57 Things Series · Food & Cooking

57 Things Series: Turban Squash

Have you ever seen turban squash at your local farmer’s market or grocery store? I was pretty intrigued when I came across some earlier this fall, and decided in the spirit of the 57 Things Series, I’d bring home the unfamiliar and find a way to prepare it for dinner (#40 on the list!).
These guys are pretty tough to crack open–I actually had to enlist Chad to help me, and even he had to cut it from the side instead of cutting off the “top of the hat” as most recipes suggest. He said the trick is to start at the bottom with your knife and to wedge it back and forth a bit. When raw, the squash smelled a lot like pumpkin. Its seeds looked a bit like pumpkin seeds too, but rounder.
After scooping out the seeds and pulp, I baked the squash. In the meantime I sauteed some veggies to mix with couscous and seasoning. From there I added the tender turban squash and mixed well before baking it altogether inside the shell of the squash. The verdict? Delicious!! It was a little labor intensive, but I definitely want to make it again soon. See the recipe below, adapted from this recipe, and try it for yourself!
stuffed-turban-squash-recipe                                                        Click to download

Have you tried any new foods lately?
xx Caitlyn

 

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57 Things Series · Food & Cooking

57 things series: never throw away edible food

When I told you about the picnic loaf I made,  I promised I’d tell you what I did with all the bread I pulled out from the center of the loaf. I know you’ve been waiting (okay, you probably totally forgot I even mentioned it), but this idea will have been worth the wait! At first, I considered making these meatballs, but then came along a chance to make this awesome, easy chickpea dish. A 5-Minute Chickpea Dinner Best Eaten On the Couch, by the TV photoThis 5-Minute Chickpea Dinner is part of Bon Appetit’s Cooking without Recipes series, and I absolutely love it! I didn’t have peas on hand, so I just used red pepper lightly cooked in the same pan I was toasting my bread in. Sooooo good you guys.
I was super happy to use every part of the bread I made, and–keeping with the spirit of Mottainai Grandma— I proceeded to use each and every part of the watermelon we had on our picnic, too. The white rind was used for Watermelon Rind Pickles, any pink or red shavings were used to make watermelon flavored water, the green rind was put in our compost, and we ate the inside just as it was.

Using up the bread and the watermelon are two good examples of fulfilling number 48 on the 57 Things List: Never throw away edible food (my original post on the 57 Things Series is here!).

What are some of your favorite ways to use every last bit of something edible?

xx Caitlyn

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Food & Cooking

Japanese style mixed bean pilaf

When I was staying at Aikku Hospital after having Lily, one of my favorite meals was on Setsubun: a bean pilaf, cabbage and seaweed soup, salad, drinkable yogurt, fruit salad, orange ice and a pack of setsubun beans. One day a couple weeks after coming home I was telling Chad how much I wanted to eat the pilaf again, and he threw together an awesome bean pilaf of his own.

I begged him to make it again the other day, and though I had to pull an arm and a leg to get ingredient approximations for a recipe to share with you, I’m proud to say I was successful!In the background you can see field mustard. Chad has been whipping up this simple green by boiling it and serving with ponzu and bonito flakes. Back home, field mustard is often considered a weed, but in Japan it’s a semi-expensive veggie side dish! Japanese Style Bean Pilaf
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 1/2 c rice
2 bouillon cubes (we used chicken)
1 Tbs butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed & diced
Salt to taste
2 tsp Oregano
1 Leek, thinly sliced
2 Tbs Rice vinegar
1 Tbs Lemon juice
1 can bean salad (or mixed beans of choice)
1/2 cup Corn
1 Avocado
Fresh parsley to taste

Directions

Prepare rice in rice maker and add crushed bouillon cubes to the water. We use Japanese rice, and prepare it in a rice maker, but you can choose your favorite rice and preparation method.

While the rice is cooking, sauté the onion & garlic in butter. Add the remaining ingredients except for parsley & avocado, and heat through.

