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Page Turners

16 Feb

So what have I been reading?! I am trying to read lots about food to keep my research for my senior project fresh and up to date. My sister recommended this book, and it is so on point with the research I am doing. I highly recommend Animal Vegetable Miracle to anybody interested in food, and where the heck it comes from! She explains how the role of the woman has changed and this influenced how we cook. The recipes that I have from my grandparents, great grandparents, and great-great grandparents, are from a time when the women’s role was to stay home and cook. When women got jobs in the work force (yipeee) we let the quality of food we eat slip, hello TV dinners (oh no…) This is a small portion of the book, but it put everything in perspective for me, why we eat the way we eat, and how America got here. Don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that I get to work (as an equal with men), but I can’t let these recipes be forgotten! Kingsolver explains that cooking doesn’t take long and we can have our cake and eat it too! The main point of the book is Kingsolver and her family eats local food, only local food, for 1 year! They eat the food of their land and the book is the journey through the seasons, and how they survive.

Okay, so I won’t brag about this book anymore, I dote on Michael Pollan enough. But I would say my project is loosely based on his rule, “Don’t eat anything you grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” This is hard for me because I love many foods that I imagine my grandmother wouldn’t recognize (uh…chili cheese fritos? Or anything ending in ‘ito’ for that matter). Just read this book. okay? Watch Food Inc., just fall in love with this guy, you won’t regret it.


Stylish Blogger Award

11 Feb

I got an blog award today!!! (yipee!!) From an amazing blogger, Angie! Her blog is filled with information on how to live an earth friendly lifestyle! I love her funny stories about her adorable family, and great tips on easy things you can do to be kind of mother nature!

Look at how sparkly my award is 🙂

Here’s the blog award rules!

The rules:
1. Thanks and link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3.Give the award to 15 other bloggers

About me:

1. I love learning how to cook new foods, and experiment with cooking my favorite meals dairy free.

2. I graduate undergrad in 78 days, not that I am counting.

3. I love doodling.

4. Don’t call me Mandy.

5. I’m drinking an Oatmeal Stout from the New Holland Brewery right now, and it is fantastic.

6. I love being organized, but I don’t have enough time to be hyper-organized.

7. I wish I had more time to read for fun, and exercise, maybe post graduation?!

And now my 15 favorite blogs!

1. Sew French, it’s my mom and she likes to cook too, and she gave birth to me.

2. Pioneer Woman, I want to be her when I grow up, I might have mentioned that before

3. Vegan Yum Yum, It’s a blog I just started reading, great photos and good recipes!

4. Tartelette, I want to be her when I grow up too

4. Tastespotting, it’s not really a blog, but rules are made to be broken.

5. Joy The Baker, she is so sweet!

6. Huffington Post, the most read blog, check out the food section

7. Bakers Royale, beautiful photos

8. A Cozy Kitchen, really cute food ideas

9. Foodie in Motion, Casey shares great smoothie recipes that have inspired me to make green smoothies a part of my life!

10. Fragrante Delicia, more great food photos!

11. Elyse Flynn, follow one of my classmates progress through her sr. show!

12. Mike Schulz, another classmate and his progress to our sr. show!

13. Design Sponge, I actually don’t read this blog because it just reminds me how little time I have for fun crafts!

14. Etsy, It’s not a blog but I can’t not mention it, it’s just too good.

15. Food Buzz, a great way to find new food blogs, it lists the top food blogs daily.

whoa, that is a lot of great blogs, you should click a few, you won’t regret it!


9 Feb

Pioneer woman…YOU’RE KILLING ME!!! Type cookies!!! I mean, typography on COOKIES!! Why didn’t I think of this….ughhhh.

I mean it’s really all my favorite things combined. My type of dessert mixed with type, genius.

This is so cute, I can’t wait to make something these! Enough said.


Cooking Dairy Free

27 Jan

You’re probably wondering where the heck I have been!! I have had the flu all week, it’s just not winter until you get the flu! I haven’t felt like cooking, or eating much for that matter. But today I started to get hungry, and since it’s been blizzarding all week and I have been sick, soup seemed like the perfect meal!

