Got Leftover Sweet Potatoes?

Or yams? Or pumpkin?

(I did.)

MeatFreeZoneAt our house, it’s a meat-free Thanksgiving. 

Even though I haven’t eaten any meat or poultry of any kind since 1971, I used to continue to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving for my son and guests up until a few years ago when I learned about the horrors of factory farming.

Now I tell everyone if they want to eat meat, they can do it someplace else. I haven’t lost anyone yet, so I guess the food I do serve is tasty enough to keep ‘em coming!

Here’s our Thanksgiving dinner menu:

  • Lentil-Walnut loaf (full of protein)
  • Kugel (click on it for the recipe)
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes with vegan gravy
  • Salad
  • Roasted yams
  • Challah
  • Apple and Pumpkin Pie

Challah just out of the oven. Mmmmmm.
Challah

Angel Boy and DIL have gone back to their own lives and my tugboat man and I didn’t have many leftovers because we packed them up with the kids — all except for the roasted yams.

I’m a frugal and thrifty gal when I’m not shopping, really I am. Honest. I swear. For reals.

Here’s what I did with them and it was soo easy!

I used my tried and true recipe for banana bread but replaced the bananas with mashed up yams (you could use sweet potatoes or pumpkin too, of course).

Look how moist and yummy it looks along with oatmeal raisin cookies.Yam Bread

So simple; one bowl; you don’t need to bring out the big mixer for this one.

Leftover Sweet Potato (or Yam or Pumpkin) Bread
2 cups flour (I use 1/2 whole wheat)
1 cup sugar (brown and white)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
Mashed yam/sweet potato, about a cup
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2-3 TBS milk (or plain, unflavored yogurt)
1 tsp. vanilla (optional: 1 TBS pure maple syrup)
1/3 chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Mix oil, eggs, vanilla, milk. Add sugar(s) and mix well.
Add mashed yam and mix well. I use a fork; it’s so easy!
Add flour combined with other dry ingredients and nuts. Mix well.
Turn into a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about fifty minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
When cool, I make a little glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 TBS orange juice. It adds a nice sheen to the top of the loaf.

Super delicious with an afternoon cuppa. My fave is ginger tea. Enjoy!

Hello Kitty Is My Soul Sister: Princess Rosebud’s Hello Kitty Birthday Party

Taking my son to the airport after a fun week of Mother’s Day and birthday celebrations, he says in that snarky tone he’s perfected after thirty-two years,

“What’s the deal with you and Hello Kitty?”

Hello Kitty 4My tugboat man, who also serves as my HK enabler ‘cos he thinks I’m adorable – uh, note to single girls — only marry a guy if he thinks everything you do is adorable – responded,

“Hello Kitty is for girly girls and your mom is one-thousand-percent girly girl.”

Well said, my captain, well said.

I’ve thought a lot about the reasons why I’m so drawn to Hello Kitty and I think it’s ‘cos she’s like my pretend soul sister.

HKwatchThe Urban Dictionary defines soul sister as “someone who fully understands you.”

Yup, that’s about right.

I’m not sure if I can pinpoint the exact moment when I first became aware of Hello Kitty.

With a son, it was never really on my radar as he was growing up. Shelves full of dinosaurs and skateboards were the aisles we aimed for at Toys R Us. We dug in the dirt; not so much matching dresses or spa days for us.

hello kitty pajamas and slippers

Sexxxyyy!!

I guess it was more of a gradual appeal;  a (grown-up) friend wore a Hello Kitty watch and I was drooling — drawn to the Swarovski crystals surrounding HK’s face and I HAD to get my own; I walked by a Hello Kitty display at Target (great point of purchase placement)…

OR

…maybe it was always hovering in my subconscious, fermenting and fomenting—until one day I succumbed.

hellokittycupI was hooked.

I fell in love with that adorable mouthless face. One watch led to a ring and to a matching bracelet and then slippers, and OMG the cutest hat with an anchor! (!!!! had to have it, right? It was a nautical theme)hkhat

OK, most people associate HK with little girls, but did you know that there is a secret society of adult women who collect HK?

More often than not, when I wear my HK tee-shirt, I’ll be approached by women I do not know,

Princess Rosebud wearing glasses.

