Posts Tagged 'cooking'

Unemployment and Burritos

Well this (pardon my French) shit storm of economy finally caught up with me in the form of being laid off last week. At first I could really see the silver lining to the whole situation because I loved my job and Im one of those weirdos that actually enjoys working. But as the days have gone on Ive started to be okay with this whole unemployment thing. Ok of course Id prefer to be gainfully employed, but my former company gave me a nice severance which allows me the time to take a look at my career and take my time finding new employment. Its also giving me some time to get back to doing some things that I love and havent had much time for lately…like exercise, photography and of course, cooking.

Right after I got laid off I saw an interesting article on Divine Caroline called Can Unemployment Be the Healthiest Time of Your Life? all about another professional woman who was laid off and found time to cook and enjoy life more. Now I do cook almost every day, unless my boyfriend and I are going out, I make dinner every night. Breakfast and lunch, however, were always grabbed on the go or at the office. But now Im realizing “hey theres two more meals I can make in a day!”

So here I am embarking on a journey of unemployment..of course this wont last forever…as much as I enjoy having some free time financial woes will begin to bear down. But for now Im going to take my former boss’ advice and take a few weeks of personal vacation. I really want to use this time to explore new money saving ideas around the house that I can continue to use when I find a new job. Thankfully my fellow domestic geek Katie is a pro at maximizing home cooked meals so I got a good guide to go off of. In fact, yesterday I used one of her ideas to make a tasty money saving breakfast/snack!

A few days before my boyfriend and I had some friends over to our house and we had some salsa and bean dip. The bean dip was made simply by mashing some chili beans (not canned premade chili, but spiced chili beans) with some garlic, dried onion and cumin. So I decided instead of tossing out the leftovers, I would make mini breakfast burritos!

Mini Breakfast Burritos
Ingredients
Bean dip or black beans or re-fried beans
8 eggs
1 red or yellow pepper
1/2 yellow onion
salsa
soy milk or regular milk
corn tortillas
cheese

Crack 4 eggs open on a bowl and add 4 egg whites to the mixture and beat with a fork. Add a splash of either soy milk or regular milk, dont add too much though, you dont want the eggs to become runny. Add a bit of salt and pepper and set aside. Preheat a skillet or cast iron pan and add a bit of oil and add the egg mixture. Dice the onions and pepper and add them to the eggs and slowly cook the whole mixture so as not to burn the eggs. Once the eggs are nice and fluffy remove from heat and set them aside.

Next take the corn tortillas and lightly wet them and throw them on an oiled skillet for a few seconds to soften them up. This is a little trick my boyfriend’s mother taught me for making nice soft corn tortillas that are easy to fold. Dont cook them too long or they will get crispy!

To assemble the burritos take a spoonful of the bean dip or whatever canned bean you have on hand (pinto or black, make sure to drain them!) and spread it in a line on the tortilla. Add a spoonful of eggs, salsa and a bit of whatever leftover cheese you have available. Now these tortillas are small so you wont be able to roll them like normal burritos but rater like a taquito. It might take a try to two to figure out the ratio of the ingredients…you dont want too much or you wont be able to roll the burritos.

After you roll each burrito wrap it in plastic wrap and throw it in the freezer. Now you should have a nice little fleet of breakfast burritos ready for a quick breakfast or snack! Just pop them in the microwave for about a minute and a half and youre good to go!

<3 seanalyn

Create create culinary art with Magic Five

Ever wonder how restaurants get those perfectly even lines of sauce on your food? Yeah I can never figure it out either but someone has figured out how to make them them yourself with ease. Introducing the…

Magic Five

This Japanese bottles have 5 evenly spaced holes at the tip allowing you to expertly decorate your food with whatever sauce you like (medium thickness like mayo works best). Recently a blogger discovered them while eating Okonomiyaki (or as I call it, Okonomnomnomiyaki) in Kyoto Japan last fall. Unfortunately these bottles are only available in Japan, so I guess I’ll have to wait until I go to Tokyo this summer to pick some up!

[link via Boing Boing Gadgets]

<3 seanalyn

Pac-Man Oven Mitts

Thats it, I can retire from blogging now because the greatest geeky domestic tool has been invented.

Pac-Man Oven Mitts

From domestic goody guru Fred comes heat handling silicone mitts that will satisfy your inner geek while you cook. Best of all is that inside the mitts they are textured with a Pac-Man course for texture and extra geekness. These babies launch in mid-April for a steal at $15 a pop.

