Monday, April 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies

Since becoming a mom, I have had little time to cook or bake.  Gone are the days where I would seek out new recipes for dinner or try using ingredients I never cooked with before.  Baking occurs mostly at night when the baby is asleep, if I have the energy, or when family is over to watch the baby while I bake.  The baby is almost 8 months old and I am slowly getting back into the groove of things.  I've told the hubby he has to cook dinner twice a week now.  I don't care if it's something easy like pasta or tacos, or if he wants to make breakfast or a sandwich for dinner, or even if he picks up something on the way home from work (which isn't preferred).  I just don't want to be super mom all the time take the baby to day care, working all day, picking the baby up from day care, feeding the baby dinner, cooking dinner while still holding, playing with and entertaining the baby, and then putting the baby to bed.  I was doing that 5 days a week for over 3 months now and it's only been 2 weeks that the baby is sleeping through the night.  Imagine doing all that while getting 7 hours of interrupted sleep.

Okay, baking has become a treat... Well, it's always a been treat.  It was always my comfort, something I did to cure the pain, let the mind go blank, and the body to be at ease.  Now, the "treat" is that I get to feel "normal" again.  I get to feel like I'm not a working mom and do something I love to do for me... kind of like yoga. :)

About a month ago, my girlfriend organized a bake sale for her future step daughter.  She asked friends on FB to make a dozen cookies to sell at the bake sale.  I decided to take an old recipe and make it new.  I added nutella to peanut butter cookies. 

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (recipes tend to call for smooth peanut butter but I only have chunky lying around and it does just fine)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  1. Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separte bowl. Slowly mix into the peanut butter mixture.
  3. Stir in Nutella.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gardening = Food

Gardening classifies as food, right? I thought I'd start documenting the spring/summer garden this year so I don't forget what I did and what worked or didn't work. So far...

I took a stellar seed-starting workshop with Nan Sterman on 3/17 where we started seeds in a root trainer system and various pint-sized containers (e.g. strawberry and tomato clamshells). After finishing the workshop, I left with 16+ different types of vegetables and herbs.

Here is the list of them (in the root trainer):
  • Basil 'Cameo Container'
  • Basil 'Genovese'
  • Chard 'Pot of Gold'
  • Cilantro 'Santo Organic'
  • Dill 'Vierling'
  • Lettuce 'Garden Babies'
  • Eggplant 'Purple Fingerling'
  • Pepper, 'Rainbow Bell Mix'
  • Pepper 'Sweet Pimiento'
  • Tomatillo, 'Purple de Milpa'
  • Tomato, 'Gold Nugget'
  • Tomato, 'Mortgage Lifter'
  • Tomato, 'Roma'
  • Tomato, 'Super Bush Container'
  • Zinnia 'Benary Giant Mix'
  • Zinnia 'Berry Basket'

These were the optional ones (the bigger seeds):
  • Cucumber 'Armenian'
  • Cucumber 'Straight Eight'
  • Melon 'Honeyrock'
  • Squash summer 'Dark Green Zucchini'
  • Squash 'Horn of Plenty'
  • Pumpkin 'Winter Luxury Pie

And here is a picture of where they're at right now, approximately 3 weeks later:

I'm still trying to figure out where to plant all of them and whether I'll have enough room in the 2 raised beds.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Suzie's Farm: Week 6, final week

I picked up my final week's CSA box from Suzie's Farm on Saturday. It contained the following:
  • 1 head lettuce (8.5 oz)
  • yellow beans (13.25 oz)
  • bunch of carrots with greens attached (10.25 oz)
  • bag of spinach (4.5 oz)
  • bag of arugula (6 oz)
  • sweet yellow snap peas (9 oz)
  • bunch of white turnips (13.5 oz)
  • 1 small Romanesco cauliflower, with lots of leaves attached (1 lb 14 oz)
  • small crowns of broccoli (11.75 oz)
  • container of pea greens (4 oz box), originally supposed to be sunflower greens
  • 2 small Sweet Pepper Golden treasure (3 oz)

Can I make anything with the pretty greens attached to the carrots?

