Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekends with Julia ~ Beef and Onions braised in beer

Carbonnades a la Flamade

(Beef and Onions Braised in Beer)

This last week I decided for our Weekends with Julia experiment that I wanted some comfort food (Big surprise, huh?. If given the choice of comfort food vs. dessert. Dessert doesn't have a chance with me).

Comfort food that includes beer as an ingredient is just an added bonus. This was a slightly tedious but relatively easy recipe and really good, if not better the second or third day. I found that the slightly bitter beer flavor was a little too strong on the day it was put together but mellowed out after a day or so in the fridge.

I made relatively few modifications so I will give you the recipe and give most of the credit to Julia. If you can read and follow directions, you can make this recipe. As always I think that if get inspired to put your own stamp on it, don't be afraid. I could have seen carrots or mushrooms in this dish very easily. I think next time I will give carrots a go.

One more thing... This is a great one pot dish (that was my major difference with Julia's recipe) as long as the pot can be used on stove top as well as oven.

3lbs of chuck roast cut in to 2 in cubes

3tbls rendered bacon fat

1 stove top dutch oven (a nice Le Creuset comes to mind ;)

Brown the meat on medium high heat... Take as long as you need and do in multiple batches to get a good brown because the browning is what makes it taste good. As each batch finishes put it in a large bowl or plate with a rim. All of the juices that collect will be used later in the recipe so try to collect as much as possible. :)

6cups of sliced onions

4cloves of garlic - diced



Preheat the oven to 325.

Cut the onions in half and remove the dry skin and slice. When the last of the meat has been browned, remove and place the onions in the same pot and allow the onions to sweat. The liquid from the onions will allow you to scrape some bits from the bottom. After the onions have had a chance to brown (about 10 mins), make a little open space in the middle of the pot and let the garlic cook for about a minute. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the pot.

1 cup Beef Broth

3 cups light beer (Pilsner)

2tbls brown sugar

Herb bouquet (bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and whatever you have fresh and/or like)

Heat the pot to high and add the beef broth, beer, and brown sugar (say that fast 3 times) and scrap up as much 'stuff' as you can. Add back into the pot half of the beef. Add half of the onions and then repeat the layers one more time. Cover the pot and put in the lower half of the preheated oven for 2.5 hours.

1 1/2 Tbls Cornstarch

2Tbls Wine Vinegar

Just before the roast is ready to come out of the oven make a 'roux' with the cornstarch and wine vinegar (ie. mix them together to a light paste). Take the pot out of the oven, place on the stove and heat on high heat. Whisk in the cornstarch and vinegar mixture and bring to a boil. Boil for about 2mins whisking/stirring constantly.

Turn off the heat as the sauce begins to thicken and let rest until time for dinner or lunch or supper or whatever you want to call it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Laundry, cute shoes, and THE DRESS

Do you enjoy doing the laundry? I don't mind it so much, but I get hung up on the folding. I was getting really behind on my laundry, and decided I needed to put a system back in place. Now I know everyone has their way of doing laundry, I'm just sharing what works for me.

1. We have two hampers, one on the main floor and one on the upper level. These must be emptied everyday before I throw a load in.

2. In the basement I have four baskets that the dirty laundry must be sorted into.

a. linens (napkins, table clothes, towels etc..)

b. lights (light colored clothing, and dress clothes)

c. darks (jeans, dark colored clothing, and dark socks)

d. underclothes, white socks, and jammies

3. Every day of the week has a certain set of clothes that is assigned to it.
Sunday: underclothes and white socks
Monday: linens
Tuesday: jammies
Wednesday: jeans and dark socks
Thursday: Misc...
Friday: darks and dark socks
Saturday: Sheets, and lights

4. Once the clothes are out of the dryer. I immediately fold Brian's clothes and put them in his clean clothes basket. He then puts them away, in his no rhyme or reason dresser. Then I sort the rest of the clothes and fold them. I put Ian and my clothes away. Katie's clothes I put on her bed and she takes care of putting them away. If I don't have the opportunity to fold the clothes right away, they must be folded the next day.

