Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Hope the holidays were enjoyable and not too stressful for all. Mine was very nice and relaxed. The one thing I enjoy about christmas is giving gifts to those I love that I have put a great deal of thought into. I always put a lot of time into each gift I give. This year, Kyle blew my socks off with his gifts for me. He's a little rough around the edges (which I love) and is not a big fan of christmas, but this year, he built me a little terrarium! I LOVE IT! LOOOOVE it! It's so cute and little and all mine!
It's funny, I got some really wonderful, beautiful gifts this year, but this is the one that sticks out the most and the one I keep telling people about!
What was the one gift that you got this year that blew your socks off?
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I love snow...absolutely love it. It's so beautiful, I love the way it smells when it's snowing, I love the way it sounds. It almost feels like the world slows down when snow is falling. So needless to say, when it started snowing this evening, I was quite excited. We have lights on some of our bushes outside and they looked so pretty with a layer of snow blanketing them that I had to take some pictures. I used a tripod and a longer exposure. Nothing fancy but I thought they turned out pretty well!!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Well, that time of year has definitely come upon us. Much to my surprise, just about all of my christmas shopping is finished, just a few last minute things to put together. I have always been a slight scrooge during the holidays, but I've decided that its less of a dislike of christmas itself as it is a dislike of all the "hollabaloo" surrounding the holidays. I just get the feeling from everyone around me that it's a time to rush rush rush and buy buy buy! What happened to just enjoying those you love?
This year is unique to my family because this thursday, my mom is scheduled to have a hysterectomy to remove the cancer from her uterus. We are all trying very hard to stay positive and be supportive for her, but I think I can speak for everyone involved that we are all a little scared. I can rationally tell myself that really everything will probably be ok, but my emotions disagree. So this is going to be a different, possibly challenging christmas for us.
That being said, I am still very excited for our christmas morning where my brother and I will make breakfast and drink mimosas while opening presents. Unlike most families' christmas, ours is very low key and relaxed, being that there are only five of us including my grandma.
I'm keeping my chin up and just being there for my mom whenever I can. Cherish the ones you love!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
So every year for the past 5 years, I have gone to Montana to visit my brother and celebrate Thanksgiving with him and his wonderful friends. And lucky for me, its that time of year again!!! Just landed a few hours ago, and loving it as always!! I just love the smell of mountain air...aaaaah!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I loooove Jeni's Ice Cream, it is just the greatest ice cream in the world! My wonderful friend Erin and I discovered the awesomeness that is Jeni's about a year ago. You should all check out their website and Jeni's blog for more fantastic information on this delicious place.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I have an unfailing fascination with macro photography, basically all of my photo portfolios in college were made up of various macro projects. These are just few I went out and shot today. I think what draws me to this style is the almost abstract aspect of macro, it encourages the viewer to really take an up close, uninterrupted look at the image. Enjoy!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Kyle and I went to this pumpkin patch today. I can't even remember the last time I went to a pumpkin patch and picked out a pumpkin...and as you can see, we got a little carried away. We had to switch to a larger wagon (which they had for customer use). The weather was just perfect for fall type things like picking out pumpkins. We plan to carve them in the near future. Roasted pumpkin seeds here I come!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
With much excitement, I saw Where the Wild Things Are today!!! It was fantastic, it made me want to be a kid again and reminded me how much fun it was to live through your imagination. I think we could all be benefit from being more imaginative in our daily lives...I'm going to give it a try.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Just a little improve shot with my phone to share the lovely piece of work that is my cappuccino at the River Road Coffeehouse where I work and frequent for a delicious cup of coffee. I love it there, not only is the coffee fantastic, the shop occupies the lower level of an adorable little house with lots of little rooms that gives you the feel of sitting all cozy like at your grandma's house.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
So along with all of us lover's of fall, I went apple picking yesterday with my dear friend Elizabeth. There is a charming little orchard that is right outside of my hometown that we always go to. I have such fond memories of riding in the back of my mom's station wagon with the door open driving through the orchard.
My usual plan of attack when I have a bunch of apples on hand is to make an apple pie, which I love, but I've been trying to expand my horizon.
These cookies are just great! I found the recipe in an old cookbook of my mother's that is seldom given the time of day. They are spicy and have a tender cake-like feel the them that just makes you want another one.
from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 vegetable shortening
1 1/3 brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 cup apple, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup raisins (I left these out)
1/4 cup apple juice of milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sift flour and baking soda. Mix shortening, brown sugar, spices and egg until well blended. Stir in half the flour mixture, then add the nuts, apple and if using, the raisins. Blend in apple juice or milk then add the remaining flour mixture. Onto greased cookie sheets, drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart. Bake 11 to 14 minutes. While cookies are still hot, spread thinly with Vanilla Glaze.
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
a dash of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons milk or apple juice
Combine all ingredients together and spread on cookies.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
No recipes or adventures in the kitchen today, but I just had to share with you all my awesome new apron my wonderful friend Elizabeth made for my birthday...isn't it awesome?!?!
I have this thing for aprons, and I have quite a few that I wear whenever I'm in the kitchen, it's my own little fashion statement...for the dog to enjoy. This one is my new favorite!!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
In celebration of the seasons changing, I decided to make some wonderful spice cookies and decorate them all festive and autumn like. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I love making cut-out cookies. I love how perfect they look when they're finished. I was so excited to see how these turned out, I don't know if you could get more "fallish."
Don't they look just like a pile of leaves?!?
I found this recipe a last year and have used it a few times with very good results. They're not quite as spicy as a gingerbread cookie, but the subtle spice flavor is just enough.
