Sunday, August 31, 2014

September Desktop Calendar

September is truly my favorite month of the year. The start of football season, fall leaves, honeycrisp apples, pumpkins, the weather... I could go on and on. This September, I'm looking forward to spring here in Cape Town, and admittedly I'm a little bummed that I'll be missing out on the glory that is a Portland fall. But I'll go drown my sorrows in a mojito at one of the gorgeous local beaches and get over it pretty quick.

For this month's desktop calendar, I still stuck to the colors and foods that come to mind with fall. This photo holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first I shot with my first DSLR of my very own. The photo is of an incredibly tasty Apple Upside Down Cake.

To set this photo as your desktop calendar, click the photo for your desktop size to open it in a new tab, then right click the photo and save it to your computer. You can then set it as your desktop! The one above is for a 1280x800 desktop (a 13 inch Macbook). Here are some more desktop sizes.



iPhone 5:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Classic Meatloaf

If you can believe it, I'd never had meatloaf before I made this. And I'm 24 years old. That's a lot of years to not have meatloaf. I've had meatballs! Which are really just a more petite form of meatloaf, right? Whenever I think of meatloaf, I think of kids on TV ungraciously whining to their tired-looking mothers, "Meatloaf again?! Mooooom!" That just wasn't really a dish I had interest in making.

But that's all really silly because, as it turns out, meatloaf is delicious, and those spoiled little brats should stop complaining. They're getting some seriously tasty food, especially if it's served with cheesy mashed potatoes.

And it's pretty easy to make! Just ground beef, bell peppers, onions, garlic, an egg, salt, pepper, paprika, bread crumbs, and a little milk combined.

Yes, this should be done in a loaf pan. But I don't have a loaf pan here in Cape Town, and we're really trying to avoid buying anything for the flat that isn't deemed "essential" since we're here for less than a year. So I formed it into a loaf shape on a baking sheet and it worked just fine.

So, do what you gotta do then slather the whole thing in steak sauce, or use my homemade sauce that I made with ketchup, dijon, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. So, so yummy.

Then baker 'er up until completely cooked through. Yes, it looks a little funky, but it's crazy tasty and moist. I think the biggest complaint about meatloaf is that it's dry. The bell pepper and coating it in sauce help keep this meatloaf nice and moist.

Those biscuit looking lumps in the background are actually piles of cheesy mashed potatoes, the essential side dish to meatloaf. We also had some green beans because something green must appear on the plate and they felt like the most all-American veggie. Because meatloaf is super is super all-American, right? Right? Well, I think so, anyways.

No longer fear dried-out meatloaf- try this recipe and your kids (or significant other) will so not whine.

Classic Meatloaf
Adapted from AllRecipes
Serves 2-4

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (not too lean, nothing under 90/10)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced garlic
1 egg
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup steak sauce or homemade sauce below

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (or, if you're like me, a cookie sheet).
2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, salt, black pepper, paprika, and minced garlic by hand. Add the egg, onion and bell pepper and mix by hand. Finally, work in the bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the steak sauce, and the milk.
3. Press the meat mixture into your loaf pan and shape, or form into loaf shape on a cookie sheet. Brush with the remaining steak sauce.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for one hour, or until cooked through. Let stand for at least five minutes before serving. Top with additional sauce, if desired, and serve with mashed potatoes.

Meatloaf Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp Tobasco hot sauce (to taste)

1. Whisk together all ingredients until well-combined. Taste and add more hot sauce if desired. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Football Season Kitchen Essentials

YOU GUYS. The Ducks play football THIS SATURDAY. And I don't get to watch it. Life is cruel.

Just to play with my heart a little, PAC-12 Network announced they'd be adding some games to YouTube for international viewers! Good news, right? Except that the only African country included was Senegal. Some games that are air on ESPN might be on a cable sports network here, but we don't have cable. We're hoping to go to a bar and beg them to play that channel on their TV, but that's only a possibility if the game is aired during business hours. Oh, and our internet is far too slow to stream a live game. During a trip to the US Consulate a few months ago, I asked if they knew anywhere we could watch US college football in Cape Town. They laughed. Our only shot would be if we knew a marine and could watch it on the base. Which we definitely don't.

In other words, no football for us. My favorite season is usually fall. I love the weather, I love the food, and I love, love, love the football. Cape Town, your beaches better be extra spectacular the next few months or I'm going to be a total grump.

Okay, enough of my whining. Most football seasons, I love having a few of our friends over to watch the game and cook up plenty of food. Here are a few of my favorite tools I keep in my kitchen for game days to feed hungry Duck fans (Other fans don't get food. Sorry.).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Bowl

I love "bowls" for lunch! Mine are often composed of a mish-mash of leftovers, which are usually great, but deliberately put together ones are even better. Bowls like this always reheat really well and they're great for work because it means just one tupperware container, something my lazy self is totally on board with.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

SA Sunday: Dinner at Addis in Cape

Our friends from Portland came to stay with us here in Cape Town for two weeks last month and we had an absolute blast. We got the weather to cooperate for most of their stay despite it being winter here and did tons of fun touristy things. Like get our picture taken with the Cape of Good Hope sign:

Awesome friend 1, awesome friend 2, me, Fiance
In case you missed it, we also went on a safari! Which might just have been the coolest thing of my whole life.

But among those very big tourist things, we did some of the neat local stuff, like go down to Long Street. Before we explored the many bars lining the street (which included enjoying the musical stylings of a high school metal band), we had dinner at the Ethiopian restaurant Addis in Cape! It was a delicious culinary adventure. We sat on low seated chairs around a small wicker table.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Spicy Ethiopian Stewed Beef (Key Wat)

People. Ethiopian food is delicious. Like, crazy good. And I've only come to realize that in the last couple of months. Do you know what's so silly about that? In my Portland neighborhood, we had tons of Ethiopian restaurants. But no, Fiance and I always opted for the burgers at Pause (also delicious) or pizza from Old Town (ditto) rather than venture out a bit.

Instead, I had to go all the way to Africa to actually find that out for myself. Admittedly, I'm still quite far from Ethiopia, but you get the point.

When our friends from home were visiting us last month, we went to the Ethiopian restaurant Addis in Cape on Long Street here in Cape Town (I'll be sharing that dinner with you tomorrow for SA Sunday!). The entire meal was incredible, but Fiance and I's favorite thing was the spicy stewed beef they served. I needed to have it in my own kitchen.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Growing My Blog: Interview with Sally of Sally's Baking Addiction

One of my favorite things about doing this Growing My Blog series has been getting to know other bloggers and getting tips from some big-timers! A few months ago I shared my interview with Lindsay from Pinch of Yum, which was super fun. This week, I talked to Sally of Sally's Baking Addiction

I've used (and LOVED!) several recipes from Sally before. Her blog is beautiful, her photos are stunning, and her recipes are different and always produce something delicious. Like this Funfetti Sugar Cookie Cake. Or these adorable Candy Cane Kiss Cookies (YES, I already have Christmas on the brain a bit. And I know it's August). And I think she's a super genius, because she came up with this Salted Caramel Apple Pie. The ingredients of which just made it on to my grocery list.