Stop taking pictures. You've got, like, a thousand already.
I'll be right there, just hang on a second.
No, don't leave without me!
Ok, I'll wait - what are you doing? Another picture? I'm done.
Oh wait, I found a bug...
A lady bug...or is it an Asian Beetle?
It's so light I can't feel it.
Remember how I said that food blogs allow someone else to try out recipes and make mistakes for you? This is another example. I accidentally used breakfast sausage, instead of smoked sausage. Our blender broke (actually not my fault), so the sauce wasn't blended. It turns out cottage cheese will melt just like regular cheese, so it all came out pretty even. I wish I'd used more pumpkin, since the different sausage totally over powered it. If you check out the link to Kira's blog, where I found the recipe, hers is so much more orange than mine.
Also, we used farfalle instead of penne, but that was a conscious choice.
The good news is, it was delicious! I loved it. I also want to try making it correctly sometime.
Creamy Pumpkin Penne
from Food alla Puttanesca,
via Cara's Cravings.
4 oz whole wheat penne pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 2T chopped fresh sage
2 links cooked chicken sausage, sliced
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese (1% milk fat)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup nonfat milk
pinch of nutmeg
5oz torn spinach, thick stems removed
grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, optional
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook gently for about 10-15minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, sage, and chicken sausage; continue to saute.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
In a blender, combine combine pumpkin, cottage cheese, and milk. Blend until no lumps are present. Add to sausage mixture in skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
Drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Add sausage mixture and baby spinach, and toss together. Cover for a few minutes to let the spinach wilt. Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.
But it was delicious. In a way I can't even explain to you. It was all melted and spreadable. Oh man.
Just like the pineapple bites, these are extremely idiot proof. And amazing.
Broccoli rabe and steak are cheap at Costco. It made for a cheap and easy meal!
Roasted Potatoes and Garlic
from Pioneer Woman
Roasted Garlic & New Potatoes
20 small to medium new potatoes
5 to 7 whole heads of garlic
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup dry white wine*
Freshly ground black pepper
Quarter new potatoes and set on a large rimmed baking sheet. Lop off the very top of each garlic head and arrange throughout the potatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the garlic and all over potatoes; do the same with the wine. Generously salt and pepper potatoes and garlic. Toss potatoes to coat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.** Remove foil and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes until nice and golden.
* I omitted the wine - we're out.
** We only used a smaller portion of potatoes and just roasted them under the foil for 35 minutes total. I wish we'd made more!
Ok, just two more pictures of trees.
And two bits of "news."
1) This weekend is SMT. I'll post at least once about it next week and tell you everything.
Actually, since it's the Society for Music Theory conference, I probably won't tell you everything, because that would be boring. I'll just give you some highlights.
2) We have cable. Our lives have changed.
He made this tofu scramble recipe from this book, Vegan Brunch, from the Post-Punk Kitchen. This book could make a vegan convert out of most anyone, or at least help you understand that vegan food is more than card board; the recipes are delicious and relatively simple.
He also made crepes! These were just from joy of cooking, I think, and they were delicious. I had at least...well, too many.
On my plate you'll see roasted root veggies, tofu scramble, a crepe, and beets. FYI, maple syrup was an ingredient in three of these. Can you guess which?
If you fritter away your time by reading this blog, then you know I LOVE me some brunch. Naturally, I wanted to bring something fun. So what I did bring to compliment a mostly vegan brunch, but the very thing that made it only "mostly" vegan:
Bacon-wrapped pineapple bites!
Hear me out. No one there was actually vegan. No, these are not good for you. But there are ways to make them better: use turkey bacon (we didn't do this, because we already had regular bacon in the fridge, but it is low sodium), make sure you back them on a wrack so that some grease can drain, and blot them with a paper towel after they come out. They're really kind of the perfect thing to bring to a party - super easy to make, and they stay delicious even when they cool off.
Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites
from Tasty Kitchen, via Pioneer Woman
1 pound Bacon*
1 can Chunked Pineapple (large Chunks)
½ cups Brown Sugar
Set your oven to 375F.
Cut the pound of bacon in half. Put the brown sugar in a shallow bowl. Take a half a slice of bacon and dredge it through the brown sugar. Put a chunk of pineapple on one end of the bacon slice and roll up. Secure with a toothpick.
I put a cookie cooling rack into a foil-lined jelly roll pan. Lay the bacon pineapple bundles onto the rack.
Bake for at least 25 minutes, or until the bacon looks brown and crispy. Sometimes I pop them under the broiler for the last few minutes just to get them really crisp. But watch out – the sugar will burn!
