Saturday, February 28, 2009
What a pretty day...I love the sunshine!!!
I have been dreaming about being in a book club for a number of years. I love reading, and always have since I was a little girl. In fact we all love to read or be read to in our little family. Reading has always been important to us and a love for it was something we wanted to pass on to our children. This year it was my goal to start a book club. I was just going to do it and not worry about the details, they would fall into place. I asked my dear friend Jen, my two sisters Susie and Liza, and their dear friends Taffy and Tina. Wouldn't you know it they all said yes, how fun! We decided we would meet once a quarter, rotate homes, and share a meal together.
I offered to host the first get together and prepared the main dish, and everyone else brought something. Here is what the menu looked like:
Cream cheese with pesto and pine nuts with crackers
Penne a la vodka
Cappuccino mousse trifle
Tina suggested we read Letters to My Daughter by Maya Angelou. The book was a easy short read. I would say it was a good read but not great. I have not read any of Maya Angelou's work so this was a first for me. Some of the others thought her other books were better or they felt more of a connection with this book because they have read some of her other books. The chapters were short and the reading didn't really flow, but she had some really good things to say about faith, your outlook on life, and friends. She seems like quite the wise woman. No, I didn't like every chapter, but there were definitely ones I loved.
We drank tea, shared about our lives and discussed the book. There was a lot of laughing going on...you know the kind that makes you cry. Ohhh, we had so much fun, and I think I can speak for everyone and say it brought much joy.
We will gather again in late spring, at Liza's home. We discussed reading a classic or a children's book, or choosing an author from our cultural background. We are definitely open to suggestions so if you have any let me know.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Wow...can you believe it!?!?! Of course you can if you have ever spent any length of time here. I am ready for Spring, but the snow is pretty.
Our morning was much more pleasant today. Ian came and snuggled up with me. I always have a hard time getting out of bed when he climbs in. Katie seemed much more like herself...happy, but still tired. She played with Ian, and was smiling and laughing. That's my girl.
I should be cleaning, shoveling, and putting away groceries. I have my first book club meeting tonight at our home. I am super excited about it! I'll post more about that later.
I also wanted to say thanks so much for reading my blog! I love all your comments, e-mails, and notes. If you are a follower thanks for that too! You're all the best! Have a great weekend!
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Our ladybug is home. She had a great time! She got to sit with her good friends both on the way there and back. Her cabin also had two of her closet friends in it. She learned how to make a bonfire, tried x-country skiing, saw some deer and a fawn. She said the food was pretty good...lots of fresh bread!
Something you need to know about our sweet girl is that she needs her sleep. This has always been the case since she was a newborn. The positive side of this is that she is good sleeper. The negative side is that something happens to our sweet ladybug and a not so sweet person joins our family. Well that not so sweet person came home yesterday and was still here this morning.
The trouble started yesterday when Ian was super excited to have Katie home. He was so excited that he was not giving her any of the space she needed, resulting in a not so happy Katie. She showered though and went to bed early and seemed content enough. This morning, when I went to wake up my two sleepy heads Ian was snuggling with Katie. He likes to snuggle in the mornings so he usually crawls in with Katie since we are already up. Everything seemed normal, until I heard Ian crying. Ian certainly cries, but Katie does not have anything to do with that usually. He comes down all upset with tears and everything. Apparently Katie hit him, because he was poking her and wouldn't get out of her bed. I get him settled down and give him some breakfast. Katie comes down and says some very unkind words, which I think are very inappropriate. I have a chat with her about how I understand that she is tired but that her attitude needs to change etc... She is miserable through her breakfast and will not look at Ian and is grumpy for quite a while. A little while later she comes down crying and says she is sorry. I hug her and tell her I love her, then Ian hugs her.
Not my favorite way to start the day. I wish she left that extra bag there. I'm really hoping that "our" ladybug is back tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
What a beautiful day! Enjoy his creation.
