Saturday, July 27, 2013

Easy Peezy Cobbler

How, exactly, does one spell "peezy"?  Peasy? Peesy?

No clue, but that's okay because this recipe's so simple you don't need to know how to spell. (well, okay, you need to know how to read, but they're simple words...)

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice (we used the pulp-free kind)
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I'd like to try this with wheat flour next time)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  •  1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Do This 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a largish baking (8" square or whatever you've got that's similar), mix blueberries, 3 tbsp sugar and orange juice.  Set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and 1/2 cup sugar.  For the non-cooks, creaming just basically means mixing it well until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract, then gradually add the flour mixture, stirring until the ingredients are  combined. Don't over-stir.  
  5. Drop batter by rounded tablespoons over blueberry mixture.  Try to cover as much of the blueberries as possible.
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is golden brown and filling is bubbly. 
  7. Eat warm with a scoop of ice cream!
What I love about this recipe:  It's EASY PEASY!  I'm not much of a baker.  It usually requires too much attention to exact measurements (not my strong suit).   But this one?!  A throw it all in there and mix it around kind of recipe. 

Love that!  And I bet you will too.....

Monday, January 7, 2013

Are We Bold Enough for These Ovens?

Ummmm.... YES!   Red, blue, cream.... I love them all! (well, maybe not the purple).  How about you?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kitchen HELP!!

We've been renovating our 1978 tri-level home for more than five years now. When we moved in there was gold/blue/orange wallpaper on almost every vertical surface, a 70's bar with laminate yellow countertop in the family room, and blue office carpet in the kitchen (who carpets a kitchen?!?!).

We immediately stripped the wallpaper, pulled up carpet, and painted just about everything.  But now we're into bigger projects and we've got an SOS!

Our "vintage" oven stopped working this week. Won't heat above 190 degrees. We could possibly, maybe, might could (as we say in the south) have it repaired.  But, you know how much time we spend in the kitchen. And this model is a 27" space saver  so small!

I want a full-size stove and an oven in which you can actually use both racks.  A kitchen like this.

(see more kitchen porn here

Of course, our budget doesn't quite keep up with our dreams... so we're taking baby steps.

In a fit of "crap - my oven's broke" and "my oven's broke -- yay!", I wandered sped over to the nearest Big Box to look at new stoves.  I picked out a nice stainless steel one and bought it, along with an over-the-range microwave (I know... dated, ugly, inconvenient, so builder-grade.  But I agree with this woman from the parenting site Babble and this kitchen designer.)

Problem is -- and DIY home improvers will totally understand this -- as soon as we started prepping the area for delivery we discovered, well, problems:

1. The vintage stove and range hood are both hardwired into the wall. There is no outlet. We need outlets for the new appliances.  (texted our fabulous contractor. We may DIY, but we don't want to die)

2. The over the range cabinet is hung such that if we put the microwave below it the microwave will be too close to the cook top. It'll be code, but just barely, and certainly not enough room for our big soup pots. We could raise the cabinet, but then it won't line up with the others.  Which is okay, but not ideal.

3.  This is the REAL problem. Turns out our existing stove was 27", but our existing hood was 30", centered over the 27" stove. When we replace the stove the  hood/microwave will hang 1.5 inches off center to the right.  We can't cut down the base cabinets (can we?) and don't want to replace all the cabinets (too much $$).  We certainly don't want to be like this kitchen!  So, what to do?

Ask you!

So, here's the before...

(forgive the darkness... lighting is also on the punch list)

And here's what I think might be our solution:

Or something like that. A wall-mounted chimney style range hood that I could  center over the stove and not have the off-center or have-to-cut-down-the-cabinets dilemma.

We would then extend the glass tile backsplash up both sides of the hood (midway up the cabinets? to the top of the cabinets?)  We'd also have to figure out what do do on the left side of the new stove b/c there wouldn't be enough room to re-install our existed cabinet (which currently butts up against the moulding of a door frame).  We could either look for a slimmer cabinet or install open shelving.

Thoughts??!?  Would it look weird to have

<open shelving>     ......   <chimney style hood>    ......   <cabinets>?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Black Bean & Butternut Squash Soup

It seems we've had soup on the stomach brain lately.  First, it was Posole, then Super Easy Vegetable Chowder.

This week we got our first Freshfully box...

Obviously we had to make SOUP!

Specifically, Black Bean & Butternut Squash Soup.