I have a birthday coming up in late April…I’m just sayin’ ;)

<3 seanalyn

an easy steak (or salmon) dinner

i am a busy lady.  between working a full time job, going to school two nights a week, working out, occasionally picking up shifts at Whole Foods Market, and sustaining a normal social life, i sometimes have a hard time cramming amazing dinners into my schedule.  however, with a little creativity and determination, one can accomplish anything.

i thought i would share my latest creation: garlic thyme steak (or salmon, which i made myself since i don’t eat beef or pork).  this is such an easy marinade that you can prepare the night before or in the morning of.  i also paired this with a couple baked potatoes & some steamed lemon butter broccoli, which take little effort.  here are the recipes:

garlic thyme steak

garlic thyme steak

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garlic thyme salmon

Garlic Thyme Steak/Salmon

ingredients:

  • 2 6-8 ounce round steaks or salmon
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons of fresh thyme

using a baking dish, combine the garlic, olive oil, and thyme.  throw your steak or salmon into the mixture and marinate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).  make sure to flip the steak/salmon a few times to ensure thorough marinating on both sides.

to cook, place steak/salmon in a skillet or on the grill.  cook each side for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.

REMEMBER: baked potatoes take a long time to cook in the oven.  scrub and prick your potatoes with a fork several times, then wrap them in foil.  preheating your oven to 425 degrees, bake your potatoes for 45-50 minutes.  during the last 15minutes of baking your potatoes, throw your washed and cut broccoli into a pan with a steam until your potatoes are done.  during the last 10 minutes of baking your potatoes, begin cooking your marinate steak/salmon.

unsure of how to steam vegetables? check out this video!

***SHORT ON TIME?  microwave your potatoes!  after scrubbing & pricking your potatoes with a fork several times, place on a microwavable plate and cook for 5 minutes in your microwave.  turn over, then cook for another 5  minutes.  when the potatoes is soft, remove from the microwave, slice open, and add your favorite ingredients (butter, sour cream, cheese, chopped bacon, green onions, etc!)

when your baked potatoes are done, remove from oven.  place your steamed broccoli in a large bowl and add a tablespoon of butter, a squeezed lemon, and a little salt & pepper to taste.  prepare your baked potatoes as desired, add some steamed lemon broccoli, and place your cooked steak or salmon (top off with the remaining marinade from your baking dish) on your plate.  ENJOY!!!

<3 kt

Live bloggin Martha Stewart

In the fallout of my father’s passing Ive been working from home (dont want to make anyone in the office uncomfortable with spontaneous crying and what not) and the one benefit of this is daytime television. Ok so I dont really like much daytime television but I do enjoy my occasional dose of Martha. Today looks like an interesting show with recession busting ideas and Aussie chef Pete Evans and I figured those of you not able to watch the show live might enjoy a play by play account (or not haha. This could be epic fail). So lets start the show!

1:03 Pete comes out, Im slightly disappointed with his Aussie accent. I have a few super Aussies at work and they all put his accent to shame. Oh well, theyre flipping through his cookbook to decide what to cook today.

1:05 Oh theyre cooking Huevos Rancheros and Steamed Arctic Char. Not very Aussie but delicious sounding regardless.

1:05 Wow Martha brought in eggs from her own chicken! I want Martha’s eggs!

1:06 Apprently all dishes should have color, flavor and texture. The crispy tortilla ads the texture to the Huevos Rancheros.

1:06 Pete is talking about hout Australia is such a new country that they dont really have their own cuisine yet, they are like America and mostly a melting pot with a few emerging specialties. Ive always been a fan of vegemite and toast ;)

1:08 wow they are already done with the Huevos Rancheros and they look DELICIOUS!

Get the recipe here

1:13 OMG Pete’s fish that he brought with Australia to cook was confiscated at LAX. Epic lols. Also I just realized that Martha and Pete kind of look like twinsies, they are both wearing light purple button up shirts. How cute.

1:14 Hmm never realized how much Arctic Char looks like salmon. They are adding the soy sauce and other ingredients. Fun fact: In Australia they call green onions either green onions or spring onions.

1:15 learned a new tip! Peel ginger with the back of your spoon. I never knew…

1:15 Interesting Pete is using the garlic for texture. Wonder what hes going to do with it…fry it maybe?

