Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Wait All Year For Pumpkin Flavored Everything

Pumpkin and tacos have been my absolute favorite things lately.

No way will i ever put them on the same plate but separately they are my two new obsessions.

I recently bought two cans of pumpkin. And I would’ve bought more if Target had more. For some reason two just didn’t seem like enough (at the time).

Judging by how many pumpkin everythings I’ve been making lately, two is too many.

It all started with it being Fall. I love Fall. I love the colors, I love the leaves in piles getting in everyone’s way, I love pumpkin, I love Halloween, I however do not love riding my bike on a blustery day and I do not love soup.

I also love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from a local bakery. Being on such a tight budget does not allow me to go out and buy them though.

BUT!

I have found the next best thing.

(And because I’m a poor college kid I only had pumpkin pie spice on hand so that is what I used instead of all the fancy schmance spices)

Streaming Gourmet’s Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 brown sugar
3/4 granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
pinch mace
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add pumpkin and beat well. Then add eggs and beat well. Finally add vanilla and beat well.

3. Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, about 1/3 at a time and mix well after each addition. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spoon or spatula.

4. Spoon batter onto cookie sheets that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lightly buttered. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let sit for one minute after removing from oven. Then cool on wire racks.

 

DSCF2811

 

The only thing I advise is to smoosh them down. They are incredibly light, fluffy, and cakey so they don’t spread. Smooshing just helps them to look like they’re spreading.

 

This amazing recipe made just about 40 cookies and they all managed to get gobbled up. Mostly by me. But I shared! I swear!

 

:)

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Prettiest Taco That Anyone Can Have

Sometimes you just want tacos. For some reason this happens to me a lot. I've been on a huge taco kick. So BF and I rented a scary movie and set out to have a taco night. I had the meat, the seasonings, the lettuce, the black beans, tomatoes, and the cheese. These are all my favorite taco toppings.
Lucky for me, BF likes refried beans, sour cream, and green chilies on his tacos so we had to go to the grocery store.
When we got back we both tackled cooking the meat and setting up the toppings on my counter.
I made the prettiest taco.
EVER.
So pretty in fact that I was compelled to whip out the camera and take some quick shots of my taco in all its glory.




After a few minutes of taking pictures, we sat down, popped in the movie, and bit into our tacos. Then we realized we were missing one key element for a great taco night: margaritas.
Off the store we went. Again.
Finally we returned and after a fast whirring in the brand new blender, we had margaritas (which were not the prettiest margaritas that anyone can have but they tasted fantastic). With tacos, margaritas, and a scary movie we settled down, realizing we were on our way to having a great Friday night.





:)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I’m Still Alive. Really.

I am a starving student. The things I eat aren’t pretty. My food budget is nonexistent.

My food blog is slightly lacking in content because of my inability to buy food to make fun things (although I just snagged the last two cans of pumpkin from Target so expect a dessert featuring pumpkin really soon).

My latest post was going to be about the most beautiful taco there ever was.

Then midterms week happened. This is my last semester (hopefully. as long as i pass all my classes) and I’m taking 7 classes. I’m probably going to lose my mind.

Then my ex roommate who couldn’t get someone to take over his lease before he moved out a month ago went nuts and wanted a creep to move in then thought he could take me and another roommate to court because he didn’t want to pay his rent. And that is how you lose a couple friends in less than an hours time.

My life for the past couple weeks has been nothing short of terribly horribly aggravatingly frustrating and involved a few break downs. (if you follow me, @smashedpotatoe, on twitter and shoved support in my direction thank you and i’m sorry you had to witness that but i very greatly appreciate it)

So that is my story and I’m totally going to get on posting regularly and more randomness will ensue!

 

:)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Wanted, I Needed, I Had to Have It…

For the past oh… several months or so all I’ve wanted was a s’more.

I have yearned and craved and pined.

So I fiiiiiiinally broke down and bought grahams, and marshmallows (because for some reason I had a bar of chocolate in my freezer already).

I carefully assembled my s’more on a plate before I gently placed it in the toaster oven.

Halfway to perfection.

