Birthday Baking

Unlike the previous two Novembers, this November I am not addicted to blogging. But I try to get on here once a week or more, anyways, so here are some random pictures from this weekend.

For B’s birthday, I decided to make lasagna. From scratch. (Except for the sauce.) Here you see the spinach pasta noodles drying.

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Butternut Squash Sauce + Pasta.

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Covered with cottage cheese and caramelized onions.

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And more pasta.

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Mozzarella with raw red peppers.

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More layers followed. Mmmm. Lasagna Innards.

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Add some browned butter and sage leaves and bake. We’re still eating the leftovers.

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The next day I had a kitchen helper, S.

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We made this Fruit Pizza. Can you find the hidden message?

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Juice Cleanse/Fast

Yesterday, I got to cross off one item on my 30 Before 30 list: the 5 day juice cleanse.

I started this because i thought there was a chance it might help my headaches/migraines. It didn’t. But it was an interesting exercise in self-control and patience.

We bought a juicer a few weeks ago in order to make this process a little cheaper. Then we modeled our juices on the juices from Blueprint Cleanse (at first). That meant that we had six 16 ounce juices a day. They were to be drunk in a specific order. They were also supposed to be drunk fresh.  Between the juices we were supposed to drink 12+ oz. of water. I almost just moved into the bathroom to live.

Here’s a rundown with pictures.

Our juicer in the juicing corner. It’s a Hurom Slow Juicer, recommended by Bon Appetit. It was expensive, but it will juice almost anything. Nuts, beans, greens, etc.

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This is the fridge on Saturday morning, day 3 of the fast.

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This is our take from the farmer’s market for juicing. apples, kale, lettuce, parsley, beets, and strawberries.

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Fridge post market. Amazingly almost all of this was gone by this morning (the end of the juice cleanse).

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The first and third juices of the day are green: kale, lettuce, spinach, parsley, celery, cucumber, lemon, and apple. Here are the ingredients for 4 16 oz portions.

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Then we juice all of it. The celery is chopped in a food processor because otherwise it clogs the machine. We also had to alternate greens and apples to ensure the machine wasn’t clogged.

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This is what is leftover…

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The juice!

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Second juice of the day is pineapple-apple-mint. We used peppermint. Unfortunately the pineapple clogs the machine. Half a pineapple and a lot of apples are what we used.

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Juicing the pineapple and apple.

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Here’s the drink. The foam is due to the machine being clogged.

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After the second green, we make spicy lemonade. Below Ben is juicing lemons. Then we mix the juice with water, agave syrup, and cayenne pepper. It can make your brain explode.

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Post spicy lemonade is red juice. Gag. Apples, beets, lemon, ginger, and carrots. Only it was gross so I added strawberries.

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Red juice. So gross. And pulpy. And ick.

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The final drink of the day is nut milk. Ben likes cashews and I like almonds, hence the difference. We juiced dates with them so that we didn’t have to add any agave syrup. One day we added cinnamon and most days we added vanilla. But in order to juice the nuts, we had to soften them. So we soaked them for 4+ hours.

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The final product!

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So that’s what I’ve been up to. Let me know if you have questions.

Southwestern Quinoa

Taking a break from all the vacation stories, I thought I would share a recipe I altered last week. With all the fresh produce around from the farmer’s market and the warm weather, I wanted a meal that was heavy on the veggies, but light in feel. This fit the bill perfectly.


Southwestern Quinoa

Adapted from Serious Eats and Making it with Meleyna

Makes maybe 8 entreé servings


zest of a lime

juice of a lime

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon oregano (Mexican preferred, not Mexican is fine)

1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper, ground

1/2 teaspoon (or more) ground cumin

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Not Dressing:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed or pre-washed

1 teaspoon veggie bouillon base

1 ripe avocado, cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

3 small summer squash or zucchini, in bite size pieces

~15 oz. corn (canned, frozen, or 2 cobs fresh)

1 block extra-firm tofu

Cilantro to taste

Chipotle to taste

Cumin to taste

Salt to taste

~15 oz. black beans, drained and rinsed

1 handful chopped cilantro

4 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)

Grape tomatoes (if you like tomatoes)



1. Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl.

2. Drain the tofu. Set between paper towels and heavy things to get moisture out.

3. Cook the quinoa. Directions vary. I followed the directions on the Making it with Meleyna website, with slight variation. Add the quinoa to a pot of boiling salt water with the bouillon base. Cook for ten minutes then strain in a fine sieve. Add an inch of water back to the pot and place the sieve over the water. Put the quinoa in the sieve, cover it with a kitchen towel, put a lid over it all, and bring the water to a boil. Steam the quinoa for about 10 minutes. Then remove it from the heat, but leave it in the pot with the lid and towel on for five more minutes. After this, fluff it with a fork.

