Whole Wheat Waffles with Strawberries and Coconut Whipped Cream

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I’m an asshole to sleep with.

I steal the sheets. Sometimes I snore. I drool. Excessively. And I totally hog the bed.

On several occasions Roo has found me in…

the “diagonal,”

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the “L,”

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the “Vitruvian Man,”

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and what Roo likes to call, “the Captain Morgan.”

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Did I mention that I’m notorious for shoving people out of “my space?” Like, onto the floor?

Yup, Roo is lucky to be with me.

And by lucky, I mean I bribe him with waffles for breakfast. Waffles totally make up for being pushed out of the bed, right?

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How to Make Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

Oh look, another followup post.  This time to Banana Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate and Candied Ginger.

Don’t you love these?

I know, you were probably hoping for another Ryan Gosling post, but I’m selfish.

Because I want Ryan all to myself.

Actually, I don’t.

Yes, I’m probably the only female (in the world) who doesn’t find Ryan Gosling attractive.  In fact, I’m a little pissed that I can’t say, “Hey Girl” to my friends anymore without them replying, “Totes Amaze!”, “Hashtag, IheartRyanGosling!” or “Why haven’t you seen Drive yet!?! Are you even American?”

But enough about Ry-Gos.

Let’s talk about coconut whipped cream.

It’s light, luscious, slightly sweet, and just barely coconut with the warmth of vanilla shining through. It’s perfect folded into chocolate ice cream, dolloped on top of hot cocoa and I love sometimes, sometimes I can’t picture life without having it spooned onto cakes, brownies, or even eaten straight out of the bowl.

In less than five minutes I can make myself a treat to eat while still in the kitchen, pretending not to hear Roo ask, “whatcha making?” from the other room.

I’m sure if I said “Ryan Gosling,” he wouldn’t mind me keeping it all for myself.

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Hot Chocolate

Seriously, how horrible is it when you text/tweet/email and you realize you absolutely regret what you just wrote.

I, for one, am a completely delusional person, and always in the mindset thinking that I’m hilarious; especially when impulsively tweeting from my iPhone.  Unfortunately, I am brought back to reality when after a second read, I realize that I’m either:

1) creepy

2) approaching stalker-status

3) confusing

4) not hilarious.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

No one wants to discuss geriatric shoe inserts.  Why would I admit this?  So.not.funny.

Oh. My. God. Why did I reply my first thought of botched conception and then crying about it over a movie?  FAIL.

I’m not even a mom.  Why did I suggest that?  And why am I obsessed with all things related to feet?  Socks?  Really?!

Overshare.  The end.

This is just the beginning of my starting to reply to/tweet randomly @sassyradish.  ie looking like a stalker.  In my defense, this youtube clip is hilarious.  Yeah, not much of a defense.

To give you some background, @sassyradish tweeted randomly one day how she switched gyms to Equinox.  I of course, remembered this (because I’m a stalker, remember?) and mentioned it in my reply.  I think she’s now scared for her life.

This, well, this I think is a matter of things getting misinterpreted in tweet-speak (I hate that I’m making that a word).  I meant it to be funny, but I think she took it personally.  Note to self, always use a smiley face because when I think I’m being hilarious, I’m not.  People just think I’m being mean, crazy, <insert deranged-person-characteristic here>.

None of these tweets got back replies, and you obviously know why.  Seriously, would you reply back?  I’m surprised I haven’t been blocked yet.

But with this oversharing, you will understand why sometimes I need to curl up with a mug of warm, rich, hot chocolate.  The shame of my impulsiveness in Twitter-land is just too much for one to handle, and the comfort of liquid chocolate is a necessity.

While you may lead a normal social media life, I hope that with it being the first week of November, you can take a step back from the strong coffees and teas, to indulge in something special.

Adapted from Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite

Serves 2

Ingredients

One third of a cup of water

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Half cup of light coconut milk

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Quarter cup of turbinado sugar (or you can use brown sugar, I just didn’t have any in my cupboard)

Quarter cup of chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Equipment

2 small saucepans

A whisk

A sharp knife

Add the water to a small saucepan and place on a burner over medium heat.  Bring the water to a boil.  Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a second saucepan, add the coconut milk, almond milk and turbinado sugar.  Place the pan on a burner over medium heat.  Whisk until the sugar has dissolved, about two to three minutes.  Add the cocoa powder mixture and chopped chocolate.  Stir till smooth.  Add the vanilla extract.

Serve, but maybe wait a minute till drinking so you don’t burn your tongue! …like I did.

Oven Roasted Acorn and Butternut Squash Soup

Last week I received three acorn squash from my CSA.   Yes, three, and when Roo plopped them down on our kitchen table after he picked them up from the Allston Farmer’s market, I couldn’t help but think, “what the hell am I going to do with these things?”

I’ve had butternut squash, and I absolutely love pumpkin.  I’ve even had kobocha squash on an almost weekly basis due to my Asian upbringing, but acorn squash? What?!

So I did what any other person would do…when they’re as lazy as me in the kitchen.

I roasted it.

And then I made it into a soup.

What turned out was something that tasted like the fall I fantasize about when our air conditioner breaks in a July heatwave; sap popping amongst the embers in a fire, knee high socks (hello, they’re so warm), and the crunch of golden leaves underneath my feet.

It was pretty awesome.

