Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Curried Turkey Salad

Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of the year.  I have been menu planning that day, since about 3rd grade (my friends can confirm this), but if I had to load up one more plate of  leftovers I would  lose my mind (or cookies).  Yet, I don't want to waste that delicious bird I labored over.  So for lunch today, I put the turkey to new use and it is DELICIOUS (and wicked protein packed, for those of you who care about that).
 2 cups cooked turkey breast
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 T curry powder
3 T agave nectar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
3 T. finely chopped raw onion

Mix Greek yogurt  (it is already strained, but I set it in a few coffee filters to 
get a bit more moisture off.  For sure use the full fat and Greek yogurt, 
as the lighter versions will make this watery) with the curry powder, agave 
nectar and sea salt.  

Then stir in the turkey (or chicken breast...whatever you have on hand), 
dried cranberries and chopped onion. 

Garnish with sea salt roasted (or raw) cashews and serve on a 
bed of greens or pop it in a sandwich!

YUM!!!  Put those leftovers to work!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cranberry Oatmeal Pan-o-bars

These are so quick and easy and certain to please a crowd.  

Start by making (or buying, I will not judge) cranberry sauce.

In a medium sauce pan over medium/high heat 
1 bag of fresh cranberries (washed)
1 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 medium sweet apple peeled and chunked

Heat until all the berries have popped open and the apples are 
tender.  I make this a day or so in advance.  Cool then store
in the refrigerator until you are prepping the pan-o-bars.

For the ridiculous bars you need:

1 box yellow cake mix (brand doesn't matter, just a box that yields a 9x13 pan)
2 1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp pure almond extract (optional)
1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce 

Preheat oven to 375 and grease and parchment line (leaving parchment "handles" along the long side of the pan, for easy removal after baking) a 9x13 pan

Combine the dry cake mix with the quick oats (I use clean hands to mix).  Add melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix until crumbly.  Measure half of crumble into bottom of pan and press firmly, covering the entire bottom of pan. 

Top the base crust with the cranberry sauce (add a T of water, if the sauce is too thick), spreading evenly.  Leave 1/2 inch space around the edges free of cranberry sauce.

sprinkle the rest of crumble on top of the cranberry sauce and with a flat spatula press firmly (this is why I leave the bit of space around the edges, as the cranberries will push to the edges, when pressing).

Bake 18-25 minutes at 375.  The top will be light brown.

When you remove the pan from the oven set it on cooling rack to cool for an hour.  I then run a knife along the edges of the pan and use the 'parchment handles to life the dessert out of the pan and onto a large cutting board.  I cut to size with a pizza wheel.

 yum yum and yum!!!

**many apologies for the cellphone pics, our camera is in for it's annual cleaning**

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kitchen Remodel: AFTER

Ahhhhh, this is my new kitchen.  I am obsessed.  I can't quit baking. OMG.

Here's a sneaky of the way it used to look, just for a refresher.

Little stainless shelf above range was cut to size.
I inherited the idea from my friends, Adam & Jade.
It's an under $50 find from Ikea.  Love.

Why yes, I did plan the cabinet hardware to mimic
the appliances.  Again, obsessed.

The counter (peninsula) that separates the kitchen
from the dining room used to be a full wall, with
an arched doorway, that led into the dining room.

I am so thankful that we took that wall down.  
I am even more excited that the walk through
was roomy enough to support my metro rack 
of random things.  There is a chunk of 
kitschy, old lady that lives in my soul and she just
loooooves kitchen sh!t...

Let's be real, my favorite things are favorites for
great reason!!!  My grandma's juicer, random bowls
I found at garage sales or acquired from my mom, milk
bottles that held flowers at our wedding, a hand blender I scored a flea market
in Seattle, when I took the train up to see a friend when we were newlyweds 
in Oregon...and on and on.  I loooove this stuff. 

One of my favorite things about having this wall gone 
(yes, this was the wall), is the amazing sight lines. I can
see the kids playing in their tent (which was lovingly crafted by my in-laws).
 I used to have to peek around the corner every few seconds, just
to make sure they were playing okay.  Now, they play in peace, while I 
prep dinner.  Very much a win/win on that front. 

