Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Continuing Education

I am pleased to announce I am officially attending graduate school starting this fall.  I will be going to University of Colorado-Denver within the Environmental Science program.  And no I still don't know what I want to do, but I am hoping this can help narrow my interests.  Because frankly I have too many and that is the issue.  But I do know what I do not want to do, so that help, right?

Anyway, looking forward to going back to school, I cannot believe it has almost been two years since I graduated, craziness.  I am very excited and nervous, and right now trying to figure out enrollment and all that good stuff.  I will keep you updated though.


Monday, May 24, 2010

A Version of Strawberry Shortcake

Yesterday was the Hubs 26th Birthday.  So in honor of that I made Strawberry Shortcake.  He is not a big fan of desserts in general, crazy I know.  But he loves just about any dessert that involves fruit, so that is what we made.

This is the recipe I used, but I didn't follow a lot of it.  It was taken from Love and Olive Oil.

Strawberry Shortcake with Cream Biscuits

Recipe from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, via Ezra Pound Cake
Makes 8.
Cream Biscuits:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream I didn't have enough heavy cream so I used whole milk instead          

4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar We didn't use the sugar, I feel if you need to add this much sugar to your berries then they aren't in season or aren't good berries.

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
Powdered sugar (optional)

To make biscuits, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar (if using) and baking powder. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or your fingertips. The pieces should be the size of small peas. Measure cream; set aside 1 tablespoon. Add the remaining cream to the flour, and stir with a fork until the mixture just comes together.
Lightly knead the dough a few times in the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, and roll out about 3/4 inch thick. Cut six 2 1/2-inch circles or squares out of the dough. Reroll the scraps, you should be able to get 2 or 3 more biscuits out of it.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and brush the tops with the tablespoon of cream.  Once biscuits are mixed together just drop spoonfuls on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 17 minutes or until lightly golden.
For filling, in a medium bowl, combine the strawberries and sugar. Remove 1 cup of the strawberry mixture, and purée it in a blender or food processor. Return the purée to the rest of the strawberries; stir. Set aside at least 15 minutes.
In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip together the cream, vanilla and sugar until it starts to form soft peaks.
To assemble, gently break the biscuits in half. Spoon the strawberry mixture onto the bottom half, and add a dollop of whipped cream. Top with the other biscuit half, and dust with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oil Spill

I am sure by now everyone has heard of the major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  I feel like it is just going to keep getting worse for a while before it can get any where near better.  All of this just makes me dislike big corporations and technology even more.  Instead of actually trying to fix the situation, BP is in a blame game amongst each other.  It is just disgusting.  I feel terrible for the wildlife and plant life that is going to be harmed by this oil spill.  And now the beaches that will have oil on them, when most of these communities depend on tourism from the beaches.


I have been keeping updated about all of this with TreeHugger.  Yesterday I saw an article about the steps they take to clean oil of animals, it is pretty interesting.  I find it interesting that the birds think they are being eaten, so the cleaners have to work as fast as they can.  Here is the link to watch the videos.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Falafel and Tzatziki

 I love falafel.  I have tried it from many different places and this is the best I have ever had.  A close second is Garbanzo.  But anyway this is was so good because it was so fresh and the insides were so green, which is how it should be.  So hopefully you will get motivated and try this recipe yourself sometime.  We happen to have a fry daddy so we used this to fry them in instead of a pan.  We then stuffed a pita with lettuce, cucumber, falafel and tzatziki.  I would have liked to have some hummus and tomatoes but I refuse to by tomatoes from Mexico.  And the hummus, well it did not turn out, it was the worst batch made in the Stilley house thus far, so it went in the trash.  

 Heath always thinks he should be able to try our food, even though he doesn't care unless there is  cheese or meat involved.




  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • oil for frying
  • 1 (6 ounce) container plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber - peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

  1. In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; don't use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas. 
  2. In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed. Form 8 balls and then flatten into patties ( this really makes a lot more than this).
  3. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides.
  4. In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Chill for at least 30 minutes ( we froze it).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Denver Bike Sharing

A new program that has started in Denver that I find absolutely amazing is the Denver Bike Sharing program. 

These stations keep popping up all over Denver.  You can rent one of these bike for an hour, day or week.  Students get a discounted rate and you can return the bike to any station. 

I think this is a great start to promote other forms of transportation besides a car.  It is also great for someone that may not have a bike but would like to use one. 

And it is great for the environment, what is not to like?


Sunday, May 9, 2010

House living

In a few short weeks we will be moving to a rental home!  We are very excited about this because we have only ever lived in apartments together.  And that has been almost 5 years, crazy I know.  But we finally found a house to rent that is affordable and the right size.  It is about the same size as our current living situation but has a kitchen with more cabinet space and a yard.  The house faces the west and I don't know if I can wait much longer.  I am ready to move!  I don't think I have ever been this excited to move, I have already started packing up stuff.  My only complaint would be it has small closets, I have been spoiled in having large closets in all of our apartments.  But I can live with that, I just need to give away a lot of stuff that I really don't need/use.

The kitchen... has a window that looks out to the front yard, a full size oven ( yes we have a mini oven right now), a gas stove, a dishwasher and a pantry!

A washer and dryer in the "work room", on the right of the room is a door that leads to the fenced in backyard.

Living room with hardwood floors, it looks out to the front yard.  This I think will also be our dining area and office area.

Bathroom with natural light, I don't know what it is but I love taking a shower with the lights off and this only works when there is a window in the bathroom.  This is the first place we will be living that allows this luxury.  The bathtub also has jets, exciting.

2nd bedroom

Master bedroom

Backyard.  Can you just see some tomato plants over in the left corner?  Well we already bought 4 and are planning on getting some basil, parsley and cilantro.  Hopefully our garden area will just continue to grow.  Also you can kind of see the patio and awning, we need to acquire a grill and some patio furniture so we can eat outside when it is nice.

And the front.  There is also a one car garage.  As you can see there is some work that needs to be done with this gardening space.  Mom, Mary can you please help?  Any good plants that are easy to take care of and last through the years?

So starting June 1st, this is our new living area, hope you can come visit!