Sunday, October 23, 2011

Roasted chestnuts

Jack and I like to visit a particular park here in Santa Rosa around this time of year because it has three glorious chestnut trees that drop these little babies. We spend time looking for good, shiny nuts beneath the trees and maybe even pick some from the trees and husk them for our collection.

Well, yesterday we weren't alone in our chestnut gathering. A man showed up all prepared with a plastic bag to collect some too. Luckily, there were more than enough to go around. Now, onto roasting.

I've never actually roasted my own chestnuts before. The first time I ever had them was while walking the streets of Rome in winter, where they are sold in the infamous paper cones. People just drop the shells in the street. I remember wondering how all the Italian women, in their amazing high-heeled boots didn't trip on them. How do European women navigate those cobblestone streets in heels?
I've seen chestnuts roasted in a coffee roaster...those were good, but the ones in those street 'ovens' seem to do the best job.
I've found lots of simple directions for roasting these babies in the oven. I've excerpted some directions from a Smitten Kitchen recipe below.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut a small X on the top of each chestnut with a very sharp knife. Don’t be afraid to cut into the “meat” of the chestnut a little; I found that the the ones that were the most easy to peel start with a deep enough cut that the skin peels back while roasting. Roast chestnuts on a baking sheet for about 20 to 30 minutes, until a darker shade of brown and the X peels back to reveal the inner nut.
Cool on tray and then peel.
 I'll let you know how they turn out...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More cute handmade costumes!

I know, I must stop! But there are so many cute ideas!

Directions here

Directions here

My son would love to be a car! Directions here

Quinoa burgers

These will definitely be on the menu the next time my sister rolls into town. They love quinoa over there in San Francisco. I have never prepared quinoa before (I know, how is this possible?) and feel that the time has come to try it once and for all. I've been eyeing some recipes for quinoa breakfast porridge and 'risotto.'

I found the recipe here, it follows below.

Quinoa burgers
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
To cook quinoa:
In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.
OR  2 rounded cups leftover, cooked quinoa
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, finely grated (OR 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 green onions, including white parts
1 /2 teaspoon Splenda or sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Olive oil for frying
In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, Splenda, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.
Heat a frying pan and a couple teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat.  Measure 1/4 cup and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick  - mixture will be slightly sticky.  Fry until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side.   Makes approx. 10 burgers.
Per burger:  Calories 132; Protein 8 g; Fat 5 g; NET Carbs 12 g; (Fiber 2 g); Sugar 0 g; Sodium 200 mg

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cute handmade adult mini-costumes

These are so darned cute and look so fun to make. Since I became a mom, I haven't wanted to 'really'
 dress up for Halloween, it makes sense for Jack to take center stage now, at least for a few years. The little 'hat-ettes' would be perfect and look so fun to make! For directions, click here

But last year, I made this and wore it while Trick-or-Treating around with Jack.



Homemade Halloween costumes

I really enjoy making beautiful costumes to dress my son in at Halloween. I found some great ideas online for this years' creation.

Source: here

Another sweatsuit costume idea
You can buy this sew-your-own dinosaur here on Etsy.

I love this one!

Find directions for the gnome here.

Next, the Superhero!

Directions here

This wouldn't be that complicated, if you could just find a fuzzy sweater/onesie like that to start with.

The owl costume can be purchased here