Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Patch Your Jeans with a Little Monster!

I say it all the time, dear Reader: my husband is - at heart - a little kid. He saw a picture somewhere of denim patched to look like a monster face, and he asked, "Will you fix my jeans like that?" A fly on the wall might have thought the 24-year-old was joking, but it's like I said: little kid :)

I used:
  • holey jeans
  • hem tape
  • iron
  • felt (red, white, black)
  • embroidery floss (white)/needle

1. Supplies.

2. A hole. Get a husband who climbs trees all the time, and you'll surely find plenty of these in the closet.

3. Trim the fraying off the hole to make it look nice. (And to make it look how you want your monster's mouth to look).

4. Cut out a patch: cut piece of felt a couple inches bigger than the hole all the way around. Outline the patch with hem tape.

5. Turn the jeans inside out, center the patch over the hole (hem tape down), and iron it on. I ironed for much longer than the package suggested - just go until it's stuck, checking often to be sure nothing's burning :)

6. Turn them right-side-out and be excited about the monster mouth you just made.

7. Use embroidery floss to give the patch extra support (and to make the monster cuter). Then cut and sew whatever kind of monster face you want!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Stuffed Peppers w/ Sausage, Brown Rice, and Parmesan

These were delicious, dear Reader! I was apparently so excited to eat dinner that I forgot to take finished pictures, so the picture above is actually from before baking (and before the savory, gooey glob of mozzarella cheese that I melted on top). You can add really anything you want to the rice/sausage. I took the opportunity to use up my last little bit of summer salsa leftover from my last post :) Enjoy!

Stuffed Green Peppers with Sausage, Brown Rice, and Parmesan

(Adapted from here.)

1 cup brown rice
3 large green bell peppers
12 oz. sweet Italian sausage
1 large onion, diced
4 fresh mushrooms, diced
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. oregano
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese*
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
(I also added some leftover homemade summer salsa.)

*This makes it really cheesy. You can use less if you're not into that, but who are we kidding, dear Reader, of course you're into that!

NOTE: This is probably enough stuffing for 4 peppers - I packed these three really full.


Cook the rice. While it's cooking/simmering:
Cut the tops off the peppers. You may also have to trim the bottoms so that they sit straight up. Remove seeds and set aside in baking dish.

Brown and crumble the sausage in a skillet.
Meanwhile, dice the pepper trimmings, the onion, and the mushroom. Add to skillet. (At this point, I also added some homemade salsa I had leftover, including peppers, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and corn. Yoooooou can pretty much add whatever you want. :))
When sausage is browned, add fennel and oregano, then simmer covered for 3 - 5 minutes.

Add cooked rice and parmesan cheese to skillet, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer covered 5 minutes.

Finally, spoon the mixture into the peppers, and pack it tightly.
Bake 30 minutes at 375. Remove from oven and top each pepper with mozzarella. Bake 15 more minutes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fresh Summer Salsa

I've been wanting to try my own salsa for a while now. And because this week my farmers market was an endless walk of beautiful (inexpensive) peppers and tomatoes, I had no excuse not to. The recipe I came up with makes quite a lot - we ended up eating it with chips, on tacos, and even on salads. You could even jar some up and give it to a friend! It's delicious and tastes so fresh. (That said, use the freshest produce you can!)

Here's what I came up with:

1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans
1 cup yellow corn
1 medium avocado (not too ripe - mine was a tad under-ripe), chopped**
4 - 5 aruba sweet peppers (combination red, yellow, and orange), chopped
  • You can use bell peppers instead -  I used aruba peppers because they were dirt cheap and overflowing from my local farmers market :)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 T cilantro
1 lime (for juice)
black pepper
olive oil

**If you don't have an avocado that's a bit under-ripe, or if that just doesn't sound good to you, I'd leave out the avocado unless you're going to eat it right away. Ripe avocado browns quickly.

