Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Spanish-Style Rice October 10, 2012

Filed under: Mexican,My Recipes,Quick and Easy,Side Dish,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 10:40 am

I moved AGAIN this weekend. Three apartments in 12 months. WHEW! I am so not moving again for a long time. But, now that we’ve gotten most everything put away, I actually feel at home. I’ve been feeling like a guest in someone else’s place for awhile, so it’s a relief to be so much more relaxed.

We had our first company over last night for the Red’s playoff game. I am in training this week with a new group of employees, and I knew I’d be getting home after Richard’s friend was already there. Because I needed a quick, easy meal, I settled on tacos. Those are pretty self explanatory–meat, seasoning, cheese, shell. Some refried beans on the side (or the way I like it–in my taco). But, I wanted to cook SOMETHING. This rice was super easy–just throw it all in a pot for 25 minutes. That gave me time to crack open a beer (Sam Adams Harvest Nut–get your hands on this, if you haven’t already), catch up on the game, and talk to our company. The boys loved it, so I will definitely be making this again.

Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a picture of this. There wasn’t really any recipe that I followed, just threw everything together based on what I THOUGHT was in Spanish Rice. It worked for us, even if it wasn’t totally authentic.

Spanish-Style Rice
Original Recipe

1 15-oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 1/2 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube (I actually used a ramen noodle packet because that’s what I had on hand.)
Generous amount of a cayenne pepper/chili powder based seasoning blend
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp soy sauce (or Worcestershire would work as well)
2 Tbsp butter

Combine all ingredients in a large pot over high heat. Bring to boil, reduce to low heat. Cover. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Don’t touch this why it’s simmering, otherwise the rice will come out sticky and gooey.

Remove from heat when rice is tender and has soaked up most of the liquid. Serve hot.

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S’Mores Brownies October 2, 2012

Filed under: Brownies,Chocolate,Cookout/Potluck,dessert,My Recipes — hmills96 @ 11:32 am

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went on our first camping trip. We’d both been dying to go, but these days it’s hard to find people who are willing to go out in the woods with no electricity, no running water, and no Internet. Not us–it was a perfect chance to unplug from the busy summer we had each had and get away from everything.

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A lot of memories were made on that trip–from the near-tornadic weather that flooded poor Richard’s side of the tent (I stayed relatively dry), to the massive toothache I had on Saturday that was only lessened by large amounts of Wild Turkey 101. We hiked 3-4 miles on Sunday, and listened to football all weekend. It was a blast, and we cannot wait until next summer so we can head out to the woods again.

Ever since that trip, I’ve been craving S’mores like crazy. Lucky for me, we had some graham crackers and marshmallows still in the cupboard from when we unpacked. These were amazing. It’s the same brownie base from my Oreo Brownies, with a graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallows on top.

A suggestion–make sure to leave plenty of room at the top of your pan for the marshmallows. They will expand quite a bit. Also, for that reason, don’t put them too close to the heating elements in your oven when you broil them. Line your pan with parchment paper, too. Butter and flour are not enough!

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S’Mores Brownies
Original Recipe

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup butter
6 oz chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips)
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder

2-3 cups mini marshmallows (or cut up big ones)
2-3 graham crackers, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9×9 pan with parchment paper.

In a food processor or blender, mix graham cracker crumbs, salt, and butter. Push into bottom of pan to form crust. Bake for 5-7 minutes, while making brownie batter.

Melt butter and chocolate over medium heat. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla.

Remove pan from heat, whisk in eggs one at a time.

Stir in flour and cocoa powder.

Pour batter over crust. Bake for 30 minutes. Toothpick should come out almost clean, but not completely.

Cover top of brownies with marshmallows. Place under broiler for 5-10 minutes, until toasted. Push graham cracker pieces into soft marshmallows.

Cool for 10-15 minutes, slice and mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

 

Baked Egg Caprise June 14, 2012

It’s hard to believe I’ve lived in Indy for 6 months now. It was an adjustment, getting used to living in the city, since I’ve lived in small towns my whole life. But there are so many benefits. I’m close to work, there’s so many great restaurants and bars and breweries here. I’ve made so many new friends I can’t even count them.

