A couple things to blog about today.
First off. I have all of my application material done! I have to mail in two applications but besides that I am finished! This is a good and a bad feeling. Of course it is good that it is done and now it is in their hands to make the next move. It is bad, because, well, it is done and I cannot take it back. I am full of second guessing; “what if I shouldn’t have put that” or “I wish I had said this” or “I hope they get what I meant by that”, etc. But like I said, what’s done is done. Either they will like what I submitted, or they won’t. Nothing I can do about it now. Hopefully my references will also win them over (wink, wink Howard).
I am getting more and more excited for the holidays. After my last post I was pretty depressed about it, but in talking to my family, I just cannot wait to go home and see everyone! Also, the Christmas stuff out in the stores (you may say too early, I say exactly right) is helping to put me in the spirit. I already bought a few gifts (Liv) and I am looking forward to shopping with my Step-mom (and Liv) over Thanksgiving. There are also a few other things I am looking forward to over Thanksgiving, which I unfortunately cannot share just yet. Basically it involves chicken wings.
I have a couple recipes to share. My facebook status on Friday read “the house smells like pumpkin…and it is not because of a candle.” That’s right. More pumpkin! Sadly, I think it might be the last (aside from making the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars one last time). I am not at all sick of it, but Devin is. I don’t think I can get him to eat much more and it is not healthy for me to eat all of it. So here is quite possibly the last of it (this year). Nutella Cheesecake Pumpkin Muffins. Yuuuuup! Ah---May---Zing! They are this delicious, moist pumpkin muffin with this incredible delectably sinful nutella/cream cheese combo in the middle. They are very easy to make, although I messed it up a bit.
1. Make sure your cream cheese really is room temperature. Mine was still a little too cold so when I hand mixed it (you should probably use an electric mixer) with the nutella and egg, and it would not become entirely smooth, resulting in little cream cheese balls. It really wasn’t a big deal taste or texture wise but they are definitely in there.
Devin has this uncanny way of asking me about a mistake in my cooking/baking without realizing he is asking about a mistake and that it will most likely upset me. He has a nose for picking out the flaws without knowing that they are flaws. For example: “are these little cheesecake balls in here.” And I always have to reply something like “yes it was a mistake, they are not supposed to be there, I know! Gosh!” Then he doesn’t bring it up again.
2. The directions say to put 2 tablespoons of pumpkin batter in the bottom of each cupcake, followed by 1 tablespoon of nutella cheesecake topped of with 2 more tablespoons of pumpkin batter. I think my tablespoon is too big, or I just went a little heavy on the first two tablespoons of pumpkin batter. It filled the cupcake two much and then I only had enough batter to put 1.25 tablespoons of pumpkin batter on the top of each. This caused the bottom of the cupcake to be all pumpkin and the nutella to be just under the muffin top. It still tastes great, don’t get me wrong, but I think I would have preferred the nutella mixture a little bit lower in the muffin. I have a bad habit of not taking pictures while I am baking. Sorry about that. I will try to take more next time.
You can see the cheesecake balls. Totally supposed to be there.
Devin asked me if I could make a whole muffin out of the nutella cheesecake. Believe me, I also wish that that was possible.
Sunday night I made a Vegetable Ragu. I liked it a lot. Devin said that he would have liked it better if it didn’t have all of the vegetables in it. I said “Oh you mean like spaghetti” and he said “exactly.”
I halved the recipe.
I started off by cooking some red and yellow onion (what I had in the fridge). Removed it.
Then I cooked some crimini mushrooms. This was a suggested addition to the recipe. I love mushrooms, especially criminis and especially in red sauce. When I used to go to Jacobis for dinner, I would always order angel hair pasta with red sauce and mushrooms. Plus when you don’t eat meat, mushrooms add a sort of heartiness to a dish. Removed it.
Then I cooked a small squash. Removed it.
And some zucchini.
Added everything back in.
Plus some grated carrot and a bunch of garlic.
The liquids to be used were a can of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce and some red wine. Thank you Dave for buying this delicious wine when you visited and not finishing (and not being able to get it past the TSA).
I also added in some dried basil, parsley and oregano. I did not have any Italian Seasoning on hand. Oh and some salt and lots of pepper. And a little sugar (oh honey honey).
The sauce simmered for about an hour. Reduced a little bit. It smelled like my mother-in-laws pizza sauce which had my mouth watering. I added in some parmesan and then it looked like this:
I made some garlic bread. I just split open a couple Mancini’s rolls, spread on some softened butter then sprinkled with garlic powder and dried parsley.
They went into a 450 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until browned.
Here is the finished ensemble:
Ok, before I go, there are two drinks that I need to discuss with you.
Here is the first:
Ocean Spray Sparkling Cranberry. This stuff is terrific. It tastes just like Clearly Canadian. Did anyone else ever drink Clearly Canadian? Oh my God, I used to get it all the time. I loved loved loved the raspberry flavor. This cranberry sparkling water is delicious!!
Yeah, Coconut Milk Egg Nog. I first read a bit about this on a different food blog that I read. I was very uncertain about it. I had never had coconut milk before and I couldn’t get past my first sip of coconut water. This stuff is surprisingly amazing. It tastes exactly like egg nog and then you are left with a little coconut flavor at the finish. I think that you should try it. There is apparently also a Mint Chocolate one that Whole Foods did not have for some reason that I cannot possibly understand. Maybe next week. Hopefully next week.
It is not always easy to get a picture of the girls together.
Here is Deeley passed out on the kitty tree:
Here is Janey passed out on me: