Thursday, July 31, 2008

The fireplace is on and we're eating frozen yogurt.

It's bloody cold in here... I'm reduced to wearing fuzzy slippers. Vancouver weather usually pampers me, but this year it's highly unreasonable. Either that, or I'm used to complaining every year this time rolls around (or anytime... yea, definitely anytime). But that's OK, a little bit of home-made frogurt makes everything much betta.

I've been really holding out on taking good pictures, with the weather like this. I really hope the sun rolls out around BC Day, because I'm gonna be fixin' something special for Gordon Campbell.

Recipe and nutrition after the jump.

Low-Fat Bittersweet Chocolate Frozen Yogurt
Serves 8.

3 cups plain yogurt (I used a whole 750 gram container, fat-free) *see note
1 1/2 cup milk (any kind, I used 1%)
1 tbsp. starch (I used tapioca, but cornstarch or arrowroot powder is fine)
1 cup cocoa **see note #2
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla or 1 vanilla bean

You will need an ice-cream maker for this! Am I evil for telling you this now?
I have a Krups GVS1 that makes 1 quart at a time.

The day before, throw your ice cream maker in the freezer (turn it to the coldest possible setting to avoid any disappointments the day after... this happened to me).

Dump your yogurt in a few layers of large cheesecloth, tie off the ends (throw away the keys too!) and let it strain in a wee, lonely corner of your fridge. Set a bowl underneath it to catch the whey which we will chug later when no one's looking . Leave it alone for a good few hours or overnight. When it is ready, you'll end up with a little less than two cups of the creme de la creme.

In a sauce pan, stir in the milk, cocoa, starch and sugar over medium heat. If you're using vanilla bean, throw it in right now. Get ready to stir like crazy folks, do not let your eyes or that spatula leave the pot of good stuff. If you do burn your pot, some boiling lemon juice during the clean-up should do the trick. When the mix starts to boil gently, remove from heat and stir for one more minute. Congrats! We just made chocolate pudding and if you're like me, steal a big spoonful right now. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds.

If you're using vanilla extract, mix it in the pudding, then fold in the strained yogurt. Give them a good, vigorous stir and forget about the whole thing in the fridge for another few hours or overnight.

Now, the yogurt should be chilled and your ice cream maker should be ready. Go ahead and dump that bad boy in, and watch as the fro-yo goodness unfold before your eyes in no time, well, I wish 20-30 minutes.

Right out of the ice-cream maker, it has a soft-serve consistency. Some people prefer theirs more firm, so go ahead and freeze it for an additional 30 minutes before serving.

I served mine with some homemade maple creme anglaise (as a part of special BC Day fixin's for Mr. Campbell) which I will post later.

Per serving:

173 Cal, 2 g total fat, 1.2 g sat. fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 93 mg sodium, 35 g carbs, 3.2 g dietary fiber, 28.4 g sugar, 8.7 g protein

Note: I find strained plain yogurt makes just the right tanginess. Greek Yogurt is too tangy for my taste, but if that's your thing feel free to switch it up.

Note #2: The cocoa powder is really what gives the bitterness (but also chocolate goodness!) to the recipe. Some people may find it too strong, and should either reduce that amount or increase the amount of sugar.

Embrace the incoherency...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

C&PB Granola Bars

Ah, peanut butter and chocolate, possibly the greatest combination of flavours in the existence of humankind, but feel free to argue. Though these can't beat eating peanut butter by the spoonful (or even better, off your finger straight from the jar), they make a great on-the-go breakfast or snack. Plus, licking the spatula at the end is the best part.

You can get away with any kind of peanut butter here, but I only found Jif in the cupboard (Skippy fans and natural PB elitists, hold your critisms). But, feel free to use that extra-crunchy or organic natural.

Recipe and nutrition after the jump.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Makes one dozen.

1/4 cup milk (any kind, I used 1%)
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar (or sweetener equivalent. I used Splenda, will try maple syrup next time)
1/4 tsp. salt (more, if sweet and salty is your thing)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup beanut butter (I used Jif Smooth)
2 cups oatmeal (I used quick-cooking)

Combine milk, cocoa, sugar (or sweeterner), salt and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Mix in the peanut butter and mix it well (I had to microwave it for about 30 seconds after adding the PB)

Finally, add the oats.

Line a 8 x 8 square pan with plastic wrap, hanging over the edges. Spoon in the granola bar mix and smooth it out. Chill in the frige, for 2 hours or overnight.

To cut the bars, lift the plastic wrap out (aren't you glad we did that) and use a large chef's knife.

Each bar:

with sugar - 320 Cal, 12.2 g total fat, 2.7 g sat. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 153 mg sodium, 49.2 g carbs, 3.7 g fiber, 36 g sugar, 8.1 g protein

with sweetener - 191 Cal, 12.2 g total fat, 2.7 g sat. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 153 mg sodium, 15.9 g carbs, 3.7 g fiber, 2.7 g sugar, 8.1 g protein

with 1 1/2 cup amber maple syrup - 294 Cal, 12.3 g total fat, 2.7 g sat. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 157 mg sodium, 42.3 g carbs, 3.7 g fiber, 26.1 g sugar, 8.1 g protein

Embrace the incoherency...

