As of last Tuesday, I’ve been self-demoted from professional food writer to amateur food blogger. As I touched on in a previous blog entry, I left my job as the food (and weddings) editor for an Annapolis-based magazine recently to become a communications specialist for an association near Washington, D.C. As nearly all major life changes do, choosing a new career option had its pros and cons. One major advantage of my job at the magazine was that I got to write about really interesting things – such as food. However, being so focused on food all the time actually has some drawbacks, particularly when it came to my waistline. I’m now at a health-related company, and although I’m mostly writing about meetings and conferences, I hope that it will be easier to focus on making healthy meals.
It’s been 3 weeks since my last update, and I promise there’s a good reason for that.
Trip to Arizona (where my mom tried to give me a cat).
Producing a traveling troupe at the Children’s Theatre.
I know, you’ll say that’s hardly an excuse. But look at this kitten my mom tried to rehome to me.
Actually, that’s not the kitten she tried to give us. The one she was working really hard on convincing David to take home is the one attacking the sweet one staring off into the distance. In other words, it would have been Crouton 2.0.
Needless to say, Crouton:Return of the Claws did not make her way to Maryland.
While I was in Arizona, we celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. In her honor, I made a rich, fudgy chocolate-raspberry torte.
I haven’t been cooking much lately. It’s actually been really difficult for me. See, the past couple weeks, I’ve been involved in a benefit for the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis, an organization that is near and dear to my heart (I actually am on the Board of Directors there).
Fun fact about me: I spent my high school years performing at a youth theatre in Arizona, and even minored in theatre at Penn State. However, I have not performed onstage — unless you count karaoke — since my senior musical, Honk!, in which I played Maureen, a chatterbox hen. Anyway, when an organization from the community college approached the board at CTA about potentially pairing up for a fundraiser involving a musical review, or cabaret, I thought it would be a fun way to step back onstage and see if theatre was something I still wanted to do.
So, what’s the answer to that? It’s hard to say. I loved being on stage again, and every second I was performing was fantastic. However, I discovered it’s much harder as an adult to fit rehearsals, particularly tech week, into my schedule, balancing it with work, other charity obligations, exercise, cooking, my friends, and — oh, yeah — that guy I call my husband, who I barely saw for about 8 days. Another lady who was in the benefit performance with me asked if I would audition for a local production of “A Christmas Carol” with her this week, and for a myriad of reasons — including my scheduled Thanksgiving trip to Arizona — I had to turn her down. But perhaps in the spring, I’ll revisit the idea of auditioning for another local production.
Wow, that was a tangent. All I meant to say was that I haven’t been cooking lately, so I had to reach back into my archive of photos to find a recipe that I’ve never blogged before. And this is it, pumpkin pie dip, a recipe that works well for an afternoon snack, a dessert, a football party food, or the perfect dish to bring to a holiday potluck.
Oh, and it’s cuter if you hollow out a little pumpkin to use as it’s own serving bowl!
When I get home from the grocery store, Crouton is always so helpful. She always offers to drag the lettuce — her favorite food — out of the bag and put it away in her food bowl where it belongs. I don’t have the heart to tell her that sometimes I don’t buy lettuce, and she goes searching for it anyway.
1. Hmm…what is the best way to approach this situation and retrieve any potential lettuce inside these bags?
2. I shall pounce. Perhaps the lettuce will simply spring out of the bag.
3. I must dig.
4. A little help here, mom?
Of course, there was no lettuce in the bag; it was just baking ingredients for Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. Beyond that, I had already taken most of the groceries out of the bag. But what’s really amusing is that at no point did Crouton actually make it inside these Trader Joe’s bags (even though the third picture looks like she has) — the paper kept folding and crumbling beneath her until it was in the mess of a final photo.
Let’s talk more about these cheesecake bars. Are you on Pinterest? How silly, of course you are. This is one of the very first recipes I ever pinned when I joined last year. It needed some modifications, but in the end — amazing.
Who says that corn is just for eating on the cob? There are tons of ways to prepare fresh corn, including in a sweet, dessert manner. If fresh corn isn’t in season, you can definitely use canned or thawed frozen corn kernels for this recipe. It tastes almost like a sweet corn bread, but the spiced blueberry compote makes the dessert. Make sure it’s served warm!
Crouton is a barrel of contradictions. When she sits nicely like a cat should, she crosses her paws like a lady might. But when it’s hot outside or she’s gotten comfortable, we’re much more likely to see this unlady-like pose:
When it comes to baked good in my life, I nearly always have a dilemma. See, I love a cookie, piece of cake, or brownie as much as the next person, but there’s always that nagging voice of health in the back of my head. It’s that little irritating nugget that whispers in my ear, “Kelseyyyyy … why are you eating that?” So I shut it up by just not generally keeping the correct ingredients in my pantry to make baked goods.
But then the craving hits, and I don’t know what to do.
A simple, rustic, and delicious alternative to traditional apple pie, best served with French vanilla ice cream.
French Apple Cobbler
For the filling
5 cups tart apples, peeled and sliced
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, cut into thin pats
For the batter
½ cup flour, sifted
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon, water, flour, and vanilla in a medium bowl, mixing thoroughly. Spoon the filling into a pie plate and dot with pats of butter.
Mix together the batter ingredients in a medium bowl. Drop the batter by the spoonful over the filling and spread it evenly. While it won’t cover all of the filling before it’s baked, the batter will spread during baking.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the crust is browned and the apples are tender.