Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mac And (Butternut) Cheese Bake

This came from 
Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Butternut squash seems to have become the 
"it" food.
I've gotten to the point where I will 
substitute sweet potatoes
for it sometimes just because.
But not here.
I made the recipe as written with a couple of exceptions:
I used corn pasta,
I roasted my squash, 
because, really? Who would microwave it??
And most importantly, 
Who puts two stingy pieces of bacon in

It was really good and
vegetarian ;)

I can't seem to find it on their page so here you go:

3 cups of butternut squash (roasted)
8 ounces of pasta of your choice
1 T. butter
8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
3 green onion, sliced
3 T. flour
1 C. milk
6 oz. Fontina cheese
Lots of bacon

Mash the roasted squash, cook the pasta.
Saute the mushrooms and onions in the 
butter till tender, 
sprinkle on the flour and cook one minute, 
add the milk and salt and pepper and cook till 
thick and bubbly.
Stir in the mashed squash, fold in the pasta.

Transfere half into a 2 quart baking dish
that has been coated with cooking spray. 
Sprinkle with half the cheese and a bunch of bacon
and repeat.
Bake 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lentil Curry

From Martha Stewart.
I rarely try a Martha recipe anymore. 
A couple of reasons:
I get a lot of ideas from Google searches
and her website is sooo slow that I don't usually click on
something from it, 
and she's not in my family room everyday
anymore like the Food Network peeps.

I do enjoy catching her every once in a while on PBS
on Saturday afternoons, but how often does that happen?
I like watching her cook. 
I like to think about the minions running
around making it possible for
her to cook. 

I had a dream about Martha once, 
I don't remember any of the details other
than the most important one, 
she liked me!

But I digress, the curry, 

I prepared it just as written except
for one glaring error, 
it calls for curry powder!!!

My friend Indra taught me that there is no one
curry powder. 
Every Indian cook worth their salt has their own blend
of spices used in curry dishes. 
I took that information to heart and have 
never purchased the offending
impostor since.

Here's the blend I used this time:
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. dry yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. cardamom

It would be best if you had all those in seed form,
toasted them and ground them, 
but unfortunately I did not. 

And besides, 
ain't nobody got time for that.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Asian Sloppy Joes

Without the Sloppy or Joe.
I don't know which one.
Read: No Bun!

But what are Sloppy Joes if not
a meat sauce of sorts?

I saw this in
Cuisine At Home
and had to try it. 
Who needs a bun?
I had corn pasta!

It's really good, 
I substituted ground turkey for the sirloin,
 cut back on the chili paste by about half
and added a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch
mixed with water at the end to thicken it up.

Here's the recipe with my adaptations:
 1 Lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
2 T. sesame oil
2 T. each of grated ginger and garlic
2T. soy sauce
1 t. chili garlic sauce
1 T. brown sugar
1 can sliced chestnuts, chopped
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup Hoisin sauce
2 T. cornstarch

Saute the celery and onions in the sesame oil
till soft, add ginger and garlic, cook for about 1
minute, add the turkey and cook through.
Add remaining ingredients and heat through. 
Add the cornstarch/water combo at the end.

Serve it on a bun if you want to conform. 

Or not.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cassie's Stool

About two weeks before Christmas
Gaye and I decided Cassie needed a stool.
A fancy painted stool, 
ala MacKenzie Childs but not at the $295 price point.
 I have paint and I have power tools.
Better yet, I have a friend who is a craftsman extraordinaire!
A collaboration formed 
and Cassie had a stool in time for Christmas. 

Now we just need her to get born.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hoisin Pork Salad

In theory it was supposed to be a roast, 
but it just shredded and the salad
I was going to use as a supporting player
got to become the star.
Or at least worked it's way into the credits.

The salad is a mix of;
napa cabbage,
red peppers, 
and golden raisins
tossed with a store-bought Asian dressing.

The pork is another Rachel Ray.
Heads up, Rachel likes her food HOT!
I'll link the recipe, 
the things I "adapted"
I used two pork tenderloins instead of the 
loin roast called for, 
and the 1 tablespoon chili paste
I cut to 1 teaspoon. 
Good call.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Breakfast Quinoa

My food photography stinks.
But this stuff is 
and not oatmeal.

