Friday, August 29, 2014

My Current Obsessions IV

I'm aliiiiiiiive!

Sorry for sucking at blogging lately. I'm still trying to figure out a schedule with my "new normal." The new job is fantastic - challenging and fun with a lot to learn - but it's also time-consuming. I'm still also doing some freelance writing on the side, so when I actually have time to breathe, all I want to do is spend time with Z, friends, family, and my bed.

With that being said, cooking is pretty nonexistent in my life these days - but I know it will come back. In the meantime, I've been obsessing over other things, like TV shows and booze. Read on:

1.) "The Leftovers"


This new HBO show is why I actually look forward to Sunday nights now. (Sadly, the season finale is a week from Sunday). The first episode was slightly confusing, but each episode after that explains more and more about the [interesting] characters. And the protagonist isn't hard to look at, either. The show isn't uplifting by any means, but it is so well written, and the actors/actresses are fantastic. Watch it!

2.) Cornhole

OK, so Cornhole (also called "bean bag toss") has been an obsession of mine for awhile now. We don't have a huge backyard, by any means, but it's just big enough to play a competitive game of Cornhole every single weekend. My cousins actually gave us a customized set (each board is painted with our alma maters' logos), causing us to love the game even more. The only rule at our house: You must have a beer in-hand while playing. No exceptions.

3.) Infusing booze

Z and I have been wanting to infuse our own liquor for quite some time now. So, a few weeks ago, when a friend sent us home with two giant cucumbers from her parents' garden, I decided to get started. I sliced up one of the cucumbers and grabbed some dill from our backyard, and threw them into a mason jar - which I then filled with gin. We're poppin' open the jar this weekend, so I will let you know how it came out! I'm already excited to use the hot peppers in our backyard with a vodka concoction.

4.) My new niece

My 3rd niece was born on August 20th, and she is the cuuuuuuutest. Z and I are finally meeting her next Sunday, and I am counting down the minutes until then. Becoming an auntie for the fourth time (I also have a nephew) makes me feel so damn lucky - being an aunt is so much fun! Now if only my sister would move a little closer to us (she lives in Maine)...

5.) My new camera

For my 30th birthday/new job, Z surprised shocked me with a brand new, grown-up camera: a Canon Rebel T3i. The first photo I took was a picture of the beer I was drinking at the time, and wow - this camera is worlds better than the point-and-shoot I had been using all these years (although, that camera still has its place and time). I still have a lot to learn with my new toy, but I am loving it so far. Get ready for some much better photography here on The EE!

What are you currently obsessing over?

P.S. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Garden Vegetable Quiche

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of quiche. Quiches are incredibly versatile, full of protein, and a great way to use up leftover vegetables (and eggs!).

Right before we jetted off to Mexico for my friend's wedding last week, I realized we had almost a dozen eggs left in our refrigerator. So, I made this quiche and we ate it for several dinners and breakfasts before we left.

The catch to making this quiche extra rich and protein-packed is Hood cottage cheese. Hood contacted me to see if I'd like to try some of their new, savory flavors - Garden Vegetable and Cucumber Dill - and the Garden Vegetable was incredible in this quiche. Each of Hood's new flavors contain 13 grams of protein per serving, and the Garden Vegetable flavor combines cottage cheese with carrot, bell pepper, onion, green onion, and cucumber. (I loved dipping sliced cucumber into it for a quick snack!). For some added nutrition and flavor, I also threw some fresh tomatoes and red onion into the quiche.

Garden Vegetable Quiche | The Economical Eater

Garden Vegetable Quiche
Yields: 4-6 servings
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/2 cup diced red onion
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan
-2 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced
-8 large eggs
-1/2 cup Hood Garden Vegetable cottage cheese
-Salt and black pepper
-Pinch of grated fresh nutmeg
-1/8 teaspoon dill weed
-1 store-bought pie crust

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
3.) Place the store-bought pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate. Once onions have cooled slightly, spoon them on top of the crust; sprinkle over Parmesan cheese. Lay sliced tomatoes on top of cheese and onions.
4.) In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and cottage cheese. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and dill weed. Pour egg mixture over onions, cheese, and tomatoes.
5.) Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until center is set. Let cool slightly before serving.

[Print this recipe]

Now that the weather isn't super muggy and unbearably hot (I just jinxed it...), it felt nice to turn my oven on again and make this quiche. It also came in so handy for quick, satisfying meals before we went on vacation...yet again.

What's one of your favorite dishes to make when you need to use up leftovers? 

I received coupons for the Hood cottage cheese, but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blueberry-Banana Beer Pancakes

Beer at breakfast just makes sense, doesn't it? Especially when that beer is cooked inside fluffy, delicious pancakes.

Blueberry-Banana Beer Pancakes | The Economical Eater

I had gotten Z The Craft Beer Cookbook for his birthday, and when he woke up a few Sundays ago, he suggested we make one of the pancake recipes out of the book. I was totally game, until I realized we only had a few of the ingredients both recipes called for. So, I improvised - and this beer- and fruit-filled pancake recipe was born.

Blueberry-Banana Beer Pancakes | The Economical Eater

Blueberry-Banana Beer Pancakes
Yields: About 10 large pancakes
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-2 large eggs
-3/4 cup brown ale (a pale ale would do fine here, too)
-2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-1 banana, chopped
-1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
-Non-stick cooking spray (or extra butter) for griddle

1.) Preheat electric griddle to 350 degrees, or a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
3.) In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and beer. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk, whisking until combined.
4.) Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. Stir in the banana and blueberries.
5.) Spray a griddle with non-stick cooking spray. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter onto the prepared cooking surface. Cook until the underside has browned and the edges have started to dry, about 2-4 minutes. Flip and allow to cook until cooked through, an additional 3-5 minutes.
6.) Serve immediately with good maple syrup (and peanut butter!).

Blueberry-Banana Beer Pancakes | The Economical Eater

These were the fluffiest and most flavorful pancakes I have ever made. To be honest, I've had some "hockey puck" pancake moments (like when Z and I first started dating), but over the years, I've gotten a little better. But who knew that beer would be my saving grace?

If you don't love the taste of beer, most of the flavor does cook off in these pancakes. So all you're left with is the incredible texture it brings.

Are you good at making pancakes? What's your secret?