Another benefit I have discovered this summer is that the farmer’s markets are much better here too. More people = bigger venues = more vendors. I have not made it downtown yet, as the market is on Wednesdays while I am at work. But the one just north of me is wonderful.

I picked up a couple of tomatoes this weekend. I normally associate tomatoes with late summer, but these looked so good I couldn’t pass them up. I’ve had leftover roast chicken the last three nights, and while it is delicious, I was ready for something new. This was the perfect remedy. I just did one in a custard cup, but you could do this easily in a muffin tin if you are feeding a family or a group! Would be great for breakfast too!

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Baked Eggs Caprise
Original Recipe

1 tomato
1 egg
1 basil leaf, torn or cut into pieces
Mozzarella Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut the top off the tomato, and with a spoon, scoop out some of the insides. Leave plenty of meat on the tomato though!

Place in greased custard cup.

Crack egg into tomato. Top with basil and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until whites are set.

Eat! I didn’t do this tonight, but I bet some good quality olive oil would be fantastic drizzled over the top. Or some balsamic? YUMMMMM…

 

Cocoa oatmeal cookies May 14, 2012

Filed under: cookies,Cookout/Potluck,My Recipes — hmills96 @ 6:02 pm
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Yes, I’m still alive! I know it has been forever. I’m after two moves, some budget adjustments, and a lot of ups and downs, I’m finally cooking again.

Boy, does it feel awesome! I’ve been cooking 3-4 times a week, instead of taking the lazy way out with ramen or popcorn.

Yesterday I even got the urge to bake! These cookies were actually going to be muffins, but then I realized my muffin pan is in storage. It was a VERY sad moment. Until I made a few adjustments and pulled these babies out of the oven.

I think my new roommate is pretty psyched to be getting spoiled!

Cocoa Oatmeal Cookies
Original recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together butter, sugar, and molasses.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into wet ingredients one third at a time.

Stir in oats and raisins.

Drop into greases cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Try really hard to let these cool. Fail. Burn your mouth on a scalding hot raisin. Keep eating.

Just kidding on the last part. Really…that raisin was HOT.

 

Crockpot Lean Pork Roast July 11, 2011

I have some big plans for my future. I can’t tell you what they are yet, only that I could use some prayers, thoughts, etc for the next several months. I’ll let you guys in to my secret as soon as I know what’s going to happen!

Part of this new plan is to lose weight. I need to lose 10 pounds at first, but want to lose 20 altogether. I started this plan Tuesday, and I’ve already lost 5 pounds!

I’m doing the Slimfast 123 plan, which is working really well. I’m doing a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, a slimfast shake at lunch, and some kind of meal in the evening. I usually stick a slimfast bar in there somewhere as a snack.

My biggest struggle with this diet is the variety. It’s a LOT of sweets during the day, and I’ve never been a HUGE sweets person. Occasionally yes, but I much prefer more savory foods. By the time I get home at night, I crave real protein. So yesterday I decided to braise a lean pork shoulder so that I could have some good things in the evening. This recipe is more of a how-to than anything. there isn’t much to the marinade–just a few things to tenderize the meat and bring out the flavor of the pork. I’ll use the meat to make tacos, pulled pork sandwiches (on lowfat bread and with a vinegar based sauce instead of a heavier one), etc etc.

Crockpot Lean Pork Roast
Original Recipe

1 lean pork shoulder
1 can light beer
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp mustard
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp honey
1 large onion, quartered
Dry rub of your choice
1/4-1/2 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock

Trim most of the fat off of the shoulder. It’s ok to leave some, it will keep the meat moist. But mine came with a good 1/2″ of fat on one side…that’s too much!

In a large plastic bag, combine all ingredients, excepting the pork and onions. Add the pork and marinate overnight (or at least 4 hours).

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry with a papertowel. Rub on all sides with your favorite dry rub. Brown on all sides in a medium skillet over medium high heat.

Place in crockpot with onions, wine and chicken stock, and turn crockpot on medium low (mine is the 8 hour setting. Cover, and let it do it’s thing for 6-8 hours.

