Monday, December 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: STOLLEN

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration

Stollen is basically a fruitcake in wreath form. Its is really easy to make, and smells wonderful.

Full Recipe HERE

I followed the recipe almost exactly with a few exceptions:
  • Cherry herbal tea instead of mixed fruit peal. Seriously is that stuff even edible?!
  • Coconut instead of candied cherries cause I didn't have any.
  • No Rum.
So the results were, if you like fruit cake you will like this recipe. If you don't like fruit cake you won't like this. I, never having encountered fruit cake before ever, found that this recipe was overly dense. I like my breads to be lighter. Also, while i enjoyed the smell, I apparently don't like fruit and nuts in my cakes. Also it is HUGE. This will feed 12 peeps easily. So be warned.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas

For weeks after we put that tree up, Harvey would drag a box under it and just sit there like he was a present too. Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

10 things I Love about Winter

  1. Ice cold water straight from the tap
  2. Harvey's sippys full of milk are still good in the morning when I forget to put them away
  3. Smores whenever I want
  4. Being about to cook without overheating the house
  5. Boots
  6. Cats curling up under the blankets with me to share heat
  7. no lawn mowing
  8. Hot coco
  9. Great excuse to stay inside all the time, Sorry Harvey we can't got to the park it's too cold.
  10. Increase in reading due to love #9
Every time I complain that I'm cold, I remember some things I love about this time of year. What are your favorite things about winter?

Harvey loves his warm baths.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Daring Bakers: CROSTATA

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Well better late than never right? Due to our computer dying on us this is now up about a week late. If you want to read the entire recipe you can find it here.

We were asked to make a crostata, which basically a pie. I'm not quite sure why people were so excited about this challenge, cause who hasn't made a pie before? but it worked out well for the holiday. I chose to use the 2nd recipe and fill my crust with... you ready for this... pumpkin filling. Yep, original I know. Anyways The dough was tasty before being cooked, but afterwards it still tasted like crust to me. That's just how it goes I guess. Either way there is currently have no pie left in my fridge, which I suppose is the point.

So without further ado, here is the recipe I used, it is very easy.

Pasta Frolla aka Pie crust.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup almond flour, or almond meal, or coconut flour
1/4 cup whole-grain barley flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (beaten into the egg)

Basically mix your flours, food processor or by hand whatever floats your boat. Add your chopped butter and work it in till its all crumbly. Don't worry if its not all cohesive. Then pour the butter/flour mixture out onto your counter and push the center down. Kneed in the egg/vanilla mixture into it till the whole thing sticks together. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Thats it. It's just pie crust. This will make one 9" pie or 10" tart. enjoy!

p.s. I've decided tart pans are nicer to use than pie pans.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Decorating

Every year a Christmas grows closer I start to think about decorating. This will be Captain and Mine's 6th Christmas together, and we still don't have many decorations. This is mostly due to the fact that we've spent the holidays with our family. But! now that we have a family of our own i think I should probably start decoration our own house. So these are the things I'm planning on making between now and ... well whenever I get done really. Let's face it Harvey is only 2 what does he care if the house is decorated other than a Christmas tree.

Anyways I really only have 3 things I want to make right now.
  • Christmas Stockings. For these I'm thinking about doing a white silk doupioni stocking with a red velvet cuff. I know, its crazy to make something that can't be washed, but I love how classic and elegant they would look. Also, I'm thinking about doing a Star inset onto these, same fabric, but with the nap of the fabric changing with every point.
  • Tree skirt. Something that matches the stocking, but with more decorations. Maybe i could embroider "Smith" onto it, or "Christ". I haven't decided yet really.
  • Ornaments. I've seen Paper Balls done with circles, or Stars done with long fabric strips, and felt ornaments all of which are cute. I'm just not sure where to start. Feel free to give input!
SO if you have links to decorating ideas you think I'd like PLEASE share them with me.
Seriously I need help with this, last year I put my jewelry on the Christmas tree to try and help fill it up.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Failure to Nap

Let me start by saying this. Harvey has always napped well. He LOVES naps. When I try to push his 10 am nap back to 11, he finds his "gankie" curls up and reminds me to put him in his crib. That being said Harvey is to the age where he no longer needs 2 naps, but since he refuses to delay his morning nap, he is cranky at 5pm.

So 3 pm rolls around, formerly a good nap time, now usually a quiet time. Either way I get a good hour of chores done. Until Monday. I come in after putting Harvey down for his afternoon nap, which for the record this time he really did need. Up at 5 am, first nap at 9. Daylight savings, ect.

This is what I came back to less than an hour later. Harvey had stripped completely, including removing his diaper.

He was bouncing up and down. His crib was a good 2 feet away from the wall.

And he was having the time of his life.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Harvey is 2!!!

Here are some pics from Harvey's 2nd b-day. You can't tell from the pic, but Harvey has twice as many toys now.

Anyways, we just had Harvey's friends over. It was a small party, but a lot of fun.

We did face painting, made puppy hats and played pin the tail on the puppy. Harvey did everything except wear a hat.

