Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fun with Friends!

Isn't nice when colleagues are also friends? Omid's colleague, Daniel, visited from Germany last week. He was kind enough to spend his entire weekend with us. What a time we had too!☺
Look at this photo of Remy & Daniel. Daniel brought gifts for all of us (too kind!), even Remy!
 Remy was so appreciative, he snuggled with Daniel for hours. This is true!!
Daniel has made it known to Omid that he doesn't care for fish & won't eat it.  Omid wanted Daniel to at least try a 'bite' of the salmon that he caught & smoked - just to see if it would change Daniel's mind. We had to get a photo to prove that Daniel actually ate the fish!
Daniel tries smoked salmon!
These two both have single malt collections.
Here they are doing a tasting. I'll stick to wine tasting, thank you very much!

 Omid's other friend & coworker, Cheryl was visiting all week from Singapore as well. Cheryl extended her stay in town, just so she could have dinner with us & spend the night at our home.

Fun fact: When we visited Cheryl in Singapore, she took us out for the best black pepper crab!

These two are such good sports!
Why? Well, we may have made them watch college football all day long.
Cheryl left early Sunday morning, but Daniel came back for dinner on Sunday night too. Omid took him to Costco (our favorite store!). They found this wine. It's a Costco best buy, people! Look for it. Not only is it affordably priced, it's also delicious!
Our week with Daniel concluded on Tuesday night. The HP team (& significant others!)  took him out for a farewell dinner at the new Harvest restaurant in Camas. Our group stayed way past closing time and the restaurant staff was very kind about it.  
Such a fun night!
Daniel: don't wait too long until your next visit!
We hope you had a great time visiting us in Washington.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Make This!!

Gingerbread Muffins!

Fall has officially arrived here in SW Washington. It hit us with a bang: wind, rain, and just plain cold.  It seemed more like early November weather than the beginning of fall. I already miss the gorgeous summer weather we had. Today's weather definitely called for something sweet & comforting like gingerbread.☺

The recipe I used was found on the Foodie Bride blog. Everything I have ever made from her blog is excellent! These muffins were more cake like than heavy & bready. They were simply divine. I am already planning to bake another batch on Wednesday. Instead of boring cupcake liners, I tried making liners out of parchment paper and I think they upped the cuteness factor by a lot.☺

Gingerbread Muffins by Confessions of a Foodie Bride

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup molasses (I used Mother's brand)
  • 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (I used full fat!)
  • Coarse sugar for garnish

    Preheat oven to 375.
    Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
    Cream the butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time until mixed well.  Add the molasses and mix until well blended. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing on low until just incorporated and add the yogurt. Mix until the yogurt is well distributed and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix on low only until the flour just disappears. Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle coarse sugar over the tops of the muffin batter. Bake 5 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350. Bake another ~15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days. This batter makes about 15 muffins. Do not overfill the muffin liners, or the gingerbread will come out flat & sloppy looking.

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Make This!!


    aka: Belgian Waffle Cookies!

     I found this recipe on the blog, Jillian in Italy (via Pinterest). These cookies looked so delicious, I had to make them. Will I make them again? Probably not. They were extremely time consuming, since the batter made a lot and I didn't have the foresight to only make half a recipe. I ended up giving half the cookies away and we still had tons leftover. These cookies also have 3+ cubes of butter in them (yes, THREE!) and six eggs. Not the healthiest. :/

     Whip up half the recipe (trust me on this: only make half a recipe, unless you are feeding a crowd), heat up your waffle iron, cook, then eat!

    Since this recipe is in grams, I used my handy kitchen scale & weighed the ingredients in grams. If you don't have a kitchen scale, you can type the grams into this website and it will convert the recipe into cups for you.

    Wafeltjes by Jillian in Italy
    500g pastry flour ( I used a 50/50 mix of cake flour & all purpose flour)
    400g butter
    300g sugar
    6 eggs
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
    pinch of salt
    1. Gently melt the butter (make sure it doesn’t color).
    2. In the bowl of your mixer put in the flour and sugar.  Add the baking powder, salt  and the scraped out seeds of the vanilla bean (or the tsp of vanilla extract).
    3. Mix on medium low speed and slowly add the eggs one at a time.  Let mix for one minute then slowly pour in melted butter.
    4. Cover bowl and put in fridge for at least one hour.
    5. After letting the dough sit in fridge heat up waffle iron.  Make small balls of dough and drop onto waffle iron. My batter was still slightly fluid like regular waffle batter & I was not able to make balls of dough.
    6.Let bake until golden brown and remove from iron with wooden skewer onto a cooling rack.  Store in covered container.  Makes: a lot!