Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Delight

Strawberry Fields Forever
Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry season in Oregon. It is a coveted time that I eagerly await each year. Now, I grew up in California where sunshine and berries are plentiful almost year round. I will say Cali strawberries are tasty, however, they’re crap compared to Oregon berries.

Yes, crap. The berries you can get at the supermarket are good. They’re big, red-ish, usually sweet and look pretty when delicately laid on a cake. But Oregon berries… They’re smaller, usually a deep dark red and are bursting with sweet goodness. Seriously, you could make jam with them without adding a single grain of sugar. Slice some into a cup of honey greek yogurt and you have a most delicious, healthy treat. But summer is coming and I think that all dairy based treats should be in frozen form for optimal body temperature regulation!

Berry stands are just starting to pop up all over out here, but I was in a rush so I grabbed a few cartons of berries from the store just to try this recipe out. Needless to say it was very successful and I will be making these over and over and over while the Oregon berries are here. I even ordered more popsicle molds to accomplish this!
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I’d tap that… Magic Night Chili

Magic Night ChiliMen are coming.

Sure most of them are your run of the mill type nerds, but they’re also men. They hunger, for competition and MEAT. (Not that I’m saying women don’t also enjoy a platter of dead animal, but our playgroup is 99% dudes most times.)

I love these kinds of meals for our gaming groups. I can cook a giant tub of food and they dish up to their desire. Add a bag of corn chips or some freshly baked corn bread and they’ll go until they’re stuffed or the chili runs out. The latter doesn’t happen too often, this makes a ton of chili! Seriously, I barely have room to stir in my 6 quart cooker. Well, without making a huge mess. So make sure you have a LARGE pot or just halve the recipe. Do what you want, I’m not your boss.

Using the slow cooker is awesome for this as well. Not only does the long cooking make the flavors super intricate, I set it to cook in the morning and by time the guys all show up it’s ready to go at any time! This allows them to get a few games in to work up a hunger or some to eat now and some to eat later without ever having to reheat, just keep it on warm.

The original recipe I pulled this from uses a ton of beans and that’s cool, but I have picky eater issues with them still and because I’m the chef here, I do what I want! So beans are out, making this the meatiest chili you can handle! It’s also pretty spicy, so if you are more ‘sensitive’ you may want to cut back on the spicy ingredients. It’s no 2AM Chili but it’s damn fine in my book.

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Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot Piiiiiiiieeeee

As summer draws to a close I start to get really excited. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love summer. There was a point in my childhood where I basically lived in the pool my every waking moment. But that’s the thing isn’t it? Summer is made for outside activities, not cooking (unless it’s a BBQ of course). So as we get closer to fall and winter and the days get cooler and nights even more so, baking can again return to the kitchen without having to run the AC to counteract.

The fall brings with it delicious, starchy veggies that just beg to be made into soups and stews that warm your insides while the outside world starts to get cold, windy and wet. I know we’ve still got almost 2 weeks until fall technically starts, but here in Oregon we got our first rain since July. So dinner tonight almost begged to be a chicken soup type dish. And if you’re going to do chicken soup, why not make it even more amazing by making it pie?!

Chicken Pot Pie

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You are not prepared!

…for the best shredded chicken for tacos EVER.

Ok ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but I haven’t had better…yet.

These are somewhat similar to my beef tacos so far as I cook them both in a slow cooker and use all the same toppings. The only thing with these is the ingredients are stupidly simple. Now, I COULD say they’re “So easy a caveman could do it” but I prefer, it’s so easy that if my cat had thumbs she would be making this daily. (Of course the cat having thumbs would probably create a whole ‘nother set of problems that this world is just not prepared for.)

After I made this amazing chicken and fed it all to my very, very lucky coworkers I still had some leftovers. Now I could probably eat these tacos for a week straight, but why not mix it up in form a little?

Enter the Tostada!

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A little Japanese nomnomnom

It doesn’t matter how busy you get, there’s always time for food… cause you kinda need it to live! So here I am, up for air from my busy days to give you a little food. This is a little dish I’ve had for years. After becoming a huge anime nerd in the late 90’s (Go Sailor Moon!), my hobbies led me to become obsessed with Japanese cuisine for a while. Not so much the anime fiend anymore, the craving for things like teriyaki, miso soup, sushi, ramen and more have stayed and branched into other areas like Chinese and most recently, Vietnamese.

