Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

No, don't worry, you didn't forget my birthday. But I do accept gifts at any time of the year:)
When I was younger and my parents would ask me what I wanted for dessert for my birthday, my answer was pretty much always berry pie, or berry crisp, basically anything with berries and a crust. And specifically blackberries. I love it and heart it and want to hug it and squeeze it. I love the tart berries with the salty/sweet crust/crumble. I also love back slashes as you can see ////:)
There are some thornless blackberries growing in our backyard so I've been taking full advantage of this little gift since usually the regular blackberries that grow around here don't start popping up till late August. As a result I've made a couple crisps. And crisps only cause it's faster and easier than a pie dough and these days that's just what works for me. This recipe is for a triple berry crisp which is what I did origionally but works just as well for a single berry, or any kind of fruit you have.

Triple Berry Crisp

  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries
  • 4 T white sugar
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 C rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 C butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl toss together berries and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, cover with berries and then cover with the rest of the crumble mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until bubbly.

One thing that makes it easier is melting the butter and pouring it over the crisp mixture instead of cutting it in. The double layer of "crisp" is why I like this recipe. Can't have too much crisp. I like to say crisp and use /////:)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pillsbury No. 4

I just got back from our commune's (that's what we call our group of friends') fourth annual trip to Lake Pillsbury. We have an awesome time every year spending time together, watching the kids play, relaxing, and of course eating. But more on that later.

Just for a little visual on how fast kids grow and how tomorrow they'll probably be teenagers, here is Ty, Caelen and Riley on our 2nd trip to the Lake.And here they are now . . . WHAT?!
And there are 3 more . . . DOUBLE WHAT?!
And Max will be here next year which will make seven kids . . . TRIPLE WHAT?!

Okay, now to what's really important . . . the FOOD! If you're like me, you pretty much go on vacation to eat good food. What, no, you go to spend time with family and friends. . . well then you shouldn't be reading this blog!:) Our breakfasts are amazing and are made by Thomas: Eggs any way you want them, country potatoes, bacon and deer sausage. YUM!
So for dinner, which is pretty much why we're all there, Kevin goes above and beyond. It's gourmet and it's amazing! The two highlights this year: Chicken Tacos and Baby Back Ribs (I'm Capitalizing cause it deserves Capitalization!)
The chicken tacos were made with whole chicken that was brined for an hour or so and then grilled to perfection, shredded, and served with corn and flour tortillas, green and red homeade salsa, an awesome guac from Hillary and all the fixings.

But the ribs. . . oh the ribs. They deserve their own paragraph. Let me just preface this with the fact that I'm not really a "ribs person". I never order them and they just don't really do it for me. But these ribs were definitely the exception. Sorry Kevin if I get this wrong, but I'm pretty sure they're smoked for a few hours. cooked in the oven low and slow for like 6 hours, and then finished on the bbq so they get that crunchy, crispy outside. They were so tender and ridiculous that after dinner when everyone was outside and I was filled to the brim, I cut another rib off and ate it before anyone could see me:) Our meal that night:

Can't wait till next year for the food and the friends!
Thanks Adria for the pics:)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fro Yo

I have to talk about it. I just can't go another day without expressing how I feel about it. It has changed me and has sent me on a quest that seems never ending. It's Fro Yo (that's frozen yogurt to the uneducated:) I know what you're thinking. . . "what's so great about frozen yogurt? Isn't it just the healthier, less fulfilling cousin of ice cream?" Well when it comes to any old flavor of fro yo I would have to agree with you. But, there is an exception and it goes by the name of TART!

About a year and a half ago I first experienced this phenomenon in the form of Pinkberry, a weird, futuristic looking yogurt shop. I was visiting Ashley's family in Simi Valley and we had gone to The Grove to shop and visit the Farmers Market. This is where I was introduced to Pinkberry. (I know, it sounds like it's my boyfriend and it pretty much is:) I was kinda weirded out when I first tried it. I mean, I think there were only 3 flavors, and when I tried the origional tart it wasn't very appealing. BUT I was advised how to properly go about it which has everything to do with the toppings. There were like 8 different kinds of fresh fruit, other normal toppings you would find anywhere, and some different ones like cap'n crunch, and fruity pebbles. This is really dragging on, but let me just sum it up. When I tasted the tart frozen yogurt with my now topping trinity It was like a party in my mouth = mini chocolate chips, granola, and strawberries.

