Thursday, November 7, 2013

Busy, busy, busy!

Oh hey! It's a chilly, wet morning here in Northeast Ohio. Kinda what it's supposed to be like in November, right? I'm hoping it dries up enough to get a good 2-3 mile walk in this afternoon. Walking is my favorite exercise and I've been slacking this year.

Today's post is going to have lots of pictures. I am one of those annoying people who has to stay busy all the time. Even when I'm sitting, watching TV in the evenings I'll be crocheting or knitting...or I may have something baking in the oven. So today I'm gong to show you what keeps me busy on a normal day.

Remember all those pumpkins I've been cooking? Well they had tons of seeds! As a child I never roasted pumpkin seeds but now, as an adult, I hate to waste anything! And they're so delicious.
Never having done this, I learned through trial and error. Everyone has their opinion on how to roast and season pumpkin seeds. I had no idea it was so controversial  hahaha! The first time, I just washed them and baked them with oil and salt. The tutorial said to make sure to stir them and not let them brown. These taste OK but they're a little chewy, maybe they're not quite cooked enough. So the next batch I found a tutorial that suggested boiling them for a few minutes and then roasting them. This worked much better and the seeds are definitely crunchy and taste cooked...but the boiling turns them and ugly grey color. Hmmmph...This last batch (pictured above) were soaked in water for 2 days and then roasted. As you can see, I let them brown up a bit. By far these are my favorite! Perfectly crunchy and coarse sea salt is delicious. How do you like to roast your pumpkin seeds?

Sunday I went to visit a friend with a new baby! Yay, babies! And I didn't go empty handed. I took over a quart of soup, some homemade mac and cheese, applesauce, spiced pears and some homemade veggie burgers. These burgers are so good and so easy! I made 8 patties, froze half for her and half for me. I ate one Monday night for dinner on a piece of home baked bread with some cheddar and tomato jam - open faced.

Black Bean-Quinoa Burgers
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked (or canned) black beans
1/2 cup corn
1 egg
2 cloves diced garlic
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt

I added all ingredients together and pulsed in my food processor. Formed 8 good sized patties on a parchment lined baking sheet and froze them. This is one of those recipes that can be adjusted easily. Vegan? Substitute flax seed for the egg. Want them spicier? Add some jalapeno.
Let me know what you come up with! So much better than store bought.

I also baked up a couple loaves of pumpkin pecan bread using a basic recipe from Joy The Baker's cookbook. One of these is for my friend, Charlie, before he leaves again to create amazing skate parks all over the country! The other went into the freezer. You never know when you might need a loaf of vegan pumpkin bread!

Before leaving for work yesterday I whipped up a couple women's winter beanies using a free pattern I found on Ravelry . I had a request for the tweed one from a California friend and this pattern is so easy!
Then I came home last night to find this lovely cookbook in the mail. I may or may not have a cookbook there a 12-step program for that? This book is amazeballs though!! Really!
You mix up a simple batch of dough, no kneading or fancy equipment. Refrigerate the dough and just cut off pieces to bake fresh over the next 2 weeks. You heard me right - 2 WEEKS! As the dough ages, the flavor changes a bit like a natural sourdough. And you can make so many different things...bagels, breadsticks, naan, etc.
I. Can't. Wait.

I suppose that's about enough for today. I could keep going but this computer has been giving me fits lately and I don't want to push my luck.

Ta ta for now!