Friday, February 26, 2010

Cookies for Baby Caleb

Friday, February 26, 2010
So my college friend Amy had a baby in February and brought him home Valentines Day.  She isn't a particularly close friend...I mean we don't call up and chat or anything.  But still you know she's one of those friends...known each other a while.  Still keep each other up to date with anything life changing.  I was invited to her wedding she was invited to mine....ya know.  But still...she had a baby.  Which means an excuse to bake (insert maniacal laughter here).

So I'm shipping off cookies.  Baby boy cookies...

not bad...hopefully they will arrive in one piece.  Only one way to find out.  So congratulations Amy and welcome to the world Caleb! 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aprons are SO hot

Thursday, February 25, 2010
So I was browsing my Google Reader whilst waiting for the oven to preheat (I'm baking AGAIN...don't act surprised).  Anyway I checked Cake Journal and saw this!!
Isn't that the cutest thig you've ever seen?  IT'S CUPCAKES!!  Anyway it came from Carolyn's Kitchen.  They have all these retro aprons.  I think this one is may fave:
Cake Journal is giving one away.   You should head over there.  


And so that got me started on aprons you see...

found these here 

And then...
these are neat
They are actual vintage aprons from the 40's.  Found them on Ballyhoo Vintage 

Anyway...I should probably buy an apron at long last...but I'm afraid if I buy one I'm going to end up collecting them.  It's like one apron isn't enough.  It's a gateway apron....

Maybe just one.... as a really early birthday present to me =]

Monday, February 22, 2010

Things That Warm the Heart

Monday, February 22, 2010
I was browsing flikr.  Hey, sometimes it takes a while to get to sleep when you have two snoring animals in your bedroom (and by animals I mean my dog and my husband.  FYI husband also doubles as my second child from time to time.  But that's a different post).  Anyway I found a few things that just kinda touched me.  Mostly images of strangers and people I will never ever know.  But isn't that the best part?  Finding beauty by just looking out into the world?
This is someones engagement ring.  While they were taking a picture of it a ladybug landed on it.  Some believe it to be a blessing.  Sweet huh?

she just said yes
Just a couple things I found.  I don't know exactly where I found them or anything....So I don't know who these photos belong to or really where to find them.  I just thought they were nice.  It's just nice to know with all the crap going on in the news and stuff that people still live on and love.  Good thoughts....

Spicy Noodle Stir-Fry

I love stir-fry.  Let me tell you why.  You can make it with virtually anything you have leftover in your fridge.  Leftover chicken that didn't get cooked earlier this week?  Stir-fry it.  Extra veggies?  Stir-fry!  Just add a simple asian sauce and your good to go.  You never even have to make it the same way twice (I mean I guess you could if you wanted to).  Like tonight for example.  I had leftover pork from the other night in the freezer (because my sister requested pork and then didn't come over in time for dinner...don't get me started).  SO here's what I did and what I'm going to share with you.  (Because my hubby said it's my best stir-fry yet)

Spicy Noodle Stir-Fry

1 (6 oz) pkg Japanese noodles (like Chuka Soba), uncooked and crumbled
3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp chili sauce (if you don't want a spicy stir fry, or you are just sensitive to spice, then omit or decrease this ingredient.  This makes a spicy stir-fry).
2 tsp fish sauce
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 lb (more or less) boneless center cut pork loin chop
1/4 c fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp olive oil
medium red bell pepper, sliced
5 oz matchstick carrots
1 (6 oz) bag fresh snow peas
sliced green onion (optional)
1 bottle of wine

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt or fat.  Drain and keep warm.
While pasta cooks, mix soy sauce and next 5 ingredients.  Combine pork and 2 Tbsp soy sauce mixture.  Let pork marinate (for 30 minutes if you have the time, or) while you slice the pepper.  Add chicken broth and cornstarch to remaining soy mixture; set aside.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add pork.  Saute till cooked through.  Add vegetables and saute for 3-5 minutes till peas are crisp but tender.  Add remaining soy mixture to noodles and toss.  This will prevent the noodles from sticking together when added to the pot and help the other ingredients mix evenly.  Add noodles to the pan; stir.  Cook 1 minute till sauce thickens and heated through.  Top with green onions for garnish if desired.  Serve immediately. Drink the wine (duh).  