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing
Monday, February 23, 2009
I put Miss Katie on a fancy charter bus this morning. She is off with her classmates for their annual class trip. They went to a conservation reserve a few hours away. They will be learning about ecosystems and will observe a bass pond. I'm looking forward to hearing all about the rock climbing, and skiing. I'm sure there will be lots bonding and girl drama as well. The meals are all environmentally sensitive, and made from scratch. Last year Brian helped chaperon the trip to the French camp they went to. The food was apparently fabulous! I am glad Katie has the opportunity to be away from home and test out her wings. I have been thinking about this a lot lately...Katie leaving home. I know that we have a few years, but I know that they are going to fly by. I can hardly believe that she is 11 already. When she was little she used to say that she was going to buy the little pink house down the street. Now apparently it is too small. She'll probably fly off to France and go to culinary school and paint the French country side in her free time. If I am fortunate she might attend our alma mater and study art. These are just my thoughts though. Where I want her to be is in God's will, using the talents and abilities he has given her to spread his love. Whether she is in France or down the street she will always be in my heart. I am so proud of you Katie and I love you very much!!!!
You might be wondering what all of this has to do with pannekoekens. Well Katie will eat them, but they are not her favorite. They are my breakfast man's though. Ian loves breakfast!! Any kind of breakfast, french toast, cereal, eggs, you name it he loves it! He asked me to make them the other day, so I made them for dinner. He gobbled it up of course.
This is an easy recipe that I found in a church cookbook when we were first married and I have been making them ever since.
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
Place the butter in the pie pan, and put in the oven. Set the temperature to 450 degrees. Mean while beat the eggs and milk, add the flour and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the buttered pie pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and maple syrup.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Brian's parents were in town this weekend (of course I forgot to take a picture). They met us at church with his youngest brother Aaron and his wife Leslie. We then headed out to lunch. We decided to go to Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine. http://www.peninsulamalaysiancuisine.com/ We first heard about this restaurant when it opened through a former colleague of Brian's. He is actually from Malaysia and is a minor partner in the restaurant. They have great food! Some of our favorites are the roti canai, chicken satays, wonton soup, Peninsula char kway teow, and the smoothies. The restaurant is very clean and has beautiful photos from Malaysia hung on the walls. They also have an open kitchen, so you can watch them make the roti (kind of like tossing a pizza). The servers are knowledgeable about the many dishes and are very friendly. After eating too much, we headed back to our home to play a little wii and have cake and tea. Everyone seemed to enjoy the cake. My mother-in-law (Ruth) loves raspberries, so I thought of her when making it. The recipe comes from the Lund's and Byerly's real food quarterly magazine, and is written by Elinor Klivans.
Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake
1 cup all-purpose flavor
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 - inch slices
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries *
Position your oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350. Butter a 9-inch square pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper long enough to extend over two ends of the pan. Butter the paper.
For the topping, stir the flour, brown sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add butter pieces. Use a pastry blender to mix ingredients together until crumbs form. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
To make cake, sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat better and granulated sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Add eggs and extracts and mix until smoothly blended, 1 minute. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate. Mix in milk just to blend it into mixture. Add remaining flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in white chocolate chips. Sprinkle raspberries over batter and gently fold them in just enough to distribute them fairly evenly. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle reserved topping mixture over top of batter. Bake until top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean about 50 mins. Cool on a wire rack until white chocolate chips in topping are firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
* If you use frozen raspberries make sure you don't defrost before mixing them into the batter. You may need to allow the cake to bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
I actually used 1 1/2 cups of frozen berries.
I think I'm going to go have another piece. :)
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Our good friend Shane was in town to celebrate his birthday.
We meet Shane when we were in college. That was 19 years ago, and we have been friends ever since. When Katie was pretty little she started to call Shane "Uncle Shaney", Ian followed suit and ever since then Shane has been "Uncle Shaney" to our kiddos.
Friday night Shane's brother, wife, and their two adorable kids had us all over for dinner to celebrate. They live in a 2 1/2 story home that was built in 1912. It has beautiful wood floors and doors. The kitchen was decorated with butter yellow walls and toile window treatments with blue and white accents...so pretty. We had a delicious dinner of meat and potatoes. For dessert Shane's sister-in-law made her famous Kahlua cake...to die for!!!!
This morning Shane came over for brunch before he left town. Brian made stuffed french toast. He made this for the first time when he went to the UP with friends a month ago. This was the first time he made it for us...sooooo yummmmy!!!!!!!!
