Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Make This!

I found an absolutely beautiful condensed milk poundcake on Pinterest via Dr. Ola's Kitchen. The cake looked so perfect, I had to bake one myself.

Dr. Ola's beautiful cake on the left, my cake on the right.

My cake turned out a bit too dry. I had to bake it for over an hour to get the center to bake. It was good, just not as good as a Sara Lee Pound Cake. Oh my goodness - that is what I set my pound cake standard to.

If you want a simple pound cake that you can bake at home (& for less $$ than what a Sara Lee Pound Costs), then for goodness sake, bake this!

Condensed Milk Pound Cake via Dr. Ola's Kitchen
1 can condensed milk (396 grams)
4 eggs
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 t baking powder
1 cup flour

Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer & pour into a buttered 22 cm springform pan. Bake in a 350* oven for 40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Make This!!

Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies!
If you like Mother's brand iced oatmeal cookies, you will LOVE these! No preservatives or artificial ingredients!

Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies from The Novice Chef
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs

2 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two cookie sheets. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse oats until partly ground. You don't want a fine powder, you want a coarse meal. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in the dry oat mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.

Drop dough by (heaping) rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating halfway through, until browned. Let cookies rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cookies are completely cooled, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Generously frost each cookie and allow the glaze to harden completely before storing. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
NOTE: I brushed the glaze on my cookies with a pastry brush. After the glaze had dried, I piped more icing on top. These were REALLY delicious!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Try This!!

I caught the creeping crud that has been going around the three schools I work at & am home sick today. Since I was going to be home all day, I figured I would try the coconut oil hair treatment that I have seen all over Pinterest.

I used Harvest Bay brand coconut oil that I found at New Seasons ($12.99).
Costco sells another brand of coconut oil as well (in a much bigger size, for a much better price!).

I took a heaping teaspoonful and let it melt in my hands, then rubbed it through my hair. I did this two more times, making sure to get my scalp as well. I let it sit on my hair for a good hour. You can either wrap your head in a towel or not. I chose not to, and my hair looked greasy, stringy & got kind of crispy/crunchy - like I had put too much hair gel in it.

I washed my hair twice (just to make sure I removed all the coconut oil). I conditioned it as well, as my hair has been so dry with the winter weather.  Then I dried & styled my hair like I normally do.

The coconut oil worked GREAT! My hair is silky smooth - just like when I come home from the salon! I plan to use the coconut oil as a deep conditioner once a week.

Try this!!! I bet you won't be able to stop running your hands through your hair!☺

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blog Birthday!

This little blog is 5 today!
Special shout out to my friend Sarah for getting me started on the whole blogging band wagon!
Friend & fellow blogger: Sarah (& Moses too)
My sweet sidekick Remy.
This is his usual spot when I am updating the blog.
He serves as a back pillow/seat warmer.☺
To celebrate the blog birthday, I baked apple pie muffins from My Baking Addiction. So yummy & a good way to use up a bunch of Costco apples. These were more like cupcakes than muffins....so I can get away with serving them for dessert!

Apple Pie Muffins from My Baking Addiction

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith Apples


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 cup muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, 1/2 cup melted butter, vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved.
3. Pour butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in apples. Use a large scoop to fill each muffin well, filling the cups to the top.
4. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, rolled oats, and cinnamon. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of melted butter, mixing until well blended. Sprinkle this over the tops of the muffins.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
6. Cool on wire rack. Store at room temperature.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Make This!!

Mini Apple Pies!
Another great Pinterest find via the blog Little Bit Funky.
These were so easy and my family liked them a lot. Especially when I made a second batch & bought vanilla ice cream and served them all apple pie a la mode.
The recipe on the blog is for 24 individual pies, but it was no problem to halve it.
Dice 6 apples.
For the first batch, I used red delicious apples and golden delicious for the 2nd batch.
Toss apples with 3/4 cup sugar, 2 t. (heaping) cinnamon, & 2 T. flour.
Cut pie crust into rounds & place in muffin tin.
Add apple filling & top with a tiny pat of butter.
Top with pie crust.
Bake at 400* for 22 mins.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

NYE Revisited

Thank you to Trevor & Kristi for finally sending me the NYE photos!!
 Here are some of the extra highlights.
Menfolk discussing "ER or dinner?"
We should have gone to the ER. Two days later, Ward had to get 8 stitches.
Omid driving us to El  Gaucho & Ward playing the dj.
Fun fact: Ward loves to find a song, get everyone singing and having a great time
and then....BAM! He changes the track. It happened on every single song!!!!
Best friends!
 Katie B.: It was here that we texted you.
Stopped for the draw bridge.
NYE hats for everyone!
Our waiter. Doesn't he look like James Franco?
Kristi & Tammie
Cuties Ward & Lin
Jeff & Tammie
Trevor & Kristi
Happy New Year!!!
Tooooooot! Toooooooot!
With all the balloons around the restaurant, it was inevitable....
Omid & Ward put on a helium show. So funny!
Shot right before we went to Kell's Irish Pub.
Great group of friends!
Lucky floor 13
I am sure that the photo wasn't supposed to be of Omid & I.
Just look to the right!!
Dancing to the Prince cover band.
Work it Ward!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Matty!!!

The days are long, but the years are short. - Gretchen Rubin
How true is that quote!
I would give anything to turn back time & revisit the kids' early years.
Intrigued by large foliage!
Dog lover!
An all around great kid!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Get Crafty & Downton Abbey

I love garlands & bunting (& pom poms) and am always pinning them on Pinterest. I found this very cute pom pom garland the other day. So cute!
Stringing the pom poms onto the thread was the perfect activity to do while I caught up on Downton Abbey. I am a new fan (why did I not watch this show before?!)?
It is simply lovely and I am hooked on it.  I am sad that I missed out before, but am so happy to catch up now. The characters, the costumes & the writing are all delicious! After every episode, I am wanting more. If you haven't seen it yet, go to PBS and watch a preview.
Downton Abbey.