Now I encourage you to make the stir-fry experience your own.  You have leftover beef? Chicken?  Use them both if you want.  Like mushrooms?  Add them.  Like onions?  Add 'em.  Prefer broccoli over snow peas?  Why not?  Just throw your favorite ingredents together.  It's a great way to use leftovers and extras.  The recipe above makes a spicy stir-fry (David says it isn't spicy enough.  He is a rare breed of fire eater.  I, however, had clear a clear sinus passage by the end of the meal.)  It's all up to your own discretion.  

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lingerie Cookies

Thursday, February 18, 2010
ok....they arent quite done but here is what's happening with the lingerie cookies so far for the bachelorette party in NOLA this weekend....
hows it lookin? Any pointers?
I think (per my husbands idea), when the pink layer is dry on the margarita glasses, I am going to draw a layer of white icing on the top and sprinkle it with pearlescent that the rims are "salted", or in this case sugared.  I know margaritas aren't very NOLA but Kali loves margaritas and she's getting married in Mexico so I feel justified.  =]

I will def make a post about the weekend in NOLA later...


No ...there's no gold in them thar hills....
I descovered the perfect sugar cookie recipe!

Long have I waited and searched for the sugar cookie recipe that would hold its shape and retain good taste and texture....and then I found HER!!
It is Eutopia....but sweet.  The name fits
I am making cookies for a lingerie shower / bachelorette party that I am attending in NOLA this weekend.  So I will make another post about the decorating process and how they turned out. 
Stay tuned.  Same bat time. Same bat channel

Bakerella...I heart you

Ok so recently Bakerella did a post about making a heart shaped cookie cake.  I saw it and thought it was cute.  And then later that day I was in Target and I saw said same heart shaped cookie pan...
I took it as a sign from bakers heaven.  I had to make it and see if it was as good as it looked:
oooo...brown sugar!!  

oh yeah baby...that's what mama likes

 Spoon took too long.  Sometime you just gotta use the tools God gave ya.  
I'm not ashamed
mmm...smells like love...and cookies

and here is how it turned out. 
Sure I could have decided to be creative and do something that wasn't quite replicating Bakerellas design....Nah...maybe another time
Sure it isnt as neat and professional looking as hers.  But hey.  I'm not a professional.  We'll just consider it a tribute.  yeah that sounds good.

So...THANK YOU BAKERELLA for the, not only attractive, creative and ingenious idea, but for a tastey recipe!!  My hubby loved it!  

Belated Valentines Day

This Valentines Day I apparently felt the creative juices pumping because I went into full Chocolate coma for about 3 days...
a little ganache


Anyway...Happy Belated Valentine Y'all!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baked Ziti

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
So I was flipping through my William Sonoma catalog and they always have some of the most mouthwatering food in there.  There was a recipe for baked ziti that sounded pretty good.  Also sounded like it was loaded with fat and calories.  Plugged it into Weight Watchers ( I don't have my dietary software up and running on this computer yet) and it's like 15 points a serving! I decided to alter it.  The original recipe in on William Sonoma's webiste.  But here I have altered it to make it more diet friendly:
Baked Ziti

