July 29, 2013

Honey Bee Cake

The cabin is the only place I know where the world disappears. No need to answer the phone, watch TV, check the news... Up until a few years ago, no Internet even! We play games till midnight, each day thinking "tonight we'll go to bed on time", and never do, and it never matters. The clock on the wall has been stuck at twenty to eight, and hasn't been reset for as long as I can remember. You can plan ahead, or not plan at all. Adventure around in the wilderness or just sit and be. Make friends with hummingbirds and fall asleep to the sound of the river. We've had rainstorms and sun, drizzles and downpours, discovered a bird's nest under the porch, heard Japanese spoken with a Russian accent, discovered that the Geologist still doesn't know what a platypus looks like, napped and hiked and laughed till it hurt. Tomorrow we head home, loaded with pictures, this place ingrained in us just a little bit more. It will be good to go home, and good to know home will always be here.

July 26, 2013

Spiced Cranberry Pecan Scones

Perhaps I should rename my blog... "Scones and Other Things..." :)

July 23, 2013

Baked Manicotti with Meat Sauce

I think I can get used to this early morning thing... The house is silent, the boys are still asleep... Of course, I'm listening to loud, obnoxious music, because I can, but I'm a good girl, using headphones. Just me and my beastie. I talk to her a lot more when no one else is around. She's good company. Especially at the moment, I just cut up a peach for breakfast... I swear she smells them across the house and comes looking for a nibble! The sun is long up, and just now touching the trees in our courtyard... my favorite part is having the patio door open. It's wonderfully cool outside, and I love the fresh air! I long for the spring and fall days when I can leave the doors and windows open all day. In a few hours it will be too hot, and we'll retreat into our air-conditioned cave. I miss my birdfeeders. We didn't think we would be in this apartment long enough to bother hanging them, so my cheery chirpy companions are absent. No hummers, goldfinches, jays or sparrows. Now that I know we'll be here at least till spring again... I think I need to get them out! My Mom has already updated me from the cabin, our four giant hummingbird feeders are full, and the hummers are swarming! I can't wait to be there. 

July 22, 2013

Weekly Menu July 22

This week we have:
Baked Manicotti with Meat Sauce
Spiced Cranberry Pecan Scones
Honey Bee Cake

For today, July 22...

July 15, 2013

Goodbye Gimli

Normally I would be posting a menu for the week, but I'm behind. I have no recipes planned. It's been a hard weekend. The Geologist is gone for work again, which isn't that devastating, but my family also lost our German Shepherd, Gimli.
Ten and a half years ago, I came home from work in Tucson, AZ, and the house was abuzz. My family told me to close my eyes, and deposited this stumpy little ball of fur in my hands. What else could we name him, but Gimli? Fuzzy, short, stocky, and tough as nails (NOT!) Our family has a bit of a Tolkien dog name tradition, we've had a gorgeous mutt named Beorn and a massive Malamute named Strider. My parents had been looking at German Shepherds for months, but the day we got him was a total surprise. He was definitely Mom's dog, but I loved him too.
He has always been full of quirks, and way too silly for such a giant dog. He hated family game night, and would whine and stick his head behind the couch. We never could figure out why...
Being such a big, intimidating dog, we were constantly having to convince people he wasn't scary. He was goofy, lovable, and always waiting to administer "therapy". He was never without a giant pile of toys, and my boys adored him.

He has been my parents' constant companion on more adventures than most dogs could ever dream of, always game, always living life as fully as it could be lived, from Colorado to Utah to Alaska to Texas and finally Washington DC.
I shouldn't be so sad, he fought with cancer for the last two months and it was time to go. He was deeply loved, and loved us all back. He had a wonderful life. But I miss him. So I'll cry a few more times, stock up on recipes for next week, and take a break. Goodbye Gimli.
Good Boy. :)

""A great life together is worth the sadness at the end." -Dad

July 11, 2013

Ganache-Topped Mascarpone Brownies for The Geologist's Birthday

Ours is a love story of destiny... (sounds silly, but it's kinda true!)

We met in Missouri, right before I turned 16. I was angry that we had moved away from my BFF and that my brother's allergies prevented us from going somewhere fun, like Alaska or England. The Geologist was one of the "cool kids" of our church (he'd say that's not saying much in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it town like Warrensburg, but he was) and I will never know what made him invite dumpy, brace-faced, greasy-banged little me to hang out with them, but somehow we became best friends.
No, really. Ew. 
He and his brothers had a band, I became their biggest fan and only groupie. His house was my second home. He took me to prom, just because I was "supposed" to go, and showed up in a tux that matched my homemade dress. Our friendship lasted through hospital stays, girlfriends (his), miserable crushes (mine), failed geometry tutoring, a horrendously hot summer in Nauvoo Illinois, early-morning seminary, band practices, and church activities.
Ah, thank goodness for growing up!
After our 3 year military stay in Missouri, he left on a mission and I moved to Arizona. We wrote for two years, while I dated less-than-awesome guys and never found anyone to match him (as evidenced by all boyfriends' hatred of his name...) Somewhere during those two years he decided he was going to marry me, while I remained clueless.
It might have had something to do with the blanket I made him...
I came back to Missouri to visit after his mission, and we were unofficially engaged within 24 hours. (Calling my then-boyfriend to inform him of that fact was quite interesting...) I guess no one was really surprised, except me! There were no fireworks, no moment of blinding clarity, he was just the only person on earth I couldn't live without. He still is, and always will be, my best friend, my favorite person, and the love of my life.
He is smarter than he thinks, more awesome than he'll admit, funny as all get out, my romantic knight-in-shining armor, makes me happier than I have ever been, is absolutely my rock (no pun intended!!) and I am not worthy.
So I make him chocolate. :)

Happy Birthday!!

