Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's the thought that counts

I'm thinking about blogging. That totally counts, right?

In the meantime, here's Aaron Rodger's doppelgänger on a re-run of Shop Til You Drop. Also, this couple met playing co-ed flag football. Coincidence? Probably.

Sue and "Chris" (sure, ok Aaron) are "just friends". He tried to hug her after winning a challenge and she totally have him an awkward shoulder pat. It was so awesome to watch, but in that cringeworthy way that makes you sad for him and happy that you're you.

You probably had to be there though.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stuff my kid won't eat, volume 2

This is Carter.

Carter won't eat waffles with whipped cream.

Carter deems all foods that touch whipped cream inedible.

He's two.

He had no idea that this plan is stupid.

Carter gazes out of the window, longing to escape his whipped cream prison.

Carter drowns his sorrows in milk.

The reprieve is only temporary though.

The longing continues...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stuff my kid won't eat: Volume 1

This is Carter.
He won't eat zucchini.

He won't eat zucchini sautéed in butter.

He won't eat zucchini drizzled with olive oil.

He won't eat zucchini with ravioli.

He won't eat ravioli.

He will eat blueberries.

He will eat zucchini in a blueberry smoothie.

I win.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lets celebrate with leather!

Happy anniversary to us! Me and my hubs "us", not you and me "us". We'll celebrate you and me "us" later.

Also, our anniversary is tomorrow, but we're celebrating all weekend so get ready for a love fest, folks.

Best video of all time...or best wedding video ever.

Third anniversaries are for giving leather, apparently. Normally this would mean wallets? Shoes? Hideous leather housewares? But coming off a year of Fifty Shades, the 3rd Anniversary is probably more exciting than usual. Not for us though. Nope. When is the vanilla anniversary? Too far?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chi-YEAH! Makin' Berry & Blossom Chia Jam


(Whoa, slow down. I'm excited for food. Let me start again from a calmer place)

Well, hello. Have you been outside lately? It's freaking lovely out there. At least here in Vegas. Sorry if you live some place where you have to like, scrape ice off your windshield or, I don't know, wear a coat? Honestly though, don't be too jealous of our sunshine. It's going to be boiling lava hot in about a month. Probably earlier. We get about two weeks of decent weather in the Spring and again in the Fall, in between the times where it's one thousand degrees outside and when it's flipping freezing. Don't worry though, it's also broken up by apocalyptic wind storms that are super fun.

Anyhow, we've been playing outside, and gardening, and all sorts of good weather activities. We've also been experimenting with "time out"...

...which is bullshit.

I'm sure it will work in the long run, but right now is not the time to sell me on the virtues of time out. Ugh. I'm frustrated just writing about that. So, my child is super interested in doing jerk things with his plastic golf clubs. These range from hitting small dogs, throwing clubs into the pond, and clubbing the flowers that are doing their best to survive in this desert. Hence, time out.

In between time outs we've been picking flowers, pruning the roses, training the trumpet vines, and all around torturing the flowers. I wonder why Carter thinks bashing the foliage is the plan? Huh. I have been eyeing the French Thyme and wondering, what I can do with all the little blooms that are exploding off of the carpet of Thyme under the roses. I already snipped the blooms off of the chives and drowned those suckers in white balsamic. I'll show you the glory that is Chive Blossom Vinegar when it's ready in a few weeks. I decided that the thyme blooms would be perfect with some berries. Right?! Yeah, that plan evolved into some super yummy jam. It's my new jam. I said that in my head like it's my new jam. Like my slow jam. Like how Poison by Bel Biv Devoe is my jam.


It's sugar free, crap free, bug free, since I rinsed the thyme like a fancy lady. Like, how a fancy lady would rinse herbs, not how I'd rinse a fancy lady. Thought I should clear that up before we move on.

This recipe requires you to remove the tiny little thyme blossoms off the thyme heads. Thymes heads? Does that make sense? Ok. Rip off flowers. Huh, another mixed message to my toddler. That kid has got to be so damned confused.

Here's what you need:

10 oz. Frozen Blackberries (about 1.5 C)

1/4 C Xylitol (or another sweetener, but Xylitol really works here, but it's good for your teeth)

4-5 Sprigs of Thyme with Blossoms

1-2 T Thyme Blossoms removed from the springs

1T Water

1/4 t Vanilla

2 T Milled Chia (you can use chia seeds, but the milled stuff keeps the texture more jam-ish, I like it both ways)

Here's what the thyme blooms look like in the wild,

You're going to want to pull those sucker's heads off. It's going to take awhile and you're going to have to be very careful and not completely kill those poor abused flowers. It's fine if you have lots of green when you remove them. No biggie. Go ahead and pluck a good amount. A tablespoon or two-ish.

I rinsed the sprigs first and that made the pluckin' a little tough. Wet blooms stick to your fingers. Next time I'll either let them dry first or I'll just not wash it. What? Like it's going to kill me? No. (Said the dead fancy lady)

So, thaw your berries in a small pot over medium heat with the lid on. Go ahead and throw the 4-5 sprigs in at this point. You can add them near the end if you're worried about too much Thyme-y-ness in the jam.

Once the berries are thawed and getting warm and watery, add the xylitol, vanilla and water. Stir it up and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes. Go a little longer if it's too watery, just to reduce it down a bit.

Mash the berries a bit with either a potato masher or a fork or something until you have a good consistency for jam. This is going to vary for everyone, but don't mash it to crap. Just a bit to release the juice and avoid gigantor chucks in your jam. Be gentle.

