Feb 26, 2011


Last weekend I went home to clean out my room so my parents could remodel the upstairs. I was not particularly excited about the idea of cleaning my room, not because I hate cleaning, but because I knew there was probably a giant hairy spider lying in wait for me.
Just sitting....waiting....ready to pounce from behind my collection of stuffed animals...
Ugh, the thought gives me chills. But luckily, there were no spiders to be found! And I was extremely successful in cleaning my room! I essentially threw out 80% of my stuff and reduced everything that mattered to me to about 5-6 boxes. I had so much junk, like I don't even know how I accumulated that much stuff. In the past when I tried to clean my room, I never wanted to throw anything away. But this time, I kept only the things I really needed and, you know what? It felt awesome! I feel like I get to start all over with my stuff, because the next place this stuff is going is into my very own apartment. That idea just blows my mind. That now, I have stuff that belongs to ME and will go in MY HOUSE. Not just my bedroom, but my very own place! That's just nuts you guys.
And now, in honor of my ability to get rid of a bunch of crap, here's a random recipe I have in my "to post" folder!

Adapted from Allrecipes
2 cups potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 Tbsp grated onion
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp all purpose flour (more if they aren't holding together)
1 1/2 tsp salt
oil for frying

Now, I don't know about all of you, but the idea of a potato pancake makes me drool. Potatoes are delicious. Pancakes are awesome. Therefor potato pancakes must be deliciously awesome! And these potato pancakes really are. They're really easy to put together, basically just throw it all in a bowl and mix. But one of the important things to remember is that the potatoes need to be really dry. After you shred the potatoes, put them in ice water so they don't turn brown. Then right before mixing them in, drain them and try and squeeze as much moisture out as possible. Cheesecloth is good for this, but if you don't have any, paper towels work too. After mixing the potatoes, onion, eggs, and flour together, heat a bit of oil in a skillet. You don't need too much oil, just enough to fry them in. Drop the batter into the skillet in spoonfuls, flattening them out quickly. Let them fry 1-2 minutes per side until lightly browned. Let drain on paper towel then serve with sour cream or applesauce and a salad on the side!


Feb 16, 2011

Perfect brownies are the key to my success...

Last week I gave you guys a hint to what I would be making over the weekend. Here's the hint:
It's not quite a brownie, but it's not quite a cake either.
Now what I actually made was Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Can you say sweet delicious sugar high? Cause after eating a couple of those, I sure can! I made these as a valentines day gift for Dan. And since Valentines Day is over, I guess I can tell you all what I did for it. I had these super secret plans and I gave Dan hints the week before about what his gift might involve. The best one was "You can touch it, but it can't be wrapped." That
really confused the heck out of him. What I actually did was I got a box of those cheesy valentine cards and hid them around his room in places he would slowly find them. In fact, he hasn't found them all yet! (mwahahaha brilliant plan worked out). Then, while he was in class I made him these red velvet cheesecake brownies. And they turned out to be AWESOME. I mean, how can you go wrong with cake and cheesecake mixed together? I actually didn't have all the necessary ingredients so I improvised a bit. I noted on the recipe what I used instead.
Moral of the story: I heart Valentines Day

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from Baking Bites

1/2 cup butter
2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 2 oz semi sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (I had no vanilla, so I omitted this altogether)
2 tsp red food coloring
2/3 cup gf all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/3 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar because I didn't have vanilla extract)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a brownie pan. Or grease your Perfect Brownie Pan Set!

Yeah that's right. As seen on TV people. Jealous?
Anyway, then mix together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and food coloring. 2 tsp is an estimate; start with 1 1/2 and then see if you want it to be a brighter red. Then mix in the flour and salt and combine until there are no lumps of flour. Pour the cake batter into the brownie pan (or the Perfect Brownie Pan Set) and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Try and get this as smooth as possible as well. As I noted above, I used vanilla sugar because I failed to buy vanilla extract at the store.And it actually worked really well! Note to self: use vanilla sugar in everything.
Drop the cheesecake batter onto the cake batter in dollops, then swirl together with a butter knife. I swirled mine a little too much and the cake and cheesecake formed together into one entity. Which was delicious, so whateva! Bake for 30-40 min or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before slicing. Or let cool before pulling the top off of the precut brownies! Thanks Perfect Brownie Pan Set!