Add finished rice and stir before folding in avocado and parsley.

Note: The bean pilaf I had at the hospital was served with a sliced boiled egg on top–a nice bit of additional protein! Also, this recipe is great because you can really be flexible with how much of each ingredient you add based on your personal tastes. We’re going to try adding edamame next time! It’s easy and delicious!

xx Caitlyn

Projects

How do you pin?

I pin fine thank you, and you? Actually, I’ve always pinned things on Pinterest just fine, but I realized recently that when I first started using Pinterest, I’d often pin things that weren’t really things I’d ever look at again (or at least very often). These days I try to pin more intentionally and less randomly, though I still have to pin occasional cute things on my Oh So Cute! board. (Um…can you blame me?)

In the past year, I’ve already changed a lot of my boards to be more specific. For example, I used to have just one board for food and drink, including breakfasts, desserts, you name it! It started to become a little overwhelming searching for recipes, so I ended up splitting the categories up. I recently did that for my craft board, too. Most of my Get Crafty pins are random, but I have a lot on hand lettering and art journaling, so I made a separate board for those pins. I also organized the layout of all of my boards, putting ones I frequently reference toward the top of my page, with similar categories next to each other.

Since we had a three-day weekend last weekend, I decided to go through my Books I Want to Read board and Movies I Want to Watch board. I deleted any books or movies I’d already read/watched, so that it’s easier or me to find ones I haven’t. I was thinking about doing the same thing with recipes I’ve tried (by printing the ones I liked and keeping them, and then deleting the ones I didn’t like). I haven’t decided yet how I feel about deleting movies/books if I liked them, but do I really need an extra board as a reminder of books/movies I liked? (Especially when I tend to note them in my art journal or here?)

Anyway, that’s how I’ve been approaching Pinterest as of late. I just want it to be a useful, organized tool. Here are a few things I’ve pinned lately:

Creamy Cheddar Polenta with Pesto and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes - The Simple Life | WillCookForFriends
Creamy Cheddar Polenta with Pesto and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
(After that divine polenta at Chez Olivier, I must make some of my own!)

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories
A book I want to read: My Paris Kitchen
(This pin is also a bit inspired by our visit to Chez Olivier…!)

quilling a maple leaf.
A Maple Leaf Quilling Tutorial (I’ve actually got a post coming soon on my first time paper quilling, checking that right off my summer bucket list for this year!)

What do you think? Do you have any special goals or organization techniques when you use Pinterest? Or do you just pin freely? What have you been pinning lately? How do YOU pin?

xx Caitlyn

Uncategorized

How I Spend My Me-Time (Tag, You’re IT!)

Me TimeToday I read a blog post–about a blog post–about me-time. Both posts invite readers to play along with a me-time questionnaire, so I’ve decided to give it a go myself!

What do you watch or read during me-time?
I tend to read a lot of articles online. I mean, a LOT. I also really enjoying reading blogs, crafty books and magazines, cookbooks and cooking magazines, and of course, BOOKS! As I mentioned before, right now I’m reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage.

What do you wear during me-time?
I could probably live in leggings. Or shorts over leggings. In the wintertime, fleece leggings.
IMG_1560Otherwise I love wearing running shorts and tank tops, hoodies, etc., and I’ve almost always got my red snuggie on when I’m lounging around the house. Oh yes! And I am rarely without slippers!
What are your me-time beauty products?
I actually don’t tend to go wild with beauty products during me-time. Once in a while I will use a face mask, like Garnier’s Skin Care Renew, or paint my toenails. I used to love the face masks in Japan–you could find tons of really inexpensive ones that worked really well and were really fun. I’ll keep you posted on some of my favorites when we get settled in next month!
Current favorite nail polish?
Unfortunately I’m not allowed to wear fingernail polish at work, but I loved this Sally Hansen Hot Tamale color in the summer, and I like this snowflake-like Blue Marks the Spot in the winter for my toesies.
What do you eat/drink during me-time?
It’s hard to really nail down a specific food for my me-time, but one of my favorite pastimes is exploring the worlds of chocolates, pastries and sweet breads.
If you know me at all, you must be able to guess that my beverage consumption tends to be almost on a daily routine: coffee in the morning, water throughout the day, and beer and/or tea at night. Favorite coffee at the moment? Probably Starbucks Christmas Blend. My favorite, favorite (favorite!) beer is Ranger from New Belgium Brewing Company. And my favorite tea? Tazo Refresh Mint or Henry & Sons Sencha.

