I’ll Make You Banana Pancakes

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I am not a morning person during the week… well honestly I am never a morning person but especially on weekdays. On lucky mornings my iPod will play Banana Pancakes for me by Jack Johnson. This song makes me so happy. It is all about laying in bed because it is raining outside with the promise of banana pancakes. I have not yet tried this recipe but it sounds delicious. Yum. The whole idea of pretending its the weekend and making banana pancakes is so lovely it almost makes the morning pleasant. Almost.

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Not In This Economy

The economy has been on my mind a lot lately. It is a tough time to justify spending money. Personally, I have always been thrifty. I am pretty sure I get it from my Grandpa (thanks, Grandpa!) I tend to save my money everyday and over indulge once in a while, sometimes on one big thing, sometimes just a few days of “reckless” spending. I buy store brand when I can, I don’t buy expensive clothes (although I do tend to pay for comfortable shoes figuring I only get one set of feet) and I will make instead of buy if I can get away with it. Can I just tell you that I love what I am seeing in my RSS feeder lately. Articles on how to make your own cleaning supplies, how to make your own bread, how to paint your own wall mural. I am a fairly crafty person but I never thought about making my own butter. In this age of convenience we tend to buy things instead of looking to how we can make, grow or re-purpose what we have. Recently, I read an article on how to grow my own loofah! I love it! I know we all only have so much time in the day and can we really can fruits and vegetables or compost under your sink in our tiny NY kitchen? Maybe not. But I bet there are things you can do to help put a few more pennies in your wallet. Do you really need to use paper towels? I know, I know they are so convenient but if I can get by without them, so can you. As an extra added bonus (as if saving money wasn’t enough) this new way of thinking about saving money can help save the environment. How you ask? For example, making your own cleaning supplies means you are not throwing away extra packaging and you are reusing bottles over and over. Talk about win win!

Improved Candy Hearts

3233933326_c97e65e68cI am not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. At some point February 14th became the time for ridiculous mark-ups on flowers and candy that will be 75% off on February 15th. Yes, I am a jaded New Yorker. So sue me. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the idea of candy hearts. I say the idea of them, because I don’t really love the taste. I do however love the taste of shortbread and the idea of spray painting cookies. If this sounds good to you, head on over to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories (love the name!) because this is the post for you! Wonderful step by step instructions with pictures to make these adorable over-sized hearts. The geeky messages are a nice addition. Maybe this year my sweetie and I will spend some quality time together baking cookies. To me, that is the spirit of Valentine’s Day. via

Cherry Pie

cherry-pie2On a recent trip to Costco we came across a very large package of cherries. Now given it is January, and we don’t normally see cherries until summer, we bought them. I know, I know, we are supposed to only eat fruits and vegetables that are in season, but what can I say, I have no willpower. Despite our best efforts, M&I were not able to eat all of them. So what does one do with many cups of cherries that are about to go bad? Make a pie of course. M was certain we were going to need sour cherries but Deb over at Smitten Kitchen saved the day with a sweet cherry pie recipe. I pitted the cherries (and vowed to get a cherry pitter at my first opportunity) and M made the crust, complete with steam vents in the shape of two cherries. What a beautiful sight to behold.

C is for Cookie

42-18564748This past weekend M&I made dozens and dozens of cookies. We were pretty much making cookies all day. We made press cookies, thumbprints, peanut butter chocolate chip, and last but not least oatmeal. The oatmeal cookies were not my best and I think I am going to try another recipe tonight. I replaced shortening for butter and didn’t add more flour. What a newbie mistake! I have to say that our new silpat mats made the whole process a breeze. No stuff sticking to cookie sheets and the clean up was a snap! Well clean up of the cookie sheets was a snap. The rest of the kitchen was a disaster area. We still have some icing to do tonight, along with a pecan pie, and then we are all ready to pass them off to friends and family. Thank goodness. My willpower is only so strong!!

Pierogi Lasagna

lasagna3I want to college in Pittsburgh and coming from New Jersey in a more Italian than anything else family, I had never heard of this perfect food called the pierogi. Much like ravioli, it is pasta enclosing potato filling, sometimes with other things, sometimes just potato. Then you fried it up in a pan with some onions and oil. Mmmmmm. What could be more perfect? Maybe morphing this delicious bundle of carby goodness into a multilayered pan of carby goodness! We recently went to Costco and bought a humongous bag of potatoes just waiting to be made into something comforting. It must be fate! This recipe sounds like it would be good as is, but I can definitely see adding some mushrooms, or spinach, maybe some rosemary, maybe… well I think you get the idea. If it goes with potatoes and pasta, it will work in this.

So Many Crisps

This weekend M & I decided to pack it in a little early and go apple picking! We have been working really hard on our shed and haven’t taken much time to enjoy what the Hudson Valley has to offer. This was my first time and it was so much fun. There are a whole lotta orchards in the area, but we chose Dressel Farms. We were given our bucket with the caution that it would hold 20 lbs of apples. Even at $.95 a pound, that is a lot of apples. We set out towards the macouns based on the advice of the women who gave us our bucket and started picking. I couldn’t resist picking a few romes and courtlands as well. These will probably all be made in the applesauce, apple crisp, apple tart or one of these other delicious looking apple recipes (thanks, Deb!) Why you ask? Because as we went in to get a cider doughnut we saw that they had bags of Honey Crisp apples! They are far and away my favorite type of apple. In fact when you ask me what I look for in an apple, I think about honey crisps. The crispy crunch, the not too sweetness, the wonderful texture. Yum. Sorry macoun, you just can’t compare. If you want to know what apples are ready for picking and what they are good for, Dressels has put together a handy chart.

Sopapillas

There are a few things I miss about Santa Fe. My family, green chili (it is roasting season now… I can almost smell it), fresh brewed ice tea in every restaurant, and sopapillas. Actually I didn’t even realize I how much I was missing sopapillas until I saw this post via Tastespotting. What are sopapillas you ask? Delicious pillows of fried dough native to the Southwest. To eat them you bite a corner off and drizzle some honey inside. Some people eat them with the meal as bread, some people after as dessert. What ever way you like them, they are delicious. All I can say is thank goodness I don’t have a deep fryer.

Cooking

I love to cook. There is something therapeutic about taking raw ingredients and putting them together into a delicious dinner. I have spent many a Sunday chopping, sauteing and baking. That said, I am not a very creative cook. That is not to say I am not a good cook. I think I do a decent job choosing recipes and sticking to them. I also have a few dishes I can whip up without a recipe, but I do not stray too much from what I know, which isn’t a lot. This is in part to the fact that there are a lot of basics I skipped over to get to where I am. I found a new blog called Start Cooking which is helping my fill in the blanks. I love all the quality step by step pictures just in case one of the directions is unclear. I am a very visual person so I find this extremely helpful. Posts generally include a brief background on the recipe, instructions on how to make the basic version and then variations. I am excited to learn new techniques.