Thursday, May 27, 2010


Did I mention I got a speeding ticket the other day?

Can I blame it on a song?

I've been obsessed with this song ever since RJ introduced it to me a few weeks ago.

It makes me think of him.

And it makes me speed.

The cop didn't buy it though.

I used to get warnings. Prior to this, I'd been pulled over 4 times, and only 1 ticket. Skip ahead 10 years, 2 kids in the back....and no more warnings.

It's a good song, though.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Back to Normal

It's always hard to get back to normal after a vacation, isn't it? And I don't know about you, but when we're away from our kids, it's a battle getting things back to normal after they've been spoiled by their grandparents. (something they're totally entitled to, of course!) I've been pleasantly surprised at Henry's behavior since he came back. Monday was one of those days that I wanted to bottle his sweet personality up and save it for a rainy day. Well, the rainy day came yesterday and my bottle didn't work. We played in the sand box, rode bikes, side walk chalk, did play-doh,  but every activity ended in a melt-down. There was lots of this going on:

That's a boy in trouble and a sympathetic sister. She always goes and sits by him when he's in time out. Cracks me up.
After a good nap we had a refreshing afternoon-thankfully! I felt refreshed enough to even cook something for dinner. I really haven't cooked since our vaca. Monday night we ate some olive bread from South Union that had been in the freezer. That was our supper. Bread and butter and cantelope. (much to my happiness...I could eat good bread and butter every meal and never look back) So my first "back to normal" meal was grilled chicken and black bean salad.

It was super yummy and perfect for the hot weather.
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup tomoatoes
1 cup corn
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drain and reserve juice
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic salt
1-2 tbl balsamic vinegarette

In skillet, cook peppers until tender; stir in tomatoes, beans, corn, thyme, and garlic, and cook 3 minutes. Add vinegarette and 1 tbl reserved juice and cook 5 more minutes. This is yummy on top of rice too, but I just put the grilled chicken on top. 

Anyways, hope you all enjoy this Wednesday and get to spend some time outside!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Kitchen Re-Do

First of all, we had an awesome Stay-cation! We ate out like crazy. La Mie (twice!) Splash, Dijango, Raccoon River, Jethro's (half price wings), and Biaggi's. It was all so yummy. The best part, of course, was being alone with RJ and getting to run all over town with him and hang out at home and stay out way past curfew. We felt like kids again. :)
Really, it was great and I'm quite depressed that it's over. It's over! And we don't have another vacation planned for a long time. Or ever. (insert dramatic crying)

We didn't only have fun, but we also got some things done around the house.
Our kitchen!



Of course there's dishes in the sink. Are there ever not dishes in the sink when you don't have a dishwasher??


(the wall where I'll start writing our recipes...eventually)
(the microwave that I not-so-secretly hope dies soon.)

My favorite change:
The backsplash!

RJ came up with this genious's flooring from the Habitat Restore. A whole stack for $20 and we've got lots left to do who knows what with.  We used some counter-top paint and I love the change. Sure beats buying a new counter top!
(I got this idea from my cousin's wife, Nealy. Her kitchen is amazing!!)

Doesn't Ruby look happy? : 

I found these fun fish molds at The Salvation Army for $1.99 a piece.

And this fun tin at a garage sale for $2.

This nice bin to hold all the misc above the fridge was $3.99 at The Salvation Army.
(as you can see, we need all the extra storage we can get!)

I got this bread box at a garage sale for $3 and painted it white.
Ta da!

And this blueberry muffin from Great Harvest Bread Company?

That was probably the fastest makeover to ever take place in this house and it's one of my favorites. It's so bright and light and refreshing.

Now, you LOST lovers out there...are you ready? I'm so exicted for tonight!!
Have a great week!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Well, there are technically 2 winners.

#1. My mom. Of course! What kind of daughter do you think I am?!

#2 (selected by Comment #2 aka Erica.
Just some gal who was a sister to my college roomie and then ended up being my cousin-in-law!

Email me your recipe, Mom and Erica and I'll get started.

