Turkey at Muir Woods

Bye November & Thanksgiving Photo Diary

Hello everyone! This is going to be a very short update because somehow, someway in between all my studying and Thanksgiving prepping I found the time to contract the flu. Yes so until I’m well enough to do anything other than lay in bed and surf the internet please enjoy some pictures from my Thanksgiving week!

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Reveling in the glorious results of my Thanksgiving cook-a-thon

I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy start to the holiday season!

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Creamy Zucchini Soup

Hello everyone! Today’s post is one of my most beloved favorites from childhood. I was kind of a strange one in that even as a kid I really liked eating veggies, however, I hated zucchini. Couldn’t tell you why, but I deeply identified with Kapp’n the kappa from Animal Crossing and his bawdy ballad about zucchini spooks. Ah what a wonderfully eccentric turtle, any other Animal Crossing fans out there? At any rate, I was not a fan of zucchini and I’m pretty sure my mom used this recipe to con me into eating the stuff. Which obviously worked because this soup is so delicious I couldn’t resist! The trick is the soft Swiss cheese that gives a wonderful rich, creamy flavor. The texture is super smooth and garnishing with nuts brings a great earthy bite to the dish. So give this soup a try sometime when the weather is cold and you need something scrumptious to warm you up!


Ingredients:

6 Medium Zucchini
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Chicken Stock
3 Packages Goya Chicken Bouillon
1 Box Original Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese
Pepper to taste

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Directions:

1. Start by preparing your zucchini, slicing it into 1 inch rounds.

Sliced zucchini

2. In a large dutch oven or soup pot, add your zucchini, water, and chicken stock. Cover your soup base and bring it to a boil over high heat – this took me around 10 minutes.

Zucchini soup base

3. Once boiling uncover your base and turn the heat down to medium high. Add in the chicken bouillon and continue to simmer until the zucchini skin is easily pierced with a fork – this took around 15 minutes for me. Once the zucchini has softened, take the pot off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Zucchini soup base with bouillon

4. Add your cheese wedges to and pour your soup base into a large glass blender (if using a plastic blender allow the soup to cool fully before taking this step.) Pulse your blender until the soup is well blended and smooth. There may still be bits of zucchini skin, but don’t worry because of how soft they are it won’t effect the texture of the soup.

Zucchini soup base in blender

5. Serve immediately or put the soup back in your pot, keeping it on low heat until ready to serve.Zucchini soup in pot

If you’d like it’s super tasty and quite pretty to garnish the soup with toasted pine nuts when you serve it. Enjoy!

Toasted pine nuts Garnished and served zucchini soup

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Gluten Free Review: Krusteaz Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Mix

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Hello everyone! So, as you may know from my last post I have quite the amount of craziness going on right now. In fact I entirely lost track of time yesterday applying for jobs, updating my CV, and writing my personal history/statement that I forgot to work on a recipe I’d been meaning to post today. Luckily, I’d written this idea down in my planner at the beginning of the month, but hadn’t known if anyone would be particularly interested in it other than myself. I thought it might be fun to write reviews on some of the gluten free products I find whilst out and about wandering the isles of my neighbor grocery stores. There’s a huge range of products I’m always interested in buying (box mixes, baked goods, pastas, frozen meals), but rarely do because I don’t know if I’ll like them and can never seem to find any reviews for them online. So I figure why not help myself (and hopefully others) by trying these products out and blogging how I feel about them. So what better time than when I’m in a pinch to give this idea a go!

Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Mix from Krusteaz


Ingredients:

1 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Egg
1 Package Krusteaz Honey Cornbread Mix

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Ingredients


Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. The package directions state to mix both your wet and cornbread mix until moistened. However, I’ve found most recipes specify to premix your wet ingredients before adding them to your dry ingredients. So I gave my milk, oil, and eggs a good whisk before adding in the cornbread mix and folding it all together.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet Ingredients Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet Ingredients Whisked Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Wet & Dry Ingredients Mixed

3. Next you’ll need to spoon your mix into your baking pan – the box suggests an 8x8x2 inch metal pan, a 12 standard muffin pan, and a 24 mini muffin tin. I went with my standard muffin tin and filled the muffin cups until they were 2/3 of the way full. As you can see I had quite a bit of mix left over so I added about half a scoop to each muffin until I had used up the mix.

