Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Jacques the spider says "Have a safe, healthy and happy Halloween!"

Friday, October 30, 2009

Homemade Snickerdoodles

Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food sites.  Not only are the pictures absolutely gorgeous- but the writer is a doll to listen to any day of the week.  

Oh yeah- and she has phenomenal desserts.  Just last week she posted about chocolate mousse.  Oh yum.

This recipe came from her.

adapted from Smitten Kitchen


2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs


1. Mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
2. Combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
3. Add eggs, and beat to combine.
4. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.
5. Deb chilled her dough for an hour- I just went at it.
6. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon.

7. Form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

8. Bake at 400 degrees until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sentimental Sweater Pillow

I am a sentimental person.  I struggle to throw things away that are associated with good memories.  Anyone else?

I am learning to let go of the thing- while still maintaining the memory- but I have not quite perfected it.  Instead, I am finding a way around throwing things out by turning them into new things.

Take this sweater.  (I know it is inside out- I forgot to take a picture right side out- and I can't find any pictures of me wearing it.)

I wore this sweater while driving in the car to meet Chris on our wedding day.  I  didn't want to wear my dress in the car (wrinkles?) so I wore the sweater and some jeans.

We decided to take pictures before the ceremony at the lake where Chris proposed.  (Oooo- very romantic . . .) The unromantic part is that I had to change in the parking lot!  Chris and my sister held up sheets while the photographer got a show.

The problem is that I never wore the sweater much before that day- and never after.

But I couldn't just give it away!

So I made it into a pillow.  It doesn't really match any room in our apartment- but oh well.  I get to keep it a bit longer.  Success!

Here are some cursory directions.

I followed instructions from Leeann from Mint Basil. 

1. Find a sweater you like- but don't wear.  Sew from armpit to armpit.

2. Cut off the top.  Sew over the edge one more time to make sure it is super strong.
3. Measure and make a pillow to fit inside your sweater.  (My pillow is too small for my sweater case- I need to work on this skill.)
4. Like Leeann- my sweater pillow got "ears" where the armpits were, so I just sewed the sweater in a bit and cut off the extra. (Leeann has pictures and explains it better- just go see her.)
5.  Sew some ribbon on the bottom of the sweater to hold your pillow in the case.  Tie closed and enjoy!  

Just for fun- here is a picture of Chris and I at the lake.  sigh.

Happy memory lives on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Homemade Croutons

I as you may have noticed- I love my (new) dehydrator.  As I was cleaning out the freezer (for our impending move) I found some sourdough bread I had frozen.  It wasn't the best bread, which is probably why it got frozen in the first place.  So rather than throw it away, or make more bread crumbs, I decided to whip up some croutons.  Chris loves croutons on his salads.  yum.

Homemade Croutons

  • Leftover bread
  • a few Tbsp of Olive oil (depending on how much bread you have)
  • seasonings to taste- I used garlic powder, Super Salt and Rosemary

  1. Cut your bread into desired size.
  2. In a bowl, drizzle oil and make sure the bread is coated evenly
  3. Season with garlic powder, Super Salt and Rosemary- or other seasonings you choose.
  4. Place on dehydrator and cook at 145 degrees for 4-6 hours until dry. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Unstuffed Pepper Skillet

Wow- this is GOOD!  Really good.  Better than I was anticipating.  Chris doesn't really like peppers- but he ate this one and admitted that it was pretty darn good (after you take out the peppers.)  Ha- thanks Chris.

He might not like them- but he must admit- they are so pretty!

Unstuffed Pepper Skillet
adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen

  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, seeded and cut into large chunks (I used green, yellow and orange)
  • 1/2 of a standard 26 oz jar of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 C brown rice, cooked (I cooked mine in homemade broth- it really makes a difference in the flavor of the dish)
  • mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Cut up your peppers and set aside.
  2. Brown meat and onion.
  3. Add seasonings, tomato sauce, peppers and carrots to the skillet and simmer until carrots and peppers are softened to you liking.
  4. Add rice and stir to combine.  
  5. Serve warm and top with cheese if desired. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

I won a contest!  How lucky am !? 

Thanks Ashley.    Happy Birthday to you. 

image from Our Little Apartment

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My First Memory Quilt (T-Shirt Quilt)

Look at what I did . . .

A memory quilt using Chris' Hawaii t-shirts.  It is not perfect- but I am happy with the results.  I just need to buy backing, batting, binding and then tie it up!

Then on to my childhood  . . .

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flashback Friday: Schwans

Did the Schwan Man ever come to you house?  When I was a kid- this MN based company made regular appearances at our front door.  My Daddy would order all sorts of delicious (but hardly nutritious) treats for us- and the Schwan man would carry boxes up our very steep (and often frozen) driveway. 