The meat should be fall off the bone tender when it is done. Literally. The shoulder bone was completely separated when the pork was done cooking. Use two forks to pull the pork apart. Use for anything!

 

Vermicelli with Peas May 30, 2011

I’ve been finding myself a little burned out lately. I’ve been working a lot of overtime, and just not really taking much time for myself. Even my weekends have been busy. This long weekend was much needed. I had a graduation party Saturday evening, so I went home for that. But that was my ONLY event the whole three day weekend. And OH how I relished the peace. I watched scary movies, drank some wine, visited with some friends, and caught up on my YouTube Subscriptions (PhillyD and Shaytards. I love them.). I finished a book, and started another.

Today was a little bit more productive. I cleaned my kitchen, did some laundry, made stock. I cut up a fresh pineapple and put the rind and core in vodka to infuse for a week. And the big one–I mowed my yard! Ok, just the front part. I still need to do the back half. This was the first time I’ve ever mowed. My neighbor has done it for me a few times this summer, but it was time for me to learn to do it on my own. The only problem? I couldn’t get my mower to start. I had a friend come over and take a look at it. He jostled a few bits around and got it to start for me. Oh man, mowing is hard work. I have a GIGANTIC hill in the front of my house, and that was not easy. I’m just a little too short, the mower a little too big, and the hill a little too steep. I can’t pretend that there wasn’t lots of cussing and more than a few tears. But I got it mowed. I’ll do the back half another day…or I may just find some high school kid who I can pay to do it. I’m not afraid to admit I felt more than a little defeated.

The rest of the afternoon I just relaxed. I watched a movie and listed to some music. I was planning on just popping some popcorn for dinner, but, as usually happens on my productive days, I decided to play with my food. The following is what came out of that little game. Very springy tasting, very fresh (even if the peas were frozen). The sage is what is left of my herb garden last year–it grew back! And the purple flower was mixed in with that super plant. Pretty (I didn’t eat it, don’t worry)!

Vermicelli with Peas
Original Recipe

6-8 oz vermicelli
2 Tbsp Butter
1 half white onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful Sage leaves, minced
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
Juice of one lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan, Optional

Boil and salt a pot of water, add your pasta. Cook until al dente.

While the pasta cooks, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a saute pan over med-low heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown and soft. Add garlic and sage, cook another 2 minutes.

Add peas, cook until heated through. Add lemon juice and a Tbsp of pasta water.

Drain pasta and add to pea mixture. Salt and pepper to taste, serve with Parmesan.

 

Pasta Salad with Cantelope Dressing May 22, 2011

Filed under: Cookout/Potluck,Fruit,My Recipes,pasta,Quick and Easy,Salad — hmills96 @ 6:13 pm

One of the biggest challenges of going back to being single is learning how to budget groceries for one person. It might seem really simple–just buy less food! But for a cook who is used to cooking for others, it’s really hard! I go to the grocery store and get lost in the produce section, grabbing everything that looks good. It’s just really a bad way to do things. I’ve tried making meal plans, lists, but I can’t help it. I always buy way too much, and spend way more than I should.

Enter Angel Food Ministries. Every month there are a few different options on boxes you can buy, each ranging within $25-50. You order online by a certain date, then go pick it up at a local church. It was so easy, and the food is pretty good quality. I spent $60 and got at least $150 worth of groceries. Not only is it discounted food, it’ll keep me from buying everything in the store and wasting it all.

One of the boxes I got was a produce box. It had a melon, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and a few other things, even a whole pineapple! I’ll have to learn how to break that down. It is super hot and muggy today, and a salad was just the thing to cool me off. This recipe needs some tweaking–I wish I would have had some mint, or dill. But overall, really good.

Pasta Salad with Cantelope Dressing
Original Recipe

1 cantelope, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cucumber, cut into 1/2 cubes
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
Olive oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Lime Juice
1 chicken breast, roasted in lemon juice, cubed

Set aside 1 cup of melon aside. In a food processor, puree the rest of the melon and half of the cucumber until smooth. Add vinegar and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Blend. Slowly add olive oil  while food processor is on until you get your desired consistency.

Mix together cooked bowtie pasta (chilled), melon, cucumbers, tomatoes and dressing. Serve cold.