It was nice to catch up, even if it was for a short while. Happy Birthday Uncle Shaney!!! We love you.
Here are a couple of the recipes.
Joyce's chuck roast on the grill
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 pound chuck roast
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
4- 5 garlic cloves sliced
1 tsp. dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
Mix the water, soy, Worcestershire, rosemary, and bay leaves together. Pour the marinade into a zipper bag. Make small silts into the roast and slide the garlic pieces in. Place the roast in the bag and refrigerate over night. Bring the roast to room temperature and grill 15-20 minutes per side or more depending on the thickness of the roast and your preference.
Brian's stuffed french toast
1 loaf french bread sliced into 2 inch slices (not a baguette)
1 package light cream cheese
1 cup light sour cream
2 tsps.orange zest
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, brown sugar, and orange zest together. Make a small slice about half way through the side of each piece of bread. Stuff each slice with about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. whisk together the eggs, milk, and nutmeg. Dip each piece of stuffed bread in the egg mixture, make sure to get both sides. Heat a skillet and put in a pat of butter. Fry each piece of bread for a couple minutes on each side. Serve warm with real maple syrup.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I'm not sure if you can read what it says...but the title of this post says it all. Yesterday as the ladybug and I were leaving the pool, Mr. amazing and the cutie were arriving. He says to me "Mom, Dad wrote that he loves you on the back of the car." Mr. amazing says..."Yeah, something like that." I'm not sure if I should be flattered by this juvenile display affection, but it did make me smile.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I realized that last week I repeated the same bit of encouragement. To make up for it you get 2 bits this week. :)
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all of his bones, not one of them will be broken. Psalm 34:17-19
"The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow. Today I am blessed."
Maya Angelou Letters to my Daughter
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
You could call them Valentine sweets.
The first blog I started following is called Posie gets cozy by Alicia Paulson. Alicia feels like an old friend, but I have never met her actually. Alicia is a crafter...she makes the prettiest things. I love her photography! Her photos are stunning. She also shares what she is making in her kitchen. This is where I got the recipe for the raspberry buttons. Alicia actually calls them Alicia's thumbprints, but I renamed them raspberry buttons. I tweaked the recipe a bit. If you like to follow blogs take a peek at Alicia's it is super cute!
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine the sugar, butter, and almond and extract. Beat at medium speed until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour. Continue beating until well mixed.
3. Take a scoop of dough about the size of a small walnut and roll it into a smooth ball. Place the balls 2 inches apart on baking sheets. With your thumb, make an indentation in the center and fill each thumbprint with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. Bake for 15 minutes. Do not let brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer to wire racks.
Chocolate Dreams (Milk chocolate truffles)
This recipe has been in my repetoire for the past 14 years or so. They really are quite dreamy. I adapted the recipe from Nutcracker Sweet by Sharon O'Connor and Martha Rubin
7 ounces Lindt extra creamy milk chocolate, chopped very finely
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whipping cream
Dutch processed cocoa (I like Penzey's)
In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter with the cream; cover and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. Scoop out teaspoonfuls of chocolate and form into balls; roll in cocoa. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Makes about 20 truffles
Pink Pillows or Pink Marshmallows
Mr. amazing and I love Ina Garten. We have three of her cookbooks. Our kiddos looove these treats!!! This recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style. Ina actually calls for 1 tablespoon of vanilla I use 2 teaspoons. I also added a bit of red food coloring this time.
With a sieve generously sprinkle confectioners' sugar in an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal pan. Pour in the marshmallow batter and smooth the top of the mixture with a oiled rubber spatula. Sprinkle on confectioners' sugar. Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.
Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. Roll the sides of each piece carefully in confectioners' sugar. Store uncovered at room temperature.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Add food coloring if desired. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I have a smile on my face as I'm typing this post. It was quite a lovely evening. We made a couple of stops to drop off some Valentine treats at Liza and Brian's and Amachi and Appachen's. Then we were off to dinner.
Liza and Brian had given us and the Buckmans gift cards to Forepaugh's for Christmas. We usually go to W.A. Frost for Valentine's dinner, but since we had the gift cards we thought we would mix it up this year. Mr. amazing and I did dine there once about 10 years ago.
