November 23, 2014

Pumpkin Roll

I seriously can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving. It completely snuck up on me this year!! Tomorrow I'll be cleaning house and dog, running errands, picking up a monster load of groceries and preparing for the first Thanksgiving in TEN YEARS that my whole family will be in the same place at the same time!! I hope you have a fantastic week, whether you're in the US celebrating Thanksgiving or all over the world doing whatever it is other people do this week. I hope there is at least yummy food involved for all of you! And this is a treat you can make no matter where you are or what you're doing. As long as you can get your hands on pumpkin and cream cheese, that is. Which I am learning is not as universal as I always vaguely assumed. Either way...

Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 22, 2014

Small & Wonderful Things

Anticipation and Excitement

Being part of sports history at my second football game ever!!

Stephen teaching Joe cursive, and assigning him homework

Falling Snow
Source: snowabove

Morning walks to school

Leaf Shuffling. Who cares if it's in the gutter!

Joe's gurgley full-out laugh

Frost (I know, I've done this one multiple times. I just love frost!!)

Pretty much any time those two boys of mine are getting along :)

November 21, 2014

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Sometimes this Mom thing is a tough gig. Sometimes no one listens, kids forget everything you've ever taught them, can't find the backpack sitting in the middle of the room, throw a fit over something tiny and pointless, wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and take you completely for granted. Those days are rough. 

But sometimes, kids write you letters to try and cheer you up. Or make a "do not disterbd" sign for your door when you ask for some time to yourself. They say "Thank You!!!" a bazillion times for a trip to the Botanic Gardens, are actually sad when you leave, and are ridiculously proud to carry a treat in to the school office. And somehow, all those little moments really do make this whole Mom thing worth sticking with. Like baking this biscotti with Joe!

November 19, 2014

Classic Rice Pudding

Today could possibly be a very exciting day! Now that my parents have found a house, it's time to get them a puppy!! They've been visiting breeders all over the state of Colorado (okay, nearly) and you would not believe all the different kinds of German Shepherds out there! Tall, short, thin, bulky, long-haired, short haired, pointy nose, square nose... It's been quite an adventure! I've gotten to visit a few breeders with them, and we're hoping to go back to the biggest (and my favorite!!) to put down a deposit on a puppy today! I just love tagging along to pet dogs and play with puppies. I have to admit, as adorable as my little black ball of Bracken fluff was as a puppy, German Shepherd puppies are the cutest puppies everrrr!! Pretty much the only thing cuter than a German Shepherd puppy is my Joe surrounded by German Shepherd puppies.
He's quite the puppy whisperer, that boy of mine!

November 17, 2014

Weekly Menu November 17

Source: Pinterest

This week we have:
Classic Rice Pudding
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Pumpkin Roll

For today, Nov 17 ...

November 16, 2014

Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie

 Ah, comfort food. We all have our favorites, and everyone's comfort food is different. There are some foods that are "generally acknowledged" to be comfort food, like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, chocolate cake... but comfort food doesn't always belong in the "creamy and fattening" box. Sure, when I'm depressed, I want sugary carbs. But if you offered me any food in the world at any given moment, I'd pick authentic Japanese ramen. Which takes like 3 days to make and is frustratingly hard to find around here! One of the Geologist's comfort foods is Spam and cheese "sushi". You read that right. He fries up a slice of Spam, puts a piece of cheddar on top, and wraps it in seaweed and rice. I think it's just plain nasty, but he loves it! Some of the other fun comfort foods I've heard of are congee, a savory rice porridge, spaghetti sauce on toast, pickles, sushi, and jam and mayo sandwiches. It's pretty clear that not all comfort foods have to be drenched in cheese and cream, they just have to be that one thing that always makes you feel better. The thing that tastes awesome to you no matter what disgusted noises your friends make. Heck, you should hear some of the noises my Mom makes when I talk about all things deep-fried!

So whether your comfort foods are off the wall, inspired by your heritage, or pretty classic, try adding this chicken pot pie to the list. Who knows! It might just stick with you. :)

November 15, 2014

Small & Wonderful Things

BURGUNDY CONVERSE!!! My new favorite shoes, in my most favoritest color!!

Stealing the perfect hoodie from The Geologist, just long enough, sooo comfy, totally living in it (Okay, I didn't actually steal it, he got it from work and gave it to me)

My little silver maple in all its glory

Making a house a home, all your own

A leaf bouquet from Joe

A perfectly-risen cake

Finding my icewater all ready for choir, because my Geologist knows I always forget it.

