Slow cooking and getting settled

You know what? It’s been a while since I did a standard “here’s what’s going on in my life and what I’m stuffing in my face” kind of post.

Things have been crazy lately. I moved 3 weeks ago – which…in Boston…should be declared a holiday because everyone and their mom (…and dad…and siblings, friends, acquaintances…and occasionally complete strangers… willing to schlep a couch up narrow, rickety stairwells for a case or two of beer) moves on September 1…and if you’re one of the few with off-cycle lease agreements, I envy you soo, soo much. Teach me your ways.

Anyway, the day is filled with joyous things like parking bans, families getting on each other’s nerves, thousands of inexperienced UHaul drivers, at least one box truck getting stuck under a bridge on Storrow Drive…oh, and “Allston Christmas” (as it’s been dubbed). Can’t forget “Allston Christmas.”  Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 8.31.00 AM

I’m still getting settled – working full time makes it a little difficult to just get settled immediately. I’m still working on getting a dresser. My clothing situation is a little…disorganized….but you can be certain that after having a bed to sleep in…priorty numero uno was my (lil) kitchen. And yes, it’s the same little kitchen I baked and blogged out of more than 2 years ago!

At least the fridge is full!

At least the fridge is full!

After a couple months of relative chaos, it’s nice to start to feel more grounded and settled. Slowly getting back into the swing of things, and one of my to-do’s is get back in my kitchen more. I’ve eaten way too many microwavable or take-out meals since August…and I can feel it.

Last week, I saw a Moroccan-style slow-cooker recipe from Jenna @ Eat, Live, Run – and I knew it would be my project during the weekend. I was supposed to go to this yoga thing in the North End…but that got derailed when I pulled something in my shoulder and basically spent Saturday crying on the floor. Dramatics aside, it actually was pretty bad. Moving and breathing were not exactly easy. So when staying in and cooking became my only option…I slowly got myself (read: hobbled) to the grocery store for some missing ingredients and got to slow-cooking.

This is a really simply stew – chock full of veggies, lentils, chickpeas and great warm spices — a perfect fall dish. Plus, I’m a fan of anything I can slow-cook.

I’ll be honest; Jenna has this go on low for like 9 hours. While, I basically followed that timeline (I mean it is slow cooking after all), if you’re not headed to work or bed and or would just rather eat sooner rather than later – I don’t see the harm in cranking it to high and shortening the cook time. It is veggies after all so you won’t be annihilating any protein and ending up with hockey pucks floating in stock.

I mean, just look at all that veggie goodness — butternuts squash, zucchini, yellow and red peppers, onions, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas…it’s just a powerhouse dish. Plus, since I live solo – I love making anything that I can make a ton of and re-heat easily, aaaand stews have the added bonus of just getting better as they sit!

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I’ve been digging into this for a better part of a week now. I’ll definitely make again…maybe incorporated different, seasonal ingredients as fall pushes on.

What’s your go-to dish once the temps dip a little bit?

 

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Mama, May I?

My goodness – it’s been quite a while. …I know, I know – I start every.single.post. in pretty much the same manner, as of late.

While I might not be blogging as often – the blogosphere is not far from my mind…and food is – most definitely – not far from my mouth.

I had been resisting the urge to get into the *holiday* spirit…I always feel bad for Thanksgiving…it’s that middle child – and between Halloween and Christmas, the kings of the “gimme, gimme” holidays, it often gets overlooked.

Not by me. I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving! Dare I say it is my favorite one?

  • One. Any holiday based on consuming copious amounts of comfort food is A-okay in my book.
  • Two. I love spending time with my family – catching up, watching football and just been bums.
  • …and Three. It’s just great to be with family – solely for the reason that you want to be together…no gift giving/receiving…it’s based on being selfless..not selfish.

My tree and decorations won’t be up until December – but I don’t think that Thanksgiving would mind if I love on some holiday flavors…like eggnog…and gingerbread.

Speaking of gingerbread…. I’ve had my eye on Mama Pea’s Pumpkin Molasses Cookie Dough Balls …. Basically, all of her little cookie concoctions have been on my “to make ASAP” list…and the gingerbread-y flavors of the pumpkin molasses cookies finally got me baking.

Pumpkin Molasses Cookie Dough Balls

adapted from Mama Pea

Makes 24  30 dough balls — I used a Tablespoon to scoop & got 30 cookies out of this batch

  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c. unbleached organic flour  — I used regular all-purpose
  • 1 T. ginger
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/3 c. vegan margarine (i.e. Earth Balance) — I used margarine…but it wasn’t vegan
  • 2/3 c. canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 c. organic sugar + additional 1/4 c. for rolling — I used what I had left of natural sugar and then the rest – just plain ole granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. molasses

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Using an electric or stand mixer, cream together margarine, pumpkin, 2/3 c. sugar and molasses.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, mixing until a dough comes together.
  • Chill dough for 30 minutes or more. When dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees and pour remaining sugar into a shallow bowl.
  • Scoop dough into balls and roll until smooth.
  • Roll each ball sugar until completely covered.
  • Transfer dough to a cookie sheet and continue until sheet is filled.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should be set, but still a bit doughy. (I needed the full 10)
  • Allow cookies to cool on the pan for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Loved these. 

My favorite part of these lil’ beauties is definitely the texture…doughy but still light and fluffy.

I might play with the amount of molasses in these the next time I make them…they’re great as is – but I’m a huge fan of that molasses/gingerbread flavor and wouldn’t mind punching it up maybe a notch or two.

However – if you’re craving gingerbread…

go.

make these.

now. 

Flashback

I love coming home and reminiscing with my mom.

I credit her, completely, with my love of cooking and baking.

It’s so funny to sit down with her and go through all of her cookbooks, and remember all the recipes she’s made over time..

Yesterday, we sat down with this cookbook:

Purchased way before I was born, it is such an unassuming cookbook…yet it is chock full of my childhood memories.

From birthday cakes to stroganoff – it’s all in there, and it was so fun to go through it with her!

  • Any foods/cookbooks/recipes from your childhood that you till go back to??

… in other news – I’m doing something new for Easter.

  • Any guesses??

Hope you all are absolutely wonderful!