July 10, 2013

Chicken Gyro Salad

You know what's awesome? Figuring out how to connect your computer to your TV so you can watch the last season of Doctor Who from iTunes. Even more awesome? Using that connection to play Bollywood music videos on your TV for your boys all morning! We've been having a gleeful Bollywood dance party! Speaking of which, I need to have another Bollywood night... too bad most of my friends are on vacation! Maybe I can pull one together with whoever is still around... it's not for everyone, that's for sure! But I usually manage to find a friend or two to convert. :)

Sometimes I come up with new recipes, follow others exactly, tweak them a bit, but this is the first time I've re-used one! Remember those awesome Chicken Gyros from a few months ago? When we started trying to eat a little healthier around here, we turned it into a salad! And it was a HUGE hit! By far the boys's favorite salad of all time. They were even excited! And guess what, it's totally healthy!

July 8, 2013

Weekly Menu July 8

Source: northwudzgirl

This week we have:
Chicken Gyro Salad
Ganache-Topped Mascarpone Brownies

For today, July 8...

July 7, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Buns

And that, my dear friends, is my husband. I love when he commandeers my blog. We WERE going to write the burgers and buns recipes together, but I was informed I was not allowed to participate. So here are the buns, to go with those perfect burgers!

How to Make a Perfect Burger - By The Geologist

Hello, it's Stephen again.  The Geologist.  It has been awhile since I hijacked April's blog.  As usual, she cannot be held accountable for anything mistspelt, said, or implied in this blog post.  She has not been allowed to alter anything in this post as is the normal condition for my hijacking to occur.

Manliness is found below:

July 6, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Scones

I have been an absolute airhead lately! SHAME on me! Three very important dates, and I haven't even mentioned two of them, and completely forgot the third!

First of all, yesterday was Bracken's birthday! My Beastie is now two years old, still as snuggly as ever, silly and gorgeous and still my little girl. We spent her birthday camping, which is about as awesome as a dog's birthday can get, plus we fed her watermelon!
Fruit is her favorite treat in the whole world. I also figured out how to get her to pose, and capture at her most photogenic... all I have to do is say the word "Squirrel". I love you Beastie!
Second, today is The Geologist's birthday! I won't tell you how old he is, but in his words he's "officially old." I beg to differ, but who listens to me? I'm going to gush all about the love of my life when I post his birthday recipe next week. He deserves his own post, full of chocolate. Happy Birthday my Love!!

Last, and perhaps least, but still exciting: I've been blogging for a year! I completely missed the date! In fact, my "blogiversary" was on the 20th of June, and I didn't realize it until the end of the month! Then it slipped my mind, over and over again... Anyway. A whole year of recipes. I may not have blogged every single day, but I've made friends for life, learned so many new things, recovered from surgeries, graduate degrees, moves, "real life", and saltwater taffy addictions. (Well, that one is a work in progress...) I still love blogging so very much. I was worried I'd burn out in six months! I've found my groove, settled in, and am comfy in my blogging space. I love all of my readers, whether you comment, try recipes, or not! The fact that you read my ramblings makes this fun, every day. Thank you so much!

July 5, 2013

Small and Wonderful Things 28

Apologies, hugs, and starting overs (Yes Mom, that is meant to have an 's')

Lightning storm-watching dates after the boys are in bed
Source: Pinterest

July 3, 2013

Cinnamon Toast Biscotti

So far, my flowers are all holding in there! And my strawberry plant is growing berries! Fingers crossed! Not sure about the second dahlia, I THINK it's okay, but I won't know for sure till it blooms. I trimmed all the blooms off everything else to give them a rest, that is one thing I learned from my Mom.

We bought the boys baseball gloves today! We pulled our old gloves out a few days ago, to see if they might be interested in playing catch, and Joe was immediately hooked. With a big ole grown-up girl glove, he can catch and throw almost better than I can! For a 5-year-old, he is seriously a natural! I'm seeing Little League in this kid's future. Stephen started playing once he realized how much fun The Geologist and Joe were having, and he's not bad either! So today we went shopping for gloves, and they each found one that fit, in their favorite colors! Joe thinks he still likes my glove better... I'm hoping that wears off...

July 1, 2013

Weekly Menu July 1

Source: escapetoahappyplace

This week we have:
Homemade Hamburger Buns
The Geologist's Homemade Burgers
Cinnamon Toast Biscotti
Strawberry Shortcake Scones

For today, July 1...