Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cranberry Hazelnut Quick Bread - vegan

Vegan Cranberry Hazelnut Quick Bread
Mom, this bread is for you.

As I mentioned on Sunday, this week I'm on vacation from work, but entertaining full time at home. We had a great dinner last night with our friend (pumpkin chili recipe coming soon to a Short & Sweets near you), followed by a slice of this bread (it was fresh! we had to try!) and maybe a brownie or two. oh, and some raspberries. It was a feast.

Cranberry Hazelnut Quick Bread

Now that I've recovered from our group gluttony dinner party, I can fully appreciate this easy bread. I pinned the inspiration for this quick bread recipe, oh, a year ago. And I'm just now getting to it. What was I thinking? It's easy, comes together in a snap, and I bet you have all the ingredients on hand. If you're like me and have a seasonal food hoarding problem, you might even have a bag of cranberries from last fall stashed in your freezer that you should really finish off before you buy this year's cranberries to stash in your freezer. ahem.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend Reading

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Good morning (to those on the west coast), and happy Sunday to all! I don't know about you, but I have a lot to look forward to this week. Starting on Tuesday, I'll be off from work for a week. And I'm not going anywhere this time. Three cheers for staycations! We have a far-away friend visiting from Paris via Hawaii (I know, tough life, eh?), and my parents get here later in the week, just in time for my dad's birthday.  I have a birthday cake idea floating around my head, but I'm going to keep it there for now, so as not to jinx it. What's going on with you?

This week's interesting reads are below. What has caught your eye this week?

The best Miss America pageant ever. No, seriously.

Being religiously conservative and feminist.

Deb is a genius. Slab apple pie.

Whole wheat pumpkin pancakes look pretty amazing.

A really interesting article about selfies (a real, dictionary-approved word now, BTW) from the New York Times

Researchers tackled the age old question, "Does bacon really make everything better?" and, predictably, came up with some answers and some much tastier sounding alternatives

The case for reviving home ec.

Will someone not scared of frying things please make these for me? I would be your friend for life.

It's the last week of October, which means my October Favorites will be retired soon. See them while you still can!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Snickerdoodle Muffins - vegan

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Oh, these muffins.

I've had this idea floating around in my head for a couple of weeks for snickerdoodle muffins. It seemed like a delicious and not overly complicated idea. Unfortunately, my first attempt over the weekend didn't turn out so well. I adapted a plain muffin recipe from a food writer I trust (I'm looking at you, Bittman), but it, well, sucked. Most of the batch went into the compost bin, which is something I almost never do.

So I went back to the beginning, thought what I didn't like about the batter (tough, dry, blegh), tried to fix it (more liquids), put the muffin tin in the oven, and crossed my fingers.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Linens 'n Things

linen basket + tag

I had grand muffin plans for today, but, well, they flopped. Hopefully, I'll figure it out and have them for you later this week.

Anyway, I've got a quick update for you today in the super exciting field of (wait for it) linen organization. One of my major accomplishments this weekend was getting rid of a bunch of boxes, clearing out, and organizing our linens/laundry area. Exciting stuff I tell you.

We have an IKEA Expedit shelf that we hadn't found a spot for. In it's last incarnation, it held my cookbooks, but that doesn't work in the new place. However (and here's the really exciting part), it does fit in the closet next to the washing machine, and it slid right under the existing clothes rod. Score. We also have some extra baskets from our old tv stand, and because IKEA has it's awesome moments, they fit in many of their furniture's cubbies. Double score.

new shelf

So, to make a (not very) long story short, former bookshelf+old baskets=new laundry "room" storage. And really, the point of this post is not how putting sheets in baskets that fit into cubbies seems like it might keep dust and dog hair off them, but rather that I took the five minutes to label said baskets. My reasons were threefold:
  1. So I rember where things go
  2. So maybe Mr Official Taster will see the tags before yelling up to me "where are the sheets?"
  3. So if we have any guests looking for a clean pillowcase or towel, there are clues
linen tags

I was going to use old paint chips, but then I realized they wouldn't be pretty on both sides, so I just used some colored scrap paper, traced circles with a shot glass (I'm classy like that), cut them out, hole punched them, wrote on them, and finally used a piece of ribbon to secure each tag. 

So there you go. A five-minute, free, and painless little update that makes the closet feel more organized. What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekend Reading

the yeast speaks
Happy Sunday, all! This weekend, Mr Official Taster are still chugging along on getting all the way moved in/organizing/hanging artwork push before my parents arrive next week. There will for sure be some last minute cleaning and picking up the day before (or, really, probably the day of), but we're trying hard to make major progress before the last minute. What are you up to this weekend?

This weekend's list of articles & recipes that caught my eye this week:

It's art, and maybe October appropriate scary-art: factory farms from above 

This Asian Noodle Salad looks like a pretty yummy packed lunch idea.

There's a petition going around asking Mars to remove artificial dyes from M&Ms. They've already done so in other markets, so why not here?

Smart. Smart. Smart. Lily Myers "Shrinking Women" is a must-watch that touches on so many important issues that I can't begin to name them all here, but respect of oneself is pretty high on the list. Go watch this. Now.

mmmmm...Maple Banana Coffee Cake

Are you looking to teach your partner to cook so you can take a nap on the couch? Or maybe you have a teen who's ready to learn? Here's a smart article about doing so.

See? Librarians are cool!

