Tuesday, December 30, 2008

After Christmas Bargains at World Market

I do have a post to write about this very delicious cranberry orange walnut bread that I need to get up here, but instead, I just want to quickly let everyone know that if there's a World Market nearby, you need to scoot on over and take advantage of their 75% off sale. All the packaged food gifts, cookies, cocoa mixes...you name it. All on sale for ridiculous prices. I got a gift set of La Tourangelle oils for $4.99 and some awesome gingerbread cookies for $.99 per bag. And a gift set of flavored syrups for $2.24. And I know there was more. Though I completely avoided all the chocolate; I've already had way too much this season and I've got to be picture-ready in a month! There's a ton more. Get over there before it's all gone. I might make a second trip to the one in Nashville West.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's in the well-stocked kitchen?

Yikes, it's been over two weeks since I've posted. In that time, we've had several unremarkable meals and several pizzas made with Trader Joe's wheat pizza dough. I keep thinking it's going to be good this time and it keeps not being good. I need to make my own dough. I know.

The SO recently asked me to marry him, I'm happy to report. We have decided to have a very small and private affair in order to avoid all those complications that make shows like "Whose Wedding is it Anyway?" and "My Big Redneck Wedding" so fun to watch. No showers, no parties. Just a "do you and do you?" followed by a nice dinner. And a kick-ass honeymoon (which has yet to be booked).

Regardless of the fact that we're not having a big to-do, it was requested that we have a gift registry. What started at one registry has become now four registries because no single store has all the items (and there are not many, believe me) that I want. Williams-Sonoma has the box grater and KitchenAid mixer I want, but their flour sifter is definitely not what I want. And Macy's has the Dyson I want, but not the mixer I want. And Target has a lot of basic stuff we could use, but nothing we really need. Sadly, you can't register for Feline Pine cat litter and Gain which is what I buy the most of from Target.

And then there's Bed Bath & Beyond. We generally have no trouble spending an hour or more in the store (usually in a massage chair), but I've wasted a lot of hours creating my registry online. Though there are very few items because I've been talking myself out of many of them. Because as much as I love gadgets, I know that I have no room for them in my tiny kitchen. So I have to say no to those dessert plates (I already have some!) and to the bamboo steamer (I have a steamer basket!), sushi set (I never make sushi!), and all the other countless gadgets and gizmos making my head spin. I'd have to rent a storage unit for all the stuff I've been salivating over.

And though I've got a reasonably well-stocked kitchen, I'm curious to know what others think. What should I register for? What's the essential kitchen item you think I may not already have?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cats don't know it's not butter

One of the small number of reasons I have not gone vegan is that I love butter. Good, creamy European butter most of all. But I am getting old and my metabolism is slowing, so it's time to wean myself from the butter.

And my cat. The cat loves butter, too. Just like his mom, he loves butter and cheese. He also like caramel cake. I know all of this because for some reason, I have always found it amusing to give Eddie first refusal on everything I eat. Dog owners can't relate because dogs will eat anything, but it can be fun to see what a cat will and will not eat. Unless it's 14 years later, you're no longer single and you'd like to get through a meal without your cat begging for a sniff of what you're eating.

But this was about butter. And my need to remove it from my life. So I was eating some toast the other day and put some Earth Balance on it. It's been years since I've eaten margarine, but the EB is fairly palatable. I still enjoyed my toast. And as usual, the cat wanted to sniff out what I was eating. So I wiped up some EB onto my fingertip and held it down for him, expecting him to turn away in disgust. But he didn't. He ate it! Earth Balance is apparently so butter-like that it fooled my butter-loving cat. I'm still very surprised.

So I've been using it more. For Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner at the SO's grandmother's house, I whipped up some sweet potato casserole. I baked the potatoes in the skins, scooped them out and added brown sugar and orange juice and stirred. I topped them with something akin to a praline crust--I dumped out some brown sugar, whole wheat flour and cinnamon and cut in chunks of Earth Balance and chopped pecans. Then I sprinkled it over the sweet potatoes and stuck the dish back in the oven until the topping melted together. Vegan sweet potato casserole! It turned out to be a pretty big hit (or a bunch of people lied to me--you never know). I didn't bother to mention it was vegan...no reason to give anyone an excuse not to like it!