flybystardancer: (Default)
So I have an ambition project for tomorrow... prepping future game-night foods to stick in the freezer. Mostly casseroles, filled pastas (either ravioli or tortelloni), and hand pies. Most of these will have both meat and vegetarian versions, and the meat for it got cooked up yesterday.

I’m trying to brainstorm ideas for the vegetarian fillings.

The casseroles are easy. Mac and cheese is already vegetarian (the vegetarians in the group are lacto-ovo, and looove their cheese). The vegetarian enchiladas will have me working on perfecting my taco “meat” TSP/TVP. Easy-peasy.

For the other two, I want to work with what I’ve already got in the house… Viable options that I have to work with include:
-white beans
-white long grain rice
-pearl barley
-butternut squash
-homemade yogurt (last resort, mostly)

I’m actually thinking about putting the butternut squash in the slower cooker overnight, and then taking some and mashing it with white beans… A friend of mine once made butternut squash soup that he added white beans to for extra protein and a non-dairy creaminess. It was delicious. I’m a bit worried that mashing the two together would leave the filling too dense...

As it stands now, I have both pasta and pastry dough in the fridge, chilling, to await their filling tomorrow.
flybystardancer: (Default)
So, in past posts I've alluded to the fact that I'm part of a gaming group that meets every Sunday night. We currently have a rotation of three houses and four games, and 6-7 people (depending on the game). Well, two of the group (Best Friend and her husband) are vegetarian. And this group is really good about being guinea pigs for my culinary experiments.

Well, for this week I decided I wanted to make enchiladas. Well, a lasagna-like version of enchiladas since my crock's in a circle and that doesn't hold logs of tortillas wrapped around filling very well. I'm also playing around with TVP for the first time as a part of the filling. And given that I'm cooking in a crock pot due to lack of oven, I also run the risk of everything turning to a pot of mush. I've done some things to hopefully prevent that from happening...

Rough recipe-ish description under here. )

So wish me luck with that... The crock isn't as full as I'd like for feeding six people, most of whom are big eaters, but I also have the fail!brownies and some homemade chocolate ice cream to hopefully make up for that.
flybystardancer: (Default)
I've been craving lots of chocolate lately, so I decided I'd try making brownie bites in the mini muffin maker with the family brownie recipe...

I only did two batches in the muffin maker before dumping the rest of the batter into the crock pot to just bake off however it wants. The "bites" were little balls of fluff, rather than chewy brownies. Tasty, but the second batch didn't come out cleanly because I didn't re-spray the pan between the two batches.

Part of my problem was the fat in the recipe, I'm convinced. The original recipe calls for margarine, but butter is what I had on hand. And they do seem to act different in baked goods. My favorite oat cookies growing up turn out a bit fluffy with margarine, but spread waaaay out with butter. And I think I tried making this recipe once before with butter and didn't have good results then either... and that was back when the oven was working.

So, next time I try to make brownie bites, I'm going to switch out close to 2/3 of the fat with oil, and then swap most of the whole eggs for egg yolks. The increase of unsaturated fat should help with a chewy texture, and let me get away with less other-liquid. And being able to get rid of other liquid means I can get rid of egg whites, and egg whites tend to make baked goods fluffy.

...I hope that will be enough to make brownie bites. LOL
flybystardancer: (Default)
I have both yogurt culturing and my bread machine going at the same time. Since the 'yogurt' smelled like yeast the first time I made it after I had bread already in the works, I reversed the order tonight. The proto-yogurt was safely in sterilized jars and culturing before I even grabbed the bread machine bowl to start dumping ingredients in.

Gotta love wee little microscopic beasties.

I really love the idea of having/growing a sourdough starter, to be science-y all the time, but I don't like sourdough bread. :(

And I also want to try making a small batch of yogurt using cream instead of milk. That would be insanely rich, and I hope very decadent.
flybystardancer: (Default)
So I went to try to pick the rest of my friend's plums, and they had gone bad on the tree. :( So I think I'll try making some lemon jelly after picking meyer lemons at my Dad's tomorrow... (Will have to wait to juice them until next week, since I work weekends.)

I've been working on projects for the Ravellenics (they ended up renaming the knitting/crochet games since the USOC was making such a stink. Bleh). I'm working on a scarf for my cousin. I hate knitting scarves, but she's worth it. And maybe this will motivate me enough to actually get it DONE.

Pictures and more of what I've done under here. )

So, that's what I've been up to.
flybystardancer: (Default)
Yay! I has peachy goodness all cooked up! :D

Pictures of yumminess under here. )


Jul. 24th, 2012 12:52 am
flybystardancer: (Default)
So, my straight skirt remains partially-sewn. Some more time-sensitive projects have popped up. Namely, fruit that needed to be turned into canned yummies.

