December 5, 2011

Grape Taffy Apple Bites

It is still fall right?  I know it is see-your-breath cold, dark by 4pm, hot cocoa, and peppermint bark time but let's rewind to warmer, lighter days of fall.  Think pumpkin patch, corn maze, apple cider time.

Picture this... bite size taffy apples, grape-size.  Perfect!  When was the last time you had a taffy apple?  I really can't remember the last time I had one... maybe high school.  What I do remember was I didn't finish it.  It always seems they take the biggest apple they can find and coat it in 3 layers of caramel and nuts.  Quite the investment.

November 23, 2011

Thanks 2011!

Wow Thanksgiving 2011 already?!  Thank you for supporting our obsessive pizza making and reading my ramblings.  It means the world to me!   Here are my favorite moments of 2011 that I am thankful for sharing with family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble!

Special thanks to my partner in crime and best friend, Chris.  I love you.

November 15, 2011

Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Pink Lemon Glaze

Look at these adorable little cookie feet!  [Insert obligatory sticking foot in mouth joke here.]  Bet you are wondering if you stumbled upon the wrong blog.  Well, my sister The Queen is pregnant with another girl! We are all thrilled!

She is due Dec 27 which means now is the time to celebrate!  I decided to make this baby party a Just Desserts party.  The appeal of a Just Desserts  party was more than I could resist.  There are so many desserts you can make ahead, in small sizes, and just plop down when the guests arrive.

November 9, 2011

Saturday Pizza: 11.05.2011

The usual Sunday pizza is, well, on Sunday.  We definitely have a routine by now.  People over around 5, kids make their pizzas, C makes pizzas for the adults while the kiddy pizzas bake.  We usually are saying goodbye to the visiting family(ies) around 8 or 8:30 at the latest.  We're like a well oiled machine!

Enter Saturday pizza!  No routine.  No bedtime.  No rules.  Throw in the time change, Oh Yeah! Pictured above are my best buds from work (from left Burke and Ben).  Saturday they came over for tons of pizza, wine, and fun with their partners Sara and Terry.  WAY FUN!!  I don't know what hurt my stomach more, pigging out on pizza or laughing so hard.   I was a little puffy headed Sunday but it was totally worth it!

November 7, 2011

Reclaimed Bleacher Platform Bed

Bleachers!  You know the ones you sat on back in the day at your high school pep rallies or basketball games.  Perhaps the ones you didn't want to sit on if you played basketball or volleyball.  Ask my dad, I HATED to get benched during v-ball games.  Grrr.

One day C and I were shopping at World Market for something.  They had a dresser or something displayed on a simple platform box.  C lightly kicked it with his foot and said, "I could make ya a box like that to put the bed on."  I looked down and then at him to make sure he was serious and quickly nodded Heck Yes!

That's what sparked the project.  C was just at a second use store and got pine to make this awesome bench I never posted.  There were bleacher boards there that he thought might work.  Field trip!

November 3, 2011

Sunday Pizza: 10.30.2011

That there's my father-in-law, Papa Choo-Choo.  Bubbe and Papa Choo-Choo live walking distance to train tracks that have actual trains running. (As opposed to our tracks that are pretty much all converted to walking/bike riding trails.)  They came for a visit last weekend.  It is with mixed emotions that I write this post.

C and I married in late June 2005.  Our invitation read "Celebrate the day we begin an adventure of a lifetime." We closed on the selling our condo July 5 and headed to my dad's house for a day or two.  C's parent's met us there and we all celebrated by eating the top of our wedding cake rather than freezing it for a year.  The next day we left Illinois and headed for Washington in one of our cars with our two and half year old dog, Abbey.  All our belongings would meet us in Seattle.

November 2, 2011

Parents and Yardwork...

Waiting to buy
We moved into our house November 2009.  Z-Man was only 8 months old and just crawling and cruising and bruising.  It was a crazy time.  Our house is in a suburb subdivision.  The real estate ad stated "Low maintenance yard" and we were sold!

