Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Anniversary Preview



Micah and I are celebrating our four-year wedding anniversary this month. The four year traditional gift is linen or silk, so that inspired Micah to commission a local artist, Sloane Merrick to create a custom piece for my currently-being-renovated office. Sloane is dating someone I have grown up with my whole life so we are still getting to know her, but from what we do know, we adore her and her work. She definitely has some fancy pieces in her gallery of work, so please, take a minute and visit her site by clicking here. We are still quite a ways away from our custom piece of art being completed as we are only in the discussion / ideas phase, but of course I will post a picture once it is complete. I can hardly wait!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Heart Shaped Scones for your Valentine


My friend Jessica taunted me by only TELLING me about some delicious cranberry and hazelnut scones that she made at her house (which I can't get to because of the snow!), AND she wouldn't even give me the recipe because she wants me to try them first. So, it got me thinking about scones and I wanted to make some as equally delicious as the ones Jess described. I searched on my epicurious app and well, I happened to have all the ingredients to make Glazed Raspberry Heart Scones. When you only have slightly less than 1/3 cup sugar, it is hard to find any baked good to make. (I was also out of raspberry jam and substituted with strawberry.) These were fabulous and pretty. Once they came out of the oven I forgot completely about the glaze, but now I figure it was a few less calories I needed to consume this morning. With the jam and the sugar already in the dough, they are plenty sweet without the glaze, but I'm sure the glaze would have made them so much prettier. I also froze half the dough. Since it is only Micah and I eating them, I figured we didn't need to each consume a few tablespoons of butter and half cup each of whipping cream! With the dough I was freezing, I added about 1/4-1/2 tsp. almond extract. I wish I had thought of it before I baked the first half, but alas, I did not. So, the almond is added to the next batch, and I did taste that dough - and WOW, it is going to be amazing! These are reasonably simple to make but they look so complex (in a fancy, delicate way), and they are absolutely delicious. Please note that never once do I say they are healthy. This is a far cry from my raw desserts.

Glazed Raspberry Heart Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons whipping cream
1/3 cup (about) raspberry jam (do not use seedless)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon rose water (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles fine meal. Gradually add 1 cup cream, mixing until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto sheet of foil; pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Using 3-inch heart-shaped or round cookie cutter, cut out scones. Gather scraps; pat to 1/2-inch thickness and cut out additional scones. Using floured knife, start at point of each heart and cut horizontally halfway through scones; fill with 1 generous teaspoon jam (jam will show at edges). Transfer to baking sheet. Bake scones until brown, about 18 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool scones until slightly warm.
Meanwhile, mix powdered sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons cream, and rose water in bowl to blend. Spread glaze over scones. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Bon App├ętit
February 2005

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Snowpocolypse


Oklahoma has been hit by a snow storm that apparently is so severe we haven't seen one like it in 100 years! The proof is my backyard. The railroad tie you see peeking out is about my waist level, and the snow is almost there! It does make for a wonderful week of being snowed in with my husband and baby though. Daisy is quite enjoying snow for her snacks.
And this all brings me to my "fancy find" I want to share. There is a good chance you already know about the iphone and ipad app, Epicurious, but if you don't, well, you need to download it. The app is free and it has tons of recipes and is updated often so it fits with holiday planning or specialialty categories like cocktails even. For valentines day they have sinful desserts and chocolate dessert categories as well as romantic dinner recipes. Since we were anticipating the great snow, I did have to meal plan and grocery shop yesterday and here is my menu for the next week + (the snow is expected to last one week):
Winter Vegetable Soup and Artisan bread
Roast Turkey and Winter Vegetables
Tuscan Turkey Soupy Noodles
Black Beans and Rice
Chicken with balsamic roasted brussell sprouts
Chicken Ceasar Salad
Curried Lentil Soup
Braised Chicken with Dates and Morrocon Spices
Homemade Hummus
Roasted tomatoes with mozzerella
Can you tell I love my veggies roasted? I am sure if they are amazing I will share the full recipe here, but until then, download Epicurious!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Newest Members of the Family

