Monthly Archives: August 2009

Junk Drawer

This is what happens when you insist on keeping every single scrap of paper, envelope, receipt, etc.

Talk about a junk drawer!

I’m moving this week (packing sucks!), but I’m not going to get rid of this stuff just because it would be easier. It’s coming with me, and each scrap will find a second life as a grocery or To-Do list, directions, or an art project for my little brother. I just can’t bear to waste it!

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A “Grate” Idea (In Theory)

On my to-do list the other night: baking a batch of my favorite chocolate “crinkle” cookies to take in to work. I had all the ingredients in stock, or so I thought. I had almost exactly enough sugar, but unfortunately a bunch of it had hardened into large chunks (chunk is like my least favorite word. Why did I use it? Twice, now. Anyway). Instead of running to the store to buy a new box, I Googled and came across a suggestion to grate it. I seriously said out loud, “that’s a great idea” and then cracked up. Get it…”grate” idea? Yeah, I’m a geek for puns, I guess. 😉

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Spy the vanilla bought in bulk in the background?

Anyway, my “grate” idea didn’t turn out to be so terrific in the end, but it was worth a shot. Instead of wasting the leftover sugar chunks (ack! I need a better word! Clump does not, in any way, sound better), I decided to save them and cut them into cubes to use for coffee and tea. Just a little reminder to myself (and to you, hopefully!) that there’s no reason to waste something when you can find a way to use it. I must admit, though, I am using regular cane sugar, not organic, and feel guilty about it. I’ve tried baking with organic sugar before, and it honestly wasn’t the same – cookies came out flat, and things tasted a bit “off.” The kind I used last time was bought in bulk and was a slightly yellow color, so I definitely need to do some research for a better organic sugar that behaves in a similar manner to the cane sugar I’m used to using. Any suggestions?

Oh, and if you’re interested, here’s the cookie recipe. These cookies are awesome – always a huge hit at parties and with my coworkers. Halfway between a brownie and a cookie, they are slightly chewy and perfectly chocolatey. I particularly like using Lake Champlain organic, fair trade cocoa powder. I don’t see it listed separately on their site, but I buy it at my favorite co-op. Incidentally, I hope to visit Lake Champlain and it’s chocolate factory on my potential trip to New England next month!

Chocolate Brownie Cookies, adapted from All Recipes

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cups white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash teaspoon salt
Confectioners’ sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, sugar, and oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and place in freezer for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat pad. Roll dough into one inch balls and roll each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto cookie sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool and then place on wire racks or plates. Enjoy!

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I heart MyFarm

I’ve mentioned before that my sister works for MyFarmSF, an awesome urban farm that installs gardens in people’s backyards, and harvests the produce for their CSA. Unlike other local CSAs, which get a lot of their produce from the Central Valley, MyFarm grows everything within SF, which I find totally amazing! I like to take the credit for my sister finding this job, since I read an article about them in Sunset magazine a year or so ago and let her know about it!

Anyway, she just dropped a big box of extra produce for me, and I’m psyched! Check it out – there’s braising greens, turnips, radishes, squash, potatoes, arugula, baby onions salad greens with edible flowers and a delicious smelling herb for tea. I can’t wait! I was out of town all weekend (for my roommate’s amazing wedding), and like always when I get back from traveling, I am craving vegetables like nothing else!

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This summer has been insanely busy for me, and last weekend marked the last one I had booked! I hope this means you’ll see many more blog updates from me in the near future – I’ve missed it! I also am thinking about a NY/Boston/VT trip, so East Coasters, stay tuned!

I forgot to add – if you’re looking for a CSA, MyFarmSF is always looking for new members! I think they’re a great and really unique organization and encourage you to check them out!

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Glamping!

Ahh, I have had no time to blog this week! I was away last weekend for my birthday “glamping” trip and will leave you with some cute pics from the trip. On the green front, I found a ton of great stuff at Goodwill and Out of the Closet – cute melamine plates and cups, including our “birthday girl” goblets, a cooler with a spout (which we used as a champagne bucket!), a Thermarest for $4.50, etc. I was surprised and impressed by the selection, so make sure to check out your local thrift shop before you head out on a glamping – or even regular old camping – trip! I also requested that no one bring individual plastic water bottles, and brought extra Siggs to share just in case. People brought their own silverware, and we had enough melamine plates, bowls and cups to go around – no paper or disposable plastic required! We actually made it through the whole weekend with almost no paper towel use, besides one bug incident. 🙂 My friends all apparently had hidden secret stashes of paper towels in their backpacks but didn’t want to tell me. So cute – I love my friends. The weekend was SO much fun, filled with champagne, gourmet, organic food, and LOTS of laughs.

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Decorating the glampsite! My mom sent me these lanterns, which were just perfect! They even lit up via battery at night! I’m planning on reusing them many times.

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The tulle tent. My mom has had this tulle since 2001, I think. Three cheers for reusing!

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Goodwill find!

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Guess who?

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Birthday Girl Goblets found at Goodwill! Perfectly matched our color scheme, too. 🙂

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Another Goodwill find. The cooler, not the champagne, of course.

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My friend Liz made these awesome s’more cupcakes!

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I just love this picture! Hope my friends don’t mind me putting it up!

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Pretty Green Sister, the Tree Hugger

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Sparkling sangria!

A good time was had by all!

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