12.26.2011

12.25.2011

Happy Birthday Kayu!

We attempted to go sledding but this is what we got...
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Sometimes I think she can't possibly be mine since she hates anything adventurous.

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So we went to Starbucks to warm up and feed the grumpy belly. But that only lasted for so long.

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The crab legs were a big hit.
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Helping Daddy open presents.

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The best present of them all.

12.18.2011

Scones kick

We have been on a scones kick lately. This morning was whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones. I brought my little helper back since she did such a good job last time. I thought we were going to have to use the kitchen aid mixer but it turns out we didn't. She remembered helping with the butter last time so she starting putting the cubes into the metal mixer bowl. And of course she had her fill of raspberries before we even started.

Raspberry scones

Raspberry scones

Raspberry scones

The whole wheat flour was overbearing. The next time we make them I plan on only using 1/2 a cup of whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour.

Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

The trickiest thing about these is the dampness of the dough. Yet that same trickiness is they bake into something that seems impossibly moist for a scone, and especially a whole wheat one. Keep your counter and your hands well floured and you won’t have any trouble getting them from bowl to counter to oven to belly, which, after all, is the whole point.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup fresh raspberries
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

With a pastry blender: Add the butter (no need to chop it first) and use the blender to both cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in raspberries and use the blender again to break them into halves and quarter berry sized chunks.

Without a pastry blender: Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife and work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Roughly chop the raspberries on a cutting board and stir them into the butter-flour mixture.

Both methods: Add the ricotta and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula.Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t fret if the raspberries get muddled and smudge up the dough. This is a pretty thing.

With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1-inch tall. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. It’s best to cool them about halfway before eating them, so they can set a bit more. I know, way to be a big meanie, right?

Do ahead: Scones are always best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make them, arrange them on your parchment-lined sheet and freeze them. If you’re prepping just one day in advance, cover the tray with plastic wrap and bake them the day you need them. If you’re preparing them more than one day in advance, once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Bring them back to a parchment-lined sheet when you’re ready to bake them. No need to defrost the froze, unbaked scones, just add 2 to 3 minutes to your baking time.

12.12.2011

Chefs

Mini-me (or should I say mini-Kayu) and I took to the kitchen and made some cheddar apple scones. I am hoping that Kayu will build one of these so I don't have to worry about Charlotte falling off the counter. Charlotte mostly ate all of the food, but on occasion she helped pour in some of the ingredients. I was so wrapped up in everything that I forgot the cream, but luckily they turned out just fine. And I decided to add my own little twist with jalapeno peppers.
scones

Apple and Cheddar Scones

Makes 6 generous scones

2 firm tart apples
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt plus additional for egg wash
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes plus additional for baking sheet if not lining it with parchment
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (white is recommended, I assume for aesthetics)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs

Position a rack at the center of oven and preheat oven to 375 °F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and core apples, then cut them into one-sixteenths. (I assumed this meant chunks, not slivers.) Placed them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them until they take on a little color and feel dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. They will be about half-baked. Let them cool completely. (You can speed this up in the fridge, as I did.) Leave oven on.

Sift or whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, along with cooled apple chunks, cheese, cream and one egg. Sprinkle flour mixture over the top and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Do not overmix.

[Don't have a stand or hand mixer? I'd rub the cold butter into the flour mixture with my fingertips or with a pastry blender, hand-chop the apples coarsely and mix the rest together with a wooden spoon until combined. It might feel awkward, but it should all come together. Again, don't overmix it though it will be harder to do this by hand.]

Generously flour your counter top and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. Use a rolling pin to gently roll (or use your hands to pat) the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick, 6-inch circle. Cut circle into 6 wedges. Transfer them to a baking sheet that has either been buttered or lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Leave at least 2 inches between each scone.

Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle them with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Crafty

I found these cute little guys on Pinterest (my new favorite site). Charlotte surprisingly enjoyed getting paint on her fingers and we ended up with these. It is fun trying some new crafts now that she is a little older.

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12.11.2011

Cuties

These little guys have been a big hit in our household lately. Charlotte can pound out 3 in one sitting.