My mom got this awesome cookbook for me for Christmas. It’s become my new favorite, the pages are already getting sticky fingerprints which is a tell tale sign that it’s a great cookbook. It’s a vegan cookbook, but don’t flip out! It’s not scary at all! The author uses really simple ingredients, things that I am able to find at my local produce section. People always assume things so quickly when they hear the word vegan, that it’s going to be rabbit food, and tofu. But this is so wrong! I’ve realized that cooking without dairy for me is a great challenge, it’s about finding a way to cook my favorite foods without dairy, but still have flavorful, creamy, rich meals. I’m not vegan, even though I don’t eat dairy (due to an allergy) and most meats, but vegan recipes are the easiest way for me to be inspired and not tempted by things like cheese, and well…cheese. (It’s been a difficult break up, but we are moving on, we’re seeing other people). Oh, and did I mention that the cookbook is organized by color!! Because we all know we need to eat more colorful food! It’s good recipes and it’s well designed, what else do you need? And no, the author isn’t paying me to brag, it’s just a cookbook I really believe in.

I made two recipes out of this cookbook today, the first is a butternut squash soup. I thought this would be great for curing the flu because it has tons of onion, ginger, and garlic, wonderful for knocking a cold right out of ya! This soup is super easy, you just roughly chop up all your ingredients (which I love, you don’t have to spend a lot of time chopping), boil, and puree. The ingredients were simple, onion, garlic, ginger, potato, squash, o.j., and vegetable broth. And it’s rich and creamy, almost like a cream based soup!

The soup & the book!

The second recipe I made was a blueberry breakfast bar. Delicious granola like bar with gooey blueberry raspberry filling. Luckily I have some frozen blueberries from this summer! Also contains flaxseed, a ingredient I am trying to start to cook with more! Tip: I ground up some flaxseed (it’s nutrients more effective if the shells are broken) and put the leftovers in shaker container that I store in my freezer. This way I have no excuse not to shake some flax seed on all my meals.


Even though this blog is about me trying to accurately cook my way through my family history I sometimes cheat. (gasp!) I am guilty of substituting cream and butter with dairy free options (vegan butter, and almond milk mainly). Feel free to experiment with substitutions, there is no law that says family recipes have to remain exactly the same, nobody will notice if you use almond milk and lemon juice instead of buttermilk in grandmas biscuits, so why not do it, if it means a healthier you! (and remember, when you are sick it is best to stay away from dairy anyway!)

Sunday Night Rice Pudding Tastes Good Every Night

17 Jan

This recipe is originally from my paternal grandmother, Suzanne. But I always remember my mother cooking it. We called it Sunday Night Rice Pudding, because often on a lazy Sunday my mom would cook this in the evening for dessert. This is not a dish you make just any day, it is a special treat. Nothing tastes better than a warm bowl of comforting rice pudding on a cold winter night. I share this recipe with you because it is very unique. I looked around on the web and not many people make rice pudding with egg. The egg makes it very rich and thick.

½ c. rice in a cup of boiling water.

Lid on and cook 7 minutes.

Add 1 quart of whole milk. And ½ stick of butter. Stir a little bit, then cover and cook on low heat for 1 hour. Beat 3 eggs (remember to temper the eggs!!), ½ c. sugar, 1 tsp. good quality vanilla. Pour into rice mixture, whisking quickly. Serve with sugar and cinnamon.

I make this recipe with vegan butter and almond milk and it is just as rich and satisfying! Also good with raisins and nutmeg on top, or for a special breakfast treat add sliced banana on top! For an Indian twist add cardamom, coconut milk, golden raisins, and pistachios.


Butter That Questions If It Is Butter?

14 Jan

I hate that people don’t know what they’re eating. Literally, nobody reads ingredients , we consume food and we have no idea what the actual contents are. I was at my local grocer today and saw this tub of butter. I was so apaulled I had to snap a picture. You might be wondering what this has to do with my cookbook? Everything. Like I have said many times before, if your grandma wouldn’t recognize it than don’t eat it. And that is part of the motivation for me to write this cookbook containing my families recipes that have been passed down for generations. It’s not always about eating ‘healthy,’ but it is about eating real food. And if your food is asking you if it’s real, than chances are it’s not a good choice. I hope this picture disgusts you as much as it does me.

Butter asking you if it is butter. Who designs this crap? And who approves it?

salsa, pickles, chocolate, these are a few of my favorite things

4 Jan

Got up this morning to lots of snow outside. It’s beginning to look like Michigan here, we had a brief moment of spring weather, but it’s back to reality. Thought I would get some more photography done this morning. Enjoy!

Nana's chocolate carmel pecan bars, very tasty

Mom's pickles, nothing tastes better

The bits in the bottom that make the pickles taste so good

SALSA!!!! It is my favorite snack. My mom created this top secret recipe, and it is the best salsa in the world. No really, it probably is.

snowball cookies, you may have already seen photos of these, but I decided to take them again and see what I could do