Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Making your life a little easier: Cookie Tip

Many apologies on the craptastic camera phone photo. 
Our camera is in Denver, and I am not...and the blog must go on!

I was making cookies the other night to take to a picnic in the park with friends, and quickly realized I needed to bring treats to a couple more events during our week, so I doubled the recipe, baked off what I need for said picnic date and scooped out the additional dough onto a lined cookie sheet and popped it in the freezer.  Once the dough was frozen (I went to sleep, so just handled the next morning), I popped the balls of frozen dough into a freezer safe container (you could also put the dough balls into a freezer bag).

So, simple as that, you have ready made cookie dough all prepped to pop in a pre-heated oven.  All the ease of those tubes they sell in the cooler section of the grocery store, without the crazy taste of tubed cookie dough (am I the only one who thinks they taste like plastic?)

Side note: I always sprinkle a bit of sea salt on my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough balls when I pull them out to bake.  The bit of salt with the sweet is magic to the taste buds.  Promise. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tie Dye Frosing. OMG.

I am one of those crazy pregger ladies who needs to sleep with a notepad by my bed, because I wake up several times in the night thinking about something I need to get done.  One night, a few weeks ago, I woke with some new ideas for the Sweetsy Bar (TM) (I don't have a trademark, but totes need one, huh!) I was setting up for my dear friend's daughter's party (who also happens to be the sweetest little 3 year old I know, and the best friend to my little sweets). 

Notepad in hand I wrote down the makings of Funky-Fetti (My spin on the good o' box of Funfetti cake) cupcakes with (drum roll please)...Tie Dye Frosting.  In my head it was fantastic, but I didn't know if it would actually work, until I executed it (oh, like 20 minutes before we rushed out the door to the party.  No big deal). 

OMG.  presh-fest 2012...

First, you need to make my no fail buttercream frosting
It is ridiculously easy and oh so tasty! I then sectioned off
a bit of frosting in 3 bowls and added food color gel (primary colors)
Side note: a (very) little goes a long way in the color gel department.

I loaded a pastry bag, sliding the 3 colors into the bag
in 3 sections with as much order as I could manage.  As you can see
in the photo, it was a borderline hot mess (bhm), but view on...
this bhm went on to do some pretty amazing things

Stop it, huh!  I mean, really?  I still can't stand it!

The Funky-fetti cupcakes, with a few
of the other goodies that made their
way to the Sweetsy Bar (TM).

Can someone go ahead and (TM) that bad boy for me? 

Monday, May 14, 2012

More than just an OK home...

This is our first home. Perched at the top of a tree filled cul-de sac, and on the walking path to a great big city park, it felt like home the minute we laid eyes on it.  Since that time, 6 years ago, we brought a little sweet baby home through these doors and have watched her learn to crawl, walk and run in the halls and trees of this place.

It truly is bittersweet to write this, but our little family is about to embark on the next chapter of our lives.  Our home is for sale, as Zac has accepted a position with a company with Denver.  I am beyond excited for what awaits us, and even more excited to plant some serious roots, but I am so sad to leave our cozy abode.

Here's a little walk through of the place we have called home for the past 6 years:

Finally a place to put some of the
'treasures' I have collected over the years. 
The old church pew my mother-in-law surprised me with,
a lamp my sister-in-law said, 'called my name',
an old bread box & mirror I kindly stole from my ma,
a big star I fell in love with when we first moved to Oklahoma,
it is made out of old barn roofing.

Living room.  Let's do a little treasure spotting from afar:
mirror on mantel that I scored at the Goodwill for $5 and
gave a coat of paint, Logan's little table and chairs
(where we often sit for lunch or do puzzles), vintage skiis &
ski pics (to remind us where our heart is), an old military trunk as
coffee table, also swooped up for a whopping $5 at a yard sale,
when we lived in Oregon .

On a ladder, with my neck cranked I painted every inch of this
ceiling.  It was a painful process.  By the time I realized I would
need a third coat (I was cursing the dark 70s wood in a major way)
I called in the professionals to give it one last spray of paint. 
Money well spent. 

One of the table benches is off for repair, but this is our dining
room.  I had always wanted a table with benches...always. 

Stained glass window perched in the kitchen window. 
I made the stained glass, based on the design
of a window I saw in a row house in San Fransisco. 
I purposefully made each pane to fit inside a vacant
window frame my mom rescued from the farmhouse
she grew up in. 

A kitchen within a kitchen.  Logan loves to make dinner
in her kitchen (and use her kitchen phone to call friends),
while I make dinner.  Melts my heart.

A few treasures I am obsessed with in our bedroom:
the mid-century chair that cost $1 at a garage sale, and $75
to have reupholstered, my grandpa's old saddle trunk
at the foot of our bed and the most fantastic vintage side tables.