It's pretty basic, and it works for us.

Now on to something fun!!! I bought this shoes a few weeks ago for $4.95. Aren't they darling!?! I just love them. Katie was sooo jealous...why can't I have cute shoes like those? So, I said you can borrow them I'm sure they will fit you. Sure enough they fit her.

Katie and I are going to check out a cute dress at Picky girl. That I might get for Valentine's day. I was looking for something with some va va voom to it! Let's just say this dress has a lot of that. Susie said that Brian won't be able to handle himself and Liza said he is going to flip. Now I just need to fit into it!

Have a great weekend friends! Brian's posting tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Club ~ Tikka Masala and The SHACK

We had our last book club meeting in November, and I realized that I forgot to share about it. One of the girls was ill, so there was just five of us. Jen offered to host, and a gracious host she is. Her home is always so warm and inviting with the pleasant scent of vanilla.

We read the book Shack, and it received mix reviews from our group. It is a heavy book. I think some of the girls couldn't get over the traumatic chapter. I had read the book in May and was planning on reading it again, but didn't get to it. I really would like to read it with Brian and get his thoughts. Have any of you read it? What did you think?

Dinner was great. Jen is a fabulous cook.

Pita bread with hummus
Sauteed green beans
Tikka Masala
Jasmine rice
Raspberry brownies

Jen and I share recipes a bit. This is one I thought she might like and she made it for us. My family loves this dish. If you have always wanted to try Indian food but have been a little nervous about it. This is a good place to start. If you don't like your food too hot, cut back on the jalapeno or eliminate it from the recipe. Let me know what you think if you try it. I like to serve it with basmati rice that is grown in India. Trader Joe's is really good. If you prefer another type of rice go ahead and use that.

Tikka Masala
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 tbs. fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tsps. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne (use more or less depending on your tastes)
2 tsps. fresh ground pepper
1 tbs. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 small package of chicken about 3 breasts

1 tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1-2 tsps. salt
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup cream and
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. Allow the chicken to sit for about 10 minutes and then slice into pieces.
Put the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream/ milk. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Dinner was great, Jen is a wonderful cook!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Ian had his first spelling test a couple of weeks ago. To say that he came home happy, would be an understatement.


Monday, January 25, 2010

50 Cookbooks ~ Martha Stewart's Buttermilk Pancakes



The Book: The Best of Martha Stewart Living Favorite Comfort food

From: Jay (former supervisor) "Martha Stewart and comfort foods. What could be better? Thank you for jumping into some new challenges this year. You've done a great job with your new responsibilities."

Now, this cookbook I have made a few recipes from. Everything from Coq au Vin to chocolate bread pudding.

I have made these pancakes twice now, and changed it both times. I think I will be changing it again. The first time I only had 1 cup of buttermilk, the second time I used all skim milk. Next time I will cut back on the milk/buttermilk. As you can see from my photos. The batter is quite thin, this happened both times.

*Updated recipe 2/26/2011
I have been tweaking this recipe for awhile now, and am happy with the results.  The batter is thicker due to the fact that I have reduced the liquid ingredients.  These pancakes have a nice height to them and are  fluffy.  Do not over mix the batter, it will have small lumps.  Once you flip over your pancakes do not press on them with a spatula.  This prevents them from rising and becoming fluffy. 

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon. salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
2 tbs. unsalted butter melted

Heat a heavy skillet until very hot. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, milk, and butter; whisk to combine. The batter will have small to medium lumps.
Heat the oven to 175. As you are heating up your griddle add a small amount of butter. 
Once the skillet is hot. Pour a small amount of batter (I think my ladle is about 1/4 of a cup). When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on the bottom about 1 minute.
Repeat with the remaining batter. Place the finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven.