4. Add the avocado to the dressing. Cut the avocado into pieces and put it in the dressing, this will mean the avocado doesn’t brown nearly as easily.

5. Fry things. Add the oil to a large frying pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add it to the dressing. Add more oil if needed and fry the summer squash and corn (if wanted). Add it to the dressing.

6. Season and fry tofu. Because tofu is bland, add spices to it. I used the spices from the dressing, but you could add other things too. Then fry it until it is to your liking. Set asside.

7. Add the black beans to the dressing mixture and stir. Add the quinoa to the dressing mixture, fluff gently with a fork. Add the cilantro and raw scallions and grape tomatoes and continue to fluff. Then add the tofu (because it is fragile and will break).

8. Eat it.

Info: The first time we made this we left out the tofu and beans, but it was severely lacking in protein, so this version remedies that.

England Food (Part 2)

I’m on a roll thinking about English food, so here’s part 2.

Here’s the table in our dorm kitchen. On the table are all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies and brownies.

which were cooked in this oven. Yes. This is an oven. And a stove top. Note the size of this, it’s about the size of a microwave. In addition to the tiny, tiny size, if the oven was on, both burners didn’t work. Only one burner worked. Dinner parties…not an option.

Now on to eating instead of cooking:

Fish and chips in a hotel room in Scotland. I bought a bottle of ketchup at the store on my way home from the chippy. Now I want some healthy fried fish 🙂

I love British yogurt. This is “Luxury Yogurt.” The flavor is “Spanish Oranges.” Why don’t we have more orange yogurt?

Water, grapes, and chicken & bacon salad. A Boots lunch special. Sandwich, drink, and a side for £3 or so. Sweet deal.

OMG. Chocolate pudding. YUM! “Layers of chocolate chip muffin, chocolate sauce, chocolate custard and chocolate mousse decorated with milk chocolate curls.”

Jacket potato with sour cream and bacon (and a side of salad).

Flapjack. If you’ve never had one, you should make some. They are pretty awesome. Here’s a fantastic recipe. (Here’s the associated article about the flapjacks.)

Full crazy tea. Egg and cress sandwiches, hot cross buns, scones, clotted cream, jam, grapes, milk, juice, and cocoa. Oh. And a millionaire’s bar for good measure.

A crazy, crazy burger. This is the Kiwiburger from Gourmet Burger Kitchen. “Beetroot, egg, pineapple, cheese, salad, mayo and relish. We will make a voluntary donation on your behalf of 25p which will go to help save the Kiwi in Whakatane**”

Pineapple and yogurt. Yogurt that has peaches on the side. I love this yogurt. It tastes like England. It’s one of the first things I buy when I get into London. Probably another flapjack in that paper bag.

Also, diets are sad.

English Travels & Food (seriously abridged)

Ah! England & food. A perpetual joke to many. While many have negative things to say about English food, I didn’t find it bad. I like a culture that embraces nutella and clotted cream. Seriously, how can you not love that! And they sure know how to make a roast, still…

even Vikings need a coke

and fries every now and again. Thank goodness for Mickey D’s!

I however, didn’t eat at McDonalds. I don’t think I even ate there once. I remember eating at Burger King, Pizza Hut, and KFC (total let down as they don’t have biscuits 🙁 ) but not McDonalds. I mostly fed myself while I was studying at York and even when I travel I occasionally buy food and fix it myself (more pictures to come if requested). But this is the fridge in my dorm. I think that it was supposed to hold the food of about 6-8 people. The giant jar of red sauce is mine (spaghetti sauce which I would have added ground beef, onions, and garlic paste to) as is the small thing of milk on the door. The Utterly Butterly is not mine, sadly. Oh! And there is also yogurt (above the utterly butterly) on the door that is mine, most likely. I ate a lot of spaghetti as well as egg salad sandwiches that year. And a surprising amount of honey mustard chicken. My breakfast every morning was 3 slices of white bread (untoasted as we didn’t have a toaster) with nutella on them, a banana, a yogurt, and a glass of juice or milk. (Ha! I say juice, but that meant dishes. I was not above drinking form the container.) And yet, despite this, I do miss it occasionally. But on the other hand, I’m totally psyched about the braised short ribs and the best mashed potatoes in the world that I’m making tomorrow night. That would not have been possible in this kitchen…or fridge.


