December 22, 2015

Favorite Christmas Treats

I said I wasn't going to post, but I'm sitting here waiting for my second batch of caramels to hit "soft ball" and realized that heck, there are a few more days until Christmas, maybe a few of you are looking for a last treat or two to whip together, so here is a compilation of my very favorite Christmas treats. Enjoy, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

First up, since they're the one that gave me this idea, Classic Caramels. Perfect, chewy, buttery caramels, and not as tricky as you might think!

It's been a while...

Hello friends! I kinda dropped off the face of the earth there, didn't I. Last thing you heard, I was off to the UK! Our trip was glorious, heavenly, an absolute dream come true. As excited as I was for Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales totally captured The Geologist's and my heart, so if the bottom drops out of the petroleum industry, we're totally moving there and opening a B&B. And we'll go camping in Scotland and Wales on the weekends. That's the plan!

I'm sorry I haven't been posting, this whole adoption thing kind of took over my life. 85% of my brain is in China with Meili, and I am not good for much else these days! In fact, so much has happened, things have moved along pretty quickly, and we fly to China NEXT FRIDAY. Just like our trip to the UK, I can barely wrap my head around it, but I will be holding my little girl on January 4th!

September 18, 2015

Chicken Gyros & Homemade Pita Bread


I can't believe it. That's just one of those things we say, but honestly, I don't think I'll 100% believe I'm actually going until the plane leaves the ground. I have zero experience with international travel. The Geologist has been to Egypt and the Bahamas, but the furthest I've been outside of the USA is a drive down into Mexico with my best friend and her family when I was eight or nine. Considering that the only things I remember from that trip are olive trees and gross cold fish tacos, I'm going to have to say that doesn't count. But now I have a passport and I'm going to be flying over an ocean! Heck, we have a layover in Iceland! I probably won't have a chance to leave the airport, but still!!  Iceland!! I'm... just... floored. Okay. Gathering myself together, ha!

Today's recipe is a re-post, because it's one of my favorite recipes I've ever discovered on a fellow food blog (shout-out to Half-Baked Harvest!!) and the pictures from my original post are... kind of awful, lol! Some day I'll get the hang of rolling them up, so they actually look like gyros... Oh well!

September 15, 2015

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Wow, it's been forever since I posted something chocolate-y on here!! Looking through the archives... Back in March? Jeepers! It's about time I share this one then! This is the second attempt to post this recipe, the pictures from the first attempt I just... couldn't. Nope. I'm off to run errands and finish re-painting the basement, so until tomorrow, friends!!

September 14, 2015

Roasted Corn with Manchego and Lime

You GUYS. I leave for the UK on Saturday!! Only FIVE days!!! I don't even know what to do with myself. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back on the blogging "horse", but I'm finally coming out of my adoption brain fog and will give you a nice full week of recipes before I leave, and set up a few to post while I'm gone. It's still depressingly hot and summer-y around here, even though I am SO ready for Fall, so I'll give you a handful of my last Summer recipes, because as far as I'm concerned, it will be Fall when I get back. I decree it must be so! 

Starting off the lineup today is my new favorite Summer side. My little sis made this when she was home for the early summer term and I couldn't stop eating it. It's ridiculously addictive!! I never got a chance to bring it to any BBQ's or picnics, but I made it for myself a few times! If fresh corn is still as yummy where you are as it is here, you need to make some of this awesome stuff ASAP!

August 23, 2015

We Found Her!!!

Source: Pinterest

It's true!! It finally happened!! We found our little girl!! I can't post pictures or give many details for a few months, until China approves the match, but I can tell you she just turned three, we still hope to travel in January to get her, and we are ALL in LOVE!! We honestly weren't expecting to get our first referral for a child for weeks yet, maybe months, and now we know who she is! I barely even know what to do with myself! I'll be back with food tomorrow, today is all about being beyond joyful!!

I also wanted to let you know that we are doing just a smidgen of fundraising, no pressure, but if you're interested, come take a look at the beautiful t-shirt we designed :)


August 21, 2015

August 20 Daybook


For today, August 20 ... I'm back!! I had every intention of blogging all summer, but between adoption stuff, entertaining the boys (aka living at the pool), vacations, and life in general, my brain was just on constant overload. I sat down in front of the computer a few times and stared blankly at the screen for a while before realizing that I had nuthin. :) Luckily I kept taking pictures of food, so I have fun stuff saved up for you!

