Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Homemade Bath Products, part 1

Made my own sugar scrub today because I saw a pot of it for around 20 bucks and it made me sort of angry. Also saw it for upwards of 30 at bath and body works when I was an associate there.

1 cup coarse raw organic brown sugar (The malawi raw sugar works well. Do not use packed brown sugar, there is too much added moisture for the recipe. You can use white as well, but whatever you do use, make sure it is DRY.)

your choice of carrier oil (sunflower, canola, and coconut oil are all good choices)

3 tsp jajoba oil (available at health food stores like good earth market and Co-ops (if you can't find jojoba oil, you can use plain old extra virgin olive oil instead, but olive oil can sometimes add its own smell)

3 tsp your choice of essential oils (you can mix and match)

optional: 1 tsp extract such as vanilla, coconut, or peppermint

pour the sugar through a funnel into a clear plastic jar. You can reuse old cosmetic jars for this. I don't recommend glass jars, although they look pretty they can be dangerous if dropped in a shower. Pour in enough of the carrier oil to get just about 1/2 of the sugar wet. Stir in remaining oils and extract until you get a nice slushy consistency; not too wet. You can add more sugar or more carrier oil as needed.

Use once a week on wet skin in the shower or bath, scrub in circles, rinse, and viola!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New recipe, but sadly no pictures.

One of those throw together meals I did out of stuff just sitting around in the kitchen. I don't eat meat really, but my family does, and since my bro and his wife were coming over today, and since we already had frozen poultry in the fridge, I cooked some for them. I like sweeter marinaras, hence the pomegranate, which gave it a good kick and added some lemon for extra tang.

you'll need
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or salmon
For the sauce:
1 jar tomato sauce, flavour of your choosing (I used garlic and herb, don't use anything with cheese though)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate arils (that's what the segments of fruit on the inside are called)
1 tbsp italian seasoning
juice and zest of one lemon
salt to taste
splash of red wine or unseasoned red wine vinegar
For the garnish:
1/2 cup feta cheese

To serve with:
1 box of rotini
4 tbsp. olive oil
chopped parsley
garlic powder to taste

Boil pasta in salted water, garnish and toss with extra ingredients. Set aside and cover.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a medium baking pan in olive oil. Combine all ingredients for sauce and spread 1/2 on bottom of pan. Place chicken or fish evenly in pan and cover with sauce. Bake around 30 minutes, but if it's poultry, be sure to check the internal temperature (165 degrees). If it's not at the correct temp, it is NOT safe to eat. Put it in another ten minutes at a time until then. Serve over pasta and garnish with parsley and feta.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Squash affair

Now that autumn is actually starting to act like autumn here, my previous blog gave me a craving for pumpkin bisque, so here it is, in all its glory.

This is by far one of the sexiest dishes in the universe. I'm serious. If pumpkin bisque were a man, I would be ravaging it like there was no tomorrow. And it only takes about 45 minutes to prepare.

Stuff you'll need:
1 medium pie pumpkin
a few tablespoons of whipping cream
fresh parsley
Chicken or vegetable broth
1 can cocounut milk, unsweetened
1 small white onion
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp butter

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. You can used a can of unsweetened stuff, but fresh pumpkin is so much better for this(there is a huuuge taste difference, believe me), so I bought me a cute medium sized pie pumpkin. Dad assisted me with cutting (sawing, rather, with a SAW) the little bugger in half.

After you gut it and scrape out all the pulp and seeds, (the seeds you should save and dry overnight for toasting) lay both halves face down on a baking sheet and stick it in the 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes. While that's baking, you can get to work mincing the crap out of your onions and garlic.

Melt the butter in a POT (the same one you'll use for the bisque) on medium high heat and brown the now chopped garlic and onion.
Add about two thirds of the coconot milk to the pot and the entire can of broth. Should you use vegetable broth rather than chicken, like mine, you might want to add another dab of butter or a little more salt. Stir in the cream, a palmful of dried basil, the rest of the spices, and as much fresh shredded parsley as you like (Parsley's crisp flavour is an amazing contrast with this mellow dish, so do use fresh.) I used Italian parsley, as besides being prettier I find it tastes a little sweeter than regular parsley. Less than a dollar for a bunch.

