Sunday, December 26, 2010

Indian wedding extravaganza

Two weekends ago one of my dreams came true and we attended a real Indian wedding at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. It was definitely worth the ling drive for the two day extravagant celebration complete with three meals and entertainment amongst elaborate decor. The food was excellent but extremely spicy and I have never been more grateful for plain yogurt in my entire life. There were some traditional American elements to the wedding like a chocolate chocolate ganache cake that was to die for delicious. That's my kind of wedding.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Gingerbread houses ever

This year I did two gingerbread houses: One for my friend Gulzat(her first ever real gingerbread house) and another for me.  Hers was a traditional one but mine turned out really modern and I think is the best one I have ever made.

Gulzat's house had a chocolate sugar roof complete with Santa's sleigh and reindeer with Santa in the chimney.  She decorated the rest with tiny gingerbread ornaments and a family complete with a sister that her son Daniel is wishing for someday.  She's showing it off to all her friends and getting many compliments:)


I decided to make a taller house this year and I cut out some round windows instead of all square.  I covered it with cinnamon sticks on the sides, black licorice on the back and Hershey's chocolate bars on the front polka-dotted with various candies.  The roof is frosted Mini Wheats with Rudolph on top. It kind of looks like a bank to me.  What do you think? I also stayed up until 2am the night before making a chocolate tree and Santa.  Everyone comments that he looks like a black Santa, but it was either that or albino, so I chose the dark chocolate and I think he's fabulous!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Christmas Treat:Toffee

 My favorite: Dark chocolate on bottom, toffee, white chocolate with sliced almonds and TC

I know it's been a long time.  I've been busy traveling all over the globe and we're still on the run, but here is my favorite new treat over the holidays....toffee.  It's super easy and looks fancy.  This is the recipe you get when you search for "best toffee ever" on Allrecipes.com.  I added a generous tsp vanilla in with the sugar and butter and chocolate on the bottom with a various assortment of nuts along with, what other than, toasted coconut. 
Our three kinds: Milk chocolate with pecans, dark chocolate with ground almonds and the above mentioned.

Ingredients:
2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped almonds
Directions:
1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.
2. While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
3. As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.
4. Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.


My sister Lucy with our precious cargo...that we couldn't eat or taste until Sunday, our treat day.  I think we made this on a Monday too, so we waited all week long to try it and it was delicious!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dilly Bean and pickled peppers

I just did my first pickled peppers and dilly beans the other day. I didn't realize how easy it was to pickle things, but I'm not sure how much I really like pickled things.  I have to say I like the sweet pickled stuff more than the dill pickled stuff, but nonetheless I really enjoyed not having to give away the peppers and beans we picked at the farm before we left on our California trip.  Basically this is what you do...

Stuff beans or peppers in a sanitized jar
put in a couple cloves of garlic and some dill
pour in hot a vinegar solution of 2.5 cups vinegar and 2.5 cups water with 1/4 cup salt.  Add 1 cup sugar if desired.
close jar and either process in boiling water or stick in the fridge

That's it. You should try it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Georgie's Cherries

Kids in front of the tree with the pie

Many of you know that when our son died we planted a sour cherry tree in our yard to remember him by.  We planted it in the early early spring and it was not expected to have cherries on it that year but it totally did.  We had enough cherries to make one pie for the previous two years and now this year our sour cherry tree produced enough cherries for TWO cherry pies.  We made this one and have quite a few more frozen in our freezer for one more.  Henry also enjoyed picking many of them and sharing them with his friends.  I think we may have had enough for three pies but the bugs, birds, and babies got to them first!
Close up of pie in my new bakeware pan.  Thanks Gammie!

We love everything about our sour cherry tree...the million blossoms in the spring, watching the little cherries ripen and seeing all the red cherries plump up.  They are very tart to eat right off the tree, but it reminds us of Georgie and the pain we still feel with his absence, but then we whip them up into a delicious pie and it turns into our most favorite desert.  I am grateful for his presence in our lives and we think of him daily and we will always remember him every time we see a sour cherry tree and are reminded of how sweet our reunion will be when we taste our delicious pie. 

The pie in front of the tree.  See all the cherries left over?

Bea snacking on the cherries on the lower branches.

Thought this was a cute shot.  We love our cherry tree.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Favorite new treat...Kale?

Yes, I said it.  Kale is my favorite new treat.  I have been getting all sorts of strange things in my CSA(community supported agriculture) box that I have had to find new recipes for and I was really afraid I wouldn't find a good recipe for my giant bunch of kale.  I looked up a recipe online and this one got four stars and I totally agree.  My kids were eating these and Bea was asking for "mo' mo' mo'!"

Kale Chips

Cut the stems out of the kale and cut the leafy part up into bite sized pieces,
Lightly coat the kale in olive oil and spread them out on a few cookie sheets.  Don't pile too much on one sheet.
Sprinkle with seasoned salt or any herb/salt mixture you like.
Bake in an oven at 350 for ten to fifteen minutes until crispy but not burned.  Watch them carefully!
Enjoy! And you will.  I promise.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How do I have time for this?


I'm already trying to get back into the things I did before having Clementine.  I enjoy doing just about anything crafty or sporty.  I still have three weeks before I can hit the treadmill and work myself into the ground to get in shape.  Until then I'll stick with crafting.  This is the latest thing inspired by some really cute barrettes that were sent to me by my friend Sarah.  It only took about an hour to make all these. 

