Doggy Mama

The past couple weeks have been crazy with my dance show, final exams and projects, and finally packing up and coming home for the break! I’ve been in sunny California for a few days now, never changing out of my pajamas. Perfect.

cookie-cutters

One of the things I miss most about home when I’m away, besides In N Out, is my dogs. Living in a house with no dogs feel so lonely! I made these the other day as an extra special treat for my puppies.

doggy-biscuits

Peanut Butter Banana Dog Biscuits
Makes about 3 dozen.

Ingredients
1 C peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 egg
3/4 C milk
1 Tbsp dried parsley (for doggies with fresh breath!)
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 3/4 C flour

Instructions
1.
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, banana, egg, and milk.
3. Stir in parsley and baking powder. Gradually add flour, mixing until a thick dough forms.
4. Roll out dough to about 1/4″ thick. Cut as desired.
5. Bake for 20 min, flip over, then bake another 15 min.
6. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

munchkin

I think they were a hit!

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24,000

So I live in New York now? That’s kind of weird to think about. I have a really great job, which I love. I get free meals at work, which is super awesome, but it means I rarely get the chance to cook! It’s hard to keep a kitchen stocked when you only have the chance to eat at home 2 days a week, and even then, I’m in New York City! I want to explore!!

Apparently New York has about 24,000 restaurants. I’m starting to keep a list of places I want to go, but so far the only place I’ve eaten besides work and my own apartment is Chipotle…

On one of my first days here, I met up with a friend at a food festival on Ninth Ave. It was pretty cool! It was blocked off for fifteen blocks, and the whole street was packed with people and vendors.

A lot of people were cooking, and the smells attracted plenty of customers.

Lots of fried food, of course, but there was no shortage of desserts either.

There were also booths selling dried fruit, nuts, loose teas, and spices!

I ended up having pad thai for lunch and a candy apple for dessert. I guess things like this happen pretty often during the summer, so I’ll have to check out more of them.

Disasters in Food

Let me preface this post by saying that I’m moving out in a week. A few days after that, I’m leaving the country. So the last thing I want to do is collect things in my kitchen.

I really wanted to bake today, but I only had about 2/3 cups of flour left and I didn’t want to buy more. I found a recipe for strawberry lemonade cupcakes I wanted to try, and decided to cut it in half – only make six cupcakes. My mom always says sometimes things can go wrong when you scale down a recipe even if you keep the proportions the same, but I figured, hey? It’s just cupcakes. It should be fine.

So I got my fruit…

 

And I made my batter…

And I baked my cupcakes (look, that’s me in the teapot!)…

And then I took the cupcakes out of the pan. This is when things went wrong. See, I really like using silicone pans – you don’t have to use paper liners or grease it or anything. If I had baked these with regular paper liners, all would’ve been fine. Sure, they would’ve been pretty messy to eat, but they would still taste good. But with this, when I took them out of the pan, they fell apart. The top half completely separated from the bottom on every single one! I even tried transferring them to individual silicone liners, but it still didn’t work right. But the cake still tasted good, so I decided to go ahead and crumble up the cake for cake pops. I should’ve quit while I was ahead.

So I crumbled…

And I made the strawberry lemon buttercream frosting, so delicious…

And then, as cake pops usually go, I mixed the frosting into the cake. Unfortunately, still flustered over the previous mishap, right off the bat I put way too much frosting into my cake. It turned to mush. But I thought, it’s okay. It sucks, but it’s okay. Let’s put it into the freezer for awhile and see if it helps. And it did! It helped a lot. So I made my cake balls, dipped them in white chocolate and had cake pops. I even photographed them all pretty.

Then I ate one. It was like sugar-butter on a stick. No wonder they were so mushy.

The moral of the story: Don’t cut already small recipes in half. And when you do, use paper liners.

Gonna be honest, I didn’t cook this weekend.

Not really, anyway. On Saturday night I threw some quinoa in the rice cooker with vegetable broth, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. That’s all.

That’s because this weekend was JAM PACKED. Thursday night my boyfriend came for my birthday, so we were busy all weekend. Friday we just hung out, but then on Saturday we went skydiving up by Sacramento…

That’s my tandem instructor, not my boyfriend. Just making sure that’s clear.

Then Saturday night was my birthday party! The theme was children’s fictional characters. We dressed as Aladdin and Jasmine – quite successfully, I think.

Then on Sunday we biked across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so beautiful and an amazing experience! Definitely something I think everyone should do. I only wish that we had more time – we had to turn around right at the other side of the bridge so we could make it back to the bike rental place before they closed. I would have loved to explore Sausalito.

It was an amazing weekend, even if I didn’t have any time to cook!

Oh, and p.s. I added a Google +1 button on here today. Look at me, such a good employee!

I Like Jicama and Ponies

I didn’t have time to cook this weekend; sad life. My amazing loving perfect wonderful boyfriend drove six hours to visit me… He named this post. We had a great time – we went to this place full of trampolines (what?! I know) and to the beach at Santa Cruz (where a seagull pooped on my forehead… yep). Then on Sunday we went to the San Jose Flea Market, which just so happens to have a Farmer’s Market.

My bank doesn’t have any ATMs up here, so I bought a banana at Lucky and got cash back. Honestly, why pay a $3 ATM fee when you can buy a banana for $0.18? Then I got a mango and a jicama at the Farmer’s Market. I really wish I had gotten more than one mango, because it was so good!

I made a fruit salad with the banana, mango, half the jicama, and a squeeze of a lemon, so this isn’t much of a recipe. More just a lesson about fruit.

First: the banana. How do you open your bananas? If your answer is from the side with the stem, you’re wrong. Squeeze the other end and it will open right up. Magic.

Now, the mango. Do you know how to cut a mango? It has a disk-like pit on the inside. Cut off the sides, around the pit. Then cut a grid in each of the halves, without  slicing through the skin. Then you can flip it inside out and cut off the cubes!

At this point, if you’re a good person you’ll scrape off the rest of the mango flesh from the skin and pit with your teeth. Delicious.

Last but not least, the jicama. I’ve never bought a jicama before, so this was new for me too. I read online that you should cut it with a serrated knife, but mine just wasn’t cutting it, so I had to bring out the big guns.

It got stuck.

It took about five minutes just to cut it in half. Once I did that, I cut one of the halves again, then peeled and cubed the quarters. This is a pretty big jicama – about 2 pounds, so I only wanted half for now. The other piece went in a bag in the fridge.

For those of you who haven’t had jicama before, it has a pretty subtle flavor. A little nutty, and mildly sweet. It’s crunchy, almost like water chestnuts.

Fruit salad, yummy yummy.