Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Apple Pies

What's better than Thanksgiving dinner? How about two Thanksgiving dinners? That's right friends, I went to Thanksgiving twice this year, so besides eating two times more food, I had to bake two times the pie! Ever since this whole diet business, I haven't baked much. Lots of low-calorie cooking, but very little baking. So, I was a little excited about getting to bake again. Making pies is fun! Though, it can be quite a time consuming process - especially when you have to bake two.
Making Pies!
I made the crusts the night before, and chilled the discs of dough overnight. That made it a little easier in the morning. I don't have pie weights (yet), so I usually end up with a somewhat sloppy process of fitting the dough into my pie plate, but I think it came out okay? I used a fork to add some texture to allow the top of my pie crust to adhere a little easier.
Pie crust
While the pie crusts chilled in the fridge for a little longer, I worked on the apple filling. Mr B made the process go a lot quicker by helping me peel all the apples! After the apples were all cut, I added some lemon, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, flour, and a few cubes of butter. Then, in the pie crusts they go.
Making Pies!
Next, it's time for the top crust. I always use little cookie cutters for the vents. I almost went freestyle with some autumn leaves, but totally chickened out, since we were a little tight with time. I think the stars worked out just fine though. After adhering the two crusts, I brushed on my egg wash and poured a generous amount of sanding sugar on top.
Making Pies! Lots of sugar on top!
I let the whole pie freeze for about 30 minutes, then into the oven they went. Here is pie number one:
Apple Pie, fresh out of the oven...
And pie number two:
Apple Pie
I got to sneak a taste of each pie, and I do think pie number one was the winner.
I used an actual pie plate to bake this one, which ensured even baking. For pie number two, I ran out of pie plates, so I used a vintage pyrex dish that was somewhat pie shaped. Now, I love my vintage pyrex, but I gotta say, the baking was a bit uneven with this one. I might have to experiment again with an actual pyrex pie plate, but from now on, my little pyrex will go back to making casseroles and looking stylish.
Now, what will I be baking for Christmas....???

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let The Holiday Baking Begin!

Although baking holiday goods is difficult, while I am on a diet... I can't resist!
Holiday Baking Begins!
I should also mention that I'm still in denial that it's November. November! Already! No! It came way too fast. While I usually have all of my Christmas shopping done by now, this year has been a whirlwind and I've still got lot to shop for. Busy, busy. Did I mention I also got a new job? I'm officially a librarian! It's pretty great! Oh, and there's also that wedding we're planning... and the thought of starting to look for a new home together... it's all very time consuming, but all very exciting!
So, what's in the kitchen today? It's the start of two apple pies! I'm not the biggest pumpkin pie fan, so I'm going with an old favorite. Tonight, I'm preparing the crusts. Bright and early tomorrow, Brian and I will be chopping and peeling approximately 20 apples and making one of my favorite types of pie!
Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! What are you baking this holiday?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Tuscan Pumpkin Bean Soup

I'm experimenting here. I've missed this blog so much, but have been extremely busy to post. Trust me, I've been as crafty as I have ever been - the amount of wedding crafts to be posted after the wedding is somewhat startling, let me assure you. I am being extremely secretive about all of these project and they have kept me so busy, there has been little time to update. So, I am trying something a little new. I am blogging on the go, via iPhone. Well, not completely just yet. I am at my laptop now (about to go running 7 miles in my marathon training), but have used my iPhone to photograph and upload images of my latest food adventure. Not the best photographs... the iPhone definitely can't do what my little Canon does, but not bad? And at least it makes posting a lot more doable! So, let's see how this goes.
Onions for Tuscan Pumpkin Bean Soup
I was super excited while making this meal, particularly because I got an excuse to use my new 16 qt. All Clad stockpot! And let me tell you... it was love at first saute. Love!
Making Tuscan Pumpkin Bean Soup
After the onions got a little soft, I added chicken broth, white beans, a can of pumpkin, and some spices. I let those simmer for about 15 minutes, then moved them to the food processor to puree, then topped with a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese. I knew Mr. B would not be satisfied with just soup, and since we're on a diet, I tried to avoid the carbs. I ended up getting some turkey sausage, for only 160 calories per big link!
Turkey Sausages and Tuscan Pumpkin Bean Soup
Mr. B was very pleased.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Spaghetti And Turkey Vegetable Sauce

