summer rolls

I’ve eaten summer rolls before, but I’d never made them before. Now I’m just like … why the hell have I been spending so much on something so easy to make?!? All you need are rice paper wraps, lettuce, beef, red lettuce, cilantro, carrots, (Chinese) vermicelli, and hoisin sauce. Dip rice paper wrap in a bowl of water, pile on ingredients, squirt some sauce on there, wrap it like a burrito (the rice paper even sticks to itself!), and shove summer roll into mouth. Repeat. The end.

130615 a

130615 b

Advertisements

potato wedges – easy peasy

I’m not a good cook. I boiled my first egg in my junior year of college … after asking my roommate how to hard-boil an egg. Seriously. I’m not even kidding. My mother is a fabulous cook, but maybe when I was little I burned myself one too many times on the stove, because I don’t like that thing!

130121 potatoes

The oven, however, is my friend. One of the things I make way more than I oughta is potato wedges. Why? Because potatoes are cheap, I’ve never been one to turn down starchy goodness, and potato wedges are easy to make and easy to eat. It’s pretty forgiving so it’s impossible to make them wrong unless you leave them in the oven for hours and burn them to a crisp. Sometimes I use red potatoes and sometimes I use baking potatoes … whatever I happen to have or whatever’s on sale at the grocery store.

Scrub the potatoes clean, slice them into wedges, and pour on chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and/or whatever else. Then pour in some vegetable oil and mix it all so that every wedge is coated with enough seasoning and oil. When you think it’s good enough, line them up on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven at 350F (or thereabouts) and let them bake for an hour (or thereabouts). Potato wedges don’t take much preparation or thought. They are, in a word, ideal.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

life of a carrot cake

One of my roommates (roomie I) had her birthday a few days ago so the rest of us decided to make a carrot cake for her. Fun times in our apartment! We used this recipe that I had used before except without pecans, and currants instead of raisins. After some carpal-tunnel-inducing carrot grating (thanks to roomie J and myself), we got the batter together.

111029 a

It baked up pretty nice, but the darned thing wouldn’t come out of the bundt cake pan even after I banged on it for forever.

111029 b

However, it eventually did come out thanks to roomie D and a knife, and roomie D then whipped up the icing and sprinkled it all nicely with Halloween sprinkles. Cute, eh?

111029 c

It was yummy. It got devoured pretty fast, leaving only a little bit for the fridge.

111029 d

After the above picture was taken, roomie J opened the fridge (which isn’t very organized) and the cake came tumbling out. Sad. So yep, the rest of it basically ended up in the trash.

Thus ends the story of this carrot cake’s life. We still have extra carrots left, so carrot cake #2 might be on its way soon. Because it was yummy.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

margarita cupcakes

I’ve wanted to make these for a really long time. I bought lime juice back in September specifically to make these. Thankfully that stuff stays fine for a while and the rest of the ingredients I have on hand normally. The original recipe is from a book called “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”. I’m not vegan, but some of their cupcakes are AMAZING. I tweak their recipes to suit my non-vegan pantry, but basically the credit goes there.

100131 01 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Process:

  • mix together the wet ingredients with the sugar (first six items on the ingredients list)
  • separately mix the remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt)
  • then mix the two mixtures together
  • pour into muffin tins – will make 12
  • bake in oven at 350F for 20-25 minutes

Frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter (softened so it’s easier to mix)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

The cupcakes are light, moist, and delicious. And even though these are “margarita” cupcakes, you don’t taste any alcohol in the cake itself – it’s all in the frosting. So once the cupcakes were cool, I whipped some up. There’s no real need to follow a recipe – just simple frosting with lime juice and tequila instead of water. My hand kind of tipped a bit in the process … so my frosting turned out to be quite, um, strong. But yummy!

My roommate hasn’t been home since I made these, so I’ll have to make sure to tell her about the alcohol-content of the cupcakes. Then again, that would be quite the surprise, expecting a simple vanilla cupcake and getting a taste of a margarita instead. That girl better love me. Seriously, I must be in the running for best roommate ever.

Oh, and a belated linkage here to Bake at 350, which is having a little party. Next on my list, after I buy coconut and pineapple juice, are these pina colada cupcakes. Yum!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

baked + gifts + space

Whew. First I must mention that I made cookies again. Lots and lots of oatmeal cookies. I used the same recipe that I had used in this previous post, but I made the cookies a bit smaller and multiplied the recipe by 1.5. Ended up with about 70 cookies, stuffed about 25 per bag, and sent them on their way to studio. The rest stayed home and were promptly devoured.

091022 01 cookies

Then I made rolls. Yay! Don’t have a loaf pan here, so I haven’t been able to make bread again, but I do have a baking sheet so I tried out this recipe and I think they turned out rather yummy. Pretty easy to make too. Next time I’ll probably halve the recipe because this made a lot of rolls (not that my roommate minds).