This was last year’s Thanksgiving. On the top of a “mountain” in Kentucky with my family and Ben (minus Anthony), peeling off layers because it was warm. (But not warm enough to take off my hat, apparently.)

This is Thanksgiving in Minnesota in 2006. All my cousins (and their kids) were there and it was warm enough for a short-sleeved backyard soccer game.
This year, I’m in Iowa (sorry no pictures yet) and it’s cold. We outran (kindof) the freezing rain/snow/sleet mess leaving the Twin Cities yesterday and got here to a layer of water covering everything and 34 degree temps. Today the high was maybe 20 with some seriously cool windchills. I was glad I had flannel lined jeans, a warm coat, and a giant scarf. Luckily it’s supposed to warm up tomorrow and I think we vetoed the 3am waiting-in-line-for-stores-to-open move. I sure hope we did. I have some turkey to sleep off.
Happy Thanksgiving to you Americans and I hope the rest of you had a good Thursday (it’s almost the weekend.)

Cinnamon Rolls

Someday I want a GIANT John Deere mixer. And somewhere to put it. In the meantime, I will have to go get my fix at Isles Bun and Coffee. They have all you can eat frosting. I try not to eat as much as I can. I find that my stomach is not a fan of that hard core approach…

Homemade Pizza

My homemade pizza isn’t nearly as good as my dad’s, but it’s still pretty good.

Well, except for this one. White pizza with shaved asparagus = FAIL.

But red pepper cream sauce with broccoli, bacon, and grilled zucchini…massive win.

And from this we got about a week’s worth of leftovers. I obviously need more people to eat my pizza.


I’m back on the wagon after a day of massive sickness and travel. I got home to a mailbox with a Zingerman’s catalog in it. (If you don’t know Zingerman’s, click on the link…) Ben makes fun of me everytime I read a catalog. I try not to drool, but I always end up saying, “Ohhhh. I want that. And I want that. And that looks good!” I’d heard about Zingerman’s for a few years, tried a coffeecake imported, by hand, from Ann Arbor, and last Christmas, decided to splurge.
My family was coming for Christmas. AND I had a coupon. It was obviously a sign that I needed coffeecake, peppered bacon bread, chocolate cherry bread, a chocolate bar, a bacon magnet, and a wedge of piave cheese. Mmm. That was good. But then I was on their mailing list. And the real life mailing list isn’t so bad. It’s tempting, but you don’t get told about sales, etc. The e-mailing list? That broke me. This summer bread was on sale. Like almost as cheap as we buy it at the grocery store (including shipping) but better tasting.

The sneaker is for scale. Big box=lots o’bread.

Oh look! SO MUCH BREAD. (And some peanut butter and a coffeecake.)

This was late July, bread bagged and ready to freeze. (They provide bags and twisty ties.) What haven’t we eaten? The lemon poppyseed coffeecake and chocolate sourdough. All the other bread was gone by mid September and the peanut butter disappeared last month. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live closer to Ann Arbor!

Minnesota State Fair Food

Today, for the conclusion of the November blogging challenge, I thought I’d finally finish my wrap up of the Minnesota State Fair with the food portion of the day. Thanks to everyone who has commented this month! It’s been fun and I’m going to try to keep it up (but not QUITE so frantic a pace).
The gang at the beginning of the day

I went to the State Fair with five friends on a Saturday in August. We spent nearly 12 hours at the fair and photographed almost every morsel of food that entered our mouths. This is the documentation of that process. Ratings will follow each picture. Thanks to all involved for appearing in pictures, even when you look goofy, and to Tricia for letting me use all her pictures.
Abby with Sparkling Apple Cider Float

Sparkling apple cider with cinnamon ice cream in it.

Apple Cider Float: D (not worth it)
Posing with my Cream Puff
Standard cream puff. I ended up with powdered sugar all over my jacket and whipped cream all over my face.
Cream Puff: B+ (Worth it, but not spectacular)

Big Fat Bacon (on a stick)
Slices of bacon (1/3 of a pound) on a stick. Simple concept. Pretty fatty.
Big Bacon on a Stick: ? (Untasted by me)

Deep Fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s battered and then deep fried. On toothpicks so they are kindof on sticks.

Deep Fried Reese’s: A (Ben) C (Katie)

Chocolate Belgian Waffle on a Stick

Sadly, not served on a stick due to the strawberries and whipped cream.

Chocolate Belgian Waffle: ? (Untasted by me)

Fries and Soda
Fries and Soda. There’s not much to be said about that.
Fries: A (Mmm, perfect)
Soda: ?

