A Day in My Life

Yesterday I planned to get an early start finishing up some brownies and cookies that Mum needed for a luncheon today.  When I stumbled into the kitchen, in search of caffeine, I found instead…

Thousands of the little bastards invaders.  They were boiling out from under the cabinet in the corner, and making for the trash. I did have rib bones in the trash, but I’ve never seen anything like this.  Actually, I didn’t see them at first, I stepped in them.  😦

They then made their displeasure known in a way only biting insects can.

As I hopped around the kitchen swatting at one foot and then the other, Hubby passed by and asked what I thought I was doing.  I answered that obviously, I was practicing yoga.  He nodded briefly, mentioned I should try not to hurt myself, and moved on.

After disengaging the ants from my body, I went to battle with the 409.  I don’t have any pesticides, but this product will kill ants, as it contains soapy agents and ammonia.  I then gathered up the carcasses, and mopped the floor to destroy the scent trail.

Then I went to have coffee.

When I came back to start the brownies, the ants were back.  Like I’d never killed hundreds of their population!  So I called the office, and started killing ants again.  Maintenance came, sprayed, and the ants subsided.

Then I made brownies.  Brownies with a cream cheese layer and swirls on the top.  Yum!

Then I made cookies.  While I put up shelves that I’d been asking Hubby to put up for some time.  😦

When the cookies were ready for delivery, plated and wrapped, I started to plate the brownies.  The recipe suggested lining the dark metal pan with tinfoil, shiny side out.  GREAT idea to keep the edges from cooking faster than the center, and rising up against the edges.  Brownies look much prettier when they’re flat, I think.

BUT, the  *$%%& cotton picking tinfoil was stuck like glue to the bottom of the brownies.  GLUE I say!!!

I pried carefully.  I put them back into the pan and heated them.  Nothing was working.

Hubby, noting my distress, suggested flipping the whole thing upside down and letting gravity help.  He help the tinfoil while I used the Chef knife to slowly scrape them off the foil.  Finally, I was able to rescue and plate the brownies.

Sigh.

I delivered the whole hot mess order to Mum for her party, only about 3 hours late.  Fortunately, the party was a luncheon today.

When I arrived home Hubby was asleep so I went into the kitchen to fetch a much needed bottle glass of wine.   The ants were still gone from the floor, but now they were on the counter.  And I just didn’t care anymore.

I sat down in the quiet house to relax with my wine and a book.  Suddenly, I heard a strange noise like water running.  In the closet where the AC unit is.

When I pulled open the door, there was about an inch of water on the floor, and the walls were wet about 3-4 inches up.  So, I called maintenance again.

I get the feeling they are tired of hearing from me.

The maintenance guys arrived…again, at 9 PM.  They blew out some hoses, replaced the filter, and threw down some towels to dry the floor.

I mentioned the ants.  Again.  Nicely.  🙂

They went home.  I got the rest of the bottle another glass of wine and went to play WoW while Rat Boy got ready for bed.

This morning, the exterminator came and sprayed the entire house.  So maybe the ants will leave.  Or die.  Not just relocate.

Guess I’m feeling a bit bloodthirsty.

Random Food

It’s been a really busy day.  So I’ll leave you all with a bit of food pr0n.

Since I’ve committed to posting every day.

Breakfast.

Lunch.


And dinner.

I’m kinda sad panda they aren’t bigger pics.  But it’s making me hungry anyhow.

Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies…

Because they are TINY!  Well, not microscopic, but melon ball sized.  Like little bites of heavenly delight!  I can just pop the whole thing into my mouth.  They don’t leave crumbs in the milk either!  😀

I’ve decided I want to play more WoW blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I’m an excellent procrastinator, so I’m going to sign up for the post-a-day challenge.  Y’all please comment and help me stay motivated!  You also get to see more yumtastic food.  😛

And now, back to the cookies!

I want to go eat one now.

Whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt.  Set aside.

Cream together 1 cup butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and 3/4 cup packed brown sugar.  When the mixture is light and fluffy, add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract and mix well.

Fold in 1 cup of chopped pecans  and 2 cups chocolate chips.  Drop onto a cookie sheet using a melon baller.

Bake at 350-375F for about 8 – 10 minutes.  Until they look beautifully golden brown and their delicious smell is filling the house.  😛

Cool on the pan for a couple of minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

This recipe will make about 120 cookies!  Which is a lot of cookies.

Unless you live with Rat Boy.  In which case it’s enough cookies for about 2 days!

This is only half of them.  I need a bigger plate!  😛

Caturday

Featuring Rat Boy and Kitchen Kat…

And a bit of off the wall humor, thanks to Aewl at Reluctant Rebel.

 


Y’all have a great Caturday!!!

Brown Butter Strawberry Banana Bread

Yesterday, it finally rained.  Not just a soggy drizzle, but all out, thundering, lightning, blow over the plants on the patio RAIN.  I almost ran outside to stand in it until the lightning forks in the near vicinity had me rethinking that urge.

Instead, I made banana bread.

With strawberries.

Two of my favorite things.  With butter!  🙂

Brown the butter (about 5 oz or 1/2 cup) in a saucepan over medium heat.  Yes, this is something that requires attentiveness.

