moving on up

Last week we entered the “big girl” phase, as a family. It wasn’t pretty folks, but it’s official, CK officially has transitioned to a “Big Girl Bed”. While Ant straddled the couch we attempted to move into the loft to make room for the bed, I ran for help from a neighbor.  Luckily Steve found as much humor in the situation as we did, and didn’t mind helping Ant destroy our walls and break a few light fixtures to make room for our new arrangement.

And, as we patiently waited for her to accept the new furniture in her room, we secretly hoped for a smooth transition and a new found love of sleep.

What we got, was a terrible ear infection and a cranky baby who wanted nothing to do with her plush mattress topped with only the most stylish of quilts.  We got crying and complaining, sleepless nights and battles over medicine. Totally the opposite of what we had envisioned  Not to fret, a few days on some antibiotics, which coincided with bribes to imbibe the meds, and all is back to normal.

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Better than normal even, as today marks the third night of successful sleep  in her bed!  Disassembling the crib bedding was a little depressing, but life goes  on, and I was getting too large to bend over the bed rails. Who am  kidding, they had been in the way from the get-go, being five feet tall is awesome…

 

 

The up side of the holidays is food, and then again the down side, is food. Luckily I love all sides of food, so the holidays and I remain in good standing.

 

 

So far, I’ve attempted a few new recipes, one of which is so worth sharing! This Honey Almond Butter Tart was a hit at the dinner party my sister and I threw last week. I would forgo the homemade crust and opt for a graham cracker crust for ease and perhaps an even better result! And, if you don’t have almond butter on hand, I promise no one will complain if you use peanut butter.

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Oh, and a few weeks back I promised ya’ll a recipe for same pasta fagioli, and while I’m a little hesitant to give away the recipe Ant has fallen in love with, I’ll share a similar one that we use on week nights in a pinch!

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Pasta Faux-gioli:

2 Packages diced Pancetta, or 8 ounced diced

1/2 small onion diced

2 celery ribs, diced

1 or 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I like alot of beans!)

1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes, plus 3/4 tomato can full of water

1/2 lb elbow macaroni

In a pot, brown pancetta in a little olive oil. Remove pancetta from oil with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add onion and celery to pancetta drippings, sautee till softened about 10 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, and water to the pot, return the pancetta to the mixture, and add a bay leaf. Simmer for at least 30 minutes but closer to an hour would be better.  Salt and pepper to taste. Cook elbows to al dente, strain and rinse in COLD water, then add to pot, let simmer for 5 minutes, and enjoy with a the mother-load of grated cheese on top!

 

On a design note, I’ve been oober busy, too busy to stop and think about the amount of work on my plate. However, I have to put my petal to the metal and get this done before the alien life form spawning in my stomach decides to rear its ugly (read : newborn cute) head. here is a rehearsal dinner invite I designed for a friend, that I’ve was able to also put up on my etsy shop! rehearsal dinner snow wood

I’ll, also be designing her daughters first birthday invite this week, so stay tuned for more winter themed designs

Coming soon, pics of our Christmas tree. Which may or may not have had a stroke, or at least appeared to, after our cats have had their part in destroying the Christmas spirit.

Apple genius!

Despite feeling like death, I baked something I can only describe as a complete masterpiece today!

First, I must divulge that I attempted to make something while CK napped today. I got up, went to the kitchen, and with my head stuffed, and my nose all runny, I just wasn’t in the mood for ANYTHING. Most people would walk out of the kitchen. I, on the other hand, opened a jar of pickles and ate about half. And that was lunch.

After one (ok two!) large bowl of homemade tomato soup for dinner, I was determined to use the apples we picked last weekend to bake something unique and “healthy”.

I kicked my determination’s ass! Moist “cake” bursting with chunks of tart apple, and creamy sweet caramel on top!

I give  you Caramel Apple Bars:

Adapted from allrecipes.com

  • 2 cup sifted white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a few dashes of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped apple

For topping

  • 1 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For Caramel

 Store bought caramels and Milk or cream to loosen!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the apples. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the remaining cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the top of the bars.
  4. Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt caramels and milk in a bowl until smooth.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven; finished bars should spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan.
  6. Drizzle generously with caramel and EAT!

Oh, and I have been designing lately too, I’ll be posting soon.

In the mean time, I’ll be picking up dirty tissues, and grunting out my discomfort for the world to hear!

The thing about summer…

I’m just saying, there are a few issues I have with summer, that’s all.

Summer and I have a love/hate relationship.

Because I love sunshine, but hate remembering to shave my armpits.

The sight of a million fireflies twinkling to make you believe that the world really is a beautiful place! And then, mosquitoes. Enough said.

I’m infatuated with summer beers, yet I often find myself too dehydrated to drink more than two.

It pleases me to NO end that fruit is all plump and ripe and in season, however my urge to bake with copious amounts of butter and sugar and fruit is insatiable. My want to wear less clothing vs my secret desire to tell teenage girls to cover up! The dream of stepping out at the party of the summer with a golden tan sporting perfect maxi, the reality of blistering sun burn, a dress that is 5 ft too long and my cellulite becoming far too visible…total buzz-kill.  The fact that I prefer to be outside over inside, but my hair frizzes like a banchi in the humidity.  (ok, MAYBE the picture is an exaggeration)

And the worst part of summer is that using the oven. It’s like, well, it’s like walking into an advanced yoga class, with only downward dog under your belt. You know you shouldn’t, but for convince yourself it’s a good idea, you leave over heated, perplexed and yet, somewhat satisfied, and then later regret.  An oven in 100 degree weather, it can do that to you. Trust me. That leaves us to the summer cooking appliance staple – the grill. You might find me grillin up some cookies this summer. Don’t put it past me.

