3. Try to make Grandma's Chocolate Toffee. She says it is so easy a 8th grader can do it. We'll see how I do.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
I read a poem and gave my toast. And didn't die. Hurray for me!
I hope everyone has a great weekend. For all you marrieds out there I would like to leave you with one of the Pastor's insights into marriage. He told us, "You know, there are three rings in marriage. The engagement ring, the wedding ring, and suffering."
That is how I laughed hearing that. Perhaps a bit too enthusiastic for a Matron of Honor.
Thanks for all the good wishes the other day. I appreciated it.
And now it is all finished. So tomorrow we are off to my favorite place on earth. Cheers!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
When we had more strawberries than I knew what to do with, I set out into the sea of internet recipes for some ideas. Unfortunately, there isn't all the much to choose from when it comes to strawberries. So I decided to try something weird- Strawberry Bread. I wasn't sure what to think of it, but after tasting this I must admit that it is a keeper. Try it out if you ever find yourself with too many strawberries. Or even if you have to go buy strawberries. This was good.
adapted from Closet Cooking
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- Optional: 1/2 cup toasted pecans (coarsely chopped)
- 2-3 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl.
2. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
3. Beat in the vanilla.
4. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in another bowl. (Or not. I never do.)
5. Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet.
6. Mix 1/2 of the yogurt into the wet ingredients.
7. Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet.
8. Mix the remaining yogurt into the wet ingredients.
9. Mix the remaining dry ingredients into the wet.
10. Mix in the strawberries.
11. Pour the batter into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
12. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown and a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes.
13. Enjoy your bread. It will be great!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
1. Tomorrow at the crack of dawn we are leaving on a Jet plane for MN. (I know, I know, I promise this is the last trip for awhile.) Wanna know why I am going? MY SISTER IS GETTING MARRIED! AHHH!
2. Seens from the Backs of My Eyelids is giving away $50.00 to Amazon. Seriously. All you have to do is create a caption for this photo. Head over and win some $$. I know I am.
Well, I am off to pack, go to work, schedule a brunch and write a speech and prepare a poem. I don't like public speaking , but it is for my sister- so yeah. Wish me luck!
(P.S. You still have a chance to enter Emily from Photos, Fingerprints, Crayons and Coffee giveaway of Stonyfield Organic Yogurt. Check it out here.)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I love chocolate chips. LOVE them. But the chocolate chips that we buy (in bulk) have some weird stuff in them, so I decided to try to make my own. After searching around, I found this recipe.
I am not so sure I would call it a success, but it is not a total failure either. Sure, I can't take the chocolate chips out of the freezer for more than a few minutes before they melt, but they sure taste amazing. Seriously.
To make these, I needed to buy coconut oil. I needed some more oil, so instead of my regular stuff, I thought, "I'll try something new," and went out in search of coconut oil. Well, let me tell you- coconut oil is not a liquid. It is a solid white mass. It looks like this.
Weird. I know.
But mighty tasty (and I don't even like coconut!)
Homemade Chocolate Chips
from Oh She Glows
- 2 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 4 T honey (you could use any liquid sweetener)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- Mix together ingredients. (I microwaved it for a few seconds to melt the oil and make it easier to stir.)
- Roll mixture flat onto a lined cookie sheet or cutting board and freeze for 30-45 minutes until solid.
- Cut into pieces and store in fridge or freezer in a airtight container.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen with the promise of a Cheeze-Its/Cheese Poofs/Cheez Doodle combo. When I gave one to Chris without telling him what it was he remarked, "Hmm, This tastes like a Cheeze-It. What is it?" Success!
Seriously- make these. They are so easy and so good!
Homemade Cheeze-its Sticks
adapted from Smitten Kitchen - Cheese Straws
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
- 3/4 Cup whole wheat flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds (more for me).
3. Roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza cutter), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide. Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet (though I greased mine), leaving at least 1/4-inch between them.
4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
5. Serve at room temperature.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
We are off to have dinner with the in-laws! We are providing the meal as part of our special day present. For dessert I made a dish I will not touch (I am not a fan of pudding or Cool Whip) but I am sure everyone else will love: Sin in a Bowl.
Sin in a Bowl
From Finding Joy in My Kitchen
- 1 9 x 9 pan of brownies (cooled)
- 1 tub of Cool Whip
- 1 big box of instant chocolate pudding
- 3 C milk
- 1 pint strawberries (sliced)
- Mix pudding mix with 3 Cups milk and 1 Cup Cool Whip.
- Break up brownies into 1 inch pieces. Lay half in the bottom of bowl.
