Guest Blog Post: Six Warm Piglets by Cecilia Mary Gunther

photo of piglets feeding

Warning: reality check, then Cuteness Overload! It’s not for nothing that the human star of the glorious pig movie, “Babe,” went vegetarian…

thekitchensgarden

If you were hanging out in the Kitchen’s Garden Lounge of Comments yesterday you would have read that a piglet was lost in that first cold night.  I found him dead on Poppy’s side of their quarters.  Being the Lady Pig Farmer is not always easy. All our focus these first few days is keeping the babies safe and well fed. This task feels mutually exclusive at times.

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Guest Blog Post Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Muffins by Roijoyeux

Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Muffins by Roijoyeux
Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Muffin by Roijoyeux

Most of the week, fellow blogger Roijoyeux blogs on heroic people bullied for being gay or bisexual. Sundays he reserves to torture us with photos and recipes from his latest mouthwatering healthy/delicious yummy. Another awesomeness about his site is that if you don’t read French, he’s installed a google translate widget…

Roijoyeux

Pour mon cher ami Tauche et son mari, je réalise presque chaque semaine des gâteaux à la fois sains et gourmands et j’ai décidé de vous faire profiter, joyeux visiteurs, de mes plus belles réussites…

Cette semaine, j’ai eu envie de tester la recette de muffins aux pépites de chocolat inscrite au dos des paquets de pépites de chocolat “Vahiné”, en l’adaptant pour mes amis; Tauche souhaitait un gâteau à la banane, il me restait un sachet de noisettes en poudre, voici donc les :

Ingrédients : (pour 9 muffins de diamètre 6 cm)

  • 125 g de farine de riz + 50 g de farine de sarrasin + 75 g de poudre de noisettes (au lieu de 250 g de farine)
  • 1/2 c à c bicarbonate (au lieu de 1 sachet de levure chimique)
  • 2 pincées de sel
  • 100 g de pépites de chocolat
  • 1 oeuf
  • 105 g de muscovado…

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Recipe: Eggplant Roll Ups by Khashayar Parsi

Platter of eggplant rollups with yogurt dip.
Photos by da-AL

Happiness for the eyes and tummy is a platter of these easy and dramatic healthy veggie bites! Find more of Khashayar’s lovely recipes here and here and here and here and here and here

Eggplant Roll Ups by Khashayar Parsi

Eggplants – 2 large

Olive oil – 4 tablespoons

Soy sauce – 4 tablespoons

Persian cucumbers – 6 small

Carrots – 2 large

Walnuts – 1/4 cup

Yogurt – 2 cups

Slice each eggplant lengthwise to about 3/8” to 1/2” (or 6 to 8 slices).

Spread half the olive oil in a large oven pan over its entire surface.

Place the eggplant slices in the pan and bake in 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Turn them over and bake them for another 20 minutes or until browned on both sides, using the remaining olive oil.

Remove them from the oven and sprinkle the soy sauce evenly over the eggplants.

Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Julienned cucumbers and carrots with roasted eggplant slice.
Ready to roll!

Meanwhile, julienne the cucumbers and carrots, and divide them evenly per eggplant slices.

For each eggplant, place the julienned pieces on one end and roll the piece tightly.

Eggplant rollup before it's been cut in half.
Eggplant rollup before it’s been cut in half.

Cut each roll in half and stand each half on its flat side.

Sprinkle with ground walnuts and serve with yogurt.

Eggplant rollups cut in half.
As adorable as they are yummy!

Guest Blog Post: “Coconut Cardamom Tea Cake,” in Nithya’s exact words

Coconut cardamon tea cake by Devine Spice

Coconut + Cardamom + Tea + Cake = Mouthwatering Event! Food blogger Nithya tells us how…

Lifestyle

Isnt that romantic sitting by the window having a nice cuppa and enjoying the nature’s beautiful autumn colors on a chilly day😍 ? It will be a perfect indulgent treat when you are offered a delicious snack to accompany your tea. Yeah😎, I am gonna tell you about my secret recipe(cardamom coconut cake) that I ve tried for the first time ever and you know what, it turned out so delicious exactly how I imagined. If you are a fan of coconut and the aroma of cardamom, you must give this a go😊. I am sure that wont let you down. So here you go! Enjoy!

 1478393142511

Serves 5 to 7

Ingredients

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 75g or 100g sugar ( according to Your taste )
  • 7 to 8tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp full-fat milk

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Guest Blog Post: “Seaweeds of the Irish Coast,” in the exact words of GaiaInAction

Photo of Irish seaweeds by GaiaInAction

Love eating seaweed (aka sea veggies)? They’re delish and massively awesome for us. Leave it to former branch librarian GaiaInAction to capture their beauty…

agoyvaerts

Yesterday saw a whole bunch of us interested folks going to explore the arboretum at Ardnagashel in Glengarriff, West Cork, but apart from admiring the wonderful trees we also received lots of information on the seaweeds and lichens along this stretch of coast. Ardnagashel was established by the Hutchins family and it was as part of the Heritage Week of Ireland that these activities took place, in memory of Ellen Hutchins (1785-1815)who was a remarkable Irish Botanist. The talks on the lichens and seaweeds were given by Howard Fox, who is the State Botanist (National Botanic Gardens) and by Maria Cullen. This ‘life’ introduction to the seaweeds and the lichens of the coast of Bantry Bay was so very interesting. a true first introduction in this field for me. Later in the afternoon Madeline Hutchins (Ellen’s great great grand niece) took us through the forested area of this garden and…

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Guest Blog Post: “How to Be All Classy and Shit,” in DGGYST’s exact words

Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

What’s classy to you? Here’s how ‘Damn, Girl Get Your Shit Together: Unsolicited Advice for Shit You Didn’t Know You Were Doing Wrong’ defines it…

Damn, Girl. Get Your Shit Together.

