One Slimer Cake Coming Up!

So my friend J wrote a blog post last week about this crazy vegan avocado chocolate cake that she made. I was intrigued because 1) what would a cake made with avocados instead of eggs taste like? and 2) it has freakin’ green avocado buttercream frosting to go with it. So I got the recipe and Cobalt and I set about making the cake. It turned out pretty good actually. It doesn’t really taste like avocados – mostly like chocolate and bananas strangely actually… Also, if you don’t like the idea of slime-green frosting, you can add cocoa powder to your frosting. I think it’s kind of neat green though. Might make for a fun cooking activity for kiddos…

Anyway, upon frosting our cake yesterday afternoon, Cobalt and I decided that it reminded us of Slimer from Cobalt’s favorite movie ever, Ghostbusters. Thus, Cobalt decorated our cake in proper Slimer fashion! Shown above – our claw machine Slimer gazes in awe at himself in cake-form. Below – slimer cake eaten… Yummmm…

In other news, I’ve been in kind of a photography funk lately. I tried to challenge myself this weekend – taking some self portraits of my new octopus earrings (Now I have black ones and I got some yellow ones as a gift too!) and taking some pictures of the ice we acquired from rain/snow on Saturday and I was frustrated with both activities. Booo… I just got some new photography books from the library… I’m hoping they’ll inspire me…

You know what time it is now… Your turn to comment on my post. How do you feel about avocado chocolate cake? Yay? Nay? Curious about that ridiculously green frosting? It’s REALLY sweet. I’ll tell you that… How about hobbies? What do you do when you’re feeling frustrated with your hobbies? Any advice?

The Valentine’s Day Shark Cake Pop says….

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you all have a wonderful day! The Valentine’s Day Shark Cake Pop will (though he is currently residing in my tummy… sorry shark cake pop! You looked so delicious!). Anyway, if you have yet to get your special someone a Valentine’s Day card, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has some adorable e-cards for you! Check them out!

I made the shark pop at a Valentine’s Day themed craft party last weekend. I also made this little Valentine’s mousey (don’t judge my sketchy sewing skills…):

Now, tell me how you really feel about Valentine’s Day. Yay Valentine’s or ugh… pink…? Are you excited to see the millionth Die Hard movie tonight or are you braving the crowd to go out to a fancy dinner (or both)? I like Valentine’s Day generally, though I worry that people will think they only need to tell their special someones they love them only on this one day. So remember to tell those people you love them not just today but every day!

Happy Snake Year!

In honor of the Chinese New Year this weekend, Cobalt and I had friends over to make dumplings! It turned out to be a hilarious endeavor because the recipe was written entirely in Chinese (meaning that only my friend T could read it) and instead of discrete amounts of ingredients, all of the ingredients were listed “add to taste” so T ordered us around in the kitchen – chop this, cook that, let’s wait for this – for a bit while we made the filling.

While T and our friend L were busy cooking the filling, A and I felt that there were too many people in the kitchen and retreated to the living room to make snake jewelry in honor of the year of the snake. As you can see from that top picture, I made a snake choker and A made a snake headband. Here’s another picture of my snakey choker.

Once the filling got made, we were all recruited to make dumplings. T taught us this super nice way to fold the dumpling skins so that they look professional. Look at these dumplings all ready to be cooked! I think we made at least 70 of these guys!

Then we cooked them and then we ate them! Yummm… they were delicious. We actually put sunflower seeds in a few of them so that if you ate one of those, it was extra luck for the new year. Unfortunately, the sunflower seeds went pretty well with the filling so we had a hard time telling if we ate a lucky one or not. We all found sunflower seeds on our plates after eating though, which suggests we are all lucky!

Tasty dumplings ready to eat (some of them exploded in the cooking phase but they were still equally delicious)!

Did you do anything for the Chinese New Year? How do you feel about the year of the snake? Tell me about it! Have any special plans for Valentine’s Day coming up this week?! Tell me about that too! Cobalt and I have plans but I think grad school is going to prevent them from happening on Valentine’s Day proper (boooooo lab… whyyyyy) so we will have to celebrate this weekend instead! :)

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit eating gluten…

(Oven) Mitt Nomney did his job of helping me get the hot pan out of the oven and now he wants some breakfast bars as payment!

So some of you may know this but I love eating. I would eat even if we didn’t have to to survive. I also eat pretty much everything, even if it’s something I claim I don’t like. If I am hungry enough, I will probably eat it. Really, the only surefire way to keep me from eating something (if you are Cobalt trying to protect your food from the hungry Potassium for example), is to eat something that could kill me or makes my stomach hurt a lot. Basically, that leaves the nuts that I am allergic to (pistachios and cashews) as the only foods I will definitely not eat. Pork makes my stomach hurt but sometimes ham and bacon are just so delicious that I will even steal a bite of those things.

