Monday, June 27, 2011

blue satin sashes.

I've been feeling melancholy in the last day or two, and so, in the spirit of fraulein Maria, I have decided to write about some of my favorite things from the last week.  As someone wise once said and I will paraphrase -- "yes, the Bible says 'in everything give thanks.'  But if you can't thank Him for the bad things yet, start with the good things":

Good thing number one: apple walnut cranberry muffins with cinnamon streusel topping.  These brought me joy not only because they were a success, but also because I discovered the phenomenon of freezing-for-freshness.  I hate the taste of this-was-delicious-two-days-ago.  I made these a couple days before guests came and immediately froze them.  On day one of guests, I took out one dozen - perfect - and they thawed within an hour.  On day three of guests, I took out the other dozen.  I really should have known this for a while now -- I have faint recollections of learning about ancient mammoths preserved for centuries in huge cubes of ice....  Eh, why not reinvent the wheel?

Good thing number two: Saturday breakfast at Walton's Fancy and Staple.  The ambience alone will make a common flower girl feel like a duchess... or a regular Jane Doe feel like Sandra Bullock.  That particular morning, each of the ladies in my group was given a bouquet of fresh white daisies as we sat down at our table.  As if coffee and gourmet biscuits and gravy wasn't enough.

Good thing number three: Mr. Johnson.  There he is, my new travel friend.  There to accompany me on all my daily journeys and be a witness to the crazy things that I sometimes do in my car when no one is around.  (Like invent silly songs or make funny noises for extended periods of time. Just saying. We all need an outlet for that.)  He is a home-made, hand-stitched birthday present from my dear 16-year-old companion, Jessica.  His full name is Mr. Theodore Johnson.  But he does not appreciate too much familiarity too soon.  He and I aren't even on a first name basis yet.

Good thing number four, last but greatest by far: these wonderful girls (plus one who at this moment was en route to SF) who spent the week in my home.  It is an immense privilege to me to invite someone else to make your home their home.  These girls took care of me just by being in my house, loving me and each other, and girl-talking before going to bed.  Thank you guys for blessing our home.

It is so refreshing to thank the Lord for things like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

diary from my kitchen.

I have tried again and again to keep a running log of all my kitchen creations.  It's something to show for all the food that disappears and is forgotten.  And sometimes I will have a colossal flop or an unexpected success or a spontaneous personal invention and would like to remember those for important future reference.  However, what usually happens is after a long logging hiatus, I try to recall everything I baked in the last year.  Perhaps this blog will help.  In a perfect world, each entry will be complete with high-quality-food-magazine-caliber pictures.  Right, so.

Thursday, June 9, 2011:
Lemon Cake with Blueberry Filling
  Recipe for lemon cake from  I added a spontaneous addition of the blueberry filling, made from frozen blueberries, a little sugar, water, and cornstarch.  It is very light and summery, which I like.  You can taste the box cake-ness of it, which is only okay.  AND it doesn't call for any type of fat - no oil or butter - which, I don't know what to think about that.

Sunday, June 5, 2011:
Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Salad with Asian Dressing
   I'm not restricting myself to baked goods here. :) Bowtie pasta, diced chicken breast sauteed with lemon pepper and seasoning salt and red onion, red bell pepper, can of corn, lots of cilantro, cucumber, Kraft Asian toasted sesame dressing, soy sauce, sesame oil.  I made this for a picnic, and it was perfect for a summer's day outdoors.

Saturday, June 4, 2011:
Monster Cookies
  From this classic cookbook.  But sans the M&M's (sad). This recipe is one of my favorites as it has the best of all worlds: peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, and M&M's all in one cookie. AND... no flour!

Pico de Gallo
   White onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, limes, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  I stayed up super late chopping so the flavors could mix overnight - and it was completely worth it.  Also for the picnic.

Thursday, May 26, 2011:
   My new favorite pizza/bread creation!  This is pizza dough rolled out, heaped with tomato sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms, then rolled up like a log and baked.  This is also an excellent picnic food; in this case it was used to cover several of my meals during a weekend in a hotel.  I referenced this recipe from, with my own special twists and touches.

Pigs in the Blanket
  I used pre-made pie crust for the blankets.  I will not do that again.  The texture was weird and unusual for what you would expect from a pig in the blanket.  Flop.... noted.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011:
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins with Streusel Topping
  A classic and a staple.  Good every time.