Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

dear mae,

although inept at baking, i’m not completely useless in the kitchen. i’ve got a few recipes in my repertoire that i’ve perfected after making them each thousands of times.  when you can only cook 10 things well, you eat them a lot. my personal specialitly is grilled cheese. we have grilled cheese for dinner once or twice a week.  my mom recently told me some times my dad will ask her “can you make me a grilled cheese like elizabeth makes?” i laughed when she told me, and said “ha! i doubt it!” anywho, it’s not your mama’s grilled cheese, no wonder bread, no kraft singles around here!

today i made one of my more complex concoctions with a seven grain bread, swiss cheese, tomato, avocado, sprouts and parmesan. yum!

some of my best grilled cheese secrets include:

  • lots of cheese! if you think you have enough, add a bit more, these sammies have three layers of cheese, bottom middle and top. not only is it super tasty that way, but it holds the whole thing together, especially if you have lots of toppings.
  • use a hot pan! i’ve made the mistake of putting my bread in a cold pan and then turning the heat up, but that just makes a soggy disaster.
  • experiment! i love trying different combos of flavors, some of my favorites are swiss and sauerkraut on rye; motzerella, tomatoes and basil; or grilled mushrooms and spinach on sourdough. i might try some sweet sammies soon, like goat cheese and apples? brie and strawberries? i’ll let you know!
  • fish spatula! it’s the best tool for flipping a big ol’ stuffed sandwich.
fat sammich!

i’ve never put sprouts on a grilled sandwich before, but it was super yummy, albeit a tad stringy, but i’ll be using it again for sure. maybe with more mushed avocado, and provolone cheese, kind of a nod to the jimmy john’s veggie sandwich.




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dear mae,

i don’t know if you are aware, but i am terrible at baking. i can make some dry chewy cupcakes, whip up a cake that is both burnt and under cooked, or make a sheet of rock hard sugar cookies, but this doesn’t prevent me from trying to make an oven fresh snack from time to time.  i never bake from scratch because i end up wasting a pound of flour, half a dozen eggs, a whole bag of sugar… whatever it was that i threw together in that bowl, so i opt for something out of a box.  if i’m feeling mighty crazy i’ll add something special to at least make it look homemade. maybe some craisins.   being in some sort of autumnal spirit i whipped up a box, i mean loaf, of pumpkin bread with surprisingly tasty results!

put this junk in the pan, then bake it in the oven. don’t bake the beer. drink the beer while baking, or cheap wine, it’s up to you.
try not to bake eggshells and other foreign objects into cakes or loafs.

if you are good enough at following simple directions you might just end up with a tasty end product looking something like this:

hey! i didn’t even burn it!

the best part about box baking is that i can put it together while carrying an attention starved baby while doing the dishes and photographing the whole disaster. i may not be a domestic goddess, but i am certainly a domestic person.




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dear mae,

believe it or not, i’m still roaming planet earth, just a little more zombie like than before.  my world has been a whirlwind of doctors appointment’s, eating, sleeping, knitting and eating, a lot of eating.  every time someone says being pregnant gives me the goahead to eat whatever i want, i want to punch them. what it really means is i should be eating as well and as healthy as i can because i will be doing a lot of eating. even with that said i can no longer squeeze my butt into any of my pre-pregnancy pants, and barely into a skirt. my wardrobe is limited to baby-doll dresses and leggings. i look like the 90’s. now where’d that denim jacket go?

anywho, enough groaning. i did manage to come up with a recipe that i think everyone would enjoy! it may seem daunting to make your own granola from scratch, but it’s actually quite fun! i love to wander up and down the bulk foods isle at the supermarket choosing seeds and nuts and dried fruits to pair up.  i’m not a label snob (when it comes to food) but it’s nice to know every last ingredient in my breakfast cereal, and wonderful for those of you who are!


3 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnimon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup dried blueberries

*note: most of these ingredients can be swapped, replaced, skipped, added to, ratios changed, whathaveyou. these are the ingredients i used for this particular batch, but i’ve made it with lots of different fruit/nut/seed combos, or try maple syrup instead of honey if its what you’ve got on hand, you could even add some chocolate chips if you wanted, yum! (even my measurments are approximate, i count 1 scoop at the bulk food isle to be about a cup.)

preheat your oven to 350.

mix your oats, nuts, seeds, spices and honey in a big bowl


spread it all out on a baking sheet

bake for about 10-15 minutes (i can usually tell it’s done when the whole house smells like cookies, but don’t let it burn!)

carefully transfer your granola to a bowl with a lid and stir in your fruits (and chocolate chips if you feel so inclined).  your granola can be kept in the fridge indefinitely, but i’m sure it won’t last that long!!Image

i usually eat mine in a bowl with soy milk, but it is also awesome on yogurt or ice cream.

give it a try! next time i think i’m going to try it with banana chips, maybe pistachios…. let me know if you try it, and what worked out for you!

