Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas came and went

A tiny snowman cottage in the woods

Now is the time for a post christmas mini Christmas celebration. 

Normal Christmas has too much pressure attached to it so now it's time for tiny Christmas! With all it's tiny, cute, cheerful glory.

Tiny, unexpected packages on each plate.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

My thanksgiving contribution

So, every year I go to a good friend's fabulous thanksgiving meal and this year was no different. And I have to admit that every year I feel the ever so slightest bit of competitive feeling regarding who brings the best dish to share. It isn't really a competition, and thank goodness it isn't because I deeply dislike any outright, verbally verified competition, but this year, if there had been a competition for cutest contribution, my friend Cat and I would have won. We copied a recipe off of Pinterest for rice Krispy hedgehogs. These were outrageously easy and just crazily cute. I would totally make these again.

These little cuties are made  by shaping classic rice Krispy treats into tear drop shapes and then spooning melted chocolate over the top, leaving the small point of the tear drop clean for the face. Chocolate jimmies give the prickly look of a hedge hog and the face is just black and red gel frosting. 

The little flower was a last minute emergency situation. The original directions call for fondant flowers. I, personally, hate fondant and never use it for anything. Besides, this was supposed to be fun and easy, not annoying and frustrating, so I just went to the local candy store, bought some brightly colored, fruit flavored licorice and sliced them into pieces. It was perfect and made the project extra adorable without any extra work, like hand shaping fondant flowers would have done. Blech. No fondant for me! :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

The distractions of a beautiful autumn

Even though I've been extremely distracted for the past couple of months, I haven't stopped eating all sorts of delicious things, so here is a quick post of all the delicious things I've been munching on since I last posted. And a few of the lovely places I've been. 

One of the most impressively filling but also delicious tasting salads I've eaten. This is from our stop at the Wild Carvery in Burbank, CA. We made a quick stop for lunch on our drive home to Oregon in mid September. 

Last of the sunflowers from my mother in law's garden. 

A stunning example of my mother in law's beautiful front yard.

The first of the fall leaves. We went home for a little fall color but were just a week or two early.

A super adorable, super poisonous mushroom we saw during a little hike in the woods. I was truly shocked that a tiny gnome or fairy didn't peek it's head from underneath this darling little mushroom. Such a perfect little scene it was. 

Matthew's delicious cooking. This was one of the tastiest sandwiches I've eaten in recent memory.  

And finally, my birthday cupcake. From baby cakes, this was a pumpkin spice cupcake. Absolutely delicious! And so fun to eat :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The month of canning

 So, I realize that it has been over a month since I last posted on my blog, but once you see all the delicious treats I've been making this past month, you'll realize just why I haven't had time to post!

I've gone on a little bit of a food preserving rampage. I have, of course, made some normal jams and such, but I also tried my hand at some less common (for me, at least) products: tomato ketchup, peach ketchup, mustard, jasmine peach pickles and pickled grapes.

I didn't actually photograph the pickled red grapes because they do look a little bit frightening, floating around their jar like tiny monster's eye balls, but they really are delicious! I love them with any cheese. I used this recipe, and would happily make them again and again, any time I'm stuck with more grapes than I care to eat up fresh (this happens more often then you would imagine and is part of the reason that I so rarely buy grapes).

I did manage to photograph everything else that I made, and I will say that I was delighted with how everything turned out. It's all delicious! And, while I'm still figuring out how to use the new stuff, it's kind of exciting to have things like homemade mustard and ketchup that I made all on my own and didn't have to buy from a store. This isn't to say that my versions are better than store bought, or that I would only ever use my homemade versions in the future(I absolutely won't), but it's always a nice feeling to be able to make something that is usually always store bought, in our modern age.

Blueberry jam made with Liquid pectin.

Pluot Jam- I only made three jars of this. It's delicious! I didn't use any pectin for this recipe.

This is actually new to me, I've never actually made pepper jelly before but thought it would be fun to help a friend who has never canned before. This turned out great. We used Liquid pectin for this jam/jelly.

This plum butter turned out pretty good. I made it in the crock pot(a first for me) and I actually think it needed a little more sugar and a little more time on the heat. I took it off too early because I was getting impatient, but also because it started to stick.

