Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pumpkin Bread

Technically, this should probably be called pumpkin cake, due to the amount of sugar involved. Also, I usually make muffins, not loaves, with the recipe. I have no idea where it came from - my mom probably.

3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
3 cups pumpkin
2/3 cup hot water

Bake at 350 for an hour, or until toothpick comes out clean. You need less time for smaller muffins and loaves. This freezes well.

Pumpkin Pie

This is my grandmother's recipe for pumpkin pie. Sadly, Grammy passed away many years ago. However, this means that she does not know that my pie crust skills degenerated to a point where I am no longer willing to even try (and premade pie crust is an abomination that I will not allow in my house) so I make...pumpkin custard! Which is basically pumpkin pie without the crust. It gets a tad soggy at the bottom, but that's not a big deal. Unless I'm going to eat it right away, I bake it in foil pans b/c they can go straight into the freezer.

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups pumpkin
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tblsp butter
3 cups milk

Melt butter in milk and scald (i.e. you don't want to boil it but wait for the little bubbles on the side)
While it's cooking, beat the eggs and sugar, add the pumpkin and spices, and then pour in the milk mixture.

If you do have a crust, it's a good idea to put foil around the edges. To freeze with a crust, just stick it in the freezer and then wrap it in foil. It lasts about two months that way.

Oh, and bake at 450 for 40-60 minutes. I usually turn the temp down a little for smaller pies.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Macaroni and Cheese

This is adapted from the Eating Better cookbooks which do have the occasional non-healthy meal which does not taste like it was made of cardboard (I'm looking at YOU whole wheat noodles).

2 cups macaroni (I can never remember if you're supposed to boil covered or uncovered so I tend to do it differently every time)


  • 3 tblsp butter
  • 4 1/2 tblsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups grated cheese
There's an actual way you cook white sauce, but I've forgotten and it's too much work anyways. I melt the butter, mix the flour in a little at a time, then the milk, stirring so it stays smooth, then add the cheese and stir until it melts.

Mix with noodles and bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes.

My mom always put bread crumbs on top and I tried that this time, but there must be some trick to it that I don't remember - probably a lot more melted butter in the crumbs.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chicken Barley Soup

This was a pretty general, "whatever is in the fridge" soup.
  • Water, can of tomato juice, barley (ran out of chicken broth)
  • Added package of chicken, chopped up
  • Added red fingerling potatoes (would not buy these again - many had weird ickiness on the inside)
  • Added half a bag of carrots (I usually don't peel them, but these had really thick skin, so I did)
  • Half a bag of pearl onions (previously blanched and peeled) and two leeks

Chicken soup - purple variation

I bought black pearl rice by mistake (I had meant to get wild rice) and I wanted to use it up. The taste is ok, but I don't really like how it sort of leaks black juice over everything. This soup includes:

  • Two large cans of chicken broth
  • Black pearl rice
  • Brown rice
  • Package of chicken
  • 1 leek
  • Buttercream potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Pearl onions

Lentil Rice Casserole - variation

I started with the basic recipe, but used orange lentils and added fresh lemon-basil, a leek, and a carrot.

Conclusion: orange lentils do not work well for this. They don't absorb as much water, so it's more soupy, although it did finally soak up the liquid. I left off the cheese on the top because it didn't seem to work with all the liquid and the onions. It tastes passable - I'm going to freeze it as a soup and I might put some cheese on later when I eat it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Final, Final Organization of my apartment

I've been working on this for almost a year. I moved all the furniture, recataloged all the books, put up pictures and decorations and it's finally done! Pretty much. A lot of my miniature scenes are under construction.

This is a shelf my grandparents gave me when I was a teen. It has all my
little special things on it.

I used Ikea shelves to provide shadow boxes for my dolls and miniatures.
This is a Ginny doll that belonged to my grandmother (actually, it might have belonged to
my aunt, but I never met her. I was given it after my grandmother's death)

This is my most complete miniature scene.

This scene is, as you might guess, not complete. It's going to be
a sort of fancy music room/conservatory, hence the flowers
and the color scheme of mostly white.

Some of my Madame Alexander dolls that belonged to my mother
The teddy bear is mine and the big doll belonged to my grandmother.

I gave away most of the AG accessories, but I do have a few things left.

My miniature book collection and Beatrix Potter books

This scene is supposed to be a kind of funky cafe. I need at least one more set
of tables and chairs and some pictures for the walls.