Let me start off by saying that it was wonderful! The food,beverages,atmosphere, servers etc... just perfect. Forepaugh's is located in an old beautiful Victorian mansion. We were seated on the third floor in a small room with five other tables. The room was dimly lit and tastefully decorated. It was quite the intimate setting, the perfect place for romance.
They had a wide variety of beverages including cocktails, beer, and wine. We all settled on something and then it was off to the first course.
We decided on the Poutine. Inside this little cup was french fries, cheese curds, spicy chilies, chili glaze, and beef gravy. Sounds like something you would get from the state fair. It was actually pretty good. Everything was fried to perfection so nothing was greasy. It definitely was spicy, Mr. amazing liked that.
For the second course we all decided on the Waldorf salad. Apparently the chef worked at the Waldorf Astoria. It was very good! Crisp sliced apples with grapes, walnuts, celery root, white truffle oil, honey, and creme fraiche. The honey was so smooth and lightly sweet.
For the third course I choose the pasta with the mushrooms in a parmesan broth. Yum! It had fire roasted jalapenos in it so it definitely had a kick. The pasta was filled with mushrooms like little pillows. There were also mushrooms and tomatoes in the broth. Mr. amazing choose the New York strip which he said was quite good.
For dessert we choose the banana cream pie. It was totally different than you would think. It had praline on the bottom then custard on top of that with bananas and a maple reduction. It was soooo yummy!
It was time for the evening to come to a close, and head back to our little home. We had a wonderful time and it was definitely a Valentines to remember.
If you would like to check out the restaurant go to Forepaughs.com. Sorry that the photos are not that great. We didn't have much light so I had to use the flash.
Oh, if your wondering he liked the top! :)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
So I know this guy who has the goal of being a better husband/father this year. Now I know him pretty well, and frankly I think he is amazing. :) I'm all for setting the bar high though. You might be wondering how this guy is actually doing this. Well, I hear from a reliable source that everyday when his wife goes into her office and opens up her little laptop she finds a love note via e-mail. How sweet is that! He makes her feel so loved, appreciated, and special. Her heart is full of love, and of course it spills over onto others. I want to encourage you all to write a love letter to someone you love today. It might be a significant other, parent, child, or friend. Really it could be anyone. Just think of how grand you will make them feel! Happy Valentine's day friends!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Yes, we had another wonderful evening together. I picked up a wii fit last Friday...so after enjoying our scrumptious meal we tried it out. I will fill you in on the details of the wii fit in another post. Date night will be on hold for the next couple of weeks. We have our date out this Saturday, which I am really excited for and the following week some dear friends are in town for a birthday celebration.
Here is what we enjoyed last week.
Pot-stickers (frozen from the asian market)
Portobella mushroom burgers with sambal (Simply Ming, Ming Tsai)
Sweet Potatoe fries with peanut aioli
Bannana cake (The Cake Bible, Rose Levey Barenbaum)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
When you feel like the world is against you...meditate on this.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all: he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:8-9
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
After I started this blog I realized how few photos I have of my parents. This one is not the greatest of the four of us, but I wanted a more recent one. This was taken at Liza's rehearsal dinner, don't you love the brides look. :)
All of that to say Happy Birthday Mom! We love you very much!!!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Yes...Mr. Amazing cooks! I thought I would share some of the deliciousness he creates in our little kitchen.
This recipe comes from one of the upscale grocery stores in town. They put out a complimentary magazine quarterly. The recipe is written by Bruce Aidells. Brian says in a pinch you can substitute tequila with vodka, otherwise he kept it the same.
Chipotle Braised Beef
3 tsps. ground cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsps. kosher salt
2 tsps. fresh ground pepper
4 pounds boneless chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbs. olive oil
3 c. onion thinly sliced
2 tbs. garlic, finely chopped
1 c. tequila
2 c. canned diced tomatoes
3 canned chipotle chiles
1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 c. chicken stock
2 bay leaves
In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle all over the chunks of meat. Save any leftover spice mix to use later. Preheat oven to 325.