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12.06.2011

Love this kid

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12.05.2011

Colder Bolder

There is something so euphoric about going to a running event and being surrounded by the awesome energy in the room. Reminds me of my old cross country days. On Saturday Kayu and I ran in a 5K in Boulder. We met up with our friends that used to live in Cheyenne but moved down to Colorado Springs. Susannah was sweet enough to watch Charlotte for us while we ran the race. With a chilly 15 degrees and the snow blowing, the Colder Bolder lived up to its name. We had a great time running in the race and for the record, I beat Kayu =) He has challenged me to another 5K due to his competitive side. The last time we ran a race together was in 2005 in the Reindeer run in Troy, MI when he beat me.

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Stretching before the race.
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Post race.
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The girls at lunch. They are both growing their bangs out.

11.25.2011

The tree is up...

After we slept off our turkey coma, we mustered up some energy to put up the Christmas tree. As you can see, Leroy was there to supervise again this year. In case you missed it, here is the video from last year where he made his star appearance. It is amazing to see how much Charlotte has grown and changed in the past year. We laughed the most at her hair.



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11.24.2011

Happy Thanksgiving

So much to be thankful for this year

thanksgiving


11.20.2011

New Kicks

I saw these shoes when I was in Huntington Beach and I fell in love with them. I wanted to buy every pair they had for Charlotte. I am pretty cheap when it comes to shoes since kids outgrow them so fast so $30 was a pretty hefty price tag.
kicks

I decided to pass on them. When I went back to my room I looked up the company and found out that for each shoe that is purchased, they donate one pair to a child in need. I found this very inspiring that the Toms company is so dedicated to helping those that are less fortunate. So I went back to the store and picked up a pair.

11.01.2011

Tricks and Treats

Let me preface this by saying that Halloween is my all time favorite holiday. We used to go all out decorating when I was kid. I still remember the snickers and milkyway ghosts and pumpkins that we used to set out. I love Halloween for the decorations, the little kids romping around in their costumes, and the fresh cool fall air.

This year we had some friends over to decorate Halloween cookies. Their attention spans lasted a whole five minutes...but that was to be expected. It went a little something like this: Mom spreads frosting on the cookie, toddler dumps an exuberant amount of sprinkles on the cookie, toddler eats two bites out of the cookie, toddler goes for the frosting.


Halloween party.

Frosting monster.

On Halloween day we went over to the Urbansky's and had some more Halloween treats. Then we went on base to get our trick or treating on. Charlotte wasn't a fan of walking to the doorsteps...or course she had to be carried. But she sure did enjoy the chocolate, the puppies running around in costumes, and the lollipops.

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10.29.2011

October...month of pumpkin goodness 4

October is almost over so I have to get one more pumpkin recipe up. I used this Martha Stewart recipe to make the pumpkin pies and altered it a bit using this recipe for mini pumpkin pies.

pumpkpie


Ingredients

1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh Pumpkin Puree Pumpkin Puree, or canned
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
Pate Brisee (Pie Dough)

1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin puree, and 3 eggs. Beat well. Add evaporated milk, and combine. Set aside.
2. Between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll pate brisee into a 12-inch circle. Using a bowl or 4 inch round cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles from your 2 9-inch pie crust doughs. Place each circle into a pre-greased muffin tin. Press them in, letting the sides come up for a fun look. Score the bottom of your dough with a fork to keep the crust from bubbling up as it cooks. Pour your filling into each muffin tin cup. Fill them to the very top.
3. Make the glaze: Beat the remaining egg, and combine with heavy cream. Brush glaze very lightly on edges of pie shell.
4. Bake your muffin tin pumpkin pies at 425* for 15 minutes. Then turn your heat down to 350* and bake them for 25-30 minutes.

10.28.2011

Snow Day

We got around a foot of snow this week. Every time I post snow pictures people are often left wondering where in the world we live that it snows as early as October. Wonderful Wyoming! Where else?

Kayu went out to shovel the snow so we found it to be the perfect opportunity to put on Charlotte's new snow suit and boots. Of course she wanted nothing to do with the snow. We got a couple of smiles out of her when we had Daddy pull us around the sidewalks on the sled.