This is my favorite character on Downton Abbey.
Dowager Countess of Grantham aka 'Granny'.
Here is the finished garland. So easy.
I just strung pom poms & paper hearts on silver metallic thread.
I taped it above my front door.
 I made another for the fireplace mantel.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Make This!!!

Apple Fritters!

These were really easy & very tasty. They are not the usual yeast dough apple fritter you'd find at the grocery store baker (my favorite!), but are a cake donut batter. But don't let that stop you from making these. They are still delicious!

Fun fact: When Omid & I were in Pullman, we shared a giant apple fritter & a coffee from Mother's Cupboard in the CUB every day for breakfast. The apple fritter was only .35 cents. Who else remembers Mother' Cupboard?!

I found the recipe via Pinterest. Here is link. The site has lots of Greek inspired recipes too.

Homemade Apple Fritters Recipe: recipe via Seemingly Greek
1 heaping cup AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1 – 2 tsp. cinnamon (depending on how much you love cinnamon)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk + plus more if needed
1 – 1 1/2 cups chopped apple, your favorite kind for eating, peanut sized or smaller
oil for frying
milk and powdered sugar glaze for dipping or just powdered sugar for dusting
(About 1 cup pwd. sugar + 1 T. milk or more)

Mix all dry ingredients together, slowly add the wet ingredients minus the apple. Carefully mix until well combined but not overly beat,gently fold in apple pieces. The batter should be the consistency of a light cake mix. Once the oil is ready (when a test drop of dough floats to the top of the oil, a drop of water sizzles, or a piece of white bread browns in 60 seconds) then using a cookie scooper or soup spoon, place a 4-5 balls of dough into the oil. Be careful not to overcrowd and watch carefully for the underside to turn golden brown, then gently flip over and continue frying until done. I cooked mine about 35 seconds per side, but they were the size of golf balls – adjust cooking times based on size of fritters and temperature of your oil, ideally around 365° F. It is always a good idea to test one to ensure it comes out like you are expecting.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Omid & I went out to celebrate NYE last night for the first time in years. It was a lot of fun. Here are some of the evening's highlights.
I hope to update this post later with more photos. I only had my phone last night & am waiting on a friend to email 50+ photos of the evening.

After hydrating all day with water, we were ready to head out.

Kristi, Tammie, me & Lin

The first stop of the evening was to Lin & Ward's house where we were supposed to have a poker game (I even practiced all week). When we walked in, Ward's left wrist was wrapped with a thick towel & an ace bandage. An hour earlier, he had sliced open his wrist on a sharp gutter. We spent the next 45 minutes discussing over drinks & appetizers if we should cancel our dinner reservations & instead take Ward to the ER for stitches.

Ward decided against the ER & we headed into PDX for dinner. We did take an emergency kit with us in the car & decided to check Ward periodically to see if we needed to change plans & reroute to the ER. He seemed fine, so we headed to the restaurant. *Update!* Ward ended up getting stitches after all.

We had dinner at El Gaucho. This was the first time for Omid & I. We really like Morton's Steakhouse in Portland. I have to say, the dinner at El Gaucho was delicious, but I still prefer Mortons.
Omid's scotch had an ice cube that was shaped like a snowball. So funny.
Have you seen the $100 El Gaucho gift cards at Costco for only $79.99? That is way to go. El Gaucho is NOT inexpensive. The dinner tab for the 8 of us was over $1000.00! No joke!

We even brought our own wine & paid the $20 corkage fee, as we didn't want to pay the wine prices at the restaurant. We brought a 2007 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon which we paid $80 for at the winery. The same wine (& a 2009 vintage) on El Gaucho's wine menu was $180!
Omid & I had the chateau briand for two.

The restaurant gave us hats to wear for the evening.☺
Best buds!

Happy New Year!

A few minutes before midnight, waiters passed out champagne & noisemakers.
Omid had the countdown going on his phone & we all counted down to 2013.
At midnight, our table was all hugs & kisses.

After dinner, we drove to Kell's Irish Pub. The cover charged dropped from $25 to $10 after midnight. They had two bands playing. Upstairs was Exotic City, a Prince 'cover band.' They were pretty good. The crowd here was very young 20 somethings.
Ward, Lin & I with some members of the band after their show.
Very friendly people.☺
Lin, Ward, Omid & I stayed to watch this band, while the other half of our party went to watch the band Coming Up Threes. They are an Irish folk band. They were very good! We joined our friends & had a great time dancing to this band. Their very last song was a hip hop song from the 80s with a distinctly Irish flair to it. That song must have gone on for 15 minutes. The crowd loved it!
Omid & I took a much needed water break & stood off to the side. Right when we did, two bouncers had a guy by the collar and literally threw him out the back door! Wow! I tried to get a photo, but missed. So exciting!

The band stopped playing at around 2:15 a.m. & we finished our beers & water. Omid snapped this shot of the floor. Those are mostly discarded noisemakers.
We finally left Kell's at 2:30 a.m. & I think it's safe to say that most of the scary people come out at that time. We witnessed a fight on the way to the car, and several obscenity screaming mad (or drunk) people. Ward dj'd 80s music for us on the way home while Lin was our designated driver. We had a super fun sing-a-long for the ride home.

I can honestly say, this was the most fun I've had on a NYE.