2011 in review

1 Jan

Okay so I slacked off a lot. My resolution is to use this blog to keep cooking and to keep up with the rest of everything that I let slide last year. Happy 2012!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Decorated Pumpkins

26 Aug

It’s been a hectic first week of classes. I just wanted to share a few images of decorated pumpkins that make me really happy. All from Sweet Paul Fall 2010.

Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

23 Aug

Got this recipe from Paula Deen on the Food Network website about three years ago and it’s ridiculously easy. Add rice and it’s basic comfort food for me, thank you South Carolina. And I’ll be back on Thursday after the first two hectic days of class.


  • 4 slices bacon [I didn’t cook it in bacon this time around. Substitute your favorite oil for cooking the onions.]
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried black-eyed peas, washed
  • 1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder [I like things spicy, so I put in 1 Tbsp. of chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, and some paprika.]
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups water


In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon, crumble, and set aside to use as a topping for the peas. Saute the onion in the bacon drippings until tender. Add the peas, diced tomatoes and green chiles, salt, chili powder, pepper and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are tender. Add additional water, if necessary. Serve garnished with crumbled bacon [and rice].

Pumpkin-Chocolate Brownies

21 Aug

I finally got off my lazy, thesis-involved butt and made not one but two things yesterday and have to make bread tomorrow for sandwiches–the easiest thing to cart around when you have work and class in the same day two days in a row. I decided to include pumpkin because I need to get it out of my freezer…probably because I will be putting more in soon as pumpkin season comes around again.

Again, I like my brownies a bit more fudge-like, so vary your recipes accordingly if you like cake-like brownies. The basis for the recipe is the Baker’s One Bowl Brownies recipe that you can find on the inside of the unsweetened squares box. It’s the one my dad uses and it’s pretty decent. Cooks.com has some comments that are useful, so I’m copying the recipe from them. My additions appear in brackets.


  • 4 sq. Baker’s unsweetened chocolate  [Instead I added 2 Tbsp. baking cocoa to have something of a chocolate taste in the actual batter]
  • 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • [1 c. pureed pumpkin]
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. flour [I added the half cup as suggested below only because the cup of pumpkin was ridiculously liquidy]
  • 1 c. chopped nuts, optional [I added probably 1/3 c. chocolate chips]

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwave bowl at high 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. [I melted the butter and heated up the pumpkin since it was frozen.]
  3. Stir sugar [and cocoa powder] into chocolate. Mix in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour and nuts [or chocolate chips]. Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan. [I used a smaller pan because I like my brownies to be thicker rather than spread out. Expect the cooking time to increase accordingly.]
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool in pan; cut into squares. Makes 24 fudgy brownies.

Note: When using glass baking dish, bake at 325 degrees. For cake-like brownies, stir in 1/2 cup milk with eggs; use 1 1/2 cups flour. [I have never tried this variation. Count on it next time I take out this recipe.]

Car Wash Tip from Green Is Sexy

20 Aug

While I continue my run of lazy blog entries (I’m too busy watching my neighbors outside mess with a van that seems to be growing its own plants it’s so rusted over and dirty), here’s another tip from Green Is Sexy that seems to be of big interest to Florida natives. Or you could just be like me and let the scary Florida rain clean your car–the afternoon showers are like mini-hurricanes on their own!

make out in a carwash.

“It’s car wash season! While you might think a carwash outside in your driveway can be a fun activity (especially since you can pretend you’re in a music video), we’re here to tell you (sadly enough) that washing your car in your driveway is actually one of the most environmentally unfriendly chores you can do. You will use 80 – 140 gallons of water and after it hits your grease-oil-infused driveway, it will probably run straight into the storm drains without being treated in a sewage center. Where does it go then? To rivers, creeks, wetlands, and other natural habitats where it will kick nature to the curb. The alternative? Go to a commercial car wash. Not only do most commercial car washes use less than 45 gallons per car, but many also recycle and reuse the rinse water. The water will be sewage treated, not dumped.”

Find: Scrabble charm necklace

18 Aug

It is ridiculously hard to care about posting when you want to throw things. Basically there was a mess up with a company and there was multiple phone numbers and threats of fines from regulation violations. Not to be all dramatic cause it really turned out fine in the end (hopefully, there’s still a few hours while I’m refunded over $100 of stuff I apparently bought in 2005), but I really hate dealing with companies. Which is why I’m going to give you a lovely Etsy piece made by a real person while I pull myself together for the start of fall term.

It’s All About The Print has different types of charms, most of which are made by attaching a print to a Scrabble piece. Wear it on either side and it looks awesome. There are plenty of owl prints and bookish prints and Eiffel Tower ones to attract a French-speaking bookworm like me. Here’s one of my faves:

Sale: 40% Off Seventh Generation Products

15 Aug

Ecobunga! yet again brings good news. Drugstore.com is having a sale off Seventh Generation products from now until August 31st. Plus it’s easy to get free shipping as all orders over $25 receive free standard shipping. While not everything that Seventh Generation has to offer is up on Drugstore.com, most of the basics such as their all-purpose cleaner and laundry detergents are here.