I’m so busy, but in the very best way possible. I’m working on the most exciting project, that has very little to do with me being in my kitchen, which makes the time I spend in my kitchen all that much more gratifying. Small Time Cook might experience a few changes over the next little bit, and by changes, I really just mean expansion.
You see, there’s a whole lot of things that I’m super passionate about, not just food. Paper crafts for instance. And knitting. And music! And parties, I love love love throwing parties!! And going to them, of course, but my point is that I haven’t really shared any of those things yet, mostly because I haven’t figured out exactly how I wanted to incorporate them.
And then something magical happened.
An opportunity came across my path that has totally, completely, changed everything. Just like that. This is by far the most wonderful thing to happen to me on both a creative and professional level, and it has absolutely nothing to do with food or with cooking. My amateur status is still firmly in tact! Instead, I’m working with someone that has inspired me every day for many months with her blog. And already, I’ve learned more than I can squeeze into this here sentence.
I think what I’m trying to say is that I am still finding my voice as a blogger — Small Time Cook isn’t even three months old yet — and now I’m learning directly from the best of the best. What’s even more awesome is that I can’t wait to bring all of that goodness here to my corner of the internet. So thanks for being a part of what is definitely the greatest thing I have ever done.
Besides my family of course. They are my favorite.
I’ve been a vegetarian for almost all of my life. As a child, I had a profound and inexplicable texture issue with flesh. And so, since I wasn’t being raised by vegetarians, I just sort of ate around the meat. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I began to own my vegetarianism.
Still, I was young and not altogether that aware of nutrition and proper food combination, and so my diet was pretty basic, and definitely filled with things like refined starches and sugars. Then, during my senior year of High School, a friend of mine and I decided to be Vegans, a decision I can trace back to the Vegan Cookies at Coffee Bean. If this if vegan food, count me in! This was 1999, and I still wasn’t that hip to what it really meant to be healthy or, more importantly, the sociopolitcal implications surrounding the choices that I was making.
Fast forward to my first semester at college. Subsisting on highly processed Aramark cafeteria food while trying to maintain a Vegan diet is not really a workable equation. I ate toast and pasta and iceberg lettuce salad on a daily basis. Super healthy, right?
It’s no wonder, then, that after a few months of that kind of diet, I felt worse than ever. I even passed out in ballet class. One trip to the University Health Center, and I was sent to the hospital. Apparently, my white blood cell count was low, and I was going to be tested for leukemia. A more thorough blood test revealed that I was not suffering from anything more than severe malnutrition which revealed itself as a pretty serious B-12 deficiency and a rocking case of anaemia.
Ill equipped to handle the pressure of what it requires to be a healthy vegan, I caved. Not that I was really any more nourished than before. But for whatever reason, my body responded positively at first to the reintroduction of dairy products and veganism fell by the wayside. As I think back on it now, I am forced to admit that I suffered from nothing more than a dangerous combination of ignorance and laziness — I didn’t know better and I didn’t really care.
Thankfully I have learned a great deal since then….
Some days I am more inspired than others. Today would be one of those other days.
I may or may not have spent the majority of the evening in a fit of tears, and I may or may not have made this for dinner. But the fact remains that my human self totally lost the fight against my supermom self today, and I made everyone around me aware of that.
I’m sorry family. I love you for loving me anyway. You guys are the best.
Well, I was right. I spent nearly all day long scrubbing and sorting and mopping and by the time night came, I was inspired to cook! The only problem was there wasn’t much in the fridge or pantry. Marketing was not on my to-do list, and so it did not happen. Therefore, I was forced to be creative and, you guys, even I was impressed with what I came up with.
There were carrots, green onions, celery, and arborio rice. And soy sauce, and mustard. And not much else. So I made a quick broth by chopping up the rest of the head of celery, and tossing it in a pot with some mustard, soy sauce, and water. As soon as that came to a boil, I strained it, and put it back in the saucepan to simmer while I prepared the risotto.
First, I sauteed the green onion in a bit of Earth Balance, and then added the celery and a pinch of red chili flakes. I then added the carrots, some curry powder, and a cup of arborio rice, which is sauteed all together for a few minutes. Then I added a generous splash of white wine and let it cook down, and then I began the process of ladling cooking liquid into the rice. By the time it was all finished cooking, about twenty minutes later, I was completely enveloped in delicious aromas.
After letting it cool for about ten minutes, I spooned the risotto into bowls and topped with some sliced green onions. This meal was vegan and very good. Served with a salad, it was filling enough to not leave me wanting more, yet light enough to not leave me feeling overly full, important characteristics for warm weather eats.