We were somehow thinking low maintenance meant NO maintenance.  It didn't matter in the winter months which in Seattle buys you until July.  Round about August we were the only yard with brown grass in the neighborhood.  We both grew up with families that let the grass go dormant during droughts.

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Z's first night out trick-or-treating!  I admit, it was really fun!  The first couple houses Z would only go up to the door holding my hand.  Once he realized they were throwing CANDY in his bag he was A-ok!  He still held onto his tail the entire night.  Very cute!

October 28, 2011

Put on a Halloween Happy Face!

Happy Halloween!  Every self-respecting TV sitcom must have a special Halloween episode every year.  Consider this my Halloween episode.  So predictable!

I must admit I'm not into Halloween.  The whole scary movie thing.  Not so much.  Ooh stick your hand in this bowl of spaghetti worms.  Ewe. No thanks.  How about running through a Haunted House and getting scared senseless?  Busy.  Yes, I'm the Grinch of Halloween, Boo Humbug!

Ok so now I'm going to put on my rally hat and dress up as the "Mom who likes Halloween!"    You won't even recognize me.

I actually love pumpkin patches and carving pumpkins and really all things pumpkin flavored. So I'll go with that theme.  A couple weeks ago we made our annual trek through the corn maze and pumpkin patch with our PEPS friends.  Where would we be without them?  Lost.  Literally.  Our friend, Peter, navigated us through the maze like a champ!  (insert obligatory call 911 joke here)  Sadly, we bailed on the pumpkin patch.

Elliott, Karsten, and Z 2011

Elliott, Karsten, and Z 2010

Last week my lovely sister, The Queen, and her adorable daughter, Princess Kate, came over to paint pumpkins with Z-man under careful supervision of Grannie Frannie.  I found my inspiration from a post by Young House Love where you use painters tape to create jack-o-lantern face stickers then let the kids finger paint over it.  Once they're done painting peel off the stickers and voila cute psychodelic pumpkin!  Good times!

Usually people only wear their Halloween costume one day.  I have to continue wearing mine until Monday. (I see you playing your sarcastic violin in pity at me).  I'm actually quite excited for what's in store.  My In-Laws are coming in for a visit this weekend.  The Queen and family are coming over for more Halloween fun Saturday night.  Monday we are headed to our neighbors for a pre trick-or-treat pot-luck.  I've never heard of a trick-or-treat pre-party.  Now, that I can sign up for.  I just hope they don't make me stick my hand in olives eye balls!  Happy Halloween!

October 26, 2011

Sunday Pizza: 10.23.2011

Meet Soren!  He's 2 1/4 yrs old and a fast learner.  The boys loved making their pizzas.  They also loved playing together so much that they had no interest in eating much of their pizza.

Before the pizza making fun Z-man helped Daddy make the pizza dough.  Z's Uncle Ed and Aunt Katherine sent him the adorable chef hat and we completed the look with his apron.  He was ready for action!

October 20, 2011

Sunday Pizza Toppings

More and more of what I'm digging these days!  If I could put you on a pizza I would!

Scent: Solid Perfume Pocket Watch from Design Sponge
I used to wear Origins Ginger Essence until it ran out and then would buy more.  Then I had Z-man and now I just stink!  I so badly want to make my own scent and put it in a pocket watch or empty compact.  I just need to get my butt to the store(s), buy it, come up with my signature scent, and make it...  Simple right?  Maybe when Z graduates.  College.

Sugar:  Vanilla Pear Muffins from The Pastry Affair

Why oh why don't I bake more?  I am starting to view this as a flaw rather than a preference.  I see this mouth-watering muffin and just want to make five dozen.  This is a step in the right direction!

Vanilla Pear Muffins

YUMMY: Lentil stuffed Samosas from Journey Kitchen.  Shouldn't I just make these right now?   I mean really?

Vintage-y:  Aprons!  I love aprons!   These fun and flirty aprons from Jessie Steele have been calling to me for way too long!  The thing is they're too cute to wipe your hands on...
EVA-Coated Summer Lemons Gigi Apron

October 17, 2011

Tuesday Pizza: 10/11/2011

Pizza Sunday then work a couple days and have some more pizza on Tuesday!  Sounds like an ideal plan.  Thing is, it wasn't really a plan.