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago: Chris got us some free icecream from  They delivered the ice cream, and then a week later they came back to ask if we wanted more.  I didn't need any more 5 gallon tubs of icecream- but I did need some nostilgia.

So I looked through the magazine and picked out two treasures.  We had them for dinner (and dessert) last night.  Ahh, the memories. 

We had Bagel Dogs

I have looked through the rest of the magazine and I can't wait to try some of my other childhood favorites.  Yum. 

images from

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Conversational Gem

A couple days a week I nanny for 4 year old twins. Today I had another conversation concerning my size that is worth noting.

It went like this:

E said- "Taryn, we are playing Star Wars. H is Princess Leia. You can be Jabba de Hutt- You are big enough."

H (Princess Leia) added- "Do you know Jabba de Hutt? He is like a worm."

Do I know Jabba de Hutt? 

Yes I do. Thanks guys. Next time couldn't I be Han Solo? Swoon.

images from

Crunchy Peanut Butter and Granola Cookies

I had some granola that I hadn't used in years months which needed to be used or tossed.  Rather than toss it- I looked online for a recipe and found this one.

Not quite as good as Olympic Cookies- but they sure didn't last long around here.

Also- this was my first attempt at using Truvia.

I used half sugar, and half Truvia.  I couldn't tell that "weird" sugar was present- and neither could Chris.  What are your thoughts on this stuff?

Crunchy Peanut Butter and Granola Cookies
Adapted from Culinary in the Desert (awesome blog- he is blogging from MN!)

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar (I used 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup equivalent of Truvia)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups granola
  • Optional: 1/2 cup dry roasted salted peanuts, chopped and 1/2 cup dried fruit (I added 1/2 cup chocolate chips instead)
  1. Beat butter, sugar (and Truvia), and peanut butter until well blended.
  2. Beat in baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  3. Mix in egg and vanilla.
  4. Slowly add flour and mix until blended.
  5. Add granola (and peanuts, chocolate chips and fruit if using) and combine.
  6. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheets and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homemade Peachy Grape Fruit Roll Ups (Fruit Leather)

Hi, my name is Taryn and I love fruit snacks.  I love the nasty off-brand ones with sea animals and the high priced ones with Princesses . . . and I would never turn down gummy worms, gummy bears, fruit roll ups, fruit leathers or anything of the sort.

Now that you know this we can move on to my latest creation: Homemade Peachy Grape Fruit Leather.

Now that I have a dehydrator- making fruit leather is so much easier!  I made many oven versions of a cranberry apple recipe I found from Martha- but since growing into my kitchen I decided to make up my own recipe.  Turned out well.

I have to work on spreading the fruit very evenly- because the dehydrator does not compensate for my errors.  It took a bit longer than it should have to dry because of my unevenness- plus some parts got over-done.  (However- those over-done dried fruit leathers- if broken into small pieces make excellent salad toppers.)

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups (Fruit Leather)
from my dehydrator book and me!

*I have to admit, I made these a couple weeks ago- while we were still drowning in fresh fruit.  However- if you have some frozen you could use those or wait until next year.  I wanted to make sure I documented what I did when next summer comes around.

  • 2 cups peaches
  • 1 cup grapes
  1. Puree the fruit.
  2. Add to fruit roll tray on dehydrator and dehydrate at 145 degree for 4-5 hours or until dry.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homemade Apple Pie Jelly

I made 12 pints of applesauce from our apples- and I kept most of the peelings to make Apple Jelly.

I got the idea from Screams of Terror from the Kitchen.  She was so helpful!

I made three batches of jelly- and got 20 1/2 pints.  See, my jelly is so talented and beautiful, no?

What am I going to do with 20 1/2 pints of jelly you ask?  Good question.

I am going to give them to my MOPS volunteers and workers for Christmas.  Good idea, Taryn. 

But, I would like to give them something else too- something that goes with the gift, you know? I was thinking about putting a quick bread mix in a pretty bag and giving them that . . . so they could make the bread and spread the jelly on it?

I don't know- what are your thoughts?  Any good ideas?

Apple Pie Jelly
adapted from Screams of Terror from the Kitchen

  • Leftover Apple peels, cores and discarded pieces (I almost filled my 5 quart pot)
  • water to cover the peels
  • pectin
  • 3 cups sugar
  • cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg to taste
  1. Put apple peels and cores into a stock pot- I used my green pot- but you could use anything really. 
  2. Pour water in until it almost covers the apple peels.
  3. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the peels have lost their color and the cores are soft.  
  4. When cool enough to touch, wring the juice out of the apple with four layers of cheese cloth - or let it drip through a jelly bag. 
  5. Process according to the instructions in the pectin box. 
    1. My instructions were to add pectin and bring to a boil.
    2. Add sugar and spices- and return to a boil for 1 minute. 
    3. Process into jars.  
Thanks friend!  This jelly is delish!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Fun: Smartwool and Apples

Are you familiar with Smartwool?  They are a Steamboat Springs based company who makes wool clothing that is super warm and super soft.  Not itchy like most wool clothing.

