eat! craft! live!

Baking, crafting, mama-ing and taking photos of it all. When I remember.


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No Spend 2019 – Jan/Feb update

So, now that it’s March, are you wondering how I did with my spending in January and February?

Probably not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

It wasn’t until a little ways into January that I decided to be intentional about my spending this year, so there were a few purchases that slipped into the beginning of the month that I may not have made otherwise. (Some home stuff, a new [secondhand] dress, skincare products.)

Interestingly, my February spending on home improvement actually went up…by a fair amount. Oops! I bought some under cabinet organizers and a new toilet seat to replace our cracked one. My household bills were about the same – they really only change with the weather and it isn’t warm yet. I spent less on gas & tolls – entirely because of February vacation and not driving my kids to school every day that week. I spent slightly more on groceries and far more on eating out, which I also attribute almost entirely to February vacation. I spent much less on personal care (no new skincare products this month!) and clothing. I did end up buying a pair of leggings because I wear them religiously and my many pairs are starting to become hole-y. (See what I did there?)

It was also my birthday this month and I did choose to spend birthday money on fun* stuff instead of getting ahead financially. All work and no play, y’know… And thus, I now own proper bread proofing baskets, a fancy lame, and some lightweight lidded containers so I no longer have to lug around a heavy glass bowl. My bread today was fabulous, yes.

Screen Shot 2019-03-03 at 5.13.49 PM

Cranberry walnut sourdough. Amazing.

*I am now at an age where fun = bread baking supplies and storage systems. Yup.


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airplane cupcakes

tiny planes!

I wanted to incorporate something that H loves into his cupcakes…but what? Tractors? Cars? Somebody else’s shoes? I finally decided on airplanes. I really wanted more generic airplanes, but the ones from Disney’s Planes were on clearance at Target…so! (And, interestingly, E picked out a plane from the movie for H for Christmas and none of us realized it at the time. A recurring accidental theme!)

With simple blue frosting, some puffy white clouds and tiny planes – perfection! The kids at the party loved it. (The grown ups liked ’em too.)

tiny planes!

Cake & frosting recipes from Scratch Baking Co.


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cherries!

Well, they’re finally gone.

This was the last of them. Delicious!

the last of the cherries...

I slipped a photo in a couple weeks ago on a photo Friday and it wasn’t at all clear, I don’t think, just how many cherries 18 pounds is.

Um, it’s a lot.

Why did I buy 18 pounds of cherries? I am a sucker. No, actually, they were on sale at Whole Foods, as they do one day per year, for less than $2/lb. And I’m a sucker. (And I really, really love cherries.)

Thanks heavens I’d already ordered a cherry pitter…

So what did I do with them all? Here’s the final tally:

1 half gallon of cherry bounce
6 half pints of cherry lime jam (using Pomona’s pectin)
6 half pints of “holiday cherries” (think pickled with festive spices, from Canning for a New Generation)
2 pints of cherry butter, from Food in Jars
1 batch of cherry cream cheese brownies
and 1 cherry pie (my first!) which apparently was the only thing I actually photographed. (It was awfully pretty.)

my first cherry pie!

Plus, uncountable bowls, handfuls and dishes of fresh cherries. We all had sticky purpley-red fingers for days, if not weeks. Nothing better!


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summer veggie torta

summer vegetable torta

With summer just getting going here, some of these veggies are still not quite ready in our local markets, but I know a lot of you are probably already seeing delicious summer produce! And I’m antsy, so I just get what I need at the grocery store in order to get an early taste of summer. This torta is packed with veggies, literally packed. It’s so packed that every time I make it I have my doubts it will actually fit in the pan. (It does. Barely.)

It’s a delicious mixture of veggies, eggs and cheese, which is pretty much my perfect meal. It makes 8 big slices and the torta is so tall that they’re really quite filling.

My only warning is to start it early because it has to bake for a while. In our household, it’s best left for a weekend evening.

Don’t these guys just scream summer?

zukes

Sometimes I use frozen hashbrowns, sometimes I don’t. It sort of depends on how much filler I want on a given day.

cheese

Have you guys used this stuff? Frozen garlic cubes! It’s so easy and quick. Normally I’m all about the “real” thing, but in the case of garlic, this stuff wins me over. Whenever I cut up real garlic my hands smell like garlic for days afterward, no matter how much hand washing I do. This keeps my hands free of garlic-smell and it’s a super time saver!

garlic

The original recipe called for beating the cream cheese until smooth and incorporating it into the egg mixture. I a) am too lazy to do that and b) really love finding little chunks of delicious creamy cheese in the torta and c) also really love finding slightly crisped little chunks of creamy cheese on the top of the torta. Basically, I just really love little lumps of cheese.

cubed cream cheese

You’ll need a big pan to saute all those delicious vegetables…

sauteing

summer veggie torta
modified from here

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 red peppers (or 1 red, 1 yellow), sliced into 1/4 inch strips OR 1 12 oz jar marinated red peppers, drained well and cut into 1/4 inch wide strips
  • 1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes, optional
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 oz. grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F and brush or spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with oil. Wrap outside of pan with aluminum foil.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, zucchini, fresh peppers (if using) and hash browns (if using). Saute until vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes, adding garlic near the end to avoid burning it.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs with half and half. Stir in basil and salt. Drain off as much liquid from the sauteed veggies as possible, then add to egg mixture. Add drained marinated peppers, if using those instead of fresh ones. Stir to combine. Gently fold in cubes of cream cheese.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with grated cheddar cheese. Bake for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours or until top is puffy and golden brown and the center no longer jiggles when shaken. (This takes slightly longer in my sad little oven. Be patient.) Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes in pan, then run a sharp knife around edges to loosen. Gently remove pan sides. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold. (It is easier to slice the torta the longer it cools.)

summer vegetable torta