Are you a doer?  I'm a wanna-be doer.  Deep down I want to make a three course, from scratch meal every night of the week.  I'll open one of a thousand cookbooks I own and flip through and flip through and next thing I know I'm making refried bean quesadillas.

Enter Emily!  Do have a friend like this?  She's a doer!  She's the person that will name all the things she wants to do on Sunday and actually do them.  Well, most of them.

October 11, 2011

Sunday Pizza: 10.09.2011

Dry Fly Gin and Tonic, Lime, and Frozen Strawberries (outta ice)

When I was a kid I loved getting silly, slap-happy over-tired at slumber parties!  I can still remember staying up and laughing until my sides hurt over absolutely nothing at all.  Such simple and wonderful memories.

This Sunday I felt like a little kid all over again and LOVED it!  Truthfully, Sunday was a tiring day.  We played with Z in the much too early morning then brought him over to Bubbe's house around 10:30. {Thanks Mom!}  From there we went to Home Depot and our local nursery, Molbaks.  I'm starting to sound like Will Farrell from Old School - totally mid-thirties and married.

October 7, 2011

Sunday Pizza Toppings

What would a pizza be without toppings?  Here are some things elsewhere on the web that I'm into lately.  Some things make me laugh, some I want to cook, some I want to buy, some I want to give as gifts.  Most mostly, I just thing they're cool.

Funny:  The Oatmeal!  Once you start clicking through his comics you can't stop.

Educational:  Book Larder.  Opening in Seattle next week, Book Larder is a book store of only cookbooks!  They will feature talks by cookbook authors and cooking classes.

Book Larder, a community cookbook store

Bling: Shlomit Ofir Jewelry Designs.  Ok I LOVE this stuff!  I have a silver necklace very similar to this one.  She's a designer living in Tel Aviv and I just ooh and ahh over this jewelry all the time.    

Long Stone and Branch Necklace

Totally Cheesy! Homemade Ricotta on Homemade Crackers drizzled with Honey and Cracked Pepper from I Made That. Here's a recipe I CANNOT get out of my head.  I just must try it or else!  Brandi from, Pastry Chef at Seattle's Delancey, and co-owner of The Pantry (busy lady!) featured this simple and lovely appetizer on her blog.  Not only that, my friend, Emily, and I attended her cheese making class and got to sample.  Wow.  Must make.   

Visual: Google SketchUp is WAY Awesome!  As you may or may not know C is currently taking middle school bleacher boards and refinishing them to make a new bed frame.  Pretty amazing!  On a tip from  I downloaded the app for free to try.  It is so fun!  C was describing how the frame will look and I said, "How about we make a sketch?"  He completely poo poo'd making a sketch.  After about 5 minutes working with SketchUp he was sold!  Here's our first attempt. Nice.  Simple.  I love it!  Plus, we can add a headboard later if we feel like it.  Who knows?

October 3, 2011

Sweet Potato, Apple, and Onion Tortilla

Most years I make the same sweet potato side dish for Thanksgiving.  One year, back in college, my sister, The Queen, had this side at her adviser's house for dinner.  She described it to me and I tried to recreate it.

I layer sweet potatoes, apples, onions, dots of butter, and brown sugar in a casserole dish and bake.  Delish!  All these years later I now wonder how close I came to the original dish.  I'll probably never know.

Today's lunch was inspired by this dish.  Bring on fall!  There's sweet potato, honey crisp apple, and onion wrapped by a crispy yet chewy toasted tortilla.  I had to remind myself to SLOW down and savor every bite.  Oink Oink!

September 29, 2011

Perfect Ribs

Warning!  This post contains meat.  Pork to be specific!  Heavenly baby back ribs. If you are vegetarian or keeping kosher this blog post may not be for you.

I liken ribs to bacon (and salami).  Sinfully good.  Something you don't have often but wish you could daily!  Drool worthy...