This country kitchen is almost complete, but I need a stove - I think I lost
or gave away the one I had.

Beatrix Potter tea set I've had since I was little.

My stuffed animals and a pillow made out of my grandmother's sewing bag

The whole shelves

You can see my record collection here and my dried flowers and vases on top

My sewing desk is messy right now because all my Christmas presents
are on it waiting to be wrapped and my first of the catch-up projects - sewing
the head back on my tiger. My craft books are up with my other teddy bears
and the black notebook next to the thread has all my quilt designs in it.

My desk chair has a couple little blankets on it (ok, yes, that's a baby blanket
but I've had it since I was small and it's still in perfect condition) and
the shelf has all my series collections - girls' school series, my miniature books, Elsie Dinsmore
Rick Brant, Ken Holt, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and other misc. vintage books. Also my house music boxes

My reading corner - those shelves have all my children's books and my collection
of mini Ikea stuffed animals. The picture I bought when my library sold off our art collection

There are flowers drying under the tv, since there's a handy shelf there.
It's not really an ideal spot for the tv, since you have to close the blinds to watch
anything, but it's usually dark when I'm watching movies anyways. That
thing outside the window is where I hang food for the squirrels in winter
and a hummingbird feeder.

The whole thing! I do intend to get a small, high table to go in the empty spot by the window.
I'll use it for beading and puzzles.

The top of my lower shelf has various pictures on the back of the bookshelves and then
different things - mostly parts of my bowl collection - on top.

This is my to read/library/to review shelves. Oy. My cookbooks are behind the old messenger bag
(I just bought a new bag, for the first time since grad school. It's not a purse, it's a bag) and then various things
that need something done with them - I ordered a bunch of bags to try and need to return them etc.
The lower shelves have my yarn basket, photo albums, comic tubs, and patterns.

This little corner has my second chair, my dolls, my picture that my mom made, and some beading things I hung
on the wall, since I rarely actually wear jewelry but I enjoy making it.

My puzzles and various bits of tools and such. Still have a stack of records I'm going through
and you can see my new freezer!

My new freezer - and my new bag!

This set of shelves by the kitchen is mostly empty, but I do have some extra doll clothes
(with baking soda because they had been packed away for a while and smelled a bit musty)

A few more bowls and my Ikea guinea pig and panda from San Diego

This is going to be a kind of greenhouse

This will be a nursery/Christmas scene.

All the plants in the bedroom are doing well.

This is as tidy as my clothes closet gets (yes the vast bulk of my clothing
consists of t-shirts and socks)

and the craft shelves, which have not been organized or tidied and probably won't for a long time

Rice, Mushroom, and Broccoli Cheese Casserole

I adapted this from Everyday Reading's Rice and Mushroom Casserole.

1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup black pearl rice
2 1/2 cups water

Cooked in rice maker.

About...2 cups of mushrooms? cooked in olive oil

Maybe 3/4 a cup of sour cream, 2 eggs, beaten together. 1 cup of shredded Jack cheese.

Two broccoli crowns, steamed.

I stirred all that together and layered it with the rest of the block of Jack cheese.

Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes.

Uncover and cook for another 20 minutes.

A little dry, but on the whole good. Not sure how it will freeze though and I ate all of it so we will never know...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

One Bowl Apple Cake

I used this recipe but it didn't turn out quite the same. Probably because I didn't use an actual pie plate, but a big casserole dish instead. It was crunchy-ish on top, but very goopy inside. I think I'm going to stick to my crustless apple pies.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hair adventure part 2

The light is really bad - makes my blue streaks look brown or black
I never wear my hair down, but I did not feel my beautiful blue was as appreciated as it could have been, so I coiled the top to keep it from being too hot and wore it down.
This only worked b/c I was doing stuff at the computer all day and our a/c is temporarily working. Moving around it gets in the way and even with most of it coiled up it's hot!

Have I mentioned it's really hard to take selfies of the back of your own head?
When I got home it was hot, so I coiled up the loose hair and wound it around the bun. Stuck with a couple pins and it was pretty comfortable.

Yeah, this light really doesn't show off my blue streaks. Solution might be....more blue next year!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hair adventure

This is the third year I've dyed my hair - I went with blue this time and this seems like the best place yet. The other two the dye washed out almost immediately.
Yes, it was so hot and humid that there was fog in the middle of the day. Eugh.