I mostly finished everything from last week's box except for the squash and herb mixes. Lots of salads and soups.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Suzie's Farm: Week 5, "Thanksgiving" box

I picked up my "Thanksgiving" box (it was labeled as such) this weekend from the Poway market. Unfortunately, since it was already Saturday, I didn't get to use the items for Thanksgiving. Some of the items like the herb bouquet would have been nice to have. The Thanksgiving box contained:

  • butternut squash, in place of the pumpkin (1 lb 12.5 oz)
  • spring raab, 1 bunch (11 oz)
  • broccoli (8.5 oz)
  • bag of arugula (8.25 oz)
  • bag of chopped spinach (6.25 oz)
  • purple beans (13.5 oz)
  • sugar snap peas (13.5 oz)
  • 2 medium acorn squash (2 lb 5.25 oz)
  • 2 large brown onions (1 lb 10.25 oz)
  • bag of pear tomatoes (14 oz)
  • wheatberry sprouts (6 oz container)
  • herb mix (rosemary, thyme, sage) (1.25 oz)

The enclosed note from the farm raves about the "pumpkin pie" pumpkin we were supposed to get in the box, but it looks like they ran out and replaced it with a butternut squash. That was disappointing since I was looking forward to trying the pumpkin. No fruit again, but that's okay because I am loving all the greens this week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Box Mix-up

There was no Suzie's Farm Week 4 box posted because I accidentally forgot to pick my box up last week. I had changed my pick-up location to Poway, then gone on vacation for a week, and promptly forgotten that it was still set to Poway. I thought I was picking it up at Hillcrest and fully intended on going there on Sunday. On Saturday afternoon, my error dawned on me and I hurriedly called the farm, leaving them a message and asking whether I could pick it up on Sunday. No answer. I even went to the HFM on Sunday to ask if there was anything they could do. The worker in the booth recommended I sent them an email. I did this when I got home and received a reply on Monday stating that I was out of luck. :(

I know this is my own fault for not picking up the box, but I this was still upsetting and annoying.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What is a trip to Palm Springs without a little Cheeky's?

Cheeky's has easily become our breakfast place while visiting. The service is attentive and the food is great. Let's not forget about the flight of bacon ($4):

Each time we go it's been different strips. This time it was: extra thick, apple cinnamon, pepper, jalapeno, neuske's. We agreed we liked the jalapeno the best.

Rich had the soft scrambled eggs with English white cheddar and prosciutto ($10). It also came with a side of toast. I tried the buttermilk and fresh corn pancakes with blueberries and bacon ($10). It was 2 large pancakes with corn kernels mixed into it. For some reason, I was envisioning the pancakes to be made from cornmeal but I think I read the description wrong. They charged me $1 to add blueberries, which was disappointing since there didn't seem to be anywhere near $1 worth of blueberries in the pancakes. The pancakes themselves were great though -- fluffy, moist and delicious. I love that they also provide real maple syrup.

It's a semi-expensive breakfast at about $30 for both of us, but until we find a better alternative, we'll stick it out here.

Jake's: Living up to the Hype

On Saturday night, we decided to try out our surprise favorite from last year, Jake's Ready to Eat. Last year we thought the combination of good service and value made this a win. But had we hyped it up in our minds and would it live up to our expectations again?

Jake's isn't a big restaurant and although our first reservation time slot wasn't available, they were able to reserve a table for us within 15 minutes of the time we originally wanted. This time, we sat on the outside patio, next to a heat lamp and covered by a tent to keep the rain out. With the dim candle on the table and green hedge of a backdrop, it made for a pretty and relaxed atmosphere.

The amuse-bouche was a beet skewer with goat cheese. Two of my favorites!! Rich was generous and let me have his portion. Excellente.

They added a few new items to their menu since the last time we were here, including an option to get a three course meal for $29. A select number of entrees were allowed for this option. Since I was already planning on getting a salad and one of the entrees, this made more sense economically. The organic mixed greens salad was good (no cheese!) and for my entree, I had the fettuccini a la vodka ($16) with heirloom tomatoes. It was very heavy and rich, but also really delicious. I couldn't finish the entire dish.

Rich had the (surprise!) filet mignon ($26) with mashed potatoes and asparagus. He enjoyed it and said he thought it was better than the filet he had the previous day at Chop House.

For dessert, I was allowed to choose anything on the dessert menu. It was a toss up between the toffee banana crunch cake and the coconut cake, but the waiter said the coconut cake was better (hands down). Rich had a giant brownie ($6) which he said was good, but preferred a less cakey brownie. The coconut cake was very good. It was HUGE (3 layers) and moist with delicious cream cheese frosting. None of that gross buttercream stuff. I only wish there was more coconut flavor in the cake itself.

We were stuffed by the time we finished and they still surprised us by bringing out two bites of a pecan tart, just like last year. The owner (guessing?) also came by to ask how everything was. The service was awesome. We love Jake's.
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