4 tsp olive oil plus cooking spray
1/4 lb spicy italian sausage (it calls for sweet but I prefer spicy)
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves (I admit I LOVE garlic so I use like 5 but you totally don't have to)
1/2 cups dry red wine (Merlot is pretty good in this)
1 can (28 oz) crushed plum tomatoes with juice
6 oz whole grain ziti pasta (like Barilla) cooked till al dente
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup rinsed chopped kalmata olives
2 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 400.  In 10" nonstick skillet warm 1 tsp olive oil over med-high heat.  Add sausage and cook till brown.  Drain off on paper towels (blot some of the grease off if you like).  Leave sausage grease in pan.  Add 1 tsp olive oil.  Add eggplant.  Spray with a little cooking spray if needed.  Saute about 6 minutes till tender.  Place in large bowl.  Warm 2 tsp olive oil.  Saute onion 5-6 minutes till tender.  Add garlic and saute another minute.  Add red wine and bring to boil scraping off any brown bits from the pan (yummy).  Cook 3 minutes (about enough for alcohol to cook off and liquid reduces).  Add tomatoes with juices and simmer 10 minutes.
Add sausage, tomato mixture, pasta, basil, salt and pepper, 2 cups of mozzarella, olives, and basil to bowl with eggplant.  Mix well and then return to skillet.  Top with 1/2 cup of Mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan.  Cover and bake 25 minutes.  Then uncover and set to broil.  Broil an additional 5 minutes or till cheese browns.  Serves 6.

Once I get my software up and running I'll post nutritional information (of course it will be nutritional information lended by the best of my knowledge.  I studied Nutrition Science in college but I am in no way or form a Registered Dietitian)

It was pretty dang good to tell you the truth.  I am not a heavy meat eater so I dont miss the 1/2 pound of sausage that the recipe originally called for.  In fact the only reason I included it was to leave in some of that savory flavor (that and my husband is sort of a carnivore...whaddaya gunna do)

Anyway, it's made its way into my recipe box.  Enjoy

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sophie's Party

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Ok so I know I said I would post details from Sophie's birthday party WAY earlier...but you know...if you can't tell by now I'm a bit of a scatterbrain procrastinator.  So I scoured through my camera and these seem to be the only details from her party that I can find:  Sad.  It was a cute party:
I made these meringue cookies.  Adapted a recipe from  Joy the Baker (who by the way is the reason I even knew blogs existed...I'll do a post about my fanatical obsession with her later) and added the stripes via inspiration from Martha (you know who)

Cupcake toppers
Yes I know they look a bit well...homemade.  But they were cute on the cupcakes when it was all said and done.  Used a little icing on some Necco wafers (which are harder to find than I thought).  Edible and easy

Small bit of the birthday banner I made her with the cricut.  Love that thing.

Party Pops.  Got this idea from Hostess with the Mostess.  Yeah directly, pretty much just copied it.  Why alter perfection?  Put them in some flower vases the I got from Southern Living I think (they were a gift)

See...I told you they looked cute on top.  Strawberry cupcakes.  Cream cheese icing.  Can't go wrong with that combination
And there she is in her party dress.  Cutie patootie.  (She LOVES balloons)
She got lots of loot.  I think she had a pretty good time
This is the first party I have EVER thrown.  I didn't even really do parties when I was a kid.  So this was new for me.  And trust me I had help from LOTS of blogs (and my mom - luv you!)  So I think I did ok for a small party of maybe 15 people in a 1200 square foot apartment.  yay!  
Thanks bloggers (who have 10x more talent than me).  You know who you are:  *ahem* HWTM, Tom Kat Studio, Joy the Baker, and probably a whole lot more that gave me inspiration.  
Happy Birthday Sophie

Accessories Galore on Etsy

Ok...So roaming Etsy last night trying to fall asleep. I like interesting jewelry as much as the next girl.. So I found some pretty cool things I think...
And this one in particular that reminded me of my friend Kim :

I found all these from Luli Designs over on Etsy.  Handmade jewelry.  Looks AWESOME

Then I also ran across these:...

Reclaimed Hairpins from Hairfood.  These are cute:

And then these....

From Verabel have to be my favorites!!
"Verabel loves hunting, gathering, and combining the old with the new. The result is an eclectic collection of authentic vintage findings, unique charms and natural stones."
I love antique jewelry and I think these are just super neat-o.
Screen Printed lockets!  I'm in LUV...
And look at these with all this detail:
And this one might just be Kim's birthday present coming up in March:


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