It was a wild time...

During our weekend in California, we stopped at the San Diego Zoo. It was a hilarious time, and we will definitely have to make a second (or third!) trip as it was too big to take in in just one day. Plus, I totally want to do the "Skyfari."


 I loved that Jessica was "The Queen." The hubs thought that it was hilarious that she had a "big appetite."

Food Waste Friday

So, I have been wanting to join in on The Frugal Girl's Food Waste Friday  for a while now. I think it's a brilliant idea. Nothing like embarrassing yourself all over the internet to change a bad habit.

I'm sort of a food hoarder. I don't know where or how I got this gene, but I have it. It's ironic because I tend to be very streamlined with other things and belongings. Sometimes this quirk works in my favor - my well stocked pantry has meant fewer trips to the store and makes my meal preparation pretty efficient. The downside is that less stable items tend to go bad before I have a chance to use them. Especially if we have some unexpected scheduling. 

Here's what went bad this week:

a container of whipped cream. I originally made this to top some strawberries and lemon curd. But I ate all the strawberries and still had some of the whipped cream left. I should have gone and bought more berries, because it's a shame to waste homemade whipped cream.

a container of rice.  This was one of those things that found it's way to the back of the fridge and...yuck. I think it's over two weeks old.

dressing. That would be the pink container there - cranberry dressing I made for salads a while back.

eggplant. I bought this for dinner one night, but with all the craziness that's been going on around here, I never got to make the intended dinner.

pasta sauce. Not pictured. My husband found this in the door with a nice layer of mold on top of the remaining sauce and pitched it.

For the good news: We were gifted a LOT of citrus. I can't even caps enough to emphasize how much we got when visiting my hub's aunt (she has tons of fruit trees). Most of it is super fresh and will last a bit, but she did give us a few oranges (blood oranges no less) that were beyond ripe. I made those into a tart almost the minute we got home, so I'm happy to report that those will not be pictured for FWF!

Hopefully next week is a little better!

Orange you glad...

The hubs and I recently went to San Diego, California. Can you believe it was my first trip ever to California? It was a fun time, with a stop at the ocean, avocado pickin', and relaxing.

This is also the technique we use for changing our air filters.

While were we there, we picked some oranges and citrus fruits of all kinds, and brought home a bounty! Now that my kitchen is full of citrus, I am slowly but surely finding some tasty recipes involving the tart, sweet little fruits. In addition to just eating them, of course, because I can assure you that you haven't really lived until you eat a perfectly ripe orange just off the tree (and proceeded to get juice all over your fingers!). I also tasted my very first kumquat. They are as fun to eat as they are to say. I think I may have forever ruined my taste for store bought oranges...

For the first recipe, I wanted to use up the blood oranges*. We only had a few, but they were beyond ripe, so I wanted to use them quickly before they went the way of the compost. A quick browse of the internets and I found a recipe for a Flaky Blood Orange Tart from Food and Wine. You know I love anything in a flaky crust, and the hubs likes anything resembling a cobbler, so this seemed like a great use for the blood oranges. Plus, it wasn't fancy or complicated so I could easily assemble it and get this - stash it in the freezer - to be made later. Of course, it didn't really last that long (really only the minimum 4 hours...) but it's nice to find a recipe that you can make ahead and whip up quickly when needed. A half recipe made about four to six servings.

While not fancy, this dessert is pretty in it's own right, with the vibrant colors of the oranges shining through like a little stained glass window. It smells amazing, but most importantly, tastes great. It does have a cobbler like flavor with the buttery crust, tart oranges and the addictive sweetness of liquid crack salted caramel syrup. Definitely make the syrup.

I tried to get photos of this before we ate it, but I wasn't so lucky, which is why I've taken strategically partial tart pics. That other half of the's empty. And then when I wasn't looking the hubs snacked on even more! At least I know he liked it.

Since we now have so much citrus, I'm sure I will be posting more recipes shortly. Leave a note in the comments if you have any favorite citrus recipes that I should try!

*This was also my very first blood orange!

Last Weekend

The hubs and I went to California and I saw the Pacific for the very first time. Even though it was very very cold, I just had to touch it. I feel like it doesn't count as a trip to the coast until you get a little wet. 

We took a little walk along the coast, checking out the cliff houses, the plants and wildlife before we realized that we needed to turn around before high tide took over the beach. From the dunes, we watched my first west coast sunset. But fear not, we'll be back.

Club Baked: Speculaas

I must be the only person on the planet that hasn't heard of these little cookies, similar to the Biscoff cookies handed out on the airlines. So, I really didn't know what to expect, other than a very spicy cookie...that I could gather from the ingredients - cloves, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon in quantity.

What I didn't know was that they would be terrible -

- terribly easy, that is.

I almost didn't think that after a quick pulse in the food processor and a minute of hand mixing that my batter* was done. After a pop in the fridge, a roll with the rolling pin and a quick (15 minutes!) bake in the oven, the cookies were out, smelling delicious and ready to eat.

And, in addition to the ease of preparation (and ease of cleanup - I think I used two dishes!), they are quite good. These cookies are dry and crispy. I normally am not fond of dry cookies, preferring them ooey and gooey and with chocolate chips. But these weren't dry in a bad way, more like a perfect compliment to a cup of coffee or tea, or in my case, a chai latte. (I will say that I did love them right out of the oven, still warm and a bit soft)

I do think that their spicy flavor makes them the perfect fall cookie, or holiday cookie for that matter. I know I will enjoy the break this cookie provides next year during the stressful, over the top holidays. It's so simple, but delicious. Can't ask for much more...

Club Baked ended up co-hosting this recipe with Baked Sunday Mornings, a group that also is baking it's way through these delicious desserts, so you'll find the recipe over there this week. To see all the bakers links, check out the Club Baked site.

*I ended up using lemon zest in place of the orange zest since I had no oranges on hand. I found it hard to taste with all the spice, so I'm not going to say if it affected the flavor, although I can see how orange would be the preferred compliment to those spices.

**pictures coming soon...