Princess Rosebud wearing glasses.

“Pssst…excuse me” [pointing to my shirt]…do you collect?”

It’s like the Skull and Bones society for women “of a certain age.” Haha.

I confess: I’m an ADULT COLLECTOR of HK. Recently at the Baltimore Airport during a layover, a Southwest employee saw my HK watch and struck up a convo about her collection that includes the HK toaster, which I really need. Really.

We were whispering, “Are you one of us?” “Yes, tell me what you have” and we each listed the items in our collection.

There we were, two college graduated women of adult children — I am not kidding. It was surreal. I mean, who wants to talk about the depressing economy or the strange weather? BORING! Hello Kitty is a sweet, innocent diversion that makes us happy. What could be wrong with that?

Since I really can’t for the life of me logically explain the appeal,  I wanted to explore the psychology of adult women who are obsessed with  enamored of HK and thought someone should write their dissertation about the marketing genius of this huge pink kitty head with a bow. And sparkles.

I discovered a WordPress blog that seems to be a dissertation of sorts; check out http://hellokittydevotee.wordpress.com/dissertation/

BTW, HK is worth about FIVE BILLION DOLLARS yearly in licensing. And finally the ultimate…did you know that HK teamed up with one of Taiwan‘s biggest airlines? What a great experience–a Hello Kitty extravaganza; from meals to mascots to boarding passes.
hellokittyairlines2hellokittyairlines

HKparty1Which might in some small way explain the excitement I felt for my very first Hello Kitty Birthday Party! I’m not going to tell you how old I am; does it REALLY matter? I think not.

We spent the morning and early afternoon hiking Crystal Cove State Park (read about that HERE). When we returned home, hubs was exhausted and immediately fell asleep.

So much for that birthday cake he was sposed to make.

chocolatecoconuticecream

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

I threw together a One-Bowl Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting and Chocoate Coconut Ice Cream.

The cake was out of the oven and cooling before he woke up. Figures, right? If you want something done, ya gotta do it yourself. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

I challenged my tugboat man and my son to create dinner all by themselves. OK. We’re talking a Ph.D. Yale professor and a maritime academy graduate with a BS in Engineering.

Two smart, functional, adult men, right?

OMG, watching them write a grocery list and take off to the store offered tons of fun.

“Mom, do you have jicama? Mom, where’s a knife?” “Rosebud, can you chop this onion for me? Uh — how do you chop cilantro?”

I kept looking up recipes on my computer because I felt sorry for them.

Birthday barbecue

Hubs chose to make Mango Salsa with Blue Corn Chips for his appetizer; my son’s contribution was a Jicama Kumquat Salad. It was delicious.

I thought it’d be a good idea to barbecue because I had a feeling the kitchen was going to take me a week to clean up. This was a smart decision. We had potatoes, asparagus, beets (from the garden), corn, Smart Dogs, and it was all absolutely yummy.

Best of all, it was made with love.

HKparty2

keep-calm-and-love-hello-kitty-165

Will Return Soon…

As I’m consumed by 24/7 cooking, baking, and cleaning, I have been remiss in responding to comments and blogs.

Please accept my apology — I’ll be back in a few days.

Until then, I’m on….

Image

The Last Supper: An Indian Feast

When my tugboat man abandons me goes off to work oceans away, I like to make a special goodbye dinner. Last night it was Indian food. I tried to recreate the delicious dinner we had at Mt. Everest restaurant in Berkeley and I don’t know if it was exactly the same, but it was a pretty good effort, and much appreciated by my hubs.

Some of the ingredients…whew! 

Ingredients for Indian Food

This is Raita, an amazing dipping sauce for Naan. It’s so simple.
Plain yogurt mixed with shredded and chopped cucumber, cayenne, cumin, pepper, and fresh cilantro. It would be good on anything, every single day.
I think it was the best part of the meal– and so beautiful!
RaitaLentil Daal (recipe below) So fragrant and healthy.
Lentil DaalNaan Bread

Naan BreadNaan Bread Rising

Naan Bread Rising

And while I’m not confirming NOR denying where he’s going, this might be a clue– or maybe not.