Source:Adapted from Martha Stewart Favorite Comfort Foods

Do you have a favorite pancake recipe or do you like to use a mix? Love to hear your thoughts! Have a great week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Weekends with Julia ~ Babas au Rhum

I knew I wanted to make a dessert, but couldn't decide what. I said to Brian, "pick something." This doesn't always work in my favor, but I couldn't make a decision. He choose Babas au Rhum. Great I thought...yeast. I'm really trying to overcome my fear of yeast, but it still makes me nervous. I have made a couple of batches of cinnamon rolls and I even tried my hand at Brioche with pretty good results. It still intimidates me though. Well looking closer at this recipe I noticed it called for fresh yeast. I didn't have fresh yeast, so I decided to combine Julia's recipe with Ina Garten's. The recipes were pretty similar, with differences when it came to measurements. Basically you mix yeast, butter, eggs, sugar, flour, and salt together. You let it rise for about an hour. Then you put it in a pan. Ina suggests a five-cup tube pan. Julia recommends a popover pan or muffin tins that are 2-inches deep and 2 inches in diameter. I used a regular muffin tin. You then let it rise again for another 1-2 hours. Mine rose in about 15-30 minutes. I should have baked them then but I thought I needed to wait the whole hour. The next time I checked on them they had collapsed a bit. This didn't seem to be a problem though. I baked them for about 15 minutes and they seemed fine. Next time though I would bake them as soon as they rise. You then let them cool down until they are warm. While they are cooling you make the rum syrup which is basically a sugar syrup with Jamaican rum. Then you let the syrup also cool down you want it to be warm but not hot. You then put the Babas in a shallow dish and poke holes in their puffed tops. Then pour the syrup over them and let them stand for 30 minutes, basting frequently. You want them to be moist and spongy but still hold their shape. Then drain on a rack for another 30 minutes. After this step you make an apricot glaze and brush that over the babas and serve.
The nice thing about this recipe is that you can freeze the babas ahead of time and then thaw them and soak in syrup. This would be nice for a party.
I'm not for sure if I would make these again. They had a very strong rum flavor! The kids were excited to try these, but the rum flavor was too much for them. If you don't like the taste of rum, you probably won't care for them. Brian and I thought they were pretty good. I would probably cook the alcohol a little bit to take away the bite next time and maybe add some vanilla to the syrup. In another version Julia serves it with berries and creme chantilly. I think that would be really good and go over better. I'm still really glad I made it. Julia is an amazing teacher, and really takes the intimidation out of French cooking. Here is Ina Garten's recipe if you are interested. Happy cooking!
Have a great weekend!
Next week...Brian posts on Carbonnades a la Flamande (Beef and Onions braised in beer.)
Take care,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Grocery List

For me, having an organized grocery list is essential. I first saw this idea in Ina Garten's book, Back to the Basics. It has worked like a charm for me, and I have been using it for quite a while now. I'm not sure if you can see the picture very clearly. I have six sections on my list Dairy, Meat, Produce, Shelf Goods, Frozen, and Misc. I create a document on my computer and print out a stack on paper that has been used on one side already. I try every week to put a blank one up on our fridge. As we run out of items, we can add it to the list. Then on the back of the list I write out our menu for the week. This also gets posted on the fridge, after I am done shopping. It works for me, and is a definite time saver. What do you guys use for a list?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bits of Encouragement

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Psalm 23
Pray for the people of Haiti.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's been happening around here???

Ian lost his fourth tooth! I really did get some other darling photos, but he inisisted I post this one.
Katie participated in her fourth and final science fair at French Immersion.

Mr. amazing made bread...don't you just want to eat it!

Me, well I worked on my cookbook review. It's almost done!