Oh also, one last thing! The College Housewife is now on Twitter! Follow me here

Feb 14, 2011

Daring Cooks: Soba Noodles and Tempura

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com

Happy Valentines Day everybody! I love Valentines Day, although I didn't used to. High school made me a bitter bitter girl, but now that I'm out of there, I've learned to love Feb 14th. I also love any chance I have to sneak around and plan super secret awesome surprises. I came up with some prettttttty awesome stuff today for Dan, but you all will have to wait until tomorrow to find out what it is on the off chance that he checks out this post.
But! That is not what I'm here to talk about today. Today I want to tell you about Daring Cooks! I haven't been able to complete a Daring Cooks challenge for a long time because I'm using a community kitchen. This makes challenging recipes even more challenging due to limited refrigerator space and limited access to a stove/oven. But I was able to complete this months challenge...well sort of.This month's challenge was a cold soba noodle salad and tempura. Today I'll talk mostly about the noodle salad because I didn't try making the Tempura gluten free. I'm going to try that next weekend, so next week I'll put up a post about making gluten free tempura in more detail.
Now here's the thing about this noodle salad. I couldn't find ANY of the ingredients. Which is weird, since I live in Santa Cruz and I would expect there to be a lot of resources available to me as far as food selection. These were the three hardest things to find
1. Soba noodles. How is this so difficult to get?! Soba noodles are buckwheat noodles, meaning that they are naturally gluten free. Well guess what? Apparently noodle companies decided to do away with tradition and bring in the wheat flour. Every soba noodle I found was made with majority wheat flour. Not ok noodle guys. Not ok.
2. Katsuobushi Dashi. Now I looked it up and this is a sauce made of seaweed and bonito flakes. I couldn't find it anywhere! I went to three stores! I even went to New Leaf! (which is like whole foods, but smaller) I told the guy at the register that I couldn't find it and he said that they could put in a special order, but I didn't have that kind of time/money.
3. Mirin. Ok, this was actually not that hard to find. It's just that I'm 20 and can't legally buy it yet.
So I encountered a lot of difficulties with this challenge. What I ended up doing was basically improvising my own cold noodle salad. Here's my recipe:

Natalie's Asian Noodle Salad
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 lb quinoa pasta (preferably you should use buckwheat noodles, but I thought quinoa was an ok replacement)

Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger in a bowl and let sit while making the noodles. Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain and run under cold water until noodles are cool. Sprinkle green onions over pasta. Serve by dipping noodles in sauce, or pour some sauce onto noodles. Make sure it's served cold, it's sooooo delicious cold. I was actually kind of wary with this recipe; I wasn't sure that it was going to work out with that much soy sauce.But oh my gosh. I love soy sauce on pasta and now there's no going back. This is my new go-to quick meal.

Try it out on a hot day sometime!

Feb 10, 2011

Life Changes FTW

Oh hello everybody!
I have had a horrible horrible day. But that's alright! Because something awesome made my day so much better.
But first: the backstory.
A couple days ago, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep when I had a scary thought. I'm graduating in a year. Oh dear god! That's like nothing. Two and a half years have gone by in a snap and I only have one year left?! That is not ok. And then panic set in. Here was my sleepy, disoriented, and terrified train of thought:
But if I'm going to graduate, I'm going to have to get a job.
But if I'm going to get a job, I have to have experience..
I...I don't have any experience...
After a little bit of panicking, I fell into a deep and troubled sleep. Not really, I slept fine, I just enjoy using phrases like deep and troubled sleep. Makes me feel like I'm getting my moneys worth with a literature degree. Anyway, so after my pleasant and relaxing sleep, I tried to ignore the little sense of dread in the back of my head saying: "I don't want to grow up! I want to be in college forever!"
I was fairly successful until today, when I went to the history department's career information meeting. Basically, a bunch of alumnus came to meet us history students and tell us how they got into their chosen field. It was informative, but it really only told me that most people end up in their careers by chance, not careful planning. And that's just not how I work. I enjoy lists, planning, timelines and such. But! One of these alumni told me about a teaching internship that she found to be a wonderful experience. It's called Breakthrough Collaborative. The way it works is that they select high school and college students to teach classes of middle schoolers over the summer. But it's not just being a teacher's aide of assistant, they are actual teachers. Like running the school, planning classes, and just generally being awesome.
So my horribly, no good, very bad day was made all better because this is what I want to do with my life! This program sounds amazing, and I am soooo excited to try and participate! Their selection is kind of limited, but hopefully I'll stand out.
I don't have any fun food to go with this fun and inspiring day for me. BUT I have big plans for this weekend, get ready for a delicious dessert post next week. Here's a hint:
It's not quite a brownie, but it's not quite a cake either.