Friday, April 27, 2012

Kitties and Kourage

Recipes, cooking and blogging have all taken a back-seat this week as I've been consumed taking care of our sick cat Oliver. It seems our precious orange tabby got himself into something, and scratched his eye pretty bad.

Mr.*From Scratch took a week-long business trip to Orlando (boo hoo), so I've been the sole administer-er of antibiotics, pain meds and the dreaded Elizabethan-cone-around-the-neck.

Today Oliver's much better, so I've had the mental energy to think about other things, like this beloved blog! I have to give myself a (small) pat on the back for all the stress I fared this week. I discovered I'm a little bit more courageous then I thought. Carrying a 14 pound crying animal to and from the vet and then making him comfortable all week was a big task (remember we live in a 5th floor walk-up folks). Many thanks to the friends and loved ones who have checked up on us--you know who you are!

Along with my newfound courage, I also realized there were some neat little tidbits of daily life that just had to be shared for this week's post. Nothing earth shattering, just simple discoveries that made my week easier and more pleasant. Enjoy!

1) Go bananas for...bananas!

Too many ripe bananas? Cut them up and place on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, pop them in a zip-top bag. Perfect for smoothies or dip them in melted chocolate for a tasty spring treat.

2) Show your sink some love...
 Did you know any soap nozzle will screw onto a glass bottle? I got this idea from the website Pinterest. Just fill  your favorite bottle with dish-soap and screw on the nozzle. I have always loved the green Pellegrino bottle, and now my sink looks tres chic.

3) Captain Obvious called...
Ok this right here just changed my life. I have always struggled with getting the blessed Clorox wipes to pull through the hole. It NEVER works for me...until I discovered I was doing it wrong. I know the photo is light, but it says, "Pull Wipe from Center of Roll." Genius.
Convalescing cat with cone. 

I treated myself to a little retail therapy this week. It's a little Ohio charm! You can take the girl out of the Mid-West, but it will always remain in my heart.

Back to food and recipes next week! Please feel free to share your favorite daily tips, tricks and discoveries that make your life better. You all have some I'm sure- and we'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yellow Fingers, Happy Stomach

Garlic Curry Steak Fries
My sister recently turned me on to this entertaining blog called the Post Punk Kitchen. It includes a plethora of tasty and creative vegetarian recipes that are anything but boring (or granola). My dear lil' sis happens to be an extremely talented cook, foodie and artist and when she called me all excited about today's recipe that she found on the Post Punk Kitchen, I knew I had to try it ASAP. She has exquisite taste in and out of the kitchen.

The potatoes turn crisp on the outside yet tender on the inside when coated with minced garlic, olive oil, sweet yellow curry and then baked to golden-brown goodness. As a kid I never cared for ketchup with my fries, but lately I just can't get enough of the stuff. I highly recommend cozying up with a steaming plate of these crispy seasoned fries and a mound of cold ketchup to dip them in.

You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these delicious Garlic Curry Steak Fries, in fact they would go amazing with a big, fat, juicy burger. Enjoy!

Garlic Curry Steak Fries

Cast of Characters: Potatoes, olive oil, garlic, yellow curry and salt.

Wash potatoes and cut in 1/4 in thickness. (These are *Mr. From Scratch's hands...I  put him to work!)

Par-boil the potatoes for 4-7 minutes. Don't let them get too soft.

While potatoes are boiling create your little "assembly line" with  a bowl of ice water and a plate covered in paper towels.

Drain potatoes and plunge in ice water.

While potatoes dry on the paper towels, empty the water bowl and put remaining ingredients in it. Minced garlic, salt, curry and olive oil. Combine all spices into a paste-like mixture. (If you're feeling lazy, just use garlic powder.)

Coat potatoes in small batches, meaning don't just dump ALL of the fries in the bowl. Do a few batches at a time to ensure each fries gets some tender, lovin' spice rub on it. Warning: Fingerstips will be yellow for a few hours!

Into the oven they go!
Pass the ketchup!