The butter will foam and crackle as it melts, and then brown.  Swirl the pan to keep it from burning.  When the butter begins to brown and smell nutty, pour it out of the pan so that it immediately stops cooking and hopefully prevents burning!  I just poured it into the measuring cup, and popped it into the freezer to cool for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F, and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp cinnamon.

Awesome action shot.  (Added difficulty of holding the camera in my left hand!)

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup buttermilk.

Mash 3 medium sized bananas.

Stir the mashed bananas into the egg mixture.

Check on the butter in the freezer.  It should be cool by now.

Whisk it into the egg and banana mixture.

Add the wet ingredeints to the dry, and fold together, then fold in  3/4 to 1 cup diced strawberries.

Stir until all ingredients are just combined.  Over stirring makes tough bread.  😦

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, and top with thinly sliced strawberry.  I saved the biggest one from the package for the top.

It’s so pretty, I wanted to get a spoon and just eat it.  But instead, I baked it for about an hour.

I’m glad I waited!  It looked even better when it cam out of the oven!

Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then finish cooling on a wire rack.  DO make sure that cooling has finished before wrapping it up, as condensation will make the crust soggy.  And nobody likes a soggy crust.  😀

I just had some for breakfast.  The tartness of the strawberries gives a nice contrast to the sweetness of banana.  This would make a great gift, as it is really pretty…but I think I’ll just eat this loaf!

Hubby and rat Boy might have to fight me for it.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

We really do live on a bizarre schedule around here.  After 2 weeks of vacation in the middle of September, we are switching from having Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday as Hubby’s days off, back to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off.  It’s really no wonder that I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is sometimes.

I suppose it’s a good thing that Rat Boy likes homeschooling, because I’d probably send him to school on Thursday through Sunday some weeks, and Monday through Thursday on others.

I actually tried to take him on Saturday one time when he was younger.  He wouldn’t get out of the car.

But I digress.  And probably will again, possibly in the near future.

Quinoa.  Apparently that’s where it’s at for the pot-smokin’ hippie  healthy foods-oriented crowd.  I’ve tested fed it to Hubby and Rat Boy on several occasions.  I usually throw some frozen veggies in with it, as a half-ass, fast attempt at a pilaf.  They were not impressed.

Quinoa, pronounced “Keen-wah”, is a grain that is not a grain.  I totally understand if it has identity issues.  It is referred to as a pseudocereal, because it is not a member of the grass family like wheat, but instead has relatives like beets and spinach.  And it’s amazingly healthy.  And grainy.  Great substitute for rice (and we are a rice-loving family).

And it’s OLD.  Like older than the Roman Empire, or the Greek, or even the Egyptians!  Quinoa originated in the Andean region, where it was domesticated 3000 to 4000 years ago for human consumption.  There is even evidence that shows an association with pastoral herding 5200 to 7000 years ago.  So much for the world civ lesson.

I recently discovered there are red and black varieties, as well as the white.  Mum, over the weekend, asked me to make a couscous salad for her retired teachers meeting, and because I was feeling persnickity a bit avante guarde, I decided to instead do quinoa.

1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups water cooks just like rice.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on low 20 minutes.  Cooking times are longer for the red and black varieties, as are the cooking times for more whole hulled rices.

Cool…overnight if possible, then add cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.  Amounts of course will vary, depending on how much you’d like to make.  I started with 4 cups of red quinoa to 8 cups of water.  I made a LOT of quinoa.  WAY more than I’d intended.  But no worries.  It even freezes well!

Isn’t it pretty?

Toss everything together with a drizzle of olive oil…I used a roasted garlic infused variety that I put on everything I possibly can.  Did I mention that I really like garlic? Oh yeah, and juice from about 2/3 of a lemon.  I used Meyer, but can’t always get them, so I’m sure a ‘normal’ lemon would be fine too.

I added some chopped fresh oregano to the first batch, then basil…yes, it’s still going strong out on the porch…to the second.  And some mint.  Because Mediterranean dishes use mint.  Just believe it.

It really is pretty.  Colorful.  Tastes fabulous.  Healthy.  Can you possibly ask for more?

Oh yeah, easy to make also.

Kitchen Kat expressed his approval by nomming on my leg while I was doing the washing up.

I can’t believe how huge his claws look.  😛  And how bad my kitchen rug looks.  I should be totally embarrassed now.  But it’s been a long day.  I’ll work on that tomorrow.

Banana Muffins with White Chocolate

I love bananas.  I love chocolate.  I love cooking with bananas because they make this awesome crusty-golden beauty that tastes as good as it looks.

I also love muffins.  What’s not to love?  Bread with fruit and chocolate.  I can totally get behind that!

 

Side bonus…muffins are WAY easier to make than cake.  Plus, it’s like having a tiny cake of your own with every muffin!

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray the muffin pan with non-stick.

Whisk together 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Mash 3-4 meduim to large bananas, and combine with 1/2 cup melted and cooled butter, 2 large beaten eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Fold the wet mixture into the dry, using the well technique, stirring until just combined.

Add 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake 20-25 minutes.

I used 4 bananas, and needed to add about 3 tbsp flour to stiffen the batter.  Also, the recipe made about 16 muffins.  My muffin tin has 12 cups.  On the last 4 muffins, I used the center row and filled the empty cups with water, so the muffins would bake evenly.

Cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then complete cooling on a wire rack so the sides and bottoms don’t sog out!  Then eat.  Might need to hide a few…these went FAST!!!

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