Heat oil in a large, heavy lidded pot and brown meat in 2-3 batches until all sides are nicely browned. As you complete each batch, transfer the meat to a platter or bowl. When all of the meat is brown, pour off all but 2tbs or so of fat and add the onions. Cover pot and cook onions until they are soft and just beginning to color, about 10 minutes. stir them from time to time. Stir in garlic and cook one minute more.
Pour tequila and stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce tequila to about half. Add tomatoes, chipotle chiles, orange juice, chicken stock, bay leaves, reserved meat, and any leftover spice blend. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and place into the middle of the oven. Bake until meat is fork tender, about 2 1/2- 3 hours.
Transfer pot to the stovetop. Remove meat and decrease the liquid. Reduce liquid at a boil until it just becomes syrupy. While the liquid is reducing shred the meat. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Add back meat and cook a minute more to reheat.
We serve this with warm corn tortillas and monterey jack cheese. You may want to decrease the chipotle depending on how spicy you like food. Enjoy!!!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
So Mr. Amazing and I are going out for Valentine's day. Since we don't go out that often I thought it would be fun to get something new to wear. I was thinking of something... you know when he looks at you and he's like wow! That was the look I was going for. Something red with ruffles. Well, I found this cute little number. It's not exactly red, but I think it will work. Have a great weekend! Oh...just to clarify this is not a dress it's a top. :)
Thursday, February 5, 2009
My dear friend Jennefer started this tradition with her family a number of years ago, and it caught up with ours.
Sunday nights you will catch the four of us hanging out. We do all sorts of different activities: watch a movie, play a board game, play the wii, and other things that are out and about.
Of course one of the most important parts of family night is the food...if you couldn't tell we are really into it. I'm in charge of sweets. Brian might roast a chicken or make his amazing pizza or I might make homemade soup. Nothings off limits though (within reason).
This last Sunday we watched the super bowl and had super amazing food!
Beef with tequila,tomato and orange
Gucamole with chips
I'm not a big meat eater, but this beef dish is soooo good! I will post the recipe later. You can find the recipe for the alfajores here www.marthastewart.com . I made the cajeta which was really good, and I think worth it. You could definetly substitue store bought carmel, and they would still be very good. These cookies didn't stay around long at our home. They probably won't at yours either.
I'm not sure what dinner time looks like for you, but this is what happened around our table tonight. We have been toying with the idea of going veggie for one month this summer. Just to try something different. This conversation turned into heart attacks, death, and dying. Then some cute little boy told his Daddy that he will be sad when his Daddy dies. What's the Daddy to do but cry, and the sister, and the mama. You have a little family all crying over their Daddy. So it is my turn to hold someone close and tell him, he should be proud that his children adore him. Way to go Daddy!! We love you so much!!!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I know it is chilly out there...I hope this warms your hearts.
The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusted him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with song will I praise him. Psalm 28:7
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
This past week I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go to lunch with friends on two seperate occasions. This is quite a big deal for me. Juggling my few roles does not allow me a lot of extra free time, so this was a real treat. I'm sure many of you can relate to this.
The first lunch date was with Janet the mom of the friends that we went bowling with a couple of weeks ago. We try to get together every few months for some mom time and to catch up. It was a chilly afternoon but I warmed up with a cup of tea and some delicous spilt pea soup at California Pizza Kitchen with her.
The next day my sister Susie and I went to meet our dear friend Mary that we had not seen for 20 years or so. We got to know each other growing up in youth group at church. We did a lot together as kids. It was fun reminiscing about mission trips, youth conferences, camping, crushes, and all the silly things we did as teenagers. We talked and laughed for hours. Five hours later I came home to my sweet little family.
I'm smiling, thinking about all of my dear friends! I need to make more time for lunch dates...they are good for my soul.
I gotta run...someone wants to cuddle and is requesting that I ready Jimmy Zangwow's Out of this World Moon Pie Adventure.
Monday, February 2, 2009
We had a nice leisurly evening. It was exactly what I needed. I love this special time together.
Rib eye steaks with black olive vinagrette
Sauteed squash with cherry tomatoes and parmesan
Yum, Yum, Yum!!!
Take care friends~