I waited. And waited. I waited about 30 seconds and then…This is what I got.

DSCF2625_1024

I had to take it out of the toaster before the top completely charred.

I had to manually toast the marshmallow by sticking it on a fork and cranking up the heat.

Only half of my chocolate got melty.

I tried…

:)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Breakfast That Almost Wasn’t

Breakfast is my favorite. Pancakes make breakfast. Without pancakes, breakfast wouldn’t exist without pancakes.

Although I do enjoy a good waffle or some french toast.

BUT!

When I wanted breakfast last week, I wanted pancakes. I wanted butter. Gosh darn it I wanted syrup!

retouchedpancake1

I also was being quite lazy.

I whipped out the Bisquick and eggs and whatnot and I whisked myself up some pancakes. And then I saw it. I spied out of the corner of my little eye something that said orange extract. I grabbed my poppy seeds and I grabbed the orange extract and I poured both into my pancake batter. Three pours and flips later and I had myself a fine looking stack of pancakes. Syrup topped off my lovely concoction. “Wait a second! (I said to myself) What compliments orange? Chocolate!” So a sprinkle of cocoa was all it took.

I had an awesome breakfast.

retouchedpancake2

The only thing is.. I forgot to take a picture of its awesomeness before I started eating.

:)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Four Dead Bananas

I love twitter. I have awesome tweeps. They actually pay attention to my 140 character ramblings. But when I throw out a question they are there to answer.

A few days ago I tweeted that I had dead bananas and didn’t have anything to do with them. I usually make banana bread but I craved something new. When one of my loooovely tweeps mentions Dorie Greenspan’s super awesome banana cake I immediately grabbed “Dorie” ( I call Baking From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan “Dorie”) and checked it out.

And thus began my big bananaventure.

retouchedBBC2

Classic Banana Bundt Cake

3 c AP Flour

2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, At Room Temp

2 c Sugar

2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

2 Large Eggs, At Room Temp

~4 Very Ripe Bananas, Mashed

1 c Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt (I used sour cream)

Preheat oven to 350F

1. Butter a 9 to 10 inch Bundt pan

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.

3. Beat butter until creamy.

4. Beat in vanilla, then add eggs one at a time.

5. Mix in bananas

6. Mix in half of the dry ingredients, all the sour cream, then the rest of the flour mixture.

7. Scrape batter into Bundt pan.

Bake for 65-75 minutes or until knife inserted into cake comes out clean.

Lemony White Icing

3/4 c Confectioners Sugar

2+ tsp Lemon Juice

Mix lemon juice into sugar, adding more juice until icing is thin enough to drizzle down the Bundt cake.

retouchedBBC1

Bananas and lemons, you say?!

Uhh… YEAH!! Tart and tangy and sweet and moist and I can go on and on about this delightful combo but…

Let me eat cake!

:)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cookie Fail?

I have been on somewhat of a kind of vacation of sorts.

I’m at my parents house. I’m on a break from summer break. I can only take so much of my college town.

I haven’t been cooking or baking or doing much of anything this week. Just taking it eeeeeasy. I did make chocolate chip cookie dough. I usually do about once a month. I think having chocolate chip cookies or at least dough around is a requirement for life.

While visiting my parents I have been eating my weight in cherries. My stomach hates me for it too. And it lets me know periodically during the day.

But. I figured having cherries around could be interesting. I cant very well let them go to waste. Duh. So I soaked some chopped up cherries in a little vanilla. Then I added them to my cookie dough.

YUMS!

The only drawback to the cookie is theyre ugly. I know this. They know this. Neither of us are going to skirt the issue. They aren’t pretty cookies. Not in any way, shape, or form. They wouldn’t look pretty to even the most abstract of abstracty artists.

I feel sorry for my yummy ugly cookies. Yumgly.

My cookies are yumgly.



:)

PPPR!!!



