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{making chocolate-covered strawberries for my cute Valentine}

This week was lovely for many reasons.  A surprise visit from the baby McCormick sis, celebrating my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary, and an improptu camping trip with my favorite guy all made me feel full and happy.  Another culinary highlight of the week was experiencing my first authentic oyster bake, complete with 200-pounds of seafood goodness cooked to perfection under steamy burlap sacks. Although impending anaphylaxis prevented me from sampling any of the little gems, the way the other party-goers raved let me know they were fabulous.  Here’s to a wonderful (halfway-over, oops!) week!

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{coming home to a box of perfect homemade petit fours on my counter}

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{aquisition of my first set of dental tools at school}

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{enjoying my first authentic South Carolina-style oyster bake}IMG_4855

{Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Alice and Tobias}

oh hey there!  just popping by with my seemingly bi-yearly blog post… as broken record as I (always) sound, please forgive my blog-ish inattentiveness and accept this delicious lasagna as a token of my apology.

Life has been on fast-forward lately, full of lots of excitement and hectic-ness, just the way I prefer it… Over these past few months of dental school, my life has seemingly been on autopilot, leaving little time for cooking/baking/shenanigans, so over Christmas break it was nice to slow down for a minute and concoct some stuff to share in this little forgotten corner of cyberspace! As of last week, I am back in full school mode again, but am crossing my fingers to be more diligent in my writing… please forgive me in advance for the impending 10-minute dinners in lieu of anything remotely resembling gourmet.

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Among the many changes I experienced over my first semester of dental school, one random development is my newfound propensity to cook the night before tests: so far this semester I’ve paired homemade lemon bars with histology, salted caramel cheesecake with biochem, and carrot soufflé with renal physiology.

This particular gem was prodded into fruition by a skull osteology test, prompting Laura and I to declare it “Pterion Tuesday”, finding it oh so ironic I had made this vege-“tarian” dish while studying the p-“terion” suture.  While the humor in this was obviously conjured by our late night academic stupor, the delicious factor remained staunch the following day (and maybeee even the day after that, too… #leftovers)

This dish is fast, ridiculously easy, and a perfect supper even when you aren’t surging with procrastination – I hope you like this la-zag-nuh (I know that’s how you say it in your head, too…) as much as we did. Happy dinner-ing!

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen corn kernels
– 5 green onions, chopped
– 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon cumin
– 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
– 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
– 16-ounces shredded Mexican cheese
– Hot sauce

Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and cumin. In the bottom of your baking dish, spread 2/3 cup of the crushed tomatoes (about 1/5 of the can) and top with 5-6 lasagna noodles, breaking them to fit the pan if needed. Next layer about 1/3 of the bean mixture, another 2/3 cup of tomatoes, and a heavy drizzling of hot sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese.

Repeat the layering process two more times (noodles + beans + tomatoes + cheese) and finish with a layer of noodles + tomatoes + cheese. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the noodles are fully cooked. Remove the foil and bake an addition 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and let stand for a minimum of 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with sour cream and more cilantro!

{serves 8 to 10}

Source: Annie’s Eats

{fresh strawberries + splenda, breakfast (lunch?) of champions}

I always love the short 4-day week that follows a Monday holiday.  Although arguably “gaining” only one extra day, something about the distance to the next weekend seems blissfully short, and this week has been just that: short and sweet.  This weekend I plan to keep that mantra by learning to make the perfect Pizza Margherita and enjoying plenty of sunshine by the pool. Hope you have a great weekend!

{shopping list : #necessities}

{fresh basil on my patio + OPI’s “cajun shrimp”}

{fresh market has now made my jeni’s splendid addiction much easier to procure}

{long drives interrupted by gorgeous sunsets}

This Memorial Day was what every holiday weekend should be: relaxing, carefree, and delicious. Claire and Shaun invited us to celebrate at their camp in the Delta, and we spent the day fishing, exploring, and picking fresh blackberries.  Highlights from the weekend include Claire’s cream cheese pound cake and Audrey reading her very first book from kindergarten out loud to the family, although I was too busy enjoying both moments to capture a picture of either.  Here are a few snapshots from our day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{the first camellia of summer, clipped fresh from my backyard}

I love Memorial Day weekend.  As the first “official” summer holiday, it gives the perfect excuse for a weekend filled with delicious barbecue, catching up with family, and lots of lake time.  This week has been exciting having all three sisters once again back in the same town, and in true sisterly fashion I’m looking forward to a fun weekend filled with incessant laughter, a stack of books and copious amounts of sweet tea.