This weekend, they had their sample sale (which included several other vendors such as Simple, Roxy, Quicksilver and some others I had never heard of before).  Lucky for me- they sold half of the stuff here in Boulder and the other half in Steamboat Springs (3-4 hours away). 

Here is how it went down:

20 minutes of waiting to get in + hordes of people + $28 = 7 pairs of Smartwool socks

See?  I even got several pairs of "high performance socks" so my poor little feets won't have to be cold when we go camping next year.  That, and I will have the appropriate sleeping bag.  
In addition to finding the best socks ever- I also processed apples this weekend.

Remember when I said I went apple picking?  Well here is what we got.

About 35 lbs of apples.  Crazy.

From those apples I made 12 pints of applesauce, 2 cups of dried apples, and from the peelings, I made 20 1/2 pints of Apple Pie Jelly. My hands are stained a nice brown/red from the apple peels.  Seriously.

Details on the apple jelly and dried apples to come.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Best Conversation from Last Night

While at dinner at a fancy Japanese resaurant:

Taryn (frustrated with her inability to get more than one or two pieces of rice with her chopsticks):  Man, if I had to eat with chopsticks all the time I would be . . .

Chris: Thin  . . . er.

Friend #1:  Good catch Chris- good catch. 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wanna see pictures?

I hadn't posted any pictures of the house we are in the process of buying because I didn't have any of my own pictures of the house, and I didn't want to link to the website I got them from - I didn't think the whole world should know our (hopefully) new address. 

But I want to show the house to you- so nobody at get mad for not linking back, ok? 

Here she is! Please ignore the decor and landscaping- obviously the trees need trimming and some new paint should do the trick. 


Dining Room


Master Bedroom


Exciting, no?!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grilled Cheese with Bacon?

Seriously.  Grilled Cheese with Bacon. 

I got this from Everyday Food- and at first I was skeptical.  I first picked the meal for the tomato soup the sandwich was paired with-  but in the end, the soup ended up as an epic failure and the sandwiches were divine.

Give them a shot sometime.  Spice up your grilled cheese with something less healthy than a tomato.  = )

Grilled Cheese with Bacon
adapted from Everyday Food

  • a few slices of cooked bacon (please tell me you bake your bacon in the oven- right? Its the best way to cook it.)
  • a few slices of bread
  • some cheese- we used cheddar- Everyday Food called for some fancy cheese we didn't have- but the cheddar was just fine.
  • butter
  1. I hope you can put together a grilled cheese sandwich . . .  butter the outsides of the bread, put cheese and bacon inside and grill that bad-boy until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.  

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Last night for dinner we had our good 'ol standby dinner- spaghetti with meat sauce.  We always have jar spaghetti sauce, pasta and frozen ground meat in the freezer.  And it is always a nice dinner choice when in a rush.  

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

What is your good 'ol standby dinner?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What happened to me?

What has my world come to?

Tonight, as I cooked dinner and I didn't take any pictures.  None.  The camera was even sitting on the counter and I didn't even think to take a picture of anything.

What has happened to me?

I miss you blog world.

I promise- I'll come back soon.

(P.S.  I made chicken pot pie and it was worth making again for some pictures.  yum.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

And Done!

We are under contract!!!! 

Can you believe it?  Whoa. 

Thanks for all your support and advice friends.  We have a long way to go- but getting this far is super exciting! 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

They Counter . . .

 . . . we counter . . .

This doesn't look good. 

Saturday, October 10, 2009


...we just put an offer on a house!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I am a Graduate!

Today was an exciting day- I looked at 9 more houses and . . . .

I got my diploma in the mail today! 

I am officially a graduate with my Masters of Arts.  According to the diploma, I graduated on my birthday back in August.  Pretty sweet.  The only sad part is that I don't have any pictures of me walking across a stage- oh well. 

It sure feels good to be done. = )

Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple Picking!

In addition to house hunting (which went in a totally new direction- weird)- this weekend Chris and I went out to Lyons (a quazi mountian town) and picked apples!  One of his new coworkers has some apple trees which are producing way more apples than he needs- lucky us!  We picked about 30 lbs I think.  It was a HEAVY basket!

I can't wait to try all my apple recipes I have been storing up just for this occasion!  Dehydrated apples, apple sauce, apple pie filling, apple cake . . . the list goes on.  I'll let you know how it goes!

image from here