Nectarines in Syrup- growing up, we made canned peaches every summer, and last year I made a single jar of peaches, but this year I thought I'd try canning nectarines because they are so easy. I think I like canned peaches better =)

This is the only really strange item that I made recently. These are from a really innovative chef, Edward Lee, and while I love this concept, the peppers he called for in the recipe give the peaches an odd, vegetal taste. Still, these are lots of fun!

The most unusual and most delicious item I made, this peach ketchup goes splendidly with cheese, especially brie, but any cheese will do =) it's really, really good.

I used David Lebovitz's recipe for Mustard. I've been wanting to make mustard for years and finally decided to make some this month, since I've been on a "making weird foods" roll.

The tomato ketchup. This was pretty good. I ate some with roasted potatoes last night for dinner and I really think it would be tasty on a hamburger. Hopefully I'll have some left the next time I get around to making hamburgers. I doubt that I'll make this very often since it took a lot of cooking down to get it to the correct consistency. But it was fun to try homemade ketchup. I used a mix of different recipes for this and hope to find the perfect, easy recipe some day =)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

happy helmet

oops, my helmet is a little bit crooked, that's not safe!
I finally got around to having Matthew take a picture of me in my bike helmet. Of course, I went with the polka dots =) And, of course I really wanted a pink polka dotted one but the fellows at the bike shop didn't have such a darling helmet in stock. So, I went with the second cutest helmet, a red and white polka dotted helmet, because it actually exists!

Anyway, it's adorable and when I wear my red polka dotted helmet and my Hello Kitty Sunglasses; I look like a cute little weirdo riding down the street. It's great fun and very eye catching. Good for safety, at least, if not for fashion.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Easy plum cake and my happy new kitchen cutie

Today, I needed to use up a couple of ripe plums and plum cake sounded good to me. Never mind the fact that I've only ever heard tell of plum cake and have yet to experience the delicious flavors of plums baked into a soft, moist cake. I spent the five minutes required to put it together, baked it up and now it's cooling on my new little kitchen butcher's block cart.

On Tuesday, I had to exchange an item at Ikea and whilst wandering around the As Is section of the store, I happened upon a lonely looking little item that just looked up at me and asked to be taken home. It was too cute to resist and, ended up being just the right size for my teeny, tiny, pint-sized kitchen. Anyway, it turns out that this sweet little butcher's block cart is the perfect size for just about everything, including holding a cooling plum cake.

A lovely, fanciful baby shower

 This summer I took on a fairly unusual project: planning a baby shower for a friend. I've never planned a shower of any sort, bridal, baby or any other type(is there any other type?) so this was a great learning experience. I had loads of fun with the whole event and, for the most part, thought the whole party went perfectly. Of course, I forgot a few details which only I noticed but the excessive preparation during the two months before the baby shower made for a really lovely experience, even for me. In fact, I may have enjoyed it more than anybody.

The snack table

A Tier of treats: Blueberry and Lemon curd tartlets

Fruit skewers and baby scones

Chicken and Arugula sandwiches and tomato basil skewers

I loved decorating the tiered tray with tiny porcelain bowls of baby pink carnations

My favorite: the hand crafted flag toothpicks. These were made with washi tape and turned out very cute

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Daisy bicycle

I was recently given a free bike (thanks! Christy =)). Now, I can join the hordes of hipsters riding around San Diego, buying veggies and art supplies; it's absolutely fantastic!! =)

I'm having loads of fun riding up to Whole Foods, down to Little Italy and over to the craft/art supply store. It gives me a little extra exercise and saves a small puddle of crude oil somewhere in the world. I haven't found a helmet yet, but I'm sure that when I do, I'll make sure to post a photo of it in all its adorable, helmety glory.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Prickly pear vs cotton yarn pear

So many different types of pears and neither of the ones featured in this post are actual, real live pears!

I've recently conducted a comparison of the prickly pear which is the fruit of an edible cactus and the little cotton pear that I recently crocheted. So far the prickly pear wins for tastiness and the little crocheted pear wins for cuteness :)

So, obviously I am not actually comparing these "pears" but it sure was cute to set them next to each other for a photo. This was, in fact, my very first experience with buying, prepping and eating prickly pears. 