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10.23.2011

October...month of pumpkin goodness 3

I have always wanted to make whoopie pies. I picked up this book from the library and since we have containers full of pumpkin puree (from when Kayu made the real stuff), I decided to make the pumpkin whoopie with the classic buttercream filling. I might have gone a little overboard and made the cakes a little too big. Next on my list...macaroons.

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10.21.2011

Yoga Master

I saw these Yoga Pretzel cards at Barnes and Noble and I thought they would be fun to try. A great way to get Charlotte involved and get some exercise in. It is amazing how one little stretch can truly make you feel really so good.
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yoga
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Please ignore the crazy messy table

10.20.2011

Pumpkin patch

I flew back from Maryland and after sitting in traffic for what seemed like forever, I finally made it to the pumpkin patch to meet up with my two loves. It was a gorgeous fall day and the farm was filled with pumpkins, vegetables, and animal friends.
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10.10.2011

October...month of pumpkin goodness 2

Whenever October rolls around, I "die" for a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte (please excuse my Rachel Zoe lingo). But when I go to buy one, I hate myself for spending $4 on a small drink. I found this recipe online and I was pretty impressed with the results. I like that pumpkin puree is used instead of syrup. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon but I would recommend skipping it altogether since there is already cinnamon in the pumpkin spice. If you don't have pumpkin spice in your kitchen, you can do what I did and make your own using this recipe.

mixer

pumpkinspicelatte


Pumpkin Spice Latte
1. Make coffee (a pot, a cup, in whatever fashion and however you prefer making your coffee. The stronger the better)

2. Make Pumpkin Milk

1 c milk (I used half and half and milk combined)

1/4 heaping cup pumpkin puree (more if you really love pumpkin)

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend, or to taste

1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp of sweetener of choice (agave or brown sugar)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well by hand or blend all ingredients using blender

Optional: Warm the finished pumpkin milk mixture in the microwave or on the stovetop (I do a quick nuke of about 1 minute)

3. Pour 1 c of brewed coffee into a mug and pour half the pumpkin milk mixture over the top of the coffee and enjoy. (Optional: Finish by garnishing with real whipped cream/whipped topping; and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon on top)

The other half of the pumpkin milk mixture is for the refill you know you will want. If you truly don’t want a refill, refrigerate it for up to a few days and use for your next latte, in a smoothie, or drink it as is. As long as you’re dirtying dishes, I always make a little extra for refills or for later.

10.03.2011

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10.02.2011

Bubbles

First word out of my mother's mouth.
"You are crazy!"
Yes, I am crazy.
But Charlotte loved the fish so much at her friend Piper's house.
So we got her Bubbles.
Her very own Betta.

Bubbles

The girl loves her tomatoes

Just like her Grandma Phillips

Tomato hog

October...month of pumpkin goodness

Ah...I love fall.
Not that we get much of a fall here.
It is this time of year that makes me miss Michigan.
With the gorgeous changing leaves.
There is nothing better than warm baked pumpkin goodness in the fall time.
A new recipe that I had to try.
Pumpkin scones.
Enjoy!


Pumpkin scones.

Ingredients:

For the Scones:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 large egg

For the Powdered Sugar Glaze:

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For the Spiced Glaze:

  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with fit the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half-and-half and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 4 inches by 12 inches. Use a large knife to slice the dough making three equal portions. Cut each of the portions in an X pattern (four pieces) so you end up with 12 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
  4. While the scones are cooling, make the powdered sugar glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, use a pastry brush to spread plain glaze over the top of each scone. Allow to firm.
  5. While the powdered sugar glaze is firming, combine all of the ingredients for the spiced glaze. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (about an hour).

9.28.2011

C's Circus Bday Bash

Getting ready for the party.
Waiting for the guests to arrive
Ready to party
Little Ms. Sunshine
Party decor.
Party decor
"Photo booth shots 2"
"Staches" galore
"Photo booth shots"
Silly clowns
"Elephant"
Birthday girl turns 2!
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Too funny

aFvuu

9.22.2011

Updated kitchen

Cabinets are painted.
Hardware is in place.
Chalkboards are painted.

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Sep 22, 2011

Next on the list...replace sink, update counter tops, and add a backsplash.