Hope you all have a great Thursday!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Early Morning Thoughts

Don't you love it when your first born gets up at 5:45?
I don't.
Have you turned your heater back on?
We haven't.
(I'm freezing!)
Do you want to re-do your kitchen?
I do!!
We had the sweetest interior designer/color expert come to our MOPS group last week and it was so fun to hear all her thoughts and ideas. I loved how she ended it:
Don't worry about what others think of your's your space. Decorate how you like!
(or something like that)
We painted our kitchen almost 5 years ago and that's a long time for a room in this house to stay the same color, so as much as I love the color of it, it's time for a change!
Don't you love going to places that have the menu written on a big chalkboard?
I do!
*Inspiration #1

Inspiration #2

To Do:
Paint the walls the same color as our cupboards.
(already have the paint...check!)
Paint a portion of the wall a dark, dark gray.
(thought about doing chalkboard paint, but...)
Write our favorite family recipes all over the wall and leave room for new ones using a white paint pen.
(doesn't that sound like fun?!)
Redo our kitchen counter tops.
(We painted them 5 yrs ago and they seriously need re-done.)
Paint a very "Sticks-influenced" back splash.
(The end!)

If I can get all my painting orders done before Monday, I will start this when the kids are gone.
(next week!)
And probably won't finish it for a few weeks.
(next Christmas!)

Wouldn't you love to have your favorite recipe displayed? Either on the walls or just framed?
(stay tuned!)
I've always wanted to work on a painting or a collage centered around a recipe.
I've thought about setting up an Etsy store (think I'll ever do it?!) about 50 times, but my favorite idea is taking your favorite recipe and turning it into a piece of art.
Who wants me to use your favorite recipe as a sample??

Leave a comment with your favorite recipe (just the name) and I'll randomly select a winner before I go to bed tonight. You'll be the lucky winner of my first "Recipe Art" piece!
I'll get it to you in a few weeks.
(Or at least by Thanksgiving!!)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rye Bread and Ruby

I used Ruby (Dutch Oven) for the first time last night. I didn't have the ingredients to do exactly what I wanted, but threw some last minute ingredients together to make a yummy taco stew.
Doesn't she make carrots and onions look beautiful??
It was fun to break her in!

So, as promised (I'm sure you were all dying in anticipation) :
Rye Bread!
My Great Grandma Nor-Nor and Grandma Bloom made Rye Bread a lot. I mostly remember Grandma Bloom's. In fact, while this was baking and after taking my first few bites, I was instantly brought back to my childhood.
I. love. rye. bread.
I don't have Grandma Bloom's recipe, but my mom sent me Nor-Nor's.
(Her name was Eleanor. As much as I love the name Harper, I still have moments of regretting not using that name. From the time I was about 15, my first daughter's name was going to be Eleanor Bloom. Just a little exciting fact for ya!)

Here they are rising and getting ready to go in the oven.

Here they are right out of the oven

And with butter brushed on top:

They are a ba-zillion Rye Bread recipes out there. This one is a little on the sweet side and more mild.
 It's delicious.

2 T. salt
1/3 c brown sugar (I added a touch more)
2 T. shortening ( I used butter)
2 pkg. yeast
4 c. white flour
4 c. rye flour
1/2 c. molasses
2 c. water
2 c. milk

