fruit, and yogurt. Again, fail in the picture department. Nothing you haven’t seen before 🙂

We then set out for a hike up Ridge Point- it was a pretty intense hike! Definitely felt good to stretch our legs and get our sweat on. It was very foggy below us, so we couldn’t see the ocean even though we were hiking right next to it! But beautiful nonetheless…

After our hike we hit up a sweet produce market…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a PETTING ZOO TOO!! Who says those are for kids…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we had our fill of the market, we went back to the house to grab our bikes- time to head to the pier for lunch- we had worked up quite an appetite! We knew exactly where we wanted to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Splash Cafe is a local joint that is well known for its out-of-this-world clam chowder- its tiny little place that is ALWAYS packed (as you can see). The boys were nice enough to wait in line while Kate and I peeked into the surf shops around the area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was going to go for the ever-popular clam chowder, but Joey ordered it so… I went with the fish sandwich and was NOT disappointed. I knew my dear husband would let me taste his bread bowl 🙂 The food pictured above? Inhaled. By me. In mere minutes. Delish.

However, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach, so I was about to burst I was so full after this. Luckily we biked around for a while and I felt much better after a while- so worth it! We found a volleyball at one of the local shops and spent the rest of the afternoon playing beach volleyball-  we had a real competition goin!

After a few hours of intensity, we biked back to the house and were ready to sit and relax. We showered up and decided to barbeque at the house for a chill evening in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The boys went to pick up some goods for burgers and we set to preparing the rest of the meal. No pictures of the evening, but it was just lovely. We had a little happy hour with our selection at Tobin James, and paired with with some aged cheese and crackers, and homegrown grapes from a friend’s vineyard.

Then we enjoyed our dinner outside with a view of the ocean– and saw ANOTHER whale!

Life is gooood.

We played games later and watched more Olympics until pretty late, and then spent one last night at the beach house.

Jon and Katie surprised us with another local favorite for breakfast- oh dear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday morning just wouldn’t be complete without sticky buns.

We spent the morning just chatting and relaxing, and then it was time to head home.

It was hard to say goodbye to such divine weather and the ocean view, but it had to be done. I am just so thankful for good friends and special weekend trips like this every so often.

Oh yeah! I made some special goodies for our trip before we left- I’ll share them with you later this week. Think… the world’s best chocolate chip cookie. Yup, I found it, no big deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is, if you enjoy thick, chewy, chocolatey chippie cookies that stay chewy and  melty (somehow) for the duration of their existence.

I’ll share soon! ‘Til then, it is good to be home, even if it is H-O-T.

 

~M

 

 

 

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Summertime!

Wow, this summer has been so busy! Several vacations later, I am finally resuming a (somewhat) normal life again. I got to go to Disneyland with my mom and two younger sisters (M wasn’t able to make it 😦 ), got to go camping for a few days with Curtis’ family, and got to take a few day trips here and there. I also just started a new job, so this has been a very full, exciting summer! Here’s a few photos 🙂

The castle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one’s for M- she was scared of Jasmine’s belly button when she was little so we got a photo just for her! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got to have breakfast with the Princesses on our second morning! It was magical….Belle is my favorite (does is have anything to do with the fact that the Beast gives her a library? I don’t know. Maybe.) and she was so amazing! I jumped right out of my seat when she came over and she said she could tell she was my favorite (ha! lol) and asked if I had ‘a Beast of my own’! Love her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Lindsey’s more charming facial expressions 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Castle….So pretty!

There’s a little peek at our trip….we had a fantastic time!!! Unfortunately, I did not take photos of any of the yummy food we snacked on during our line-waiting and photo taking, such as the churros, the frozen strawberry lemonade, kebabs, jalapeno cheese filled pretzels….yeah not the healthiest outing we’ve had, but delicious nonetheless.

Speaking of food, I’m trying to get back in the habit of making dinner. Summertime schedules don’t jibe with consistent cooking for me. :/ Oh well.

Back to the real world!

-K

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