Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall decorating and piles of laundry

So I took the GRE on Monday and scored average on the quantitative and verbal. I'm still waiting on the writing analysis to come in the mail. I plan on getting my applications out ASAP (eeek!) and taking the GRE one more time next month. However, right now I'm taking a break to recover from my crazy sleep schedule (I got up at 5am on test day) and to catch up on gigantic piles of laundry. 

This morning I almost died at the new Hobby Lobby in my area. I am obsessed with it! I did some fall decorating. I want to do more but we're on a budget right now. So enjoy (and show me your fall decorations please..I like to get inspired)!

My centerpiece.

Close-up since that picture was a little dark. I like this arrangement because I could easily switch out the leaves and cranberries for Christmas garb, buy some red candles, and replace the pumpkin with a Santa Claus. The bad: It makes me want to buy festive plates to put on the place mats.

I love this! I've been wanting a glassware like this forever. Plus, cranberries, cinnamon sticks and some candles. Christmas ornaments are going in the glass later. P.S. Don't look at my nasty couch...I want a new one!

Candy dish. Don't eat the candies or the pretty colors go away.

Top of our dresser. Tea light-holder, cinnamon sticks in a glass vase, and a shiny pumpkin.

I put the rest of the cranberries and cinnamon sticks in a festive bowl on our side table.

This kind of shopping is too addicting for me. Back to the laundry.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deviled Eggs like My Mama Taught Me

If you are reading this at 8am on Monday morning, I am taking the GRE at this moment. Please pray for me, sing for me, dance for me, sacrifice small animals...whatever it is that you do that you feel might help me achieve an impressive score and get into Physician Assistant school. My friend Allyson told me that she would do all four. Now that's love.

For my tailgating/potluck shindig I also made  this very simple deviled eggs recipe. I made them the way that my mama taught me, so I credit my mama for this recipe. Thanks, mom!

I feel like a Southerner when I make deviled eggs. I recently read this book Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On. I feel like I have many characteristics of a Southerner. I am stubborn, a hard-worker, and I like to say "y'all". My family is from Ohio but I was born and raised in Florida. Technically, I think geographically, I live a little too far south to be considered a southerner. Ain't that a little backwards? Any who, I don't know if this is a southern or northern version of deviled eggs but I got it from my mama.

Deviled Eggs

Put water in a pot and then put the eggs in. Make sure the eggs are submerged in water completely.

Boil eggs for 12 minutes.

Once boiled, with an oven-mitt, carefully take pot into sink and replace hot water with tap water and some ice cubes.

Did you catch that? Just making sure you were paying attention.  I just used the same picture for this step as I did for the first step. I was actually replacing the hot water with cold water in this picture...but we can pretend I was making sure the eggs were completely submerged before boiling too...(I didn't take a picture for that step).  P.S. Don't fill it completely up to the top when you are boiling, just enough to submerge the eggs...otherwise it will take forever. Add salt to speed it up if you already did it.

Wasn't this supposed to be simplistic? Move over, Martha.

Once eggs are cold, you can peel them. If they aren't cold enough the shell will stick to the egg and the eggs won't be pretty. Do a test one and if it doesn't work out, just eat it.

Usually I just stand over the trash and peel them with my hands like a redneck but for you I got out a separate bowl for the eggshells. I hear some people use the curved edge of a spoon to remove the eggshell.

Slice the egg vertically and empty the hardened yoke into a small bowl.

These are the three very complex ingredients you add to the yokes (sarcasm). I always add a large portion of mayo and then add smaller portions of mustard and vinegar until it tastes right. I like my yoke mix to taste tart and make me slightly pucker (but not too much).  In that book I mentioned (Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On) the author talks about how people are at war over Mayo versus Miracle Whip. I didn't realize there was a war or an argument as such. I personally can't stand the sweetness of Miracle Whip. I forget if that means I'm a southerner or a northerner...

Mix with a fork. Manual labor is only fun when cooking is involved. Place filling back in eggs with a spoon.

Here is the part that I feel makes my mom's recipe for deviled eggs, my mom's recipe, and not just some generic recipe. Instead of adding paprika for color or something similar, my mom loved to sprinkle Season All on the  Deviled Eggs. My family members all have a penchant for salt. I'm still in love with it to this day. Bad, I know. Shush.

Yum In my Tum.

So what do you think: Southerner or Northerner???

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Goodness

I made this recipe for my upcoming Gator football potluck party. It was stolen (I mean, borrowed) from another blogger who I admire a lot! She just had an adorable little girl and thus has been absent from the blogosphere for awhile. I miss her posts but it's understandable. I hope to hear from you again, High Heels and Sweatshirts and thank you!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Use these ingredients (see link for recipe).

Lots of ingredients. Don't worry, it's worth it.

Preheat the oven and don't forget to grease the pan like I did. Combine pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs. Stir until mixed.

