Friday, March 30, 2012

Court's Clicks: 3/30/12

It's spring!  

I saw two bunnies on my walk on Tuesday, the birds are chirping, and flowers, flowers, flowers.  My phone's camera library has quickly been filling up with pictures of colorful blooming things these past few weeks.  This one's my favorite thus far.  

You'll notice that I did a little spring cleaning around the blog here this week.   I want the focus to be on photos, recipes, and writing.  I think the new layout reflects that.  

I'm most excited for my new buttons you'll find at the top of my sidebar.  Click on them if you would like to subscribe to my blog through a reader or email; follow me on Twitter; or follow me on Pinterest.  I would certainly appreciate it!

You know how else I can tell that spring has arrived (well, besides the fact I'm on spring break still)?  

Spring recipes!

Here are a few that have caught my eye this week:

To me, spring desserts should taste fresh and light, but that doesn't mean we have to sacrifice a good frosting.  This Blueberry Cake with Lemon Icing would brighten any table with both its taste and its beautiful swirled batter. 

While raspberries always win out as my favorite summer fruit, strawberries come in as a close second.  Having one of these Strawberries and Cream Muffins at hand could easily change that, however.  

When I was a kid, my favorite item to steal from Momma's salad bar plate were those crunchy chow mein noodles.  Imagine my delight, then, in finding an Easter recipe that uses those addictive salad toppers as a decoration for these Bird's Nest Cupcakes.

Happy Friday :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Overnight Oats

This recipe may be the only good food related occurrence to result from being sick.

Even if that is the case, I'm OK with that.  The above bowl has changed the way I view oats.

I used to peg oats as the cupboard corner loser.  A grain who only shines on cold, rainy mornings--and even then, only when loaded with brown sugar and butter--or else, in cookies or bread. 

Not the case!  When left in the fridge overnight in a bowl with a little milk and some other friends, in the morning, plain old oats emerge made-over, classed-up, and a contender among breakfast cereals.

"So, you want me to eat a bowl of cold and soggy oats, eh?"

Of course not!  I want you to eat a refreshing, naturally sweet, satisfying and nourishing breakfast.  Like a smoothie, but without the jarring noise of a blender in the early morning.

Overnight Oats

Yields: 1 serving


1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (dairy milk is tasty too)
1/4 cup water
1/2 banana, sliced
generous sprinkling of cinnamon
dash of salt
drizzle of honey
2 tablespoons of dry toasted sliced almonds (or other nut)


Place oats, liquid, banana, and spices in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge overnight.  Let the oats work their magic, soaking up nearly all of the liquid and doubling in size. 

In the morning, simply take your breakfast out of the fridge and top with honey and almonds, and a little more cinnamon if desired.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Court's Clicks: 3/25/12

A few notes from the past week:

First, a big thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging and sending me their get well wishes!  Reading your comments makes me feel happy.  Being happy makes me feel healthy.  I appreciate you all so much.

Second,  SPRING BREAK!  Huzzah and Hallelujah!

Third, after this post and all of your comments, I've been thinking some more.  Ultimately, this blog will serve as a place for me to write what I want to write.  First and foremost, it is a creative outlet that allows me to de-stress and hopefully to avoid this.  But, that being said, it is my goal to craft my writing in each post with care.

OK, let's get on to the really good stuff, links!

Ever wonder what the difference is between jam, jelly, and preserves? Yeah, me too. 

As you can tell by the title of these weekly posts, I like alliteration.  I also like chocolate and coconut, so these granola bars are perfect.

If you put Brussels sprouts on a bacon pizza does it make it healthy?  Sure, and it will taste good too!

Lastly, as you know, I love quiche.  I think I would love it even more in a cornmeal crust.  

Here I would typically wish you a "happy Friday."  Today is Sunday.  

I appreciate your patience, and I hope my sweet potato heart will appease you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Food, Finals, and...Fatality?

These past two weeks I have come to a realization.  I love food.

"Uh, OK.  Well this is a blog about food," you say.  Well, yes it is.  But what I mean to say is, I love food.  
I love food so much that the thought of never being able to eat another tomato in my life brings a tear to my eye.

"Well, now you're just being ridiculous."  OK, I am.  But that was seriously how I was feeling earlier this week.

Finals week, and the so-called "Dead week" period leading up to it can have a strange affect upon people.  In my case, Dead week really did try to kill me.

At least, that's what I was thinking when I had to stop studying for an hour or so to go to Student Health last week because I thought I was going to have a heart attack.    