1:17 Yup fried it with some red chili. Wow that was an easy recipe! Only a few ingredients and very simple. Prep time was like 5 minutes and cook was about 8! Amazing!

Get the recipe here

1:18 Ahaha Martha just corrected Pete because he kept calling the green onions shallots. Martha BUUUURNNNNN!

1:18 Annnnd everyone in the audience is getting a copy of Petes book and the crowd goes WILD! But not as wild as Oprah’s audience

1:21 Ohh up now is a woman showing how to make a cardboard box and other recyclables into a toy oven! I want to make one…anyone have a kid I can borrow? Because it would be weird to make a toy oven for myself.

1:22 So the woman showing how to make the stove says one day she was in her basement and a box started to look like a stove. This woman must grow shrooms in her basement.

1:23 Aww she originally made it to cary pies in! Now I have an excuse to make one!

1:26 Wow the bottle cap knobs on the oven actually turn!

1:27 Huh using CDs for burners by drawing grooves with a sharpie. How cute!

1:30 Man, Martha must be on speed or something because she does her show in lightning speed! Either that or she is a domestic robot sent from the future to destroy us with cupcakes. Mmmm apocalyptic cupcakes.

1:32 Oops the rack inside the oven wont stay up. Martha is not amused and is scolding her guest. Im sticking with the evil Cylon Martha theory right now.

1:34 And the oven is done! How cute! Theres even a light inside that turns on and off when you open and close it

To learn to make your own cardboard oven, click here

1:35 Up next things to make to go along with your toy oven.

1:38 “What would an oven be without play food” Yeah Martha, what would an oven be without play food? Nothing a sad sad little oven

1:39 Wow absolutely adorable handmade felted food from Lilly Bean Market. I have a soft spot in my heart for felted toys. I just want to add little smiley faces to all the food for extra cuteness

1:40 Martha boasts that shes made more lattice top pies than anyone in the studio and then stares ominously into the camera like shes looking into your soul to make sure shes made more pies than you.

1:42 Heres some of the felt foods they showed.

cuteness overload!

1:43 Oh nice she sells kits to make her felted toys online! Click here to buy the felt pie kit for only $6! What a steal!

1:45 Martha is impressed with this guest, she compliments her neatness and says the pie looks better than the real thing. I just realized that the girl has the same haircut as Martha….I fear that Martha has made another skin job to help her quest to dominate the world with cuteness.

1:47 And the pie is done! Very cute!

You can buy the kit for a mere $6 or click here to learn how.

1:50 Another cardboard crafter is up next! Wow shes a 19th century literary major with 1 kid and another on the way. Martha shows off the cardboard washing machine and table that she made for her kid. They are going to show us how to make a cardboard furniture

1:52 How neat, all of the furniture is made of interlocking pieces so you dont have to glue them together to assemble. That way kids can take them apart and travel with them. The pieces are all very modern looking.

1:52 Wow the drawing of the furniture that she made for reference were done in Photoshop. My design geek heart just went pitter patter.

1:54 I just learned a new word “take-apart-able”

1:55 Wow the doll furniture is like a mini cardboard version of Ikea furniture. Everything just locks into place! Nifty!

1:58 And the furniture is done!

Cardboard table and chair are VERY cute (hmm I notice a theme here) although that doll sitting in the chair is kind of creepy… Im a little frightened. Maybe it was a former guest that angered Martha and she used her evil cupcakes and turned them into an ugly toy. Oh well instructions for the furniture including templates can be prnted outhere

1:59 Well the show is over! Martha promises tomorrow will be another great show and Im inclined to believe her mainly out of fear.

Hope you enjoyed the first live blog! I know it was silly but hey…who doesnt want a little dose of Martha in the afternoon!? Before you answer remember that Martha is a Cylon and has super strength and does not fear death because she made her own resurrection hub out of cardboard and jell-o. Im just sayin…

<3 seanalyn

On food and family

Im sure some of you noticed that its been quiet around these parts the past week or so. Well I wanted to update on whats going on. This a bit difficult to write, but Ive always felt that talking through what Im feeling is amazing therapy but right now I cant really bring myself to say a lot of these words out loud….so this is something I just need to write about for now. Almost a year ago my father was diagnosed with a malignant schwannoma that had spread to his brain. He had surgery last spring and it was a success and radiation seemed to have eradicated all traces of cancer. However during the holiday season we discovered that the cancer came back and had spread to his spine. The cancer spread very rapidly and the doctors decided that there was nothing that could be done. My father’s cancer was terminal and he would die very soon.

