Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good bites my dear!

Strawberry Smoothie:

Strawberry Smoothie:
handful of strawberries (frozen)
1 individual container vanilla yogurt
splash of fruit juice

Do you ever have days where you set out to do one thing and somehow a million other things pile up as well? I should be studying for my final today, but it's on Friday and I thankfully have Thursday off so I will be cramming them. Today however is a day for my kitchen. I set out to make chicken meatballs today, realized we needed bread and decided while I was at it why not dirty more dishes and make a delicious smoothie treat.

The delicious sweetness of smoothies make me long for summer to come. Something inside of me says this summer will be truly wonderful, oh I hope so.

Chicken Meatballs:

Can you guess which egg is organic and which is just free range? ;)

2lb ground chicken
1 tsp seasoning salt

1 tsp garlic seasoning
1 c bread crumbs
2 eggs
handful of Parmesan cheese
Combine all, form balls, bake at 400* for 15 minutes

Result: Delicious, I like freezing them in little batches for spaghetti and pasta dishes.

Light wheat bread:

So yummy, I just ate a slice slathered with PB. I generally don't like making bread recipes with so many ingredients because it raises the costs, but this was well worth it. I also used my Kitchen Aid for most of the kneading.


So there's my update...
And as my grandma would say,
Good bites my dear! Good bites!


Thursday, April 22, 2010


My goodness, Spring!

I love all seasons equally, each for different reasons. Spring to me is a bit of the teacher's pet though.. perhaps because it's birthday season for most of my closest friends, and for myself aswell. Spring is also the wonderful time to start seeding. I finally got the opportunity yesterday to seed some peas, edamame, onion bulbs as well as some bush beans. Here's hoping for a good crop this year!

I love how evident spring has become in my yard:

From my strawberry plants that have come back nicely,

To new plant markers that will be dotting my garden,

And Mums, my goodness, my Mums survived the winter!

Spring has also blanketed itself on my lawn:

Courtesy of the blooming apple tree:

Spring has arrived in the form of Tulips (that none of us planted). We have come to the conclusion that perhaps squirrels brought the bulbs to the yard.

Spring is evident in my eager pup, who will be enjoying her first spring on this earth with our little family.

I can feel my toes warming up at last, what a wonderful feeling!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

This needs few words:


My new favorite everything. Avocado.



scrambled egg and parmesan


(salsa + the yummy avocado)

Here's the icing:


Okay I'll stop procrastinating now.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A french press and H&M.

I love treats. I believe treating yourself every once in awhile is a great way to pick yourself up, or just to feel special. I don't think treats have to be stuff, treats can be just taking a minute and spending time with the ones you love or stopping to snuggle with your zoo at home for just a few minutes longer. My recent treats have been in the form of stuff, and I'm inspired to share. Especially because my zoo is snuggled next to me (kit on the left and pup on the right) and I can't exactly move for another 20 or so minutes for fear of waking them.

First the french press. On a recent trip to Ikea with my best bud (blog pimp, click Reckless Bliss on the right hand side to see her wonderful blog) she spotted a french press that she knew I'd been craving. The price (only 9.99) had me at hello. I've had the press for not even a week now and have used it quite a few times. I have to say that the coffee that a french press makes is some of the best I've tasted, and the best that I've made at home. It's clean and smooth. The thought of it gives me goosebumps. For a gal that drinks decaf, finding a great cup of coffee at home is a beautiful thing.

I decided a few days ago to try making tea (using tea leaves) in the press. My tea leaves are a type of black tea. I can't remember the exact name of them. The taste is like a nuttier, fuller English breakfast.

I generally use one of these to make tea via leaves:

They are adorable but do let through a lot of the leaves which makes for the undesirable sludge at the bottom of the cup. The french press almost eliminates this, I only have found a few tiny specks in the bottom of my cup.

Now, without further delay, the press:


Hello lover:

Let me introduce you to pottery barn cup. Pottery Barn cup meet everyone. In March Reckless Bliss and I went to PB and Restoration Hardware for her birthday. It was a really, really fun trip and I think it may become a tradition for us, I'm considering requesting the trip for my birthday coming up in May. These stores are a real treat. They are expensive, for the most part out of my current financial reach, but they are wonderful spaces where you can really dream. And drool. If you aren't obsessed with cute little bird cups and gorgeous sheet sets then these stores will bore you to death. For those that are obsessed with beautiful linens and little bird cups they will envelop you and eat you whole.

Moving on...

Add some brown sugar to your favorite cup. It might look like too much brown sugar but this mug is huge, and I fluffed up the brown sugar. When I add brown sugar to warm delicious beverages I find no other flavor enhancer, such as vanilla or cinnamon is needed. The sweet maple flavor is perfect.

Just about now things should be all steeped:

I just love that color. I didn't have great lighting in my house today that's why all the photos in my kitchen look a little dark and dreary.