❤ forever,


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dear mae,

i recently purchased the august 1966 issue of better homes and gardens.  i love love love reading old magazines! the articles about how to clean your husbands socks, what are the new and hip wedding gifts,  and how to encourage good posture in your children will seemingly never go out of date, nor will that sideways wall mounted pink refrigerator! the best/worst part of magazines from the fifties and sixties are the recipes.

the first image here is some kind of lemon orange jello mold with mixed can fruit and mini marshmallows.  not too icky, until you top it with cream cheese and shredded cheddar. werid.
the center recipe is frozen mayonnaise  filled with canned fruit and cream cheese. barf.
the last recipe is another fruit filled jello, topped with sour cream (had whipped cream not been invented yet?) and mini marshmallows. close, but still not quite right…

all of these ideas are about 1 step away from sounding delicious, but i do like the idea of taking a prepackaged food or dessert mix and turning it into something a little closer to home made.  so i’ve been doing just that! here is the deliciousness that i have created!

recipe courtosy of kraftrecipies.com

what you need to make it

  • 2 pkg.pumpkin spice pudding mix
  • cinnamon
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1  grahm cracker pie crust
  • 1 tub whipped cream
what you need to do to make it

beat dry pudding mixes, cinnamon and milk with whisk 2 min.; spread 1-1/2 cups onto bottom of crust.  stir 1-1/2 cups whipped cream into remaining pudding; spread over layer in crust. top with remaining whipped cream. chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg before serving

yum-tastic, and super easy!

<3, betty

oh, if anyone is interested in the actual recipes from he magazine for any reason, i would be happy to share them as the picture i took of the magazine doesn’t read very well.

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dear mae,

i’ve been thrifting! gosh i love it, the smell of mothballs and old, old perfumes, digging though piles, bins and racks.  nothing better, in my book.  except for maybe an estate sale.  this is what tom and i picked up this week from goodwill this week!

i picked out the bed sheet because it reminded me of rosmary’s baby, but i don’t think it’s going to go on my bed, it might make me some lovely curtains, or perhaps a sundress.  my pyrex collection is getting pretty out of hand, if there is such a thing, but i’ve moved on to straight corningware.  i found some crazy daisy bowls and teacups, as well as a couple random pyrex pieces.  when we went to the beach a few weeks ago i realized that i no longer have a thermos.  i used to have a terrific, huge, hot pink one, but i don’t know where it’s gone, so i replaced it with this chubby little yellow guy! i’ll be happy to have it in the wintertime i’m sure.

tom came across this fabulous map rolled up in the arts and crafts isle.  he bought it before he even knew that it was a map of portland.  i was pleased to see that it even includes our small town in the southern suburbs! tres cool! it’s covered in stickies with peoples names on them, perhaps friends of the previous owner.  it reminds me of the map we used to have of oakland county, but not quite as awesome, as this one doesn’t roll up and retract, but very awesome, none the less.  in total we spent less than $20, quite thrifty indeed!

❤ betty

p.s. i did make a dress and a curtain! see my next post!!

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dear mae,

i don’t know who in the world decided that every apartment home in america needed white and wood two tone doors on all of their cabinets, but i’m putting a stop to it.  america, if you are listening, you need no longer to be oppressed by ivory laminate and faux wood veneers!! i say, off with your doors! open up, and express yourself! don’t let some grumpy designer stuck in 1991 dictate your kitchen.

that being said, i’ve had six, count them, six different apartments with the same appalling cabinets, some even worse, and i swear i never will again.  this is a rental, keep in mind, so as much as i would like to, i am not able to give this kitchen a complete over-haul and tear everything out and start anew.  problem, meet solution. take down the doors.  i take great care in picking out my dinnerware and glasses, so why not show them off?  i’ve kept the doors on the lower cabinets where i store things like pots and pans and dog food, and on my pantry so i can still have some privacy.

the only downfall to having open shelves vs cabinetry is keeping everything neat and tidy.  i’m usually pretty convulsive about this, but i can see where it would be a problem for less anal people.  i have a few tips:

  • don’t worry so much about putting “like with like.”  i’ve got all of my coffee and tea stuff together, but other than that it’s mostly a free for all.  it’s not really a showcase, so don’t worry about having a “spot” for everything, just put it where it fits.
  • if you want to show off bowls and other dishes, stick the biggies in the smallies, it gives you more height and shows off all of the different colors and patterns.
  • if you live in a rental, keep your doors somewhere safe, you want that security deposit back, and i’ve hidden the hardware in a cruet that i never use on the shelves so it won’t get lost.
  • buy pretty stuff! i never buy something unless i find it absolutely adorable.  why should a cake pan be clear glass? and why do people have mugs with stupid phrases on them? metal pie tins? no thank you.
don’t even look at those ugly doors anymore, shove them in a closet, or better yet, throw them out the window if you can, just don’t be a slave to a bad kitchen.
❤ forever-n-ever,

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dear mae,

i’m a slave to good looking labels. it’s no wonder why the people who design them get paid the big bucks.  i found at the grocery the other day, a particularly attractive six pack, and brought it home with me.  after a couple, i got the urge to cut up the cans, but i have approximately one million can ashtrays floating around, and heaven knows they are just taking up drawer space.  any who, i recalled finding a tutorial for a light switch plate cover, and thought, “gosh, wouldn’t it be classy to have one of those?” so i whipped one up! it was really fun and easy, but in my slightly intoxicated state, it came out a little crooked.

oh, and then i did make another ash tray, because you can never have too many.

❤ betty

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