Recipes

Naan Bread:

http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/naan-bread/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/naan-indian-oven-baked-flat-bread-recipe/index.html

Lentil Daal:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2012/09/19/easy_dal_recipe_lentils_that_stay_true_to_the_spirit_of_indian_dal_without_the_hard_to_find_ingredients_.html

Raita:
http://chefinyou.com/2011/04/cucumber-raita/

She sees seashells and shelves near the seashore

That “sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not” tugboat captain of mine is leaving again in a couple of days.

I’m working hard on a meal for tonight that recreates the lovely Nepalese and Indian food we had in Berkeley.

I’m making Lentil Daal, Curried Rice, Naan Bread, and Raita, a delicious yogurt-based dipping sauce.

I’ll document it all for tomorrow’s post.

In the meantime, I took photos of a few new shelves hubs so kindly made for me to display my ever increasing hoard of shells, his craft of marlinspike seamanship, and my small but growing collection of mudmen from China, and fans.

Yes, those really are seashells covering the screws in the lower part of the shelf.
Seashells can be so very useful, can’t they? Useful and beautiful.

mudmen collection

blackbottleonshelf vaseonshelf fan on shelf fan2

Part Two: Countdown to Sexy Time

UPDATE on my friend’s son. He’s home from the hospital with no clearcut diagnosis, but he seems to be feeling better. Thank you all so much for your kind words. I’m very glad it all turned out OK.

And now, back to me — my favorite subject — and my Countdown to Sexy Time.

welcome home

The welcome home table… see the tugboat shaped rock attached by a “towline” to a barge shaped rock? Those were our special finds on our hike in Palm Springs. (Click to read about it) I’ve loaded the barge with cargo of dark chocolate chips. Cute, huh? He’ll really like my creativity.

.Just started the Princess Rosebud Bake-Off:

1. Granola
2. Overnight French Bread
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
4. Carrot Cake (you can see that I already tasted it–I DID have to make sure it was OK, didn’t I?)

(Recipes are posted below)
carrot cake Cooky Jar
I’m not sure what to make for his welcome home dinner; he hasn’t given me any suggestions yet. Possibly Vegetarian Lasagna?

That would be great with the Overnight French Bread although I might save that for Friday when my son and DIL are here.

All I’ve had to eat all day is two hard boiled eggs and one of my special secret formula wheat grass smoothies, so I’m totally ready for food.

The big question…
What should I wear?

Black Boots

Dear me, how did that sneaky Chanel handbag manage to photobomb every pic?

I never had the chance to shop for a new outfit but I do have new boots; his unexpected afternoon arrival wreaks havoc with my original plan of an evening gown and spiky heels.

Although….I’m not ruling out an evening gown; I’ve been known to wear one to the airport, but we have a couple of stops on the way home–I’ll need to figure something out.

He tells me to dress “normal” and I always ask him if he has any idea who he’s married to, or should I say “to whom he’s married”. LOL

Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions. And if you’ll excuse me,  I gotta mow my legs now…

RECIPES

Lowfat Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon, plus 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used nonfat yogurt, a great substitution)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup loosely packed carrots shreds, about 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or canned pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (Optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 6 cup nonstick Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, 1/4 cup sour cream, the oil, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the carrots, pineapple and walnuts. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto the rack, remove the pan and let cool completely.

3. Using a wooden spoon, mix cream cheese and butter. Add confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread or drizzle on top of cake only.

Lowfat (there’s a theme here) Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp grated raw apple or applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. I cannot live without parchment paper. It makes clean up soooo easy! In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir to blend. In another bowl, whisk the sugars, butter, egg white, apple/sauce and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. If the batter looks more “crumbly” than smooth, add just a drop of water at a time (ONLY if needed) until it smooths out. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them stand 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans to cool on wire racks.

Overnight French Bread
I attempted to inbed the html, but it wouldn’t work, but if you click on the title, it should take you to the recipe I use.

Another Grateful Monday along with a Sad Goodbye

Monday

In the midst of the cyclone that is this house–the detritus of planning and packing for my Merchant Mariner’s long assignment–it’s as good a time as any to share a little gratitude, this time to everyone who submitted recipes for the “last meal”.