Add the chia and stir it into your jam. If you decide to use the seeds instead, you're going to need to play with the amount here. I'd probably stick to the same amount, maybe 1 more tablespoon. So, 3 tablespoons?
Let it simmer a few. Remove from heat and cool in the pot to allow it to thicken partially.

Fold the blossoms into the jam, very gently. Although the blooms are super cute and pretty, they're going to get engulfed by jam. They were pretty while they lasted, but their flavor will live on.

RIP Thyme Blossoms

That's it. Put it in a mason jar, or jars, and stick it in the fridge to cool and thicken fully. The chia makes it get all gelatinous. It's pretty cool.

Obviously this isn't like normal preserves. Well, I guess you could "jar" it, but that's too much for me today. Time out has exhausted me, guys.

We use this to flavor our Greek Yogurt. If we ate bread we'd eat it bread. Carter eats it with almond butter in a sandwich, that he eats crust first and leaves the middle?!? What the hell is that about? Bizarro child and his bizarro kid cuisine.

I was going to chit-chat about the virtues and accolades of CHIA!!!
But those exclamation points are about all the attention that chia will get in this blog, as I'm hearing all sort of things fly out of my kid's crib and, unless I want the next thing to fly out to be him, I'd better go get him from his nap.


Chia is incredible. Trust me. Eat it. Sing the song. Eat some more.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Greeks invented yogurt!

I can't think of Greek Yogurt without quoting My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Is that bad? I wonder if that pisses Greek people off. I hope not, because I enjoy doing it.

So, I've been experimenting with making Greek yogurt because,
A, we eat a ton of it
B, it's hard to find the full fat/high protein kind, because this country's obsession with low-fat-ness is crazy bananas.
C, I'm a control freak who insists on controlling yogurt ingredients

...and all ingredients

...and all things pertaining to most things.

Hello, nice to meet you. Please don't judge me.

So, I pinned all sorts of yogurty pins and combined multiple methods to start my first experiment. It came out really yummy, but the protein content wasn't high and the carbs were higher than I wanted. I noticed that Fage Full Fat Greek Yogurt is magically higher in protein than the others...or other, as it were. Low and behold, their ingredients said milk AND cream, not just milk. Mystery solved. Hooray. Also, I've heard from others that their homemade stuff comes out really thin or tangy, which is not the case with this one. I attribute that to the cream, powdered WHOLE milk, and the cultures I used. The max ratio of cream:milk is 1:1, but decreasing the cream may be the way to go next time, only for caloric concerns. Not taste. Oh, no no no. It's tasty.

So, I bring you yogurt that's full of good fat and protein and it's freaking delicious and creamy and not too tangy and amazing and I want to bathe in it.

Yella's Yogurt:

4c Heavy Whipping Cream (preferably carageenan free)
4c Whole milk
1/4 Powdered Whole Milk (amazon)
A packet of yogurt culture/starter*

A big pot with a lid, a foodish type thermometer (candy thermometer), a big towel

* I ordered a Yogurt starter on amazon, but you can also use existing yogurt you have in the fridge or whatever. I think it's 1/4c added at the same time you'd add the cultures (temper it with the milk before you add it to be safe)

** I used organic milk and cream. Not sure if it makes a difference. The whole powdered milk may be substituted for non fat powdered milk, which you can buy at the grocery. Might not matter? Haven't tested it.

Heat your milk and cream in your big pot over medium heat to 185.
Stir, don't let it burn.

Once it's at 185, turn off the heat and cool to 112 (105-112 is the range I think).

Stir in powdered milk.

Add your cultures/starter/yogurt. Mine needed 2 minutes to rehydrate before I gave it a stir.


Put a lid on it.

Wrap your pot up in a towel like a newborn baby yogurt.

Stick your yogurt baby in the oven (it's off, don't worry you didn't miss a step) with the oven light turned on.

Leave it alone for 8-12 hours. Seriously. Leave it the eff alone, no peeking. I do it at night, and I do it for 12-14 hours. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets.

Cool in fridge for awhile.

For Greek style yogurt, put a mesh strainer over a deep bowl, line the strainer with cheesecloth, pour in your yogurt, and let it rest and cool for like 4 or more hours.
Greek Yogurt.

The Greek stuff measures out to about 5 cups.

You can flavor it however you'd like, of course, but it's best to make it plain and then start flavoring when you're done. I add some liquid flavored stevia (vanilla, lemon, english toffee and some chopped apples and cinnamon, coconut and fresh I still in parenthesis) and sugar free jam. Nature's Hollow makes a good one that's crap-free and sweetened with xylitol (a natural sugar alcohol). It's also stupid expensive, so I make my own, either with xylitol and fruit pectin (easy) or chia (even easier). I've also add peanut butter and cocoa powder with some vanilla stevia and it's effing delicious.

If your worried about fat and calories and what not this is not for you, my friend. I only avoid starches and sugars, but fat is welcome at my yogurt party. Which is good, because have you had fat lately? It's fantastic. Next batch I may try a different cream:milk ratio to see how that works. Evidently all sorts of other things start with this method of yogurt making. Sour cream, cheese...hmmm, other stuff? I don't know. It escapes me at the moment, but you know, stuff.

Use it in dressings. Use it as sour cream. Use it in smoothies.


3 is the magic number

Oh yeah, it is. It's the magic number. (How awesome is the Blind Melon version of this, right?!)
So, as much as I love 3, I should probably report on some Birthday #2 stuff before Carter's 3rd Birthday. But since he is in fact 2 years old, I am constantly keeping him from destroying himself, and the house, and the dog, and the world. So, I wanted to do a quick post with some photos, to be followed up later today...or tomorrow, with more Nacho-ness.

Yeah, that's all I've got. Nap time is coming.