- Spread 1/2 of the pudding over brownies.
- Spread 1/2 of the Cool Whip over pudding.
- Layer 1/2 of the strawberries on Cool Whip.
- Repeat process.
Also, she suggests making the dessert in a clear bowl to show the pretty layering- but hopefully yours will turn out better than mine.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The things I've done are in bold. (my comments are in parentheses.)
1. Started your own blog (um, duh)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (never saw any, but I got up in the middle of the night and looked really hard)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disney world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis (thankfully he didn't eat my head off)
10. Sang a solo (only if a middle school play counts)
11. Bungee jumped (heck no)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (not the real stuff- but the kind where you puke a few times)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (unless indoors at Dick's is a valid example)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person (Chris counts this one, I don't. I was at the Vatican, but we couldn't go inside because the guys wearing red were picking the new Pope.)
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt (see it here)
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (do fish count?)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (almost...)
91. Met someone famous (a 4 time Olympian, the singer for Super Tones (remember them?), Javier from Madrid, and Miguel Angel Munoz (pictured below). My sister's host in Spain was dating an actor (Javier) from a hit Spanish TV show. Kate and I went to a filming one night and got to meet Miguel. As you can tell- he is hot. And very famous in Spain.)92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (Chris thought it would be funny to bold this one. I have not had a baby.)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day (I have read tons of books in one day- children's books.)
Friday, June 19, 2009
Here is my partial step-by-step process. I couldn't take lots of pictures because Chris wasn't home to help. However, my process explanation for Homemade Honeydew Jam is more detailed. If you have any questions, just ask. Canning really isn't that hard or scary!
Homemade Strawberry Jam
- about 4 lbs of washed and hulled berries
- 1 package of pectin
- 1 Cup 100% apple juice
- 6-8 washed and dried half pint canning jars
- sugar if desired
- Mush up the berries to your liking using a potato masher. (If no potato masher, I used a Foley Fork with much success.)
- Combine fruit, juice and pectin together. Bring to a boil that cannot be stirred down.
- Add sugar is desired. (I added 1/2 Cup sugar for good measure.) Bring back to a boil for 3 minutes.
- Ladle into warmed jars from simmering saucepan.
- Tighten lid (not too tight) and turn over to help heat stay in to seal the jars.
- Pick up the disaster area you made in less than 10 minutes of fun.
- Let it cool and you will have a delicious jam!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Chris found them on the side of the road and thought of me (how sweet, I know). I think they are old people glasses. Or bug glasses. Or are they so old they are hip? Chris thinks so- but what does he know.
Help a girl out, please?
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
But my absence was well worth it. I came home from the country with this . . .
I am going to spend today turning most of them into delicious jam. Be jealous. = )
Monday, June 15, 2009
Broccoli, Pepper and Sausage with Pasta
adapted from Joy in My Kitchen
- 1 bag frozen brocolli
- 1/2 Cup chopped bell peppers
- 3-4 chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 12 oz - 16 oz whole wheat pasta
- 1/2 Cup cheese
- 1 can pureed garbanzo beans (You can use just about anything- Snow White used white beans)
- Start boiling water for pasta. Cook as directed. A few minutes before the pasta is done, add the broccoli.
- Brown sausage. Drain fat. Add peppers and tomatoes and saute for a few minutes.
- Combine sausage mixture and pasta mixture. Add pureed garbanzo beans and stir to combine. If dry, add a bit of water or milk.
- Stir in cheese and enjoy!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Don't be sad Mr. J- you are only a quarter of a century. Besides, now you can rent a car!
I love you so much. I hope to have many more quarter centuries with you (well, maybe two or three).
P.S. Hope you enjoy serving your community today. Could you ask for a better birthday? Nope- I didn't think so.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I started to clear the table to give it a good shine with my trusty Pledge, only to find that it was empty. Only air was coming out. Uh oh.
I didn't have any way to get to the store without it being a hour long trip, so I decided to try and make some. I had read about it a few times while researching other homemade cleaners such as dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent and glass cleaner.
I quick pulled up some bookmarked links and made some pretty decent furniture polish.
- One part lemon juice
- Two parts olive oil
Mix together. I dabbed a rag with the polish and then rubbed the rag onto the table.
But it was streaking a bit- so I did like the website suggested and wiped the table with a clean rag. The streaks went away!
However, I am not sure you need to wipe it down with a clean rag. It might just take some time to dry (like the glass cleaner). The reason being- when I did the chairs, I didn't wipe them down, and they were not streaked afterward. But they are also not as flat. So yeah- I don't really know.
