In Which I Pretend To Be Vegetarian But Am Really Just Too Poor To Buy Meat

Hello my darling readers,

I recently visited one of my friends in our great nation’s capital. It was a totally kick ass, ridiculously booze filled weekend that left me completely impoverished. No joke I just paid for gas with a roll of quarters that I counted out from my piggy bank….I literally walked into the gas station and handed the cashier $10 in quarters, which is some how not as awful as a grown woman with a piggy bank….

So I had to figure out a way to feed myself on the cheap this week without going on a pasta fueled carb-bonanza. SO obviously I decided to make something with pecans. For anyone who doesn’t know, pecans are foolishly expensive, I bought a quarter cup and it cost $2.50! Please excuse me while I quit my day job to become a pecan farmer. (For real though a quarter cup is probably like, what, 5 pecans. That’s 50 cents a pecan people, outrageous!)

While I lament the state of my finances here’s a recipe for goat cheese and pecan stuffed acorn squash (because clearly goat cheese is also my idea of a “price friendly” food, no wonder I’m broke)

Image

Ingredients

1 acorn squash
1/4 cup pecans
2 oz. goat cheese
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Instructions

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush with melted butter and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

2. Mix pecans, thyme, and maple syrup together. Cut goat cheese into two 1 oz rounds.

3. spoon half of the pecan mixture into the hollow of the two squash halves put 1 oz of goat cheese in each half and the cover with remaining pecan mixture. Bake for another ten minutes.

Image

Then just enjoy! It works as a meal in itself or as a side dish if you are less poor than me. It’s got a great, sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth thing going on. Shout out to The Georgia Pecan Commission for the recipe, also if they are hiring I will work for pecans.

Have a cheap cocktail for me (but not a PBR, I do not condone ironic liking of things, enough hipsters, we get it)

-Audrey

recipe from http://www.georgiapecansfit.org/recipes/item/acorn-squash

Still in Love with Sweet Potatoes, Still Buried in Snow

Hello Readers,

I have begun to despair that it will ever stop snowing. The upside is that I have been making soup like a fiend. This week it was sweet potato soup, you’ll all remember my deep love of the sweet potato from this inaugural post (please note that, like my love for the sweet potato, my capacity for dysfunction, singledom and lushiness has also remained undiminished). I don’t know if this can really be called “cooking” it’s more like “mixing” as in all I’m about to tell you is how to mix broth with sweet potatoes to make them drinkable.

Ingredients (please note that all ingredients are easily adjustable to suit your consistency and taste needs…I was not joking when I told you that I am basically giving you no valid cooking information, apparently 3 months is all it takes to plumb the depths of my food knowledge…sad).

photo 1 (6)
1 sweet potato
1 avocado
4 strips bacon
1/2 cup broth (I suggest chicken or vegetable)
1/2 milk
cayenne, cumin, cinnamon & nutmeg to taste (omit and substitute at your discretion)

1. Heat oven to 400 and bake potato on a foil lined baking sheet for 30 minutes. Flip and bake for another 30 minutes until tender.

2. Let potato cool while you cook the bacon. Crumble bacon and set aside. Slice avocado and set aside.

3. Scoop potato from skin into blender, add milk, broth and desired spices. Blend until smooth.

4. Pour into a saucepan to heat. Taste to adjust spices and test for consistency. If you’d like to thin it out just add a bit more broth and milk. I was a little heavy handed with the cayenne so I ended up adding a little maple syrup to bring some sweetness back in.

Pour into two bowls and top with bacon crumbles, garnish with avocado.
photo 2 (6)
To make it the fastest homemade soup ever just get one of those microwaveable plastic wrapped sweet potatoes and the whole process will take you about ten minutes.

Enjoy and dear readers pray for an end to the snow, it’s starting to feel a little like Game of Thrones out here, we’re one good storm away from someone declaring themselves king in the north and then marching on Florida.

Have a cocktail for me! – Audrey

Kicking it Deutschland Style

Hey there readers!

