Who Needs Powdered Sugar? Chocolate Banana Ganache

I appear to be incapable of buying powdered sugar. Visiting the baking aisle has become part of my weekly shopping routine, as I have been going through flour like nobody’s business (I graduated to the 10 lb bag, but it’s still gone within a week).  Picking up flour tends to jog my memory as to other baking supplies I need.  Not so with powdered sugar, it’s been weeks and weeks and I still haven’t bought any.

Stir the chocolate. Pie in the Woods

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Taking Advantage of my Pantry: Tortilla Soup

All the Soup Toppings: Pie in the Woods

My housemate’s mom likes to clip coupons. A lot. So much so that she has too much food for her own house, and sends the overflow to us. This has been challenging for me, because there is a ton of food to eat, but not much variety, and not things that I am necessarily used to cooking with.

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Heaven and Hell Party: Shepherdess Pie

All the Hell food: Pie in the Woods

From top left: 7 Sins Chili, Angel-Hair in Devil Sauce, Barbeque Chips, Fire Roasted Peppers, and Spicy Jalapeño Cornbread.

A friend of mine likes to throw potlucks.  But not ordinary potlucks – themed potlucks – like Bad Puns where people brought “Brownie Points”  or  (Non)Traditional 7 Course Meal where the person assigned to the fish course brought fish sticks.  Recently he had a “Heaven and Hell” potluck.  Pre-potluck recon indicated that there would be a lot of Hell dishes coming but not much on the Heaven side, so I wanted to bring a Heaven dish.  Problem is, Hell dishes are a lot easier to come up with – anything spicy and/or fiery can be said to be devilish, whereas for Heaven you have angel-food, angel-hair and ambrosia salad.

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Post-Thanksgiving Post: Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sauce

Molded Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sauce: Pie in the Woods

Did everyone have a tasty (and overly filling) Thanksgiving?  Good.

Since I became a vegetarian, Thanksgiving has lost a lot of its charm.  We always gathered at my Grandma’s house, and like a good Iowa farm-wife, she offered three (count ’em three!) kinds of meat: capon, beef, and ham.  In addition there were mashed potatoes (which I’ve never liked, yes, I do know that this makes me a freak of nature), salad, cranberries, rolls, spinach balls (the best part!), and funeral casserole – a vegetable casserole so-named because a friend of my grandmother always brought it to funerals.  As you can see, limited options for me, although I never was as uncomfortably full as the rest of my family.

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Rescued Tomatoes: Fresh Tomato Sauce with Lemon

When I was younger I didn’t like tomatoes, except in the most processed forms (pasta sauce, pizza etc).  Since then I’ve grown to really enjoy tomatoes, and like cooking with them.  Sadly, I rarely am afforded the opportunity as my best friend has a tomato-intolerance.  Since she can’t eat them, we don’t keep them around and my tomato-intake is greatly diminished.  (I have considered ending our friendship over this, but she puts up with my eggplant-intolerance, so I guess I can’t).

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Save the Spinach: Wilted Spinach Salad

So, you know when you buy a bag of spinach at the store with the full intention of harnessing all of its super-powers?  You bring it home, and then life happens, and all your spinach-related cooking plans go out the window.  Or it just gets lost in the fridge.  And then a few days later you return to your spinach, and its no longer full of bright green promises.  Instead, it’s wilty, or maybe even a touch slimy. The texture goes before the taste, but who wants to eat limp spinach?

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Cotton Candy Chaos

The tastiest of confections

Cotton Candy (Credit: Wikipedia)

I love cotton candy with a passion.  It’s delicious (what else would you expect from sugar?), it has a fabulous texture which makes eating it tons of fun, and it’s hard enough to find that it never gets old.  The one downside is that those fluffy fibers are kinda sharp – eat enough and you’ll start cutting up your mouth (not that I’d know or anything). Whenever I go to an amusement park or carnival, I scout out the cotton candy stands so I can score some on the way out.  What I’m saying is that cotton candy makes me excited -like, jumping up and down excited.

So imagine how excited I was that we had a cotton candy machine for Halloween. Continue reading