Archive for January, 2010

The World Became So Much Cuter

Last weekend my brother and sister-and-law welcomed a sweet baby girl to their family.  Alex and I were able to go see the one week old cutie this weekend.

I absolutely love her!  She has my brothers dimpled chin and the softest bit of hair on her head.  I better be careful because when they’re this tiny and cute it makes me want one! …And then I remember spending last Sunday with our 2 1/2 year-old nephew.  He better get his act together or he’ll have Alex convinced we should never have kids. 😉


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The Go Kart is Back in Service

It started as a small noise.  And then got louder, like a rattle.  And then louder still.  Alex called his dad on skype.  He started the car for his dad to hear the terrible noise and the immediate response was “turn it off! turn it off!”  Poor sick car.  After about a week in the garage (I know, can you even believed we fit a car in there!?) my car is back in good health.  The work included a brand new water pump, timing belt, some nuts and bolts and washers, some fluids, a couple new tools, and probably other parts I didn’t know an engine had.

With much help from modern technology (yay google and my super smart father-in-law consulting via skype over and over) my amazing husband put humpty dumpty back together again!  Yay.

In case you wonder, my car sits so much lower to the ground than Alex’s and really zips-zips around town, so he calls it a Go Kart.

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After making Blueberry Cobbler for Two, I had just enough blueberries leftover to try the Blueberry Scone recipe in my new America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book (A Christmas gift, thanks Steve and Donna!).

Since the recipe was pretty involved (freezing butter, grating butter, rolling out dough, chilling the dough, rolling out the dough some more), I mixed these up yesterday and just refrigerated them overnight.  Popped ’em in the oven at 5 this morning and they were ready for my hubby to take on his drive to work at 6.

Of course, I saved a couple for myself to enjoy when I finally rolled out of bed around 9. Yum!

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My favorite friend got me a cookbook for my birthday that I love, America’s Test Kitchen’s Cooking for Two 2009.

What better place to start in a cookbook than with dessert?  I love the idea of having a tasty dessert that doesn’t serve 12 and leave me feeling guilty every night all week long.

I started with a berry dessert; they’re Alex’s favorite kind of treat.  And you can see it was a success.  I think the recipe could serve 3-4 if accompanied by ice cream.  Or just 2.  I suppose it depends on the degree of guilt you want to feel all night.
Also, I only have 7 ounce ramekins, too small, so I baked this in a Pampered Chef Mini-Baker Stone.  It would definately be better (thicker) and cuter in ramekins.

Blueberry Crumble
Makes 2
1/4-1/3 cup (1 3/4 – 2 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup packed (1 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled.

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Gently toss the berries with the sugar mixture. (If the fruit tastes tart, add up to 1 1/2 tablespoons more sugar.) Divide the berries evenly between two 12-ounce ramekins.
2. Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt together in a medium bowl. Add the butter to the bowl and, using your fingers, blend butter into the dry ingredients until dime-sized clumps form. Pinch together any powdery parts, then sprinkle the topping evenly over the berries.
3. Place the crumbles on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the topping is a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Let the crumbles cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes: Frozen berries do not work in this recipe because they shed too much liquid.  The comble can also be prepared in an 8 1/2 by 5 1/2-inch baking dish. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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My favorite monster came over today.  Usually our routine involves playing Mario Cart on the wii.  It’s Zoe’s favorite thing about Auntie Jess and Uncle Alex’s house.  But today, Zoe was on a TV and wii restriction and we had to get creative and find something else to do.  So we destroyed my kitchen baked cookies.

After the repeated “Can I taste that?” and finger dipping, I decided not to try any cookies and instead sent them home with her.  But I wasn’t in it for the cookies.  I did it for those adorable smiles!

Even better, while the dough chilled in the freezer we did some coloring and I taught my little cookie monster how to draw a star.  I drew dots and numbered them so she could connect them.  With only a couple practice tries she was drawing and numbering her own dots.  It was cute.

The best compliment of the day was my super-sweet mother-in-law who told me I’d sure make a great mom someday.  Loved that.

After sending the monster home to destroy her own house, loading and starting my dishwasher, washing some dishes by hand, and wiping down every surface of my kitchen, I’m now enjoying a quiet afternoon…

watching the rain fall and drinking a big glass of wine.  I’d say it’s a fair reward for all my hard work. In fact it’s still early so there’s a good chance it’s not the only glass I’ll drink tonight.

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These are Chica’s favorite treats.  She is a picky little dog and turns her nose up at a lot of treats.  But she lives for these and Greenies.

How can you say no to that cute little face?  So here’s the recipe.  Make sure you keep these in the freezer.  The dogs love them frozen.  They come running any time I open the freezer, hopeful.  One word of warning, your kitchen will stink all day when you cook these.

15 Minute Liver Treats

1 lb chicken livers
1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 egg

Place chicken livers and liquid in blender, liquify. Add egg, mix a minute more. Pour into bowl. Add flour, corn meal and garlic powder. Mix. Spray jelly roll pan with pam. Pour mixture into pan. (Mine never really pours, you have to spread it out with a spatula to fill the whole pan.) Bake 15 minutes in 400 degree hot oven. Cut into small squares while still warm. Keep in freezer to prevent spoilage.

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The Wife’s Goals

January Goals
Read 2 books

Start a new quilt
Buy a curtain rod and hang new bedroom curtains
Sew something (another shirt attempt? a tote bag? a new purse? a wallet?)
Learn to knit
Blog 2-3 times each week

Meal Plan
Try one new recipe each week
Try at least one cooking light recipe
Bake more treats for the dogs (and use the new cookie cutters they got for Christmas!)

Walk the dogs
Use our 3-day free pass for the YMCA gym

December Goals – How’d I Do?
Finish reading 1 book this month I actually am one chapter short of finishing 2 books!

Complete all 3 remaining Dare to DIY Party challenges Check, Check and Check!
Blog 2-3 times a week Not bad. I posted 10 times in 4 1/2 weeks.
Sew fleece pullover (the pattern and fabric are already bought!) It’s almost done.  We hit a hiccup and I had to take a break
Make a couple personalized/DIY Christmas gifts This never really happened but everyone loved the reindeer light bulb ornaments I gave out.
Send out Christmas cards to family and friends Done. 62 went out before Christmas.

Meal plan I did meal plan for a couple weeks. With all the holidays I thought that was a success.
Try a new recipe each week I tried one or two but not every week and I didn’t blog any of it.
Try at least one new Cooking Light recipe This just didn’t happen either.
Make the dogs more dog treats (and blog the recipe for everyone) I made their favorite Chicken Liver and Garlic Treats but failed to blog it.

Walk the dogs once a week Total fail.
Complete Christmas shopping in a timely manner so I’m not that crazy stressed out lady shopping on Christmas Eve Day and pulling her hair out Total success!  I think we finished with about a week to spare!

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