But the polish did a great job. The table looks shiny and dust free!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Super Easy Broiled Salmon
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- bell peppers (diced)
- Optional: Diced Tomatoes (We usually have this with the salmon- but since we had no food it got left off)
- Defrost salmon.
- Line baking pan with foil. You will thank me later.
- Preheat broiler?
- Mix together 0ne part lemon juice and one part live oil. (The amount will vary depending on how much fish you have and what not.)
- Pour mixture over fish in pan. Sprinkle fish with peppers (and tomatoes).
- Broil for 8-10 minutes (Or whatever your frozen package says to do.)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I will try to get pictures to show you tomorrow. But until then, it is laundry, cleaning, working, shopping and apartment searching. We came home to find that the apartment we had committed to rent is being taken off the market. Stink bugs!
I don't know what we are going to do now. We only have a few days to let our current place know if we are leaving. I guess we will just have to wait and see. And scour Craig's list.
(I missed checking up on everyone's blogs. I can't wait to tackle my reader later this week.)
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Lucy Marie just started a new blog called Lucy's Kitchen. It is a place for her to share her recipes in a very organized fashion. (If you want to know Lucy the person- check out her other blog Lucy's Life.)
Believe me, this girl is awesome!
She makes her own bread in her fancy bread maker. She makes everything from casseroles to hamburgers. And on the plus side- for those of you who can tolerate a bit more spice- her recipes have a bit more bite to them than mine.
She is also a talented preserve chef- she makes and cans a mean spaghetti sauce.
But if you looking for tuna- don't even try Lucy's Kitchen. It will not be there. Ever.
Hope you like her and her little blogs too!
(I am looking forward to coming home and sleeping in my own bed soon, and catching up on all of your lives, but until then- Smile! You're on Candid Camera!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Thanks to Meagan from The Life of Me for this Kreative Blogger Award.
She has such a cute blog- and she has super skills in the make-up department. Her (somewhat) weekly posts about proper make-up use have been enlightening for a girl like me. Check her out!
Thanks to Snow White from Joy in My Kitchen for giving me this lovely award!
If you haven't- you must go to her blog. She is always posting amazing recipes- like my Homemade Chicken Fingers. Mmmhmmm!
And thanks to Kayla from Livin The Great Life for tagging me in the Crazy 8 Thingy. I know that this baby is pretty much dead- but hey- why not bring it back? Too soon? Well too bad- here are my answers.
8 Things I Did Yesterday: (Written 6/3/09)
1) Took my temperature.
2) Went to the Doctor.
4) Listened to the thunderstorm.
5) Went Hot-tubing. Bad idea.
6) Finished the first draft of my resume.
7) Ate leftover cheese tortellini. So good.
8) Played Facebook Scrabble. Or should I say, "Dominated Facebook Scrabble."
8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:
1) My sister Katie's wedding!!!
2) Going to Boston.
3) Visiting my parents and other family this summer.
4) Chris graduating from Grad School next winter.
5) Having a yard.
6) Being a Mom.
8) Making my t-shirt quilt and finishing scrap-booking our wedding.
8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1) Make my t-shirt quilt and finish scrap-booking our wedding.
2) Meet all my blogging friends in real life.
3) Drop everything and move to Greece. Forever.
4) Know the answer to all the big questions- God, life, meaning, death, evil, everything.
5) Be active- especially swim.
6) Make Toffee. It ended poorly here.
7) Eat whatever I want and not gain a pound.*
8) Not worry about little things and focus on the bigger picture.*
*I stole these from Kayla. Thanks Kayla.
8 Shows I Watch:
1) The Office
2) 30 Rock
3) Parks and Recreation
4) Mad Men (I have to wait until it comes out on video because we don't have cable.)
5) That is about it. We sometimes watch Seinfeld reruns at 10:30 pm if we are feeling adventurous.
Again, I am so sorry to my blogging friends who honored me with these blog awards. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I have been looking for a quilt rack. I put my quilt on our bed for summer, but that displaced the beautiful quilt made for us by Chris' aunt. I didn't want to hide the quilt from Aunt Carole, so yeah, I went out on a mission for a rack.
After several weeks of looking, I finally settled on this.
I know- it is not technically a quilt rack. It is for towels. Right?
What do you think? Any ideas on what I could do to spiff it up?
I also found some Tupperware- for .25!!!
And then this.
I don't exactly know what it is. But I love it. Does anyone know? It is very heavy; wrought- iron like. The woman I bought it from (for $2!) said she hung pots on it in her kitchen. I love that idea. What do you think?