091022 02 rolls

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 1/2 cup warm water (divided)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 cups flour

Process:

  • dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water
  • in a separate bowl cream together the sugar and shortening
  • add egg, salt, the yeast mixture (after making sure it blossomed), remaining 2 cups of water, and about 4 cups flour
  • mix until smooth and keep mixing in flour until it turns into a soft dough
  • turn out and knead for about 6-8 minutes
  • place dough in a greased bowl, turn the dough over (to make sure it’s all oiled up), and cover the bowl
  • place the bowl in the refrigerator to rise overnight or for at least 8 hours
  • the next morning, punch the dough down and form rolls (about 36)
  • grease a baking sheet and roll the rolls around on it to cover them in oil (this will allow you to take the rolls apart after they bake together)
  • cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour (until the dough has doubled – the rolls should start squishing together)
  • bake in oven at 400F for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned

091022 03 spiders

I love getting mail! My sister mailed me this cute little spiders thing. It’s currently hanging from a light switch in our hallway. Festive-y, right?

091022 04 simplynu

A while back I won a giveaway from SimplyNu, and I received this delicious piece of handmade Castile soap in the mail. It’s called Daisy Castile and I must say … its scent is heavenly (and the flower shape is too cute). They’re pretty new and their etsy shop has a lovely range of candles, soaps, and stationery. So, a big thanks to SimplyNu! I wish them the best with their store.

091022 05 space

Last but not least, my current creative space. Lots of black, I know. Halloween is next Saturday, can you guess what I’m up to? There’s black tulle, black elastic, black feathers, and some silver and black jewelry. I rather like my costume idea, but since it has yet to be created, I won’t say much now.

Linking over to kootyoo for a whole bunch of creative spaces. And over to Southern Hospitality for recipes! Goodness gracious, this was a long post!

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

sugar cookies!

My roommate had a review for her studio, so … I made them (and me) sugar cookies! I went with my go-to sugar cookie recipe, which I still have no complaints about. I found it here and judging by the amount of reviews it has, a lot of other people agree with my positive assessment.

090919 01 dough

Ingredients:

  • 2-3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Process:

  • mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder
  • separately mix together the softened butter (microwaved it for a while) with the sugar
  • to the butter mix, add the egg and vanilla
  • add it all together
  • form into teaspoon-sized balls on a cookie sheet
  • bake in oven at 375F for 8-10 minutes (I stuck to about 8 minutes for chewier cookies rather than hard ones)

090919 02 cookies

They come out delish as always. The recipe yielded about four dozen cookies, which was probably a bit more than I should’ve made. I intended to halve the recipe, but while mixing ingredients, I forgot. And how the heck do you halve an egg, eh?

090919 03 bagged

I ended up just sewing a quick bag, lining it with a paper towel, and stuffing about two dozen of the cookies in there. The rest stayed on our counter. I attached the sugar cookie tag I made a few weeks ago to a binder clip, and then just clipped the bag closed. Looking back, I should have added some ribbon, but guess I was just being lazy. Quick and easy. This week is going to be RIDICULOUSLY CRAZY with tests, papers, and what-not, but at least there are cookies.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

one week later

It’s been one week since my last post. From now on I’ll probably only post about once a week because, well … I really don’t have much to post about. I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. As I mentioned previously, my sister came to town and we did sisterly things, like eat and shop. It was so great to see her again. Good Austin-y restaurants to try: Blue Dahlia (on East 11th), Chuy’s (on Barton Springs), and Woodland (on South Congress). I definitely need to go back to Woodland because their meatloaf sandwich was ridiculously delicious.

090910 01 last fig

We went to the Farmer’s Market at 4th and Guadalupe on Saturday morning, where we tried some very yummy samples and bought figs. I had never had figs that didn’t come in a newton before, so I was completely shocked when I first bit into one. YUM. So sweet … so lovely. The picture is of the very last fig – right before I ate that little piece of heaven.

On Labor Day I went to a friend’s place for a get-together she was having. To thank her, I made her some oatmeal cookies and gave them to her yesterday. They actually turned out really good. I halved this recipe but still ended up with a few over two dozen 2″ cookies. The ingredients list below is for the full recipe, so if you want a smaller batch, just halve it like I did.

090910 02 dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I increased this a bit)
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats

Process:

  • mix together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar
  • add the eggs and vanilla to the mix
  • in a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
  • add the two mixtures together and add the oatmeal
  • form little balls of dough (about 1″ in diameter) onto a cookie sheet
  • bake in oven at 375F for 8-10 minutes

090910 03 bagged

I haven’t had a chance to make those reusable cookie bags, so I just used a plain ol’ ziploc with a piece of ribbon and tucked in a note. I left the cookies on her desk yesterday morning and got a voicemail from her thanking me later on. This is why I love giving cookies – it just makes people happy! And it makes me happy for making others happy! All in all, very happy. I also finally managed to give my friend X her birthday pillows. More happiness!

But … apparently my sister thinks I’m tired all the time because I eat too many simple sugars. Yeah yeah, probably true. I just happen to really like bread, muffins, and cookies. Is that so wrong?

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

breadsticks

I have a thing for carbohydrates. I admit it, my diet is not balanced at all. Since I love to bake, I love cakes, cookies, and breads. Therefore, I made breadsticks. Yes, I still have a large amount of that slightly weird white bread left, but I needed breadsticks. Yummy ones, too. The below recipe is an altered version of this one.