Usually any moment I get to drink or eat anything counts as me-time, because eating and drinking are two of my favorite things.

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This is my favorite tea cup

Current favorite candle?
I love Bath & Body Works “Party Dress” scent (currently unavailable through their site, but you can find it on amazon!). Not only does it smell really nice, but it reminds me of when one of my best friends visited me from Japan last year (I bought it when we were shopping together!).
Do you ever have outdoor me-time?
Definitely! In the summer I love riding bike around town–especially to the library, little shops and the beach. I also enjoy running and going for walks in the summer. In the winter I go for a lot of walks (I have to, as a matter of fact, because my car was totaled about a month and a half ago. Luckily I live close to work!). I really enjoy listening to podcasts when I’m running or walking. My favorites are Dinner Party Download and Radiolab.
Would you ever go see a movie alone?
I’ve considered it, but if I were to see a movie by myself I think I’d rather just watch it at home (with my kitty cats and my snuggie).
Favorite online shop?
I don’t really do too much online shopping, but if I do I suppose it’s from amazon, and I usually order books.
What else do you do during me-time?
I do a lot of baking, cooking, writing and crafting (drawing, wood burning, painting, art journaling etc.) during my me-time.
IMG_1568I made these easy Mexican Wedding cookies yesterday and they were dangerously addicting!
I almost always am listening to music, too. I really like classical guitar music for me-time, especially when the weather is rainy. I also enjoy yoga when I’m not distracted by the million other things I want to do (I like Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown). Oh yeah, and going to cafes and bookstores. And art stores. Annnnnnnnd, I think I have way too many hobbies!
Okay, TAG! It’s your turn to tell me about your me-time 🙂
xxCaitlyn
Bookspiration · Food & Cooking

Bookspiration: Dame Eyola’s Lemon Tart

This weekend was full of Easter treats! I made some super easy, dangerously yummy Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Easter Eggs, some pretty pastel-colored deviled eggs, and a lovely lemon tart.

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Pretty Deviled Eggs ❤

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Sweet treats: top left and right: Chocolate Peanut Butter Easter Eggs (made for work, but definitely sampled at home!), bottom left: my mom’s amazing carrot cake, and bottom right: too many desserts! Carrot Cake, Lemon Tart & Cheesecake.

I decided to make the lemon tart in honor of Dame Eyola from The Neverending Story. The recipe is sort of a glorified lemon bar recipe, but I figured Dame Eyola grew fabulous fruit, so why not glamor up a lemon bar recipe with her in mind?

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Dame Eyola’s Lemon Tart

Ingredients

1 1/4 c. chilled butter                                     2 c. sugar

2 c. all-purpose flour                                     1/4 c. lemon juice

1 c. powdered sugar (plus a little extra for dusting)

4 eggs                                                                candied lemon zest

                                                                          blueberries (for garnish)

IMG_04311. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Then cut butter into flour and powdered sugar until crumbly; press into an ungreased tart pan. Make sure you spread the crust high enough over the edges that you’ll have a high “wall” for holding in the lemon filling later. Bake for 30 minutes.

IMG_04352. Meanwhile, you can make your candied lemon zest. I didn’t take any pictures of the process, but it’s super easy and wonderful directions and pictures can be found by clicking here. Basically, you zest a lemon (the directions say to peel and slice the zest, but I just used my zester), boil the zest in a sugar-water simple syrup, drain it, dry it, and coat in more sugar. Can’t go wrong! Set your zest aside and make your filling. Squeeze out the lemon juice from your zested lemon (it should equal about a 1/4 cup, at least), or use lemon juice from a jar. Then blend eggs, sugar and lemon juice together.