The doctor listened to my chest and said I "sounded" healthy.  Then she gave me this piece of paper about Acid Reflux and said I should stop eating tomatoes, and chocolate, oranges, and onions (basically, anything that is worth eating, mind you).  

Well, it's at least comforting to know you aren't going to die.  Still, I really like tomatoes.  

What's left to eat?  Bland things.  Low fat things.  Boring things.  Things that, hopefully, won't make you feel like your heart is going to explode.  

A little search of the Internet for meal ideas (in between paper writing and studying for French, I assure you) didn't produce much.  

Beans.  Graham crackers.  Carrots.  No, thank you.

I tried to get a little more creative than that.  Mostly repeats of everything you see here.  I ate a lot of green things, so I guess it was fitting the worst of my symptoms transpired over St. Patrick's Day.

After a week of eating many sweet potatoes, numerous slices of bread,  bowlfuls of split pea soup, and a seemingly endless stream of oatmeal, I feel better.  Praise the Lord! 

What have I learned from this ordeal?  Well, besides the fact that I really love food (especially tomatoes), I've learned that I am really blessed to even be able to complain about a "lack" of food variety.  

Also, that there are only so many bowls of oatmeal that a girl can eat.  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Some changes

So, I've been thinking.  

What is this blog all about?  I share a recipe, a pretty picture every now and then, maybe some tasty links.  Is that it?  It can't be it.

From now on I want  this blog to be my virtual kitchen.  You visit, I make you something, we talk about life, and we become friends.  

While I can't promise that I'll be posting more than I currently do, I'm making it my mission to write better quality posts.  No more beating around the bush.  No more posts telling you about the weather or how many homework assignments I have.

No, enough small talk.  It's time I got to know you and you got to know me.   

Let's start over.  Let's start with a new and improved introduction.

And, I'd love to hear from you, dear readers!  

What would you like to see on this blog? 

If you'd be so kind, leave me a comment and let me know :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Court's Clicks: 3/16/12

One more week until spring break.  It's so close, I can taste it.  Well, figuratively speaking.  

Here are some other things I can figuratively taste, although, I wish I could taste them literally.  (Forget about smell-a-vision, which one of you genius software developers want to design the Tasternet?)

Since tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and all, you should check out these green foods.  First, this Key Lime Fudge melds the flavors of the classic pie into one delicious bite.  Or, for a little healthier green treat, try making some Leprechaun Candy from green grapes and lime Jello!

Next, I'm convinced that with the addition of a little nutmeg these French Shortbread Cookies would taste exactly like the ones I gorged myself on when in Paris 5 years ago.  Although, I cannot understand why they are called punitions.  Punishment?  Far from it.

Lastly, it turns out that this week will have hosted not one but two holidays.  Pi Day!  3.14.  March 14th.  So, in belated honor, I present the pie that I would have eaten had I participated in this glorious fete.  Feast your eyes on this Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie with Hot Fudge Sauce.  It almost makes my 10th grade Geometry class worth it.  Almost.  

Happy Friday :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Banana Oat Smoothie

Cold banana oatmeal?

Shredded oats and banana ice?

Nah, banana oat smoothie sounds much more appetizing.  Oats add a wonderful richness and nuttiness to this smoothie.

We're creating a complete and balanced breakfast here.  It's refreshing, portable, and best of all, quick to make.  Perfect for those mornings when you are hammering on the keyboard to finish a paper and do not have the time to think about breakfast.

Instead, stick it all in a blender and push the on button.  Enjoy while finishing that homework, you procrastinator, you (I mean, me).

Banana Oat Smoothie
Adapted from

Yields: 1 medium sized smoothie


1 cup ice 
1 banana, sliced into chunks
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp honey
Splash of milk


Partially blend ice and oats.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until creamy.

Tip: Add a sprinkle of cocoa powder to this smoothie for an extra treat--think Mexican Hot Chocolate, but cold, and with a banana added in the mix.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Court's Clicks: 3/9/12

What a week!  As the above photos show, it has been quite a whirlwind for me.  My computer crashed (see Blue Screen of Death above) and this put me into a tizzy thinking that it had lost all of the research I had done for my term paper (thankfully not--phew!).  The other photo I took ten minutes before an interview for an internship.  Can you tell I was a little nervous?

Despite this snafu of a week, I made it through by the grace of God.  I got the internship, and I've reconciled myself to giving in and getting a Mac.

Hip Hip Hooray!

