Old Favorites & Deep Thoughts…

So this week I did something that’s been kind of unusual for me lately, I cooked. I made mustard pretzel baked chicken. It’s an oldie, but a goodie.  It’s the kind of meal that if I had a family, I might make for them all the time.

Mustard Pretzel Chicken

It’s kind of odd to think that this is the first time I’ve blogged a recipe since February… and it’s not even a new recipe.  Honestly, this is probably only the 4th or 5th time I’ve cooked at all since February (excluding making myself eggs or pasta or something completely uninvolved for dinner).

I guess it’s time to admit that I’m not really a food blogger anymore – in fact I’m barely a blogger at all these days.

For the last year or so (probably longer, actually), my blog has barely crossed my mind. When It does cross my mind, I feel these things: Brief pangs of guilt for not posting more regularly. A vague sense of anxiety about how I don’t know if I want to do this anymore. Subtle longing for the days when I really enjoyed my blog, and the community I built here. Mild defeat, and the desire to just delete the whole thing – especially the really old bits about a life that I hardly even recognize as my own anymore. Surging (though fleeting) motivation to rally and start being really active with my blog again.

I work with social media all day every day, and I think working in the industry has made me really value my time spent disconnected from social networks. That being said – I find recently that I’m missing the process of writing. I am not ready to walk away from the blog just yet – but I did feel the need to come clean and admit that I’m like the worst food blogger in America at this point.

Apologies in advance for upcoming posts about nail polish, the restaurant scene in San Antonio, shows I’m watching on TV and random things that make me smile.

Cheers!

Waspy

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3 Comments + Posted in: Life & Style

Nutella Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Nutella Cookies
I made you  Nutella cookies!

Testing a new recipe for Nutella cookies.
Ok so it would be hard to actually deliver these cookies to you – so how about you use this recipe and make some for yourself?  They are super simple.  I basically changed up a traditional peanut butter cookie recipe and subbed in Nutella. If you’re into “cookie butter” which seems to be all the rage, that would work too.

Recipe:

Yields 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a pastry blender, mix the butter, peanut butter and sugars until creamy. Add the egg, then vanilla. Mix baking powder with flour, then add flour a cup at a time.
Roll dough out on lightly floured surface and cut into desired shape with cookie cutter dipped into flour. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes. To ensure you will not have a dry cookie, check them at 8ish minutes since everyone’s oven is different.

2 Comments + Posted in: Dessert, Recipes

Whole Grain Pancakes

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner people. Have you made fancy dinner reservations for pre fixe menus that are marked up 30%? No, well good luck scoring a table now. Fear not. I’m actually of the opinion that eating out on Valentine’s Day is a rip off and not very romantic. If you really want to impress your suitor, make them breakfast for dinner. Specifically these whole grain pancakes.

Whole Grain Pancakes

Serve them with heart shaped bacon. Trust me.

We ate the finished product before I could take a picture...but pretty much bacon should always be heart shaped I've decided.

(No pictures exist of the finished product, because we ate it so fast. Instructions below)

I made these for dinner last night for my gal pal’s weekly ritual of “hate watching” The Bachelor. In addition to the pancakes and bacon, I served Yukon gold homefries (roasted with salt, pepper and a little of the reserved bacon fat. OMG) and fruit salad. It was a nice little meal. Though I was making it for a crowd, the meal can easily be scaled back for two people. The pancake recipe I adapted from King Arthur Flour has a shelf stable mix so you can make pancakes at the drop of a hat. How genius is that? I have a jar of mix hanging out in my fridge, which in my head is super resourceful and kind of Martha Stewart meets Carrie Bradshaw. In the unlikely event that I meet a dashing man and need to throw together an impressive meal without much notice, I can nonchalantly whip up some whole grain pancakes in no time flat.

So these are whole grain pancakes with oatmeal, whole wheat flour, flax seed meal etc. They are very good, but lets be real… they are not the same as traditional enriched flour pancakes. The flavor is great, but if fluffy pancakes are your thing, stick with the real deal. To quote my friend Lauren of the blog Oh My Puddin, “I prefer a lighter pancake, but if you want to eat pancakes and also to have a healthy colon, these are great.”

 

Whole Grain Pancake Recipe

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Pancake Mix (makes several 1 cup batches that each yeild 6-8ish pancakes)

4 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
4 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal* (not in original recipe, but adds nice nutty taste and extra omega 3 fatty acids)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup coconut oil* (original recipe calls for vegetable oil, but coconut oil is healthier and tastier)

Prepared Pancakes

1 cup homemade mix
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

To make the mix: Grind the oats in a food processor until they’re chopped fine, but not a powder.  Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running.  Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make pancakes: Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (or a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk; or 3/4 cup liquid whey), and 1 large egg. Don’t worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Heat a lightly greased griddle to 350°F (if you’ve got a griddle with a temperature setting; if not, medium-hot will do).  Drop the batter onto it in 1/4-cupfuls (a jumbo cookie scoop works well here) to make a 4″ diameter pancake. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking (after about 2 minutes, if your griddle is the correct temperature), turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side, which will take about 2 minutes.

Heart Shaped Bacon

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil. Use the best bacon you can get your hands on – thick cut is preferable. Cut strips in half and fold into heart shape as pictured above. Bake at 400 for around 20 minutes or until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel. Toss foil in the trash, reserving a few tablespoons of the bacon grease in case you feel like roasting some potatoes.

Oven Roasted Homefries

You can make these in the same pan, just discard the foil and reserve some bacon grease.  Keep the oven at 400. Add lots of salt and pepper. Shake the pan every 3-5 minutes to ensure it the potatoes don’t stick. They should be golden brown in around 15-20 minutes depending on the type of potato you’re using.

