Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year! Wishing you all a safe & happy 2012! Thanks for reading!☺

Yee Haw!

Last night, Omid and I joined our country music loving friends for a night out. Jeff had the great idea that we should all go to Duke's Bar & Grill and go 'dancin.'   Musically speaking, Omid and I are stuck in the 80's alternative genre: Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Depeche Mode, etc. So last night was definitely new territory for us.

Fun fact: Omid & I only knew TWO songs the entire night. AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long & Shania Twain's Man I Feel Like A Woman. We were definitely fish out of water!

Since we had never been to a western bar before, Omid & I decided to head to Goodwill earlier in the week to find some western style shirts.

 We tried our darndest to find shirts like the ones above, but didn't even come close. Omid's shirt does have 'pearlized' buttons though.☺

Playing dress up in our new western wear.
I actually like my shirt & will most likely wear it to work.

The plan for the evening was to arrive at Duke's, eat & take advantage of the free dance lessons
 at 8 p.m. The place was practically empty when we arrived, but by the time 8 p.m. rolled around, it filled up quick.
 Line dancing lessons. It was harder than I thought. I had to keep counting 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 even when the music came on. I felt like I was on an episode of FAME (remember that show!?!).
Guess what! Three of us rode the mechanical bull!!
I wasn't one of them: w/ my bad back & all.☺

Tammy & I


Jeff & Ward - Thanks for organizing a fun night, Jeff!!

Yes, you read her shirt correctly. Rub for Luck.
Once 11 p.m. rolled around, the youngins' arrived & the place became rowdy & raunchy.
I was shocked at some of the stuff I saw. Wow. We finally left the bar @ 1:15 a.m.! Way past my bedtime.

We did have a great time & it would be fun to do it again; as long as we leave by 11 p.m.!☺

Friday, December 30, 2011

Make This!!

My sister Cynthia gave me these mini tart shell pans for a stocking stuffer this year. I knew immediately what I wanted to use them for.
A recipe that I found in The Oregonian's FOODday section a while back. I was so excited that we had everything in the fridge. These aren't only beautiful, they are delicious too!

Fromage Blanc, Tomato & Herb Tart

2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored
1 prebaked 9 or 10 inch tart shell, cooled
4 ounces fromage blanc or mild goat cheese
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
2 eggs
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs snipped fresh chives
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme or 2 tsp fresh chopped basil
pinch salt
3 or 4 grinds black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375*. Use a serrated knife to slice the tomatoes into 1/4" thick rounds. Place them in the bottom of the cooled tart shell in a single layer. Place the goat cheese in a medium bowl & slowly add the cream, whisking to blend the two together. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time; blend thoroughly.  Add the garlic, chives, thyme, salt & pepper.  Pour the filling over the tomatoes in the tart shell. Fill the shell to no more than 1/4" from the top or it may overflow while baking.
Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes, until the custard is set in the center - give the tart a gentle shake to check. Transfer the tart to a cooling rack. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature.
**NOTE: I used individual tart shells (6) and only one tomato. I also had to use a spatula to mix the whipping cream & goat cheese, as the whisk kept trapping the cheese.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Make This!!

Gingerbread Mini Cakes

From the January 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Everyday Food.

1/4 cup butter, room temp
2 1/3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c buttermilk
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350*. Butter & flour muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & spices. In a separate bowl, beat butter & sugar together with a wooden spoon until fluffy. Whisk in pumpkin until smooth. Add molasses, eggs & buttermilk. Add to flour mixture in 3 additions. Stir well to combine. Divide batter among muffin tin. Bake until puffed & set, 35 minutes (rotate pans halfway through). Cool completely on wire racks.

Whisk powdered sugar and 2 Tbs water. Spoon over muffins & let glaze set, about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Make This!

Angel Food Delight!

If you love angel food cake, then you will love this dessert! It's a fruit/whipped cream filled angel food cake, frosted with whipped cream.

Note: While I loved the cake & filling, the whipped cream frosting was a bit too rich. The next time I make this, I will leave it unfrosted.

While visiting my parents a few days ago, I was looking for interesting recipes in my mom's 1965 Better Crocker Cookbook. I actually prefer the 'Mad Men' style sketches in the cookbook to most of the recipes, but I have seen this dessert over the years and decided to make it.
 Step by step directions on how to 'core' an angel food cake.

'Cored' cake.

Filled with pineapple, strawberries, whipped cream & marshmallows.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

Fun side trip while Xmas shopping in downtown Olympia: a visit to the Capitol building to see the Christmas tree inside the rotunda.
It was beautiful!

Matty, cousin Cayden & Nas
Matty sneaking a quick ride!

Try These!

I found all three of these fun sites on the How About Orange, under the setting Time Wasters. They are just that, but oh so fun!

Make music out of falling raindrops:

Smash tiny little baked beans. Cruel, sad & fun at the same time. I like baked beans, so I have mixed feelings on this one:

Ooohhh this is fun!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Power of Prayer - Update!

