Welcome to my Day dreams...

Thanks for stoppin' in and welcome to my Day Dreams.

I am a former educator turned PhD student and avid foodie. This blog contains my thoughts regarding all of these areas of my life. Take your time, browse around, and hopefully you'll find something you like. --Love, Katy

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Soup for All Seasons-and a New Shiny Toy!

I love soup.  And, I love soup for so many reasons.

1) 1 pot- love that
2) You feel full after just one bowl
3) It can warm you up after a cold day
4) One of the things that makes you feel better when you feel like crud
5) Great solution for a whole bunch of food you need to use up quickly

Just to name a few...

This particular soup I am going to share with you is a favorite of mine because it's relatively healthy, super easy and cheap, and its great in the summer or the winter time.

You will need:
2 stalks of zucchini or up to 4
2 to 4 stalks of yellow squash
1 yellow onion
A few cups carrots
6 cups of stock
6 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons butter
1 and 1/2 cups half and half
Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Paprika to taste
*Splash of Hot sauce-optional
*Note, however you want to distribute the ratios of vegetables is up to you.  If you want more of a yellow soup-have the squash dominate, etc.

1)Chunk Zucchini, onion, squash, and carrots and cover with the stock and boil until tender
2) Puree vegetables and put them back into the liquid

Enter my new shiny toy- the immersion blender!
Cue the Hallelujah Chorus! This is so much better than when I used to put spoonfuls into the blender and blend them up in batches.  You can do this, but let me tell you from personal experience-don't get impatient and put to much in because the steam will build up and throw off the lid, shooting bits of hot veges everywhere and can burn the ever living love out of your skin.

Look at this baby go!

*This batch was more green because I had more zucchini this time.

3) Make a rue out of the flour and butter and half and half.

Here's a little trick, too.  Instead of whisking the flour and butter together in the pan while it is melting (I've screwed this part up many times- leaving a lumpy mess).  Pre-mix the flour and butter together and melt the whole mixture at the same time (seen here):

4) Pour the rue into the vegetable mixture, mix with spices to taste (it may take a lot since the vegetables are a little bland).
5) Eat as is or top with sour cream or Greek yogurt, croutons, bacon, sausage, etc. and enjoy :) (It's great cold in the summer, too).  I use sausage and Greek yogurt this time.



Friday, January 6, 2012

Duck Fat and Pimento Cheese

So, I have to share with you all that I had an amazing burger last night.

I mean, so amazing that after reheating it this evening I ate the cheese off the napkin that was sitting on top of said reheated burger because I didn't want to miss any of it.

Where was this burger you say?  

Bull City Burger and Brewery

My dear friend, Jenni, took me to this wonderful place.  The ingredients are fresh, farm-raised, hand-made.  They have a few options for pre-made burgers, but lots of options to build your own (including gluten free buns!).  I had a burger with pimento cheese (honestly, I think any other cheese just doesn't cut it on a burger anymore), pickles, and their special BCBB sauce (made with tarragon-YUM) and...wait for it... duck fat fries with rosemary and sea salt.


Granted, a little on the pricier side.  Seriously, though, I'm not supposed to be eating burgers every week anyway!  It was well worth it.  You can taste the freshness of the meat and the home-brewed beer (I had the black lager-so light for such a dark beer) just set it all off.  Let me tell you this, their other fresh cut fries were also delicious, so my only other recommendation is bring a friend so that you can have both kinds!

Next time you want a burger-check it out! I'm rootin' for them!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And a Happy New Year...

Happy New Year! 

The beginning of this year began with me on the couch for a few days (including today) with a monster cold. While I've been pretty miserable, maybe this is nature's way of getting me to slow down for a bit before I go back to work and school. It's been difficult for me to think real clearly, (my words with friends plays have had to be somewhat delayed for fear that I will make irreparable damage to my game board-ha!) but I have been reflecting on the past year and setting some goals for 2012. Let me share them with you:

Reflections on 2011
2011 was a challenging year. There was a lot of change at the beginning half, both positive and negative. More than that, I was totally blindsided by the force of the first semester of my second year in the PhD program. I felt that I had gotten through the first year and kind of had things in an order. So, of course, I felt I could add more things to my plate.
Little did I know, however, that others were also ready to throw a bunch of stuff on that plate for me, as well.

I watched others go through this last year, but I really did not anticipate how hard it was going to be for me. That being said, I think that I really tried to make decisions this year that were true to myself and I am proud of myself for that. While I feel that there are obviously things I could have done better (be less stressed, take on less, etc.), I felt very much me.  For example, I took on a job that, while it didn't pay as well as my last one, I feel that I have learned a lot in working there. Also, the people I work with were integral to maintaining positive feelings and motivation. I am dating a person who is so supportive, positive, and genuine. There were times that I felt I was able to help others this semester and I'm glad that I took the time to do that. Also, while there were some ups and downs, I kept myself relatively in shape over the whole year-which makes me feel great!  Finally, I was able to make some great food creations when I had some spare time.  Overall, 2011 wasn't too shabby.

Goals for 2012: 
Like anything else, there's always room for improvement in yourself. So here we go:

1)Be more aware of the people and relationships that make life so much fun.
2)Stress less about temporary stress. When stressed, use this to drive you to do healthy things-like workout or something nice for someone else.
3)Make limits on work time and do things that are important to me: i.e. cooking, seeing loved ones, and reading.  This way, I can share more on this blog :)

Now, I see some potential barriers to these goals: 1) Extraneous responsibilities 2) Time management 3) Professional Direction (still in flux a bit). However, I think if I just take it a step at a time and continue to remind myself about what's important, 2012 is going to be great!

PS-the cupcake above is a champagne cupcake from Sprinkle Bakes. My roommate found it and I assisted her in making them and they are so, so good. I would highly suggest them for your next get together.

Best wishes for the New Year!