I am equally excited about the great work surfaces, which the old set up lacked greatly.  

The microwave/convection combo was a must have, as I didn't want to lose 
our limited upper wall space to a microwave, and I love the idea that I have 
an additional oven, when I am on a roll and can't shove everything into the
main oven.  Priorities, my friends...priorities.

Can you now even stand that a wall used to stand
here?  UH-mazing, right

So...come visit.  We'll get our bake on!!!

Kitchen Remodel: BEFORE

 Celebrating the one year anniversary that we moved into our house,
it is fun to report that the kitchen remodel is complete.  

This is a few snaps of the old space.  Yes, yes...it was a clean little space.
It just wasn't a functional space.

I never got used to electric heat cooking.  Pulling a gas line in for the 
kitchen remodel was at the top of my list.

It is a bit hard to see in this photo, but just beyond the sink island
was a gas fireplace that jetted out and created an awkward corridor.
It also blocked the views of South Table Mountain (and Coors Brewery...oh what)
from the living room. 

A little desk in the kitchen is a nice idea.  Although steps
off of the kitchen is a proper office, so this felt like a 
waste of space, where instead there should be storage.

the footprint of the kitchen is small enough, that every corner
needed to be utilized for functionality.

Here is the fireplace.  I do already miss it, on cold nights...
although I don't mind snuggling up in blankets.  I also enjoy the view
so much more.  There is a large niche in the wall, just to the left of 
where the fireplace used to sit.  Someday, that will house a gas fireplace,
as we had them turn the gas line, to accommodate that down the road.

Mountain view BLOCKER.  Bad design choice!

Okay friends, I can't wait to show you the new space...this week. 

the very hungry caterpillar CUPCAKES!

My sweet Benny turned 1 (yes, over a month ago...I so do not have my act together!)
I let my sweet 4 year old, Logan, decide what we would make for his big celebration.
She instantly said she wanted to make him 'the caterpillar who eats pie and sausage...'

It was on.  

 I started by baking off vanilla cupcakes.  Make the caterpillar
as big as you want (you could gather a ton of mini cupcakes for the
body and use a standard cupcake for the head).  I used
standard cupcakes for the body and a large cupcake for the head.  
No rules.

Next whip up the frosting
It is super easy and SUPER tasty!

Then get out your food color.  

ROY G BIV.  I loved teaching Logan about primary and secondary
colors, while we mixed the color gel into the frosting.  

Doesn't this need to be on the Weather Channel.  Hurricane Frosting!

Frosting, ready to go.  You can do this days in
advance, if that is helpful.

Use a knife and randomly spread the green
frosting across the body of cupcakes.

We have all read the book and he is whimsy, so
keep it that way with your frosting.

Red face.

I pulled a little yellow and blue frosting in, around the edges,
to mimic the look of the caterpillar (this step is not necessary, but
I think it gives it an authentic look)

While I was trying to figure out what to use
for the antenna, my husband walked by eating
sour worms (this is not a joke) and they were
PERFECT!  I snagged two.  I smeared the 
yellow on for eyes.

I popped a bit of green in the microwave for
5 seconds, it was easier to apply to the yellow of
the eyes, when it was heated a bit.

Unfortunatley, we didn't have any pie or sausage to decorate
the cupcake with.  We made do with some fruit we had on hand.

 I made Benny a cupcake, just so he wouldn't be covered in coloring.

He looooved it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breakfast Burrito Bake

Friends were in town so I whipped up a quick breakfast.  Pulling together things that I had on hand, I ended up having most ingredients needed for breakfast burritos.  I didn't want to make individual burritos (so I could shower), so I tossed the items together and voila Breakfast Burrito Bake.

For a 9x13 baking dish, combined the following in a bowl:
32 oz carton Liquid Eggs (any brand will do)...or the whole egg equivalent- 16 eggs
2 cup milk
2 small cans of diced green chiles (I used mild)
1 cup sauteed, diced onions (I had this prepped the night before)
6 flour tortillas cut or torn into pieces
4 cups thawed, hash brown potatoes
3 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, Mexican blend...whatever you have on hand!)
salt and pepper

If you wish, mix in any other breakfast burrito favorites: sausage, bacon, olives, roasted peppers, etc. (I didn't happen to have any other ingredients on hand, but it was definitely not lacking).

Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes (until the top browns a bit and the center bounces back when touched).

I served with cubed avocado (sprinkled with sea salt), salsa, sour cream and additional flour tortillas cut into wedges.  I wished I had tomatoes in the fridge, as diced tomatoes would have been a delish topper.

Happy Breakfast (or breakfast for dinner...), friends! 

PS...Of course blogging this delish creation was an afterthought, so many apologies for the single cell phone picture.

PPS...I also whipped up little strawberry pastries (super simple!)...will certainly blog those at some point. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

10 Year Wedding Anniversary!

I cannot believe that today my sweet husband and I celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss.  It feels like yesterday, but when I pause and think of our years in Oregon, Oklahoma and now Colorado, since that date, it starts to feel like a lifetime ago!

August 16, 2003
I loved my tea length dress, with just a splash of antique lace
peeking out of the bottom.  It was perfect for a garden party and dancing. 
I had hoped to be super organized and scan some pictures (yes, when we were married the film was not digital...crazy!) but alas, I am in Minnesota and I did not have my act together before I headed this way.  But, I will share some fun details of our very special day.
We got married in the yard I grew up in.  My mom is a ridiculous gardener (her gardens have been featured on tours) and the big yard on the river with her gardens as the backdrop was all I had ever wanted for my wedding day.  I wanted to play off of the setting, so instead of having a florist arrange pristine bouquets and centerpieces, we ordered thousands of flowers, (with lots of variety, that you would actually find in a Minnesota garden) from wholesale and did all of the arrangements ourselves (we ladies all got together the day before the wedding to knock this out.  How very pinterest-before-pinterest of us, huh!) the splashes of color were placed in Mason jars, old milk jugs, antiques, etc.  It was perfect.  It was us (well, that is a stretch as my husband did not care about the ridiculously cute milk jugs my mom and I found at a junk store...but whatevs!)
We couldn't decide what we wanted to serve for dinner, and after meeting with several caterers for tastings and menu selecting, we decided to really go for it and serve our favorite pizza and salad.  It was a hit.  Who doesn't love them some pizza?  We served the pizza on big boards, propped up by big, industrial size cans of roasted tomatoes and roasted red peppers.  We found the cans up in the UP of Michigan at a little Italian market, and hauled them back.  They really did the trick in helping to create dimension on the tables so the pizza didn't fall flat (yes, it's just pizza...but I still wanted it to look fabulous).
We know I love cake...this is fact.  Well, I knew I wanted to have lots of cake at the wedding, since I had this amazing antique plant stand (that basically looked like a conglomerate of vintage cake stands), so we found a baker who make us 8 different flavors of cake.  They were so tasty, and truly everyone got to pick a favorite.  We also did jars of all of our favorite candy all around, including one of my favorite ideas from the day:  JARS OF RING POPS...so everyone, young and old, could pop on a 'wedding ring'!!! 
Since I grew up on a river (as did Zac, just a different river...but still one that drains into the Mississippi-  can you say meant to be??? haaa) and we both love canoeing and being on the water.  To pay homage to this love we used a canoe as a big vessel to keep all of the drinks cool for the celebration.  We moved the canoe out back near the rivers edge, and filled it with ice and cool drinks.  It was lovely and gave a nod to something that is very important to us, being on the water. 
With clothespins, we decorated a tree in the back yard with card stock printed, standard size, pictures of Zac and me from our 5 years of dating.  All the fun adventures we had camping, skiing, traveling and just being...on display in the tree as a little walk down memory land (well, a 5 year lane)
As a parting gift to all of the friends and family that traveled near and far to spend this day celebrating with us, we sent them home with a box of donuts with a note attached, 'breakfast on us'...as it is a given that we also LOOOOVE DONUTS!!!
Oh boy, it was such a great day!  I can transport back to that moment in a flash.  My favorite place on earth, marrying my favorite person on earth.  What a blessing that day was and what a continued blessing our life has been.  I am thankful for him each and everyday.  I am excited to zip to the airport to get him today, as he flies in from Colorado so we can celebrate!!!
Oh, did I mention that at 2am, 3 weeks before my wedding I decided that I needed a perm???  Oh, this is truth and I let my girlfriends do it!  It was a disaster (ummm, who would have thunk it) and my mom was so unimpressed.  Her exact words, 'next time you think you need a perm at 2am, please call me...'  haaaaa.  It all had to be cut off!  All part of the memory of this wonderful time, 10 years ago!  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Benny, 10 months


