Saturday, January 31, 2009

Smothered Vegetables

I love my crockpot so much. I got it for seven dollars at Goodwill, and it makes cooking so easy - not a lot of cleanup, not too time-consuming, and my dorm room smells so very good by the end of the day. Smothered Vegetables is a variation on my mother's Smothered Steak recipe. I am a vegetarian, so smothered steak does not appeal to me, but these veggies sure do. Yummo.

You need: a can of diced tomatoes (I use no-sodium-added), frozen green beans, flour, soy sauce (I use low-sodium), salt, pepper, peppers and an onion.

You also need molasses but I forgot to put it in the picture. Please do not forget the molasses. It is essential. Also, this recipe is the only thing I use molasses for. I know I could make cookies with it, but I don't.

First, cut up your peppers. I just do them in strips, but if you want to dice them it's fine. Do what feels right.

Chop, chop, chop.

Dump them in your crockpot. They looks so festive and pretty! Full disclosure: I only used one green pepper and one red pepper in this batch, even though there is an extra green pepper in the ingredients picture. Again, just do what feels right. I was worried my crockpot would run out of room.

Add your chopped-up onion.

And some frozen green beans. I just looooooooooooove green beans. I eat them all the time.

To your veggies, add 1/3 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Give it all a good mix to coat the veggies.

Now, dump in your can of tomatoes (undrained!).

Add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce...

...and two tablespoons of molasses. Do you like my nail polish? It's called "Electric Pink."

Give 'er a stir. As you can see, it just looks like messy vegetables. But in a few hours, oh how lovely and saucy and melded and delicious it will be!

Set your crockpot on low and leave it there for eight-ish hours.

(Time elapses)

Oh my. Oh my head. Look at this beautiful pot of deliciousness.

The vegetable juices and soy sauce and molasses have all turned in to the best sauce in the world, and the vegetables are all soft and mushy. This stuff is seriously like crack, except it's good for you. And not illegal.

I like to eat my smothered veggies over rice. They would also be good with some crusty bread for sopping up the sauce, or maybe even over noodles. Yum, yum yum. Please make these veggies.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rainbow Cake

I've been looking for an excuse to try out this technique I saw on The Omnomicon - it just looks so FUN! Some of her commenters whined that the cake seemed too chemical-y. I personally love chemicals. The pills I take whenever I have a headache? Chemicals! The goop I put on my face every night so I'll stay pretty forever? Chemicals! A little food coloring never hurt anyone (and I say this as a person who had a childhood allergy to red food dye).

The opportunity presented itself this week when it was birthday time for three special kids. I was trying to decide how to decorate a cake for a 2nd grade girl, 2nd grade boy, and 8th grade girl - not the most cohesive group. Then it occured to me: CANDY!!! Who doesn't like candy?! So I decided to make a candy-covered rainbow cake. Here's what I did:

Ingredients: Two boxes white cake mix, 2/3 cup butter (softened) or oil, 2 cups water or milk, six eggs, food coloring and spray stuff for the pan.

I feel a little guilty for always using box cake mixes, but not guilty enough to stop using them.

Preheat your oven to 350, or whatever the particular cake mix you chose says. Butter and flour your pan - or just spray it:

Dump the mixes, eggs, water, and butter into a big mixing bowl, and blend together with the hand mixer your mom got you for Christmas:

If the noise of the mixer interests your cat, throw her a cupcake paper to keep her distracted and out of the kitchen. Watch her play with it happily until you try to take a picture of her. Watch her walk away as if she was never interested in the cupcake paper in the first place.

I'm not going to say that you should lick these...

but I'm not going to say that you shouldn't.

Figure out how many colors you are going to use. I am using six: red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple. Then, divide your batter into that many bowls. On the Omnomicon she measured out the batter to make sure they all were equal, but I just estimated. Also, I am a poor college student. Most of my dishes are from Goodwill. So, if you have pretty bowls that are all the same size and match each other, good for you. Please don't judge my bowls.

Now, dye your batter! I love my gel food coloring because it gives really intense color without watering down your batter the way liquid coloring does.


If your hands look like this when you're done, and your friends ask what happened, tell them you killed a unicorn with your bare hands. Because unicorn blood is rainbow. Obviously.

I made my cake in a rectangle pan, and decided it would be to hard to spread out each color perfectly so that every slice had every color in it. So, I just blooped spoonfuls of batter into the pan randomly on top of one another:

I think this is what it looks like when the cartoon bluebirds in Disney Princess Land poop.

You don't want to even out the batter by spreading it, because that will mix the colors together. Instead, just pick up the pan a few inches from your counter and drop it. Do this three times. The top kind of flattened out for me after that.

Pop this baby in the oven!

Set your timer for the time listed on the back of your cake mix box, and do your dishes.

This rainbow thing sure creates a lot of dishes.

Look! The cake is done! Take her out of the oven!

The dimply area on top is from where I used a fork to check for doneness. I didn't have any toothpicks. I'll just cover it with frosting later.

The cake looks kind of weird on top because it is brown from the oven, but a quick peek at the bits left in the bottom of the pan shows...

Colorful cake bits! Pretty!!!

Crumb coat of frosting:

Now the best part... decorating! WITH CANDY!!

Gummi Lifesavers and Twizzlers? Okay!

And KitKat bars and mini Hershey Kisses? Okay!

I just love candy.

I didn't have room to write all three kids' names on the cake, so I made little flags out of DumDums...
Coordinating cupcakes for their classmates:

In conclusion? I think the rainbow cake is really cool - I can't wait for them to slice into the cake and find the 'surprise' inside! BUT, I think I'll wait to make it again until I have an apartment with a dishwasher. Doing all the dishes was a huge drag.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


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