The sound of my boys giggling together

November 13, 2014

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

 I'm still on schedule!! Hurrah! I'm back, folks. Back in my blogging groove. Actually grooving at the moment too, headphones in and everything, listening to a rather odd mix of new favorite songs. Cheezy country love song, silly pop nonsense, awesomely random soul/rock/something... I don't even know how to describe that last one. Lets just say I need to learn the words FAST. We're still in single digits over here, but we saw the sun for the first time since Monday! Who is experiencing plummeting temperatures with me and who has yet to freeze? This week has been kinda fun, no one wants to go out at night when it's this cold and snowy, right? So all of our weekly obligations have been canceled left and right and we're all reveling in our natural homebody/hermit state. Watching way too much TV and, in my case, eating way too much of my favorite dessert of all time!! Yes, that would be this one, right here. I baked it three times, just to get it perfect. For you of course. Not so I could eat it three meals a day. All for the blog...

November 11, 2014

Lion House Wassail

While we may not have gathered "feets and feets" of snow, enough stuck around to blanket rooftops, powder trees, and strand my parents in Colorado Springs! I always forget they're actually about 2000 feet higher over there, which makes storms worse. The forecast called for "a small possibility of flurries" today, but it's been flurry-ing ever since I woke up! So festive! It seems to have refreshed me, I'm more motivated than I've been in weeks! I am also a complete dingbat. I shall explain. 

First of all, it's long past time to show you the before and after of our ridiculously drawn-out spring project, replacing the bay window and installing french doors! Yeah, it was quite a battle... but we learned a lot and are finally thrilled with the result! First up: The Bay!

Interior Before:

Interior after! A grill between the panes, which I adore, and you may not be able to tell, but it's actually deeper and wider than before! I know my pictures aren't awesome, but you should be able to get the idea.

Exterior Before:

 And After! Much nicer. And all the seals intact, hooray! I can sit in my couch without freezing now!

Next, the French Doors! This is their Before shot, the panel on the left didn't move, basically just a giant window. The right side opened, and was the source of our massive heating bills and insidious drafts. We once stood in front of it and watched snow blow in around the sides. *Shudder*

And After!! Aren't they gorgeous?! I love them so much! We used them so often during the summer, opening both doors to the backyard as the evenings cooled off; it was heavenly. And no snow! Functional seals, hurrah!

And now for my dingbat moment. I've been taking pictures for months on the table in front of the French doors, thinking that all indirect natural light is created equal. Turns out it's not. It may be natural, but the back is always in shadow and my photos are always grey. I finally decided, just for the heck of it, to try taking pictures in my South-facing bay. 
I can't believe I didn't try this sooner! I just scoot the couch for a minute and it's basically a ready-made studio! No awkward furniture in the background or off to the sides, no awkward empty angles, I just need a reflector for the house side, and it's perfect! The light is so much better! Anyway, I hope you enjoy the results of my new studio as much as I do! :)

And, in honor of our very first snow of the season, I'm thrilled to finally share one of my favorite recipes of all time. A childhood favorite that has become a holiday season must in our family!

November 10, 2014

Weekly Menu November 10

This week we have: 
Lion House Wassail
Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie
Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

For today, Nov 10...

November 9, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bread

Happy November!! One of these days I'll stick to that schedule I keep making myself. Until then, I'll just keep my fingers crossed that as long as I can keep giving you scrumptious food, you won't up and rebel on me. Totally kidding, you're the sweetest, most patient group of friends and readers that a scatter-brained girl could ask for! Which is why even though 'tis late, I had to get you this recipe, come hell or high water or a week-long hiatus. October may be over, but who said that means we have to put our pumpkin away till next year? If you've got a spare can, and some cream cheese lying around, with that winter storm front looming, you'll be set for scrumptious goodies to hold you through the big chill with this recipe. Is it just me, or does this whole Alaskan storm remind anyone else of the intro to the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie??

If it were December instead of  early November, I would be pretty concerned about Christmas, I don't know about you... Instead, I'll just be concerned for Alaskans, pray like crazy, and hunker down planning my baking list!! For those of you not in the US, congratulations. :) For those of you getting frozen already, bundle up and stay warm!! I'll see you tomorrow, when we start getting snowed on. Have a delightful Sunday!

November 1, 2014

Vegetable Cheese Chowder

Menu change!! I'm just plain not satisfied with my ramen pictures. I'll have to make it again. Oh darn. Not really, because its basically my new favorite food, but that also means I need to do it justice with perfect pictures! I think you'll forgive me, because I've got an old favorite for you that I hope you'll love!