Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Little House on the Prairie*

Meredith and I try to go to story time at the library every week and while we were there last week, I browsed the cook book section and grabbed a  book called My Prairie Cookbook by Melissa Gilbert.  With Meredith in tow, I usually judge every book by its cover or I preorder (which I love that my library does this for free) and just pick up things for my reading.  Sometimes I get lucky and really like what I grab, other times, not so much.

Prairie Peach Cobbler from this wonderful cookbook.
This time, I discovered a gem!  This is a delightful book with Melissa sharing memories and pictures from her time in the tv series Little House on the Prairie.  And what is even more lovely is I tried a recipe - Prairie Peach Cobbler and it was really good.  Seriously, this book is a gem for anyone who loves the LHOTP series and likes good american food.

Reading the book brought back so many fond memories of the LHOTP show.  So I watched an episode of it with the girls and they liked it too.  Of course, this made me want to binge watch the entire 9 season series, but that is only possible for purchase, so I put the digitally released seasons on my wishlist and the LHOTP marathon will just have to wait.

*affiliate link means that if you buy it on Amazon after clicking my link to the item, I get some Amazon money, but I am not sure how much because no one ever has.  It does not affect the price you pay, and I am clearly not getting paid for this endorsement of this library book. :)

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Spring Break and Easter Activities

Hand knit eggs are one of my girls favorite Easter decorations.  I hide them to keep Meredith busy, just for fun. I made these two with Opal sock yarn, using my own pattern (available for free here).  The coloration turned out lovely. 

For Audrey's spring break the girls and I went to visit my sister in Asheville, NC.  What a lovely place.  This is downtown, the Chocolate Lounge is right behind the girls riding pigs.

While we were there we went hiking twice, both times in the Pisgah National Forest. It was absolutely beautiful.  

We got back just in time to do a few Easter activities at our house, we dyed eggs and put crazy face stickers - the girls are trying to make silly faces too.

The highlight of every Easter is probably the egg roll.  Grandma Margie has a few plastic rain gutters she keeps just for this purpose, we duct tape them together and roll eggs and cars down the ramps, through a tunnel, and out a jump.  This time the egg roll started on the stairs.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life dreams

One of the things on my bucket list is to hike Machu Picchu in Peru.  It just looks amazing and while I am there I want to buy some local wool to knit a souvenir sweater or cardi.

I would also love to bike down the east coast to Key West.

This woman is making me think about new ideas that involve a couple little girls - wouldn't it be fun to hike the Camino de Santiago with my sweet daughters.

Friday, February 06, 2015

For the love of Kale

suspicious kale activity 
who me?  I can't even jump up to the counter top... when you are watching

Friday, December 05, 2014

Meet Rose Bud Facer - aka Rosy

I blame my sister, William, and her cute dog, Gizmo.  They showed me how much my girls would love to have a dog in their life and how responsible they could be too. 

So, for Christmas this year we got a sweet little puppy for the girls.  I had no idea what getting a puppy meant.  I have not had a solid night of sleep since Rosy joined our family.  I am up at least 2xs a night to take her outside.  She has added a huge dose of extra laundry, cleaning, puppy-proofing, walks, and love.

Rosy is about as cute as they come.  She is a Cavatese - which is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Maltese.  She is mostly white, but has apricot ears and a big apricot spot on her back.  She is a cuddle bug and she already thinks she is part of the family and whines if we leave without her.
November 22, 2014, Rosy sitting on Audrey's lap in the pet store

Rosy and Meredith - Meri is always trying to hug Rosy and kisses her on the head

Rosy taking a nap on the couch - Meredith put a couple of baby doll blankets on her, including one from Gigi

My Mama came for Thanksgiving and was a big help teaching us how to take care of a puppy.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dinner in a pumpkin

aka - I lose my mind trying to carve a pumpkin.

Ryan's mom has this fun tradition of making dinner in a pumpkin on Halloween night.  So we have adopted the same little tradition.  The idea is super simple and pretty healthy.

This year at Belvedere Plantation, they had some super fancy pumpkins that are supposed to be amazing flavor wise.  So I got a medium sized pumpkin for our Halloween dinner.

These crazy little pumpkins are super thick - which I didn't know when I tried to quickly pop the top and fill it.  I ended up butchering the damned thing and cussing like a fighter pilot trying to break this thing open.

It is almost funny what things make you so mad you literally cuss - apparently for me it is carving pumpkins - good to know.

Dinner in a pumpkin recipe (more or less):
1 pound of ground beef
1 diced onion
2 T crushed garlic
2 T soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 can cream of something soup (or a white sauce - which I like better, but was in no mood today)
2 cups cooked rice
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef and onions, add garlic, soy, sugar, and cream.  Mix well and then add the rice.  Pack in a cleaned out pumpkin with a face drawn in sharpie.  Bake for about an hour at 350.  Or until the pumpkin flesh is soft.  Scoop some of the pumpkin flesh out with the rice mixture when serving.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cookie #1 - The Classic Chocolate Chip cookie

To start the 89 cookie challenge, it made sense to go with the most popular cookie in the Milk and Cookie cookbook - chocolate chip.  This recipe is an amazing twist on the quintessential American classic. In addition to chocolate chunks, the recipe calls for chocolate shavings or curls.
Chocolate chip cookies and a jeweled mason jar of milk - keeping it classy!

After reading a few amazon reviews on the cookbook itself, here is what I did:

 - Butter - I waited for the butter to get to room temp and then I beat the tar out of it, till it was super creamy. The book says to whip the bitter until light and creamy, so this isn't different from the book, it's just different from my usual throw the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and butter together then beat method. The amazon reviewer emphasized the importance of actually beating the butter for a good 3-5 minutes, so I did, it worked well.
 - Oat flour - The recipe called for oat flour from processed oats,I just threw the oats in my blend tech and one I had flour, I added the rest of the dry ingredients into the blender too, no point making another bowl dirty says I.
 - Ingredient variations - salted butter, chocolate chips, salt, eggs - My slight variations on the recipe based on what was in my kitchen at the time of baking: I used salted butter rather than unsalted which it calls for, I used chocolate chips instead of chunks, I are a touch more salt, I used extra large eggs rather than large eggs. 
 - Baking time - The only real difference in my preparation was the baking time. The recipe said to bake the cookie for 15 minutes, which seems like an unconscionably long time to bake a cookie. I live comfortably in the world of under done cookies and I just could not cook then longer than 10 minutes, which is the longest I have *ever* baked a cookie (on purpose anyway).  The recipe called for cookies that were big, I used my 1/4 cup measuring cup as the scoop.  For such big cookies, 10 minutes worked.  When I decided to make the cookies a bit smaller - ie my normal cookie size, my normal baking time worked well too - 7 minutes.

Big cookies - only 6 per sheet.

The result was amazing! I liked it better than the one i had at the milk and cookies store itself - probably the extra salt and the underdone softness.  Seriously one of the best cookies I have ever made and I am known for my cookies. The shaved chocolate gives melted yuminess in every bite. The oat flour gives it a nutty taste and a heartier texture. It is really good. The other thing I like about the recipe is the amount of vanilla - 1/2 tablespoon. I wanted to shout amen! I *always* add substantially more vanilla than most cookie recipes call for because it is such an important ingredient. And my vanilla is already stronger than most store bought vanilla because I make it myself with good vodka and hand scraped Madagascar vanilla beans.

I loved this recipe, but the ass pain associated with grating 2 while bars of chocolate may keep me from making it as often as other cookies in my repertoire. Perhaps I'll source some chocolate curls and then it will be in my regular rotation for sure, it is that good.