And done... I would have frothed some milk and added that but the batteries in my frother are dead. Oh well, this was still perfection...

Steamy perfection.

Right.. moving on. Yesterday Reckless Bliss scooped me up and we went to this really nice outdoor mall that is pretty close to where I live. We visited a few stores and among them was H&M. I have only briefly been in this store before and never purchased anything, I think we were both H&M newbies. My goodness I have been missing out. Reasons why I love this store...
1. No pushy sales associates, like none whatsoever. I don't think they are on commission so you are left to shop alone.
2. Amazing prices. Amazing. I used to work in retail at a middle priced store and these prices I believe were better even with my discount at the other.
3. Great fitting rooms. Mirrors inside. A nice 360 swivel mirror.
I could go on...

This store reminds me of what Old Navy used to be like maybe 8 years ago. I also found some great buys:


I think this would be used for a cosmetics bag but I scooped it up for a new pencil case. I just love this detail:

Wonderful cardigan on sale for 15$:

And the best buy of the trip: a really cute summer jacket. It was actually in the mens area of the store.. but as Barry pointed out to me later on in the evening it is double breasted. Not many men wear double breasted jackets. I like that it is a little masculine and a little feminine.

My favorite part about the jacket I think is the pockets. They are perfection:

This concludes the longest blog post ever.

Reckless Bliss I'm hinting at you posting about your buys. The world has to see the adorable jewelry you scooped up!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

And then there was fondant.

Fondant: Intimidating, messy, sticky and delicious.

I am officially a fondant believer. I attempted making Marshmallow Fondant (allrecipes.com) for the first time today. I've never had fondant before, and never worked with it before. My tips for making this fondant in the future would be to use the spreadable marshmallow product (I think it's sold in the baking isle) and use an electric mixer with the dough hook on. This was a pain in the but to kneed and to roll out, I really think an electric mixer would make this recipe a breeze. With the fondant recipe I used a basic buttercream to slather a crumb layer on which adheres the fondant really nicely to the cake. For the cake I used a white organic cake mix (I know, I'm guilty.. but I was making fondant and wanted to save time) to make four layers. I made two lemon (with zest and juice) and added chopped strawberries to the other layers.

Crumb layer:

I did have one slight problem. I trimmed the bottom fondant a little too short so I had this gap in between:

The last thing I want to say is this fondant is really delicious. This recipe will dispel any notion that fondant isn't a tasty treat.

Kitty agrees! Mmm fondant!

...just kidding, Kitty doesn't eat people food. But I sure do!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Do not fear yeast!

I used to fear yeast. It's such a strange ingredient. It can be at times unreliable and let you down. Never fear though! Once you get the hang of it yeast can be a staple ingredient in your pantry, perhaps it will one day worm its way into your heart as it did mine.

With Easter approaching I thought I would post a recipe for this fantastic bread I found on allrecipes.com. Last time I made them I served them with soup, but I think they'd go really nicely as the side bun for an Easter dinner. The photograph included is my personal picture of making the bread. It is possible to get that fabulous crust.

Also.. I used to make the dough for all of my bread in the bread machine then bake it off. Recently though my bread machine decided to throw in the towel so I've started making the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I'm going to modify the directions a bit to fit the Kitchen Aid way to make them.

Pretzel Bread:

2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 cup water (110-120 degrees)
2 Tbsp room temperature milk
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp kosher salt
2 ½ – 3 cups bread flour
4 quarts water
½ cup baking soda
Kosher salt to taste
2 Tbsp melted butter


1. Add yeast, water, milk, brown sugar and butter into your Kitchen Aid bowl (with dough hook on), whisking until all ingredients are combined. Let mixture rest for 10 minutes for yeast to activate. Mix in kosher salt. Start by adding two cups of the flour to the bowl, combining it with other ingredients. Add more flour as it’s needed, reserving just a bit for coating the dough mat later. (I use about setting 2 to achieve this).
2. The dough should form a slightly tacky, but firm ball. Oil the bowl, place the dough ball in the bowl, and cover with a damp towel for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, knead the dough by hand or machine for at least 5-10 minutes until the dough is elastic and satiny. Place dough back in the bowl and recover for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bring the 4 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly add the baking soda.
4. Remove the dough from the bowl and gently degas it. Form two separate balls of dough, forming them into the shape you want. Drop one of the smaller balls into the baking soda bath for no longer than 30 seconds, turning it once to guarantee both sides covered. Drain the excess water from the dough and place it on an oiled baking sheet. Repeat with second ball of dough.
5. Sprinkle the kosher salt over the bread to your specific tastes, and make sure to use a knife to cut a small incision on the top of the bread so the dough has somewhere to expand.
6. Cook the bread for 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once.
7. Once removed from the oven, immediately brush the melted butter over the loaves to guarantee a soft crust.

This bread does involve a bit of extra work but trust me, it's definitely worth it!