December 19, 2011

Baking storm!

Sunday was the start of our holiday baking and candy making. Oatmeal Scotchies are the favorite of this house but every year I always try to make a new kind of cookie. This year I made two new ones, Cinnamon M&M Chip (based on the Tollhouse recipe but using Cinnamon M&Ms) and Chocolate Mint Chip.

 Many pounds of butter, cups of sugar, and dashes of cinnamon later, we had on our hands 39 1/2 dozen cookies. Scooped by non other than Alan and me. I have never made that many cookies all at once. It doesn't hurt that I have 2 awesome ovens, each with 4 racks, and 9 cookies sheets to make the process slick. Frankie, who supervised, was plumb tuckered out by the end.

We then tried out our new FoodSaver and shipped some off to my mom, gram, and sister. Hopefully they arrive as fresh as when they left! I expect full reports dear family. :)

Next up, caramels and candy canes! I even hope to get to some cheesecakes before the week is out. Wish me luck!







December 5, 2011

Candy Cane Lane

Well, I got lucky on Saturday. Alan and Frankie let me head out to take a short class on making candy canes. I was already familiar with general candy making but thought it might be a fun way to refresh my memory and meet people.

Definitely a refresher but not so much a place to meet folks. No worries, it was still loads of fun!

:)


These are a quick and surprisingly easy candy to make.

Candy Canes

Makes about 6 med or 12 small

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
3/4 light corn syrup (as light as you can get)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
peppermint (or whatever flavor you want) oil (this has to be oil NOT extract)
red food color paste (or whatever color, must be paste)

Equipment

2 baking sheets lined with parchment
Spray oil
Marble/stone surface or silpat sheet
Heavy bottom, non reactive pan (straight sides)
Digital thermometer (or if you trust the cold water method...)
Nitrile gloves over tight fitting cotton gloves (for handling hot sugar)
Bench scraper/dough knife
Pastry brush
Heat lamp is optional

Turn oven to 170 degrees and let pre-heat. Spray both pans and place one in the oven.

Combine first three ingredients and bring to a boil, taking care to wash the sides of the pan with the pastry brush and clean water so crystallization doesn't occur. You can stir mix until it boils but not after it boils. Bring mix to 264-265 degrees (depending on the humidity) and then remove from heat. Add cream of tarter and pour onto stone surface or silpat.

Once bubbles disappear, drip approximately 10 drops (or more) of oil flavoring on the candy. Mix it into the sugar quickly. Divide the mix in half.

Place half on the pan that was pre-heating in the oven and place back in the oven with the door held open with a spoon. Using the bench scraper first and then wearing gloves, start to manipulate/pull (like taffy) the other half until you feel resistance and the mix has turned white. Shape into a log and cut into pieces of the desired size. Place the pieces on the empty pan and put in the oven.

Take the other half out and with your hands, work in the color paste. Pull mix until there is a slight resistance. Shape into a log and cut into pieces. Place on pan to rewarm or just twist around white pieces if the colored pieces are still flexible.

Shape into canes or whatever you desire. Keep away from moisture and enjoy!

The holidays are upon us so we have a tree, decorations are up, and Frankie has tried one of his snow outfits. More recipes to come!




November 19, 2011

Roasting carrots and what is in my knitting bag...

So we have had an abundance of beautiful carrots from our CSA over the past couple of weeks and now that I am mastering the storage of all the goodies, I have enough carrots to make a big old pot of soup! I'm roasting them as we type this in the hopes I finish the soup in time to take it to Alan's grandma's house for lunch. Here is a cute video of her humming to Frankie to help calm him down... Frankie is great grandchild #20 for her!


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I also thought it was time that I get back to knitting. I do off and on during summer but now that winter is in full swing, it just seems easier. I finished a sweater from a pattern called Bitty Boy Bump. I used a soft alpaca mix in forest green.



In the knitting bag I have 1 other baby project, Snug, another sweater jacket but this one has a hood. This one is done in a chunky vibrant blue yarn. I got to the point in the pattern where I was supposed to be knitting the shoulders using invisible vertical seaming on a garter stitch and I realized (after I finished of course) that I was so out of it that I seamed the ARM HOLES closed instead of the shoulders. UGH. Had to take it out and fix it, which took longer than the seaming. I'm hoping to finish it in time for Frankie to wear it! :)

Here it is in it's current state:


The other 2 projects I am knitting are gifts so I won't be posting about them until they are done. Sadly, I've been working on them both for more than a year. Knitting lace is complicated sometimes and requires my full attention so a good amount of time for that is hard to come by!

Anyway, happy Saturday!

PS... Frankie is 7 weeks old now and about 12 1/2 lbs!

November 11, 2011

11.11.11

Following suit of some dear folk (Ali & Emily), I've decided to post 11 thoughts/wishes/hopes...

  1. Happiness and continued good health for Frankie. Can you believe he is 6 weeks old?!
  2. To support and love Alan as we continue to enjoy our life together! :)
  3. A safe and peaceful holiday season for all my family.
  4. For those out there going through change, you will come out the other side better for it.
  5. Thankful to those who have served our country, by choice or necessity.
  6. Grateful for a home and all the trimmings.
  7. Proud of my mom for taking care of herself.
  8. Impressed by my little sister and all she has turned out to be... happy she has EB and her boys.
  9. Lucky for reconnecting with my mom's family...
  10. Missing friends and bubble tea...
  11. I hope that dance lessons are in my future... a girl can dream!

