My latest grain and veggie salad combo

I don’t want to forget this combo I threw together, and it doesn’t hurt sharing it too…

-Farro (it’s a wheat grain, but quinoa or rice would be good too, or if you’re not afraid of gluten, couscous)
-Chickpeas (around twice as much as the grain, I had about 1.5 cups cooked)
-Red bell pepper
-Snap peas
-Feta, crumbled
-Balsamic vinegarette dressing
-(Red onion would taste good too, but I didn’t have any)

Tossed it all together and YUM.

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Christmas baking extravaganza

Thank you, Pinterest (and Google) for some delicious holiday sweets…

“Coal” – http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/06/15/grand-cayman-no-bake-cookies-and-cream-bars/

Sugar cookies (with sprinkles or royal icing) – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-best-rolled-sugar-cookies/

Royal icing – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/royal-icing-i/detail.aspx

And the best thing I’ve ever baked to date?

Cranberry shortbread streusel bars – http://www.evilchefmom.com/2009/11/cranberry-streusel-shortbread-bars.html

That cranberry streusel? Right up my alley. It’s the perfect balance of tart and sweet and crunchy and YUM.

I am now properly exhausted and am going to knit and watch an episode of My So Called Life on Netflix and then sleeeeeeep.

Photo evidence of tonight’s shenanigans…

In spite of a (sprinkle-loving) toddler
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Why yes, that’s an Oreo-butter-marshmallow beard she’s sporting.

Plus a (flour-covered) dog
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We excelled in deliciousness
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Apple butter is the greatest

Apple butter is delicious and so easy to make. It took me way too long to figure out that apple sauce is just boiled and smashed apples, and know what apple butter is? Apple sauce that’s just been cooked even further, left to evaporate more liquid, and concentrate down into a spreadable deliciousness.

I have the internet to thank for my moderate level of domesticity, and I can thank PickYourOwn.org for about 99% of my preserving prowess. I followed the instructions as outlined here using half a bushel of Golden Supreme apples from our local farmer’s market. I saved about 1/3 for just plain preserved sliced apples, another 1/3 remained applesauce, and the final 1/3 because wonderful fantastic delicious apple butter.

I didn’t add any sugar as these apples were plenty sweet on their own. And after throwing the batch in our slow cooker overnight I awoke to the perfect batch of apple butter, all ready to jar up and boil to seal. It’s a nice beginner project for canning since it only needs a water bath and not pressure to be safely preserved. I follow all the instructions from Pick Your Own and have never had a bad batch of anything, and no botulism to date!

My favorite way to eat apple butter is spread thick and accompanied with cream cheese. Today’s lunch happened to be served on gluten-free grocery bought bread, but doesn’t it look homemade? I can pretend at least 🙂