Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eye Eye Eye, Me, Me MEEE-DIA

I've put all of my links in one spot for friends and family. It all started with Food Network in 2005. Here's a link to the TV show,  Winning Holiday Cookies:
Here's the recipe for Have S'more Rockin' Reindeer Ravoili: (P.S. don't bake it for a half hour like they say, 13-15 minutes does the trick)
So fast forward to the spring of 2009, when I created Pepperoni-Pesto Popovers for the 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off® contest. I was selected to complete with 100 other finalists in Orlando, Florida for the million dollar prize!
The interviews started with a Star Tribune article written by Kim Ode about the Minnesota finalists.

Then I got some TV experience on KARE 11 with Pat Evans, host, and co-finalist Cathy Wiechert (the mini-video in on the right side of the screen about half way down the page).
And then I went solo on KMSP's Twin Cities Live with Elizabeth Ries and John Hanson:
Babette from BakeSpace.com captured some video footage from the floor of the contest. Click here to view.

Here's my big WIN on youtube. That's Sandra Lee of Food Network giving me the prize. Funny how it all came full-circle, back to Food Network!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One-butt HOT dish

I've been thinking a lot about appliances lately. My husband recalled that in our first townhouse, we had a stove with a dishwasher where the oven should be. The oven must have been above the range. I have no recollection of that. When we moved to a real house, our new kitchen was much smaller, with a "one-butt" kitchen, as I called it. All you had to do is pivot and everything was "right there". It had horrible oak cupboards (actually top-notch quality if you like oak), and pink art deco wallpaper.
Way back when I was cooking in those kitchens, I remember making enchiladas a lot. At the time I thought it was a LOT of work. After taking a 10-year break from making them, I revisited it--on a work night. I could no longer find my old recipe, so I just did what it said on the can.
The only thing I changed was to add green onions on top to garnish. 
I used flour tortillas from Trader Joe's (the best, in my opinion). The organically raised burger was from there too. Enchilada sauce came from Cub Foods. The cheese is shredded from a big block of Costco co-jack. And the green onions? Target.
This was so EASY to make! And everyone liked it. It was very mild in flavor, so the kids could eat it. AND it wasn't the big production I remembered. Or has cooking just gotten easier for me over the years?

the icon range

Love it that St. Louis has an arch. Seattle has a space needle. What does Minnesota have? That #%$@ Spoonbridge! Ok, it's kind of neat to visit, but does it define our state, and our people? As a designer, clients usually want us to include that icon that represents us. A big fish? Paul Bunyan? Turns out that Ohio and Montana also think that Paul Bunyan is their icon too. He did stamp out all of the those lakes all over the country. Anyway, I spied this t-shirt at the thrift store last week. Some anonymous illustrator's take on icon-ry:
Just after I put up this post, I received this mailer from the MN Historical Society. It's done by Brett Schoonover. Super talented guy. http://www.brentschoonover.com/
Here's a close-up:

One thing about the shape of the state of Minnesota--all designers CHEAT the pointy shape on the upper right side. You always have to shorten it to fit on the page. Here's the true scale of the state:
But certianly more interesting than COLORADO! What is your favorite state shape?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sewing Your Own Oats - Part Dew

Sure, freezing a log of dough and saving it for later is a nice thought. In a month, when I'm crunched for time I can bake up a sheet of cookies for that unexpected drop-in guest. Well, not gonna happen. Seems that the "cookie duh" (cookie monster) apppeared and devoured most of the dough.

It's neat how the knife sliced right through the oats.
Here's what the log yielded: SEVEN!
In the fresh batch, the butterscotch chips were hidden.
You're right Cathy, they didn't spread out as much.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sewing Your Own Oats

I've found it's IMPOSSIBLE to duplicate a friend's recipe exactly as they made it.  Beth makes the greatest "stolen neiman marcus (or is it Mrs. Fields?) chocolate chip cookie" recipe. It uses oatmeal that you put in the food processor to make it a finer texture. Some of the chips are ground up too, which gives it a brownish/taupe-ish color. Then you bake for a VERY short period of time. So I tried it myself. Close, but I think I'll just let Beth make them. She has it all figured out. Perfect every time!

So on to BEV's oatmeal cookies. She brought them to a party at my house a few years ago and they were memorable. So memorable that when I saw her the other day, she was happy to give me the recipe.
Here's my attempt:

Things didn't start out very well. 
I set the microwave for 25 seconds...or so I thought. 

I wasted a whole pound of butter. @$%#! Thanks to mega quantities from Costco, I had more butter in the fridge so I moved forward with the project.

Standard mixing proceedure, sugar/butter, eggs/vanilla, dry, then oatmeal/chips. 

Nothing unusual, except for the delightfully scripted recipe which includes:

1 teaspoon soda (That’s baking soda not Coke)
3 cups “Old Fashion Oats” (Don’t be using any of that quick stuff)
½ cup chopped California walnuts (I’m sure there are other places in the world that grow walnuts)
1 cup raisons (leaving the raisons out or substituting would be sacrilege)

Well sacrilege, here I come, because I substituted BUTTERSCOTCH CHIPS. They are my vice of the month. And no nuts. The kids would have a fit.

Also in the recipe: "Here comes the good part – Eat while still warm."
My first pan of cookies were like pancakes, way too thin. But very edible.

So I added a smidge more flour:

Much better. This is the backside (probably a blog photography first):

One last tip from the creator: "For freezing: (But why not eat them all right now) Make rolls of dough and wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper, seal in double freezer bag. Good for 3 to 6 months."

So I did it but this log doesn't have the extra flour so they will be pancakes. Can't believe I even own freezer paper...what did I buy that for anyway?

PS coming soon: my attempt at Dianne's Oatmeal cookies...but never mind. Let's just say hers can't be duplicated either.

The Garage Condo: The new "UP NORTH"

Last weekend we were invited to "CARS AND CAFE", an early morning event that's over and done with by 11am. It has a flea market, carnival-like atmosphere, but the items on display and aren't for sale. It's held at the Auto Motor Plex in Chanhassan, right near Paisley Park studios. Upon arrival, the first thing we saw were tons of people and heard the roar of expensive engines.

The next thing we saw were the "garage condos".  
Rows and row of the them, many with great garage decor.

There's a main lodge. If this place had a pool, 
you could come here for a vacation.

Cars aren't the only things housed here. 
I saw a guy working on a great big boat. 
I also learned what a "Rat Rod" is.

It's a car that is intentionally left rusty and raw. 
The surface is sealed so the rusty stays perfect. Really cool!

Monday, May 3, 2010

SOOOOO a Needle Pulling Thread...

Remember when Maria from the Sound Of Music made outfits out of curtians? A few years ago I picked up this fabric at Unique Thift.  It was a nice cotton that was made into 2 lengthy curtian panels. I paid less than 3 bucks for it.

I thought the pattern/color was very similiar to a dress I had just seen in Vogue. This spring at Target I saw these dresses and thought the fabric was very similar to curtian fabric stashed in the basement. Maybe Target was inspired by the dress in Vogue, too.

Elastic waist skirts are also very "IN" this year.  I picked up WIDE elastic at Joann Fabrics for $6.

Sammy has a skirt similiar to the ones above. Looked very easy to duplicate. Idea is now hatched.

I put the girls to work. They learned how to make and pull a gathering thread & press and sew a hem.

Of course all couture creations involve fittings.

All for less than $5 bucks each. Don't they look great? I still have enough fabric to make one more...