Happy Chickens

What came first?

The chicken?

Or, the egg?

Just kidding.

Have you noticed that at the grocery store there are now a whole bunch of seemingly kinder egg choices? Cartons that say "free range" or "cage free"? I certainly have, and since I am on an unending quest to be better, I choose those cartons before the non. Mr. K, of course, mocks this gesture as useless.

He says: "They're just chickens."

I say: "It's good karma."

But, at the end of the day, eggs are eggs, right?


As it turns out, egg distributors are allowed to claim these kinder and gentler egg producing tactics simply by opening the cage doors for only 5 minutes a day!

I mean, I am not like a big chicken advocate or anything. After all, I eat them, but the thought of a poor defenseless chicken being kept in a tiny cage for its whole life...just laying eggs whether she wants to or not...is just sad.

And, it goes way beyond just being cooped up...you can do your own research on this topic if you dare. It isn't pretty! Just do a regular old internet search for inhumane chickens and see what you get.

If you want to stay in the dark, I honestly don't blame you, but you may still want to make better choices where you can. As for as eggs go, this means looking for "certified humane"! That's a regulated certification, where the egg producers get inspected regularly.

Check out greenerchoices.org for more information on food labels, "green" claims and the like. It is a site from the publishers of Consumer Reports magazine, and it has lots of useful info.


Banana Quesadillas

So...I hate throwing food. I don't 100% know where this came from, but there you go.

To try to alleviate some of my issues around this I try to buy light. For example, Orowheat makes half loaves of bread. This is great on many levels because I don't have to rush to eat it before it goes bad...especially since Mr. K doesn't like the same bread I do and because he travels a great deal, so I don't have to worry as much about throwing away the rest of the loaf.

Sometimes, I try to beat things to the punch by figuring out creative ways to use things up before they go bad. This is what happened the other day. I had bananas and tortillas on the brink.

So....(drum roll)

I very ingeniously came up with banana quesadillas, and they are ultra yummy! I highly recommend you make them immediately.

Here is the recipe:


2 tortillas

1 banana

2 Tbl. cream cheese

2 Tbl. powdered sugar

2 Tbl. caramel sauce

1. In a bowl, mash together the cream cheese, the powdered sugar, and 1/2 the banana

2. Fry both tortillas on both sides in a tiny bit of butter until they are golden brown.

3. Place the banana mixture in between the 2 tortillas, and warm for another minutes.

4. Plate, and serve with whipped cream, the remaining banana (cut into wheels), and the caramel sauce.

OMG!!! So good!!!


Pretzel Bread

A few years ago, when I had just moved to Vegas (or possibly right before), Mr. K had to attend a dinner with some work people. I got dragged along.

Anyway, the dinner was at a restaurant called Simon inside the Hard Rock, which may or may not be there any longer. Simon's deal was ultra modern trendy decor and retro chic overpriced food. So, for example, instead of serving regular dinner rolls prior to the meal...we got pretzel bread! It was so yummy, and there have been occasions over the years where Mr. K and I sigh longingly for said pretzel bread and say "Remember that time we went to Simon..."

Since the old me didn't cook, and the Hard Rock isn't a stone's throw from my house, and most likely Simon is gone anyway...I haven't had pretzel bread in quite some time.

Until tonight.

I found a recipe for pretzel bread about a month ago, and it seemed easy enough. I get scared when a recipe can't be condensed down to 5 steps or has techniques in it that I have never heard of. Anyway I was super excited 'cause like I said, Mr. K LOVED this bread and I try to be a good wifey from time to time!

While this recipe was easy, it was a bit time consuming just because you have to stop and let the dough rise for an hour (twice!). I knew this ahead of time, which is why I saved this recipe for a rainy day. And, since it poured in Vegas all morning...I decided to give it a whirl!

I will say that the bread turned out awesome! Better than I expected, and certainly better than Simon's! It was absolutely delicious, and I am already concocting some variations, like cinnamon suger...mmmhmm! I, also, think this would make a great homemade gift around the holidays, if that happens to be your thing...you already know it's mine!

So here's the recipe:

Pretzel Bread
1 package dry yeast
2 Tbl melted butter
1 cup warm water
Course sea salt to taste
2 Tbl milk, room temperature
1 Tbl dark brown sugar
3 Tbl butter
1 tsp salt
2 ½ - 3 cups bread flour
1 gallon water½ cup baking soda

In a large mixing bowl, add warm water, yeast, and brown sugar. Stir together, and set in a warm place for 5 minutes to activate. Add milk, butter, salt, and 2 cups of flower, and mix together. Continue adding flour and mixing until a stiff dough forms.

Lightly flour work surface and knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Grease a large bowl, add dough, and roll in the bowl to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Once risen, punch down once. Flour work surface, and turn dough out. Divide in ½, sprinkle with flour, and shape into loaves. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm spot, and allow to rise another hour.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Slowly add baking soda to boiling water. Sprinkle dough with flour and reshape if necessary. Make ¼“ slashes in the dough, about 2” apart, to keep from tearing while cooking. Place each loaf into boiling water for 30 seconds (flip after 15 seconds). Return loaves to cookie sheet and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Martha's Mittens

I don't normally watch Martha Stewart, however, I do sometimes catch Whatever Martha. If you haven't seen this show, it is basically Martha Stewart's daughter and her friend watching Martha Stewart segments and making fun of them. Most of the time the show is pretty funny, if you can get past Alexis Stewart's pretentiousness.

Anyway, the other day they were watching a segment where Martha Stewart took old cashmere sweaters, and made them into mittens. I decided the project was within the realm of my capabilities, so I gave it a shot, and you can too!

First I dug out a couple of old sweaters, the bulkier the better in this case. For the record, unlike Martha's mittens, mine were not cashmere.

Next take a regular old piece of paper, and trace you hand in mitten position. Two words of advice here...1) Leave a fairly generous border around your hand 'cause you don't want the mittens too tight. 2) Trace down onto your wrist a bit 'cause you don't want the mittens too short.

Cut out the mitten pattern, and lay it on the sweater. Martha recommends lining up the mitten cut out with the bottom of the sweater, since the bottom of the sweater is usually finished and gathered. Cut out 4 mitten shapes, again, cutting a little bit of a border around the paper.

Match the mitten pieces up and pin them together, 2 and 2. Sew around the pattern, turn the mittens inside out, and...