May 27, 2015

May 17, 2015

Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes with Buttermilk Syrup

Another re-post! These are my favorite pancakes ever in the history of pancakes. I posted them way back in the beginning months of my blog, and while the pictures weren't terrible, they just didn't do these completely scrumptious pancakes justice! Plus they were missing some historical toppings. You see, these pancakes are a kind of family heirloom.

Back in July 2012, when I began this blog, I was in and out of the hospital preparing for a yard sale surgery. Ironically enough, I started a food blog during a time when I couldn't really eat anything! My Mom was visiting us (and most of her family) in Utah for the 4th of July and my doctors let me leave the hospital just in time to go to a very special family reunion with her. A reunion of two families: The Watts and Rytting families. Ardean Watts was her Dad's (my Grandpa's) best friend. His family, and my Mom's family, the Ryttings, practically grew up together. Camping, holidays, various celebrations, all spent together before everyone grew up and scattered to the winds. Most of them happened to be back in Utah for a wedding that year, and they decided to get the whole "clan" back together for a Fourth of July breakfast, including all possible progeny. It was quite an experience! We all got to meet each other, catch up, and listen to Ardean's notorious story-telling. And I tasted these amazing pancakes for the first time! Totally cheated, I wasn't supposed to be eating solid food but I just had to try one bite and fell in love! It was months before I could make them for myself, but so worth it. They're still my favorites.

May 11, 2015

A Garden Post

Well, Winter has come and gone, and I've gone a little garden crazy the past few weeks! Winter did leave a parting gift though, another Mother's Day snow storm. What is it with Mother's Day and snow around here?! Last year the storm completely flattened my massive peonies, so I never got to experience their true glory. This year we managed (just barely) keep them safe, and they're huge!! I keep having the boys stand next to them to see if they've finally topped my children... not quite yet...

May 7, 2015

Best Chewy Sugar Cookies

Today I have a re-post for you! And because I am saving all of my interesting blogging thoughts for my daybook, and I described these cookies so well the first time, I think I'll just use my words over again, with MUCH better pictures! Enjoy :)

There are two, distinct, completely different kinds of sugar cookies in this world. Lets get that straight. There are the fluffier, thicker kind, the kind you cut into shapes and frost. Then there are the chewy, crispy, covered-in-sugar cousins to the snickerdoodle. Keeping up? Good. I love both. I already have a perfect cut-out sugar cookie recipe, but we'll save that one for a holiday (and frost them, of course!). I've never bothered to try and make the other kind, because they always let me down. I am PICKY. When you have a cookie this simple, it has to be PERFECT. It should taste creamy, and buttery, not just like sugar. Bleck. So when I saw this recipe at Bunny's Warm Oven, I was skeptical. But she said they were the best... and the pictures looked just about perfect... and I was determined to make a batch of cookies for the boys. Not to mention it has cream cheese in it. Cream cheeeese... Which I love as much as lemon, and more than most things.

May 4, 2015

Banana Cream Pie: My Favorite Pie Ever!

Well, almost every last piece of our big ole pile of paperwork is in, just waiting to finish up our homestudy on Friday and send it off for the first big wait: approval from immigration. This is the trickiest one, because they quote you a 60-90 day wait! It can be less, heck, it can be under 30 days, but you just never know. Isn't that crazy??  It's hard to think about much else these days, I have to admit. Hang in there with me friends, I'll keep you posted! And keep posting :). I'm writing up half a dozen posts today, scout's honor!