Hope you are having a good weekend- and finding treasures at your local sales! = )
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I had a favorite pair of jeans. I mean- ooh- they were perfect! But then, after 6 good years they got a hole in the knee. They just don't make 'em like they used to.
I thought I was looking pretty Abecrombie, but the kids I nanny for told me it wasn't working so I decided to try my hand at repurpose-ing my faves into a skirt.
I looked online, and found some good advice. I used a combo of my own lazy alterations and directions from here. Check it out.
I will give you an abbreviated version on my blog just for fun.
- Cut your pants at the desired length. Obviously I cut mine just above my hole.
- Then rip out the seam in the inside of the leg. This might take awhile. It took me a long time. Also, rip out the seams up to the zipper and midway up the behind.
- Then pin the seams together in the front, so it is straight. You will most likely have to trim some off the front to make it even.
- Then pin the skirt in the back. I left mine with a little slit in the back so I could move freely. (And maybe to be a little scandalous . . .)
- Then sew! Make sure you are using strong thread and a stronger needle. Or not. But watch out for breaking needles!
- Then trim off the extra on the inside.
- Next, I noticed that due to my scandalous slit, I had a very uneven skirt in the back. I debated whether to measure it or just eyeball it while cutting. I knew that I needed to leave it a little longer in the back to leave room for, umm, you know, my rear, but I didn't know how much room it would need. In the end, I just went at it and left a few centimeters.
- Finally, I trimmed the bottom edge of my skirt to prevent it from fraying until it was truly risque.
- And Tada! My new favorite skirt!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I am sorry I didn't post about it- but I was all nerves about going to see a specialist about my back problems. I have always had some pain in my low back (like worse than my grandparents) and then last week my legs started to get tingly from time to time. This is usually not a good sign. So I decided to go to the Doctor.
It turned out alright- I took some X-Rays and got myself some directions to schedule a CT scan for further evidence. I am hopeful that this doctor might finally be able to get me some answers, but it is still scary.
Especially when I am going away to BOSTON until Tuesday. Both my chiropractor and the Doctor told me to take it really easy. Don't exercise or push your body. Great. That will be super easy as I travel to the big city famous for its Freedom Trail walk. Perfect.
Sorry- I am a little anxious. So I am sarcastic.
On top of my tingling legs- Chris and I went hot-tubing last night. I don't know what I was thinking.
Since my senior year of high school I have gotten chemical burns from the chemincal is pools if I stay in too long. (Too long= 10 - 15 minutes) And last night I forgot my watch and must have stayed in WAY TOO LONG. My skin in all the areas that crease (elbow, arm and knee) are all swollen and super painful. I have been icing and taking OTC pain pills. This is a great way to start your vacation Taryn. Way to use your thinker!
Oh well. Sorry the for awfully snippy post. But it feels better to tell someone besides Chris. Thanks for listening.
Chris and I are leaving on a Jet Plane tomorrow so early I don't even want to think about it. We are going out East to visit Chris' brother and cousins. Chris has been once before, but I have never been to the big city out there. Any suggestions?
image from http://usatourist.com/english/places/massachusetts/boston.html
Monday, June 1, 2009
But lets be honest- Red Robin is not exactly easy on the arteries. So I decided to try to make some delicious chicken fingers at home! I found a very easy recipe, had Chris prepare the meat (cut it into strips and cut off the ickies), and I made Chicken Fingers!
touchers will not be impressed, but all you out there who do not like to touch meat- shout hurray with me! Hurray! I made the Chicken Fingers all by myself!
I did not touch the chicken- but I did manage to coat it in nummies and get it baking without throwing up! (I did get a little nauseous when I over exuberantly flopped the chicken finger into the bowl- but that is a minor detail.)
Thank you for your support. But I know the recipe is what you are really after. It is hmm mhmm good!
Adapted from Joy in My Kitchen
- 1 Large boneless skinless chicken breast all prepped and cut into the size you want (this works for popcorn chicken too)
- 1/4 Cup Bread crumbs
- 1/4 Cup whole wheat flour (You can omit the bread crumbs and double the flour- I just added bread crumbs because I had them)
- 1/4 t. Super Salt
- Mix the salt, bread crumbs and flour together in a bowl.
- However you do it, I don't care, but somehow get the chicken pieces covered in the carb mixture.
- Pick a pan, spread some melted butter in the bottom and arrange the chicken in a single layer.
- Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then flip over, add some more butter for good measure and then bake for 10-15 minutes more.
- Enjoy! (We enjoyed our on tasty salads. Hmm, my favorite!)