Monday, January 18, 2010

50 cookbooks ~ Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

The Book: Iowa Homecoming 86

From: I believe Brian's Aunt Diane gave it to us for a wedding Shower.
This is another cookbook that has not been used very much. There is a sugar cookie recipe that everyone loves in our home that I have been making since we were first married.
I am on a quest for a really good cinnamon roll recipe. I love cinnamon rolls! I would like to find a recipe where the dough is really light and flakey, and they rise pretty high. I also would like a nice brown sugar/cinnamon filling. It's not that much to ask for is it? I have made the Farm Chicks cinnamon rolls, they were o.k. I didn't care for the frosting.
Unfortunately this recipe was just alright for me as well. I mean they were good, but not GREAT. Here is the recipe if you would like to try it.
Overnight Refrigerator Cinnamon Rolls
2 pkgs. yeast
2 1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. oil or shortening
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 egg
5-6 c. flour
Put 3 cups of the flour, along with yeast, sugar and baking powder, in a large mixer bowl. Stir to mix. Heat milk to 120-125. Pour milk over flour mixture and beat with mixer for 5 or more minutes. Add the shortening salt and egg; beat really well again. Add remaining flour, gradually enought to make a soft dough.
Roll out dough, right away, to about 1/2 inch thickness. Spread with oleo, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Roll up as for jelly roll. Slice 1/2-inch thick. Put slices in pan; cover with foil and seal well. Put in refrigerator 12-24 hours. Bake in morning in 400 oven. Frost, if desired.
Icing (I just threw this together)
Powdered sugar
almond extract
Have a great week friends!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Weekends with Julia ~ Soupe Au Pistou

Soupe Au Pistou (Soup of "Kings" )
by Julia Child (an adaptation by Brian )

I was drawn to this particular recipe by the ingredients (and the fact that it was 'wicked' cold out when I was contemplating making it). I also recognized the word "pistou" as having a Greek meaning so I was intrigued. I studied Greek in college and occasionally words that find their origin in Greek catch my eye.

As far as this particular recipe's changes are concerned, I will readily admit that I am more of a "Chunky Soup" vs. a regular (Campbells) soup guy. My alterations are generally meant to make the soup more hearty. In addition, I tend to favor flavors that I like and discard those I don't (I am selfish, I know:).

The results of this particular recipe were especially good. This is probably due to the fact that I didn't alter the recipe too much to my tastes. It makes a lot of soup so be prepared to freeze it in portions for use later in the winter when the temperature dips below zero (hopefully this NEVER happens to you).


3 quarts water
3 cups each diced: Carrots, potatoes, onions (I increased these from the original and did more of a rough chop vs. dice)
1 tbs salt

Boil the ingredients above slowly for roughly 40 minutes.

2 cups diced fresh green beans
2 14oz. cans Great Northern Beans
1 tsp. pepper

20 minutes prior to serving add the ingredients above and boil slowly for 15 min. Test for salt and seasoning. In the original recipe, broken spaghetti and a slice of stale bread is added. I skipped this step because I knew that if I added the pasta or bread the longevity of the soup might be lessened (soggy bread and over cooked pasta don't appeal to me from a left-over standpoint).

While the above is cooking, prepare the "pistou". Blend the ingredients into a paste in an electric chopper or food processor.

4-6 cloves mashed garlic (I love garlic and almost always double it. Dial this back if you want or if you are scared;).
6 tbs. Tomato paste (I don't normally like tomato paste in anything but it was acceptable in this recipe and actually surprisingly good.)
1/4 cup fresh Basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil

When the "pistou" paste is ready, whisk slowly into the soup and simmer for 15 min. to allow the flavors to blend. Adjust seasoning accordingly ( i.e. add salt if you are a salt-aholic like my lovely wife or pepper if you are spice freak like me).

