Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Obsessed! In the best possible way!

I had a pin on Pinterest for a link to something called "quick ramen bowl."  It looked good, greens, mushrooms, scallions, sriracha, an egg, ramen.  All the stuff I love.  I never really looked at it, which I am kind of famous for when it comes to Pinterest.  I tend to go, "Ooh!" and forget to look at it again, unless it's one of my cake boards which I refer to almost daily when I'm at work.  I was thinning out a board that got bogged down with too many subjects and I came across the link.  I went to the blog and... it sounds crazy, but... my life is changed!

I have been trying to save money and cut down on my grocery bill in particular.  I burn a lot of calories at work.  Like in the "just ran a marathon" category.  I'm hungry All. The. Time.  Figuring this out has helped me realize what I need to do to lose weight (hello, starvation mode! eat more!) so lately, my grocery bill has become astronomical.  What to do?  What to do?  I've found some good resources for budgeting at meal time, but a lot of those folks don't eat like I do.  No offense, really!  It's just that the bulk of my groceries are from the produce department.  And I eat a lot of Asian food.  A lot.  I also don't have kids, and many of those blogs are geared towards family-friendly meal time.  Soooo, enter Budget Bytes.  What's the first thing I make?  The Dragon Noodles, of course!  I made a couple changes, but I don't think it got me too far off the $1.02 cost per serving!  (Whattt?)  I added a bag of frozen stir fry veggies that were $1 at Kroger and an extra egg.  I needed a bit more sauce, so when I made it the second time, I used a little fish sauce and and a little garlic chile sauce.  It gave it a little more of a Vietnamese flavor than just straight up "burn down the house."  I also used angel hair pasta because I had a half of a box which was perfect for this.  Dudes, this was easily one of the best things I've made recently.  And it took 10 minutes.  It had the perfect amount of heat for me and was filling!

Do yourself (and your wallet!) a favor and hit up Budget Bytes for a recipe or 15.

I was half way through the bowl of noodles before I realized I needed to document the deliciousness.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Quiche! With hash brown crust!

On Pintrest, I found a recipe for a quiche with a hash brown crust.  There are a ton of them.  The one I referred to was a Martha recipe.  The crust is basically a bag of frozen hash browns thawed and drained well, a couple tablespoons of butter melted, an egg, and some salt and pepper mixed together.  You press it into your pan and bake it for about 15-20 minutes.  You don't need to weigh it down like you do a traditional pie crust.  Win-win!  Easy-peasy!  Faster, in fact, and less messy than a regular pie crust.  

Pumpkin waffle mix, optional.

I used a traditional quiche pan instead of the springform pan Martha wants you to use.  I also used 365 Brand hash browns from Whole Foods, so I'm not sure if that made a difference.  My crust didn't quite come up to the top of the pan.  No biggie.  I have grated swiss, thawed and squeezed frozen spinach, and this amazing Nieman Ranch uncured ham steak (also from Whole Foods) that I couldn't stop eating.  I was hungry and it was just... so... tasty.

A traditional quiche batter is one large egg to one half cup of dairy.  Traditionally, it's heavy cream.  Oof.  I can't do it.  I can't help but equate that to a giant serving of whipped cream.  Double oof.  Don't get me wrong, I loooove whipped cream, but I don't want to eat a pint of it.  I use whole milk.  It makes a lighter quiche and I don't miss the fat, personally.  You could use anything from skim (but why?!) to heavy cream.  A nice touch is to whiz up your batter with a stick blender (or real blender).  It smooths out the eggs and gives it a nice texture.  But don't go crazy, you just want to combine those things.  For this recipe I used four eggs and two cups of whole milk.  I added a stray egg white to this since I needed a yolk for the egg wash for my cheddar dill bread that I'm also making (tune in tomorrow!).  If you end up with a bit of extra batter, never fear!  I added it, a little cheddar, and a little dill to a small baking dish.  Et, voila!

Dinner is served!

In my crappy apartment oven, this baked for about 40 minutes.  Your (nicer) oven time and temp may vary.  Another point worth mentioning, if you make a cheese quiche, use a little less cheese than you might think.  If you really load it up, it gets hard to cut when it's done as copious amounts of cheese make it really soft.

The verdict?  Delicious!

Now, get cookin'!

Friday, February 1, 2013

More Cake!

These were a few of my cakes for Christmas/Winter/New Year's Eve.

Snowflake cake

Cosmic Christmas

Cardinals in a tree

Snowflake cake

Reindeer cakepops

Owl with Oreo eyes

Partridge in a pear tree

Tiny cakes and a fire extinguisher

Happy New Year!

Polar Bear

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fall Cupcakes

Just before Thanksgiving, I made a few trays of cupcakes for the case.  These were a few of my favorites.

Forest floor with log, leaves, and we mushrooms.

Thanksgiving dinner with caramel gravy.

Vegan Thanksgiving dinner with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots.

Roasted turkey cupcakes.  Adorable.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I started a new job decorating cakes at the end of September.  It's not my favorite thing to do, but it pays the bills and can be fun and challenging.  We only use buttercream, not fondant or gum paste.  Gum paste, I don't mind.  Fondant makes me swear.

One of the challenges we often see is when someone brings in something and they want their cake to look exactly like that!  Can you do it?  Here's an example.  If I remember correctly, it was for an engagement party for Ph.D.s.  The woman that brought in the book was super cool, in that kindred-science-nerd-spirit sort of way.  And she was pleased with the cake.  Overall, I think it turned out well.  I still hate printing on a cake since it always looks a little shaky.