April 13, 2015

Lemon Biscotti

Happy Birthday to meeeee! This Saturday I turned 30. Most of my adult life, I haven't quite dreaded reaching that landmark age, but haven't exactly been thrilled at the prospect. Thirty seemed old. Not ancient, but "mature". Like by the time I hit that big three-oh, I should be all settled down and boring. I should be done with my youngster shenanigans, turn my music down, quit fan-girling over British actors, Indian movies, and Japanese cartoons, and feel thirty. Surprise surprise, I'm not done, and I don't feel thirty! But now I have a reason to be thrilled to death about turning thirty, because now I am officially old enough to adopt our little girl from China! THAT is something worth celebrating! And guess what? I've still got plenty of youngster shenanigans to go, and if I don't feel thirty, well, China doesn't need to know that, do they? :)

I truly meant to post this recipe last week, but I was too busy having a fabulous birthday week and going through a 48-hour emotional adoption rollercoaster. (More on that later) On Tuesday The Geologist and I got surprise tickets to go to a hockey game (go Avalanche!!), we had two of our four homestudy visits, Friday we had a birthday lunch date at a beautiful "country Japanese" restaurant for ramen, my favoritest food, in a beautiful Japanese garden courtyard, and on Saturday my parents came up to play games, bringing a scrumptious Hummingbird Cake (which I will be making for you SOON! Yum!!) which was a very good thing, because I burned my Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake. :( The Geologist gave me tickets to a Lindsey Stirling concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater (that's kind of a huge deal, lol), Mom gave my a Lindsey Stirling hoodie, which I never want to take off, and a handmade glass star. Not sure if it counts as stained glass, because it's clear, but I love it. To top off a perfect birthday, I bought myself those burgundy Vans sneakers I've been coveting, so Kate and I have matching shoes!! Yup, a very good birthday. And you had to know I'd give you something lemon, because lemon everything is my favorite. And it's Spring-y!

April 1, 2015

March 14, 2015

Cheddar, Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Jeepers creepers, cars are expensive!! Especially BIG cars! We're outgrowing our little Rondo, which I loooove, so much, but it's time to get something bigger. Especially with a little girl on the way! And goodness gracious, vans are expensive! Not to mention the actual shopping part, with all the numbers and dealing and salespeople... ugh, totally gives me a headache. At least we found a vehicle we really love, more than one, actually! Including one that isn't actually a van... putting a kink in the plan, for sure! Send me some good car-buying karma, this is going to be quite a ride!

Sorry I'm kinda boring today, there's a lot going on! Calling car dealerships, getting an entry space cut out of my carpet (duh moment there), baking a cake for my Dad just for the heck of it, driving down to the Springs for Mom's concert, my brain is a little full at the moment! I will say, it's impossible to keep light grey carpet clean at the front door, no idea how I didn't think of that when I got the carpet installed, especially when that is your big, black, beast of a dog's favorite place to hang out and rub her dog-ish-gunk into the carpet day after day. Also, I think I may have made that Best Ever Chocolate Cake even better, but I haven't officially cut into it yet, so I'll let you know tomorrow. Happy Saturday! 

March 11, 2015

Tortilla Soup

Hello friends, I have no brain today! Sleep has failed me, my head is full of fog. But I have pretty pictures of delicious soup for you, and possibly a stroke of genius last night to break my baking block. I'm off to try it out, have a lovely Wednesday!

March 9, 2015

Weekly Menu March 9

This week we have:
Tortilla Soup
Cheddar, Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

For today, March 9...

March 2, 2015

Best Chocolate Cake EVER

Last Summer I started a quest. A quest to find the perfect chocolate layer cake. I found a few fun ones, like that Double Dark Chocolate Cake with Black Velvet Icing (I mean, woah), but that wasn't quite what I was looking for. I wanted classic, special occasion. birthday party layer cake. And guess what?? I found it! Luckily for me, Stephen wanted a chocolate cake for his birthday party this year, AND we had a Super Bowl party to make dessert for, so I got to make it twice, just to be absolutely sure it was perfect. In fact, I made it dairy-free for the birthday party, and it was still completely scrumptious!

