Saturday, July 30, 2011

College Food

I was looking through some of my older pictures the other day and I saw several I had taken during college of food my roomie and I had made.

This is my college roommate Sharon. We went to high school together, played trumpet in band together for many years and then went on to share a dorm room. We were very poor in college.

We pretty much always shopped at the Wal*Marts and we bought food as cheap as we possibly could. Standards were: cheap pasta, cheap pasta sauce, cheap Wal*Mart brand frozen vegetables, frozen edamame, Knorr side dishes (when they were on sale), big boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios or regular Cheerios, huge packages of peanut butter crackers (I'd get a box of 14 packages for about 2 dollars), peanut butter, jelly, bread. Hmmm... yeah, that was the standard stuff.

Here's a typical meal:

Mac n cheese with squash, pasta roni, and some green giant broccoli.

Another dinner - more green giant vegetables, pasta roni and corn.

Of course every now and then we would get fancy. We had a "dinner party" one night and we made tomato soup, corn casserole and "gourmet" grilled cheese. I made up this grilled cheese sandwich were you take fancy bread and add some sliced american cheese and strips of orange bell pepper (so colorful!) and then you grill it in a pan. Simple, but sooo tasty and I did always feel fancy eating it, haha.

The sandwiches were especially good dipped in the tomato soup, of course.

Here's another typical week night dinner. We have some pasta, edamame and those amazing Wal*Mart brand vegetables.

And if I visited boys in college, this is what I got to eat for dinner:

Haha. Is it just me, or are college boys just not as creative when it comes to cooking dinner? Well, I guess it is easier to just throw a pizza in the oven, but still.
What kind of things did you eat in college? Were you broke like me and my roomie? Haha.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Knock it off, Napoleon! Make yourself a dang quesadilla!

So the other day for dinner, I had my friend Kelly and her fiance over as well as my friend Parneet. I wanted to use up some tortillas we had in the pantry so I decided to make quesadillas and since I love a theme I decided to make it southwest themed. Well, it was my attempt at that theme, haha.

I made the quesadillas on our griddle and it was so super easy. I love my griddle... Anyway, I just sprayed cooking spray on the griddle once it had heated up and then put a tortilla on. I immediately sprinkled cheese on one side and then used a spatula to fold the tortilla over. Each quesadilla was so quick and simple to make.

Rice is a classic southwestern side dish so that was my next task. All I ever buy is brown rice so I cooked about 3 cups of rice in 2 and a half cups of vegetable broth with a little bit of vegetable oil (so the rice wouldn't stick together). I added some peas and carrots (yay veggies) as well. After the rice was cooked Kelly seasoned it to perfection with some garlic salt and parsley. Yum! It was some pretty tasty rice.

I wanted to make some veggies as well so I heated up some mixed vegetables and then heated up some Sante Fe style cooking creme and mixed it in with the vegetables. It gave the vegetables a nice kick.

I'm a sucker for quick, easy meals so this is definitely one I'll be doing again in the future. And yay for themes. =)

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Give You... Squash Casserole

I absolutely love squash and zucchini and after an awesome sale at Publix I had a lot of it. So I made a casserole!

This recipe claims to be the World's Best Squash Casserole and it is indeed very good!

I altered it by putting in cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of chicken. I also didn't put in the stove top stuffing mix.

So if you happen to have a lot of zucchini and squash you should try the casserole! =)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Homemade Oreos

For Father's Day this year, I made homemade oreos. I've been making these for a few years now here and there and I think they are really tasty. They don't taste exactly like real oreos, but I like them better. =) They are fun to make and they turn out pretty cute looking.

Here's a picture of some that I made a few years ago for a party. I cut the dough with a cookie cutter and got these cute flower shapes.

The recipe that I use for them is one I copied out of a magazine several years ago. I can't even remember the name of the magazine, but here's the recipe:

To make the cookies:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I always use Hershey's cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

To make the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar in a mixer. While on low speed add in the butter and the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together.

Lay down two sheets of parchment paper. Divide batter in half and place one piece on each piece of parchment paper. Put another piece of parchment paper on top each piece of dough. Roll out dough between the pieces of parchment paper then place the two pieces in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Pull the pieces back out and then cut out cookies with a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

To make the filling, put butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and mix at low speed. Then slowly add in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and mix for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

Then it's the really fun part -- putting the sandwiches together! I just take one cookie and spread the filling on it with a knife and then top it with another cookie. Pretty simple. =)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fourth of July!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Independence Day! We sure did. My mom and my sister McKenna came over and then later some friends joined us for a meal. The guys grilled out while us ladies worked on some side dishes. We had hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled zucchini and squash, mashed potatoes and chips. I loved the grilled veggies and they were the easiest things to whip up! All we did was slice the vegetables, marinate them in Italian dressing and the guys grilled them. Seriously -- so easy!

For dessert, I went crazy. My friend Kelly and I spent the night before making oreo truffles, chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate covered strawberries -- all Fourth of July style! Kelly also helped me make some poms for decoration. Here's the finished product:

I made a little banner from different types of ribbon based on Pinterest inspiration. =)

I was happy to discover that the blue placemats I already had fit in perfectly with the color scheme.

And as you can see, I wrapped red ribbon around two of our glasses to add a pop of color.

Kelly pointed out that the pretzels looked like sparklers once they were covered and dipped in sprinkles. They really do!

We had so much fun making this and making it all 4th of July themed.

After we all had plenty to eat we played Cranium and poker. You know, classic Fourth of July games.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Guest Room Artwork

For the guest room I knew I wanted some inexpensive, DIY artwork that would bring in the gray and yellow I was using throughout the room.

A few weeks ago I went on a weekend trip to Atlanta with some friends and we hit up Ikea. While there I grabbed a bunch of white picture frames (love Ikea frame prices!) and knew that I could use them for guest bedroom art.

My friend Kelly, the artist, whipped up some art with paint chips (free!) in gray and yellow. She also used some cardstock that I already had. She is a genius.

Kelly used the quilt and pillows in the room as inspiration and designed the art around those things.

I am so impressed by what she did for this room! She also used a scrap piece of fabric left over from the curtains.

The art really ties the whole room together.

Above the bed she also drew two pieces for me and in the middle she used another scrap piece of fabric.

I wanted her to draw something personal to where we live so that it would be more meaningful. The piece on the left is a drawing of the Saturn V rocket since we live in "The Rocket City" and I work at NASA. You can't get much more meaningful than that!

More zig-zag-y goodness.

The piece on the right is a drawing of a Yellowhammer, which is our state bird. I think this little guy turned out so cute!

Kelly did an amazing job and I'm so thankful I have an artist friend to call on for things like this, because I can barely draw a stick figure... =)