Monday, July 28, 2008

The first Cooks post is about dog food? The Ya celebrates five with cookies.

I saw a very interesting cookie recipe at Farmgirl Fare weeks ago. Though the inner-health freak prevented me from making these, I didn't hesitate to click on the original recipe link (pour les chiens) because with a name like that, who can resist!

Alright, bananas... check (courtesy of my freezer), honey... check, flax seeds... check! Let's get to work. These look and smell very much like cookies for humins! Though I can't attest for that myself, I'm sure they're delicious... as least according to Yaya. Next time, I'll try it with maple syrup so I can have some too ;)

Happy birthday!

Embrace the incoherency...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fire Emblem revisted: Oliver the Bishop in "Gay Gay Gay!"

I can't lol enough at this. The painting in the background gives away too much about what Oliver's gonna do to Reyson (holds vomit). Music is pretty good though... trying to pin it down on the Path of Radiance OST right. Can't go wrong with a harpsichord, especially in Fire Emblem.

Oh yea, Reyson, this isn't madness...

This is Sparta.

EDIT: It's "26 Power-hungry Fool". Not sure if I like that name, but yes, that's definitely Oliver...

Embrace the incoherency...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Somewhere, there is a guy trying to smite me...

I'm gonna let you on something folks. I like to stay hydrated when I work. I'll finish liters of water before I'm done with a picture. In this specific case, I spent, oh I don't know, 2 dozen insignificant (not including time spent annoying my dog, or watching Kenny vs. Spenny) hours over the span of two weeks on this pencil drawing. I broke two... two glasses, both half filled with water. Here's the extra kicker, I pricked myself both times while cleaning them up.

I think whoever I'm offending is trying to tell me something.

There is definitely some sexually charged eroticism being exchanged between those glances. This style, I'd like to call Classically-inspired. I mean, I can definitely see the influences of classical art, mixed with my own style of course. I'm a total sucker for that gorgeous contrast presented by artworks from the Renaissance and Baroque era like I'm a sucker for a good tune from Bach.

Though I honest don't care much for the religious elements, they are significant in terms of symbolism, which is a large portion of the story that an artist is trying to tell through her work.

Actually, I think most classical art are very homoerotic, even pederastic. I think we're definitely a lot more reserved about nudes and erotism now a day, at least to the public eye. Often when we see them, they are presented in commercialized forms. It's a pity, really.

Take zee apple...
Time spent: approximately 25 hours
Dimensions: 11 x 14
Tools: 0.5 mechanical pencil, softlead pencils (Mars Lumograph), Kleenex, ruler, compass, a lot of water, two broken water glasses
References: Fodor's Guide to Holy Rome, Christian Jubilee Edt. andtheBible

Embrace the incoherency...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fangirling? I have not heard of such a word.

(the music is strange... nothing unbearable, but strange)

...Or have I?
OH.MY.GOD. Finally, Square-Enix is revealing more about Versus. Wait, this is a leaked video, never mind. I am mad excited about Versus. Who cares about FFXIII? Huh? Huh? Huh? Yes, I'm talking to the Lightning fanboys (hell, why are you here in the first place).

You know why I'm excited about Versus?

It's because of this group of incredibly dashing douchebags.

Especially the king of all douches.

And man hugs, especially man hugs.

Too bad none of them have real names... imagine their conversations.

Shotgun Guy: Why can't you be gentle in public :(
Scarred Face Guy: Only in bed, because I'm a douche, like you.
Driver (glasses guy): I must keep a pokerface... I broke my Dolce&Gabbana frames and I can't let my enemies see my weakness. (sniffle)

...Getting carried away there.

Seriously though, the concept of modern technology versus traditional combat (origin of game name?) is pretty kick-ass. I'm very curious about the white-robed figure... will see how it plays out when Versus hits store shelves, hopefully (yea right) by Christmas.

Embrace the incoherency...

About Layout:

It's certainly summer appropriate, isn't it? Something I pulled out of my sketchbook from grade 10 art class (honestly, little productivity came from art 10... art class of any sort, matter of fact).

Now that I look back at my work from a couple of years ago (courtesy of finally cleaning my room, of course), my art style really, REALLY changed, a lot. I think, mainly from improvements, and I'm glad that my previous works look like crap . (more on that in another post)

Making of the layout after the jump.

There he is, pure, unadulterated and fresh off the scanner. Comparison to post-pink massacre.

The text bubble contains some transliterated German non-sense (look it up if you're curious), because both words begin with an H. Yay! Added the "verboten" hip tattoo/scribble post-scanning.

Only 7 layers! Do I deserve a hand or what? Massive-layer abuse to come in future posts.

Think I'll keep this for a while... well, maybe not until Christmas (but why wouldn't you want him around for Christmas?) but we'll have to see about that :)

Embrace the incoherency...

Intro post! Intro post!

Oh no! You found me! (OK fine, I most likely linked you here)
Anyways, welcome to lucydraws. Navigation to your left and enjoy your stay!

Embrace the incoherency...