Basically I got a bunch of different colors of felt, buttons, and little flippy clips, sewed them together(you can hot glue them together if you want) and then glue the clip on and they're done.  You can get pretty creative. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Arugula Rocket


Justin is obsessed with Arugula.  I grew a bunch in planter boxes this year and it is doing great.  We have been eating bruschetta (officially pronounced bru-SKET-ta in case you were wondering) any time we can.  Justin toasts the bread either in the toaster or over the grill, then we lightly rub a clove of garlic over one side, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and then add toppings.  Our favorite is parmigiano cheese and arugula on top.  Sounds really simple but it's pretty incredible, especially if you get good bread. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bum Bananas

How could I be so bad at updating this blog? So sorry people. 

So we've had some banana drama and I wanted to ask you all if you've ever experienced this.....I bought a bunch of very green bananas two weeks ago.  Usually they ripen in a few days and occasionally they stay green but get brown spots and they're still ripe but just look green.  This time, however, the bananas never ripened.  I had them for almost two weeks and before I threw what was left of them into the garbage, I tried to open it and it was just like the first day, hard as a rock and unpeelable.  Henry was crying for bananas for two weeks and every day I assured him that they would be ripe soon and they NEVER matured one bit.  I wish I had the patience to just let them sit to see if they would ripen over a month or two, but with the impending baby I couldn't waste the time.  Has this ever happened to any of you?

So, then I went to the store for more bananas and what do you know, they're all over ripe.  I finally found a decent bunch of bananas that had a tiny bit of green left on the stem and would have to be eaten in two days or less but I thought we would all devour them quickly since we'd been depriving ourselves.  While I was at ALDI (our favorite discount grocery store that makes you pay for a cart and bags, or bring your own) Henry had to go poop, Bea had a meltdown and Henry was picking hot peppers off the plants for sale and trying to feed them to Bea.  During the fiasco I forgot to buy bags and I didn't have any in the car.I decided that I could get home without bags so I loaded everything, loose, in the back of my car and drove home, hearing the watermelons rolling around and back and forth with every turn.  I guess I wasn't careful with where I put the bananas because the two watermelons found their way to where the bananas were and slightly squished them, but not enough for me to notice until yesterday when I went to finally eat a nice ripe banana and it was like a banana peel filled with baby food.  Not one of them was acceptable to eat.  Justin later told me that he tried to peel one and it just fell over limp.

So we went from the most rock solid bananas to complete mush.  How could it be so hard to get a decent banana and how else do I eat all my nutella? Please, let me find good bananas tomorrow at Costco.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cherry Pie with leaves crust

Henry and I had a blast making this real sour cherry pie.  I just realized that I only have two frozen packs of cherries left to make pies out of:(  Good thing cherry season is right around the corner!  This cherry pie is my usual recipe from Bon Appetit with a full Meyer lemon zest in it along with Meyer lemon juice.  The flavor was incredible and this pie turned out better than usual with no super runny middle.  My crust did get a little drowned in overflow from the sides but the good thing about a pie is that it never has to look good to taste good! I used some stamps that Justin got for me at William's Sonoma to make all the leaves.  I just love the effect.  I think I'll make one for this weekend for my friend Christi when she comes up to visit. 


Monday, March 22, 2010

Georgie's Day

Today is three years from the day my baby boy, Georgie, died and in honor of him I planted my tomato seeds for this year's vegetable garden.  Spring gardening always reminds me of him and everything in my garden keeps his memory alive in my heart.  I am still amazed that the tiniest tomato seed can make such a giant plant but at the same time I see the seeds that come up with no leaves at all and soon wither and die and I am reminded of the fragility of life and that it is such a miracle that I even have two healthy children and another one wiggling around inside me.  There were no tears today, no calls, no hugs, no cards but I really don't feel like I need them anymore. I wore his birthstone baby ring on my heart locket necklace so it would be close to my heart and I am happy and find joy in my life every day.   He is such an important part of my faith and hope in the plan of salvation and I receive strength from his perfect example.  I will always strive to do what is right so that I may someday be reunited with him because I know he walks with Christ and is working to bring us all home.  I love you angel boy. 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Culinary Adventures of the Holidays

I spent so much time cooking over the holidays I hardly had time for anything else (like blog about it!).  Here is a glimpse of what I was up to...


I wish I made this gingerbread house

 
 This was the one we made.  This one alone cost me about $20 of candy which we never end up eating.  It's a total waste of money but it's tradition, right? The best thing about this one is that the candy was so stuck on it that Henry wasn't able to pry of many pieces so that means less candy consumption!
 
 These are some of the quick and easy cookies I made.  These took almost no time compared to...
 
 These ones.  These are my ornaments covered in royal icing.  I just love how they turned out
 
 Bea kept pulling the letters off but they were so hard that she couldn't even break off even one single piece! lol! A few sprinkles would make their way into her mouth but no bites of cookies
 
 And here I am...the Stepford wife.  Well, not really.  Next year I will make one who hasn't showered in a few days, has hairy legs and pigtails.  That's more like me. lol!
 
 This candycane is spearmint
 
 This one was peppermint
 
 Mmmmm, butterscotch. 
 
 Can you see the candycane in her hair? That one was rootbeer.  I actually really liked her hairstyle in this photo.  It's so modern.  That's my fashionable baby!
 
 This is my chocolate nativity I make every year. I had to wait until I got more chocolate to make the manger though and when I finished it I found it like this...
 
 (See the missing heads?)  I ended up only eating the manger since it seemed wrong to eat anyone else, especially the baby Jesus(even though there was already a bubble hole where his face should have been.  I'll be more careful next time.)
 
This is what Bea looked like after giving her just a couple pieces of chocolate.  How does she make such a mess? Only Henry knows.


It's still refreshing to know that my kids would rather eat fresh raspberries from the garden...
 
And here's Bea eating raw Brussels sprouts which package she ravagingly ripped open to get a bite.  That's my girl.