Friday, January 29, 2010

Lemon-Lime Tea Cakes

I love tangy stuff.  As I kid I couldn't get enough of those little Warheads and other sour candy.  Remember Warheads?  I kind of wish I did not . . .
Now that I have grown up, lemon bars are a particularly favorite dessert- especially since they make me think of my good friend Kenzie and our college years. sigh.  Anyway, I was hankering for something with a little zing, so I decided to try these Lemon-Lime cupcakes from Everyday Food. 

Not a great decision actually.  These were an epic FAIL.
1.  They didn't stick together at all- They had the consistency of cornbread- loose cornbread at that.  It could have been because I don't have a mini-muffin pan and just used my regular sized one (indecently from Kenzie and her family). I don't know.
2. Whoa, people- these suckers had some bite.  They were SOUR.  After eating one or two (okay- maybe 3 or 4- I really do love sours) I felt like the enamel on my teeth had been eaten away a bit.  It was not a good feeling. 
3. Instead of adding the topping Everyday Food suggested, I made a frosting from powdered sugar and fresh lime juice.  Which was very good- but probably added to the extra enamel eating power of the dessert.  So yeah- probably don't make that kind of frosting (if you are even brave enough to try these anyway!).

Here is the recipe, just for kicks.

Lemon-Lime Tea Cakes
from Everyday Food

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a muffin pan. 
2. Beat butter, 2/3 cup sugar, and lemon and lime zests on medium speed until light and creamy (not fluffy). 
3. Add lemon and lime juices along with eggs and beat to combine, scraping down bowl. 
4. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and salt and beat until blended. 
5. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until cakes are golden around edges and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
6. Frost with tangy frosting of your choice. 


Warhead image from here
Cupcake image from here

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Big Weekend

It was a big weekend- Pee Wee made it into the evening prayers.  We are now officially thankful for Pee Wee.  Kind of a big deal. 


In all honestly- it is strange how much I love the little stinker in just a few months.  He just fills me with smiles and love.  Cheese alert!

Side note:  I have worked with babies my entire life- and I have loved some of them more than I ever though possible.  And now this dog.  I often wonder how I could possibly love my own real children more than those kids or this dog.  Anyone else feel that way?  Or I am just the crazy?

Well, I am off to corral some kiddos while their mothers get a chance at adult conversation for a few hours.  Cheers.  (Or more likely- Cheerios!)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Homemade Shell



Are you a fan of this stuff?  I had never had it until last year, when a friend suggested we buy some for sundaes.  Ever since, I was hooked.

And being the kook that I am, I decided to try to make some.  Yum.

There are two types of recipes floating around out there for Shell- but both are ridiculously simple- melt chocolate with either butter or coconut oil.

I chose to make mine with coconut oil, so I could keep it in the pantry without the risk of spoiling.

I used some pretty dark chocolate (like 75%) and melted it with coconut oil.  In the end, my Shell worked, it hardened on the ice cream and was chocolaty- but it wasn't quite as good as real Shell.  I think I need to use sweeter chocolate next time.  I would recommend a mix of semisweet and milk or something.  And you can add different stuff to make different flavors- like peppermint and orange.  (Check here for more ideas and fancier names.)

Homemade Shell
recipe loosely adapted from here

Ingredients
  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 1-2 parts chocolate
  • optional: pinch or salt
Directions

1. Melt chocolate and oil together in microwave or on stove.
2. Pour onto ice cream or into another container for later use.

Enjoy.  I do love Shell. 

image from amazon.com

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Awarded!





Oh dear- I am so behind.  I would still like to recognize Meghan from Unintended Housewife for giving me this award.  You are too kind.  

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trouble in the Bedroom

Our problem:  Our bedroom is too big.

This might not seem like a problem at first, but when you get down to decorating and living in it- our bedroom is just too big.

I will show you what I am talking about and then we will see if you all can be as helpful with my bedroom problem as you were with my table.
This is what the bedroom looked like previously:


And now it looks like this:


See the Ikea rug?  And the cute doggie?  And the awesome drapes from my mother?  Oh, be sure to go back and look at the curtains again (sorry for the sun- the blinds were drawn- stupid Colorado desert sun). 

After seeing all the empty curtain rods in the Realtor pictures (as seen above) when my parents came for Thanksgiving my mother packed in a huge bag of all her extra curtains.  I guess Mom has a phobia of empty curtain rods.  I believe the tan ones in our room are from a comforter set my parents' bought but had no use for.  My grandmother made the white sheer ones long, long ago.  How cool is that?

Don't they look like they were made for the room?  I love how they puddle on the floor.  It is so romantic.  Thanks mom. 

Anyway, back on track.  Just for kicks, here is the view from our window.  A peek-a-boo view of the mountains.


Here is our closet.  Long and skinny.  A problem for another day.


And here is the weird space.


The little indent when the mirror and boxes of frames and decorations are being stored is only like 2' deep.  And see the edge of the double doors our bedroom on the right?  When you open them up, second door squishes into the weird space.

I have toyed around with putting a desk in there for scrapping- but that is messy (rather- I am messy).  Or having a fainting couch- but those are expensive and I don't usually wear corsets.  In addition- I subscribe to the idea that bedrooms have one purpose and one purpose only- sleeping (we'll just leave it at that- keep it G-rated).  So I don't really want to add another activity (fainting or scrapping) to the area. Maybe napping? You got any better ideas?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dining Room Table - HELP!

This is our dining room as it is right now.


The 4 brown chairs are from our original table and chairs, the two chairs with cushions are from my fab Target find, and the table is from an internal Criag's List of sorts from my father-in-law's work.  (I actually bought the table with six matching chairs for only $75!  I really bought the set just for the chairs so we could have 4 matching chairs in the kitchen.  I was planning to paint them white- but we will get to that later.)

