Archive for November, 2008


“A hero kills people, people that wish him harm. A hero is part human and part supernatural. A hero is born out of a childhood trauma, or out of a disaster, that must be avenged.”  ~Dwigh K. Schrute

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grassy skies

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homemade berry syrup

last sunday morning i started to make french toast when i realized we had run out of syrup. “make some!” my husband exclamed from the couch. “do you have a maple tree handy?” when he gave me a blank stare, i settled on making a fruit-based syrup instead. i used frozen strawberries as my fruit, but use whatever fruit you have on hand. as we were eating our breakfast, my husband said that he liked this better than regular maple syrup. guess i’ll be making bigger batches in the future!

1/2 c. water
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. fruit

1)  add all ingredients to a saucepan set over medium heat. stir with a whisk to combine. when mixture starts bubbling, reduce to a simmer. (this gets extrememly frothy when it starts bubbling, so be careful it doesn’t boil over before you reduce it; i caught mine just in time.)

2)  simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) pour into a small mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixture until fruit is blended. (you can also do this in a food processor or blender.) return to saucepan and keep on a low low simmer until ready to serve.

(i made the syrup first then cooked the french toast, and found that it thickened quite a bit more during that time.)

some people put maple extract in their syrup to get the maple flavor. i (big surprise) did not have any on hand. the best thing about this recipe is you can experiment with as many flavorings as you can come up with! i am envisioning a butter with almond extract mixture as another yummy concoction. and i’d like to try honey or even agave nector. it would be nice to substitute some of the sugar for agave nectar, but if you do that it may not thickened the same, in which case you might try adding cornstarch. (but don’t add the cornstarch directly to the syrup. put it in a jar, add a bit of water, then shake vigorously until dissolved, and then add it in; otherwise you’ll get starch lumps in the syrup.) you can also use all white sugar instead of white & brown. and if you don’t like the flavor of molasses, well, then you shouldn’t be reading my blog. just kidding. then you can omit it from the recipe. but i don’t know why you would: it contains all the nutrients that have been sucked out of white sugar during processing — plus, it makes me feel like i live on the prairie in the 1800s, and those who know me know i like that feeling. 🙂

this makes 3-4 servings. you can make a larger batch and store in the frig for weeks.

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health care

“In the wild, there is no health care. In the wild, health care is, ‘Ow, I hurt my leg. I can’t run. A lion eats me. I’m dead.’ Well, I’m not dead. I’m the lion. You’re dead.”  ~Dwight K. Schrute

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how to cut an onion

i used to hate cutting onions, especially mincing them. that is, until i stumbled upon a super-secret and special trick (that turned out to be not so secret or special after all).

click here for step by step photo instructions.

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(adapted from cooking light)

5 lbs. orange sweet potatoes
1 large egg
1/2 c. half-and-half
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 T. butter

1/2 c. flour (i used my 1/2 wheat-1/2 white mixture)
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 375°.

1)  peel potatoes. cut into 1-in sized cubes.

2)  place in dutch oven pot. cover with water. bring to a boil. reduce heat; simmer for 15 minutes. drain

3) in a large mixing bowl, lightly beat egg. add half-and-half through nutmeg. whisk until combined. add potatoes and butter. beat with an electric mixture until smooth. spoon into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.

4) combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. add butter. using a pastry blender or two knives in a criss-cross motion, cut butter into mixture until resembles coarse pea-sized meal.

stir in pecans; sprinkle topping over casserole, covering completely.

5) cover and bake for 15 minutes. uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes or until topping is browned.


and if you are anything like me, you will promptly scrape the topping off and, in a very lady-like manner of course, shovel it straight into your mouth. streusel and cobbler toppings are my weakness.

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