Luscious, warming flavors of roasted squash, thyme and sage, and a lovely depth from caramelized onions (yes, I have a problem, I love love love caramelized onions), this soup was what I needed to curl up with for another rainy fall day.  It’s not laden with sugar and cream, which sometimes is a complaint about butternut squash soups.  It freezes beautifully (I said it) and I love having a bowl of it with a side of roasted cauliflower.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

A couple tablespoons of olive oil (to coat the squashes with)

Quarter cup vegan butter, like Earth Balance (I know, I know it’s a bit of butter, but I found it necessary for the richness)

2 medium onions, chopped finely (I love love love lots of caramelized onions, I am a true believer it makes a soup)

6 cloves garlic, chopped finely (I also really love garlic, if you don’t, try 4…please?)

4 cups oven roasted acorn squash (about one a half pounds), scooped out from skins and set aside into a bowl

4 cups oven roasted butternut squash (about one a half pounds), scooped out from skins and set aside into a bowl

6 cups low sodium vegetable broth

Half cup light coconut milk

1 teaspoon dried thyme (start with half a teaspoon, and taste, if you want to up the herbs, add another half)

1 teaspoon dried sage, minced (same as thyme)

Salt and pepper

Equipment

A very large pot

A blender

A spatula

A sharp knife

A soup spoon

One medium sized mixing bowl that can hold about eight cups of squash

Two cookie sheets

Aluminum foil (optional) to cover the cookie sheet with

Place oven racks to the upper and lower positions in the oven.  Preheat your oven to 425F.

Cut your acorn and butternut squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds, then coat the cut sides of the squashes with olive oil.  Lay the squash, cut side down on a cookie sheet.  Place cookie sheets into the oven and bake, switching positions of the cookie sheets halfway through roasting.  Bake for about an hour, or until the flesh of the squashes are very tender.

Set aside the squash to cool.  Once cool, scoop out the flesh and set aside into a bowl.  There should be about eight cups worth.

In a large pot, add the butter, and melt over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until golden brown, for about seven minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, for about a minute.

Add the broth and squash to the pot.  Stir the best you can, till the ingredients are just combined.  *This doesn’t have to be super strict as you’re about to blend everything in the next step.

Remove the pot from heat.

In increments, and not filling the blender more than halfway, puree the contents of the pot until smooth. *Be careful and place a tea towel over blender cover, to prevent splashes onto your hand.

Add the pureed ingredients back to the pot.  Place the pot back on the burner on medium heat.

Add the coconut milk and herbs.  Stir till combined and bring the soup to a simmer.

Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Yum Yum Soup

It feels like Roo and I have been traveling practically every weekend this past month.

We went to a wedding in Maine, Roo tagged along with me to Virginia for work, and now I’m due to go back to my parents’ house to deal with the car that I “dropped off.”

Parents are smart.

They know when you’re trying to dump stuff at their place for “storage.”

They especially don’t like it when their retirement nirvana is no longer, due to a rusted, three-wheeled, no longer smells of Teen Spirit Outback station wagon that has been parked outside their house for months.

When I dropped it off I told them it’d be taken away by <insert charity I’m donating it to> in a week.

Whoops.

Yes, I’m far from perfect.

Dare I say they raised me, so they should have known it was bad news when the tow truck dropped off the car while they were away on vacation?

What, I forgot to mention that?

Procrastination.  Yes, my parents may have dropped the ball about setting me right with that one.

Being obsessed with spices?  My mother can take the credit for instilling that in me.

Growing up, it was like being audience to an at-home cooking show (but faster, almost manic, fueled by “wine spritzers” and laughs…I should call her…).

My mother’s constant chatter while cooking (she called it “creating”) was informative as any Food Network Star’s dream pilot.  She’d tell me what she loved about that dish, why, how the ingredients all worked together, and demanded that I taste.

Everything.

And when I was flipping through one of my newly acquired cookbooks (for fun, I have a problem) today, I spotted a flavor combination that I knew I’d like, and probably love, with a couple adjustments.

Cumin, garam masala, curry powder.

In a soup?  With peanut butter?

Uh, and coconut milk?

No really, it works.

It has heat, it’s full of body from the coconut milk, and the peanut butter adds a little “something,” that makes the soup quite complex for one that’s whipped up within an hour.

As for what the heck to call it, yes, I really was waving my hands up in the air, not wanting to list every ingredient in the soup to make sense as to what it is.

I stand by the name.

Yum Yum Soup, Adapted from Peas and Thank You Cookbook

Serves Four Generously

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

One and a half teaspoons curry powder

Three quarter teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 fifteen ounce diced tomatoes (with juice)

Two and a half cups low sodium sodium broth (vegetable or chicken)

1 half can (fourteen ounce) of light coconut milk

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 cup potato, diced or sliced thinly (size depending on what you like in your soup, and how quickly you’d like it to cook)

Half cup of red lentils, drained and rinsed

1 fourteen ounce can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

Salt to taste

Equipment

A sharp knife

A large pot with a lid

A colander

A spatula

Place the large pot with olive oil on an oven burner over medium high heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the diced onion.  Stir occasionally with a spatula till the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic.  Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Push aside the onions and garlic, to make a bare spot for your spices to be added.  Add the spices (curry powder, garam masala, cumin and ginger).  Let sit until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Stir the spices into the onions and garlic.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot.  Stir to combine.

Bring the soup to a simmer.

Simmer on low heat for thirty minutes slightly covered, or until potatoes are tender (if they were cut small, they should cook quickly) and the lentils are soft.

Add salt to taste.