I am sure you will like this soup. If you have a particular vegetable that you really like and you think that it would be good in it, add it. You really can't screw it up. Just keep in mind that heartier vegetables (cauliflower) need more time to cook than dainty ones (spinach) and add the more delicate ones later in the process ;)

Bon Appetite.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Origins ~ Ginger Essence

In India, grooming plays a very big role in peoples lives. I observed this many times as a child when we would visit. When we were to visit friends or go to church, or if someone was going to work. Certain things would happen. Best sari's would be pulled out, bathing, powdering, women brushing their long dark locks and fashioning them on top of their heads. Last but not least, a bit of fragrance would be applied. People seem to take a lot of pride in their appearance. This of course carried over with my parents when they moved to the States. My mom would sew matching dresses for us girls, our hair would be done just so, and if we were lucky maybe a dab of my mom's perfume.
My mom had one of those ornate tray like things with a mirror on the bottom that you would place on your dresser. It was lined with all sorts of bottles in different shapes and sizes.
So of course when I got older I started wanting my own fragrance. Like every other girl I wore Liz Claiborne in high school and in college for a little while. After Brian and I had been dating for about a year he purchased me a fragrance called realities that was by Liz Claiborne. At some point Brian's parents purchased me Ralph Lauren. Right before my wedding my mom gave me a bottle of Tuscany per Donna. I remember the girls and I all spritzing ourselves with this. After I was finished with this bottle, I stopped wearing a fragrance for quite a bit of time. I just kind of got tired of it and couldn't find anything I liked. Probably five years or so had passed and Jen got brave and purchased me something light and floral from Bath and Body. It was very pretty and I really liked it, but then they stopped making it. I didn't got looking for anything new. Then about four years ago, before Brian and I went on our Caribbean vacation. I wanted to find a new fragrance...and I did. It was called brown sugar and fig, and I loved it. I actually still do, except they stopped making the perfume. Oh, you can still buy the lotions and such but no fragrance. So about a year ago, I was introduced to Origins ~ Ginger Essence. I liked it, and for Christmas this year, Brian purchased me a gift set. I have to tell you friends, I love this!!! It is different than anything I have worn before. What I usually wear is sweet and simple. This is not that. It is spicy, like ginger. It also has some citrus to it. It is really unique and definitely sexy! So if you're looking to change up your fragrance. Stop by the Origins make up counter and check it out.
Well, that is it for me this week. Brian will be posting tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bits of Encouragement

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:22
Encourage one another~

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What do you see?

Probably a Dad and his two children playing the wii, right??? Wrong!!! There are actually two more adults playing with them. That's right Shane and Jen are playing with them, from their home in another state. Technology can be very cool sometimes! I'm not sure which games you can play like this. On this particular evening they were playing Mario Cart. We all just thought it was the coolest thing, and wanted to share. So if you want to play the wii with us sometime, let us know.

I also wanted to post our recipe for pumpkin pancakes. I posted this on facebook a very long time ago, and forgot to post here. This recipe got a lot of positive feedback. The original recipe came from Martha Stewart, but I made some changes. Enjoy!

Whisk 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder;

1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg;

a pinch of ground cloves.

In a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup skim milk,

6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree,

2 tablespoons melted butter,

and 1 egg; fold mixture into dry ingredients.

Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat; pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side; serve with butter and syrup.



Monday, January 11, 2010

50 cookbooks

The Book: Best recipes from American Country Inns and Bed and Breakfasts, Kitty and Lucian Maynard

From: Brian P. for a birthday a few years ago. This is what he wrote in the front cover; Rachel, Happy Birthday! I love you and appreciate all you do to make our family work. You make us all happy. I think our marriage is special because we care about each other all day, everyday from Breakfast to Bed and back again. :) This why I thought this book was the perfect gift. I love you! Brian P.S. Check out pg. 449 (The bed and breakfast we stayed at on our honeymoon.)

I have to be honest, I have hardly used this cookbook. It certainly is not for a shortage of recipes (over 1500)! I have tried a couple but nothing very exciting. I am happy to say that I did find a winner in this one. We really liked these waffles, even Katie who is not a fan of breakfast food. As I was making these our home smelled like cake (see the ingredients). Brian thought they were nice and crispy on the outside. I will make these again for sure.