(In my world, fire is purple.)

(Is this not SEXY yet? I think it is.)

(Just look at them, bathing in the ethereal golden light of.. General Electric.... mhmmmmmm)

By now your pumpkin should be about done baking... just look at that prettyful colour, ooooh!
Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin (Mine kinda just fell out) and put it in a large bowl.

Puree with an eggbeater and add it to the soup mixture, stirring gently. Season with salt, cracked pepper, and garlic powder to taste, serve, and garnish the bowls of soup with dollops of

pumpkin and parsley sprigs.

If you wanna go crazy, you can serve the soup IN the pumpkin shell halves, which makes for a great idea for a dinner date, but if you're cooking for just you or a lot of people, you can skip that.

Ta dah!!!

Now, if you'll excuse me, Bisque and I have some... business... to take care of.. *cough*

Sunday, October 18, 2009

So, I'm just a teensy bit obsessed with the way my food looks.

It can be macaroni and cheese, and I will still have the incessant need to garnish it with a parsley leaf, by god.

Maybe it's because of my artistic roots, or the fact that my weird childhood had me watching HGTV at the age of ten. Probably both.

At any rate, when I am actually serving people (not the imaginary ones), I suppose it's acceptable for me to splurge a little.

(shameful this photo was taken with a cellphone camera... believe me, it hurts me just as much as it hurts you. It's even more shameful this bowl is tupperware.)

I made a nice, fall inspired (but longing for summer fruit) salad today for dinner at my cousin's; hasn't happened yet, but one of my faithful coworkers did the painful honor of being my guinea pig before I serve it to ten+ people. You're the man, man!

I started off making the dressing, which is a creamy vinaigrette, featuring raspberry, toasted poppy seed, sesame, and garlic. The tang in this, which I make and play with often, is the perfect compliment for fresh fruit like peaches and strawberries in salads.

I don't like to buy dressing much. Melissa's is the exception, cause that shit is good. But it's just as easy to make your own out of common fridge/pantry ingredients, and much healthier (cuts the sodium and fat just about in half.)

For this one you're going to need:

Scant 1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup apple or grape juice
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar (You can find this at health food stores if it's not at the supermarket)
Sea salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tbsp sesame
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder or more to taste

Heat a dry frying pan on high heat and toast the poppy and sesame seeds. You'll want to toss them in the pan for no more than about 30 seconds, otherwise they will burn and stick to the pan. Empty the seeds onto a plate or into a small bowl for later use and set aside.

Stir all the wet ingredients together gently so the cream doesn't get peaky and mix in the seeds. Set aside.

For the salad:

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded and rinsed thoroughly
1 cup thinly sliced strawberries or peaches
1 cup Mixed raw nuts (I used a bag of premixed soynuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds. You can use whatever you want; I HIGHLY recommend pumpkin seeds though, they have the perfect flavour for this dish.)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame

Toast the sesame and the nuts SEPARATELY with the same method as above and set both aside to cool. If you are dumb and put them directly in with the lettuce like I did at first, they'll burn themselves right onto the leaves. It does make an amusing sizzling noise, though.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with dressing. I did double the recipe so I could use more to drizzle on top, so do that if you like. Throw in the strawberries, followed by the nuts, followed by the cheese and garnish with onion and toasted sesame. Serve immediately.

I think this would be really good as a lunch accompaniment to soup. Perhaps a nice pumpkin bisque, or lentil... mmmhmmmmmm. Oh man, I need to go take care of that now.

Friday, October 16, 2009

So, first post ever. I'm new at this.

I won't be much of a contribution to the blogging community until I:

A. Purchase a camera that sucks less.
B. Learn how to make this page pretty.
C. Attain a following of more than 3 people.

But, I digress; I'll try anyways. I'm mainly doing this because I take comfort in recounting my day in written form, and because my big brother said I should because I'm witty(?).

I'm not going to place any emphasis on particular subjects, but it is here most likely you will be subject to cats, ranting, video games, and my artistic endeavors in music, literature, illustration, and cooking. Along with my weird, weird head.

So sit back, grab your nearest furry companion (significant others count too) and enjoy.