Today is a day for completing those tasks that I’ve kind of, sort of, been neglecting recently. Most significantly, my messy messy house. It’s true! And I have the absolute best intentions, really I do, but I’ve been quite busy with the party and very wrapped up in my little family. Which is not so much an excuse as it is awesome, because there isn’t anything I’d rather be occupied with than spending time connecting with the people that I love most.
One of the things that is highest on my to-do list is to clean out my fridge, and to rearrange my kitchen. The mister and I found an incredible chest in which I want to put all my pretty glass jars. I am a jar collector, and my jars have never had a proper home. They’ve been forced to sleep wherever space could be found. But now that my space is sporting a snazzy new-to-us cabinet, I’m looking forward putting it to good use.
I have a confession to make: I’m bored with food. It’s practically Summer, and all I want to do is drink beer and eat salad, which is no good when you’re a food blogger. I’m secretly hoping that throwing myself headfirst into reorganizing my life will help me work up an appetite. In the meantime, though, I will still post daily on all the other things I’ve got “cooking.”
Oh, and because I promised to share the Ice Cream Cone Cupcake recipe, here it is, in all it’s ridiculously simply glory.
Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
12 Flat Bottom Cake Cones
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 /2 Cup Milk
Vanilla, to taste
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in each egg individually, and then add vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, and then add to the creamed mixture, and combine. Add the milk and beat until batter is smooth.
Place a cone upright in each tin of a muffin pan. Spoon batter evenly into the cones, and bake in a preheated 350° oven for about fifteen minutes, or until cakes rise and are golden.
Let them cool, frost them, decorate them, and gobble them up.
I used confectioner’s sugar in the frosting this time, something I haven’t done in quite a long while, and I did not like how it turned out. It was lumpy, and not very pretty. I’m totally not going to show them off, but I will tell you they were yummy. Even ugly food tastes good. Sometimes.
What are pretty, though, are peonies! My favorite, favorite flower and it just so happened that on the day of Jade’s party, they made their very first appearance of the season and I was able to buy her a bouquet of five stems! Because she’s five. It really couldn’t have been more perfect. The mister snapped some beautiful shots of them yesterday, after they had opened up a bit more. I highly recommend checking out the whole series over on his inspiration blog, Spiritform.
And while you’re over there, be sure to scroll down a bit and drool over this, his submission to The Glitch Mob Merchandise Contest, being hosted by Creative Allies. Learn about the contest here, and vote for his design here. He’s definitely in the running, and there are only a few days left to vote. If he wins, his design will be printed on a tee-shirt and sold as band merch! How cool is that?!? Very. Very, very.
Happy Tuesday, friends! Thanks for supporting my handsome and talented mister by voting for him…. Wink, wink!
I woke this morning basking in the glow of what was a truly smashing bash! I’m pretty pleased, if I do say so myself. The mister and I lounged lazily in the early part of the day, enjoying a quiet but messy household. Sipping my espresso, it occurred to me that the mug from which I savor this treat on a daily basis — a mug I inherited through the mister; yet another example of his stellar taste — is vintage milk glass. A quick inspection led to the classic “Glasbake - USA” inscription which put me over the moon! I feel a collection coming on.
Speaking of collection, yesterday, we were reunited with some things of ours that were being held hostage by some very unkind people for far too long. Thankfully, our belongings were returned to us almost exactly as we remembered them, except we’d almost forgotten about them. Almost. But home now they are, and I couldn’t be more excited about the stuff that I’m finding amongst the bags and boxes. Admittedly though, I’m somewhat avoiding tackling the massive sorting and storing I have to look forward to. Tomorrow.
Ah, tomorrow. Such a beautiful word, full of hope and potential….
We were pleasantly jolted into action early this afternoon when the dad called to ask if I could help him out with a quick errand, and of course I obliged. The littles were in tow, which meant that I got to kiss their squishy faces. And with a melted heart, off I went to snag something on behalf of the dad.
Strolling down the street, I spied a five-drawer mid-century dresser being left by a dumpster. The drawers were in bad shape, but the rest of the piece was pretty spectacular. A few hours later, after I’d completed my mission, and kissed squishy faces for a second (and third….) time, the mister and I were headed to the market to pick up some items for dinner and we walked right by the dresser, still standing by a dumpster. He agreed that it was totally worth repurposing, and so we picked it up and carried it home with our bare hands.
Later, while we were deconstructing and sanding and cleaning our newest find, the mister remarked that he was experiencing déja vu! He distinctly remembers dreaming about refurbishing a wooden chest with me, which of course made me drunk with giddiness. Unfortunately, we realized that in order to repaint the dresser, we’ll need to strip the layer of paint that is currently on it, which will have to be done tomorrow. I love projects! Especially ones that are collaborations between me and my handsome mister.
Hungry from a full day, and and even fuller weekend, we relied on totally basic and yet very apropos snacks for dinner: veggie dogs and guacamole. And beer. Always beer.