Put salt, sugar, shortening in bowl. Add scalded milk and water. Cool. When lukewarm stir in yeast which has been dissolved in a little lukewarm water. Then add 4 c. white flours and about 2 c. rye flour. Stir until well blended. Add molasses and stir again until well blended. Then add 2 more cups of rye flour and enough white flour to make dough easy to handle (about 2 c.) Knead for a few minutes, then place in greased bowl. Cover with a clean towel. Let rise in warm place ( I usually turn the oven on and let them rise there) until double in bulk (about 1 1/2 hrs). As soon as light, punch down and knead for a few minutes. Add a littel more flour if necessary. Again let rise. Then make into loaves. Put in well greased pans. Cover and let rise until almost double. Bake 10 min. at 425 degrees, then 30 minutes at 375.
Making bread is something, to me, that sounded too complicated and time consuming...but if you give it a try it's really not any of those. Well, if you have a day where you'll be home because it's too cold and yucky to go anywhere that is. Another thing that drives me nuts about bread recipes is when they aren't exact on how much flour to add, but I've realized (especially after watching RJ's grandma make her rolls) that it's not that big of a deal and baking bread dough does not have to be an exact science.
I've been interested in baking our bread for a long time and am just now getting really into it. I love the process of cooking and baking. Even when something takes an hour to prepare and only 10 minutes to eat....I still love it.
Dorky, eh?
Believe me though, there are days, and days that turn into weeks, where we eat grilled cheese, mac n' cheese, pancakes, etc and I don't do much of anything. I don't do this kind of stuff everyday!

Hope you all have a great Tuesday!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Yeah, it was gooo-oooood.
RJ and I had gone out with some friends Saturday and our kids spent the night at their cousin's house, so my day started off with sleeping in a bit and then getting ready for church in silence. We picked up the kids and brought them to church and enjoyed such an awesome service. The message was such an encouraging reminder to focus our desire on glorifying Christ through mothering and praying that our children will too, glorify Christ. I also had the privelage of doing a live painting during a really awesome recorded reading. I hadn't heard it before I painted so I wanted RJ to video it so I could see and hear it all, but the video died about 3/4 of the way through. Bummer! It was a great experience though and I'm so thankful to be able to use my gift in that way. And to belong to such an awesome church that lets me do it! :)

I had told RJ not to get me a gift, and I was completely sincere about it. I knew no matter what he'd do breakfast for me and a card and that sounded like plenty and absolutely lovely. He brought me Bruegar's and a frappe and a lovely card and I was higher than a kite. Then we went out for a lovely Mexican feast after church and then at home.....I got this.....

Yes, that is Giada's Dutch Oven from Target.
Yes, I screamed. Literally.
RJ has known I've wanted a Dutch Oven for years now and that once he got me one I would stop talking about wanting one.
It made me happy.

And it made me really happy when I learned that RJ had taken a test at work to earn the money to buy it for me. Isn't that the sweetest?!
But even sweeter were my kiddos. I'm so thankful for them. What a blessing they are!!
I put Harper in one of my dresses my mom had saved from when I was little.
I guess my love of blue started at a young age.

And one of the little things that brightened my day was this super cool necklace my friend Londa picked up for me at a garage sale for 50 cents!! It's so full of vintage-y coolness.
 I may have to wear it every day.
(thanks again, Londa!!)

Mother's Day 2010 was my favorite yet. I am so thankful to be a mom!
And man, I love my family.
I hope all you moms had a great day of feeling special too!

Next post:
Rye Bread.
Yeah, it's as yummy as it looks!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Morning Glory

Cooking healthy is one thing. It's easy and fun and I love looking for healthy recipes for my family...especially this time of year. Baking healthy is another thing. Not that it's hard, but I'm just sayin'...if I want to eat a cookie, I want to eat a cookie. Sure I've done the ol' applesauce/butter switcheroo and other things, but overall, I like to bake with butter, butter, butter, and sugar, sugar, sugar. I know. I know! Beautifully healthy friends o'mine...please still love me!
Anyways, like all of you, I'm trying to gradually get healthier and healthier so I thought I'd make some "healthy"-ish-ish-ish muffins for MOPS.  Not technically "healthy", but for me...this is a start! I mean, muffins with carrots? That's got to be healthy, right?!!