Amish Waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cake flour (sifted)

1 1/2 cups skim milk

2 1/2 tsps. baking powder

2 eggs, well beaten

5 tbs. melted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix in order f lours, milk, baking powder, eggs, butter, and vanilla, just until smooth. Bake on a hot waffle iron according to manufacturer directions.

We served them with maple syrup.

The recipe comes from COUNTRY GARDEN BED AND BREAKFAST. They don't have a website but here is their info if you are interested. 805 1st Ave West Williston, ND 58801 (701) 774-9643. I have never been their myself, so I can't say anything about the Inn. The waffles though...GREAT!!

If you are interested we stayed at the White Lace Inn for our honeymoon. We have been back there once since. We have stayed in the main house and love the orchard and the Old Garden Roses room. It is sooo pretty, take a peak.

Have a great week!



Friday, January 8, 2010

Weekends with Julia~Crepes

It has been a rough week around here. Isn't it always difficult to get back into the swing of things after break!?!? As my former supervisor in admissions used to say "re-entry is hard." To make matters worse, it has been terribly cold here. Due to the weather, I have been dropping Brian off at the bus stop in the mornings. This means, I need to get up earlier, and start my routine. It is just way too cold, dark, and slippery for him to walk those six blocks. He says he doesn't mind, but I insist. Katie said, I had dark circles under my eyes this morning. That is what concealer is for would help if I remembered to put it on! And on top of it all, I'm have been working on a huge project at work! I have roughly a week to complete it. This wouldn't be so bad if I worked full time, but I work about 20 hours a week. I usually don't work on Fridays, but guess where I will be. I might even need to come in on Saturday! Well at least it is Friday, but really I can't wait for Tuesday.

Tonight we are getting together with my sisters and their families for chili. I'm looking forward to relaxing and laughing with them. It is something I have been looking forward to during this long week.

On a complete different subject, let me introduce "Weekends with Julia." When Brian and I were first married we attended seminary out east. On our campus was a small building called the Give and Take. The name sums it up well. People were allowed to take anything they wanted, and were able to give as well. It worked out well as you can imagine, because people were moving in and out. I always headed to the books, hoping that I would find a great cookbook. I was doing plenty of deep theological thinking...I needed something to do in the kitchen. On one particular visit, I found volume 1 and 2 of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck. I really didn't know what I had found, but I remember watching Julia Child on television as a child, and knew that she made a huge impact on the culinary world. Well, I'm embarrassed to say those two books have sat on our cookbook shelf and really not been used much. So we talked about making one recipe from volume 1 each weekend throughout the year. Now, this is no Julie and Julia project. We might miss some weekends, and really we are just doing this for fun, because we like to cook. We thought you might enjoy our adventures with Julia so we will blog about our creations.

I decided for the first recipe to try French Pancakes better known as Crepes, or Pate A Crepes (Crepe batter).
Our whole family loved these! I was a little concerned that Katie wouldn't care for them because she isn't into eggy flavored pancakes. She thought they were great, and even helped make some on her own. You can make the batter the night before, which I would encourage. I made these on a Saturday morning and you must let the batter rest up to two hours, needless to say we were all rather hungry by the time they were all finished. We used a variety of fillings. Raspberry preserves, nutella, bananas, syrup, and powdered sugar. We will add these to our Saturday morning breakfast repertoire for sure. Thanks Julia!

Next week, Brian's up. That's right friends, mr. amazing will be reporting on Soupe Au Pistou (Provencal Vegetable Soup with Garlic, Basil and Herbs).

Have a great weekend friends! Stay warm and cozy!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Uncle" Shaney and "Aunt" Jen came to town

Shane's family lives here in the big city. So they decided to come and spend the holidays here. We asked them to come for dinner the Wednesday before Christmas. We had a great time, and they stayed until the wee hours of the morning (1 am).

Uncle Shaney, torturing Ian while he plays mario cart.

Three cuties

Shane...what more can I say.

A little secret.