So yesterday I decided I hadn’t made Spatzle in a very long time. More importantly the only things I had in my house were eggs, flour and a little bit of milk and am literally too broke to buy groceries until the end of the week (really winning at adult hood). Lucky for me spatzle is a delicious food you can make with only flour, eggs and milk.

For anyone following along at home who didn’t learn how to make spatzle in their middle school German class, it’s a kind of egg noodle that will really impress 12 year olds when you make it and prompt them to continue taking German classes into college. It’s excellent because it has really basic ingredients and is extremely versatile.

photo 1 (5)
This is pretty much it

I made mine with sauteed apples because that was the only other thing that I could possibly make from the food in my house, it’s lean times guys. BUT if you want to get a little more traditional with it any kind of sausage or wurst would be a good addition or just eat it plain with a lot of butter or some kind of heavy cream sauce, German comfort food is the best.

Ingredients
For Spatzle
1 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
2 tbs butter

Sauteed Apples
1 apple
1/2 tbs butter
cinnamon to taste
1 tbs maple syrup (or honey)

To make Spatzle
1. Combine flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Beat eggs in a smaller bowl. Mix eggs and milk into the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating as you go. You will have a weird sort of stretchy dough that looks like this

photo 2 (5)
yum! (this isn’t quite all the way mixed you want it to be a bit smoother)

2. Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes while you bring a pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. You don’t want a rolling boil just keep it at a gentle simmer throughout.

3. Push the dough through a colander into the simmering water in small batches. Noodles are done when they float to the top of the water (about 4 minutes). Scoop out of the water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl until all of the dough is done. NOTE! You can’t use a mesh colander for this, you have to have one of the metal ones with large holes or if you are super German and fancy I’ve heard that there actually is such a thing as a spatzle maker. I found that the large openings of my cheese grater worked really well.

4. In a skillet melt the butter. Toss spatzle in the butter to coat and cook for a few minutes. Serve immediately.

To make Sauteed Apples

photo 3 (5)
1. Slice the apple into thin pieces. Melt butter in a skillet, add apples and cinnamon and cook for about 10 minutes, until apples are tender, stirring occasionally.

2. Add maple syrup and cook for a few more minutes until most of the syrup has cooked off.

3. Spoon over spatzle and enjoy! I added a little bit of cheddar to my Spatzle and then added the apples and it was delicious.

photo 4 (4)photo 5 (4) 

That’s it dear readers, quick and painless just like we like. Great meal for those on a budget and something that is pretty fun to experiment with for different flavor combinations. Each can be served on their own, spatzle as a side dish or a stand alone meal and the apples can be used for breakfast, in desserts or atop delicious, cheesy, German noodles.

Have some kind of dark German beer for me readers!

-Audrey

p.s. I really did take German through college and it is killing me that I can’t add an umlaut over the a in spatzle.

 

 

 

60 Second Dessert OR I Live Alone and Love Cookies

What’s shaking readers?

We have had yet another ridiculous snow storm in the Northeast (Splendid!) Which meant another snow day for yours truly sitting around, day drinking in my fleece pants and watching the entire 4th season of Glee before my free trial of amazon prime runs out. No joke I didn’t go outside once yesterday.

With all of this sitting around doing nothing on my plate I was looking for any opportunity to save time (seriously, Glee isn’t going to watch itself you guys). And thus I was deeply excited to find a dessert I could make in the span of a heartwarming rendition of “Teenage Dream”

photo (5)
tada!!

Single Serving Cookie Pie

Ingredients
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs melted butter
1 egg yolk
dash salt
1/4 cup flour
a few drops vanilla
2 tbs chocolate chips

1. Mix butter, sugars, vanilla and egg yolk in a small bowl until well blended. Mix in flour and salt until dough forms. Mix in Chocolate chips.

2. Place dough in a ramekin (you can also use any kind of microwave safe mug, I like using my small ramekins because it makes me feel fancy and it is more like a cookie shape). Microwave for 60 seconds. Enjoy!