I have been thinking a lot about class lately. My thirtieth birthday is right around the corner and I have really been trying to hone my style. I’ve always been horrified by my mother’s butterfly bedazzled bell bottoms and the ever presence of “big gulps, tractors, and pink camo” in my sordid memory bank. But what makes someone classy? The internet has nearly convinced me that the whole of classiness is kept in the human cuticles and if they aren’t on point, I should just hang myself with a length of the Confederate flag while standing on a crate of Pabst.

Not one to believe everything the internet tells me, I thought about real life. Who was the classiest person I know?

For me, that person is my dear friend Betty. Betty is a landscaper and ironically has the most mangled cuticles I have ever seen. When she comes by…

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Guest Blog Recipe: “Sticky Toffee Pudding anyone?” by Viola Bleu

Voila! Viola’s sticky toffee pudding.

Rev up your baking gear! Fellow blogger Viola Bleu’s recipe has me licking my fingers in anticipation.

Apparently, it was so delicious that it got eaten before Viola could photograph the final plated dish.

Never fear. Here’s a video of cooking superstar Nigella making it for Christmas.

And here’s a video of a cook who makes me admire how she doesn’t apologize for how the final sticky product makes it hard for her to talk.

Now on to Viola’s great post

IdeasBecomeWords

As the dish went in the oven, I admit the ingredients could have looked more appetising. But this is the truth of the process; sticky toffee pudding before its glory on the plate, and the gunky sweetness which sticks to the back of your teeth. This photo is the real life part of the fantasy which will be the portion covered with cream, dribbling down across textured contours of sponge and jagged rocks of dates. Real life is the seven selfies you take before the one which is finally chosen for public scrutiny. That one becomes the fantasy. The image of what we ideally want ourselves to be.

In fact I had to bring it out again, because I forgot the components of the sticky bit. Dark muscovado sugar, unsalted butter and some boiling water … all sprinkled, dabbed and poured over the top before cooking commences. (That looks even…

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Enchanting Espelette, France, by da-AL

After a weekend of beautiful Barcelona, we drove towards French Basque country. We lunched in wonderful Huesca and overnighted in pretty Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

The sun shone and we were back on the road. What better way to relax than to stop in the enchanting Basque town of Espelette?

We sipped hot chocolate at a sidewalk cafe…

We shopped for edible gifts from a kindly shopkeeper, including the special not-too-hot red pepper power the city is known for…

da-AL and her honey shopping in Espelette, France

And we strolled, admiring the town’s typically red-accented white buildings…

Everything, everyone, the weather — it was all so charming, that I could easily have stayed for a nap…

…but we had more places to visit! We were headed further into phenomenal French Basque Country (Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Bayonne, and Biarritz).

Then, back in Spain (after all, my upcoming novel is titled “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat”), we’d marvel at the food and seaside dogs of San Sebastián, Spain and breathtaking Bilbao

Bah! Humbug! is Perfectly Fine by da-AL

burnt gingermen cookies
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

It’s quite alright to say, “No!” to a holiday. It’s ok to write off an entire season. Sometimes holidays are worthy of looking forward to. Sometimes they’re not.

tray of burnt cookies
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

It’s perfectly fine to ignore the myriad external messages elbowing each other to influence us. People, companies, cultures, they all would love for us to spend, do, and feel exactly as they think we should.

Never mind them. Really. Sometimes some holidays (and/or seasons) are best ignored.

tray of burnt cookies
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Do whatever works for you. Mark time, survive, thrive. Before you know it, it’ll be holiday-free January.

Photo courtesy Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Whatever any one of us does, we’re never alone. We’re all unique yet all human. Be good to each other. Take good care of yourself!

Photo courtesy Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

What do you do when you want to ignore a holiday?

Recipe: Panettone Makes Every Day a Holiday by da-AL

Jeff and Zoë's panettone
Jeff and Zoë’s panettone

Panettone, or pan dulce as my Argentine mother calls it, is one of my family’s favorite things that I make. For those of you who don’t already know, panettone is the queen of holiday fruit bread. Shaped like a chef’s hat, fragrant and puffy with yeast, sweet with fruits and honey.

My panettone success is thanks entirely to the melding of my two favorite no-knead bread baking books:

Bread in 5 Minutes book coverPanettone recipe from: “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking,” by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François

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"My Bread" by Jim Lahey book coverBaking technique from: “My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method,” by Jim Lahey

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Heavenly Panettone that even my cousin who lives in Italy says is the best she’s ever tasted!

My loaves aren’t cookbook perfect and I never make the exact same twice. All the same, each of the dozens of times I’ve made this, it’s come out divine.

Deviations, substitutions, and notes about what works for me:

  • I use Lahey’s baking technique of using a covered pot. For the first half of the baking, I leave the lid on. For the remainder, I take the lid off.
  • Instead of a pot like Lahey uses, mine is the ceramic interior and glass lid from my electric crock pot.
  • I don’t wrap the baked loaf with fancy printed paper.
  • I use parchment paper to line the baking pot.
  • Half a recipe works equally great, though leftover baked panettone freezes well.
  • Whole wheat flour substitutes nicely for half of the white flour.
  • More fruit and/or nuts, less fruit and/or nuts — it’s all delicious!
  • For a lighter loaf first measure dry ingredients into a separate bowl, including the dried fruits and nuts. When I tried adding the raisins into the butter as it melted, it made the loaf denser.

Here’s my post on “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking,” by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoë François.

Here’s my post on “My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method,” by Jim Lahey.