Green Pepper Rings and Cotton Candy

Green Pepper Rings are like onion rings but made with green pepper instead of onion.

Green Pepper Rings: B+
Cotton Candy is self explanatory.
Cotton Candy: ?

Fry Dog and Caramel Roll

Fry Dogs are a treat originally from South Korea, I think. The concept is a hot dog on a stick coated with french fries in a batter.

Fry Dog: C- (Concept sounded better in theory)
Caramel Rolls are self explanatory.
Caramel Roll: B

Hot Dish on a Stick

Hot Dish on a stick is a Minnesotan treat. (Hot dish being a Minnesotan term for casserole.) Hot Dish on a stick is tater tots and meatballs alternated on the stick, dipped in batter, and deep fried. They are served with two dipping sauces…cream of mushroom soup and ketchup.

Hot Dish on a Stick: A-

Lemonade is the classic summer drink at the fair.
Lemonade: B+ (I can’t give it an A if it wasn’t fresh pressed…)

Deep Fried Cream Cheese on a Stick
A big chunk of cream cheese, put on a stick, battered and deep fried and served with pepper jelly. Bizarre but not unlike cream cheese wontons. Far better than the Cheese on a Stick that was velveeta, I’m sure.
Deep Fried Cream Cheese on a Stick: B+ (for creativity)

Peach Glazed Pig Cheeks

Peach glazed pig cheeks were weird, but slightly peachy and served on toothpicks (thus they could be classified as on a stick). Famous Dave’s always has something new and this was it. Still, halibut cheeks are yummier…

Peach glazed pig cheeks: B (too much gristle and fat)

Frozen chocolate banana

Who doesn’t love chocolate dipped frozen bananas?

Frozen chocolate banana: B+

Tornado Potato

After the fry dog disappointed, I was worried about this other South Korean treat, but the Tornado Potato brought everything the Fry Dog lacked. This mean monster is like a GIANT potato chip made from one potato. They have cool tools to make them and the stick to the stick so that people can share. There were also different seasonings to sprinkle. I would have/could have eaten about 10 of these. Scary.
Tornado Potato: A+
Honey Ice Cream with Sunflower Seeds
Honey ice cream got Abby SUPER excited. I don’t like honey, so I was less excited.
Honey Ice Cream with sunflower seeds: ?

Lingonberry Ice Cream
The Scandinavians sure knew what they were doing. I think this cone cost me $5, but it was worth it. AMAZING ice cream. Ok, not as good as Italian gelato, but hey, it didn’t have chocolate in it. (And so good, Scott and Tricia got some minutes later.)
Lingonberry ice cream: A

At this point we did not eat for about an hour or two. We had too much oil in our bellies. But then we recovered and the eating resumed…

Deep Fried Cheese Curds
Take cheese curds, dip in batter, deep fry. Sadly, then they lose their squeak 🙁 They may or may not be consumed with ketchup.
Deep Fried Cheese Curds: B+
Texas Steak Dinner on a Stick
These were basically steak and veggie kabobs with a dinner roll thrown on the end. Quite bizarre. I was debating whether or not I was hungry, so I didn’t get one.
Texas Steak Dinner on a Stick: ?

I finally decided I was really really hungry and got a fajita. I forgot to take a picture of it until Tricia chastised me and caught me mid bite.
Fajita: B (really small, but met my needs)
Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Splits and Uffda Treat
A Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Split is a banana wrapped in lefse and deep fried. Then it’s topped with ice cream and mixed berries (lingon berries included) and whipped cream. Then you eat it and it is delicious.
Deep Fried Norwegian Banana Split: A- (it wasn’t on a stick, so it doesn’t get an A)
Uffda Treat is a scoop of cheesecake filling in a krumkake shell, topped with a pecan praline sauce.
Uffda Treat: C (primarily for not being as awesome as the banana split)

Sweet Martha Cookies and Milk
You must end your state fair experience with Sweet Martha Cookies (chocolate chip is the only choice) and Milk. Get a Bucket of Cookies and run to the all-you-can-drink-milk-for-a-dollar booth. Sit on the grass and eat and drink. Only not more than about two glasses of milk cause you might get sick.
Sweet Martha Cookies: A
Milk: A+
If you are interested in coming to the 2010 Great Minnesota Get Together, you should let me know ASAP, so I can book a space on my floor for you. I already have at least two people coming, so it should be a great time. Every year they add new foods and so your culinary horizons of deep fried food and deep fried food on sticks can continually be expanded. Until then, you may want to eat salad.