Seriously guys this is the easiest thing ever and you most likely have all the ingredients already in your house. Be careful with the vanilla, I found that it came out really quickly and I ended up with a very vanilla-y cookie. It’s such a negligible amount you can probably skip it if you want. I put a small scoop of butter pecan ice cream on mine which was delicious. AND if you forget to put the salt in you can just let the tears from your emotional response to the break-up episode of Glee Season 4 act as a stand in (I just miss Finnchel so much you guys).

Have a dessert cocktail  for me, something that pairs well with chocolate and vicarious heart break.

-Audrey

Keeping Warm in This Ridiculous Cold

If any of you readers are like myself your house was built in the very early 1900’s and subsequently is extremely cold in the winter and extremely hot in the summer. My house is prone to chilly drafts, poor heating and snow drifts during inclement weather.

photo 3 (4)
an actual snow drift building inside my kitchen window,
The window is completely in tact what is happening?

So sometimes the best way for me to supplement a pre-electricity era heating system is to cook something in my stove (or more often pretend I am going to cook something and just let the stove heat up for an hour while I watch an America’s Next Top Model marathon while wearing three Snuggies to keep warm). This time around it was Pecan and Squash soup.

I adapted this recipe from Adventures in Cooking a blog with infinitely better photos than mine, I’ll link the original recipe below.

Ingredients

1 large acorn squash, cut in half and with seed pulp removed
1 tablespoon brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup Parmesan (optional)
1.Preheat oven to 375 (glorious, glorious heat!) Cut an acorn squash in half and scoop out the pulp. Set, cut side up, on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and rub with salt, pepper and cayenne.
photo 1 (4)
I got some small spice bowls for Christmas. I am extremely excited about them.
2.Divide brown sugar evenly into each half. Place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
3.Keeping the oven at 375, spread pecans in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast for about five minutes. Keep an eye on them because they will start to burn fairly quickly. (I definitely did not ruin a bag of pecans in this manner and then melt a trash bag when I tried to throw them away). Set aside and let cool.
photo 2 (4)
4.Once the squash is cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh into a blender. Add the pecans, broth and honey and blend until smooth.
5. Pour into a pan and add cream (and Parmesan if desired, I was out so I skipped it). Warm on the stove stirring occasionally and serve.
photo 4 (3)
totally delicious
You can adjust the seasonings to your own taste, I had mine with bread and some shaved Gruyere (it was the only cheese in my house). And if you “forget” to turn off your oven for another hour and your house manages to get over 60 degrees, your secret is safe with me reader.
photo 5 (3)
Gruyere goes with everything
Have a warm-you-up cocktail for me!
-Audrey

Survive a Snow Storm or Everyone Who Lives In New England Can Skip This Post

Readers I have been remiss. What can I say for myself other than “I was busy getting my holiday swerve on”? How about I promise to never use the word “swerve” in a manner that does not pertain to turning my car again…deal?

Now that all is forgiven, holy lord did it snow something fierce in the Northeast for the last couple of days.

photo 1
My life 24 hours ago

SO because I have heard that one of those Almanacs out there says it’s supposed to be a hard winter (along with nostra-whats-his-face’s predictions and my uncle who is a farmer) and because a childhood in New England coupled with four years in a mountain college in New Hampshire makes me dually qualified on the subject, I submit to you this guide for surviving a snow storm. (The word “surviving” here having the meaning “avoid death by boredom while stuck in your house for 24+ hours”)

1. Plug Stuff In
It will be windy, there will be heavy snow on power lines, maybe you lose power maybe you don’t, but if you don’t plug things in (your laptop, tablet, phone anything you need to be charged) you will be damn sorry when you have nothing to do but stare at a blank TV screen by candle light.