  • 1 Tbsp. coconut or extra virgin olive oil (we used olive oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 a small head of cabbage, chopped (heaping 2 cups)
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash (sweet potato would be good too) 
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder (yes, really!)
  • pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups cooked, black beans (about one can, rinsed and drained)
  • diced avocado, for garnish
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish
Tortilla Crispies
  • 3 corn tortillas
  • scant 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Directions In a heavy bottomed pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cabbage, squash and broth. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes for the vegetables to cook. 

Add the spices and the beans and stir. Let everything continue to cook another ten minutes for the flavors to blend. Salt to taste.  Ladle some out of the pot and run it through a blender to thicken it up. Then add it back to the pot.  If it doesn't thicken enough you can also sprinkle some cornmeal in it.  We did both.

For the tortilla crispies, preheat the oven to 375'. Stack them and slice into thin matchsticks. Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle the salt and toss gently to coat. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are light brown and crispy, giving the pan a shake halfway through.  Don't use too much oil. We made that mistake and our first batch was kind of soggy.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with diced avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro and some of the tortilla crispies!  The original blog post suggests a sprinkle of goat cheese, too, which sounds really good!  Unfortunately, all we have is cinnamon goat cheese. Thinking that wouldn't taste that great.

Jason, Olivia and I really like it.  Miranda tolerated it. Hannah chocked it down so she could have ice cream for dessert.  She did, however, remark that butternut squash "doesn't really taste like anything, so maybe it's okay."

Now that's a ringing endorsement, isn't it?! ;-)

Diwali Dinner

Who would have thought that moving to Alabama -- the buckle of the Bible Belt (don't let Tennessee fool you!) -- we'd learn so much about Hinduism and Indian culture?  It's true!

Thanks to our good friends Archana and Hemant... 

who have opened their house for many years for a Diwali dinner. 

For the uninitiated, Diwali is the festival of lights -- one of the most important festivals of the year.  Families perform all kinds of activities together in their homes, including cleaning the house from top to bottom, purchasing something special for the house, then celebrating with friends, family and fireworks. I'm sure I'm leaving out a ton. I'm still learning. 

And so, too, are the young women in our Girl Scout troop.  They're raising money for a trip to Europe, so this year Archana and Hemant agreed to teach them how to cook indian food and help them host a Diwali party. 

First, the prep... It was a lot of work! 

From shredding carrots for Carrots Halwa to cutting several heads of cabbage... 

to rolling Gulab Jamuns...

We definitely had our hands full!   

But it paid off as we welcomed nearly 30 people for dinner.

We even had an impromptu euphonium concert ...

Good friends, good conversation, great food! All Necessary Pleasures....

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taste of India - Diwali Celebration

There are still a few tickets available to Girl Scout Troop 145's Taste of India event Saturday night (11/10 at 6 p.m.). 

The troop is raising money for a trip to visit the Girl Scout Chalet in Switzerland in 2015. As part of their effort they'
re learning how to cook various international cuisines and hosting fundraising dinner parties. Their first is a celebration of Indian food for Diwali (the “Festival of Lights”)

Cost: $20/person $10/children 6-10 under 6 free
Payment is cash or check payable to “Troop 145”

Location: 749 Sussex Drive  Vestavia Hills

RSVP to Archana Tiwari at 824-9442 (home) or 213-9517 (cell) 

There will be non-alcoholic drinks provided, but feel free to bring your own wine/beer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quajado (Sephardic Spinach & Macaroni Casserole)

It's a busy, busy week (aka "hell week"), so we're looking for super simple meals.   Saw this recipe on Facebook today and thought we might try it tonight. We'll let you know how it goes.


  • ½ c. elbow macaroni (regular or whole wheat)                  
  • 1 tsp. (or less) light salt
  • 1 ½ c. “fake” eggs                                                                  
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. (reduced-fat) cottage cheese                                      
  • 2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry 
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese                                                              


1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pam a 9” square baking dish.
2.) Cook macaroni as directed.
3.) In a large bowl, combine “fake” eggs, cheese, seasonings, and spinach. Add macaroni.
4.)Pour into prepared pan, and bake 25-30 minutes.  Cut into squares to serve.

(To double:  use a 13” x 9” dish and increase baking time to 30-35 minutes.)

A little googling, and I'm learning more about this dish (pronounced kwah-SHAH-doh).  Like, it seems to be a mainstay of kosher cooking and you can use a variety of veggies including zucchini (even yellow ones), beet greens (anyone have experience with these?!), tomatoes and eggplant.