Benny turned 10 months, and also popped his first two bottom teeth, all in the same week.  Very big milestones in a wee ones life.  A friend of a friend is a wonderful photographer and she popped over for literally 5 minutes to snap a few photos to document this big step, and I am so happy with how much of him she captured in the few snaps.


What a little blessing Benny is.  We are thankful every single day that he is ours!

Photo Credit: Tara Rehrig, Clara B. Photography

Friday, August 9, 2013

Chance Encounter with Wolfgang Puck

I am going out on a limb, and really using the words 'chance encounter' very loosely when I reference a fun little run in we had last week.  It was not really out of the ordinary, since we were up in Bachelor Gulch, and Wolfgang Puck owns a restaurant, Spago, at the hotel...but come on, how often do you get to say out loud, I JUST SAW WOLFGANG PUCK HIKING!!!!!  IN HIS CHEF JACKET!!!'  It was a wonderful moment as I think he seems a tiny bit magical.  I, of course, didn't have my camera handy when we saw him hiking (certainly he had to be foraging for something fantastic, yes?), but later I did have it on hand when we saw him in the lobby, as we were getting ready for some swimming.  Since Logi is a bit of a novice with the camera buttons, I thought I would have her stand it, for me, for a picture with this cooking legend.  She was thrilled, and did inquire if he was santa!!!  No joke.  I can't blame her. Her mom (me) just asked her to snap a pic with a total stranger, the only other time that is kosher is when we meet up with the jolly old man in the red suit each winter. 

Photo proof of this AmazeFest run in.  Photo proof that Logi could not give 2 shakes.

Here's to hoping I can teach her my ways, before Sundance 2018...that might be the year she gets an invite.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Kitchen Island

I do not have my blogging act together yet.  One (me) can hope that will happen very soon.  Until that time, please forgive me for the brief posts.  I still pinch myself when I walk into our new kitchen.  I really can't wait to snap pictures of the space and share it with you all, but it awaits a back splash, which is imperative for this reveal.  For now, just a little sneaky peek of the sink and faucet, which I am obsessed with.  The sink is large and deep, which is perfect for stashing the biggest load of dirty dishes, when I get in over my head in a bake sesh...you feel me? 

Large under mount sink and industrial steel faucet are just the
right size for this large work surface covered in the super white
quartzite stone.  Obsessed.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Deluxe Banana Bread

I am so happy to be blogging again!!!  So much to catch up on.  For instance, WE HAVE A KITCHEN AGAIN...wooo hoooo!  It is totally fabulous, and the transformation still gives me goosebumps (promise the before and after will be shared soon!).  But, most importantly, I CAN GET MY BAKE ON, again.  Finally.  Phew, this has been a long couple of months! I wasn't planning on blogging this recipe, just yet...but it turned out perfectly the first go (yay) so many apologies on the lack of pictures/picture quality.

I decided to make banana bread because I had some ripe bananas on hand.  As soon as I grabbed the bananas, I decided I wanted to add some more goodies to the quick bread, to kick it up a notch. Here's the recipe:
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 T. coconut oil (if you don't have coconut oil, canola would work just fine)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  •  4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 c. grated carrot (I used a fine microplane, but a standard grate would work as well), set the wet mixture aside.
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 3 T. flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
Divide the batter into OILED AND PARCHMENT LINED loaf pans (I made 5 medium size loaf pans, with this recipe).  Then sprinkle a mixture of  2 PARTS OATS AND 1 PART BROWN SUGAR on top of each batter loaf.   I used old-fashioned oats, because I like the look and thought a touch of crunch on the top would be delish.  Quick oats would work just fine though too. 