And now, after watching some stand-up comedy on Netflix, I sit here, reflecting on my day that started great and ended even better. I can’t help but pinch myself because I’m pretty darn sure that I’m the luckiest lady / lover / mama / ex-wife that has every lived. Thanks to the people whom I do not directly know that work hard on a daily basis so that my life might be that much better.
I’m pretty sure that’s what this holiday is about.
Today was pretty much the most wonderful party I’ve ever been to. Everyone was in high spirits, and despite a few unforeseen twists including a last minute venue change (!) and even last-er minute run to the market, everything came together even better than I had hoped.
I made cupcake cones instead of cake, and they were excellent. If I weren’t so tired, I’d share the recipe with you. But tomorrow, oh tomorrow, I’ll share the recipe along with a whole host of snapshots of what was easily one of the best days of my entire life.
Happy Birthday Jade! We’ve had a great time celebrating your five years!
I am in deep denial as to just how much I have to do before tomorrow’s big bash for the Birthday Girl. I’m making all the eats and sweets at her vintage carnival themed soiree, not to mention handcrafting all the decor, so I’ve got a long night of snipping and stitching followed by an early morning of baking and making to look forward to.
Because yesterday was her actual birthday, and because it’s important to feel special on your birthday even if your party is on a different day, especially when you are five, I made her a goodie bag filled with five special things: a felted flower queen, a felted butterfly, an official invitation to her party (the decorations are a bit of a surprise), five dollars (for a five year old, you see), and a gift card for a trip to a dress shop to be outfitted for her fête.
We also had ice cream sandwiches in lieu of cake (there will be plenty of that tomorrow) as a treat. A messy treat.
Today, for her birthday, my (not so) littlest one requested a morning feast of “pancakes, waffles, syrup, strawberries and juice”. Such a sweet and simple request is hard to ignore, and easy to oblige.
Since I don’t have a waffle maker, and since it was her birthday and she specifically requested waffles, a package of frozen multigrain toaster waffles was procured from Trader Joe’s along with some strawberries and some orange juice. The pancake batter ingredients were all things I hand on hand, which forces me to wonder why on Earth on don’t make them more often. These are easily the moistest, fluffiest pancakes and are a snap to prepare.
1 1/2 Cups Flour
3 1/2 tsps. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 1/4 Cups Milk
3 tbsp. Butter, melted
Vanilla, to taste
Start by combining all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat the egg, add milk, butter and vanilla, and beat a little more. Combine wet and dry ingredients until batter is smooth.
Butter a large skillet over medium low heat, and pour batter into the pan. When bubbles rise to the top, flip the pancake and cook for a few more minutes.
Serve immediately, buttered, and drizzled with warm maple syrup.
I can’t believe she’s five!
Happy Happy Birthday, my sweet baby girl! I’m so proud of you and grateful every single day to be your mommy. Thank you for bringing sparkling sunshine and rainbows with you wherever you go, you truly light the world around you. I love you so much, little!
Confused doesn’t even begin to describe my recent state of mind. Clusterfucked would be more accurate. Up until just a few hours ago, I was prepared to celebrate my daughter on her birthday this Saturday with a small family gathering, and honor her properly the following day, Sunday, with a birthday bash. The only thing is, her actual birthday is tomorrow. As in, less than four hours from now. As in, the day I thought I would spend putting final touches on thing . As in, I’m so not ready for my little girl to be five.
Anyway, in the haze of believing I could take my sweet old time with this project and that project related to her birthday, I crafted, along with the aide of my most awesome helper, what could only be classified as the meatiest non-meat dish I’ve ever prepared. It is, indeed, another gloriously inventive twist involving chorizo. By chorizo, I mean soy chorizo, of course.
Mixed together with baked beans, sauteed onions and peppers, barbecue sauce, and a healthy dose of pepper, the soy chorizo — fundamentally flavored with spices of the Mexican variety — served as an excellent base for rest of the mix. The only thing missing, which of course I realized in hindsight, was crushed tomatoes. Next time. Oh, there will be a next time, and soon.
On the side was a colorful garden salad with corn, cucumber and olives, and then ridge cut sweet potato chips, which were each equally delicious and welcome additions to the plate. The adults (me, the mister, and the dad) had caramelized onions and peppers and Lusty Monk mustard on the honey wheat buns, and everyone’s sandwich had an pile of New Zealand Sharp Cheddar on top.
Other than my daughter, the birthday girl in question, proclaiming her Sloppy Joe to be too spicy, the rest of us concurred that this was indeed the meatiest of meals. I, frankly, could have had them a bit spicier, but so continues the battle of the sweet and spicy palettes. I definitely had leftovers for lunch.
And lunch was before I realized that tomorrow is, in fact, the day my daughter turns five.