Friday, October 31, 2014

Haystacks Pad Thai

First off, this recipe is "Pad Thai" only in the very loosest possible sense of the word.  Secondly, this recipe has been a LONG time in the making.  I started writing it back at the very beginning of the summer, maybe even late spring.

Up until a couple of years ago when my stepdaughter gave up gluten, I used to happily make the tofu pad thai recipe out of the Still Life with Menu by Mollie Katzen.  Of course, I doubled the amount of sauce and left out any ingredients I didn't like because...that's just how I cook.  Plus, it was super sweet and saucy, so the kids loved it.

With gluten being out of the picture, I needed something to soak up all that yummy sauce.  Rice seemed like the next best thing, and since there's not really a point to eating totally empty carbohydrates unless they happen to be covered in chocolate...brown rice won the prize.

But I was unhappy with my final outcome picture, where I showed my newly invented recipe in all it's delicious glory.

The problem was, it wasn't so very glorious.  But then the fantabulous food photographer Valerie Lamaree wrote a guest post for me and I figured out what I needed to know from my very own blog

And so now I have a picture of the final product that doesn't look like barf:


I've said it before & it's worth saying again - isn't Valerie THE BEST?!?!?!  

Here are all my ingredients, all gathered up and ready to go:


First up, three scrambled eggs.  You're supposed to cook them long enough to get them all dried out.  I don't know why.


I'm lazy about doing dishes, so I move the egg out of the pan and use that same one to cook the tofu which (you'll notice) I've already cut into cubes.  

Here's something even lazier: I like to slice the tofu while it's still in the box or little plastic tub.  Why dirty the cutting board and get tofu juice everywhere?


Normally I buy the extra firm, but Costco had a great deal on firm.  It's not as firm as the extra firm, but it did come in a box of six kajillion for the price of a tube of toothpaste.  And it's organic, so you can't beat that.  I added a little garlic after the tofu was mostly browned.

Did I forget to mention that brown rice takes forever and ever to cook?  It's not the kind of thing you can start five minutes before you want to eat, so...I started that first.  

The sauce is pretty easy: a quarter cup of brown sugar, a quarter cup of gluten free soy sauce, four tablespoons of peanut butter,  and a quarter of a cup of apple cider vinegar.


Mix the sauce in with the rice when it's done, and then put the eggs and tofu on top.  Of course, you can add in scallions or mung beans.  

We usually add red crushed pepper after it's already on the plate (so that The Boonga doesn't have to burn her tiny little mouth off).

And that's it - yum!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Love 'Em or Hate 'Em, People are Wonderful. Or Morons. It can be really hard to tell sometimes.

Whether they're visiting a hospital with Ebola and no one bothers to check them for it, or labeling peanut butter with the warning "contains nuts"...you just gotta love people.  They're the best.

I particularly love whoever put up these friendly Halloween decorations a block from an elementary school.




"What's the matter kids?  Standardized testing for five year olds not scary enough?!?  How about a guy with a knife through his head?  Have a nice day at school!"

On the other side of the house, the Zombies have out a barbecue grill and are roasting some kind of human body parts.


The Boonga's two year old take on all the festivities?

Her - "Dassa baaguy" (That's a bad guy)
Me - "Is it scary?"
Her - "Yes"
Me - "Well...some people like to decorate scary for Halloween.  Some people like to decorate scary and some people like to decorate friendly."
Her - "Oh."
Her (sighing) - "Da Happns" (That happens.).


Hope everyone is enjoying that time of year when it is (apparently) socially acceptable to hang bloody people with severed limbs in your yard!!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Vegan "Fajita Bites" (and 10 Other Uses for a Flood of Eggplant)



My boy and I were trying to come up with an appetizing name for my latest DELICIOUS recipe, when we suddenly came to the joint conclusion that no matter how we dressed it up, the word "eggplant" just isn't appealing.
Me - "What can we call eggplant to make it sound delicious?"
Him - "?"
Me - "Well...what sounds like it tastes better, 'eggplant CHIPS or eggplant BITES?'"
Him - "?"
Me - "What about eggplant ROUNDS?"
Him - "?"
Me - C'mon!  What can we call them that sounds GOOD?"
Him - Fajitas?


So these "fajitas" are easy enough and fantastic both for people who hate eggplant AND for those whose husband grows way more eggplant than any three families could possibly eat.  

To make these I sliced the eggplant very thinly.  That's because I can't stand eggplant, and I figured that the thinner they were, the less I would taste them:


Then I laid them all out on a plate and salted the slices.  You can soak them in the salt for a half hour up to all day.  I know this, because I accidentally on purpose left mine out all day, and they were fine.