November 6, 2011

5 weeks

Being pregnant seemed to last forever and having F around seems to be the opposite. Time is just flying by and it is really sad to see him growing so fast. We have already put away the newborn clothes and now we are in the 3 month clothes category. I have a sneaking suspicion that like women's clothes, size doesn't necessarily reflect and real 'size' so I refuse to think he is big for his size because he isn't!

Anyway, here are some new pics...








October 5, 2011

And the plan went out the window...

Well, after a grueling eviction notice was posted, baby Morris arrived his own way on his own schedule.

Franklin Oliver

Friday, September 30, 2011
8 lbs, 6 oz (yeah, bigger because of the 42 weeks)
21" long
Hair like you wouldn't believe!

We couldn't be happier/more exhausted/surprised/luckier!


September 26, 2011

Settling in

So we have been in the house now for a little over a week. It is still all about organizing, unpacking, and various other 'projects.' The nursery is mostly ready for the baby but apparently he is not ready to join us yet. My official due date was September 18 but that has past and we are still waiting. Eviction will occur starting Wednesday evening if he doesn't choose to join us before then. Here is a shot of the nursery cubby holes:


When we have less boxes out and about I will take pictures and show off the new digs. Until then, you all will just have to come and see the house for yourself in person!

:)


July 27, 2011

more videos...


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video


video

Under Construction - continued...

This is just a continuation of my previous post on the house and the current state of affairs...

Here is a video before some of the construction. I am working on uploading a couple more that were filmed just yesterday!


video



First up, the front door. I was determined to paint it a cheery color and I did.

Before it was black
Then it was grey from the primer

Now it is a antique moss with blue trim!


New couches, not delivered yet but soon!


Here are some of the items going into the kitchen:

Tile backsplash


Cabinet and handle (top handle, ignore bottom)

Counter sample sitting on cabinet

Electrolux Icon Professional Double Wall Ovens (yay!)
Thermador gas cooktop

Apron front farmhouse sink


Faucet

And we have been working on the guest accomodations as well (come visit soon!):

Paint is the middle yellow color and the carpet is the blue

July 26, 2011

House stuff

Well, the house is still not ready but things are moving along... While I cannot set up the nursery yet, I thought it would be fun to share some stuff we have for it.

Here is the general plan:


Now here are some of the actual items:

The crib is the actual crib but the changing table is different (kindly passed down from Shirley, Brian, and the tots).





The room will be painted a slate blue with a bit of muted yellow trim. The curtains are yellow and I am making (trying to make) a tie up shade out of this fabric:


Shirley helped me find the fabric yesterday so I am super excited! We have a lot of toys and stuff already but here are a couple that I found that I can't wait to put in the cubby holes:



These are wood with safe, non-toxic paint and I found them on Etsy. The store is Imagination Kids. I am still looking at the toy helicopter. Just can't decide on what color!  :)

I will have some pictures of the house and the current state of affairs soon. Painting, walls, and soon carpet, oh my!

July 9, 2011

Plate to Pixel Food Photography Workshop

I like to take pictures but have never had a inkling of any training. I picked up a camera and started on auto settings. After many years, I worked my way to manual settings and I'm still figuring things out. My gram (a very talented painter and photographer) always warned me to find my own style for images before I let any one muddy the waters so I always avoided taking any classes.

But then came a food blog, a lovely food blog. Hélène Dujardin, who blogs as Tartelette, showed me that you can make beautiful things and then show them in a medium that makes them even more appealing. A brief snippet of a perfect crust or berry saved for the ages... what a nice thought.

I nearly lost my cookies when I read on her blog that she was going to be in Salt Lake City. She was kicking off her Plate to Pixel tour with a class, a very small class. I bit the bullet and signed up (Shirley came too).

I am sooooo glad I did! The group was so nice and everything Hélène covered was so helpful. I was happy with the book. But hearing things in person and being able to see an example/setup, well, that cannot be beat. The organizer, foodiecrush, did a great job. The location, food, and treat bag were perfect!

I snapped a few shots, nothing fancy but I hope that with my new ideas I can bring some great shots to the blog.

June 29, 2011

Construction zone

Summer has definitely started and the weather has been nice and warm here in SLC. Alan, his parents, and I have been keeping busy with the new house and its many projects. We haven't moved in yet but once we get a few things done we will.

Here are some before and during-demo pictures...

Outside front
Front living area/dining room (before the demo work)


The kitchen before the demo work (the counters are linoleum floor tiles, yuck)
The soon to be nursery! LOVE the cubby holes!


Lovely red oak under all that yucky grey carpet!!!

One of the four layers under the kitchen floor...

Another layer under the kitchen floor...

Lovely retro swirl... :)

 I'm trying to get together some pictures of what our plans are for the kitchen. I'll show you all some cabinets, counters, and tile ideas. Yay! Projects!