3 Comments + Posted in: Favorite Recipes, Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Quinoa Salad With Kale, Butternut Squash & Crimini Mushrooms

Quinoa salad with kale, onions, and crimini mushrooms. #meatlessmonday

So don’t worry, you’re not on the wrong blog. I really am sharing a gluten-free, vegan recipe. I’ll snap out of it soon. Who’s up for cookies as my next recipe?!  Kidding. Mostly.

Alright listen, I’m not a huge quinoa person. I know people rave about it for it’s health benefits, but I’ve always been kind of thrown by the fact it has a freaking tail once you cook it. It’s fine, texturally speaking. And if you cook it in stock instead of water, it tastes better.  Kale I totally dig. Kale is hot right now, are y’all over kale yet? I’m not into kale because it’s trendy, I legit love all dark leafy greens.  Mustard greens are actually my favorite, but kale is what they had at the store. I tried to have a combo of acid and heat in these veggies. Dark leafy greens are delicious when cooked with a little vinegar or lemon juice as well as some hot pepper flakes or hot sauce.  You could put whatever veggies you have on hand in this dish. If you weren’t angling for a meatless meal, some sausage would be a nice addition. Or duh, you could put an egg on it. Come to think of it, an alternate title for this post could be “This Would Be Better With An Egg On It.”

This is one of those simple dishes that for the most part comes together in one skillet. It serves six, so I will be eating leftovers for a while.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups low sodium stock (chicken or veggie, your preference)
1/2 large yellow onion
1 bag kale (approximately 5 or 6 cups, ribs removed)
1 medium butternut squash, cubed (about 2 cups)
1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Red pepper flake to taste
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions:

First, rinse the dry quinoa thoroughly in cold water. In a medium pot bring the stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, stir, let it return to a full boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Set a timer for 15 minutes and begin cooking the veggies.

In a very large saute pan over medium-high heat, saute the onions in olive oil for around 2 minutes or  until they begin to become translucent. Add in the mushrooms, butternut squash, and then 2/3s of the kale on top of that. Feel free to walk away for a while. Nothing bad will happen. Kale is pretty sturdy and takes a few minutes to soften up. Once it starts to wilt, add in the remaining kale as well as the red pepper flake, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Saute the veg, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes. Add in a few dashes of stock and work the yummy brown bits (technical term is fond, but who says that?) off of the pan.

By now the quinoa should be done cooking. Leave the lid on, move it off the heat and let it sit there for 5 more minutes. Lower the heat for your veggies to medium-low. Finally, fluff the quinoa with a fork and dump it into the saute pan. Fold quinoa into the veggies to combine all the ingredients.

Boom. Done. 20 minute dinner.

You should probably put a fried egg on top of that. I wish I had.

2 Comments + Posted in: Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Easy Instagram Gallery Wall

After sharing a quick snapshot of the Instagram wall I created in my dining room, I’ve gotten dozens of questions about how I did it. I thought I would share some better images as well as the print vendor and specific hardware I used.

WaspyRedhead Instagram Gallery Wall

My apartment is loft style. It’s one big open space with off white walls, concrete floors, and metal ceilings. I love how bright and airy it is, and that it’s modern without feeling cold or sterile. I love a white color palate, but I felt like I needed some pops of color to make the space feel more lived in.

WaspyRedhead Instagram Gallery Wall

The genius angle of using Instagram prints is that instead of committing to one large piece of art, or creating an expertly curated vignette of smaller pieces, I have the flexibility to change out the photos whenever I feel like it. Currently, I’m using prints of architectural images and still life scenes from around Paris and San Antonio.

WaspyRedhead Instagram Gallery Wall

The juxtaposition of black and white images with over-saturated filtered-within-an-inch-of-their-life shots is fun. I also like combing special moments captured in two of my favorite cities – my hometown of San Antonio and my favorite travel destination, Paris. I wasn’t careful or intentional in the way I arranged the photos on the gallery wire, but somehow the Eiffel Tower and the Alamo ended up right next to each other.

WaspyRedhead Instagram Gallery Wall

The gallery wire and clips are actually super cheap curtain hardware from IKEA. It’s the “Dignitet” curtain wire which is only $12 for each set of wire and wall mounts. The clips are “Riktig” which are $3 for a pack of 24. I bought three sets of the curtain wire, and two packages of clips. Total cost for the hardware was $42. The hardware is simple to install, or so my friend Mitch who installed them tells me ;). Thanks again Mitch!

I ordered my prints from a company called Printstagram. They print calendars, posters, stickers, mini-books and more, all from your Instagram images. It’s a simple process, you log in and it connects to your Instagram account and you select the images you would like to print. I ordered two sets of 12, 4″x4″ prints for $12 each. You can’t even frame a poster for $24, so I thought this was a steal.

I am FLOORED by how quickly my #prinstagram photos arrived. I ordered them late Tuesday!
The images are printed on nice paper with a matte to satin finish. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and with how quickly the order printed and shipped. I highly recommend Prinstagr.am if you’re interested in getting hard copies of your digital images.

The total sticker price for this project is around $70. Much cheaper than a painting of similar scale or the cost to custom frame a bunch of pictures. The best part is that I’m not stuck with my current display. In the future I may want to feature photos from a different vacation. Or I’ve been thinking about switching it up to include pictures of street art from my travels (a subject I’m into documenting lately).

If Instagram isn’t your thing, you could use the gallery wire to display children’s artwork, holiday cards, wedding invitations, valentines, playbills and tickets from art events – the possibilities are endless. I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did – if you try it in your home I would love to see pictures!

Disclaimer: Printstagr.am did not compensate me to write this post. I am unaffiliated with them in any way. I just liked my prints and wanted to share this recommendation with my readers.

13 Comments + Posted in: Life & Style, Photography

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