Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm usually far more fun for Halloween than I was this year. Between feeling a little under the weather and work having been extra intense the last couple of weeks, I just didn't get into it. That being said, you know I never pass up an opportunity for holiday baking! A handful of us ladies at the brewery decided to dress up for work, and I couldn't help but add to the festivities by treating them to cakepops

Sunday I stayed in my jammies all day, cooked sourdough french toast, sipped mimosas, watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," and baked. Despite not feeling so great, it was pretty ideal.

I found some fun decorating ideas online, which were harder than I expected, thanks to the major fail that is Wilton edible ink pens, but I managed to knock out a bunch worth sharing. If I was going to do these designs again I'd probably cut out stencils for the jack-o-lanterns and use cake graffiti spray. For the eyeballs, it would have been easier to toothpick on red food coloring and let dry, or even pipe on really thin lines of red chocolate.

Spice cake pumpkins, White cake eyeballs and mummies

Friday, October 28, 2011

Michael's Coupons

I am by no means an extreme couponer. In fact, I didn't really start using coupons until Safeway began their "Just for U" campaign, which allows customers to go online and attach coupons to their club card. The only store I really hunt down discounts for is Michael's, because being crafty sure is expensive!

I'm not sure if it's the approaching holidays or if they just love me that much, but Michael's is running a ton of great sales in-store and putting out some serious coupons. Yesterday I walked into their Colma store armed with a lengthy shopping list and a "20% off entire purchase" coupon, and walked out an hour later with $90 worth of goodies for $50. Heck yes. Picture frames are 40% off, baskets are 50% off, .59c paper is 4/$1, ribbon is on various %-off sales depending on size and type... and so much more. It's too bad none of my Halloween cakepop supplies were on sale, but I hardly minded spending $8.99 on an edible ink pen set when I was scoring so big on everything else!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

High School Reunion

Ten years - holy moly. Well, technically 11.5, but that's only because I tested out half way through my junior year and high tailed it to Dallas. I decided that, while I could have attended the reunion for 2000, I'd rather attend the 2001 reunion since that was supposed to be my graduating class. Since I'm single, I dragged Jennie along, who was also class of 2001 but hadn't bought tickets. Most of our friends opted not to go but we wound up at a table with a good bunch.

 My hot date!

Entry table and a group shot of our table

Two of my classmates and their wives

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Carving

I simply adore all things fall, especially all things holiday, and certainly all things pumpkin!

Just because a girl lives in the city doesn't mean she can't enjoy some good ol' fashion pumpkin patch fun and home cooked yumms! Yesterday after work, a friend and I headed to The Great Pumpkin Patch on Sloat and 19th Ave to goof off and pick up a few mini pumpkins and gourds for my mantle. We bought our carving pumpkins at Safeway - yah yah, I know, I am that cheap.

Low-fat jalapeno poppers from scratch (see recipe below)
Bruschetta (Baguette, basil leaves, tomato slices, mozzarella cheese) 
Blood orange mimosas with black sugar rims

After munching, we carved up these beauties! Okay, well, maybe "beauties" isn't the best way to describe them, but after two bottles of sparkling wine we weren't exactly pro status. 

This morning I seasoned and baked the seeds to take to the office and share! The batch on the left is  cinnamon and sugar, and the batch on the right is salt. Separate seeds from the pumpkin guts and rinse well in strainer, spread seeds on a baking sheet, bake at 325°F for 10 minutes, stir them up and add more seasoning, pop back in for another 10-15 min until they are more crunchy than chewy.



6 jalapeno peppers, 1/4 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 1/4 cup diced scallions, 1/2 cup packed reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, salt & pepper, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs, 4 egg whites, nonstick cooking spray.


Preheat broiler on high. Wearing gloves - cut stem off of peppers, cut in half length-wise, scrape out seeds and membranes. Place jalapenos on foil covered baking sheet and broil for 2 min to draw out some of the spice. If you don't do this, they'll be WAY too hot! Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 450°F. In a small bowl mix together cream cheese, sour cream, scallions, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tightly pack mixture in each jalapeno half.

Put flour in shallow dish. Put breadcrumb in small dish. In a bowl, whip egg whites with a whisk until they are foamy but not quite holding peaks. Dredge jalapenos in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg whites, being careful not to lose the filling. Place in breadcrumbs and coat completely.

Place on foil covered baking sheet, salt and pepper to taste, spray lightly with cooking spray, and bake around 20 min until golden brown and crispy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Living Social Adventures

I'm not a big fan of cheesy or cliche... but when it comes to Living Social... I just can't help myself! Living Social might be just another trendy online social offering, but they trump every other discount sight, especially when it comes to their adventure packages.

Earlier this year I went wine tasting in Napa with three girlfriends. For $80 (most wine country bus tours are upwards of $150) we were bussed from San Francisco to Napa, visited two wineries, recieved private tours and tastings, a tasty box lunch from a local eatery, and cupcake and cheese pairings. The two Living Social staff members who tagged along made for entertaining and interactive bus rides both ways.
We couldn't have had a better time!

More recently, three friends and I bought $30 tickets for an 80's themed roller skate dance party at Cell Space. The price included skate rentals, three hours of skate time, dance instruction (Thriller on skates - Um YES!), and one drink ticket for the bar. Epic.

 Right now there are two deals I'm tempted to buy up - A one-hour yoga class with yogurt brunch, and a two-hour pottery painting class. Both are $30.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sunset Jog

Nothing like a little sunset jog along the ocean to turn Wednesday into the best day of the week. As much as I love the cold and gray, these fog-free, "Indian summer" sunsets sure are amazing.

Golden Gate Bridge

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Yogurt

I finally took a stab at my own version of this pumpkin yogurt recipe. It was my first time cooking wheat berries, so I was nervous, but it turned out great! 

I found the wheat berries at Whole Foods and Googled how to properly cook them:
7 cups of water, 2 cups of wheat berries, 1 teaspoon salt, boil for one hour, strain any excess water, refrigerate. Make sure you stir a bit, especially at the beginning, to keep the wheat berries from sticking to each other or to the bottom, but for the most part just leave it be.

I used the entire Greek yogurt, the entire can of pumpkin (NOT the pre-seasoned pumpkin pie mix), and added cinnamon and sugar to taste. If you don't like bitter flavors, try using vanilla yogurt or adding more sugar.

After mixing together the ingredients, I poured it back into the Greek yogurt container for storage. I've been bringing it to work as breakfast and topping with wheat berries and apple cinnamon muesli. DELISH!