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4. Next pop your muffins into the oven for the specified bake time, which was 16-18 minutes for my standard muffin pan.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbreas Muffins Baked

5. Once your muffins have finished baking take them out of the oven and place them on a metal rack to cool. Once cooled you can enjoy them as they are or add a bit of honey for some extra sweetness!

To be completely honest, I actually prefer these muffins without any toppings. They’ve got just the slightest hint of sweetness that combined with their fluffy texture makes them super light. I was actually surprised when I first tried one because usually boxed corn bread comes with an overpowering amount of corn flavor, but these were the complete opposite. Now that I think about it, that may actually be why they aren’t too sweet. However, if you really love sweet cornbread you could always add a bit of creamed corn in with the wet ingredients to amp up the flavor. After trying Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread mix out I think I can honestly recommend it to friends and family – so yes, 5 out of 5 stars on this gluten free product. Besides I’ll definitely be making these muffins again, probably at Thanksgiving when I know everyone will want some cornbread with their meal!

Krusteaz Gluten Free Cornbread Muffin with Honey

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September Favorites

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Hello everyone! I feel terrible for missing last Friday’s post and want to give you a quick update on what’s been going on with me lately. Basically, I’ve been dealing with a stomach thing for the past month and the end of last week was terrible. Without going too much into detail there have been days where just thinking of food has been enough to make me ill. The worst past about this is because everything has been making me nauseous I haven’t been eating and my energy levels have been way down. Which has not been good for blogging (or anything really), but after resting all weekend I’m feeling better and hopefully won’t be getting sick again any time soon.

Now onto the bulk of this post – my favorites from the month of September! This was one of those months that flew by in a blink for me. So many great things happened , like Burning Man and the Oakland Bicycle Music Festival, where I was surrounded by friends having the most incredible time of my life. I also really got into writing this month – which has been a fantastic creative outlet for me and has had the surprising (and amazing) side effect of me finding a really lovely community of like minded people here on WordPress. So if you’ve chatted with me on here lately – I appreciate it so much and thank you for being so friendly. Anyway, I wanted to take this post to look back at everything wonderful that’s happened this month and all the reasons why I should ignore my stomach issues and look back on September fondly.

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Blogging

Hands down one of my favorite things that’s happened this month is the amount of effort I’ve put into Sometimes I Cook. This past month has been pretty stressful because, after a brief hiatus from work, I decided to throw all my effort into finding a job that would help me on my path toward a career in education. Not only that, but I’ve begun working on applications for masters and teaching certification programs as well. All this has meant a lot of time spent on the computer and in an effort to keep my productivity up (and stress levels down) I took to writing more. Which has been amazing and I’ve been so happy to incorporate more of my interests into the blog – instead of just recipe posts. As much as I adore cooking, I don’t always have time to take on the effort of coming up with a new recipe then glam it up for the blog. Writing about things that have been happening in my life or browsing Pinterest to find fun looking fall inspired crafts has been such great form of stress relief. So yes, because of that there’s been a ton more lifestyle-esk posts.

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Positivity Journal 

So this one’s a bit personal, but I thought it might be nice to share in case anyone else might find it helpful. In the past I have had some problems with depression and just kind of easily getting down on myself in general. I’m not sure why. I certainly don’t have the hardest life in the world, but because of my perfectionism and issues with anxiety I just end up feeling as if I’m never quite good enough. Which is where this journal comes in. I’m always looking for things to help remind myself that I’m just as worthy a human being as everyone else, so when I walked past this at Barnes and Noble I had to stop for a look. The journal is called “The Grass Is Green Enough!” and is basically made up of prompts (some easy, some more in depth) that you complete to help yourself with living a more positive life. There are a ton of these types of journals – I chose this one because the prompts are fairly lighthearted plus there are beautiful motivational quotes dotted throughout the book to help inspire you between prompts.