Courtesy of The Spice Life blog
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons molasses
3 cups flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cream the butter and shortening with the spices and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and molasses and combine. Mix in about half of the flour into the butter mixture, when well combined, add the cornstarch and remaining flour.
Divide the dough in half, wrap well and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Roll out to about 1/4 inch (I like my cookies a little thicker) and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Simple, easy Icing
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup milk
Mix all ingredients together. The icing should be thin, like glue. Color as desired and pour into a shallow bowl wide enough to place the cookie in. Then simply dip the cookies in the icing, allow a little excess to drip off and then there you go!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
So at the beginning of the summer, I planted myself some little basil plants...and as the following pictures will explain, I now have myself some little basil trees! I've been making tons of hummus every week with the fresh basil and other fresh herbs, but I just can't seem to use enough to make a dent! In an attempt to find other ways to use up the basil, I decided to make me some basil oil.
Hummus, cucumber and basil oil open face sandwichI've never really made herb oils before, but I've seen them made so I just kind of "wung" it and this is what came about. I know the "proper" way to make basil oil is to strain it a bunch of times until you just have a clean, basil flavored oil with no bits of basil, but I wasn't patient enough to go through with that.
Makes about 1/3 of a cup
2 or 3 hand-fulls of fresh basil leaves
1/3 to 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Using a blender or food processor, blend the heck of the basil and oil for a few minutes and then strain once or twice through a fine mesh sieve.
Hummus with fresh Herbs
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 or 5 cloves roasted garlic
Up to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
A hand-full of fresh herbs, such as: basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Cold water to reach desired consistency
In a food processor, combine all ingredients except water. Process until mixed, and then slowly add the water in small installments until the desired consistency is reached.
Basil!!I have been perfecting the above hummus recipe for about a year now, and I've finally come up the a recipe that I just absolutely love...store bought hummus just doesn't cut it any more!! And to push the idea of affordability, making your own hummus is much cheaper than buying it!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
On a brief vacation to visit my awesome friend Erin in northern Ohio, we went blueberry picking at a friend's orchard. I have always had a strong love of picking your own food, so when this opportunity arose, I was very excited to partake.
This was the final product of berry pickin'
The farm was right off a main road and just tucked back behind a nice cover of trees. It was such a fun experience, and the property was strewn with little treasures like this pretty little pond pictured below.
So I have been wanting to jump back on the homemade ice cream wagon but have just not been inspired to try anything new lately. Well, picking my very own surplus of blueberries promptly changed that. After much searching, I used the recipe from Dorie Greenspan found here. I doubled the recipe to be able to split this delicious ice cream between my father and my boyfriend, both of whom can become very jealous if they are not included in the giving of homemade delicious food...especially ice cream. The recipe called for lemon juice, and along with that, I chose to add the zest of one lemon just before churning and can I just tell you how fantastic it was!?!?! I was very happy with the turnout of this ice cream and I have plans on using it again very soon. Enjoy!!
Saturday, May 16, 2009
It was my mom's birthday yesterday and what better excuse do you need to make cupcakes? I saw these cupcakes on foodgawker a while back and I've been looking for an occasion to make them, so thank you mother for having a birthday. They were just absolutely delightful! The use of pink lemonade concentrate made them tart and not too sweet.
Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
courtesy of Simply Sweet Bake Shop
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1/3 cup thawed frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
Pink food coloring
- Preheat of to 350F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg whites and lemonade concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until just smooth.
- Add just enough food coloring to turn the batter a light shade of pink ( I didn't have any pink or red food coloring...so I just left this part out).
- Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full with batter and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely before icing.
3 cups + 3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Pink Lemonade Concentrate
Pink food coloring
-Add all ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low using paddle attachment until combined.
- Turn the speed to med-high and blend until the buttercream is fluffy and uniformly pink. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
This was a great recipe, I got 9 cupcakes out of the recipe, which is the perfect number for me! The icing was a great consistency for piping but my only criticism was that the butter flavor was a little strong for my taste, in the future I think I'll substitute 4 tablespoons of shortening to cut back on the butter. Overall I look forward to making these again. Enjoy!!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I know I've been absent these past few weeks...or months, but senior year will do that to ya. I always have my staple cookies that I make, but I've been bored with those lately and I thought biscotti would be a good alternative. These turned out fantastically crumbly and not too sweet, just how I like them.
White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti
adapted from The Cookie Bible
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a large, nonstick cookie sheet (just to be safe).
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
Add eggs and extract, mix well to combine.
Gradually add in the flour mixture until well blended, and stir in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
Divide the dough in half and on a floured surface, shape each half into 14x1 1/2 inch log. Place, 2 inches apart, on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 25-28 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 15 minutes.
Place on cutting board and using a serrated knife, cut into 3/4 inch thick diagonal slices. Place back on cookie sheet.
Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, turning over half way through. Cool completely before storing.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Have you ever had those awesome cheesy biscuits from Red Lobster? Well if you have, then you know what I'm talking about, they're DELICIOUS! I got the baking bug yesterday but just didn't want to make something sweet, so I opted for something both quick and fantastically savory.
I finally settled with just some quick drop biscuits with some added excitement in the form of cheddar cheese, garlic and chives. They were so fast to throw together too! I will definitely use these again if I'm in need of some biscuits for dinner in a pinch.
adapted from The Joy of Cooking's "Quick Drop Biscuits"
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
A generous 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons chives (or more if you want)
5 to 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
A generous 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter pieces are about the size of peas.
Add in the cheese and mix well.
Add the milk and mix to combine, the mixture will be very sticky.
Using just a kitchen teaspoon, form balls about the size of a walnut and scrape onto a baking sheet with another spoon.
Bake for 12 minutes.