video
There are two new family members since December - one is a fish and the other (and more importantly) a nephew - so, no, I am still NOT pregnant. So, for the fish ...Micah and I went to a Christmas party where they had a white elephant gift exchange. I took home a goldfish and a bag of fish-fry. I thought I was a winner since I knew Daisy would love having a pet at home, even if it wasn't pettable or make any sound. Sure enough, she was thrilled until the next morning when it died and she saw me dispose of it in the toilet. As my brother Eric would say, I have a cold heart, so I didn't think Daisy would be attached or know what was happening. Well, she cried right after and waved at the toilet and all day said "bye - bye fish". And when I mean all day, I mean all day, at random times, and especially whenever we passed by the bathroom. So, that night, Micah surprised Daisy and I by coming home with a new fish - a beta, and one we named "brother". We were tossing around names, and we said "brother" and it was the first name Daisy repeated, so it was decided - she has a "Brother". Every day Daisy still likes to go feed brother, kiss the bowl, say "hi" to brother, hug the bowl, give Brother a nickel or penny, and point at his nose and eyes. Some might say this is torture that I have not given the girl a dog, but I say it is teaching her patience and gratitude! (or really I just don't want the added responsibility or mess or expense)


The other family member, not to be second to Brother in the slightest - is our new precious nephew born to Micah's sister Sarah and her partner Justin. They had quite the labor and delivery story, which has given us a new appreciation for the miracle of birth and the knowledge and tools of modern medicine which certainly saved both Sarah and her sweet baby boy, Hero's lives. We are thrilled he is here and that they are both now healthy and on the road to recovery, and of course the more cousins and kids, the merrier!

I bet you wish you worked with me


I realize how late this is, but I think I should save my breath on apologizing for the delays between postings because, well, I just get to it when I can and who needs more guilt in their life? So, with that said, I do think after reading this, you will wish you worked with me and here is why... I made peppermint patties for our co-worker's Christmas gifts. The recipe is from the November issue of Family Fun - a magazine I found in my doctor's office.

Ingredients:
2 tblspn plus 1 teaspoon water
1 tblspn light corn syrup
1 tspn fresh lemon juice
1 tspn peppermint extract
1 1lb box confectioner's sugar (3 3/4 cup)
1 tblspn shortening
10-12 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
6 hard mint candies crushed in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the water, corn syrup, lemon juice, and extract. Then sift in half the sugar. Add the shortening and beat on medium, then slowly sift in the remaining sugar until the mix is well combined.

2. Knead the mixture into a ball (it will be very stiff, add 1/2 tspn water to make workable if necessary). Use the bottom of a glass pie plate to apply firm even pressure to flatten the ball between sheets of waxed paper into a circle about 9 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Lay the waxed paper- covered disk on a cookie sheet and freeze until it's firm - about 15 minutes.

3. Place the frozen disk on a cutting surface and remove and reserve the waxed paper. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment. With a small round cutter, cut out circles from the disk, then place them on the cookie sheet. Gather the scraps into a ball and use the pie plate and waxed paper to flatten it again and cut more circles until the entire disk is used up. Freeze the circles for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt, the chocolate in the top of a double broiler over barely simmering water. Coat the patties one at a time; balance each on a form and dip it, then shake off any excess chocolate before returning the coated patty to the parchment. Sprinkle each patty with a bit of crushed mint candy. Add more chocolate to the double boiler as necessary until all the patties are coated.

5. Harden the finished patties in the fridge for at least an hour, and preferably overnight. Store them in an airtight container int he fridge, layered between sheets of waxed paper, for up to one month. Makes 5 dozen (approx, depends on the size circle you cut).

Tip - I used two cookie sheets and would rotate them in and out of the freezer during the chocolate dipping stage. If they would get too warm or room temp, they would tend to fall apart a bit in the chocolate. So, I tried to only dip them if they were still pretty cold from the freezer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Greyere, Caramelized Onions and Apple Pizzas

I know, sounds terrible right? Wrong! It is delicious. When I saw this recipe (where? I don't remember) I thought it was either going to be wonderful or horrible and I am glad to say it is wonderful. I am also glad the author did not include "beans" in the recipe title or I probably would have skipped it over completely. So, since I do think it is wonderful, I am sharing the recipe with you. I tore this out of a magazine but don't remember which one so I can't cite the author- my apologies to the chef.

4 tsp olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 medium red apples, halved, cored and thinly sliced
2 cans white beans (I used great northern), drained and rinsed
2 tbspn fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled (or 2 tsp fresh)
4 whole wheat tortillas (8-in)
2 cups shredded Gruyere (or Swiss if you can't find Gruyere)
1/4 c chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 450
2. In a large skillet, warm 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Add onions and toss to coat. Add 3/4 cup water, bring to a boil, and cook 5 min. longer.
3. Add apple slices and cook until apples are crisp-tender, onions are golden, and liquid has evaporated, 7-10 min.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mash beans with remaining oil (I didn't do that), lemon juice, salt, rosemary, and 3 tblspn water (I also didn't add the water)
5. place tortillas on 2 large baking sheets. Spread bean paste evenly over tortillas. Top with the onion-apple mixture, cheese and then pecans.
6. Bake about 5 min. until pizzas are piping hot and cheese has melted. Serve hot.

per pizza - 648 cal, 24 g fat, 36 g protein, 14 g fiber

Fancy that for dinner tonight!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gluten Free! Why? Because Life Isn't Complicated Enough.