I salted to get rid of the bitterness, but what it really did was make My Partner in Crime complain about the saltiness.  But, a good rinse and dry mostly solves all that.

I sprayed both sides with coconut oil and sprinkled with seasoning (I think fajita seasoning might be appropriate), microwaved for about three minutes, and a couple minutes at a time after that, turning them over on the plate now and then.  



I also left the microwave door open for a moment or two between zaps to allow the steam to escape. 


Unfortunately, if you have as much eggplant as we do around here, you won't have used up even a quarter of it yet.  

But don't worry!  There's plenty to do with a crop of wayward eggplant!


1) Call Daddy on the eggplant phone


2) Eggplant earrings


3) Cuddle up with a cozy eggplant


4) Play eggplant harmonica


5) Use as a math manipulative for counting and sorting 


6) Eggplant pillow - soft and cozy!



7) Play eggplant drum and eggplant trombone


8) Measure yourself with eggplant 


9) Keeps you company and helps you think


 10) Eggplant yoga!  (Or "Yoda" as it's known around here)



Any other great eggplant uses, please leave them in the comments!  We're kind of awash in it.

Just in case you've got as much of an eggplant influx as we do, here's the recipe for the "fajitas"!!!



Friday, October 17, 2014

DIY Elmo Halloween Costume: Sewing Machines Need Not Apply

I've always made my kids' Halloween costumes, despite the fact that sewing machines are unwelcome in our home.

Last year Little Miss Destruction was a delicious sushi.  No sewing machine involved.

This year, "Emmo!" is everything.  So why not wrap that muppet up in tulle?


I gave instructions on how to make a no-sew tutu right here.  This time, I didn't get the tulle in spools, so I had to wrap it on a piece of cardboard to measure.

Of course I had help.



I highly recommend the spool - the cutting by the yard was kind of a pain. I also used a little headband rather than a elastic waistband this time.  It was just easier.

(Warning!  Warning!  This part right here is called an "affiliate post", because if someone were to click and buy, Amazon would toss a few pennies at me by way of commision.  Or at least it's supposed to work that way.  I'm still kind of new at this but I do know that I'm required to disclaim).

I got a little shirt and softy pants.  The best part is, you can use these as clothing once the holiday is over!  Which is a huge benefit in my book.  Pants and shirt also very easy to find on Amazon or wherever:



After the whole tutu thing, I hot glued a pompom, two cotton balls, and two buttons onto a red hat.


If I were to take the time to redo it (I won't), I would use white pompoms instead of cotton balls.  They got white fuzzies kind of all over.  Plus, the hot glue didn't stick quite as well to the cotton balls as it did to the pompom.

I also would have used a slightly larger hat:


All in all though, our Chief Content Provider and Head of Demolition is pretty happy with her costume.  Except for that first moment when I told her that I would be taking her picture...




She got over it though.



Happy weekend and happy almost Halloween all!!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednsday

I knew I would fail miserable at the "wordless" part.  But only because I wanted to link to the story. How could I not?


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Facebookdom Wants a Free Texture AND a Free Recipe Card!

When I asked all of Facebook whether they'd rather have a free texture or a free recipe card, SO MANY people responded that I didn't even feel like counting it up.

It was neck and neck between a texture and a recipe card for a little while, but I think the recipe card may be pulling ahead.


Unfortunately I already started working on a texture.  Because they're fun.  But it's okay.  I will TOTALLY do the recipe card too!

AND I promise I'll tally up the votes.  Because it seems sort of semi-negligent not to after people took the time to voice their opinions so prolifically like that.  But the $500 Paypal giveaway isn't over until the 14th, so I'll wait until people are done weighing in.

I am kind of addicted to taking pictures of rainbows with my cell phone.  The problem is, they're not great quality and then they sit on my phone doing nothing.


I always consider overlaying them with inspiring quotes, but I'm not really an inspired quotes kind'a gal.

So a texture was a fun way to dress this one up without getting all mushy.  Plus, it hides the poor quality of my cell phone.

I like using textures for buttons and graphics and stuff.  I don't really use them on pictures.  Like, almost never.  But here's how it would more or less look (before and after) if I did:




On the off chance that someone has landed here without previously being exposed to the fun that is textures, or even just for those who have only known me in Blogsilvania and never heard my voice, I made a little video tutorial.

My Chief of IT showed me how.

Plus, if you watch you get to hear the Chief Content Provider and Head of Demolition give her unsolicited opinion on her preferred blending mode.

I did the tutorial in Photoshop, but if you have Elements, it's pretty much the same. If you have neither, you can still get in on the fun using Pixlr.com.  You can even use Pixlr right in your browser!  
So that's about it folks!  My very first free download and my very first Photoshop and/or video tutorial. Click here to download and happy week everyone!!!!!!!


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