More behind here, including pictures! )
flybystardancer: (Default)
So this still had issues due to Cook's Error. I didn't have enough liquid and wasn't checking it often enough, and had it on high to cook the dry beans, so some burned to the bottom of the slowcooker. :( I managed to rescue most of it by scooping what I could to a pot and adding water, then simmering that. The al dente beans then became soft (at least enough to eat) after about an hour simmering on the stove.

So I'm comparing it to Dennison's Hot chili, because that has been my favorite for years. This iteration doesn't have quite as much beefy flavor, and the heat is slightly more intense, but slower to hit. Considering I'm trying to up my heat tolerance, hotter is not a bad thing! It's just pushing my limits the way it is. Anyways, this is getting pretty close! And is good enough to eat this whole pot (over a few meals!), before I work on a better recipe.

Mock-Dennison's Chili, Round One! )
flybystardancer: (Default)
Okay, so I'm baking my own bread, right? Well you go through a lot of flour when you do that. So I decided I'd get one of the big 50lb bags at Costco, to cut down on overall cost. I already had one dedicated bread flour container, and I bought four more last night (all Target had out, and it was running late). So I get the flour home and start putting it in containers. I knew I would run out of the containers I had purposed for bread flour. There was still a ton of flour, and I didn't think I could get away with gallon freezer bags for the rest, so I scrounged around the house for more containers.

I ended up using one of those large plastic containers they sell Coffeemate in at Costco, and five of those tins they sell coffee grounds in 2lb increments. I have barely any flour left in the bag. Not enough to grab another container. So I'll make a loaf tonight to use that up. :)

I have two of the coffee tins of flour in the fridge I had at college (it's sitting unplugged in the kitchen/dining room, and is rather big for a college fridge). The rest are in my back room freezer. I had to toss out some outdated food to make room for it all. lol
flybystardancer: (Default)
So, I'm trying to cut down on the number of chemicals in my diet. (It will likely never get down to zero--I drink way too much soda and other sweetened drinks!) Part of that is trying to get in the habit of making my own bread loaves, and cut down on canned foods.

The chili Is one thing, because I tend to enjoy chili as an easy meal a LOT.

And the bread? I have ingredients in my bread machine for my fourth loaf in a row. :D And while I've gone by the same recipe every time, no two loaves have been the same.

1. Used milk instead of the water/dry milk combo called for, and instant yeast instead of active dry, because that's what I have on hand. I didn't adjust down the yeast from what the "quick" setting calls for, because my yeast was just out of the fridge and I figured it'd still be sleepy and would need the extra time. Uh, NOT. lol Actually touched the top of the machine from the "oven spring", and had fallen by the time the baking was done. Whoops. Still tasted good.

2. Used milk, and replaced the white sugar with honey. Again, used the instant yeast, but I scaled down the amount to the appropriate amount for using on the basic setting.

3. Used buttermilk, and replaced some of the salt with baking soda to balance out some of the acid from the buttermilk. Also used brown sugar instead of white.

4. Tonight's loaf! Went back to milk. Replaced some of the flour with 2 Tbsp of flax seed meal. Also ran out of bread flour, so about 1 cup's worth of the flour in it is AP flour. Also used honey again as the sweetener.

I'm also working on getting my butt up and cleaning more. Cleaned the toilet for the first time, and managed to actually keep up with dishes, including cleaning the stuff I used to measure out the ingredients for bread as soon as the pan was in the machine, and the machine turned on. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it up.
flybystardancer: (Default)
So, my oven does not work. This means the world of baking is limited to what I can put in my mini muffin maker. (Which is the original model of such devices, I believe. Definitely an old model.)

I decided I wanted to make muffins with my homemade jam in the center. So I took this recipe, omitted the topping, and put a tiny dollop of plum jam in the center.


This recipe is thicker, so the muffins need to make a minute more than the standard time for boxed mixes. However, that's not much of a problem. :)

Now if only I can keep myself from eating all of them tonight...
flybystardancer: (Default)
Just while I'm thinking about it.

For those of you who use box rice mixes and the like... An easy way to add veggies without screwing things up so the rice doesn't cook is to add frozen veggies at the very last second before you put the lid on to simmer it. This way the veggies steam, but don't affect the cooking of anything else. (I've tried adding corn to stuff before, and had the rice not fully cook.)

And I'm making zatarain's dirty rice for dinner.

Update on Mom. Strays into possible TMI area. )
flybystardancer: (Ani!Jazz Sexy Car)
I'm a TV-holic, and Food Network is one of my most-watched channels (at least when I don't have to deal with parents who hate the channel). Tonight in the 7-o'clock hour they were (re)showing a program on a pie contest in Celebration, FL. This got me thinking about pie recipes and their development.

...And that somehow got me to thinking about a reworking of apple pie.