It's a 2 to 1 ratio of almond milk to quinoa
with a couple of splashes of vanilla, 
a packet of Stevia
and a handfull of Craisins.

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook up
and then I tossed on some sliced almonds.

I bet it would be good with 
dried cherries and 
almond extract too.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Just in case you're wondering what could happen to
that 12 pack of pop you have keeping cool
in your garage that is sitting
in Illinois
when the temperature 
drops to -40.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quiet Toys

It was a totally new concept to Honey.
 I don't know that I felt the *need* for quiet toys
quite yet, but this was too cute 
not to make.
I'll link where I got the pattern.

The only thing I would do differently is, 
she suggests you make each piece double thickness.
I wish I would have thought to make the 
second side a different color.

I may make some new eyes with 
lashes and maybe some heels?

Oh the possibilities!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Butternut Squash & Parsley Penne

From Rachel Ray.
 Costco has these way cool 
pre-cut butternut cubes.
I love them!
I love butternut squash and I love not having to get my 
hands all orange and filmy from whatever
is in those things that
leaves my hands all orange and filmy. 

So I am always on the lookout for 
recipes that incorporate them. 
This one was a winner
and aslo, plague approved!

I'll link her recipe but here are the 
areas I digressed from the recipe as written. 
I used corn pasta 
(wheat is baaad, very bad),
half a red onion
(because that's what I had),
and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
(because I'm a heat weenie.)
OK, next time I'll take it down to
 1/4 teaspoon. 
I'm a BIG weenie.

Oh, Costco also has copious amounts of 
corn pasta. 
Guess we are not the only ones who think wheat is 
(It's also GMO free, but let's not go there. Yet.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

SteamPunk Frame

Steampunk is a subculture
Maggie explained to me. 
I had seen a girl with this way funky hat
in Valpo and asked her if I could take a picture of it.
I showed it to Maggie and 
she schooled me.
She also advised me only nerds were 
So, I'm a nerd too. 

As best I can explain, it's a subculture, 
that derives it's identity from 
kind of futuristic Jules Vern 
sort of stuff. 
Like around the era of steam power.

But here:
make this Streampunk.

I had been wanting to try the technique
on the base of the frame.
The explanations all have you using glue
to create the raised pattern. 
I felt the fabric paint
would give me better control because of the 
fine tip and the paint would flow easier than glue.

It did. 
Once it's dry you just spray paint the whole thing. 

But I never leave good enough alone.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Maggie taught me the concept. 
You take bits and pieces of existing clothing to 
make something new.
 I had these great pajama pants but due to 
a company policy that demanded employees wear pajamas to work, 
the bottom of this pair of pants got so beat up from outside wear
 that no amount of bleach was ever gonna fix them. 

And before you get all, what a great gig, 
you get to wear PJs to work,
it gets old.
Oh, and it was a pajama store.
Anyway, not one to throw anything away, 
one might recognize bits and pieces
(or long strips)
of Maddie's First Birthday dress.
Not taken from the dress itself, just the 
bits and pieces I had left over.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Energy(?) Bars

A friend of mine shared a "recipe" with me for 
I am not familiar with them but why would that stop me?
I also did not have all the ingredients she suggested
but again, 
why would that stop me?

So, here you have my interpretation of 
a knock-off of a Larabar. 

They are just 
dried apricots,
(or any dried, no sugar added fruit)
raw cashews and/or almonds, 
unsweetened coconut 
and a hit of vanilla.
All in about equal proportions
(except the vanilla)
I used about a cup of each.
You mash it all into submission in a food processor.
Then press it into a parchment paper 
lined loaf pan, chill and slice.

They are a plague approved food.
As in, we are fighting cancer here :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What I Did Today

I have been VERY busy. 
Two things were the catalyst for my productivity.
1- The weather, as in much snow and 
much cold.
2- A month-long self-imposed hiatus from

You're going to have to keep coming back if you want explanations.
I'm looking at you, Mom and Big ;)