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Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Cream

I went to Marshall’s the other day and may have accidentally left with a teeny-tiny very small beauty haul. Okay so really I left with the entire Dirty Work’s bath line (which is absolutely lovely), but the real show stoppers from my haul were Crabtree & Evelyn’s English Honey & Peach Blossom hand cream and My Beauty Diary Black Pearl Mask 10 Pack. So first the hand cream and oh my lord is it incredible. I have no idea how I’d never heard of this brand before. Maybe I’ve been living under a rock and everyone else knows of them, but this is seriously the nicest hand cream I think I’ve ever owned. The predominant smell is definitely the honey, but I think what makes the scent so lovely is the peach – it brings a wonderful freshness that keeps the lotion from being sickly sweet. I think the only thing I can compare it too is honeysuckles whilst still on the tree. Fresh and light. My only downside to this hand cream is that it does take a while to set. Which I suppose is necessary because it definitely does delivery on it’s ultra-moisturizing promise and leaves your hands feeling incredibly soft (which is going to be a god send for the coming winter months.)

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My Beauty Diary Sheet Masks

Continuing on with my second favorite purchase from my Marshall’s haul – the My Beauty Diary Black Pearl sheet masks. I just about died when I saw these. I don’t know when Marshall’s started carrying Asian beauty products, but I am all about it. My Beauty Diary is a fantastic brand which (before this) I’d yet to buy from because it is on the more expensive side compared to products from The Face Shop and Daiso. However, when I saw these I knew I had to try them! The first thing I noticed after taking them out of the package was that the mask was backed with plastic. I’ve noticed this as a trend in the higher end face masks I’ve bought. I’m not sure about the reason behind it, maybe so the mask can absorb more of the essence? Probably. Anyway, you definitely get your money’s worth in moisturizing power with these masks because they are super duper saturated with product. They’re actually pretty horrifying when you first put them on because the sheets are translucent and they’re so slimy that it basically looks like you’re molting. Hahaha all seriousness though, I really love these masks – my skin feels so soft and moisturized after using them that I’ll gladly look like a mess for thirty minutes.

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I’m really too attractive on pamper nights

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Photography

Okay, now to be honest I wasn’t completely sure whether or not I should post this here – mostly because I’m not exactly the world’s best photographer. When I first started this blog I was convinced that I would never be able to take a decent photo, but since then I’ve found that I’ve ever so slowly improved in my picture taking ability. I mean I’m still pretty terrible with angles, usually have problematic lighting, and shake like a tree in gale force winds, but I am determined not to let my shortcomings stop me from learning how to better capture beautiful moments on film. And bless Eric for being so incredibly supportive because he bought me a Nikon D3300 to help me get started in the world of photography. I’ve been slowly figuring it out – I was super excited to attempt shots of the Blood Moon Eclipse last weekend, but had my dreams smashed when I found out that different photos will sometimes require different lenses. Lesson learned. So hopefully you’ll start to see even better pictures on here as I continue to learn the ins and outs of photography as an art form.

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Let’s Cook: Cooking Classy’s Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Hello everyone! With the coming of fall so has come a HUGE assortment of pumpkin flavored treats. Pumpkin scones, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin shakes, and the mecca of them all the pumpkin pie. Now I hate to say it, but I’m actually not that big a fan of pumpkin flavor – I’m much bigger into peppermint chocolate flavors of Christmas. However, I’ve found that whenever I make sweets at home I enjoy them much more than when I just go out and buy a box from my local grocer. So I figured, why not see if that holds true for pumpkin flavored things? And you know what guys, it totally does!

This cookie recipe immediately popped out at me on Pinterest because of just how beautiful the cookies looked. The recipe was originally made by Jaclyn of Cooking Classy – who’s blog I really recommend you visit because it is filled with absolutely delicious foods ranging from drinks to desserts. Jaclyn’s passion for cooking really shines through her absolutely gorgeous photography!! Every recipe is plated beautifully and gives you a feel for the care that’s put into every dish. After looking around her blog, Jaclyn has inspired me to keep on working toward becoming a better chef. So, with that in mind, let’s get started!

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting by Cooking Classy

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