Don't be scared. It's okay, just trust me on this. I wouldn't steer you wrong. You should make these stuffed Manicotti's for someone you love. But don't tell them the secret. That they're made with...tofu. Gasp! I know! Whaaat?!?! Seriously, just make them and wait to tell them after they sing your praises because these babies are good! Hopefully by then they will be so impressed that you made the tofu taste creamy and delicious like real cheese, they'll forget you just served them tofu.
*Please disregard the poor lighting in my kitchen.
Your favorite shells to stuff (8 Manicotti is what I used)
1 jar marinara sauce
Drain tofu and pat dry with paper towels. Crumble into the bowl with olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic, nutritional yeast and parmesan cheese. Transfer to food processor or blender. If you chose to use your blender you should do this in batches so you don't throw the blender through the window. Process on high until smooth.
If you used your blender transfer mixture to bowl and add spinach. If you used the food processor just throw the spinach in and mix together.
Cook shells in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/2 cup pasta sauce into bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan.
I put the tofu mixture into a large plastic bag and cut the tip off one of the corners. However you choose to stuff the shells just roll with it.
Fill the shells with tofu mixture and place in pan seam side down.
Repeat until all shells have been stuffed.
Pour remaining pasta sauce over shells, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
*Nutritional yeast is a complete protein packed with B vitamins. It has a cheese like flavor and can be used as a topping on all sorts of stuff. I found mine in the bulk section of my local grocery store. If you don't want to use it, you can just substitute Parmesan or another dried cheese.
This week the mister and I went to a baseball game. Here in Eugene we have a single A farm team for the San Diego Padres. We used to go a lot when they were at their old stadium, but even though their new stadium is within walking distance we never went before last week.
There was something magical about watching a game at Civic Stadium. It was an old ball park with a wooden grandstand that always felt like it was going to fall down at any moment. You knew the game would be horrible but it was okay because you got to look out over the beautiful south hills of Eugene and watch the sunset. Plus, beer was cheep and they brought it to you.
Last game at Civic Stadium, September 2009
Now they play at the ballpark that was made for the new U of O baseball team. One of the perks of having an alum like Phil Knight (who is the CEO and founder of Nike) is that we have some pretty amazing sports facilities. In the past two years he has donated a new basketball arena, Matthew Knight Arena, and PK Park, the new baseball stadium. It's a beautiful stadium, everything is brand new and shiny, it's just not the same. And they don't bring you beer. Seriously? I mean, this is baseball! Seriously. Get it together people.
Walking up to the stadium, which is in the parking lot of Autzen, the football stadium. We like to keep it simple.
Waiting in the beer line. Obviously the mister is super happy about it.
Mister and his friend James, this was right before the third base coach got thrown out.
He's just started enjoying my S'mores Sandwich Cookies. You see that beautiful thing in his hand there, that's pretty much the most amazing thing I've ever made in my entire life. And since I'm such a nice person I'm sharing it with you.
First make a batch of Chewy Graham Cookies *Hint: keep your cookie sheets lined and at the ready. You can reuse them for this recipe.
Second, make some Marshmallow Fluff. Don't be intimidated. This is great when used fresh, but stiffens up a bit when used the next day. It won't be that different, but I think it tasted better a day later. You can also use the stuff from the store, but this is really easy and it tastes a hundred times better.
1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup light corn syrup 2 tablespoons water 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Pinch of sea salt
Add a few inches of water to the bottom of a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Combine all ingredients into a metal bowl and place over the simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Beat with an electric hand mixer, it will gradually become fluffy then it will thicken and white and slightly glossy. In reality this should take about 8 minutes, it will feel longer. Sorry about that, but it's sooo worth it.
Remove the bowl from the water and continue to mix for a few minutes until the fluff thickens a bit more. Allow to cool before spreading. Don't eat all of it while it's waiting to cool.
If you're not using this immediately transfer to an airtight container. It will keep for 2-3 days, but do you really think it will stick around that long?
Okay, so you have your Cookies and Fluff. Next, melt some chocolate chips. You can do this in the microwave or over the stove. You'll be dipping the sandwiches into this, and I just eyeballed the amount of chocolate that I needed. You may as just do a whole 12 oz. bag, I mean who doesn't want melted chocolate lying around? Remember to add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the chips. If using a microwave, melt in 15 second intervals.
If using a double boiler, make sure you stir and that your bowl doesn't touch the water.
Now take the cookies and match them up in pairs by size and shape. Lay them face down on a cookie sheet. Grab the Marshmallow Fluff and spread some into the center of one side of the cookies. You can use a piping bag but I just used a spatula. Cause that's how I roll. Now make your sandwich! I like to twist the top on so that the fluff spreads evenly around the cookie. They should look something like this:
Next, and finally, dip them in the melted chocolate. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets to set. I put them in the fridge until the chocolate is set, around 30 minutes. When I took these to a BBQ I kept them in the fridge until they were ready to serve because it was hot outside and I didn't want the chocolate to melt.
A few weeks ago I was craving a Snickerdoodle cookie. This was a problem for a couple of reasons; a) I didn’t have any baking soda and two) I was not willing to go to the store to buy any. Have you ever tried to make cookies without baking soda? Don’t try it, it won’t work. Trust me. No matter what you try or what substitutions you find on the interwebs, it just won’t work. Your cookies will be weird and nobody likes a weird cookie.
These cookies are not weird.