But, back to where it started! Being heavily into all things Japanese I jumped at any chance to eat at what had become my favorite restaurant that served giant plates of chicken teriyaki and vegetable tempura. While the main course was delicious in of itself, the little salad I would receive before hand is what woke up my mouth with excitement. Enter Sunomono, or Japanese Cucumber Salad!

Oooo tangy

It’s a tart, tangy and sweet dish with very few ingredients and is good almost any time of the day. Cucumber, vinegar, lemon juice, little sugar and NOM, you have an awesome snack that isn’t half bad for you. Even my mom, who previously disliked cucumbers, likes it. So take that!

So as the weather warms up and we start doing our picnic thing, try out some Sunomono instead of a plain ‘ol salad. It’s nomnomnom.
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I love the little tacos…

Taco, burrito, wrap, thing.... I dub thee TRAPITTO!
Taco, burrito, wrap, thing…. I dub thee TRRAPITO!

Ah taco night. We’ve been good friends since I was just a wee one with teeth, but as I have grown and changed, you haven’t. This isn’t to say I hate you, Taco Night. I just don’t feel the passion that once was. Your spices have become bland and I feel we have fallen into a flavor rut. No, don’t cry! I’m notl ready to part ways, but perhaps we can try some cookbook counseling to put the passion and flavor back in our relationship. Continue reading “I love the little tacos…”

Best Cookbook EVER

ULTIMATE COSMIC POWER! Itty bitty counter space.

There’s nothing like having a good cookbook. A source you can trust for recipes aplenty. I found myself in the bookstore the other day, browsing as I do (You can really only ever browse when you have no money…) and found myself in the cookbook section. So many books dazing me with their colorful covers. I’m sure the staff thought I had gone comatose and other customers took wide paths around the drooling mannequin that I was. After a loud gaggle of women passing awoke me from my dream state, I picked up a few books and thumbed through them to see if there was a collection I’d want to purchase.

Alas, the internet has jaded me. Where were the comments, ratings, and search button? How would I know that this recipe would suit me right out of the book? Would it be too spicy, too bland? Do I need to do a little kitchen dance to get the dough to rise properly? After having treated myself to so many delicious meals, how could I force myself to endure possible mediocrity?! So home I headed, empty handed, but happy in knowing the internet can provide me with the foody goodness I seek and all for free.

So that brings me to the best cookbook ever. My laptop. A wifi connection, a place out of harms way in my kitchen and I have a cookbook of thousands of recipes. Not to mention its other abilities to keep you entertained while you cook! Load up YouTube for some funnies or how to ice that cake you’re baking, read the news or fire up Pandora for some music to go with my magic dough dance. And if you have the kitchen demons like I do, throw a little cling wrap over it. As you can see for mine, it’s on the bar ABOVE my working area so it stays fairly clean.

Remember, if it loads web pages, you have the Best Cookbook EVER.

Paula, Destroyer of Kitchens

destroyerI like to cook, a lot. The people around me would have me believe I do it quite well, my own tongue would agree with them. Little do they know of the deep dark chaos that surrounds this crafty art. Short of my husband and parents, few have witnessed the carnage that is left in the wake of a day of my cooking. Try as I might to keep counters and stoves clean, the simple act of me entering the kitchen seems to unlock a Pandora’s box of food particles.

As if possessed by mighty kitchen demons, the food I touch spreads across the flattest, cleanest surfaces of the kitchen congealing almost instantly into rock hard food cement. No matter the precautions taken, the demons find their way to these surfaces and latch on as if it is the only thing to save them from a fiery hell. Alas, this mighty sacrifice of clean brings upon a meal of much deliciousness and happiness to all stomachs that take on its foody goodness. Once the meal is consumed and the kitchen emptied, the demons slip back into their domain, leaving their food handholds in tact. After the demonic food storm has passed, the kitchen may be reentered and a sponge and soap acquired. The gore shall be washed away… until next time.

And this is why sometimes I have no posts to make. Busy cleaning the kitchen! 😀