But since summer isn’t officially here for another 20 days…

In the oven, at this moment, is a catalyst, of sorts. A cookie that will blow your mind. One that, can be molded and transformed, it will  grow to become whatever you make of it!

It is a FLOURLESS, BUTTERLESS, AWESOMENESS cookie. You. love. me.

You don’t believe me… well your loss my friend. Because I’ve just eaten three, and I fully intend on eating a few more when they get out of the oven. Crisp on the edges, chewy and gooey in the middle. Toss in whatever you like. Put the recipe to use, like your favorite yoga pants (until there is a hole in the crotch, and you wear them anyways).

Catalyst Cookies:

2 cups powdered sugar

2/3 C. cocoa unsweetened powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 TBS vanilla

1 egg

1 egg white.

1 C chocolate chips, (I prefer semisweet)

Now you could stop there, blend mix and bake @ 350 for 13 mins or until tops crackle, or you can take these morsels to the next level by adding in a little, ohh I don’t know: coconut flakes, almonds, raisins, dried cherries, MARSHMALLOWS! (why did I not think of marshmallows BEFORE I baked mine. Dammit.) peanut butter chips, pecans… you get it.

For the record, if a cookie doesn’t contain flour, it has no calories, right?

consequences

The problem with not eating is that it makes you miserable. And, the problem with being miserable is that you can’t write well, nor do you care to!

So, I spared you all the annoyance of my negativity! Thoughtful, right?

Well on my not so perky road to recovery there was eating (albeit painful), traveling, cleaning, driving, and even some no-bake recipes!

Like these gems:

no-bake-cookies-main

No-Bake Peanut butter chocolate oatmeal cookies! My family loved them! I might add in some rice krispies next time for crunch. These were good enough that I chewed through the pain three days in a row to have them for breakfast! (what? there’s oats in them…)

And these…

Oreo Truffles! or Troofuls as Ant’s Dad calls them.

Combine 1 package of crushed (i.e. pulverized) oreos with an 8 oz. package of cream cheese until really well blended. Mix  like there is no tomorrow, until your sweating and your arm hurts. And just when you’re thinking this might be a form of torture, keep going. When you collapse on the kitchen floor, you can stop. Recover quickly folks, there’s more!

Roll into small balls (1 inch) and refrigerate, or freeze for 30 mins. Melt chocolate. dip. fridge. eat.

They were a total knockout, and eaten up far too quickly!

 

Over the holiday we went to the Poconos and even ventured to the lake a couple of days. That’s where I saw it. A vintage turned contemporary swim suit style, that I cannot unsee. Here I was worried about what I would wear this summer knowing that, bikini’s and one pieces were both not an option. Why? Because I said so. If you’re the type of person that enjoying stripping down to your skivvies in front of crowds of people, lets face it, we probably aren’t friends, and most likely never will be. And on the other hand if you enjoy a good camel toe and like your butt cheeks flapping out there for all to see, same idea, but we might get along if you threw on a pair of shorts.

Alas, a cure for the hideous 1 piece, and the all too revealing bikini, and no its not a monokini. (I’m not sure when these actually came into style but very few people can pull them off, and the ones who can should probably just stick to a bikini!)

Anyways, the swimdress has arrived my friends!

Women's Allen B. <em>Swim Dress</em>, Cinch Front Shirred Bandeau - Black

It’s subtly sexy without being revealing, its comfortable and easy. It is what I will be sporting all summer, and proud of it! Never in my life have I been in a GOOD mood after bathing suit shopping. Ever. But, all that has changed folks. Hell, I could do a cartwheel in this number if I choose to, and I just might.

Not for you? Just don’t burst my bubble please. It’s nice to feel good about yourself every once in while!

Some photo’s from our trip:

Carmella cheesin:

ER and ZJ were stoked to hang out with grace! Pete had to protect her from them.

Poppie throwing back a (ahem) cold beverage.

Waiting for our table at breakfast:

Waffles 🙂

Like mother like daughter, she doesn’t like to share her food!

ZJ really excited for a picture!

The day has come.

I pulled out the shorts today. A bittersweet affair, if I do say so myself. Summer is on the horizon and my pale legs are serving as the blinding sun!

After a little grunting and some sucking in, they are up. I’m not sure how long they will stay that way. You see, in today’s world, we women, are expected to be so many things. One of which is tan, yet miraculously cancer free. I’ts pretty damn hard to be both folks.

I am going to target and not returning until I find some remedy for this dilemma.

In the mean time I am contemplating dinner. And after eating three heads of roasted broccoli, I for once, am not that hungry!  We’ll be making Spinach pesto over grilled turkey cutlets, and some tomato and cucumber salad.  We’re a sucker for that salad.

 

Spinach Pesto:

2 hands FULL of spinach

zest and some juice from a lemon

1 handfull of nuts. Any kind you like, but walnuts and pine nuts are great here!

Salt and pepper

Good amount of grated cheese (maybe 1/3c?)

Oil to loosen maybe 1/4 c

Pulse Spinach, lemon zest and juice, nuts, salt and pepper in a food processor. Turn on, then add in olive oil to desired consistency. This should not be runny, so don’t over do it! Stir in cheese. Serve over anything you want, we like chicken or turkey.

 

Also, I’ve designed some pretty fun/funky grad party invites for my bro-in-law. Check it out! Can you guess which one I would pick and which one my Mother-in-law chose? 😉

 

Wish me luck guys, today’s the big day. I will head to the chair, go under the knife, and won’t even reap the benefits of the procedure until months from now. Just support my bravery, and I promise to tell the tale when I return.