We decided on a simple dinner: Salad, homemade pizza, and gingerbread cookies. Here are the recipes:

Our Favorite salad

1 bag of spring mix lettuce

Dried cranberries

candied nuts

blue cheese crumbles

balsamic vinegrette

Toss together and enjoy!

Our favorite pizza dough recipe. We have made the pissaladiere before, but it really wasn't my thing. Brian really likes this recipe because, he likes a thick crust. We made one veggie pizza, and one with pepperoni.

We make these every year at Christmas. I chill the dough roll it out, cut, and bake.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bits of encouragement

summer 2009
Daddy comforting Ian after losing a game of 500.

I was reading in my devotions the other day about God's consistency in our lives. It made me think about God's never ending LOVE for us. Isn't it amazing. He is always there when we need him, and even when we don't think we need him. When we try things our own way, and when we turn our backs on him he is still there. Not only is he there, but with open arms. Like a parent with their child. He is our constant our CONSISTENCY.
Because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Hebrews 13:5b
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Encourage each other~

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Well it finally happened...the third tooth fell out. He was wiggling it and wiggling it, and then he said to Brian, "Dad after supper I want you to pull it out." Brian is the official tooth puller around here. So they went into the bathroom, and shut the door. Katie and I were busy cleaning up in the kitchen and we heard a AHHHHHHHHHHH! Oh no, I thought. Ian has never cried when he has had a tooth pulled. Then he came running out and at the top of his lungs said "OH MY GOSH!" He was so excited, and there was not a tear shed. Afterwards, Brian said the AHHHHHHHHHH was not pain but Ian's reaction to the way he looked after the tooth was pulled. The next morning, bright and early Ian woke up and ran into our room. "Guess what, the tooth fairy left me two John F. Kennedy's!" Of course today it was back to school, and guess what he shared about during "sharing time." We have a pretty excited boy around here.

I also wanted to share with you what my friend Shana made for me.

In November I had seen a really cute banner on etsy. I immediately thought I should ask Shana if she could make me one. Shana has her own business called 5 eleven design, and she makes SUPER cute stuff out of paper. So she made me one that said GIVE THANKS, and apparently I didn't take a photo of it. I also asked her for one, that says HAPPY NEW YEAR. Isn't the cutest!!!! So go check out her blog. I'm thinking I might need one for February.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Resolutions for 2010

I decided to check out how "Webster" defines resolution, well there are nine definitions. The second one seems to fit what we think of when we think about the new year. 2) a. a resolving, or determining; deciding b) the thing determined upon; decision as to future action; resolve.

Here are my resolutions from 2009:

1) Make birthday cards with my photos (I made a few, but didn't get very far.)
2) Start a book club (Yes, it has been great!)
3) Read (I'm not quite sure what I meant by this, maybe I didn't read that much in 2008, I certainly did this year.)
4) Take photos (having a blog, really helped on this one.)
5) Eat healthy (I would say for the most part we do, and we made some changes.)
6) Exercise (We got the wii fit shortly after Christmas, and it is fun. I did well for about 6-8 weeks and then stopped. We tried running for a little while and then it got cold. So this one didn't really get fulfilled.)

Here is what I have decided for 2010:

1) Start a woman's Bible study (if you are interested, let me know.)
2) Be a better steward of our natural resources (I'd like us to compost more in the winter, stop using so many paper napkins and paper towels, line dry clothes etc..)
3) Educate myself and family about the food we consume (join a CSA, buy pasture feed meat.)
4) Exercise on a regular basis ( I need to figure out what this means for me and how I fit it into my routine.)

Kitchen goals for 2010, these are both Brian's and mine:

1) Make one new recipe out of every cookbook we have as of the New Year ( I'm not sure how this is going to go. We have over 50 cookbooks, but we will try!)
2) Start a new series on our blog called Weekends with Julia ( We are going to try to make one Julia Child recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking each weekend.)

Happy New Year friends!!!!
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