Here's the dilema: There isn't a Pinkberry within 200 miles of Sonoma County. Hence the quest. For the past year I've been searching for anything that comes close and in the process I've tasted a few different versions and combos.
The results are in:
1. Snowbunny in Healdsburg - Wasn't very impressed:( It was pretty pricy, I didn't love the yogurt, and the girl who was working practically counted how many mini chocolate chips she was putting on like she was rationing for the Great Depression.
2. HoneyMoon in Sebastopol - I love the actual tart yogurt here (I think it's called Simply Sebastopol or something) but their toppings aren't impressive. Frozen fruit doesn't do it for me. In the past I just buy the yogurt here and put my own toppings on at home
3. Brain Freeze in Rohnert Park - This one has pretty good tart yogurt and all the toppings I like. It's self serve and they price it by weight.
4. Golden Spoon - They just got the tart flavor not too long ago and I really like it and they just started serving fresh fruit so I'm a happy girl when it comes to filling all my requirements.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ashley's bday part 2

I guess it should've said "to be continued..." at the end of my last blog. Oh well, I told you I'm not very good at this:)

Anyway to continue from my last post, for lunch on Ashley's birthday I made sliders. You know those little hamburgers that are so cute but sort of pointless cause you eat them in like one bite. My reason for making them was because it's always hard for me to decide what to put on my hamburger. Do I do all-american with the classic katchup (I know you're gagging Brooke:), mustard (never plain old yellow mustard! Must be at least spicy brown, right Adria:) and mayo? Or do I get a little crazy and put some pesto on there or bacon and blue cheese. Anyway, as you can see this is quite the dillema. Sliders seemed to solve the problem.

There's no recipe here. Just a few ideas. Basically you just make mini hamburger patties, find some mini hamburger buns (we used hawaiian rolls) and get creative. We had all the regular stuff but I also had a few extra things. I made a chipotle mayo, which was basically a few canned chipotle peppers in adobo with 1T of the sauce, 1C mayo, and a squeeze of lime juice all blended together. I put that on a slider with avacado, and grilled onions . . . awesome! I also topped some of the burgers with fresh mozzarella and put pesto and a slice of tomato and that was a great combo too!

Ashley's Bday Part 1

Sunday was Ashley's 27th birthday (she's growing up so fast:)! And it was a beautiful day to sit outside and enjoy lunch with family here at our house. On Saturday night I baked a cake for her birthday that I had found on another food blog, smitten kitchen. It's a raspberry buttermilk cake and the picture alone was reason enough to make it right that second. It's really easy, has just a few simple ingredients, and comes out light and airy with that perfect tartness from the raspberries. A perfect summer cake!

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (from

Makes one thin 9-inch cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter (see Note) raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quiet Time = Bbq'd Pizza

This has been a week sent straight from the Lord. Riley is at VBS all week long from 9-12:15. Don't get me wrong, I love her more than anything but a 2 1/2 year old is a 2 1/2 year old. Enough said.

So on Wednsday I had all my mommy and soon to be mommy friends over for a morning of quiet with only babies (who napped most of the time) and no toddlers. It was so nice to just be able to sit and talk without being interrupted or wiping bottoms or getting snacks . . . you get the idea.

So for lunch I made one of my new favorite things which is pizza made on the barbeque. You just take pre-made pizza dough (I get mine from Trader Joes. You can't beat it for like 1.29$ or something crazy cheap like that) and lay it straight on the hot bbq. I know I was scared to try it too. So many things could go wrong so the first time I tried it I bought a few extra doughs for back up but it ended up working really well.

First let the dough sit out for about 20 minutes to rest. Flour it and either roll it (doesn't really work) or use your hands to push it out (works better). Tip #1 is to have all your toppings ready before hand because once you put the pizza on the bbq it goes really fast. So kind of stretch out the dough and lay it on the bbq. Don't worry if its in some crazy shape cause it's basically impossible to make a circle. Once it's on there let the bottom side cook until its crispy and comes off easily from the bbq. Then flip it and top it with all the good stuff. Close the lid and let the cheese melt. Tip #2 is to have all your toppings pre-cooked if they need to be cooked because by the time you flip the dough it's probably only gonna be on there for 5ish minutes before it'll be ready to come off. So if you're doing mushrooms, onions, sausage, etc. you might want to saute them beforehand.

When I made this a few weeks ago I made 2 different types of pizza. Pizza #1 had traditional pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, and pre-sauteed mushrooms and sausage. Pizza #2 had pesto, shredded mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozarella, and basil. (Okay, blogging lesson #1: don't talk in detail about food when you're starving in the middle of the day)
When I made this on Wed for the girls I did pesto as the base with half the pizza topped with the fresh mozz, tomato & basil, and the other half with avacado, red onion, and feta. . . mmm feta. Cheese is good. Oh sorry, did I mention I love cheese. Anyway I didn't get a chance to take a picture of that pizza cause we literally inhaled it once it hit the table.

Make it! Love it!

I'm Back (again)

The last time I even attempted to write a blog was June of 2008, and before that I think it was June of 2007. So, all that to say I'm not terribly skilled at blogging and consistency isn't exactly my spiritual gift. Although to make it clear, during that time I was also using dial-up internet! I know, I know, that's so 2005 but that's just the cold hard truth.

So the point of this blog. . . well I love to eat. Anyone who knows me knows that. And I also love to cook. I'm not so sure if everyone knows that. I've always been obsessed with the food network and love to read cookbooks and recently (in the last few weeks) I've been reading a lot of food blogs and they're sucking me in. And I thought to myself, you could never do that. You can't write and you don't even have a digital camera (I know, I know, that's so 2005).

Well, I decided to do it anyway (I have high-speed internet now)! Who knows what will come of this but hopefully at the least anyone who reads this will get a few recipes and tips from a non-professionally trained home cook.