The new table is significantly longer than our old table.  It fits six place-mats without overlapping.  What a novel experience! 

However, the new table does not match.  So here is my question to you- what should I do?

I would love to sand it and stain it to match the chairs because I loved the look of the old table, but that is way too much work.  Plus, I don't think I would every be happy with the stain color.
(The old table's color)


My next idea is to try to paint it to a similar color on the cushion of the two Target chairs.  The problem with this idea is that the cushion is kind of microfiber/suede, and it changes depending on how the person sitting in it got up.  You know?


Plus, gray is a dangerous color for a seat cushion- what will I do if I match the table to the chairs, and then I reupholster the chairs because they get all stained? 

After writing this I think I am thinking too much.  Maybe I should just paint it and enjoy it for a few years and then decide what to do about any problems.    What do you think?  Any other ideas?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Next: The Microwave

The last big thing my parents did while they were here for Thanksgiving was to replace the hood with a new microwave.

The hood was fine- you can see it here.

But both Chris and I would prefer to have the microwave over the stove.  It takes up a lot of space on the counter and I didn't feel like we needed a hood.  So Black Friday we headed out around 11:00am and found a super deal on a microwave.  $100 baby.

Daddy installed it for us while Chris, Mom and I went to the humane society to pick up PeeWee.  


Isn't he cute?  Too bad he hates all cameras.  We get one picture and then he waddles to his bed with his tail between his legs.  I don't get it- what bad thing could have happened to him with a camera? 

Anyway- back to the story. Here he is, moving the stove . . .Good work Dad.


My dad also spray painted the silver exhaust fan white for us.  You can see how much it stood out from this picture of my father installing the kitchen light.

Nice, right?

But now it looks like this:

It could have used another coat- but it was time for them to go home.  I am sure I could figure out a way to spray paint it more if I really cared.  But I don't.  I like it just fine.  It looks lots better than silver don't you think?

By the way- before he spray-painted the exhaust- we had 4 colors going in the kitchen: we had a black refrigerator, white dishwasher, white microwave, cream stove, and silver exhaust.  Impressive no?  Now we are down to 3 colors.  Making progress.

Thanks Mom and Dad- for everything.  I am so happy you could come out for Thanksgiving.  And I promise- next time you come- we won't make you work so much . . . maybe.  XOXOXO

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Settlers of Catan

Sorry no pictures of the house today.  I took a bunch yesterday as I finally made progress in the guest room and office- but instead of blogging last night- we had Chris' brother and a couple of friends over to play Settlers of Catan.  Do you know it?


I have played a few times now, but I am not very good at the game.  Kinda pathetic actually.  Oh well- it was fun.

Hope you have good Thursday.  I know we will- we can't wait to got to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

image from bn.com

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Homemade Beefaroni



While this might appear to be glorified pasta with meat sauce- I promise- it is.  When I planned to make this, I didn't really think about this recipe's similarity to this meal.  However, when we made Homemade Beefaroni- the dish was actually quite different than I expected.  I think the grated cheese adds quite a bit of flavor and texture to the sauce.



Also- If you like pepper, you could add 1/4 tsp rather than 1/8 tsp.  I don't like pepper- and 1/8 was too much for me.  But that is just me.

Homemade Beefaroni
adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments

Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 28 oz jar tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. each garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt (I didn't add salt because my pasta sauce already had added salt)
  • 1/8 t. black pepper
  • 1 lb. cooked pasta (I used wheels to make it interesting)
Directions

1. Brown meat.
2. Add remaining ingredients (except pasta). Simmer to combine flavors.
3. Add pasta and stir to combine.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The one where Taryn got a great deal on a Mirror . . .

Now the entry.


The previous owners had some lovely sea turtles in the entry, but I want something bigger.  Something with presence.  I was hoping to fill the entry with a large mirror and a bench or table.  But that was until I started to look at how much mirrors cost.  I didn't know that mirrors are wicked expensive for some glass and wood. Did you?

However, I am not willing to pay and arm and a leg for a mirror, so every time I went to Salvation Army or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore I would look for mirrors.  However, they usually only had dresser mirrors- you know, the ones with a flat base (with supports) and whacko stuff going on up top?  That is, until one time I found this sucker.

Yes that is 46" by 58" of pure awesomeness (approx. 3.8' by 4.8').  We had to get the truck from his parents- and it didn't even lay flat in the bed. Yeah.

And the best part- it was only $40.  Yes, $40.  Salvation Army was having a 50% off sale of the entire store.  Sweet. 

I have yet to find the correct table or bench yet, so it is not hung.  Plus, this sucker is not going to just hang in the drywall- it needs studs and reinforcements, so I only want to hang it once.  But I love it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Next- The Light

After the turtle was gone, the next thing to do was tackle the kitchen light fixture.

It was hanging over by a wall, it was a blue color of which I was not fond, and well, it just wasn't right.


See?

So when my parents were here (over Thanksgiving- I know, I know- I'm behind) we bought a new fixture, and my father, the ex-electrician, installed it in a jiffy.  I am sure I could have done it (maybe . . .) - but it was nice to have a professional do it.  Thanks Daddy.

Here is the man in action:


All done - complete with antique table from my parents' first home.  Thanks Mom and Dad.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Will it fit?

Hello Friends.

Let's play a game-  Do you think all of this . . .



. . . will fit in this?



The answer is yes!





For a 15 hour drive this was my seat.  With a dog on my lap.  I will tell you, my bum was numb by the time we got home. 



This week I have been getting back into the swing of things, while finding homes for all of my new treasures.  The 8 ft rug is looking fantastic in our bedroom, thanks for asking.  I am so happy it got to come home.