It was dark and extremely foggy when we made the thirty-five minute drive to the airport at 5:30 a.m. It takes a day and a half for my tugboat man to reach his ultimate destination, and he was worried that a delay could mess everything up, but he just called to let me know he arrived at the first leg of his journey with enough time to catch the next flight.

I should be cleaning but I’m sitting on the sofa watching Jewelry Television based out of Tennessee. It’s fun to watch the low budget sets and extremely nasal Southern accents of the hosts. I promise…just five more minutes and I’m gonna start on the mess. Do I really NEED 3.20 carats Round Mystic Topaz stud earrings? Do I? They’re $39.99. I think NOT. Really. It’s a little too soon to justify any retail therapy.

Sunday

WTF??We walked to the beach before the Superbowl–a six-mile round trip. This is what the sun looked like. WTF???

I snapped a pic of this nasty little rodent, perhaps a cousin of the ones who tormented me in the backyard.squirrelbeach

When we got home from our walk, I prepared Guapola’Stuffed Mushrooms  and Benzeknees  Spinach Salad along with Guacamole and Vegetarian Refried Beans with Flax Seed Chips from Trader Joe’s. He loved all the yummy food!
stuffedmushrooms spinach salad

Many thanks to Running on Sober for her eggplant recipe and Marsella’s Book Ends potato salad recipe. I’m saving those for hub’s welcome home dinner. 

OK, the dishes aren’t going to wash themselves, are they?
A little tugboat music…

Our nautical Christmas 2012

My tugboat man brought back some treasures and cool marlinspike seamanship projects he worked on while he abandoned me was away for two months.

What do you think of the captain’s welcome home signs?

whatever

This picture frame is huge–2 ft. x 3ft.

Marlinspike seamanship picture frame

This is a close-up view of his masterful work.

close up frame

My mariner found a float in the harbor and crafted a delicate netting in black.

netball

And then we worked together to make it into a lamp! The base is a piece of driftwood. The captain’s making some fancy knotwork to embellish the shade.

lamp

Princess Rosebud was spoiled with a necklace from a craft fair somewhere near where Santa lives.

Sparkly!

Sparkly! Shiny!

 He fashioned a pretty little handmade tray with copper tubing sides and handles and filled it with shells and driftwood!

tray

We had welcome home festive cocktails of cranberry juice and vodka with a fresh cranberry in our antique champagne glasses.

cranberrycocktail

And yummy ginger cookies…

gingercookies

Our Downton Abbey-inspired dinner table.

xmasdinnerHis mess, which has since been cleaned up!

suitcases

Now he has a new project–when he’s not surfing– refinishing a rowboat and making it seaworthy.

rowboat

Such is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife! I’m a happy girl, that’s for sure!

T’was the night before the captain comes home!

A miracle occurred and at the very last minute, my tugboat man has been released from his assignment and is on the long  journey home. Because of the great distance he must travel, it takes two days but he’ll be arriving on Friday, which means another drive to the airport at midnight. It’s an unexpected joy, and in honor of this great occasion, I have written a poem based very loosely on “Twas The Night Before Christmas“.  It won’t win any prizes, that’s for sure!

Twas the night before arrival
when all through the house
there was a lot of vacuuming and bleach
with not a single dust bunny too far to reach.

The little sign says Princess Rosebud but it doesn't show up very good

The sign says Princess Rosebud but it’s hard to see.

The f-me boot was hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Capt Cranky wouldn’t be too tired to…you know, (overshare).

The sheets are perfumed and ironed with care
because FINALLY my tugboat man would soon be there.

There’s granola and cookies and cupcakes, too
And vodka and whiskey, and champagne flutes.
Let’s all hope I can find that missing corkscrew.

I did a mani and a pedi and some ‘scaping, too
for the reason that you-know-who would heed the clue

I’ll  drive to the airport and what might I find
but a very, very tired husband who’s ever so kind.

And what to my wondering eyes will appear
but last minute gifts so shiny and sheer.

And I in my vintage Valentino
and he in his new fuzzy robe
will sit by the fire and sip champs ever so slow.

NIne more days ’til Christmas

Relax, have a cup of ginger tea or something stronger, and remember…

stressed is dessert spelled backwards