March 1, 2015

Simple Homemade Chicken Ramen

Okay, so I'm an anime nerd, as I've mentioned before. Since I am also a food nerd, it shouldn't surprise you that after watching enough Japanese shows where they eat this gorgeously arranged soup concoction, I just had to figure out what it was and where I could get it!!
I mean seriously, how awesome does that look?? I don't even know what those meat things are, but who cares!! And believe me, it's EVERYWHERE. Anime takes its food animation seriously, people. I had to find some. Oddly enough, the first time I got to taste this glorious heaven-in-a-bowl was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not exactly where you'd expect to find a Japanese classic done really well! Needless to say, I feel madly in love, and have been chasing delicious ramen joints ever since. I spent a week researching where to eat it in Washington DC, tracked down a decent place in Salt Lake City, and found 3 places here in Denver, hooray!! I figured it would be years before I could learn to make it myself, it's supposed to take like 4 days and handmade noodles and who knows what else, so when I saw this recipe appear on Fork Knife Swoon (one of my new favorite blogs, btw), I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement! Knowing it was a shortcut version of "the real thing", I will admit my expectations were pretty low, but Oh. Man. I don't know how she managed to get this much flavor into this broth in under an hour, but she's a genius and I am forever grateful! This, my dear friends, is my new favorite food. I'm literally boiling water for my eggs as I type this. 

February 26, 2015

Cinnamon Crumble Breakfast Cake

So, apparently it takes 10 inches of snow overnight on top of a layer of frozen slush to cancel school here in Jefferson County. First snow day since we moved to Colorado!! That's three years! Oh, and it's still snowing. And I really need to go to the grocery store, and really don't want to... On the plus side, it's gorgeous, and cozy, and I get to hang out in my pajamas all day and let the boys be complete couch potatoes. I'll order them outside at some point, but lately their version of playing in the snow entails creating nests in the snow and sitting there, eating snow. In their defense, this fluffy, light as air stuff is completely useless for building anything, including snowballs. So, fresh air at least, right?

I didn't get a chance in my last post to apologize for disappearing for a month. February seems to be my slump-month, where it's hard to get inspired or motivated about much of anything. Maybe because I spend so much energy being excited about Christmas! I may take little breaks now and then, but I promise I'll never disappear completely without letting you know! Thank you for sticking around. :)

February 23, 2015

Weekly Menu Feb 23

This week we have:
Cinnamon Crumble Breakfast Cake
Weeknight Homemade Chicken Ramen
Best Chocolate Cake Ever

For today, February 23...

January 18, 2015

Perfect Yeast Donuts

Okay, I know today was supposed to be Double Chocolate Banana Bread, and I promise you'll get your chocolate fix, but you guys, I JUST MADE DONUTS!!! And you know what?? They were pretty easy!! I rarely sit down and immediately blog the thing that I am still munching in one hand, but this is kind of a big deal. Because now YOU need to make donuts!!

January 17, 2015

Small & Wonderful... PUPPIES!!!

 After three or four visits, with all kinds of crowds, we have a new canine member of the family! At the end of January my parents are bringing home their new puppy!! We figured this makes him Bracken's uncle...?
 Meet Moose the Second!!

January 16, 2015

Egg Nog Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup

Okay, so the only thing better than starting a day with a stack of these pancakes is starting my day playing with puppies! I'm off to the most incredible German Shepherd ranch to help my Mom pick out her new puppy! I swear, they're the cutest puppies in existence. If they didn't require tons of exercise, and if the Geologist didn't have his heart set on an Irish Wolfhound for our next dog (I know, he's crazy!!) I would so take one of those adorable balls of fluff home with me! I'll take pictures and share them tomorrow, cross my heart! :) Happy Friday!

January 12, 2015

One-Bowl Gingerbread Muffins

Sorry for the late posting!! I was all ready to blog my way into a new year, productive habits and all that, but the Geologist and I came down with some kind of weird lingering January crud that involved lots of tiredness, headaches, and lack of motivation and brainpower. Not gonna lie, there was a lot of napping and TV-watching. But it seems we're coming out of it! I feel like a human being again this week! So on with these recipes, which were supposed to be post-Christmas recipes, but now they're half a month late... so... Oh well! Maybe a few of you will still be on the lingering Christmas flavor bandwagon with me. Or you can always save them for next Christmas!

January 5, 2015

Weekly Menu Jan 5

This week we have:
Eggnog Pancakes with Cranberry Syrup
One-Bowl Gingerbread Muffins
Double Chocolate Banana Bread

For today, Jan 5 ...