Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Also, I totally suck for not posting this ten days ago.....

Ten days, ten years!!!!!

I'm actually extremely skeptical that this "Man In The Mirror" is the real deal, but it's still a good version! The concert was so poorly managed by the media, that the only people who could even make a real call on its authenticity were people who were there, and I don't remember much from 10 years ago except that I saw him and it was awesome!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maple Sugar Cutout Cookies

I'm back! And I'm extremely excited to post this cookie recipe, because I got a really cool new ingredient to use in these cookies!

Maple sugar.

Maple sugar is a natural alternative to regular sugar. Based on a home label comparison to an organic white cane sugar, there is one less gram of sugar per teaspoon (I'm guessing due to the coarseness of the maple sugar).

And if that isn't enough to convince you, you only need 1/2 cup of maple sugar to every cup of cane sugar in a recipe, so by using it you're really cutting your sugar intake to less than half! Also, maple sugar contains the minerals naturally present in maple, such as manganese and zinc, which help your heart health and immune system!

So if you've followed my logic this far, we can consider these cookies healthy...logically!

Despite all this awesomeness, fancy and organic sugar is normally too rich for my blood, so I've had to go without. BUT, I managed to get a free baggy of it as a gift the other day. What better excuse to experiment!?

I decided since it is October, and my house is bedecked with Halloween decorations, I should put to use my Halloweeny cookie cutters, also currently serving as mere decorations. This was a pretty big deal, since I pretty much hate making cutout cookies, and the entire rolling process. But having maple sugar is a pretty big deal, too. Also, my awesome friend Sarah gave me some great tips on how to make rolling cookies less infuriating for me. Yay!

So without further ado, the greatest logically healthy cookies ever!

Maple Sugar Cutout Cookies

3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks), at room temperature
1/2 cup maple sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add vanilla, and eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

2. Roll dough into a ball and slightly flatten. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for about one hour.

3. Get online and brag to all your friends about your maple sugar and the fact they don't have any. Also do your Hyjal dailies.

4. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly sprinkle flour on a flat surface and place chilled dough on said surface. Lightly sprinkle more flour on top of dough, place saran wrap over the dough, and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.

(Sarah's Pro Tip: If you've thrown out your shitty rolling pin in the heat of anger, you can use a wine bottle(in my case, balsamic vinegar) as a makeshift pin over the saran wrap! Works great!)

5. Using cookie cutters, cut out cookies and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake in oven for approximately 10 minutes. Let cookies sit for about 3 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

So we have Halloween ghosts, pumpkins, cats, and, yes, those are even Halloween Brontosaurs...

These cookies taste great, with just the right hint of maple goodness, without being overpowering. Even Shadow took a bite! Then again, what won't he take a bite out of?

Adapted from this recipe!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Bottom Line

I think I could work for this company for the rest of my life and be happy.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sick. Sick? Sick!

Well, I am on the first day of what is either going to be a cold, or a really acute allergy death. I stopped taking daily antihistamines about a month ago, so who knows?

I also am in the process of quitting caffeine (root beer forever!) and soda (occasional root beer?) and maybe artificial sweeteners (no root beer D: ). I mention this because apparently caffeine withdrawal can cause flu-like symptoms, among its many charms!

I don't really preach this too much on my blog, but in my mind, I constantly wish I was like one of these ladies who really took the time to make sure I was eating sustainably and making everything from scratch and buying local organic food from farmer's markets and only eating in season and not eating processed foods or anything from a box, can, or bag, and all that jazz. But since I'm hardly a food blogger as it is, I'd like to be at least a person who does all that!

Though I am getting better at making things from scratch and at least LOOKING at where my food is coming from, nonetheless, sometimes I am just sick and need some comfort from a box.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Clam Chowdair!

You read that correctly. It's "chowdair" today, not chowdah like before! I was shown this link to try as a new chowder recipe, and since it's from Canada and not New England, I can't call it chowdah today!

This is a chowder recipe served to the Canadian army, and I decided to make it French Canadian (if only in my own silly 'Merican head) by serving the chowdair with croissants. Also, so I could say "chowdair" a lot.

Technically the Daring Baker's Challenge this month is homemade croissants, but I am wayyyyyy too lazy for that. I know that even though the actual work involved is minimal by comparison, and most of it is rise time, I still don't want to take 12 hours to make 12 croissants, when I can go buy them at the store and be back in 20 minutes. Instead, spend 30 minutes watching Julia Child's croissant demonstration while you eat your store-bought ones. C'est magnifique!

Due to the amount of butter in this recipe (an entire stick!), and the use of evaporated milk, it's definitely the most decadent clam chowder I've ever had. Despite the rich taste, it is quick, easy, and very comforting! And you should definitely use real butter, because margarine or some other fake crap in a tub just isn't going to be as awesome!

I never seem to get all the ingredients in the photo because I always add extra stuff!

Clam Chowdair
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 6.5-oz cans minced clams, drained with juice reserved
2+ cups cold water
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme
garlic salt, salt, and pepper

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, combine the butter, celery and onion. Saute for about 3 minutes, add the flour and stir well to make a roux. Add the reserved clam juice to make a paste, then slowly add enough cold water to reach the desired thickness. I used about 2 cups, though next time I might try 3. Whatever your preference, add only about a cup at a time. You can always add more, but you can't take away once it's done!
Add the potatoes, milk, thyme, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you might dig. Reduce heat to low and allow soup to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams and allow to heat through.

Also, no chowdah/chowdair discussion would be complete without Freddy Quimby demeaning the waiter, as anyone who knows me should expect:

Adapted from Allrecipes!