When I saw them at my favorite grocery store, I just knew I had to try them. I love buying new, to me, fruit and this was about as unusual as I've ever had.

Turns out they are just the loveliest color ever(my favorite color) and they taste a little bit like pomegranate, because of the earthy, seedy taste. Basically, I blended the flesh of the fruit and then strained it to mix with sugar and water for a light syrup. This syrup went into margaritas and bubbly water. I only used this to make a few delicious beverages because the other things people tend to make with prickly pear(jelly, candy) require many more prickly pears than I had purchased. 

Maybe prickly pear jelly can be a "someday project" which I will make if I ever have more prickly pear fruits than I know what to do with, until then, I think it's fun to enjoy their contribution to making fun and unusual beverages.

Friday, May 31, 2013

cheerful pear

My latest crochet project was very quick to make and easy. It required very little stitch counting and almost no sewing of little parts together, so when I was done I was done, unlike so many of the projects that I've made which can take upwards of 30 min or so of hand sewing fins or limbs or little tails to bodies once I've crocheted all the pieces.

I made this little pear over the course of two craft night sessions, but I really think it could come together in less than an hour if I was focusing all my attention on working on the pear and less time on chatting with friends (but who wants to do that? =))

Of course, as with all my little crochet projects, the big question is, "what's it for?" I'm not entirely sure but I suppose the real point of making these little creatures is that they are cute and cheerful and fun to make.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Candle making

My first candle making attempt has resulted in mostly perfect results, but one of the candles set very oddly. I made them at the same time, same method but one candle set up beautifully, while the other candle looks like I stirred it as it was setting(though I didn't). 

Other than the one lumpy candle, I felt very successful with this first attempt. I used a combo of vanilla and sweet orange oils to create an orange creamsicle scent. The candles smell delicious and I can't wait to burn them :)

The sad, sad lumpy candle
The happy, cheerful, perfect candle

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Finishing up Japan pictures-Tokyo

Matthew and I thought we were eating well during the first two weeks of our trip to Japan, but it turns out all of that was just in preparation for the last week which was spent gorging ourselves silly in Tokyo. Naturally, we wanted to make sure we didn't miss a thing and of course that isn't possible in a country like Japan that has so, so much to offer, especially in regards to delicious delicacies.

Ramen in Yokohama- the broth was thick enough to stand a spoon up in it; not my favorite but interesting for the experience
The mixed Katsu plate- so perfectly fried- the best I've eaten
The Macaron Off!! This was just too much fun, buying so many gorgeous macarons in one day and deciding that the best course of action would be to use the excuse of comparing them to justify such an indulgence.

Still in their boxes- didn't want them to start fighting

Pierre Herme vs. Laduree: Matthew and I both loved all the macarons but felt that the macarons from Pierre Herme had an edge over the macarons from Laduree. They were more intensely flavored, possibly due to having more filling between the cookies and while the colors of the cookies were not quite as vibrant as those of the macarons from Laduree, the complexity of the flavors was more interesting in the macarons from Pierre Herme. My final judgement: I don't really care whose are better, just let me eat macarons!! =)

A beautiful selection from Pierre Herme
A charming selection from Laduree
pour over coffee from Shozo coffee stand, located in 246common
A perfect lunch to keep us happy while doing laundry - The Five E's Burger from Parrot Kitchen
I mistakenly ordered the tsuke-men ramen at Matthew's favorite ramen shop in Akihabara but I still enjoyed this warming dish- despite the fact that I don't prefer this style of ramen

Matthew's favorite ramen- tonkotsu broth with roasted garlic oil poured over the top

Since we were in Akihabara having a bowl of ramen, we went ahead and got a drink at the Gundam cafe- I had the strawberry latte 
A fantastic little lunch in sweet little cafe- I loved having two tiny sandwiches instead of one big one cut in half

amazing sashimi in Kanda
Eating Salmon eggs with a wooden spoon- my new favorite way to eat Ikura
I loved the barely seared edge of salmon that gave this piece of sushi a smokey flavor- delicious!