Vacation preparation

28 01 2011

When we’re headed out on vacation (like we are today), there is a routine for getting ready and out of the house. We try on all our clothes and pack; we get the dog packed for her Val-cation; the tub gets scrubbed, the dishes cleaned, and the sheets changed; and we leave a few notes to help our dog sitting friend(s)’s time at our place be a chill-axing sort of stay.

Notes like this:

Now…off to go buy a new shower liner…


An abreviated CSA

28 01 2011

We’re headed out on vacation and I didn’t think far enough ahead to skip our veggie CSA. I remembered the meat – you know the frozen one that would have kept? Duh.  Anyway, so when I went to pick up and saw that there was a celeriac and some watermelon daikons in the swap box, I happily traded my stir-fry mix and my spinach.  The rest of the score (which I hope Val eats in our absence, hint hint): mandarin oranges, arugula, a beautiful savoy cabbage, celeriac, watermelon daikons, leeks, carrots, eggs, and some apples.


23 01 2011

Today is a friend’s birthday celebration and I am surprising him with a giant doughnut!

Just kidding. It’s a chocolate bundt cake with orange and almonds.

Emma’s Better Chocolate Bundt Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • zest of one large orange
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (at room temp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • shy 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325. Butter a standard size bundt pan (I used the butter wrappers and whatever is left on them from the 2 sticks butter in the cake) and set aside.

For the cake:

  • In a stand mixer, combine butter, orange zest, and sugar and cream until light and fluffy;
  • Add eggs, one at a time;
  • Add vanilla & almond extracts;
  • Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt together (no really – you have to sift it – this is a cake) and separately mix milk and yogurt together in a large mixing cup;
  • Reduce your mixer speed to low and add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the milk mixture, then 1/3 flour, then 1/2 milk, then 1/3 flour;
  • Take the bowl off the mixer and fold in the 1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds;
  • Spoon into your bundt pan, spread it out as evenly as you can;
  • Bake for approx 55 minutes, testing at 50 with a wood skewer – you want it just clean with a crumb or 2;
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then invert the pan over a wire rack and shake out the cake. If you have trouble, try banging lightly on the cake pan with your palm. Cool completely.

For the topping:

  • Whisk together the orange juice and and powdered sugar until smooth – I add 1/3 cup at a time to prevent lumps;
  • Drizzle on your cooled cake on the wire rack, making a huge mess on your counter or cutting board;
  • Sprinkle remaining toasted chopped almonds.


The butterfly effect

20 01 2011

So we ran out of shower soap (Dr. Bronners Classic Liquid Soap) but instead of shopping at our regular place, Rainbow Grocery, we picked some soap up at a Whole Foods when walking by one – ease! convenience! yuppies with strollers taking up whole isles! When I finally found the Dr. Bronners (which I had to ask for, btw, it was placed so high on the shelf I couldn’t find it even after staring at the soap section for some time; yeah yeah, I’m only 5 ft tall, blah blah blah), they didn’t have our normal “flavor”, citrus, so I picked out the least gross sounding alternative option available: almond. I don’t mind the almond; it reminds me of the hippie chapstick I used as a kid until I discovered that I was allergic to beeswax. It also reminds me of almond croissants. Every day.

Today, I ate all of my lunch and snacks by 10am. And so at 1, decided to go get a snack so I wouldn’t get all hangry at my co-workers. Lo! The farmer’s market was open. A good fruit snack should do the trick!!  But walking down the aisle to peruse the fruit I happened upon a wondrous thing:

The best almond croissant I have eaten ever. If we can really call it a croissant. I mean, there is more almond paste and more sliced almonds on this puppy than I’ve ever experienced in/on a croissant.  Maybe that’s why it was so good?


Pass the parsley

19 01 2011

Last Wednesday was our first CSA day after the holiday break and we got some fantastic stuff: eggs, apples, mandarins, red cabbage, romanesco (that crazy green pointy thing related to cauliflower and broccoli), carrots, leeks, stir fry mix, parsley, & a butternut squash. There was also a bag of spinach in there but we are up to our eyes in spinach so I swapped it for some parsley in the trade box.

Anyone have any good parsley recipes?

Morning candy

19 01 2011

Guess what your friendly neighborhood Erl found at the Walgreens this morning? Peanut Butter Snickers. What? Seriously.

I’m not so sure about this one. I mean…I like Snickers (the dark chocolate one, the almond one), have for most of my years, and I like chocolate and peanut butter together. But peanut butter in my Snickers? I don’t know about that.

Also – apparently Mars has decided that I should only eat one of the two squares of Peanut Butter Snickers because they have added handy instructions on the package for saving half for later:

That face says I don’t think so. But that was before I had tried it (pb similar to a stale Reece’s cup with a tad bit of caramel, some nougatty stuff and not enough peanuts; also the chocolate was waxy and gross) and now I think I’ll take them up on the “twist to close” offer and pass this sub-par bar on to someone else.

Fiber Arts Camp in Feb 2012

14 01 2011

Come on…you know you want to come hang out with a bunch of crafter ladies with me for a week in Feb of 2012.  Bring anything! The main crew will be doing rug hooking.  I have no idea what kind of fiber craft I’ll be into in 2012 but I’m sure there will be something: crochet, knitting, quilting.

It’s at this gorgeous place:

Steps from the beach.

Learn all the details on my mom’s blog.