They are delicious.
They are not Snickerdoodles, they are better.
They’re sweet without being overpowering which means you can eat a ton of them before you realize what you’ve done. Then eat some more.
If you’re dating someone and you like them, make these for him. He will fall in love with you.
If you tell someone’s boyfriend that you’ll give his girlfriend the recipe if she hires you at her office, you may become gainfully employed. Trust me.
They’re that good.
I originally got the recipe from My Kitchen Addiction when I saw them used for a S’mores sandwich cookie. Don’t worry; I’ll share that with you too,come back tomorrow.
Chewy Graham Cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extra
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line some cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
To make cookie dough combine butter, both sugars, honey, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in bowl and cream together. Add the egg and beat until incorporated into the creamed mixture. Stir in flour.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for topping.
Scoop out rounded tablespoons, the dough will be soft and maybe a little sticky. Roll the dough in the cinnamon-sugar topping and place on lined cookie sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the cookies have just set and slightly golden. DO NOT OVERBAKE!
Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. Try not to eat all the cookies while they are cooling. This recipe makes about 2-3 dozen cookies depending on your version of a tablespoon.
Hello Peeps! I hope you will forgive me for my recent radio silence. Let me catch you up on what I’ve been up to.
I took a little trip home
In June I went back to Idaho for a week and spent some much needed time with my family. I spent time on beautiful Lake Coeur d’ Alene with my Mom and two Aunts. It was definitely a memorable trip!
I also got to see some old friends; my oldest friend from back home lives close to my Mom so I skipped down there to meet her husband and catch up. It was the first time in 10 years and I couldn’t believe it had been that long; it was much too short of a visit.
I went to a wedding with the mister’s parents.
This was a lot more fun than it sounds. Right after I got back from Idaho the in-loves came for a visit. The girl that was practically his sister got married over July 4th weekend and they came for the festivities. It was a beautiful wedding and I am so happy for Sarah and Brian.
(Oh yeah and I caught the bouquet. There is no evidence so you have to take my word for it. But I caught it, no matter what Sarah Marshall says.)
My brain went on vacation.
The whole point of skipping summer school was to give myself a break before I start at the University in the fall. Well I have definitely given my brain a breather. You know that major heat wave that struck the rest of the country? Yeah, well, it didn’t make it this far.Our summer just arrived last Friday, seriously. It was pretty bad. I snuck this photo when the sun graced us with her presence one afternoon.
I rediscovered Melrose Place.
The one good thing about the crappy weather is that Netflix added Melrose Place to their Instant Queue.I’m still in the first season, before Heather Locklear, so it’s been great. I had forgotten how cheesy those first episodes were. Oh the 90’s. So much drama. Gypsy loved it.
I baked. A LOT.
There has been a lot of baking and cooking going on up in here. Oh and I found the most amazing cookies ever. EVER. I’m pretty sure they’re the best things I’ve ever made. EVER.
Don’t worry; I’ll share the recipe soon. But here's a picture, just to tease you.
I had my orientation day at University of Oregon and registered for my classes.
Since I read my acceptance letter it never really felt true until I registered for classes. Now it’s real. I’ve taken the official tour, I have my student I.D. (which works, I got to ride the bus for free today. yay!), and I’ve registered for my fall classes. I’ll be taking:
SOCIOLOGY 304: Community, Environment and Society-Interrelationship of social and environmental factors in human communities, processes of community change, impact of environmental change on human communities.
ANTHROPOLOGY 270: Introduction to Biological Anthropology- Examines the biological aspects of the human species from comparative, ecological, and evolutionary perspectives. Explores theoretical and methodological issues in biological anthropology.
GEOLOGY 308: Geology of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest-The region's geologic and tectonic history and the plate tectonic processes responsible for its evolution.
PLANNING, PUBLIC POLICY & MANAGEMENT 418: Introduction to Public Law- Administrative law, including introduction to legal research, for public administrators. Administrative procedures, implementation of policy through administrative law, judicial review, and practical applications in public agencies.
I’m such a nerd I get a little giddy when I see my schedule. I know it will be difficult but I am super excited.
I landed a sweet new job.
This is probably the best part of summer, and I actually got the news the day after I registered for class. It couldn’t have been more perfect. My friend and her mom work in this small office and needed some help so they hired me. It was almost too easy so I was a little iffy about it until today when I started. It’s legit. I’ll be working for a paper company that supplies Fraternity and Sororities across the country with stationary. It’s a local company, started by some UO grads. And they’re more than willing to work with my school schedule, so much so that I basically make my own schedule. I’ll be working Tuesday, Thursday and Friday because they wanted to make sure I had the ability to use the tutoring centers and have enough time for studying. It’s basically everything I hoped for.
So now that you’re pretty much caught up I have lots of new post ideas coming up. I’m pretty excited. You should be too. Seriously.
I'm traveling. It's 6 am and I've already been up for 2 hours after only sleeping for 2 hours. Having to be at the airport at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am will do that. Am I the only person that likes airports? I've always found them fascinating. Morf so when you could actually go to the gate with your loved ones. Where else could you see people so happy next to people so sad? I guess the hospital, but who likes to go there? Anyway, I'm heading "home" to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho for a week. Time to see my mom and aunties and maybe catch up with a few friends. The first few days we'll be staying on the lake and I am so very ready for some relaxation by the water. Alright they're calling my flight. Have a great day peeps!