Okay, we are getting majorly off topic here – the point is that I love eating but I also am realizing how important it is to be aware of what I am eating. I’ve been noticing that I kind of just shove food in my mouth all the time without thinking about how many other bagels I’ve already eaten today or how I should probably not eat this entire block of cheese (or I do the “T-rex” when Cobalt and I make pot roast for dinner – eating waaaaay more than I should because it’s so freakin’ good, I can’t stop). So I was thinking about diets like the paleo diet and gluten free diets where people just totally abolish certain food groups from their life (though sometimes the gluten free diet is necessary for those friends with celiac disease). I am not sure I could force myself to stop eating such tastiness like cheese and bread and rice completely but I think I like the idea of thinking about how MUCH tastiness like cheese and bread go into my body every day. So as I was pondering all these diets and what my life would be like if I stopped eating all that tastiness, I had a horrible thought cross my mind. WHAT WOULD I EAT FOR BREAKFAST?!?!?!

So breakfast is really important to me, partially because I get hangry (hungry/angry) if I don’t eat regularly. If I fail to eat breakfast though, I get hangry and super out of it and it’s just bad. In general though, most of the breakfast foods I eat would not be allowed for someone on the paleo diet. So I went on a mission to learn about what people on the paleo diet eat for breakfast and I found this delicious recipe for Blackberry Breakfast Bars which are: gluten free, dairy free, and paleo appropriate. Then I went to the store and got all the ingredients and made them. Here are some pictures from my adventures:

Yay! I found all the ingredients (either after digging through our cabinets in the kitchen to find them or running through the store to find them)!

I decided to make my own coconut flour out of coconut chunks – mostly because all of this was really spontaneous and it was actually kind of late on a weeknight and I didn’t feel like driving to the health food store to get coconut flour. However, it turned out to be really easy to do once I figured out how to work the food processor.

The final product cooling on the stove! It was delicious. Tasted like banana bread with blackberries and coconut in it. If you had fed them to me, I never would have guessed that they weren’t your typical flour and milk type banana bread bars. Yum.

All in all I think it was a good adventure for me because 1) it really did make me think about all the food groups and what I eat every day and 2) it was actually really good even though it was slightly more of a pain to track ingredients down for. In conclusion, I’m probably never going to switch to a diet like the paleo diet but I appreciate the recipes for forcing me to think about the amount of carbs, milk, etc I put in my body.

What do you think? Are you on a diet like the paleo diet or other diet? How did you give up cheese (and bread?! Think of the bagels!!!!)? Would you ever consider going on a diet like that? What is your favorite kind of food?

Who can make the longest udon noodle?

This weekend was full of activities. On Saturday, Cobalt and I volunteered by getting college students registered to vote. We were strictly not allowed to discuss politics or political parties (seriously, all we could say was “Hi! Have you updated your voter registration information? If not you can do it now and it only takes 90 seconds…”) and people replied by yelling all sorts of insults at us about the presidential candidates… It was a bit awkward. Oh and we were in the sun for 2.5 hours and we only got two people to register. That was kind of depressing. Come on Colorado! It’s fun being a swing state! :-/

Then yesterday we made salmon teriyaki with homemade udon noodles! The recipe called for stretching the noodles out after we cut them and before we boiled them. Cobalt and I had a lot of fun with that part, as you can see from the above and below pictures.

Aw yeah… This noodle is gonna be great!

The salmon teriyaki also turned out pretty delicious as you can see from the following picture. Result!

You know you want to eat this…

What did you do this weekend? Have you noticed that almost all of my food posts are about noodles? Maybe I should try some other recipe just to be balanced. Do you like cooking? What is your favorite thing to make from scratch? I have to say that pie crust is kind of fun. I got a little obsessed with making homemade pie crust during my first year of grad school… It would probably be easier to make now that we have all these sweet cooking wedding presents… :)

Green chiles are delicious

Attempting to make chile rellanos last week. This was our first one and it is a little messy but it was still delicious… Don’t judge that cheesey fried chile goodness until you try it!

So it’s green chile season here in the southwest (I know Colorado isn’t very southwestern but you can still buy fresh Hatch green chiles here so it gets to be part of the southwest for the sake of this post) and all the stores are selling fresh Hatch green chiles (some of them will even roast the chiles for you!). Cobalt and I are ridiculously green chile starved most of the year so this month or so when green chiles come to Colorado is pretty special to us. We pretty much eat green chiles for the whole month. Anyway, the point of this paragraph is that we tried making chile rellanos on the other night and they turned out pretty tasty. Yay!

