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Simple Veggie Cheese Bake–Success!


Does this happen to you? Tell me, please:

After a certain point, your kitchen sponge just smells, no matter how hard you try. Not really notably. Just enough that you can’t really notice it until you use it, and then your hands smell like sponge. Fucking. Gross. But how often should I reasonably expect to throw away these sponges? I’m not made of sponge-money, you know.

Today I threw together dinner with half of a medium-sized eggplant and a summer squash that was starting to go squishy. I chopped them up and threw them in a baking  dish with some grape tomatoes, drizzled (or, more likely, wading) in olive oil and sprinkled liberally with thyme and smoked paprika. After baking for 5-10 minutes I smothered it with shredded mozzarella and then baked it another 5-10 minutes. I don’t know how long it really was. If you do this, just keep an eye on it so you don’t burn the cheese.

When I took it out, the cheese was nice and brown, but not burned. I let it cool a while before trying to serve it, because I’m tired of getting minor burns. When I scooped out a nice big serving, I saw how much oil had pooled at the bottom… could have used a little less. But that’s not really my style.

It wasn’t a fancy or special meal, and it probably would actually be better as a side dish. Still, it was yummy and a low-maintenance alternative to sauteing or stir-frying, my most frequent vegetable modes, which require more attention. I would definitely make this, or rather, some variation of it, again.

Unrelatedly, I still do want to throw away that sponge.

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Tuesday Madness: Just Because


It’s Tuesday, but it kind of feels like Monday. I didn’t have yesterday off (screw Columbus anyway), but I did work from home, so this is the beginning of the week in the office. It definitely felt like Monday this morning. And last night I couldn’t fall asleep until sometime after 2, which means sleep deprivation galore.

Certain things are going ok, other things are going as bad as always, and my life still feels like a mess. Any thoughts?

Last night I finally made the stir-fry I’d been planning, although I forgot to add the pear to it (that would have been much more experimental, but probably interesting). The method was pretty standard, so I’m not going to talk about how I made it so much. I’m just going to comment on some of the ingredients.

Sauce and seasoning:

Soy sauce is definitely useful to keep around. If you care about that kind of thing get the lower sodium kind; otherwise, get whatever kind you want. When I was young, I used to put soy sauce on rice almost every time I had it. I’ve stopped doing that, and now almost exclusively use it for stir frying, along with canola oil (I have no sesame oil: sad). If you want to make something more like what you’d order at a restaurant, splurge for teriyaki sauce. I don’t quite know how to make my own.

At one point I had a Chinese herb/spice mix that was great for stir fry, but I don’t know what happened to it. I just add ground ginger instead. I’m pretty generous with my ginger, so it had a bit of kick.

I would have put garlic in if I had felt like chopping it up, or cleaning my grating dish…

Sprouts:

At Whole Foods last week, I found the sort of sprouts I had been thinking of getting–the kind that always turns up in your fried rice and lo mein. They’re longish, crunchy, and white and some people might think they look like worms, but they really don’t. I forget what they’re called, but they came in a fairly big package for under $2. Which means I might have to make another stir fry. …Anyway, I really liked using these things, because they add a sense of authenticity to the endeavor, even though I highly doubt my version of a stir fry is in any way authentic. (You know, not being Asian or having any actual knowledge of Asian cooking of any sort.)

The results were quite tasty and pretty, very green with my broccoli, peppers, and green onion, and the leftovers are my lunch. I would have made them breakfast, but then I would have had to actually make a lunch. *_*

*End madness*

She types, hopefully…

Monday Madness: Saucy Sunday


I got food in my hair this morning. Of course. How else do you start off a week? Such fun. Ugh.

It turned out, although my shoe rack came unassembled (duh), it was really easy to put together. I think it took me ten minutes, listening to Lorde’s album on the internet (who buys cds these days?). I almost think I could actually get my crap organized someday… with a few more bins and boxes, maybe.

And now another week starts. Time is passing too quickly, at least, in comparison to what I’ve been able to get done lately. I don’t need to be productive all the time, but I’ve been pretty much useless for the past month or so. I’ve had a lot of free time, all things considered, and I was going to use it to get ahead on work and personal projects, and here I am, having done nothing at all for way too long. I feel so dumb and lazy…

Last night I decided I should make some dinner even though I didn’t think I was hungry. I didn’t make what I had planned, because it was slightly more effort. Instead I made a quick tomato sauce and butternut squash ravioli from Trader Joe’s.

Tomato sauce of the consistency people expect when they say “tomato sauce” takes quite a while to make. But any sauce you make in which tomatoes are a key ingredient is tomato sauce. I made a simple version in a saute pan this time. I started by frying some chopped green peppers, cooking them until they were sizzling. Then I added the tomatoes and a handful of scallions. I let the pan cook up for a few minutes before I added a small amount of water. That’s what makes it sauce. Some basil, black pepper, and time to simmer, and it was smelling delicious. The ravioli was drained, put into the sauce and mixed around until they were covered. Finally, I ate it up. (The typical last step of dinner).

In the end I was glad I decided to cook, because it was really good. But I also kind of wished I didn’t have to…

Raspberry Chai Pancakes – Hell Yum!


… it’s what we say now instead of Hell Yeah.

 

Yesterday I decided to make pancakes, because I have pancake mix and felt like it. I forgot to mention… I did this for dinner.

I am an adult.

Pancakes are actually pretty awesome to improvise with. You can add any fruit or spices to any basic mix or batter recipe without changing the consistency, and to some extent wet ingredients as well. It’s pretty easy to experiment with different flavors and, since they aren’t very time-consuming or expensive to make, you don’t have to feel too bad if you completely cock it up.

I used some of my Trader Joe’s pancake mix that’s been sitting in the pantry for months now. It’s gotten a little lumpy, so my batter was a little lumpy, but not too bad. I didn’t notice any horrific dry spots while eating them, so I’m fine with it. I added the last of my frozen raspberries (about 1/2 cup, I’d guess? Maybe slightly less? I have no idea) and some powdered Trader Joe’s chai. “Some” is the exact measurement I used.

Here they are cooking away. This one was the daddy pancake. (Meaning it was the biggest one.)

Here they are cooking away. This one was the daddy pancake. (Meaning it was the biggest one.)

 

It didn’t show in this picture, but the batter color was a little weird. This is inevitable if you’re using frozen berries, unless you take the time to drain them until they’re pretty much too dried out to taste good. I much prefer to have pancakes that somehow ended up a kind of grayish-blue that are delicious than perfectly golden-brown ones that are just ok.

There are instructions on the sides of any pancake mix box for how to make them, so I am not going to try to tell you here. Besides, doesn’t everyone know how to make pancakes?

As I said, they don’t take a lot of time, so only about 15 minutes went by before I’d managed to use all the batter I could actually scrape out of the bowl without overdoing it…

Hell Yum.

Hell Yum.

 

I topped them with strawberries and maple syrup. No, not “pancake syrup,” whatever that means, but actual maple syrup. I had the leftover pancakes for breakfast and used up the last of it, so now I only have Eggo syrup left…

This was SUCH a good dinner. Delicious, and easy, and if you eat something that’s actually healthy for lunch, you don’t even have to feel guilty about lack of nutritional value… unless you’re eating pancakes for dinner every night. That’s definitely not healthy.

Here’s me encouraging experimentation with pancakes! Until next time. 😛

 

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