Now doesn't that looking appetizing? I'm not a mom yet or anything but I assume that's what.....I digress.....

I'm infamous for assuming our powdered sugar is flour since we keep them both in unlabeled containers so here is a picture of me doing my taste test. This flaw of mine made for some interesting volcanic piles of what should of been chocolate chip cookies. I learned my lesson.

It's flour. Confirmed.

 Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. 

Now just look at those gorgeous shades of brown and orange. I feel like I'm the cooking version of Bob Ross. Fall in a bowl, my friends.

Get back to work and stir. Add chocolate chips.

Scrap it all into your bread pan or cupcake pan if you prefer.

Now to make the topping.
In a small bowl combine sugar, brown sugar, flour, cubed butter, and cinnamon.
If you happen to own a food processor that isn't currently broken, you can mix it in that until crumbly (another thing to add to my non-existent wedding registry). Or you can use a fork and join me for some manual labor until crumbly.

When it was about this consistency I felt it was crumbled thoroughly. I'm getting sick of the word crumbly.

Mix in oatmeal and chopped walnuts. I cut my walnuts more finely with a cutting board and knife.

Spread with spoon on top and cake and put in oven for 45minutes to an hour. When a toothpick or knife comes out dry you know for sure that it is done.

Rich and delicious. I hope my potluckers will love me forever.

Go gators!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cooking Lean

Recently, some wonderful changes have occurred. I'm focusing on my ultimate goal of becoming a physician assistant and I am no longer employed as the hand of evil for unreachable entities (in other words, I did all the dirty work for a discount price) that I was working for previously! The stress was not worth it and although I did learn a lot about prescription drugs and insurance, I am now committing all my time to studying for the GRE and submitting applications. B and I are now on a tighter budget now so I have been cooking at home recently all... the...time! By "Cooking Lean" I meant on a budget..just to clarify..don't expect to lose weight on these recipes...but do expect your mouth to water. Also, keeping the windows open and enjoying the fall air rather than using our AC. Definitely a small price to pay in my world because I love cooking and I love fall. Also, I have some sort of crazy infatuation or obsession with getting the best prices and DIYing. Plus, I find that food is usually better when you do it yourself anyways. All good things.

As a result, I decided to post the many meals that I have been cooking lately. Most of these recipes I get from other people. I will definitely give credit where credit is due in those cases. This first recipe I made I actually starting craving after I had an amazing version of it at a French-themed wedding. Now I don't know about you all, but I never had a real bowl of French Onion soup until I went to this wedding. Basically, I thought French Onion soup was onions in beef broth. I had no idea that it involved cheese and crusty bread and that it was incredibly delicious. So I found this recipe by none other than P-dub. Here's a link to the recipe to make it easier (but I'm sure everyone knows where to find PW).  French Onion Soup Recipe

French Onion Soup

Start with these ingredients (or check the recipe for reference)

Chop about 4 onions into thin strips.

Have a good cathartic cry.

In an cast iron pot or other oven-safe pot, sizzler a stick some mouth-watering butter until it's completely melted in all it's gloriousness.

Put the onions in the pot and cook on the stove for 20 minutes. Stir and stick them in the oven for an hour. Stir at least once during this time so that nothing gets stuck to the pot.

While you are waiting for the onions to cook, watch the latest episode of Glee.

You may also want to sample the wine to make sure it's dry and sweet and good. Like a chardonnay. You may need a refill the glass depending on your mood.

When things are brownish and crispier, add the wine (now that it's been approved).

Add chicken and beef broths and Worcestershire sauce. Dice up 2 cloves of garlic and add. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, get some stuff done. 

Cut a French loaf into pieces and spread butter onto each piece. Put in the oven and then the broiler to make crispier. Watch the broiling though, so that your crispy toast doesn't end up turning into pure carbon burntness.

Grate your expensive cheese. Gruyere cheese is stringy and perfect for French Onion soup when its melted but you can mix it with mozzarella to make this delicacy last a little longer. It's just as good this way if not better!

I didn't have ramekins or oven safe bowls for the cheese to melt in (adding another reason on my list to tie the knot...hello wedding registry..) so I had to ghetto rig the operation up a bit.

I put about 2 bowls worth of soup into the green pot (for me and my honey). Then I put the grated cheese in the cast iron pot on top of the rest of the soup (oven still on low). I separated the green pot worth of soup into bowls and then placed cut up pieces of toasty bread on top. Once the cheese was melted in the cast iron pot I used my ladle to place said cheese on top of the toast and soup in the bowls. *Whew* that round-about thinking was like one of the geometry problems I've been practicing for the GRE (I hate geometry and haven't done it since 9th grade). 

It worked!

While B was gaming, I placed this bowl on his desk:

It is amazing!!! Please try it. Comfort food to the max.