So, I thought on my next grocery rendezvous that I would try some gluten free recipes for the next couple weeks, just to see if it made a difference in how I felt or possibly Daisy (more in how Daisy's diapers smelled to be honest). Notice, I don't mention Micah because he is not eating at home right now because he is filming a movie. Notice also that I am doing this experiment while Micah is not eating what I am making at home!

I have heard many a time that gluten free baked goods are akin to rubber. Well, my first gluten free baked good was actually quite delicious and Micah happened to sample it and never knew it was gluten free. The taste of the batter on these Pumpkin Spice Muffins was quite gross and tasted like flax seed, but baked, they were great. So, I thought I would share the recipe with you! I got the base of the recipe from Glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com but some of the ingredients were too expensive to purchase for just a trial run at this, so I made a few modifications. So, here is what I did:

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan w/ paper liners.

2 & 1/3 c gluten free baking mix
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground flax seed
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I ended up adding a dash more at the end, along with the ginger)
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix the above till combined
Add in
1 & 1/3 c. packed brown sugar (I didn't say this was completely healthy)
1 cup pumpkin puree (or most of the can like I did)
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 tsp lemon juice
mix all together

Then add 1/2 cup almond milk (I ended up adding a little more than 1/2 cup)

Beat until incorporated. You can stir in nuts, raisins, chocolates...I did none of those. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack to keep the bottoms from getting soggy. You can wrap and freeze to keep for later but they do take a while to defrost or re-heat if you do that. I prefer the method of cook as many as you will eat that day and then save the batter. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Daisy and Ellen

So, I still like to watch Ellen most days and I set the tivo to record it. What can I say, she makes me laugh!? Daisy has also seemed to pick up on Ellen being a happy time and whenever she hears the theme song start to come on, she starts dancing. So, here is a quick video montage of her reaction to the start of the Ellen show.

video

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Daydreamer


So, my friend and fabulous photographer, Brenda Horan, just posted a link to this web-site and well, it is so fancy and creative that I too wanted to share it with anyone who reads this blog. This is such an inspired and creative mom! I love what she has done with her imagination. The picture above, titled "Gone Fishing," is just one of many scenes she has put her daughter in. You should definitely look at this blog here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Life Update (no, we're not pregnant)



So, I was talking to a friend who lives in another state a couple weeks ago, and shockingly she does not have a facebook account to keep up with life there, so I thought for her sake and anyone else, I would give a brief update. So here goes...


I recently completed two sprint traithlons! The second one, my mom competed with me and I am proud to say we both finished. I think that will be one memory I will cherish forever!


Us before the race around 5:30am!


Micah may be changing jobs in the next couple months - to what? We don't know either.




Daisy is a full-on toddler!!! She is running her legs and her mouth quite frequently. Definitely has a will of her own, LOVES being around mommy, goes to Mom's Day Out Pre-school twice a week and generally just has so much personality! She loves to play with toilet plungers (we try not to let her when we see her with it), she still loves to snuggle any and all stuffed animals, and as much fun as she can be, she can also be a challenge with that spirited personality of hers. I am still reading parenting books, trying to find a "Growing Kids God's Way Class" and desperately praying at least once a week on how to be a better parent!



The Newman side of the family all went on vacation in the first part of August to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. It was SO fun for all the cousins to play together. They loved it, and we loved it.



Micah's parents moved up from Texas to Bartlesville, OK so they are much closer and his sister moved to Frisco, TX with her fiance and they are expecting a baby! (Yeah! Another cousin for Daisy!)



We feel blessed in life with great friends, family close by, lots of love and all the physical necessities, plus some (including a new washer and dryer that Daisy likes to sit and watch run since it has a window in the front)! Thanks for reading my blog and being a part of our lives.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Updated Home Exterior

So, I feel I must apologize now to all people who feel that stone and wood should never be painted (my in-laws included), because well, I paint them. Remember this:








Well, this time I painted stone. We had a darker, 70's style and tone stone - of which there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! However, for my personal taste, I felt it was a bit dark and cold in feeling and made our house feel somewhat squaty in stature. So, here is the before and after.