090711 01 breadsticks

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter (melted)

Process:

  • combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
  • gradually add milk to mixture and stir to form a soft dough
  • turn onto a floured surface – knead gently 3-4 times
  • roll dough into a rectangle slightly smaller than your pan
  • cut into strips the size desired for breadsticks
  • pour melted butter into your baking pan (I used a 9″x13″ glass pan)
  • place breadsticks into the butter and turn to coat
  • sprinkle oregano and parmesan cheese on top of butter-coated dough sticks
  • bake in oven at 450F for 14-18 minutes (or until golden brown)

They actually turned out pretty good. A bit on the chewy side (probably because I worked the dough a bit too much) but all in all tasty and rather easy. So now I have two bread things on the baked goods counter. Yep, you read that correctly: baked goods counter. My roommate and I have an entire section of our counter dedicated to stuff we’ve baked (usually by me … she ain’t as “domestic” as I am). The slightly weird white bread doesn’t taste so bad when it’s toasted and eaten with a lot of butter. I also have strawberry preserves and orange marmalade, so I’ll be good. I will eat it all. I will.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

making bread

090701 01 bread

Doesn’t that look … odd? Yes, I made bread in a pie pan. It’s kinda weird. Usually I halve the bread recipes that I find, but this time I forgot. Therefore, I had a whole lotta dough and since I had already filled up the loaf pan and square pan, I resorted to using my trusty pie pan. I used a different recipe for bread this time, and it wasn’t that great. Although I’m not sure if it’s not that great because of all the weird stuff I did to the recipe or if it just wasn’t that great of a recipe to begin with. Either way, I think I’m going to go back to the rosemary bread recipe and just tweak that to suit me.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 6-7 cups bread flour

Process:

  • mix the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of sugar together
  • let the mixture stand until it foams (the yeast blossoms)
  • add three cups of water, 1/2 cup of sugar, and flour
  • add salt once the mixture is thick
  • add flour until you cannot add any more – knead
  • place the dough in an oiled bowl covered with a towel
  • put the bowl in a warm place and let rise for an hour
  • punch the dough down and let it rise for another hour
  • bake in oven at 375F for 25-30 minutes until browned

The thing is, I ran out of bread flour about three cups in. Therefore I started using all-purpose flour, until I ran out of that too. I really need to start planning better. Anyway, that’s why in the picture of my dough rising, it still looks pretty wet … because it was. Eh. Tastes okay, but it doesn’t have that yummy chewiness that I generally like in my breads because I ran out of bread flour. And it just looks weird. But now I’m stuck with a lot of bread. I wouldn’t give it to any of my friends because it has a slightly weird taste, probably because of the random dash of honey I threw in (I don’t know why), and a slightly weird texture, probably because of the flour shenanigans.

090701 04 sweet potato

While it was rising, I cooked my sweet potato. The oven was already on since I find it easier to let the dough rise when it’s sitting on top of a hot oven. Usually I just put the oven on a low setting, but I figured I might as well use the oven rather than let all that heat go to waste. After washing the sweet potato, I stuck it in the oven for an hour and a half at 350F. Yum.

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]

mia and muffins

Ack! It’s almost been two weeks since I’ve made a single post. Bad, bad me. So much has happened in the last two weeks and I just went to download pictures off of my camera today, so there will be a few posts in quick succession. First of all, the reason why last week was so busy was … wait for it … I GOT A JOB! Okay, it was a temporary job that ended on Sunday, but still! And it was with Mamma Mia! I sold programs and CDs before and after the show and during intermission, so the rest of the time I was free to do homework or watch the show – which was amazing. Bass Concert Hall is a beautiful space. The renovation a few years back made it really modern and simple, just my style. Although now I can’t seem to stop humming ABBA songs.

090630 01 work

But in the mail I received a silicone muffin pan from an online offer thing.

090630 02 silicone

So … because I had these spiffy new silicone pans, I had never used silicone before, and I was craving chocolate, I decided to make some oatmeal chocolate chip muffins. I love these things and they’re sort of my go-to recipe for yumminess. And the oatmeal makes me feel healthy despite all the chocolate. I’m not quite sure where I got the recipe from since I’ve had it for a while, but I’ve made it a few times (great each time). The recipe follows below.

090630 03 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup (+/-) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Process:

  • combine the oats and milk and let the mixture stand for 15 minutes – let the oats hydrate, otherwise the muffins won’t be soft
  • stir in the egg, oil, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, and vanilla
  • stir the chocolate chips into the mix
  • in a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt
  • once you have the two mixtures ready, add the oatmeal mixture into the flour mixture until just moist
  • fill the muffin pans about 2/3 full
  • sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes

So what do I think of silicone? Eh, works okay. It’s kind of annoying because since the pans themselves are pretty flexible, you have to put them on a cookie sheet when baking so they don’t flop all around. Also, they don’t brown as nicely so the edges of my muffins looked uncooked and kind of weird. On the other hand, they did clean pretty nicely and they are blue …. They might grow on me, but for now I think I still prefer metal muffin pans and glass for everything else. But for just a dollar, could you find a better muffin pan?

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is reposted here for my own sake.]