Tuesday, November 27, 2012

All I Want For Christmas...

I have wanted a deer bust for years!  I have never found one that
I absolutely love, and have considered trying to construct a wire armature and
 covering it with papier mache, but just haven't gotten around to it.  Thankfully I don't
have to think about that big project for one more minute (so long as Santa is reading),
as I finally found the one that I have totally dreamed of. 

I already know Santa will not be leaving this chair & ottoman under the tree, but it is on my shortlist for spring, when we renovate our kitchen/living area.  Doesn't it look so cozy and fantastic?

The GREATEST magazine EVER sadly went out of print
 a few years ago...but, IT'S BACK!! Not in it's previous monthly publication, but hell,
I will take it however I can get it. Here's to hoping this Fall/Winter print is so
hot that they bring it back monthly!!

Dear Santa, please stuff this periodical in my stocking!!!

Generally, I do not buy books (other than fantastic shelter books that I  intend to flip through for years)!
This Christmas I just hope Santa can work his magic at the Golden library and pull up my number in the book hold queue, as I desperately want to read these books (by one of my favzy authors, Jennifer Weiner) during the long winter break (i.e. the hubs will be at home, and the grandparents will be in town, which totes equals a bit of alone time for me!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

CONTEST TIME...delish cookie mix giveaway!

I am back on the blogging horse, full stop!  I am taking pictures like a picture-taking-fiend, carrying a little notebook with me to jot down recipe ideas and dreaming of all things rusty & chippy paint.  To celebrate my return as a legit blogette (I totes just made that up), I am having a little contest.  All you have to do to enter is become a follower of the blog, via the 'join this site' link along the right side of my blog page.  Do this, leave comment that you did so (if you are already listed as a follower and want a chance to win, just leave a comment), and you will have a chance to win a package of my new favzy cookie to whip up. 

I simply call them TRAIL MIX COOKIES.  They are legit, with a L!  The perfect blend of buttery pecans*, sweet dried cranberries, rich dark chocolate and oatmeal.  Are you drooling yet?  You should be.

Just in time for all the holiday cookie exchange parties, let me do the work for you...all you will have to do is add 1 egg and 6 T. of butter and get your bake on!  The mix will yield roughly 2 dozen cookies.

On Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 around noonish I will pick one winner for every 15 comments (the moral of the story is: more comments = more winners).  Get after it, and please tell your friends too! 

*If you have a nut allergy (real or fake) I feel really bad for you, seriously...but, I won't judge. Just let me know and I will certainly omit.  I have many fake allergies: cilantro, seafood, parsley, ham...the list goes on and on, so for reals I shant judge. 

am I the only one who just tried to chew on my computer screen?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

I don't think I can state enough how easy it is to whip up something
dang tasty and original, starting with a simple box of cake mix.  Once
again, I am getting my pumpkin harvest on with these little beauties.

1 box of vanilla or white cake mix (to yield 9x13 pan)
1 cup of pure pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)

Mix all the above goodies and add 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees in paper lined cupcake tray for 18-19 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool, then top with my ridiculous frosting!

*10 out of 10 people agree that these treats are needed at your Thanksgiving dessert table!

(* = I would imagine they would say that!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Minnesota Apple Crisp

This time of year represents many wonderful things: crunchy leaves, sweaters, dragging the soup tureen off the top shelf, pumpkins and most importantly...APPLE CRISP!

I am blessed with in-laws that have many lovely apple trees on their wooded land north of where the hubs and I grew up in Minnesota.  I am doubly blessed that they visit every fall with the biggest box of Honeycrisp and Haralson apples (the best for baking, in my humble opinion), straight off these trees. 

Here is my recipe for outstanding apple crisp.

Peel and cut apples into roughly 1/2 inch chunks.

13 cups of cut apples in a greased 9x13 baking dish.

Add to apples:
2 T. flour
1 T. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. finely grated nutmeg (if you use ground nutmeg, add additonal 1/8 tsp.)

Use clean hands to toss the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg
with the apples.  The flour will help thicken the juices
of the apples that will ooze out in baking. 

Anxiously awaiting the crumble.

 Crisp Crumble:
1 stick softened butter
1 c. quick oats
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Use a fork, pastry blender, food processor or clean hands to mix until good and crumbly.

Crumble and seasoned apples.

Evenly top apples with the delish crumble (it tastes like
oatmeal cookie dough, so I dare you not to sneak several tastes)

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. 
After 1 hour, fork the middle of the apple crisp to check that apples
are tender.  If the apples need additional cooking time, drape a
piece of aluminum foil across the baking dish (to prevent the crumble
from burning) and pop back in the oven, checking every 10 minutes, until
apples are fork tender. 

Enjoy this dish breakfast, lunch or dinner this time of year!

If there is any left*, store covered at room temperature.

(* = doubtful)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Baby Ben!

Who doesn't love newborn pictures???  They are so sweet!
When I think back to my daughter's newborn pictures, I remember raiding the entire house, looking for fun and funky things to bring with for the photo shoot.  I came up with oodles of items.  So many fantastic things (yes, I am most certainly tooting my 'loads-of-junk-that-is-totes-adorbs' horn) that I actually had to edit my selections a bit, so the photographer didn't think I was showing up to audition for The Jerk!  Sigh.

Here are a few gems from Logan Elizabeth's newbornies:

This time around, all my fantastic finds were somewhere in Denver, in some lonely storage facility.  Double sigh. 

So, girlfriend (me) had to get creative.  Oh, and we were in our summer housing (sounds fancy saying it like that...) which you hopefully saw in previous pictures was wall-to-wall windows of a high rise in downtown Denver.  Not too shabby, but not too fantastic for a mini photo shoot.  You feel me? 

Here's my Benny James (and a couple with big sis too):

Like I said, all my fantastic treasures were in storage,
so I popped down to Ikea to get this solid gold piece.
I would have bought it regardless, but newborn pics
felt like an excellent excuse.  At this price, I will throw
it out there that each and every one of you need one.

Sweet Ben! 

We were not going for the artsy 'naked baby' shoot.
Logan refused to get dressed, so alas, we are
pretending to be a bit deep and owning this
artsy moment. 

I bribed her to smooch her brother with ice cream and
soccer at the park across the street.  A mama has gotsta
do what she has gotsta do in a moment like this. 
No judgement!

This is that fantastic mid-century dresser
My ma-in-law made the blanket
for Ben with the fantastic fabric

Baby Ben!  Look below to see
if you think he kind of looks like baby Logan.

Baby Logan.  Just a slight resemblance, huh!
Zac joked that we could reprint the newborn pics of Logan
(well, the ones without the doilies hat) and play them off as baby Ben!
Always looking to save a buck...I only laughed for a second.

Seasonal Confusion...3 year old style.

Let's be real, the weather outside is frightful!  Frightful because it is winter and in the 70s.  If we lived in Arizona, this would be kosher, but for Pete's sake, we moved to the foothills of the Rockies for a reason...A REAL WINTER! 

My little sweets is beyond confused.  She is 3 years old, if you have (or had) one, you know how 3 year olds roll...OMG, they are crazy (back me up here, please)...her doctor finally gave me the best advice when it comes to her stubborn streak of dressing herself, 'let her own the consequences of those choices'.  So true.  I will of course step in if she puts on a swimsuit and flippers to go outside and play this winter, but other than that, game on!  This morning though was a hilarious doozy of an outfit.  Too funny not to share. 

Nothing like a dress, flip flops, scarf and big o' furry hat to kick the day off...
who knows, she might be on to something?