Monthly Archives: December 2012

Chai and Banana Bread

Well, it’s not November any more, but that hasn’t kept me out of the kitchen! Several weeks ago (mid-October?) Design*Sponge ran a post about homemade chai. And for some (rather odd) reason, I got all excited about making chai tea. I’ve only had chai once, although I’ve had friends and classmates rave about it for years. A friend and I were studying at a coffee shop near campus and she convinced me to try it. I like to try new things, so I gave it a go. It was really good – warm and fragrant and perfect comfort for a long afternoon studying – but it never found it’s place among my boxes (and boxes and boxes) of herbal tea and my love of coffee.

Simmering the Spices for Chai

Simmering the Spices for Chai

This particular mid-October morning, I decided to give it a try. The recipe seemed pretty simple, and the results promised to be delicious and comforting. And disaster ensued. I didn’t have half the ingredients, I googled for other chai recipes, for substitutes for cardamom, for tips. In the end, my house smelled soapy and I could only get half the chai down. Now that I remember, I believe that was also the morning that our neighbor’s ceiling collapsed because our tub had been leaking into their kitchen and we spent the weekend showering at the model.

Chai

Chai

Things have calmed down considerably and I had a chance to purchase the missing ingredients, so I thought it was time I tried again. With much more success. I knew I was on the right track when cooking the chai did not result in a soapy smell. And, because I tend to do things like this in fits and starts, I made banana bread too! I made Smitten Kitchen’s Crackly Banana Bread as I’m trying to keep our snacks at least remotely healthy, based on the sheer amount of snacks we consume in a week.

Adding the secret crackly ingredient

Adding the secret crackly ingredient

Despite its healthy ingredients, it’s very good and makes both a great snack and a great breakfast. We keep it in the freezer pre-sliced so we can just grab a slice, pop it in the toaster, butter it up, and munch away.

Yum!

Yum!

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NoCoPoMo – Week 4

And for our last installment of NoCoPoMo (for this year, anyway, it was so much fun I might have to repeat next year!) we have: Incredibly Mediocre Shredded Chicken! Woot! At least Nate has been eating the leftovers of this, so it must have been better than the pulled pork from week 1.5 that has been sitting in the freezer. I thought it was good when we ate it, but apparently after some distance and consideration it was decided to be “not good.” I think it’s just a barbecue sauce preference.

This recipe was for tostadas, but I just made the chicken, then we mushed together our own tacos. I didn’t think there was anything special about the chicken, but it made good taco stuffing! It’s nice to mix it up from the ground beef every so often.

Adapted from the Chicken Tostadas recipe from Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book:

  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 8 (8!) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Combine chili powder, lime juice, jalapenos, hot pepper sauce, and garlic in slow cooker. Add onion, top with chicken. Cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or high heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove chicken and onion from cooker; reserve 1/2 c cooking liquid. Pull chicken into shreds. Combine chicken, onion, and cooking liquid in bowl.

I didn’t take any pictures because shredded chicken doesn’t actually look that appealing.

My goals for December are:

  1. Use a different cookbook – I feel like I cooked from the one cookbook all month. I have many others, and most of them have slow cooker sections. It’s just so convenient when the whole book is devoted to the slow cooker!
  2. Use my Dutch oven, which I think is what I would cook a lot of my slow cooker recipes in if I wasn’t using the slow cooker.

That should be doable. The “challenge” for this month was to pack lunch every day. Nate usually takes leftovers and I don’t usually leave the house, so, that will be easy. Unless I actually get a job, at which time this whole cooking thing will probably collapse in on itself. I’ve had a pretty busy past few days – two whole busy days in a row – and we ended up going to Sonic last night. Fail.

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Coffee #22

Benefits of Arizona: Drinking coffee on the patio under a green tree in November

I orchestrate my mornings to the tune of coffee. 

~Terri Guillemets

via: Spilling the Beans

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Football Games

We went to our first football game of the season on the day after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately it was also the last regular season game and therefore our last game of the season. I enjoy football SO much more when I’m actually in the stadium. There’s so much more to the game – the fans, the cheers, being able to see the whole field at once. I can actually follow the football when I’m at the game. I never can on TV, so I get bored easily and, if I care about the game, have Nate call me for the last two minutes if it’s exciting.

Band

The Band at Halftime – arguably my favorite part of football games

We had to venture out on Black Friday (something I NEVER DO) to buy our t-shirts. Ten years in Ohio and I never owned a piece of Ohio State gear, but 6 months in Arizona and I already have a UA t-shirt. We went in the evening, long after all of the serious shoppers had exhausted themselves on deal-hunting. The selection suffered for it, but we weren’t looking for anything fancy.

At the game

We sat way at the top, with a view of the whole field. There were some ASU fans in front of us, and there was plenty of good natured ribbing to go around. They won in the end, so it could have gone better, but we’re not too invested in the team yet.

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