Bake at 350 degrees (if you are doing small loaves, start checking at 25 minutes, if you are doing a large loaf pan start checking at 45 minutes).  Add additional time until the center of the bread is cooked through.

Here you can see how the parchment paper peeks out
the 2 long sides of the loaf pan.  Makes bread extraction,
after cooling, very simple.  Just run a butter knife along the
2 short sides of the pan and use the parchment like handles
to lift the bread out.  Easy Peasy!

I packed up the loaves for a daddy/daughter camping trip that Zac and Logan
were heading out on this weekend with friends.  So, I labeled a piece of parchment
with the add-in ingredients, and slipped it under the loaves in the storage container. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Craigslist Find // Midcentury Love

I just scored a maj find on craigslist.com...oh boy.  Like I have mentioned before, a simple 'midcentury' search in your area, on the site, will yield some wonderful finds.  Mildly obsessed with this little side chair. 

$10, say what!!!  Can you stand it?  I will recover the seat, to give it new life.

Get your search on!!!  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jack Johnson Tickets

I had a mild panic last week when I heard that Jack Johnson would be playing a small show in Denver this fall, all part of a small venue tour.  I had a moment.  I haven't seen him play for 5 years (the last time he did a US tour) and I haven't seen him play a small venue since 2001 (which is a crazy fun memory, I will share at the end of this post)

Okay, so I had a moment, but jumped into action in hopes that I would be seated in the Paramount Theater, come October, to see this show!  By jumping into action I mean: signed myself and Zac up for a chance to receive a 'slot' to purchase tickets...how crazy is that.  I also told a girlfriend to sign up, along with her boyfriend, just to up our chances of receiving a slot to purchase.  The girlfriend and I also decided this would be a girl's night out (if we were lucky enough to get a slot, it seemed like 2 tickets would be easier to get than 4) so the guys were just doing there part to help our cause.  So, we find out tomorrow if we get a purchase slot...but that doesn't really matter as I WON TICKETS IN ONE OF THE FIRST ROWS!!!!  omGEEZY. 

Yes, this is true, I won tickets.  Holy Toledo...I still get goosebumps at the thought.  Here's how this big win came to be:  Ltst week I dropped Lo off at summer camp and popped the radio on for my 3 minute drive back to the house.  It was meant to be that I heard a radio advertisement for a contest to win the tickets.  All you had to do, for a chance to win, was submit a picture of you on your bike (in honor of 'ride your bike to work day').  I flipped through my phone and found this picture of Zac, paying homage to the greatest bike movie ever, RAD, by popping wheelies like Cru Jones, in our driveway.  I submitted the picture, and went on with my day.

The next day I had a missed call, and assumed it was probably the company delivering our kitchen appliances.  I called them back and was beyond confused when the woman on the other line said said it was a radio station (this is how spread thin I feel right now, I didn't immediately think back to the day earlier when I signed up for the contest, I tell ya!)...she even asked if I might have won a contest.  I said no.

5 minutes later I remembered my online submission for the previous day and called back and told her I might have won a contest.  I did.  I had a moment.  I still cannot believe we will: A. be at the show B. be in the first few rows C. for free!!!!  Zac now thinks it is super funny to tell my friend and I that technically he won the tickets and he will scalp them to us.  Haaaa. 

Okay, so now back to the first time I saw Jack Johnson perform, back in 2001.  He was very new on the music scene and was doing a small show at  First Avenue in Minneapolis.  The show was sold out, but my college buddy and I decided to see if we could score some tickets outside the show.  I remember it was a colder than average fall day, and we got there early in hopes of bumping into someone who was looking to unload tickets.  We didn't see a soul looking for us to buy their tickets, and didn't have it in us to stand in the cold, so we did what anyone would do, WE KNOCKED ON JACK JOHNSON'S TOUR BUS.  You would do the same, right?  Well his tour manager answered and called me 'red' (because of the red sweater I was wearing)...I love that I still remember that!  Well he hooked us up with tickets.  The show was unreal.  After the final encore Jack came out to chat with all the people that were still in the building.  Man, I still love his music, as much as I did that cold fall day. 

Be excited for full report of this contest, come October.  YAY!!!