November 29, 2012

Lemony Garlic Mushrooms on a bed of Coucous


After last years attempt at cooking a turkey, I've come to the conclusion that Thanksgiving is much less work for a vegetarian, or at least, much less work than a vegetarian attempting to cook a turkey for a crowd.  I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's rewind.

Last year, I felt as though Thanksgiving was lacking a sort of je-ne-sais-quoi.  I came up with a brilliant idea to remedy the situation. I would go and pick out a free-range turkey (which, in retrospect, seems remarkably similar to picking out a Christmas tree), and then sit and stare at it for hours.  Okay, maybe not hours, but there was a brief moment when I was standing in my kitchen staring at the big bird thinking to myself that I really had gone mad. Martha Stewart's guide to preparing an amazing turkey stated that I need to soak it overnight in a salt brine, so I did.  I realized at the last possible minute that I would need a some sort of pot or tub to soak the turkey in.  Digging deep into the problem solving part of my brain, I decided to use my vegetable crisper as a vessel. This didn't amuse Mr. H one bit.  His not wanting to partake in the whole turkey debauchery was made clear by this point, so I invited over a few guests - half whom cancelled at the last minute - which ultimately left me with a ridiculous amount of food.  A ridiculous amount of food became a ridiculous amount of leftovers, a sure-fire method to put me off turkey for life.

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November 22, 2012

Cherry Coconut Granola with Hazelnuts and a Little Bit of Gratitude

Today I feel grateful and thankful for so many reasons. I would like to say thanks to my family for being there for me unconditionally. Thanks to many great friends, who unselfishly share their time, laughs, stories, and comfort me in moments of self-doubt. Thanks to my Ody, who besides being ridiculously cute, is also quite the charmer - I love you to pieces despite the fact that today you jumped onto the counter and ate half a loaf of African coriander bread and 3 English muffins, but you were kind enough to leave me two. You know what you want, and I can respect that. Thanks to my wonderful husband for believing in me, especially during times when I don't quite believe in myself. Thanks to my barista, who puts a smile on my face everyday with her adorable latte art - especially that swan you made last week. You have amazing talent, and I am pretty sure I will never be able to make a coffee quite as good as you. Thanks to Columbia City Bakery for making a delicious loaf of bread,  which I use as a vessel to ferry avocado from my plate to my mouth. Thanks to Odd Fellows for allowing me to spend most of my days sitting in their humble abode, sipping coffee and eating my veggies, and occasionally trying to cure my writers block with orange juice and champagne (p.s. thank you alcohol for existing). Finally, I would also like to thank you guys, my wonderful readers, for taking a moment out of your day to visit my site, and for leaving thoughtful comments. It means the world to me. You motivate me to become a better person, baker, writer, and photographer. To you, I am grateful. 

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November 18, 2012

Brown Butter Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

Adorable in appearance, these tiny cute cabbages are so darling, and I have an absolute soft spot for miniature versions of food. Call me crazy, but I could eat them all year round. Even at the height of summer, when everyone is out on their patios enjoying fresh summer produce, berries, tomatoes, pitchers of sangria, in the back of my mind I'm thinking - I sure could use a big old bowl of sprouts, a little butter, vinegar, salt and pepper. Nothing too special. 

I used to think that it was only appropriate to eat sprouts on Thanksgiving or Christmas - I blame this on my regimented and traditional British upbringing - but then I got a little bit older, out on my own in the real world, and realized that I was so completely wrong. It is completely appropriate to sit down for dinner on the couch, wrapped in a warm fuzzy blanket, with a big steamed bowl of sprouts. Breakfast can be eaten any time of day, and the planets will not collide if we don't sit down for a roast beef dinner every Sunday.

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November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Squash Boats filled with Wild Rice and Stuffing

Despite this miserable cold, which seems to have gotten the best of me these days, I am oh so giddy and excited for the holidays this year (which I might add, are quickly approaching at a rate I can not handle). For the past few years, I have flown home a few weeks early to spend the holidays with my family, so I've never really considered putting up a tree. This year, I'll be around until Dec 21, and I find myself feeling extra festive. I have already prepared for my first real Christmas tree, and have picked out the ornaments and tree skirt. I've cleared out a space, and I know the exact tree lot I'll be visiting. There wont be any sleigh rides or hot apple cider, but all proceeds will be going to a good cause, and that is important to me. I embarrassedly admit that there have already been a couple of occasions, which have mostly consisted of me in my house wearing PJ's and my slippers, where I've put on some Christmas carols. This extreme festive state that I am in is quite possibly due to my new-found love of knitting and the over-the-top Christmas decorations in the craft store where I purchased most of my yarn. When I was young my grandma would knit all of the grandchildren these ridiculous looking slippers every year. They were striped, with a pom pom on each toe. She always chose the most uncoordinated color combinations. We loved her to pieces, too much to say anything, so each year would put on our biggest smiles in appreciation of those silly little slippers.

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November 7, 2012

Toasted Almond and Basil Pesto

What a whirlwind of events that took place yesterday, for the country, and for the state of Washington. President Barack Obama re-elected for another 4 years, the passing of Initiative 502 - legalization of marijuana, and Referendum 74 - same-sex marriage, in the state of Washington. What an exciting time to be living in America, and in particular, the beautiful state of Washington. 

Despite the fact that I am not legally allowed to vote, I watched in anticipation, trying to make sense of it all - especially, the meaning behind Swing States (a new term for me). This is my first year living in the US during a Presidential election, so I was quite intrigued by the process, the debates, and the press coverage. I feel slightly more informed and up-to-date on current events this time around, thanks to my relatively new twitter account, and carefully chosen group of political savvy folk whom I follow.

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