Heating up the Kitchen

Between job hunting I have been doing lots of cooking and baking. For one, it tastes way better and it’s “exactly what I want” when I make it at home. Further, it’s cheaper to eat at home than eat out.

Last night I made Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. Here’s the recipe. It is soooo delicious and I put forth that it is actually less fussy than making real (noodle) lasagna.

yummy!

Not exactly what mine looked like, but very close.

Most substitution dishes fall far below my expectations and severely gross me out. If I had a gluten allergy I would most definitely be eating this almost every night. The spaghetti squash gets its name because the guts have a short noodle consistency and because it tastes amazing. I have done this recipe a couple of ways; the lazy way is to just use a can of pasta sauce or the way the recipe calls for it–Essentially making your own sauce. Either way tastes great! I am a steak and taters type person so when I say I love something vegetarian then that really means something. Well, not strictly veggie because I used a chicken bullion cube (I don’t keep vegetable ones in the house, generally).
I have also made Zucchini bread/muffins, homemade wheat loaves, potato soup, and chicken curry.
I can share my bread and curry recipes on here if anyone is interested.
For the Zucchini bread I made some changes to the recipe as listed on allrecipes.com.
My first try I found that I was disappointed in the consistency. It tasted too eggy for my liking. My second try was MUCH more tasty and I’m stickin’ to it.

nom nom nom

2nd try

Changes:   
1 cu wheat flour, 2 cu white (mix for numminess)
2 eggs (leave one out)
1 cu unsweetened applesauce (substitute for oil)
1 3/4 cu sugar (cut some, probably would be fine with all 2 1/4 cups)
2 1/3 cu zucchini (turned out I had extra)
No nuts (didn’t feel it was necessary)                                                    Bake medium (normal) sized muffins 325 DF for 20-25 minutes.

Secret: Cocoa chile spice (2 tbsp for entire batch). I made a batch half with and half without the secret. Gave muffins more chocolatey color.

For my potato soup I made some changes to the recipe (of course). I am so bad at following the rules, you see.

drooool

camera phone quality

I like tons of potatoes so right away there HAD to be changes:
5-6 medium sized potatoes, small cube (increase by 1-2)
1 whole onion chopped (We love it, we want it, put it all in….jezzuz)
2-3 handfuls of baby carrots, chopped thirds (I didn’t have full size ones)
4 stalks of celery, chopped bite sized
2 cu water, with 4 dissolved (mostly) chicken bullion cubes
Omit parsley (stupid)
Substitute flour for 1/4 to 1/2 cup of instant mashed potato flakes
Omit swiss to soup—Added cheese as topper to each bowl.

How I did my potato and milk mixture: Heat milk and butter in medium saucepan until melted and hot (not boiling). Add instant mashed potatoes until thickened and heated through. Then add to soup pot. I also would recommend not to add the potatoes to the soup pot first (in order of cutting veg) or else they will be mooosh instead of lovely soft bite sized pieces when you are all finished.
Simmer soup, stirring periodically until veg is tender to your liking.

What am I making next?
Gingerbread bat cookies—Yes, I have a bat cookie cutter, don’t hate. For the Halloween party
Caramel popcorn balls—Also for the Halloween party next weekend.
Children’s fingers dipped in sweet gravy—white chocolate and pretzel sticks (usually I make ghosts on posts but I didn’t had a bunch of sticks and not pretzel rods)

Chicken pot pie —-I still haven’t decided on a recipe, but I plan to make it drool-worthy and awesome
Chicken and dumplings (requested by my son for when he comes to visit)—Haven’t decided on a recipe yet. Something simple because dumplings aren’t my fort.

1. What have you been making recently?
2. What is your all-time favorite recipe? 

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L is for Love

KISSES!!!

It's all you need

I just got married on the 10th of September to the love of my life. We have been together for four and a half years and we’ve been through some real shit together. Somehow, even though I know I am intensely irritating at times….He still loves me and I love him.
Don’t worry I plan on adding some more wedding blogs detailing what I did and such….if you wanna get all bleary eyed. I was going to make K for Kisses, but really I love the whole package. I love the K-kisses, L-laughter, S-sex, H-hugs, W-wife, H-husband, C-couple. Every bit of it.

Of course love and happiness is a lot of work, but we work together towards solutions and give each other space when needed. He is my love. So I suppose that L stands for Kit my husband and he’s a whole lotta fun.
When I get some wedding blogs posted I will link from here for reader ease.

 

On My Bookshelf

The Good:
by Gary Jeffrey & Illustrated by Terry Riley
Graphic Mythology: African Myths. This is an awesome book! I read another of the same series, Chinese Myths by Rob Shone. They were both neat, but I really loved this one. It has the West African creation story (Yoruba people), the dog and jackal (from the Bushongo people of Zaire) and another about how Anansi became the keeper of stories (from the Ashanti of Ghana).  Probably the highlight of the creation story is the wisest of the gods’, Olorun’s trusted messenger. The trusted messenger is a chameleon. Don’t let this cold blooded, sllllllooooooowwwww moving creature fool you. He seems much wiser than the gods he serves.

Nellie Bly: Reporter for the World by Martha E. Kendall (Wonderfully written for kids, Bly did loads more amazing things in her life than I first realized)
Gossamer by Lois Lowry (dual story: abused child goes into foster care and dream crafting fairies visit the house where the boy is being cared for, dark yet hopeful)
Freya by Christopher E. Long (graphic novel, story of how Freya fell in love with the blind god named Od, sweet story and lovely art)
Calamity Jack by Dean Hale and Shannon Hale, Illustrated by Nathan Hale (AWESOME retelling of jack and the bean stalk takes place in a fairy tale world, must now read Rapunzel’s Revenge)

The Not-So Good AKA Just Skip It:

by Sue Townsend
Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume (wasn’t allowed to read this as a child because of hype, now disappointed. I recommend the Sue Townsend book The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, age 13 3/4. My mom didn’t know about this author so I got to read it secretly and get some insight on male puberty)
Chiggers by Hope Larson (Graphic Novel, characters looked too similar and were horribly mean to their “friends”, art nice and the fantasy/sci-fi parts of the story were interesting)

Still reading:

By Gary Paulsen

Guts: True Stories behind Hatchet and the Brian Books by Gary Paulsen (Very well written for youth, I have decided this man is a little insane)
The Queen’s Man
by Sharon Kay Penman (4 chapters left, mystery, well researched historical fiction)
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (Barely 100 pages into it, story moves slowly, pushing on because of promises of greatness in the Dark is Rising series)
Guide to Story Telling by Arthur Burrell (dry and wordy, need less outdated source to perfect skills)
Secondhand Charm
by Julie Berry (Looked pretty so I snatched it up, not yet started)
Tangerine by Edward Bloor (Same as the Berry book)

 

What are you reading?
What should I read next?