Monday, January 30, 2012

birthday wishes

Evan had a Birthday this weekend.  We celebrated by hiking to the top of a frigid mountain (I'm sorry if the picture makes you feel cold!), and then the next day we ate a small mountain of cake (don't worry, we had help).  I meant to take a picture of it before we dug in, but ya know.  Whatev.  The filling was cookies and cream, and if I do say so, was fantastic.

Friday, January 27, 2012

oh the weather outside!

is so delightful!  welcome back winter!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

soft pretzel bites (and where I talk about my sweet tooth turning salty)

I most definitely made pretzels last weekend.  And they were goooooood!  I have been really focusing on getting enough protein for the past few months (we herbivores need to make an extra effort!).  And I've noticed the most interesting thing happening...my giant sweet tooth (teeth?) is turning into a salt tooth.  I know.  I find it fascinating.

So normally, when hunkered down at home on a weekend afternoon, I would probably make a giant cake, I found myself making pretzels instead.


The only problem was the cheese sauce recipe I used wasn't exactly what I was hoping for (but hey, at least it was made with real cheese!).

And so the next time I make these little gems I need to find another recipe to try.

Soft Pretzel Bites:
recipe from whatmegansmaking.com

1 1/2 c. warm water
2 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
3 ounces butter, melted
2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 c. all purpose flour
vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 c. baking soda
1 whole egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a long rope measuring about 22 inches. Cut the dough into one inch pieces. In small batches (about 15 at a time), boil the pretzel bites in the water solution for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon and place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season with coarse sea salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.
These are best warm, but are still good at room temperature. They are best served the day they're made.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gesso the giant

80 lbs later...

my oh my how they grow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

on my mind:

::  It won't stop snowing (I'm not mad).  

::  Gesso ate his new bed.  He had been dragging his other bed into the living room every day to lounge on, so we thought he was trying to send us a message--that he wanted a living room bed.  We took the hint and got him a new one (I guess it wasn't the one he wanted).

::  Our good friends moved to Australia last week.  It was super sad.  And then they gave us this awesome vintage classroom map.  Which made it a little less sad.

::   I made this soup last night (good!).

::  I took a photo of the food wall.  I started working on a giant waffle painting last night.  It definitely won't fit on that wall with the other paintings.  I think it's time to move.

::  Two people dropped by this week and I wasn't wearing pajamas (pajamas are my hibernation outfit of choice).  I was so proud of myself!

::  I showed Evan these helpful hints for talking to crafty ladies.  He really took them to heart and has been trying out a few of his own!  So funny!

wishing you a warm Wednesday!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

tomatoes in january

I have a small collection of food paintings that hang on my kitchen wall (I must remember to take a photo of that!), and this is the latest installment.

Tomatoes.  I love them sooo much.

While I was working on this, I couldn't stop thinking about how nice a cherry tomato would taste.  And the next time I was at the grocery store, I accidentally bought a small container of them.  I'm actually not even sure I did it on purpose.  I got home and there they were!  Sneaky little tomatoes.

They tasted like water.  And the texture reminded me of chewing on a balloon.  It was kind of the worst tomato ever grown.

So now I have this painting to tide me over until summer.  When I can finally eat sun-warmed tomatoes that taste like tomatoes.

p.s. It's SNOWING today!  We have been having the weirdest winter ever.  60 degrees in January??  What?  Okay.  I had never experienced a mild winter before, and at first I hated it.  And then I started to really like it.  And then when I was going on walks without a coat or gloves on I absolutely loved it.

  It has been softly snowing all day and I have to admit, I am relieved winter is back.  Turns out, I had been missing it.   I just got home from a walk with my giant sled dog and when we came inside I couldn't get his collar off (frozen to his neck fur).  Hooray for winter!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

winter wonderland


I feel bad for January.  Christmas has come and gone.  February means Valentines candy and hearts.  And January means...new yearCold outsideGloomy?  Diet?  This year I decided that I would celebrate January.  Because if you have the right attitude, January can be quite the winter wonderland!  So I hung some bedazzled snowflakes in front of the windows.   And then I whipped up a simple garland that reminds me of snow.

I found the sparkly snowflakes at an after Christmas sale (they are actually ornaments) and for the garland I cut up bits of natural quilt batting and fed them into the sewing machine (watch your fingers!).  Evan thinks it looks like a potato chip garland (men!).

Happy January to you! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

hello 2012

I surprised Evan with some Alfajor cookies on New Years Eve.  We thought they were just okay, and we shared them with some friends who thought they were super amazing.  So I guess the jury's still out.  In either case, they were pretty cookies. 

I am feeling ready for this new year.  A fresh start.  There is a big pot of change simmering on the stove at our house and I am hopeful and excited about what's to come. 

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