Penny pinching pantry raid was a success!
I came in under budget. And prooooobably would’ve come in even more under budget had I not craved fruits. But I think it was imperative to my diet at that point and a purchase was to be made.
I still have a lot left over actually. I CAN ONLY EAT SO MUCH!!
I think I underestimated my sparse pantry. I guess my pantry isn’t so sparse at all. I just need to learn to cook. I have the imagination of a baker not a cook. Geez.
The game plan from now on is to learn to utilize every last little thing in my pantry before I make a trip to the grocery. Weekly menu planning would be ideal. Maybe ill give it a test run while im still on summer break so I can become acclimated with it by the time school starts again.
It was fun though. Really great idea.
It taught me to really evaluate my purchases. It taught me to eat pasta and frozen veggies for every meal.



:)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Treat

The past six weeks of my life were without a doubt the most fulfilling weeks I’ve ever experienced. I’m going to miss my high schoolers. They were such an awesome group of kids who went above and beyond everything I asked of them. I am sad and proud and overwhelmed with emotion and and and… Thursday was difficult. I could not look at my kids in the eye and tell them how unbelievably amazing they are without completely losing it. I am even getting teary just thinking about the journey we’ve had and the good-byes we exchanged.

Wednesday was the last full work day we spent together. And instead of working I took them downtown to play in the fountain and enjoy a cool treat. Before we got completely soaked (of course I joined in on the fun) I bought them a tiny package of goodness in the form of an ice cream cupcake. Naturally I took a picture first then took a bite then took a look at my shot. Then took another picture and looked over it. I then proceeded to scarf my ICC like it was a matter of life and death, stopping every other bite to wipe pink frosting off my nose. I looked up from my tasty treat to make sure my group was still in sight to find them each approaching their ICCs methodically. Each and every one of them had their ICC completely intact; whereas I had cracked open the chocolaty bottom of mine and it was dripping everywhere.



We all enjoyed our last day together. And thus our summer together came to a close with water fountain fights, ice cream cupcakes, and the company of forever friends.



UPDATE!!


Day 26, money spent thus far: $43.94 + $9.99

So I kinda came in under budget for the challenge... I don't count the $9.99 I spent on ICC because it was my gift to the kids and not something I was going to feast on.

AAAAAND....

I'm at the parents' house so I am throwing in the kitchen towel because no longer need to buy food for the rest of the month! I WIN!! Sort of.. I don't really get anything besides the satisfaction of knowing I didn't spend much on food on account of my eating really cheap crappy food.



:)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This should come as no surprise

As a college student, I can be quite lazy.

Ok. So. Maybe it’s not laziness so much as I put everything of until the veeeeery last minute. My procrastination/laziness sometimes comes from being nervous about classes, work, job interviews, or new recipes. Sometimes it comes from me being a Forgetful Franny. Mostly it’s the latter. But let me tell you.. In the case that I am about to elaborate on there’s no one to blame but myself. I am aware of this and I’m mostly OK with it, but there’s nothing I can really do to change. I think to really grasp what I’m talking about I need to tell you a few tidbits about myself.

I don’t own bread.

I never boil eggs.

I love egg salad sandwiches.

Therein lies a small problem that I’ve had for quite some time.Then I read an entry over at Noble Pig and whatever problems I had vanished, as she almost always does when I read her blog. That, my friends, was when I realized I can have my egg salad sandwiches and not boil eggs. This is what I found:


Scrambled Egg Salad
Adapted from It's All Gouda

7 large eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon mustard
1/4 cup chopped green onion
4 sweet pickles (or dill), diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Scramble seven, large eggs in a nonstick pan. Turn them out on a cutting board and give them a good chop.

Add the chopped eggs to a bowl along with 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tablespoon mustard, 1/4 cup chopped green onion, 4 diced sweet pickles and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until you have your desired consistency.

Refrigerate for one hour or longer before serving on your favorite bread or roll.

Amounts of ingredients will change depending on how many eggs you use. (I only used 3 eggs. And it was one too many for my appetite)






I cannot even begin to tell you how my life has changed. I even went out and bought bread just for the occasion. Bread that is now in my freezer and will probably go uneaten for a month or 2. Two out of three ain't bad.



UPDATE!!



Day 23, money spent thus far: $43.94

I had a craving for cold fruit and to surprise BF with homemade easy cheese danishes, so a trip to the grocery store was in order.