Harvey now has 2 tricycles, 2 puppy dogs, (one of which wags her tail and he calls "Roxy") 2 bull dossers, an airplane, and some bath toys. He LOVES them all. Thanks everyone for making Harvey's birthday so special.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Zoo Trip

Harvey's grandpa came to visit us for Halloween and the following Monday we decided to visit the zoo with some friends.

Grampa Doug and Harvey looking at some big cats. It took Harvey like 3 minutes to actually see them, but he thought they were pretty cool in the end.

Not as cool as the granola bar though.

Harvey and Owen checking out some zebras. Honestly though they were more interested in standing on the fence.

Owen Loves snakes. He saw this, stared in disbelief for a few moments then promptly sat down and said "My snake." He screamed when we left the statue.

Grampa and Harvey checking out the Penguins. They liked it when the penguins dove into the water.

Owen and Harvey plating with the globe that showed where the penguins could be found on the earth.

The zoo is pretty nice, they have peacocks and peahens that just wander around. Owen and Harvey kept trying to catch this set.

Jennie and the Boys on a gorilla statue. Neither of the boys wanted to stay on the thing. They just wanted to run.

In the end we had a very nice time. When Harvey and I came home and looked through these he said "papa" when the picks of grandpa showed up. it was pretty sweet.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone. I just wanted to share some pics of our totally awesome costumes this year. My dad came to visit so we did a star wars theme.

Captain was Han Solo. My dad was Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I was Princess Leia.
Can you guess what Harvey went as?

Thanks right !! He was Yoda. Have you ever seen such a cute ball hogging Yoda?

Here is a shot of my boys all together, and the last time you'll see Harvey with his green ears.

Here are my two Jedi Knights together.

We went to our ward trunk-or-treat, and I was in charge of the doughnut bobbing activity. The kids (and adults) really got a kick out of it.

I also made some awesome vampire bite and mummy cupcakes for dessert after dinner.

And here we all are at the very end. You can tell Harvey enjoyed his all you can eat chocolate binge.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Doughnuts

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Yeast Doughnuts:

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Rising time - 1.5 hours total
Cooking time - 12 minutes

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard)
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)


  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
  2. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
They turned out beautifully. I made a half batch cause cold doughnuts aint no good.

We glazed some, filled some with lemon curd, and covered some in cinnamon and sugar.

Lemon Filling
makes about 2 cups

1 0.25 ounce packet unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the warm water and let it sit for a few minutes to soften. Beat the egg yolks in another small bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and cornstarch, then gradually whisk in the water and gelatin. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and boils. Boil for about a minute, then remove from heat and pour a little into the egg yolks. Beat together then gradually add back into the gelatin mixture. Return to the heat and simmer for about a minute. Remove from the heat and beat in butter and lemon juice until smooth.

This will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Moments with Harvey

So today, I ran into the grocery store to get two things. That was it. A quick in and out trip. Harvey was with me, and I had put him in one of those car carts. He loves them, they have a steering wheel and make noises. So again I was in a hurry and as we went past the deli Harvey LEANS out the car and starts pointing frantically. He wanted a cookie. Our grocery store give out free cookies to kids who ask nicely. But I mean Harvey isn't even 2 and he's only had a cookie once before when our friend (who happens to work there) got one for him. SO HOW IN THE WORLD DID DID THIS KID REMEMBER ABOUT THE COOKIE?

But anyways Harvey very nicely said "Cookie" to the lady behind the counter, and when I prompted him to say please, he yells out "DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE" Everyone in the entire store was able to hear that boy's need for cookies. Needless to say he got his cookie, I got my yogurt and we got out of there.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cooking with Peaches

I picked up some peaches from the farmers market, so our desserts recently have been peach themed.

First up we have the Honey Peach upside down cake by hotpolkadot.

It was delicious. (And I'm saying that when I don't typically like fruit) My only concern is that my beautiful cake sunk when i took it out of the oven. Maybe I over mixed/ under cooked it?

Next up we have some Peach cupcakes. I made this recipe myself mostly because I'm tired of makeing 12 -24 cupcakes when There are only 2 of us eating them.

Peach-Almond Cupcakes
Makes 6

1 1/2 tbl butter
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbl brown sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 peaches, skinned & pureed (3 tbl reserve excess for glaze)
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tbl plain yogurt or whole milk
3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Cream sugars and butter till combined.
Add yogurt, 3 tbl pureed peaches, egg, & almond extract
Combine Flour, baking powder & baking soda
Sift flour into butter mixture.

Bake 18-22 minutes.

Comments on this cupcake are, Next time i'm going to try and leave out the milk and add more peaches. It just didn't taste enough like peach. Also I'd like it to be more moist. This tasted more like a muffin than a cupcake to me, So I'm going to cut back on the flour.

Anyways I'm sure both of these recipes could be substitute d for any in season fruit. Play around with them and enjoy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Boots!