Recipe Here: Garlic Curry Steak Fries from the Post Punk Kitchen

My sister made this recipe with sweet potatoes, which I think would be a divine combination especially when paired with the smoky curry. I will try that next time fo' sho'. Let me know what you guys think of these tasty little guys and especially give me a holler if you make them!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Homemade Fruit, Fiber and Nut Bars
Life has been so hectic lately that most of my sustenance has come in the form of a bar. And I'm not talking about the place where everybody knows your name. There was one day last week where I was doing my mental checklist of 'what did I eat today?' and the list included:

7:30 am- Fiber One Bar & coffee
11:00 am- post work-out smoothie
All day- sugarless gum
2:00 pm- Fruit and Nut Bar & coffee from Starbucks
5:00 pm- Special K bar and cafe con leche at work
9:00 pm- curry chicken sandwich


I realize I have no idea what is actually in those "healthy" bars that I eat all day out of convenience and/or necessity. Sure they boast healthy claims on the front, but if I dare flip the package over I would be shocked.

Today's recipe rocks. It tastes great, is easy to do, and you can control your ingredients-so you know exactly what is going in there. The brilliance is how versatile it is. You can substitute any dried fruit you want, any cereal you want, any nut you want and any binder you want. I made mine with tons of fiber-rich ingredients, so now I can kiss those store-bought Fiber-One bars bye-bye! Even the Mister got into it. He and I had a blast preparing this together and talking about new flavor combinations. His next try will be perfecting the perfect protein bar, so be on the look-out all you meat-heads out there.

Homemade Fruit, Fiber and Nut Bars
Cast of Characters: Oats, shredded wheat cereal (or anything), nuts (any), dried fruit, cinnamon, salt, eggs, honey (I used agave nectar), vanilla extract, mini chocolate chips.

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees. Combine oats, cereal, nuts, dried fruit (I used diced prunes!), cinnamon and salt. 

Pulse the mixture in a food processor or blender. Here I am with my all-time favorite kitchen appliance, The Magic Bullet! Don't pulse it too fine, it should look like gravel.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, honey and vanilla. I got Mr. *From Scratch to help out here.

Whisk wet ingredients and set aside. Pour the dry chopped mixture back in bowl and add chocolate chips. I found some shredded coconut and added it last minute here!

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Press FIRMLY into a grease baking dish.

This is optional, but I lightly scored the bars half-way through with a knife before baking. Pop in the oven for 15-18 minutes.

Let cool completely before taking out of pan.
At first taste, I was kinda disappointed, but as the days have passed, the flavors have gotten better and better. In fact, I'm eating the last one right now and am planning on making a second batch this afternoon. I know that after a few more times I will have this recipe memorized, this is definitely a new staple in the *From Scratch household. Sidenote: the coconut was the all-star ingredient in flavor and texture. I would highly recommend it even though it's not called for in the original recipe. What flavor combos would you enjoy?

Here is the original recipe from What's Cooking With Kids, in parentheses I will add my personal modifications:

1 cup oats (*GirfFromScratch used Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain Rolled Oats)
1 cup shredded wheat cereal (*GFS used F-Factor High Fiber Skinny's Cereal)
1 cup walnuts (*GFS used sliced almonds)
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (*GFS used Plum Amazins diced prunes)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey (*GFS used organic agave nectar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Light oil or coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (we wiped ours down with oil instead of using spray) and set aside.
  2. Place the oats, shredded wheat, walnuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.  (The dried fruit should be the size of lentils.)
  3. Whisk together the eggs, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Add the oat mixture and chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan and flatten gently with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake about 18 minutes, or until the edgest turn golden brown.  Let cool completely in the pan before slicing into 12 bars.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

No dishes, No problem!

Pesto Spinach Crock-Pot Lasagna
The first time I ever made homemade lasagna from scratch, I thought that someone had lied to me. Lasagna was suppose to be easy right? I was under the impression that it was the go-to meal of housewives, church pot-lucks and Sunday Family Dinners because it was simple and cheap. But as I sat exasperated, elbow deep in half-boiled broken noodles, mounds of marinara sauce splattered on the stove and a smear of ricotta  across my cheek, I realized this was incorrect. I silently cursed any woman who ever said nonchalantly, "Oh just whip up a lasagna!"

There had to be an easier way.