Monthly Archives: November 2011

Master Bedroom and Bathroom…COMPLETE!

I can hardly believe I am typing those words, but my friends…it is true. Okay…nearly true. For the bathroom we still need to purchase a shower door and install it. However that is being put on hold for a bit while we replenish our budget 🙂 For now, a shower curtain and a curtain rod should do just the trick! Wanna see pictures?

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Just in time for Baby Boys arrival, since the goal was to have it done by the time he was born.  AND I am 36 weeks this week.  Only another month-ish until his predicted arrival time.  Oh I can hardly wait.  The baby room is also coming along.  I will show you that next!

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Homemamde Ranch Dressing Mix

Our family loves this stuff. We use it to dip veggies in and pour it over nice big green salads all summer long. The dry mix itself is really great for taco soups that call for a packet of ranch seasoning (just mix a few tbsp. into some sour cream and broth from the soup and whisk into the soup!)

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix
1 rounded tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dill
1/4 tsp. red pepper

Mix all ingredients and store in an air tight container.

I usually quadruple this recipe and keep it in a glass jar in my spice cabinet to be used whenever I need it.

For a yummy Ranch Dressing:

Mix 2 tsp. ranch seasoning mixture with 1/2 cup full fat plain yogurt (could sub sour cream if needed) and 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Store in refrigerator. Best if allowed to ‘marinate’ in the fridge overnight to let the flavor mesh 🙂

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Poblano Chili ‘Fries’

(Photo Credit)

So I saw these little beauties a long long time ago on the Rachel Ray Show.  I used to LOVE watching her 30 min. meals back in the day.  We went to a little game day party at our friend recently and I decided to give them a try…oh…my…goodness.  They are SO yummy.  I served them with my Homemade Ranch Dip. So so yummy you guys.

Poblano Chili ‘Fries’

Ingredients

• 1 1/2 poblano peppers, de-seeded and cut into sticks

• 1 cup flour, divided

• 2 eggs, lightly beaten

• 2 tablespoons mustard, whatever variety you like (I used spicy mustard)

• 1 cup breadcrumbs

• 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

• Salt and ground black pepper

Preparation

• Preheat oven to 400ºF. Set up 3 plates on the counter; in one spread the flour, in the second beat the eggs with the mustard and about 2 tablespoons of flour, in the third combine the breadcrumbs, cheese and some salt and pepper.

• Coat the peppers in the flour, then in egg and finally in the breadcrumbs, pressing to make sure coating sticks. Roast peppers in the oven, turning halfway through baking until golden brown and crispy, about 18 minutes.

• Serve immediately.

Notes: I ended up tripling the amount of ingredients I needed for the dredging process. I’m not sure why I needed so much more than the original recipe called for. But they turned out yummy nonetheless!  Also I lined the baking pans with parchment paper. It really helped to get the ‘fries’ extra crispy.

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Baby Shower and 35 weeks

Yesterday I was officially 35 weeks…which means that next week I will be 36 weeks and that I am considered full term and that little Baby Boy could come any time he wishes.  Crazy!

Last weekend, my incredible sister’s in law and mother in law threw me a sweet shower for Baby Boy.  There was delicious food, fun games, and wonderful company.  Fun Fact: Every guest in attendance either had a baby in their belly, or a baby of their own under the age of 6 months…crazy right?  We are for sure in the season of babies in our lives right now, as are most of our friends…

Here’s a few pictorials:

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Much fun was had.  Have I mentioned that I am pretty sure that I have the best friends and family that a girl could ever ask for?  I am one thankful lady.

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My new camera

Did I post about this already?  I think I meant to but never did…

I bought my dream camera.  I did.  I saved for…many years.  Literally.  And I bought it; my first digital SLR  Have you noticed a difference in the pictures on here?  I have even started doing a bit of photography in my ‘free’ time.  I am so very much enjoying it!  It has been a great new artistic outlet for me!  And I have been given some super fun and unique opportunities to serve friends, family and ministries that we love with it!

Recently I have been intrigued by extended exposure.  So of course, who better could I get to help me than my most enthusiastic photography helper; Little Man.

How cool is that?  We got some really cool ones of us writing out our names, but since we do not put names on here…I can not show you.  Sorry.

The one above I took at an exposure speed of 2.0 seconds.  Little Man is spinning a glow stick around on a string.  Pretty cool huh?

Just thought I would share.

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Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Maple Butter Cream Icing

Okay do I really need to even try to convince you that this is amazing and you must go make it right now? Seriously? Okay…

Now what?!? Go make it for goodness sake.

The perfect fall dessert. Moist, spicy cake with a creamy sweet maple topping. Mmmm.

Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Maple Butter Cream Icing
Makes two 8 inch round cakes or one 9×13 sheet cake

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted (you could sub whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup buttermilk (I used a cup of milk mixed with 1 tbsp. lemon juice. let it sit for 30 min. at room temp.)
2 sticks butter, softened (NOT melted)
1 cup sucanat (could use brown sugar)
1 cup white sugar (could use all sucanat for a whole foods version)
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Line the bottoms of 2 round 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the parchment, as well as the sides of the pans. Preheat the oven to 325°. Center a rack in the oven.

To make the cake, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree and buttermilk and mix until smooth. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase to high speed and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and scraping down the bowl between additions. Add the vanilla extract and beat on high for 30 seconds. With the mixer running on low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter, until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Immediately divide the batter between the prepared cake pans, spreading evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 10 minutes. Invert onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

(Original cake recipe that I changed a bit found here)

Maple Butter Cream Icing

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened

2-3 cups of powdered sugar

1 1/2  tsp. maple extract

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2-3/4 tsp. salt (This may seem like a lot for an icing recipe, but it gives it such a good flavor, like a salted caramel mocha)

2-3  tbsp. half and half or milk

(If you have a standing mixer, you’ll want to use it for the buttercream.)

In a large bowl or 5-qrt standing mixer cream butter & maple extract until smooth.  Add powdered sugar 2 cups at a time, blending well after cup. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Once all the sugar is added, beat on medium speed for 5-7 minutes. Around minute 4 or 5 you’ll notice your buttercream getting very fluffy which means you’re almost there. Add 1-2 tbsp cream or milk if your frosting is too thick. The icing shouldn’t be too stiff. To determine, pull the beater out of the buttercream. It needs to slightly shift or slowly fall off the beater. If it barely moves you’ll need to add some liquid & beat for another minute.

Are you still sitting here?  GO!  Make the cake!

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Little Man the Male Model

Am I the only mom of boys that enjoys pulling out the new season of clothes and seeing what cute outfits I can put together for my little guy?

Recently, I did just that. And I happened to mention to Little Man that I needed some pictures of him in his cool Fall outfit. He promptly (and surprisingly to me) got very excited about this. So we headed out to find a fun spot to shoot and below is a collage of some of the pictures taken. Please so enjoy…we sure did!

Can I just make sure you realize that every single one of these photos (granted minus the one of him sitting because boys never do that by choice) were solely inspired by Little Man himself.  There are about 40 that I ended up keeping from our time because they are just so stinking hilarious.  A different face and pose for every one.  Hubby and I got a good laugh looking at them all.  Our son…he is a character.  And we sure do love him to pieces!

P.S.  Isn’t he so big??

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