:)




Monday, July 13, 2009

I Think I Like Mexican Food/Mexican Inspired Food More Than I Originally Thought....

This whole Penny Pinching Pantry Raid thing has gotten me obsessing over how much I spend on food.... so I've been eating pasta and date night leftovers instead of going grocery shopping.

After reading a post over at Ezra Pound Cake, I got to thinking how much I love tamales and that I actually had polenta in my cupboard. Thanks to the family, I also had leftover ground beef and an onion.



Instant Tamale Pie
From Ezra Pound Cake & "Moosewood Restaurant New Classics"
Serves 4
1 can of pinto beans with liquid (I used black beans)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (I didn't have corn)
1/2 cup salsa (I used a red onion and some cherry tomatoes I found in the fridge)

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt 12 oz prepared polenta (preferably the cheddar-jalapeƱo variety)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 cup grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup ground beef

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 11-inch baking dish. Set aside.

2. Empty beans into a large bowl, and mash with a potato masher or fork. Add corn, salsa, cumin, oregano, and salt. Mix thoroughly, and set aside.
3. Slice the polenta roll into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about the thickness of sausage patties). Arrange the rounds in the skillet, slightly overlapping. Spoon the bean mixture over the polenta, throw nickel-sized balls of ground beef on it, and sprinkle on the cilantro and cheese. 4. Cover and bake for 15 minutes, and then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more, until the beans are bubbling and hot. For a crisp topping, place under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes. let sit for 10 minutes before serving.




I'm going to go polish off the rest of my pie now...


UPDATE!!


Day 13, money spent thus far: $21.17
Had to buy butter, brown sugar, cheese, beans, and I paid for half of my date night dinner


:)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Just For You

To anyone who has left comments on my blog,

I'm sorry I didn't comment back.
I love that you took the time to read and comment on my blog.
I guess I didn't set it up to be notified by email so I had no idea.
I feel like the biggest rude ever.
Please forgive me.


-Ashley



:)

It Was Inevitable...

My 4th of July post... you know you were wondering where it was/what I made/what I did.

I went home for the 4th. We had a lovely inebriated BBQ badminton bash in which we all wore matching t-shirts and patriotic temporary tattoos. But before I left town I made some festive red and blue M&M cookies.
I could have sworn M&M packaged red and blue M&Ms just for this sort of occasion and, after searching through the seasonal sections in big name discount stores and grocers, I gave in and bought them at a specialty candy store.
I used my favorite never fail chocolate chip cookie recipe and slightly altered it.



Chocolate Chip Cookies (or in this case, M&M cookies)
From Food Network Kitchens How To Boil Water, Meredith, 2006


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate chips, or chunks (I used red and blue M&Ms)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine salt

Evenly position 2 packs in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets (if you only have 1 baking sheet, let it cool completely between batches).

Put the butter in a microwave safe bowl, cover and microwave on medium power until melted (alternatively melt in a small saucepan). Cool slightly. Whisk the sugars, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingedients with a wooden spoon; take care not to over mix. Do not do this->Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared pans. Wet hands slightly and roll the dough into balls. Space the cookies about 2-inches apart on the pans. Push as many M&Ms as you can fit into the balls of dough. Bake until golden, but still soft in the center, 12 to 16 minutes, depending on how chewy or crunchy you liked your cookies. Transfer hot cookies with a spatula to a rack to cool. Serve.




Give this recipe a try! They were a hit!




And now... for an update!



Day 6, money spent thus far: $10.25
Had to buy milk yesterday.
Living on 4th of July leftovers.


:)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Food Challenge!!



Thanks to Susan at She's Becoming DoughMessTic I can take my starving student eating habits and turn them into a challenge!

I've allotted myself $50 for food for the whole month of July. That's nuts. I know. Especially considering my sparse pantry.














Luckily I went home for the 4th of July weekend and brought back all sorts of leftovers.
I bought red and blue M&Ms to make cookies which put a teeeeny tiny dent in my budget...

Day 5, money spent thus far: $6.26

I'm in over my head.


:)