Our bathroom was a 1970s nightmare when we moved in.
I am talking carpet, crazy lighting, walls of mirrors, random
pony walls, the smallest bathtub I had ever seen, a mold filled shower...
I couldn't bare take a photo of it, it was that horrible.
Thankfully, we took care of that. 

My sweet Logan's room.  So much love in
this little haven! 

When it is nice out (i.e. not a thousand degrees), this is my favorite place to be. 
Reading a book, surrounded by all the green. My little chunk of heaven, in our backyard.  

Countless hours spent running around this backyard. 
I will miss this so. 

It will be hard to say goodbye to this home, and all the memories that have come to us in this place.  But, nothing but goodness in our lives right now.  A move to a place we have wanted to be for many years and a baby boy joining the our little gang in October.  So exciting.  So very exciting indeed!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Crunchy Balls

I have been meaning to post this FOREVER.  For all my GF lovelies out there, this one is for you!!!  My sister-in-law, who is plagued with crazy food allergies, had a variety of GF treats at Christmas.  One was the inspiration for this treat.  I say 'inspiration', as I begged for the recipe (ahem, Emily...still love you), but never received it...but, I really don't think I am too far off. 

4 & 1/2 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispies
3 cups Confectioner's Sugar
1 & 1/2 cups Peanut Butter
1 & 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Do you have one of these little measuring gizmos?
They are crazy fantastic for measuring things like
peanut butter and honey.  They sell them at
most kitchen or baking supply stores.

If you have a food processor (no worries if you don't this
can all be done with a little stirring...I am just all about shortcuts)
Combined Confectioner's Sugar, Sea Salt, Peanut Butter and GF Rice Krispies
(reserve 1 cup of Rice Krispies for later, so just pulse 3 & 1/2 cups in the food processor)
Pulse until it is all combined and the consistency of a stiff cookie dough)

She always says, 'I push mommie's buttons???' when
I pull out a food processor or blender.  God love her. 

Pulse until it is all combined and the consistency of a stiff cookie dough
(you don't need to roll it into a ball, I just did this so you could truly see the thick consistency of the dough)

Stir in the reserved cup of GF Rice Krispies

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Use a small cookie scoop  (I don't know the scoop number off hand,
but it is ~2 tablespoon scoop).  If you don't have scoop, no worries, just
eyeball small clumps of dough...these are homemade, so they don't need to be perfzy!

If you didn't use a scoop (or have an even smaller scoop than
my ~2 T scoop), you can skip this process.  I cut the
dough in half, as these should be bite size treats. 

The newly cut clumps, rolled into perfect little balls.  I place
them in the freezer for 20 minutes, to make them easy to dip in
the chocolate. 

Over low/medium heat, place a couple inches of
water in a saucepan and place a glass or stainless bowl that
fits securely on top of the saucepan (the water should not touch the bottom
of the roll when it is simmering).  Stir until smooth and melty. 

Dip the Peanut Butter Crunchy Balls in the melted chocolate
and return to the parchment paper lined baking sheet to
set.  You can place in the refrigerator, if patience isn't your strong suit

I dare you to let them fully set, before you pop one of these morsels of goodness in your kisser. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

For the love of SEA GLASS

I don't fancy myself a collector...well, other that my small obsession with cake stands (we'll address that at a later date) and sea glass.  I have been loving and collecting sea glass for half of my life, and I still feel a flutter in my stomach when I find a piece of glass that is worn down from the sand and waves.  It really is the little things in life, when I think of my sea glass collection. 

While studying abroad in Western Australia, I was lucky enough
to spend a weekend with friends watching the Solomon Masters
surf competition in Margaret River.  The competition brought in the world's
greatest surfers, so it was a crazy experience.  One evening, after the surfers
were out of the water from their events, I watched a storm roll in and didn't
notice the lone surfer sitting on on his board, on the beach until I developed
the film.  I love that the little vessel of glass and the piece of 
driftwood are the treasures I returned with.

When we were living in Oregon, we headed to the coast
were Zac surfed Devils Punch Bowl and I looked for
treasures on the beach.  I only found 2 pieces of glass, which
paired nicely with the tiny piece of driftwood I also scored
(the photo I hung this little guy under is a vintage Oregon Surf
Club picture, that was taken at the Punch Bowl, or nearby).
My sister-in-love,  taught me how to make sea glass mobiles
in high school.  All that is required is fishing line, a sturdy chunk
of driftwood and the sea glass treasures you collect. 

I have a couple of containers in our house, where I drop pieces on
find when we are out exploring. It is really a bucket of memories! 
 My sweet husband even proposed to me while we were scoring
a beach along Lake Superior.