In a standard apple pie recipe, you have sliced (firm, usually tart) apples tossed in a sugar/spice mixture, dumped in a pie crust, covered with another sheet of crust, and baked. However, this calls for a fair bit of sugar. Not very friendly to those watching their sugar intake (for various reasons).

So I was thinking... Instead of the sugar/spice mixture... Take one sweet apple (one that's not usually considered good for baking), some cinnamon, maybe a tablespoon of honey, and a jalepeno (with the seeds and ribs removed, more on my reasoning later), put them in a small food processer and turn them into mush (no chunks!). Then put the standard sliced firm apples in the crust, pour the apple mush over, cover with another crust, and bake.

And why the jalepeno? I just thought it'd make a nice & unexpected background flavor. When chili peppers are used in desserts, they're usually paired with really sweet things (as opposed to those with a bite, like citrus). And apples (and apple pie) are sweet. Plus, a bit of spice in food gives (to me, at least) the illusion of warmth even when food is cold.

So, those of you with baking and recipe experience. Any thoughts? :)
flybystardancer: (Air Raid Kitty)
So this year, Mom and I want to give gardening another try. Last Saturday we cleared out our planter boxes of dead leaves (from a neighbor's tree, stupid thing is growing half over our side of the fence and has contributed to destroying the fence) and bad dirt.

So today on our way home we stopped and bought some plants (two strawberries, two tomatoes, bell, poblano, and jalepeno peppers) and soil. We only had time to put old potting soil in the boxes before it got too dark to work. Tomorrow we'll add the new soil and plant. :D Mom's also planning on getting some sawdust from work to cover the soil.

Now, Mom needs to remember to water while I'm at school. Hopefully they'll last long enough for me to get home. And we're hoping to get some usable fruit... We have birds here that like to peck on what we grow and no way of scaring them off. My aunt has her dog to keep the birds away from her plants. We don't have any pets this summer, and Red never was much good about protecting them when he was alive.
flybystardancer: (Ani!Prowl Hah!)
That's two loaves of bread baked this week! One I baked Tuesday (that I just finished eating a few minutes ago >_>) and one that's nearly cooled down from its stay in the oven!

I used pretty much this recipe, cut in half for both loaves.

I can only bake one loaf at a time, unfortunately. At least, when using a loaf pan. I only have one loaf pan that I trust, our glass one. We also have an overly-large silicone one and a metal one, but both have problems that make me stick 'em back in the storage cabinet every time I look at them.

Though my successes this week have boosted my bread-confidence and are making me consider playing around with starters when I get home this late spring/summer.

This Amish Friendship Bread starter looks really easy to make/maintain, so I'll probably follow that for the starter. However, after looking through a bunch of Google returns, I couldn't find a recipe using a starter that I was really happy with to try for a first loaf. So instead I took inspiration from several of them and tried to adapt the recipe I used this week to work with a starter. The recipe I came up with is under cut for critique from my fellow bakers. )

This recipe is mostly for my use, so if there's any confusing parts let me know. XD I know what I mean/procedures I use but that doesn't help if anyone else wants to give pointers and don't know all the assumptions laced through it.

ETA: I was messing around with foodstuffs (baking, cooking, making cookie dough) for six hours straight. Granted, at the beginning some of the time was waiting around while food did its thing without my interference, but still. Something was going from before noon until Mom and I finished dinner a bit after six. @_@ But I have bread, dinner (tamales with refried beans and rice), and cookie dough to show for it. Yummy food is yummy.
flybystardancer: (Bumblebee slag)
My computer is saying that it's connected, but all the internet programs (browser, AIM, MSN messanger) are all acting as if I'm not connected. Dad's done all he can, but it's still not working.

On a higher note... COOKIES! I'm baking lots and lots of cookies! *likes baking cookies* I used up the last of the pinwheel log last night (it only made 8 cookies, that's a total of 22 cookies total from that recipe), and I'm currently backing a ton of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Yum! And I'm planning on baking more. Hee hee hee...

Edit: Chocolate chip cookies are done, and the second (and last) tray of sugar-free peanut butter cookies is in the oven, the other tray is cooling. ^_^ I'm planning on sending a bunch of the cookies in to work tomorrow morning, and one of the sales guys up front is diabetic. Hence the sugar-free cookies so that he can be included. And no worries, I'll test-taste the peanut butter cookies before I send them in. However, they're the Magical Peanut Butter Cookies, and they come highly-recommended.
flybystardancer: (Jazz Sunny WTF)
I just adapted a recipe I've used before for making pinwheel cookies, and felt like sharing the recipe here for all. :D

Note: For those outside the US, here is an online converter that can be used to change the measurements into something more familiar to you.

Recipe behind here! )
flybystardancer: (Superion Love)
Phenylethylamine. )

It's the component of chocolate that makes you feel soooo good!
flybystardancer: (Sunstreaker)
So many recipes I want to try over the summer... They include:

Listed here. )
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