To celebrate this turn of events, I bring you some of my favorite links of the week:

This recipe gives instructions on how to make fool-proof rice on the stove top.  While I've tried my hand at making Spanish Style Brown Rice in the past, I will let you in on a little secret--I think I may have overcooked it (although I adjusted the recipe for this mistake).  Maybe I'll finally be able to get it right!

Another tutorial that I find intriguing is this one for DIY Greek Yogurt.  It didn't even occur to me that Greek Yogurt could even be made at home.  Well, I conquered bread--maybe I'll have to add this one to the list of battles to attempt.  

Finally, Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls.  Need I say more?

Happy Friday.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread

Certain Doom.  The Apocalypse.  Yeast and Rise.

These are the words that first come to mind when I think about making bread from scratch.

It's frightening.

Actually, it's not that bad.

I made my first loaf of REAL bread last week--and by real I mean something that does not have bananas or a cup of sugar as its base--and I survived to tell you all about it.

The hardest part about making bread is waiting patiently for the dough to rise. I released my building impatience by kneading the dough as if I were giving an enemy a deep tissue massage (in what world would I being doing that?).

After a second rise (and increasing impatience) I painted a beautiful golden egg across the top of the unbaked loaf and sprinkled it with roasted sunflower kernels.  Whole wheat bread was in need of a make-over.

After baking this bread my apartment smelled homey and comforting and I bathed my face in a stream of hot steam coming off of the warm loaf.  

Pure delight.  

Then I slathered butter on it--the bread, not my face (in case you were wondering).

The loaf turned out a bit denser than I expected, but that's all right with me.  When toasted it is the perfect accompaniment to a nice dinner salad or a bowl of soup, or, of course, a stick of butter.

Whole Wheat Bread
Recipe adapted from

Yields: 1 regular sized loaf


2 TB brown sugar
1 TB active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 TB vegetable oil
Drizzle of olive oil (to rub over dough)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
Roasted sunflower seed kernels


Dissolve brown sugar and yeast in a bowl with the warm water until mixture is creamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add yeast mixture to all purpose flour, 1 cup of whole wheat flour, milk, vegetable oil, and salt.  Beat or stir well.  Add the rest of the flour, a little at a time, and continue to stir.  Once dough has formed a ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl, move dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until dough feels smooth and elastic.

Drizzle olive oil in a large mixing bowl and rub oil up sides of bowl.  Place ball of dough in bowl and turn until  dough is well coated with the olive oil.

Cover bowl with a warm damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours until dough has doubled in size.  It works well to place the bowl inside an oven turned OFF as there is no draft there.  Dough is ready when an indentation pressed 1 to 2 inches into  dough with a finger remains.

Grease a regular size loaf pan and set aside.  Punch dough in the center to deflate it.  Place the dough in the loaf pan and cover it again with a warm damp towel and leave it to rise for another 40 minutes to an hour until the dough has again doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400 deg F.

Brush the top of the loaf with a beaten egg and roasted sunflower kernels or other chopped nuts or seeds if desired.

Bake loaf for about 30 minutes.  Bread is done baking when tapping on the bottom of the loaf pan produces a hollow sound.  

After baking, allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then remove from pan.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Court's Clicks 3/3/12

Definitely a frustration picture right there.  When you are feeling upset, just knead some bread dough, and you will soon feel better.  I'll bring you the recipe for that next week, but first I'm going to vent a little (and on a lighter note, give you some tasty links).

I've been feeling overwhelmed--maybe that's why I made that bread.  I just needed to punch something.  The end of the quarter is fast approaching, and with it, two 10 page term papers, a French midterm, and lots of things to be reading.  So, please forgive me if I'm a little late in posting on the blog, as was the case with this weeks Court's Clicks.  I haven't forgotten about you though, dear readers, and I hope you won't forget about me either if I become buried beneath a pile of papers and exams!

Now, on to the links and a deep sigh of relief:

I eat a lot of bananas, but as one person, I can never eat a whole bunch fast enough before at least one or two turn spotty. So, I often gravitate toward banana recipes.  These Brown Butter Banana Bread Cookies are a nice change from your usual quick bread, and I have fond memories of eating a similar Chocolate Banana Cream Pie in my university's dining commons last year (one of the few things I actually miss).

Cake batter everywhere!  From Pancakes to Muddy Buddies.  Sprinkles promised.

And again, because I am banana obsessed at the moment: Banana Split Pie.

Did I mention that I had a banana smoothie for breakfast this morning too?  It tasted something like this.

Until next week! :)