My new boots arrived in from DNA footwear on Thursday! Aren't they amazing?! I just love them. Just so you are aware I have been on the hunt for some adorably warm weather boots since February. That's right I have been searching stores, clearance racks, and online boutiques for 8 whole months. I had actually given up and purchased some of those rubber rain boots just to make do when I found these. (Don't worry I was able to return them)

Look even Harvey and Captain are excited for me. They knew how long I had searched and how important it was for my footsies to sty warm. Seriously though Harvey did chase me around for about an hour trying to unzip my zippers. Picture a 30" child desperately trying to push his mama's knees apart to get to those illusive red zippers.

These boots were EXACTLY what I was looking for in a pair of winter boots. For those of you who don't know us money is tight since Captain started school, so I was looking for a pair of boots that not only looked super amazingly adorable with my church dresses, would also keep my feet warm and dry and not slip when we have ice storms. I know it was a tall order. I wanted them to have a low wedge heel, but not be flat. ( side note Flat boots are one of the most uncomfortable things in my opinion, mostly because there is no shape so the foot just flops around inside) I wanted them to have narrow calves, and not make my ankles look gigantic. I wanted 100% leather exterior so that I can waterproof these suckers. We have lots of rain in the fall, and lots of Snow followed by weirdly warm weather that turns the snow into puddles. And lastly they had to be cute enough to wear to church because I'm not buying 2 pairs of boots.

The fact that I found these in red just made my day. Mostly because I find most black shoes to be boring, (seriously shoe manufactures, people like a little variety in their black shoes.) but most of my clothes are black, and none of them are brown. So red is an excellent compromise.

For the record, after trying these on I get why people wear leggings now. My loose kneed jeans kept bunching up above the boot. It was kinda uncomfortable. Luckily I found a pair of snug jeans at Kohls yesterday so I am ready for the fall weather.

So what are you on the hunt for for you fall wardrobe?!

I'm still looking for a Yellow Cardigan, and material to make me some plaid pants and a camel trench coat.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Decorated Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

Recipe Here

So the challenge this month was to make cookies in "September" theme. I really don't have anything special for September. I thought about doing button cookies for national sewing month, but that seemed kinda boring. So I thought about what September meant to me and I thought of going for walks, and school field trips, which led me to puppies and dinosaurs. I know its a stretch, but seriously September? Other than football and apples there really isn't anything very September-y.But anyways, I added a bag of cherry herbal tea to the recipe but other than that is stayed the same. Next time I will add 2 bags to try and bring the flavor out more. The recipe is REALLY easy to do. Not terribly tasty, but not terribly icky either. It's a good conduit for frosting.

I used a basic butter cream frosting that I had leftover from some cupcakes on some of the cookies. The recipe is:

1/2 C. salted butter
1/2 C. vegetable shortening
4 C. Sifted powder sugar
2 TBL. Milk
1 Tsp Vanilla or Almond Extract

Cream butter and shortening. Add sugar. Add milk and Extracts.

it's pretty easy. And pretty tasty. If you can let it set for a day or two before using, the powdered sugar breaks down even more and you have this yummy cream frosting. If anyone knows how to make buttercream frosting smooth on a cookie please let me know.

For the dinosaurs I used the royal icing recipe in the recipe. It was fun to decorate with. Kinda like a grown up coloring book. Pretty tasty as far as royal icings go.

There is just something cheerful about pok-a-dotted dinosaurs. It might not be the most September-y thing out there, but It reminds me of the days we went to the science & field museum.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vist from the Great-Grandparents

Last week, Captain's grandparents came to visit us for a day.We had a nice relaxing time. I didn't have to cook once, and it gave me a reason to deep clean my home.

I tried to get a pic of Harvey with his great grand parents, but he wasn't in the mood to cooperate.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crafting Chicks

I went out to my mail box the other day (okay it might have been closer to a month ago) and received a little surprise.

Jamie @ the Crafting Chicks sent me some baby legs for Harvey. They are super cute and I can't wait for it to get cool enough for him to wear them. Side note, right now September 21st, it is 95 degrees outside.

The Crafting Chicks is a blog I follow in my reader. They have fun decorating ideas and crafts, and sometimes have giveaways where you can win super cool stuff (aka... baby leg warmers)

Anyways right now they have some Halloween stuff up that I am excited to try. I love Halloween and it is my favorite holiday second only to Easter. (notice a trend? candy= fun holidays) Sadly though I have no Halloween decorations. I'm going to try some of the things they have posted there. The chandelier is cool, but the banner may be more my style. Anyhow go and check it out. The Crafting

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Harvey is fairly curious by nature, and as a result often times gets himself into situations he needs help getting out of.

For example, video taps fascinate him for some reason.

Here is a closer look. Notice his thumb is stuck.

Of course I, being the good mom that I am, always comes to Harvey's rescue. I never would sit there and laugh at his frustration while trying to find my camera.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mad Science

A science experiment begins.

Hello, what's this?

I must investigate.

Just as I thought.

My knuckles are too big to fit through.

Well cat you have been saved from poke-age this time.....

Back off I'm doing science.