2. Prepare (sort of)
Look I’ve been through enough storms to know that they generally do not live up to the hype. I’m not saying you need to stock up your house like you’re auditioning to be on Doomsday Preppers, I’m just saying it will be no fun hungry times when you open the cabinet and realize you are low on pop tarts. It will be even less fun sober time when you realize you do not have wine, a mimosa-less snow day is what snowpocalypse really means. Make sure you have some basics (food, candles, matches, booze) because you won’t be leaving your house for a while.

wine storm
Pictured above: accurate forecasting

3. Deal With The Snow Now
There is a real temptation to huddle under a blanket and binge watch the Law and Order marathon and tell yourself it doesn’t make sense to do any shoveling before the snow stops. DON”T WAIT. If you wait you will be dealing with a heavy, wet, frozen nightmare monster of a situation. I get it, that wind chill is a real bitch and that SVU rabbit hole has enough pull to attract it’s own moon (that’s a gravity joke, boom!). But take an hour and go uncover your car, your future self will thank you in the morning while they laugh at everyone else dealing with three inches of compacted ice on their windshield.
photo 3
Yay responsibilities!

4. Have The Best Neighbors
My neighbors made me vanilla french toast when I showed up cold and damp at 11 a.m. because I had no coffee (I hadn’t prepared, see what happens kids?!). Listen, I hate people also but it behooves you to get to know your neighbors a little bit because when you are snowed in and ill-prepared they are quite literally all you have. Especially if they have a generator capable of powering a fridge and a flat screen. Make sure you keep these people on your obligatory friendly pleasantries rotation.

photo 2
My neighbors are better than your neighbors

Stay warm dear readers and have a wintry cocktail for me!

-Audrey

9 Stores in 5 Hours OR How To Not Die While Christmas Shopping

Happy Holidays my merry readers.

I apologize if the title of this post excludes anyone but I celebrate Christmas and am therefore wildly unqualified to offer advice or insight into shopping for other winter time holidays (Hanukkah, Yule, Festivus, whatever you’re into). But here are some tips to help you maximize your Christmas shopping (which is to say get back to your couch to binge watch “The Witches of East End” sooner).

1. Plan Ahead!
This step is two-fold (I don’t f*** around when it comes to shopping). The first fold-do some research. Think about what you want to get for the people you are buying for and check out different stores online, most stores even have a handy link next to items that will tell you if it is in stock near you. This allows you to make a hit list of locations (and to find out store hours) and if you want to get really in depth map out your route. The second fold-make a list! I am not kidding make a list, I don’t care if it is a list of names, shops, specific items, reindeer, all the characters in the old timey Rudolph movie, just make a list (and then check it twice … a minute because you are paranoid you will forget something/one).

2. Set Aside Time
This seems like a no brainer but can be more difficult than it would first appear. There are a lot of holiday happenings going on and your friends will try to entice you away with cocktail hours and watching the Patriots losing to the goddamned Dolphins. DO NOT BE SWAYED! Designate a full day to get everything possible on your list, trust me you do not want to have to make five different trips for Christmas gifts, it is the WORST.

dolphins-interception
fifteen yards between us and victory…I can’t even

3. Attack, ATTACK!!
Show no mercy. There are things your loved ones need that you have to buy, I don’t care if you have to body check an eleven year old to get to that last Barbie Goes Clubbing Special Edition Doll just get it. You have put in the time and effort, you did research for God’s sake, get what you need and get out.

4. Drink Heavily
Did I mention add wine to your list? Because add wine to your list. After five hours, nine stores, and hauling all your crap a mile across a shopping center parking lot in the wrong shoes you will need it. While I usually advocate pre-gaming you should keep all drinking to a post-shopping event, you need your wits about you out there, middle-aged moms shopping for their children are nothing to mess around with.

photo 1 photo 2
This is what five hours of shopping looks like at the end of the day, a lot less impressive when it is all unpacked but much of my gift giving requires assembly (stay tuned for a fun tutorial to make fancy presents).

If you forgot the wine check out this recipe for a delicious Hot Toddy.

Good luck out there readers, have a post-shopping cocktail for me and try not to get run over by a minivan nabbing a primo parking space.

-Audrey

P.S. Definitely don’t body check anyone “tis the season for civil court” you know?