I really LOVE the way the new color shows off all of Micah's hard work on the lawn (and hopefully one year some really great landscaping to go along with that), and I also still love the new accent color which is my front door. I am undecided on keeping my flower boxes the accent color though versus changing them to the trim (cappucino) color instead and letting the flowers next spring inside the boxes be the color. But, I was too done with painting to re-do them. So, I will just decide next spring! Next project - re-doing my office and making it a bit more feminine since I do spend so much time in here now that I work from home!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bedazzled Pacis

So, we had Daisy's one-year photo shoot today with the marvelous Brenda Horan of Brenda Horan Photography and Daisy skipped her afternoon nap. I knew it was going to be a doozy of a shoot because of that and for some reason every time, and I mean EVERY time we have had a photo shoot with her it has been a bad nap day. I am pretty sure Brenda thinks we have a very unruly child (and she isn't altogether wrong in that idea when it comes to naps either). So, anyway, I thought we might need a paci. As sad as it is to have a photo shoot with a paci in the mouth and at ONE YEAR old (hence my blogging absence - birthday party, photo shoot, sprint triathlong training and vacation pics soon to be caught up), I thought I might be that desperate to use a paci. In an attempt to make the paci a little more fancy for the photos, I bedazzled it. No, I unfortunately do not own a bedazzler, but I do own a hot glue gun and some fake diamonds! So, check out Daisy's new bling for her grill!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Livin' the Fancy Life



Apparently appreciating all things fancy must run in the family. This is my brother on a work trip; he was staying at a luxurious TBN home. He specifically asked if he would make my blog for this and well, it doesn't get much fancier than this so the answer was a resounding "YES!". I now only regret not talking to him in a French accent the whole time he was there to add that extra umph of Fancy because I am not sure there was enough.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My New Door

We recently had the house painted (pics coming soon) and my FAVORITE part is the door. I picked a beautiful persimmon color and I absolutely love it. Normally, I have such a hard time picking out paint colors, so I was thrilled it worked without having to sample multiple colors to find the right one. I also hinted at a craft project in a previous post I was starting on, and here is the finished product! It was my front door decoration!




Instead of making a wreath, which was a little too intimidating and expensive for me, I painted a "B" in the house color and then added some pearlized paint on top, and then used my especiality of crafting - a hot glue gun! I am quite pleased with the finished product. It really was so simple too - just picked out a hydrangea flower, and some green berry looking sprays that I liked, tore them apart, and then glued the sections on in the places I liked them best. It was done in an hour (not including the painting part which had to dry of course). I like the unique factor that most doors don't have an initial but rather a traditional wreath, and I think it turned out pretty too! The light color on the persimmon door is a strong contrast, and it being close to the house-color still makes it seem tied-in too. Hope you enjoy as much as I do, and now you can easily recognize my house if you are ever coming by!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why I Started This Blog

Remember the cute headband post from a few days ago? Well, that same friend, Brenda Horan, just posted a link to this site that sells the MOST FANCY AND AMAZING BABY SHOES I HAVE EVER SEEN. I could easily spend all my money buying these, so since that is the case I probably won't buy any because I wouldn't be able to stop. It's like those chips, you can't have just one. It is these kinds of "fancy" things that make my heart smile and why I started this blog; well, these shoes and imagining my most beautiful daughter wearing them.




Speaking of my most beautiful daughter. One of my biggest struggles as a mom was the whole sleep issue. Having watched the babywise DVDs and read numerous books on the subject of baby sleep, I thought I understood everything I needed to do to get my daughter to sleep well from the get-go. Turns out, the books just don't give room for the babies that have to grow into loving to sleep and learning to nap, which was the case with my little flower. I fortunately found another mommy-blog that was also a "baby-wise mom" and her baby didn't learn to nap longer than 45 minutes until 13 months old. Reading that blog was so comforting because after trying cry-it-out a couple times and various other less extreme methods, nothing worked. Well, I am proud to say that Daisy is doing significantly better on her naps, and it is now more the norm for her to take 1.5 hour naps than the 45 minute naps. If she wakes up at 45 minutes, most of the time she is able to put herself back to sleep. Tonight, when I laid her down still awake, she flipped over onto her stomach grabbed her bear and put her butt in the air as fast as she could, looked at me and then just calmly closed her eyes as if she couldn't wait to go to sleep. It was such a great moment for me. So, for any other moms out there struggling wtih sleep issues, your baby can learn to sleep and sometimes they just have to grow into it!