{a celebratory tunnel of fudge cake congratulating freshly-graduated friends on new jobs}

{guacamole in the making… my memorial day party contribution}

{this summer = no more carbonated drinks}

{homemade pita bread takes an (unintentional) patriotic turn}

Summer. Vegetable. Tart.

Or, in more accurate words: summer-blahblahblah.  The whole “vegetable tart” component of this equation is an irrelevant, albeit insanely delicious, player.

I live for summer: the slower pace, the longer days, the bounds of fresh vegetables I pretend to enjoy.  After spending a much-needed afternoon in the kitchen with my sister and serving this on our patio at an impromptu get-together, I found this tart to be the perfect introduction to all three this season.

Despite the simplicity of the ingredients, everything comes together to make a really unique flavor.  The faint sweetness of the crescent dough combined with the savory spread and crisp veggies is unexpectedly divine.

Oh, and why have I yet to incorporate this product into my kitchen?!

Everything that is good about crescent rolls but in a seriously convenient no-seams dough…

Roll the dough on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.  The dough sheets didn’t fit exactly perfectly, so it took a bit of cutting/finagling to make a neat rectangle… don’t worry if it looks “messy” at this point: once you spread on the delicious topping, all unevenness will be hidden.  I rolled the edges to create a crust, then baked for about 9 minutes until it was golden brown.

While the crust is baking, wash and prep your veg.  This picture almost makes me want to start eating tomatoes like grapes… almost.  I used my mandoline {I have this one} to slice the veggies at 1/8″ in (attempted) uniformity.

Once the crust has cooled, spread evenly with the herby mixture.  We didn’t use all of the spread, but found it to be delish as a dip for leftover vegetables or even spread on a turkey wrap for lunch the next day.

Now the fun part…

…decorating this little masterpiece.

Perfectly diagonal.

Perfectly symmetrical.

Perfectly perfect.

Clearly you can see that I had no part whatsoever in this illustrious arrangement.

Now thank your sister for her obviously non-genetic disposition to precision and put the tart in the fridge to chill until your guests arrive {6 hour-ish if you can, even overnight is fine}

If you’re in a hurry, you can also just chop the vegetables and sprinkle confetti style over the crust… haphazard veg sprinkleage = still ridiculously delicious tart.

Here’s to the start of a deliciously wonderful summer… enjoy!

Summer Vegetable Tart

- 2 packages crescent rolls
– 1 8-ounce brick cream cheese
– 1 package dry ranch dressing mix (3 Tablespoons)
– 3/4 cup mayonnaise
– assorted chopped vegetables (cucumber, grape tomatoes, yellow and
green bell pepper, shredded carrots, and broccoli)
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Place crescent rolls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat, pressing together any seams. Bake at 375° for 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

Mix softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix using an electric mixer and spread on cooled crust. Sprinkle with chopped vegetables or arrange in a decorative pattern. Top with shredded cheese, if using. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.

{makes 16 appetizer-sized servings}

Hi there.

My name is Alice.  I used to write this blog.  I’m sure you had forgotten.  Apparently I had forgotten, too.

Life lately has been a whirlwind of changes, some hectic, most exciting, and I’ve found myself with little time to write and bake bearing any semblance of interesting.  Hopefully things during these months sliding into summer will slow down a bit, helping me get back into somewhat of a routine, blogging included.

In other news, I recently celebrated another birthday and realized {only two months late} that this blog had celebrated its first year as well, a momentous occasion promptly toasted with a cold turkey sandwich on stale-ish white-wheat.  Clearly when hosting myself, I go all out.

With all this birthday talk, I decided to celebrate in a more appropriate fashion, sharing some of my favorite gift ideas for the special people in your lives, specifically today: the baker!

To me, one of the sweetest and most personal gestures is a gift- no matter the size- that shows it was truly picked out with you in mind.  Here are my picks for the butter and sugar addicted:

1. Giant Pastry Tips by Wilton; $2

2. 5-Quart Stand Mixer by KitchenAid; $295

3. Monogrammed Recipe Cards by PaperSassy and Boatman Geller; $50

4. Decorative Baking Cups by Shop Sweet Lulu; $12

5. Digital Candy Thermometer by Maverick; $30

6. Dessert Cheese Ball Mix by Ala Carte Alice; $7

7. Silicone Baking Mats by Silpat; $20

8. Tapestry Dishtowels by Anthropologie; $24

9. “Art of the Cookie” by Shelly Kaldunski; $20

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