July 22, 2013

Mini Mango Pies

As I mentioned in my post for crocheted sunflower coasters, my amazing, supportive, brilliant preceptor Lisa is leaving for Cleveland.   Our unit threw was throwing a little goodbye party for her, so I obviously took this as an excuse to have a new adventure in the baking arena.

I had come across these cute little hand pies by Handmade Charlotte on Pinterest.  They're filled with a sweetened cream cheese and jam, and are pretty simple and very adorable (if a little bit time consuming).  So at work on Wednesday I asked Lisa about her favorite fruit.

As you can guess by the title, her favorite fruit is the mango.  This eliminates the jam and cream cheese filling concept, and led me to the more exciting concept of executing the filling.  The tricky part is that mangoes can be a little stiff, and the shortened baking time with a mini pie means it might not have time to soften.

My favorite apple pie recipe calls for sautéing your apples with butter and sugar for a little bit to speed up the ooey-gooey process. So that's what we did with the mangoes!  I mean if it goes wrong people will still pretend they like it, so what's the worst that can happen?

I also took on the ambitious challenge of making my own pie crust.  For a lady who loves pie (it's only a million times better than cake), I'd never gone to the trouble to make my own crust.  I just buy those rolled up raw dough ones from Pillsbury and they're totally fine.  But what's summer without adventure?!  So we're making real crust.  It was a little frustrating (especially with the heat) but turned out to be entirely worth it for a coworker to tell me, "this crust is amazing, it tastes just like my grandmother's."  There's no greater complement.

The crust recipe I used came from smitten kitchen. Personally, I think what makes it extra yummy is the orange zest.  Any maybe the buttermilk.  Whatever makes it, it's great.  Well worth the effort, in my humble opinion.

July 20, 2013

Peach Muffins

Peaches have taken over the farmer's market.  After bringing home my box of fruit, I realized a few of them were pretty bumped up.  I was a little grumbly about it until I stumbled past this post on The Vanilla Bean Blog that was guest written by a couple cooks.  It's a healthy peach muffin recipe that uses greek yogurt to make it a little healthier.  Because I don't have greek yogurt, and it's too hot to leave the house right now, I quested across the interwebs for a similar recipe.  I found this decidedly less healthy recipe, and with a few changes came up with the recipe you see below.

It seemed ideal to take those squishier peaches and book them to good use in some baking.  And I seem to be really into this fruit muffin thing lately.  I posted these Strawberry Muffins just last month, and the Banana Muffins a few months ago.  Plus I bought zucchinis today with the sole intention of turning them into zucchini bread, so that's probably not too far behind.

Check out how moist that little darling is!  Absolutely amazing.  I threw in some chopped green apples in this one, hence the not-orange-bits.  We had one lone apple that was past it's prime so I thought I'd give it a new life.  The recipe below just uses peaches, but of course you can swap in other fruits too (mangoes would be AWESOME!).  Be adventurous!

July 17, 2013

Summer Shrimp Pasta

We're in the middle of a heat wave.  Out lovely old building does not have air conditioning, and the very pretty large windows only open 6 inches as a burglar precaution so a breezy draft is all but nonexistent.

Our dinner planning largely revolves around it not being too heavy, and not requiring an oven.  Ovens make our home unlivable these days.  In my quest across Pinterest and a few blogs I can across a one-pot pasta by Martha Stewart that inspired tonights dish.  Except that I took out all the veggies it wanted and changed the spices so it ended up it's own thing.

The penne and shrimp are tossed with olive oil, minced garlic, fresh basil, lemon juice, and tomatoes with crumbled feta on top.  It's deliciously light, citrusy, and a little salty with the feta.  Joe declared, "Man, you really have a way with sauce!"  after eating it, so not too bad for a first try.

As usual, the full recipe is at the bottom for a quick reference.

July 13, 2013

Crocheted Sunflower Coasters

A new pattern!

As I mentioned in my last post, it's been a long time since I posted something in the craft realm.  But I am back in the game with these little crocheted coasters.

For my final clinical of nursing school I'm paired up with an RN who I work with full time.  Fortunately for me, I was very well matched with my preceptor Lisa.  I didn't know it was possible, but I think she might dance in even more than I do.  Before I met her, my friend Beth described her as "smart and sassy" which is accurate but a definite understatement.  She keeps me laughing and dancing throughout our late evening shifts- even on weekends and holidays.  For someone I spend over 40 hours a week with, consistently ask foolish questions, and have to pester for help regularly she is unendingly patient and understanding, which is greatly appreciated on my end.  

So not only do I owe her a thank you present just for that, but she's also moving!  So this merits some extra crafting.  I've been long at work on another gift for her that's a little more sentimental, but I thought I'd add something that's both practical and a little funny. Considering she's allergic to sunflowers, I thought this just might fit the bill.  Plus it makes a cute little housewarming gift for her new place.

July 08, 2013

Sully's Knit Dragon

Holy moly has it been a long time.  It's been a week since my last post, but it's been a very long time since my last crafty post.  And this project has been in the works since probably February, so I am very very glad to have it finished finally.  Considering I have two dragonflies, a carrion beetle, a baby blanket, and a set of sunflower coasters in the works, it's about time something made it out of my progress basket.

I made it for the amazingly adorable baby Sully.  Last night Joe and I met up with his parents for dinner, so I decided to get my butt in gear and make his little legs so Sully could have something new to curl up with.  And because his parents are sci-fi lovers, he definitely needs a little magic monster. 

Pardon the fact the the flash brings out his stuffing- it isn't nearly that noticeable in person.  But because I was actually finishing his itty bitty dragon arms in the car on the way over, and then stitching them on while we were doing drinks and appetizers, I forgot about getting some photos to post until we were just about to leave and the sun already went down.  So all things considered, the pictures aren't too shabby.

The pattern can be found here on Ravelry.  It's a free pattern that's a few pages long with lots of pictures.  It's knit in the round on double pointed needles.

The only thing I remember changing from the original is that for the upper arms I cast on 6, did about 8 rounds, then did k2-kfb-k2-kfb, knit about 4 rounds, k2tog around, then tied off.  And I did yarn eyes.

And I could say this is for scale, but it's really because I think it's funny.