Drain garbanzo beans and place in medium bowl. Squeeze lime juice over beans.
Press garlic into beans, and add about 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Stir well.
Stir in corn and avocado.
Place bowl (uncovered) in refrigerator.
Chop the peppers and tomatoes. Be careful with that jalapeno ;)

Now put everything together!
Remove bean mixture from fridge.
Place 1/2 bean mixture in large bowl, followed by 1/2 pepper mixture, 2 T cilantro, and sprinkling of black pepper.
Mix gently with hands, just until incorporated.
Repeat the process (in the same bowl) for the rest.
Finally, drizzle with olive oil and mix one last time.
Buen apetito!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Best Fresh Lemonade

Good afternoon, dear Reader! It's a clear 68 degrees here in Redwood City, California, where the sun shines most all the time. Actually, the city's motto is "Climate Best by Government Test," as it once tied for world's best climate (with the Canary Islands and North Africa's Mediterranean Coast). Great job, little Redwood City!

Well, dear Reader, it's not that I don't enjoy the utopian weather - the crystal blue skies, the cotton candy clouds, the warm sun on my skin softened by a perfect breeze. But it's September. I've lived all my life in the Midwest, where September is the transition month to fall. It's supposed to be getting... fall-y-er - you know, with the chilly nights, the crisp mornings, and the leaves just beginning to turn?

Anyway I suppose I can't complain about getting to do more summer things, including indulging in the refreshing tastiness of perfect lemonade. So here we are with my new favorite lemonade recipe:

Best Fresh Lemonade - makes 1/2 gallon

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup lemon juice
7 cups cold water
lemon slices, for garnish
fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Boil 3/4 cup water. Remove from heat, add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate to cool. Once cooled, transfer to pitcher. Stir in 1 cup lemon juice and 7 cups cold water.
Garnish with lemon and mint.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cake Batter Pudding Cookies

If you like soft cookies, go ahead and preheat the oven now. These are quick, easy, and chewy-sweet delicious. The original recipe is from Nikki over at Chef in Training.


1 1/2 sticks (or 3/4 cup) butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 small (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup yellow cake mix, dry
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
sprinkles (I used candy-coated chocolate pieces, instead.)


Preheat oven to 350 F.
Stir together flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together.
Add in pudding package and cake mix and beat until well blended.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated.
Mix in sprinkles.
Roll into 1″ balls and place on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.

I yielded about 52 cookies. 

For those of you who aren't fans of soft cookies, you're in luck. I baked a couple dozen of these for a friend who's a "hard-cookie person" - you know the type :) Anyway I made those cookies a little smaller, and baked them for about 16 minutes. They were crispy and still delicious. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunshine Egg Sandwiches


Good morning, Sunshines! Just a little breakfast inspiration for your childish hearts. 

Big apology for the blurry pictures. I was just hungry, dear Reader, and Iwas more focused on getting food in my belly than giving attention to my camera settings... wops :)

It looks adorable, doesn't it? Well, I messed it up a bit when I flipped it. Works better with only one egg!
  1. Make some toast. 
  2. Use a cookie cutter to cut a shape out of one slice (per sandwich). 
  3. Heat some oil in a pan. Add your toast stencil, then crack an egg (or two) in the opening.

I cooked up some turkey bacon in the remaining oil, and added it to the un-cut toast slice with some cheddar cheese. Then I piled on the sunshine toast, and topped it off with the little sunshine cut-out - buttered. 

Have a Sunshine Day!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Triple Chocolate Cherry Cake (Happy Birthday to Me!)

Well, I'm 23. Twenty-three!

I'm no longer allowed the excuse that I "just" graduated from college, and, like many, I have to get used to not being in school for the first time in my life. I'm not doing very well with that, it seems, since I can tell that my body is just waiting for a school routine to start. Sorry, body, we're on our own this year.

So twenty-three is my kick in the butt to get good at making my own routine :)

Thanks to labor day, I was one of the lucky kids who got a three-day birthday weekend each year, and it's fantastic. This year I milked each day of it: one day to be lazy, one day to cook a big dinner and a fancy cake, one day to go on a (fantastic) hike through the redwoods.