Since Christmas Ive been driving to visit him and the rest of my family in Bakersfield every weekend. Its been hard emotionally to see my father who was such a strong man slowly deteriorate…but I needed to be there for him and my family. Sunday February 8th was to be my Dad’s 57th birthday and even though he wasnt eating solid foods and wasnt speaking, I had planned on making my grandmother’s Italian crepes for him. It was his mothers recipe and after she died almost 7 years ago from Alzheimers, he has not smelled or tasted his mothers crepes since no one in my family had been able to master the recipe.

Unfortunately Saturday night just 1 hour before his 57th birthday my father passed away quietly and surrounded by loved ones. I cant even begin to explain the heartache Im going through, its a loss unlike any loss I have experienced before. I always knew that one day I would loose my father, I just had no idea it would come so soon.

Part of me is devastated and almost angry for all the things I will miss out on. I wont have the opportunity to have my father walk me down the isle, come to my house for Christmas dinner or hold my future child. Im heartbroken that my mother…his wife of over 30 years, will have to retire alone. But at the same time I know that I am fortunate to have had such an amazing father for 24 years…many people I know never knew their fathers or had horrible dads, so Im thankful for my dad even if the time was short. Im also thankful for the lives he touched. As a teacher for 30 years lower income children and adults he had an amazing impact on their lives, Ive been reading the online guest books for him and am overwhelmed with the sheer number of people writing about how much they loved my dad. His memorial service had over 300 people! We were all lucky to have my dad even though our time with him was cut short.

The day after my dad passed away I decided to go ahead and make his mothers crepes as I had originally planned. Even though my grandmother’s recipe is very vague (uses words like scoop and pinch and was more of an ingredient list than anything) I was able to make 2 batches of crepes and some sweet and spicy sausages. When we sat down to dinner my family toasted my Dad and wished him a happy birthday with tears in our eyes. To my surprise and delight the crepes tasted exactly like my grandma’s! I overstuffed them a bit because I didnt take into account the filling expanding when I cooked, but otherwise they were perfect. My mom said that Dad would be proud.

I would share the recipe with you all, but its my grandma’s secret recipe so I cant go about putting it up online for the world to see ;) However I am devising some of my own crepe recipes and I’ll share them with you later. I promise I’ll catch up on all the blogs Ive been meaning to write, Ive got about a dozen floating around in my head right now and I just need the time to write them all out.

I love you Dad and I miss you so much, you always encouraged me to write and read my blogs…I like to think that somewhere out there your spirit is still reading them. This is for you Dad, I love you so much.

Robert Anthony Mickols February 8th 1952- February 7th 2009

<3 seanalyn

Make your own vegetable pasta!

As many know, I am on a wheat free diet for medical reasons so often I find myself having to come up with substitutes for my dishes. Im Italian so I love pasta dishes, but Ive never really liked the taste and texture of pasta…its too bland and gummy. Enter veggie pasta. Veggie pastas are when you use a vegetable to simulate the pasta in your dish. Its far more healthy than the carb rich noodles and I find it much more tasty. The easiest to prepare and most popular is spaghetti squash. The large gourd is cheap and all you have to do is cut it in half, boil it and then scoop out the meat with a fork and it will fall out like noodles.

Cool huh? I use this all the time when I need spaghetti noodles and frankly I like it more than regular spaghetti. Its got a more firm texture and a flavorful nutty taste. Im a big fan of just tossing the noodles with some olive oil and garlic then sprinkling with some fresh Parmesan cheese.

One of my recent discoveries has been the use of zucchini as noodles. All you have to do is take a zucchini and cut the ends off and peel the skin. Then using a potato peeler slice long even strips of the zucchini. About 2 average sized zucchinis makes enough for one serving.

Heres my 12seconds video of how to make the noodles

Cooking Lesson 1: How to make zucchini noodles in 12 seconds! on 12seconds.tv

Once you have a big pile of zucchini noodles you can either quickly boil them our lightly saute them in oil. Be careful not to cook them too long or they will become soft and mushy. All you need to do is get them nice and hot, any longer than that and they will loose their noodle-like texture. I really like using them in a chili and soy stir fry but you can use them in any recipe that calls for flat noodles. So enjoy the healthy and delicious taste of veggie noodles!

<3 seanalyn


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