Okay, okay, don’t get too excited everyone. I’ve not had a hot date except with me, myself, and I in the kitchen and parked in front of the TV seeing a movie. These, as I truly believe, are the best dates anyway.
Slowly, I’ve been marking things off of my 101/1,001 list. Most of this weekend was dedicated to Nos. 87 and 92, trying new recipes and watching movies, respectively. I’ve been having a really good time with these two items on my list and have had even more fun sharing the results of these – No. 87 especially – here.
(Sorry… no pics on any of these. I was a delinquent in that area of my reporting!)
The first recipe I tried was off the back of the (generic) Bran Flakes cereal box. On a scale of 1 – 10, I would give it a 6. They were good but not ones that I will be scrambling to make to impress company with. They were easy, however, and anything with bran is good by me.
Honey & Spice Banana Muffins
1 cup Bran Flakes Cereal
1/4 cup Skim Milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup melted margarine
2/3 cup mashed ripe banana
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. In a small bowl, soak cereal in milk for five minutes. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, then add cereal mixture. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). Spoon onto greased or paper-lined 12-cup muffin pan, filling cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched lightly. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pan.
Yields 12 muffins.
The next recipe that I tried wasn’t really a recipe at all. My Aunt Mick had a stupendous harvest of zucchini squash this year. By stupendous I mean that anyone resembling a relative got the motherload of zucchini sent home with them. Without some quick and clever thinking, much of the zucchini would have ruined. So, I put on my quick and clever thinking hat and concocted a delicious and satisfying zucchini soup. This recipe is roughly what I did because, since I never write anything down, I don’t remember step-for-step. This comes close. And be warned: this soup is VERY green!
Zazazu’s Zuper Zucchini Zoup (HA!)
Two large zucchinis or four smaller ones – wash and cut into large slices.
Fill a pot with one can of chicken broth and two cans of water.
Put zucchinis into pot and turn up the heat, bringing to a boil.
Into same pot, put 1/2 TBS. onion powder, pepper to taste, 1/2 TBS. garlic powder – stir and cover.
In a separate pan, sautee one whole onion (diced up) and two cloves of garlic in a bit of olive oil. Saute until onions and garlic are golden and a bit translucent.
When zucchinis are soft, turn them off the heat and let sit for a few minutes. Liquid that the zucchinis were boiled in should be almost gone, just a teeny bit left. After the heat has completely died down, mash zucchinis with a hand masher. Make sure that ALL of the zucchini pieces are soft and “mashable”. Put onion and garlic mixture in with the zucchini and add 1 1/2 milk. Mash some more with hand masher (this is NOT the technical term for this utensil – hopefully you all know what I’m talking about). Transfer this whole concoction into the blender and puree until everything is completely pureed to smithereens and all you have is a blender full of green mush.
This would be the soup. We had ours cold and it was really good. I figured that since most summer soups are served cold and zucchini is a summer vegetable, it would stand to reason for this soup to be eaten cold. It was delicious and would be delicious served hot too, I’m sure.
Great way to get some of those summer zucchinis out of the way!
The third recipe that I tried came from my favorite magazine – Body + Soul. This is the best of the three recipes presented here and is so easy and refreshing. If you try NONE of the other recipes I’ve mentioned, please try this one. It is so very good!
Dilute 1/2 cup agave nectar (or 1/3 cup honey) in 1 cup very hot water. In this mixture, steep 1/4 cup minced or grated fresh ginger. Let steep fully, for 15 minutes at least. In a pitcher or a large mason jar, combine 1 cup fresh lemon juice with 4 cups cold water, then stir in the agave or honey / ginger water to sweeten.
This lemonade is SO good – tons better than normal lemonade – and, being sweetened with agave is a lot healthier than plain, refined sugar. And, as most of you know, ginger is great for digestion and this is a super-tasty way to get a ginger kick. It is tart but oh-so refreshing!
For more lemonade twists, see the article here.
So, as you all can see, I’ve been a kitchen maven these last few days. I’ve enjoyed it though and can’t wait to try some more new and exciting things. I don’t really like to cook but, if it is a bit experimental, I don’t mind it at all.
But, you all know me well enough to know that I’ve not slaved away without any sort of breaks at all. I took a time-out last night to watch the much-anticipated (by me) Marie Antoinette. I’ve heard other people call it eye-candy and it was just that. It had a wonderful juxtaposition of ye olde days mixed with elements from today, in a way that only Sophia Coppola could pull off. My favorite scene, when they were having gown fittings, was peppered with punk-rock music and, as far as we know, punk rock had not yet made its debut in Marie Antoinette’s day. There were, to be sure, MANY historical inaccuracies. But, this is the type movie that is not meant at all to be historically accurate. Producers of this type of movie err on the side of artistic creativity every time when faced with art or accuracy. But, it works. This movie, and others like it, are great eye-candy and fun to sit down and watch to unwind (after a hard, hot day in the kitchen, perhaps).
In other news, I’ve been training and getting donations for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Research Walk-a-Thon in October. I pledged to raise $100 – the average for an individual walker – and was so wonderfully surprised when my Internet friends rallied and helped me to raise that much (and more!) in just one day. Wahoo! Thanks to ALL of you!
For any of you who might want to donate something and didn’t get to before I hit my goal, I would like to ask that you donate to my sister’s goal of $100. She is walking it with me and is behind on her fund-raising. I hope that she can meet the same goal as well. Click here to donate toward her fund-raising goal. THANK YOU!
Hopefully we can both do this Walk-a-Thon without keeling over dead. We are both out of shape but will hopefully be whooped back into shape during our training.
(Incidentally, I’d love suggestions for good songs to walk and work-out to… songs that will get my arms swinging and my heart pumping. Got any?)
In Etsy news, I’ve been listing items over there a lot more regularly and consistently and – wasn’t I told? – it really does help sales. I hope you will all jump over there and look at my vintage goodies.
Speaking of goodies… the wonderful and talented Allison at CircularAccessories was so kind and helpful to me recently in placing a birthday present order for me. (If you don’t buy yourself birthday presents, you should!) I can’t wait to get the parcel of lovelies from Allison as I’ve been pining over these particular items for some time now and just could not wait any longer. I’m tres excited.
Also, I recently discovered HomeShanti on Etsy. For those of you who might be familiar with Hugger Mugger, HomeShanti is Jodi Fuchs, creator and artist of the beautiful Bhakti Blocks that were recently featured in the HM catalogue. I’ve not purchased one (or more!) for myself yet but will have them on my Favorite’s List until I’m able to purchase. They are so wonderful and Jodi is a sweetheart herself. Be sure to check them out!
Before I end this epic post, I want to post a friendly reminder about the Happiness Swap sign-up deadline that is coming up on the 10th. See here for details and to leave a comment if you want to participate. I hope that ALL of you will participate! I think it will be fun. Also, if I don’t already have your mailing information, zip me over a message with that info. Thanks everyone!
And, because no Zazazu post would be complete without a bit of inspiration and an aesthetically pleasing photo, let me not disappoint.
“It’s important to give it all you have while you have the chance.” ~Shania Twain
I hope that each of you are having a super-lovely day!
P.S. Please forgive me for not knowing how to get the proper grave, aigu, cedille, circonflexe and tremas in my writing here when I use French words. I don’t have an International keyboard (that I know of) and therefore am quite unsure how to insert these language-specific symbols. If anyone knows, I would be very grateful to find out.