Is anyone getting sick of my turkey dishes? Somehow I'm not. Turkey is so fun to experiment with. It all started with a little extra virgin olive oil, garlic, onions, and fresh basil.
Garlic, Onions, and fresh Basil
That will get your kitchen smelling real good.
Garlic, Onions, and fresh Basil
Looking at this picture just reminds me of that yummy smell.
Adding the ground turkey
Add a little ground turkey, some spices, and a can of tomatoes.
Adding the tomatoes
I probably should have cut these a bit more before putting the can in, but it wasn't too much trouble crushing them down with my wooden spoon.
Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Sauce
But, it's not over yet, time for the mushrooms and eggplant!
Mushrooms and Eggplant
My pot was a bit small, but I somehow crammed all the veggies in.
Adding the veggies
Once they settled in, the veggies started to shrink down anyway.
Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Can you tell I love mushrooms?
Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Sauce
I probably could have eaten the sauce on it's own.
Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Empty little bowls awaiting their meal.
Awaiting a meal
First, a little whole wheat pasta.
And I bet you can guess how we topped it off?
Turkey and Vegetable Pasta Sauce
More turkey dishes to come soon!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tag! You're It!

It's Friday! Time for another super busy, action packed weekend. Last weekend included pancakes, twice! These are some whole wheat pancakes. They were... wheaty.
Whole Wheat Pancakes
Not my favorite pancake this time, but they sure were super healthy!

As mentioned in my last post, I have been tagged! The lovely Caren presented me with this, the "Premio Meme Award", so I must reveal 10 fun facts about myself and tag other bloggers to do the same! So here it goes...

1. Just recently, I signed up to run the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon, with Project AIDS Los Angeles! I have never done anything like this before, so I'm super nervous, but extremely committed. It's for such a great cause and I've been lucky to get lots of support from my friends and family. My goal is to raise $1600.00 and I still have a long way to go, please click here to help!

2. Quite possibly the silliest fun-fact about me is that I am allergic to allergy medication. It's true! They give me hives and makes my blood pressure so low, that I often pass out! Odd, isn't it?

3. I naturally have brown, curly hair. It's pretty out of control and often kept a secret. I don't even think Brian has seen my hair as curly as it can be - or brunette for that matter. I've been blonde for about 7 years now and I don't see myself ever going back.

4. I used to play in lots of bands. When I was 19, I took my guitar, and toured Hong Kong (by myself), then came back and toured the US and Canada for a month with a group of friends. I've played guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, and a slew of other toy-like instruments. Brian just got me a trumpet for my graduation present and I plan on taking lessons soon and joining his band too!

5. I only wear dresses. A few years ago, I made the decision to stop wearing pant or shorts and only sticking to dresses. Earlier this year, Brian and I went to Portland, where it was snowing... and even then, I wore a dress.

6. I'm only 5'2", I have small hands, small fingers (5.5 ring size), but for some reason, I ended up with some long feet. I don't know how that happened, but I wear a size 9.5 in ladies shoes! It's strange, because they don't look that big when you look at them... but somehow, I got these long, skinny, big ol' feet. Strange.

7. I have a very extreme fear of spiders, and most other rodents for that matter. It's pretty bad. I won't even go bed at night, if there's a spider in my apartment and I can't get rid of it. It's true.

8. I really like eating spaghetti sandwiches. So good.

9. I'm a fainter. I have the rare problem where my blood pressure is often way too low. The last time I fainted, I was presenting a power point in my classroom! Embarrassing...