Speaking of the southwest, Cobalt and I ventured down to New Mexico this weekend for a baby shower for a good friend and to see his family (and friends who didn’t get to come to our wedding). It was a very short trip but it was nice none the less. My new mother in law and I spent a good few hours watching a bunch of Friends episodes. Awesome. :)

Finally, today marks the official first day of my fifth year of grad school. Whew… We’re gettin’ up there! Still all that remains is for me to get some results to write my thesis about (and maybe publish some papers along the way… you know how these things go…). Everyone please think some awesome thoughts that my research works out so I can be starting to wrap things up by the end of this year! Yay science… :-/

Anyone have an epic weekend? Does anyone love green chiles as much as we do? Is there a food that’s special to the place you grew up in/a place you’ve lived?

Kind of the best wedding cakes ever…

But of course I’m biased…

So back in January, we met with our wonderful cake lady to talk about what we wanted on our wedding cake. She showed us the album of all the other cakes she’s made and then we sat down to get to work. The conversation went kind of like this:

A (our cake lady): “What are you guys thinking?”

Cobalt and me: “So… we have this cake topper of a skeleton bride and groom and also we really like sharks… what can we do with that?”

About a half an hour later the three of us had designed that super amazing cake up there: a shark bringing a skeleton bride and groom to the beach. We loved it and she loved it. She was already planning on how to make the beach look beachy – with seashells and seaweed. Also everything on this cake (minus the cake topper of course) is completely edible – from the sand to the shark’s teeth… Makes me happy to look at it. Also, it was delicious. The shark was chocolate (his fins are graham crackers) and the beach was lemon with raspberry filling (with real raspberries!!!). Plus she made us another shark cake to save for our anniversary (and it survived the trip back to CO!). Yum.

Speaking of awesome cakes, I also want to show you the amazing groom’s cake Cobalt’s mom made! It’s a red velvet armadillo cake (Steel Magnolias anyone?) and the armadillo is a ghostbuster (Cobalt’s favorite movie of all times). We loved it! Cobalt’s mom did such a good job on it… This cake went pretty fast too… I didn’t even get to try it. :(

Thanks to our friends K and J for taking these respective pictures (I’ve totally been stealing all of them because I didn’t have my own camera… seeing the cakes is what made me miss my camera most the whole day…)!

Also, don’t forget to tell me if there is anything in particular you want to hear about now that the wedding is over. I’m making a list of post topics. I know that people want to hear about the fortunes so don’t worry, that’s coming soon to a post near you! (Also we ended up with a lot of extra fortune cookies/fortunes so if you can’t wait for the post maybe you can get a fortune in the mail…)

Tell me about your wedding cake! What did you have on it? Was it something you designed yourself or did you see it and just fall in love? If you’re not married, tell me what you would want on your wedding cake. :)

Geez with all this talk about cakes now I am hungry………

Pasta Party!

Yesterday, Cobalt and I went over to our friend L’s house to hang out with L and our friends T and C for a day of adventure. We made homemade pasta. L charged us with two tasks: making mushroom ravioli and spaghetti carbonara. So we divided into two teams – Cobalt and T on the spaghetti and C and me on the ravioli while L started on the ravioli filling. That picture up there is my sad looking mummy ravioli. He surprisingly didn’t explode when we cooked him so I guess I patched him up pretty well! C said he was delicious… :)
Anyway, it was really fun/tasty! Here are some more pictures:

First we have C mixing the ravioli dough:

Next we have Cobalt and T working on making the spaghetti… The pasta machines were of course the best part…

Once the spaghetti was ready to be cooked, everyone switched over to team ravioli and we had quite the assembly line going on (someone painting the dough, someone filling the dough, someone making the little raviolis, etc). Look at C’s cutting skill!

And two hours later, we have the final dishes:

Spaghetti Carbonara

Mushroom Ravioli

Oh man… it was so delicious… Have you ever made your own pasta? What is your favorite kind of pasta to make/eat? Did you do anything amazing this weekend?

Biscuit Success!

Last weekend, I decided to attempt to make buttermilk biscuits. These are pretty much my favorite biscuit of all times but every time I have tried to make them in the past they don’t turn out as fluffy and delicious as the buttermilk biscuits you find in restaurants. Luckily, I have this crazy sense of hope that keeps me from giving up in these situations. You should see me in lab – I am always excited and hopeful when I repeat experiments that have failed multiple times in the past. I just think maybe this time everything will be different and I will get cool results. Note: usually it’s not different and I don’t get cool results but oh well… that’s grad school for you. Anyway, the point here is that I am excited and hopeful every time I redo a previously failed activity and I don’t know if that is a good skill to have or not but it worked here. Look at these puffy biscuits. And since you can only see a picture of the biscuits (and not taste them), I will tell you about them. They are perfect – so light and fluffy. I would have eaten the whole batch in one sitting but I had to share some with Cobalt too… Yumminess.
Thanks to our friends Chocolate Pudding and Millionaire Space Accountant for giving us the cookbook with the winning buttermilk biscuits recipe! :)