C is the rib master in our house.  He has perfected the technique for making ribs.  The last time he made them was for Valentine's Day.  What a sweetie!

We were picking up a few items at CostCo last Saturday and pulled up to the baby back ribs.  We looked at each other and knew we were long due for some tasty ribs!  Normally, we make sure to get our ribs from our favorite butcher but knew there wasn't time to stop.  CostCo ribs it was!

The secret to these ribs is to slow roast them with the seasoning rub and sealed for nearly two hours.  Once there is about 3/4 to an inch of bone showing they are ready to finish on the grill.  Ideally serve with corn on the cob.  Heaven.

Really, this post is about practice.  Practice making ribs?  Nope.  Practice taking pictures.  They are coming along but I wanted to practice so that means a somewhat repeat blog post.  (slash reminder that you are long overdue for some good ribs!  Why not try to make your own?)

As you can see by the last picture, the meat fell completely off the bone! I had to take a picture of that awesomeness even if it is royally gross.  Totally like gag me with a spoon!  Yes, I am an 80s kid.  Moral(s) to the story?  Keep practicing.  It is perfectly ok to buy baby back ribs from CostCo.  Just eat them with corn.

Perfect Ribs

1.5 Slabs of Baby Back Ribs
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
2 Tbsp Chili powder (we use a combo of New Mexico and Cayenne)
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
3 Tbsp Ground Pepper (Freshly ground on the spot . . . it's a pain but totally worth it.)
BBQ Sauce (use your fav)
Tin Foil
Cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

With a paper towel remove the silvery membrane on the ribs. (this step was not needed with the CostCo Ribs, kind of nice) Use a fork and poke holes throughout the ribs between the bones so the rub will penetrate better.  Put ribs onto a cookie sheet.

Combine all seasonings in a small bowl (Garlic powder through Pepper).   Rub mixture onto both sides of ribs.  Cover cookie sheet tightly with tin foil so steam cannot escape.  Roast in oven for 1.5 hours.  After 1.5 hours check to see how much of the rib bone is exposed.  After that check every 15 minutes to see if the meat has crawled up the bones about 1/2 to 1 inch.  We needed 2 hours of total roasting.

At this point you can pop in fridge and finish up to a day later.  To finish: grill them basting your fav BBQ Sauce on them for about 30 minutes turning halfway.  They just look done ya know or if the slab bends in half when picking up or it begins to fall apart while flipping them on the grill . . . they ARE done.  Let them rest 10 minutes.  Slice individual ribs by holding the ribs so the bones are vertical and you can slice downward.  Serve with more BBQ sauce.  Recipe easily doubles or triples for a crowd, if you feel like sharing.

September 26, 2011

Sunday Pizza: 09.25.2011

You know the saying, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."?  Believe it or not, that is exactly how we all felt and declared Sunday about our weekly pizza get-together.

As the fall approached C and I discussed our strategy for Sunday Pizza.  We decided our first week back to making pizzas we would not have anyone over so we could practice.  (feeling a little rusty after a three month hiatus)  We also decided we would have company over twice a month and decide the weekends more in advance.  This way our weekends are planned better and don't get too busy.

So far we have willingly happily gone against both decisions.  oops.   Last week, our first time back in the kitchen, Z asked to have his friends over.  Which we did and had a blast!  This week, we wanted to hang out with our dear friends Pete and Emily and their son, Elliott.  Two weekends of company in row?!  Oh me oh my!!  Totally, not stressful and worth it!

September 21, 2011

Sunday Pizza: 09.18.2011

Fall used to mean back-to-school and nervous teacher jitters for me.  Now, it means pumpkin lattes, apple everything, and Sunday Pizza!  That's right, Sunday Pizzas are back!!!

We took the summer off from making pizza.  I mean, who wants to run the oven in the middle of summer.  We had a great summer doing a whole bunch of nothing.  Z fell in love with the beach and pools.  His favorite toy all summer was a big ol' pile of dirt in our backyard.  We went to a couple concerts at the zoo, C's brother's wedding in Chicago, and tiny, quaint Anderson Island full of fresh water lakes.