10. English is not my first language, I actually grew up speaking Armenian first. And even though I mostly speak English now, when I get nervous, I start to forget my English and think all of my thoughts in Armenian.

The other part of this process is to tag a few fellow bloggers! In an effort to get to know all the wonderful bloggers, who follow my blog, I decided to scroll into my followers list - and wow, you are all so talented! I picked 10 of you, so if you see this... start typing, friends... you've been tagged!

1. Tell Your Sister
2. Messy Jesse Crafts
3. Skull Mod Kitten
4. 1167 Little Bird
5. Bansheemoni
6. Good-Posture
7. From My Motor Home To Yours
8. Bag Lady Design
9. Magpie Sparkle
10. This Mom's Life

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pita Pizza

One of the hardest things about dieting is sacrificing pizza. Real pizza. More specifically, pizza from Foliero's. Oh how I miss thee. So, I came up with my own low-calorie take on pizza, and it actually hit the spot just right! I started with a 130 calorie pita, some low calorie tomato sauce, and lots of mushrooms.
Pita Pizza
Then added some fresh basil. Lots of low calorie toppings!
Pita Pizza
To top it all off, I added some low-fat Mozzarella and a quarter ounce of feta cheese.
Pita Pizza
In the oven for a few minutes, and not too shabby!
Pita Pizza
The whole thing came out to approximately 195 calories.
Pita Pizza
It was no Foliero's, but it really took care of that craving.
Pita Pizza
Next craving problem to solve? Ice cream! I think I might be experimenting with this pretty soon. Also coming soon? I've been tagged....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Taking It To The Street

Last May, I received the prettiest Orchid from Brian's sister. I had noticed recently the blossoms started to look a bit sad, one by one, they were dropping. On Friday, it finally happened. They last bit of blossoms were frowning.
My orchid is dying.
I was so confused, because I followed all the instructions on how to care for Orchids! At closer inspection, I came to a realization.
It was so clear!
Orchid roots at the surface..
All of the roots were above the soil! Some were even out of the pot! How could I be so oblivious?
Orchid roots at the surface..
I had to make a last attempt to save the Orchids! So, I trimmed the roots and decided to re-pot. Though, I didn't really have a handy pot around, one with holes to let water drain through. So, I improvised!
What was a cup before...
This cup just happened to be sitting on my counter, a water cup from a fast food restaurant. I figured, why not recycle it? I got my handy awl and poked a few holes.
Using an awl to make wholes in this cup to make it a recycled new flower pot
All ready for some dirt!
Recycled new flower pot
What next? Taking it to the street! That's right, taking it to the street! Time to get the hands a little dirty. Now, I'm not really sure if this regular dirt will cut it, but it's all I had.
Taking it to the streets
I didn't really have any potting soil at home, so I just went around the corner and found a spot with some dirt. I needed to work quickly, if I wanted to save the plant! I put a little dirt on the bottom.
A little bit of dirt...
Then, removed the Orchid from it's previous pot....
Orchid roots
...placed her in her new home...
Orchid in her new home
... and made sure to top her roots off with some more dirt.
Dirt to the brim
It was fun taking my little craft out for a walk. I had a mini exploration session and found this cutie!
Lone Mushroom
It was pretty fun! Eventually, I brought little Orchid back home, to her new spot and sprinkled the top with a little bit of water.
Orchid in her new home
I'm not sure if she'll make it, but here's hoping! She had a good run... either way!
Orchid in her new home

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Old Fashioned Lemonade

It's hot in Los Angeles. Really hot. Whenever it gets this hot, I always crave lemonade.
Lemons for lemonade
Just your basic lemonade here....
I left it to refrigerate overnight, and woke up with a surprise treat!
Somewhat frozen lemonade
That's some frozen lemonade! Well, it appeared that way, until I smashed up the top and got a slightly frozen, super cold, amazing tasting lemonade.
Somewhat frozen lemonade
Super refreshing!
Somewhat frozen lemonade