Just heard the good news! Sarah & Chris were able to officially adopt Baby Moses today! What a wonderful Christmas gift!! Thanks to everyone who prayed for them!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Get Crafty Paperwhite Update

My how they've grown!
It's been just one day shy of a month & I think they are coming along great.

 This one I am giving away to a friend. This vase has two flowers that are just about to bloom. 
I found these cute galvanized containers at IKEA for .79 cents a piece. I bought several! Add jute string & a jingle bell for a quick, cute & simple decoration.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Make This!!

First of all, how cute is this baby?!
 I found this super easy & tasty cinnamon roll recipe today. It was so easy, I was wondering why I never thought of it myself! Take one container of Pillsbury Crescent dough & make it into mini cinnamon rolls! For the recipe specifics, click here.
We chose to have our cinnamon rolls unfrosted. They were perfect!

Two Things I'm Really Good At!

 Baking & promoting the Cougs!

Make This (or not)!!

I have seen several recipes for sponge candy this week. I had never heard of it before, but decided to try to make a batch to see what all the fuss was about. I know candy making can be tricky, but everything went perfectly until the very end. My candy stuck to my parchment paper and was just a sticky mess.
Sponge candy fail.

 I most likely won't be making this again, but if you would like to try, here is the recipe.

Vermonter Sponge Candy from The Oregonian

1 cup grade B maple syrup
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the syrup, sugar, vinegar & salt. Stil until sugar has dissolved. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of your pan. Stop stirring the mixture and boil until temp has reached 300*. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda. Make sure you don't dump the baking soda all in one place. As soon as the syrup has stopped foaming, pour it onto the prepared sheet pan.  Allow to cool completely & then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to one week.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Make This!

Apricot shortbread with white chocolate & pistachios.
One word: YUM!

Apricot White Chocolate Shortbread (adapted slightly from Ina Garten)
1 cup butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
3/4 c minced dried apricots
5-6 oz white chocolate
1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Preheat the oven to 325*.

Cream butter. Add vanilla & sugars, cream until smooth. Add flour & salt until just combined. Add apricots & mix until just incorporated. Roll the dough into a ball & then a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap & chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough to about a 1/4" thickness & cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake the cookies on parchment paper for 20 minutes or until slightly golden.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Melt white chocolate according to package directions. Dip the tops of the cookies into the chocolate, then sprinkle on pistachios. Allow to cool. Store cookies in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Get Crafty!

Have you visited CraftGawker yet? Love that site! I found this paper Christmas tree tutorial on the site yesterday morning.

I tried making the trees with some magazine & newspaper pages and it worked! I actually like the small & medium sized trees best. I think using music sheets or different colored paper would be cute too. Can't wait to make more of these!

Martha Stewart Living & Martha Stewart Food Christmas trees

The Oregonian Christmas tree

Make This!

Roasted Potato Stacks

I found the recipe at Gourmand Recipes.
 These are easy to make & tasty too. All you need is garlic flavored olive oil, potatoes, salt & pepper and a muffin tin.

I made my own garlic flavored olive oil earlier in the day. I just took 2 Tbs of chopped garlic and poured a bunch of olive oil over it. Easy!

My kitchen smelled so good & garlicky while these were cooking. Loved it!

Please excuse my old & worn muffin tin (it's loved).

Roasted Potato Stacks from Gourmand Recipes
Serves 4
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. Russets potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
2. Make the garlic oil: combine the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan and gently warm over low heat until fragrant but the garlic is not brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Peel the potatoes and thinly slice them with a mandolin.
4. Brush 8 muffin tins with thr garlic oil with a pastry brush. Layer a potato slice in the bottom of a muffin tin and brush it with a thin layer of garlic oil. Layer another slice of potato and brush it with the garlic oil. Repeat until it stacks up to the top of the muffin tin.
5. Repeat step 4 with a new muffin tin until you have a total of 8 potato stacks.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the potato stacks with the fresh thyme leaves.
7. Bake the potato stacks in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and cook through.
8. Serve immediately with any main entrees.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oh Baby!

I had such a fun time at Moses' baby shower today! Look below for some good shots & some pics where guests didn't realize I was about to shoot. Sorry about that!!!
Moses & his Grammy.

Hip hostess Laurel with her a-m-a-z-i-n-g mint brownies.

diaper cake!

The spread. So much good food!
Click on the photo to read the descriptions.

Jill's daughter Nelson with Moses.
Auntie Laurel

Jennier, Jill, Christine, Sarah, Hannah & Beka

Jo & Fiona

Laurel, Sarah & Karen

3 generations: Barbie, Annika & Jennifer

Beka explaining an 'activity.'
 Here's the activity: wishes that Beka will make into a book for Moses.
Beka's nephew Jack had the best answers. I wish I had asked him to help me with mine!

Look at this doll! Love it!
This was my favorite out of all the gifts Moses/Sarah received.

♥Dear Moses: Hope you felt all the love!!♥