Try to wait for them to cool slighty – only because the tasty goodness will burn your lips if it’s too hot! Enjoy.
*I used less than a pound...We kind of eye-balled it and used whatever bacon we had left in the package that was already open. But it's pretty easy to do ad-hoc.
To paraphrase Jim Gaffigan, people love cake. They love it at any meal, so they rename it to make themselves feel better. "Muffins" - cake for breakfast!
I even busted out the Martha Stewart Cake Deco Kit and used this icing tip. It turned out not to be the one I wanted, but every time I use that thing it's an experiment.
And anyways, no one cared. They tasted good. Some of them even looked nice, like this one.
Some were a little less beautiful, but people ate them up.
The smiling blond girl is our friend, Jess. After John's paper, we went out with her for sushi, to celebrate her birthday.
Here I've captured another moment where Matthew is thinking, "What's with her and that camera? Why is she taking my picture?"
I'd say a bow-tie like that deserves a photo.
I love when I can get a photo of John laughing like that. His happiness nearly broke the camera.
Our Canadians told us they call this the "Lizzie," as a nickname.
And this one is called the Johnny Mack because there's a tiny version of "In Flanders Fields," by John McCrae on it.
Now, everyone, think back to the beginning of this post, that was actually about muffins. Remember?
Here's the recipe! It's from Pioneer Woman. The only difference is that I added a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the batter instead of raisins. Also, I doubled it so that I could have 24 muffins. They were still pretty small, so I was glad I did it.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting
from Pioneer Woman
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 heaping cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional!)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until all incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined. Pour into greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle generous amounts of cinnamon-sugar over the top of each unbaked muffin.
Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup softened butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 pound powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Spread onto completely cooled muffins, or place into a large pastry bag with a large star tip and go crazy!
Store in fridge, as icing will soften at room temperature.
This semester, I've had the pleasure of taking a class on Feminist and Queer Theory here at Western. It's got that magic mix of all great seminars: great topics, great students, and a wonderful teacher. The discusions are lively and at every class I feel like I've learned a lot.
Last Thursday, the awesomeness of this class reached new hights. One of the students asked our instructor, Cris, if we could take our normal break about an hour early in order to watch the pumpkin drop (I'll explain that in a sec). While Cris is normally rather indulgent, she hesitated to sanction such a silly activity. Fortunately (and perhaps ironically given the class subject) Cris gave into peer pressure and let us go to this important UWO tradition.
What is the pumpkin drop? I'm glad you asked! Every year the school organization Engineers Without Borders holds an annual fundraiser featuring the destruction of a large Corcubita Moschata (Latin!). People gather and watch as a freakishly large pumpkin plummets to the ground, pelting people, pedestrians and pets with its sundered particles.
In the past I have felt a great deal of animosity towards schools stunts like this. But since we've been in Canada, things have been different. I really wanted to go to homecoming, and was sorry to miss it. Hockey games call my name as never before. And watching a five hundred pound pumpkin fall to the ground, explode with a resounding WHOMP! and throw gooey pieces all over people was totally awesome. I don't know if being in a different country changes my perspective or what, but I'm digging all the fun cliche things related to my new school.
I've been surprised by how much red there is in the fall color here.
This is the maple in our front yard.
The ivy that grows on the buildings on campus is red. I've never seen this kind before.
I wanted to show you some of the yellow trees, too.
And then John started to pose.
"Damn...I was going for pensive."
I promise I'll write real posts from now on, but I wanted to show you how pretty the leaves are. And we're done.
This is Doidge Park, a block from our house.
You may not have noticed,
but I'm really obsessed with the fall colors.
I thought the peak had already happened.
But I think it's happening now.
This is actually from my favorite tree, in my previous post, outside my office window.
Close up leaf shots are my new favorite thing.
I feel like this next one should be an album cover. But for what? 19th Century Lieder?
Just one more leafy post to follow, about the red ivy on campus.
The tree outside my office window has really been putting on a show for the past couple of months.
Gradually, I've been figuring out how best to take pictures of it, though it's so photogenic that most any picture looks alright.
That thing sticking out is the pair of pliers that we have to use to open the window. It's really fussy.
I love this tree.
It makes my office prettier.
I've also been learning how to take pictures close up.
This one (above) is one of my favorites.
Almost all the leaves are gone.
Rare out-door shot.
This last one is from today. It's rainy and cold. The leaves are pretty much gone. I'll give you an update when it's covered in snow.