Morning Glory Muffins:
inspiration here

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup oat bran (didn't have, so used 1/2 cup wheat bran, 1/2 cup oatmeal. That equals one cup oat bran, right??)
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (just used whole wheat flour)
2 ts baking soda
1 Tb baking powder
½ ts salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ ts powder ginger
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 medium size eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil (Used 1/4 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup applesauce...these were also for my kids and my skinny Harper needs some fat!)
1 ½ ts pure vanilla extract
¾ cup half & half (or whole milk)... again, I used whole milk for my skinny minnie!
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup raisins
1/2 cup unsweetend coconut
*also added 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tin.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
In a separate bowl mix together the carrots, raisins, coconut, and pineapple.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, dark brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and half & half. Whisk well.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl containing the dry flour mixture. Mix until just combined, do not overmix! It’s perfectly normal to have lumps. Lumps are good! Then add in the “add in” bowl mix and “gently” mix that until just incorporated. Don’t overmix!
Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-ish minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

I may have also added an orange juice/powdered sugar glaze....

It made 1 dozen muffins and one loaf and seems to get more moist and yummy with each passing hour. It felt like a ton-o-ingredients, but they were worth it. And they'd be great to freeze!

Baking project during nap time today?

Great Grandma Nor Nor's Rye Bread!! Can't wait to see if it turns out!

Have a great weekend and a very Happy Mother's Day!!
 Ya'll are rock star moms!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I would have killed for pants like these when I was in the 1st grade.

But when I'm 30? Not so much.

But it's what comes with having a good day with the kids and playing outside so I'll happily wear them. Cuz seriously, yesterday was a doozy. Do you ever have days where you're down for no real reason? And there was no angel food cake left to eat?
 I'm SO thankful for a new day today.

And remind to never take a picture of myself like that again. My feet look so itty bitty, but those thighs?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake!!
recipe courtesy Alton Brown (
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice **I used half almond, half lemon extract**
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. **I didn't do this but instead put the sugar through my sifter a couple of times. OR they sell superfine sugar...just didn't have any** Sift half of the sugar with the salt and cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
In a large bowl (aka Kitchen Aid!), use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, orange extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. **I haven't had a hand held mixer in years...just did it all in the Kitchen Aid) Slowly add the reserved sugar, beating continuously at
medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of thefoam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

**That part seems scary, but after doing it once of twice it's easy and fun. I've also seen it done a lot (thank you Ina) or you can watch a video on YouTube.**

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).

Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

Now ladies, I have "made" an angel food  cake 5 times now. Only 2 (or maybe 3) did NOT collapse. This one was by far my best yet!! I think it just took some practice and a beautiful day. It was also the first time I got my eggs to room temp...I just put them in warm water to speed it up. It does make the yolk break more easily though, so be careful. I tiny bit of yolk (so they say) can ruin it.

And guess what?!

 The grocery store sells angel food cakes all the time for cheap!
So if you don't want to bake one, go buy one, put on some fresh strawberries and no one will ever know.
This is just something I love to do because I like to secretly pretend that I'm a chef/baker and my husband loves, loves, loves homemade angel food cake and I love making him smile.

And of course, some pictures!

The leftovers:

What to do with 12 egg yolks?

It didn't collapse and it was yuuummmmmy. I will say that the part that is really worth making it from scratch if the crispy topping.

And some bonus shots of our trip to the park last week. This weather has been beautiful!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Long time, no blog!
No reason really, just not much to say.

*We've had a great spring so far and have spent a lot of fun time as a family.
*Henry went to my parent's for the weekend. He had a blast and it was fun to spend some time with just Harper.
*In 2 weeks RJ and I are having our "stay-cation" with no kids....for 4 days! We were going to go away somewhere, but now are just going to stay home and get some things done and GO ON DATES LIKE CRAZY.  We're making our dream list of restaurants to go to and plan on eating out twice a day since we won't be spending money on a hotel. Where should we go?!? Suggestions welcome. We want to try some new places and some favorite places and some delicious places and all local places.
*We went to the Farmer's Market on Saturday. Saw the line for mi favorito, pupusas, was a block long so we walked down to Baby Boomer's for the best pancakes in town.
*I have some projects I'm working on this week and once I get them done I'm going to start on my
kitchen-redo. I never thought I'd redo that room, but I'm excited about the idea!!
*More exciting posts to come. Maybe.
*Have a great week!


Related Posts with Thumbnails