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Here is my crust after pulling it out of the oven.

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3. Slowly pour lemon mixture over crust. (Be careful!–I got a little over excited and some of my filling spilled over the sides of my crust, leaking through the bottom of my tart pan and onto the counter! *cries*) Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes; cool.

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Here is the tart after cooling.

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4. Once the tart has cooled, sift some powdered sugar on top for decoration.

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5. Next, add your pretty candied lemon zest.

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6. Lastly, add some blueberries for a nice, colorful contrast. The tart will taste best chilled, so I recommend keeping it refrigerated for at least an hour before serving.

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Oo la la!

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Enjoy!

I had a lot of fun making and eating Easter delights over the weekend, and was happy to make Dame Eyola’s Lemon Tart: a spring treat that was book-inspired! Did you enjoy any special treats over the weekend?

Bookspiration · Food & Cooking

Bookspiration: Chocolate Maple Roll Cake

I was thinking more about A Tale for the Time Being, and how it takes place with Ruth in Canada, and Nao in her diary in Japan. I decided to make some sort of recipe that combined something common in Japan with something common in Canada, and after a few sad experiments with my takoyaki maker I had to give up for a night. However, that was yesterday, and this is today. I thought some more about my fusion experiment, and decided I should make a roll cake!

The first time I ever had a roll cake was in Japan, and I loved how light and subtly sweet it was. So today I asked myself, “What if I made a roll cake that had the airy, softly sweet elements that the ones I tried in Japan had, and somehow incorporated maple into it?” I did a little research, and came up with a recipe that created a lovely cake. I hope you like it!

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Chocolate Maple Roll Cake

Ingredients:

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Chocolate Sponge:

butter, for greasing

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa

sugar, for sprinkling

rose from your hot husband (optional)

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Maple Cocoa Whip

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 Tbs cocoa

4 Tbs maple syrup

Directions:

IMG_03701. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and grease and line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Use an electric whisk to whisk together the eggs and sugar until thick.

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2. Sift together the flour and cocoa in a separate bowl before folding a little at a time into the whisked egg and sugar mixture.

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3. Once everything had been evenly incorporated, pour into your prepared pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly touched. (Be extra careful here–I got a bit distracted and cooked mine slightly too long!)

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4. Once the cake is finished baking, wring a clean dish towel in hot water and spread it on your workspace. Line the towel with wax paper or parchment paper (though wax is probably better! I used parchment and the cake stuck to it a bit). Sprinkle a little sugar along the paper, and then flip your sponge on top. Carefully peel back the parchment that was on the bottom.

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5. Cut off the edges of the cake.

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7. Carefully roll up the cake, “hamburger” style, and set aside with the seam facing down.

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8. Next it’s time to make some fabulous whipped cream! I was so pleased with how mine turned out. Pour the heavy whipping cream into a bowl and add the cocoa. Whip until fluffy peaks start to form and the cream gains a whipped consistency.

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9. Next, fold in the maple syrup. Try your best to resist sticking your face in the bowl once everything has been mixed together because the whip. will be. YUMMY.

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10. Carefully unroll the cake and spread ample amounts of the maple cocoa whip inside, leaving a little space at the edges so it doesn’t ooze out too much.

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11. Re-roll the cake, and add more of the maple cocoa whip on the outside.

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12. Drizzle a little bit of maple syrup on top.

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13. Sift a little cocoa powder on for a final touch (I got a little carried away on one end, but who’s going to complain about extra cocoa!?).

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14. And enjoy! My cake was cooked just the teeniest bit too long, so it wasn’t quite as spongy and light as I would have liked, but my maple cocoa whip cream was so heavenly that I didn’t mind at all. Let me know if you try the recipe and how it turns out! 🙂

xx