This Pumpkin Spice Syrup looks amazeballs

More research showing just how important sleep is to the health of your brain. Sleep seems to actually remove toxins.

It's apple season! How about Spiced Apple Pie Filling or an Apple Cider & Ginger Beer Cocktail?

What have you been interneting?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spinach and Tomato Quiche - vegetarian & dairy free, or not

Spinach, Feta, and Tomato Quiche - vegetarian

There are days when you want to do something fancy and there are days when you get take out and there are days when you just want to get a dinner on the table that didn't come from a box. This is one of the latter. It's like my risotto, baked barley, red pepper sauce, and pot pie in that the recipe invites you to make it yours.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Weekend Reading

Happy weekend! Today is Mr Official Taster's birthday, and we're celebrating with his favorite pizza. And a pcake. So really, pie with a pie with a cake. What are you up to?

Without further ado, here's what caught my eye this week:

Perfectly fall, gluten free Pumpkin Oat Pancakes

A creative dad's take on family photos

If you're a blogger, Pinch of Yum has an interesting series about growing their blog.

A slightly snarky take on National Coming Out Day. There's some graphic language; if that bothers you, consider this fair warning.

Fall canning suggestions from Marisa of Food in Jars

A roundup of feminist books

Tasty-seeming homemade veggie stock powder

And finally, a complete guide to homemade flavored liquors. Take some of these suggestions and have your holiday gift shopping done!

Of course, you can see more stuff I like by following me on Pinterest. Sidenote: why hasn't "Pinterest" been added to dictionaries yet? Come on, internet spell-check, catch up!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bourbon Pumpkin Muffins - vegan

Bourbon Pumpkin Muffins

I hope you're not over pumpkins yet.

I know, I know, this is the third pumpkiny recipe in a row here, and for that, I sort of apologize. If you need some balance in your life, I did recently give you a salad, and before that, granola, both of which are quite healthy and a good antidote to overindulgence. (by the way, have you tried the granola yet? as part of my plan to convert everyone I know to homemade-granola-makers, you really should)

But I don't apologize all of the way, because when, if not in October, are you going to overindulge in pumpkin anyway? September's not the season quite yet, and November is Thanksgiving focused, so that leaves (pun intended) October as The Time of Pumpkin. I'm keeping you trendy. You're welcome.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - vegan

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - vegan

In between catching up on Reacher and How I Met Your Mother (Netflix finally got some new episodes!), finishing off another Pride & Prejudice spin off, and sleeping, I also made these cookies this weekend. At one point Mr Official Taster asked what I was up to, and I mentioned that I was debating between making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and doing something productive around the house (sorry, bad storyteller that I am, I forget what) and he immediately voted for cookies. Smart man.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Reading

all tucked in

Good afternoon! I hope you're having a good/fun/relaxing/productive/happy/rejevenating/what-you-need weekend. Yesterday I took a good long afternoon nap in my dark bedroom and then slept another twelve hours last night. Apparently, I was tired. I'm a bit slow out of the gate today, but I've still got some interesting reading for you. What are you up to?

Can Millet Take On Quinoa? First, It'll Need A Makeover  Is millet the next big thing?

A good comparative photo essay of what a week of groceries looks like in different countries. The spectrum is pretty amazing.

Name changing in the digital age can be daunting. I'm glad I didn't try. 

Speaking of women online, Lauren Mayberry has things to say.

I have never heard of Greentoe before now, and I haven't tried it, but it's certainly intriguing.

How fresh is your olive oil? Apparently, that matters if you want the health benefits. 

Now that it's October (and therefore unofficial pumpkin-everything month), this Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Whipped Cream makes my mouth water.

I like everything about the Raisin Walnut Pumpernickel Bread, except the raisins and the walnuts.

Finally, a little cuteness

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sweet Happy Birthday Card - free printable

Happy Friday! Today I'm sending you over to How About Orange for this sweet birthday card. Jessica is a designer, and I've linked to her stuff before because it's always good. Plus, it's October, which means it's my dad's birthday later this month, and he's a fan of donuts (really, who isn't?), so it seems extra appropriate.

Do you have any weekend plans? Projects to conquer? Crafting? Sleeping? Partying? Watching that awesome local sports team? I'll be at work on Saturday, but then it's officially my weekend. I'm actually not totally sure what I'm going to do with myself. It's the first weekend in a long while that we don't have a place to be or people to see. Mr Official Taster will continue to work on his fish tank situation (are vague references to fish tanks something that people would like followed up with photos? or do you not care much?), and I suspect I'll do some couching/reading and maybe start thinking about this year's birthday dessert for Mr OT.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pumpkin Gingerbread Squares - vegan

Pumpkin Gingerbread Bars - vegan

Hello friends, and welcome to October. Are you as surprised to be here as I am? Whew, September just flew.

There's an internal switch, I'm convinced, that flips back and forth between summer and fall during September and towards the end of the month eventually makes up its mind and sticks with fall. September is just one of those months with multiple personality disorder. Visually, it's obvious on sites like Pinterest or Tastespotting; recipes run the gamut from raspberry jam to pumpkin cheesecake to zucchini pasta to hearty chili. My blog stats tell me the same- my top five most visited recipes last month were:
  1. Peach Crisp
  2. Raspberry Coconut Bread
  3. Pumpkin Spice Cookies
  4. Baked Steel Cut Oats
  5. Pumpkin & Spice Overnight Oatmeal
I'm glad no one else can figure out what season it is either.
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