I am so happy that you have landed in my little corner of cyberspace. If you join me here, you will, hopefully, get to know a little about me. You will read my thoughts, my hopes and dreams, and see some of my favorite things. I hope you will visit often. I will try to update it regularly and hopefully you will see an improvement in the blog along the way. Thank you for stopping in to see me as I travel on this journey called "life"!
The New York Times and Monica Byrne, Home/Made, Brooklyn
David's stepdad treated us to this special lasagna for dinner a few weeks ago and I've been jonesin' for it ever since. It was cheesy and full of the most amazing flavors. I simply have not been able to get it out of my mind. Having a day off from work made today the perfect time to try my hand at satisfying this craving.
It was time consuming; but worth every minute of it. Not only did we get to put the new stove to the test; but, David discovered that the new backsplash that he put up to protect the wall behind the stove makes the most perfect place to hold the recipes as we prepare them. Bonus!
We have had unseasonably mild weather lately and I'm not complaining. It's much easier to get up and out of the house and off to work when the weather is not yucky outside. But it's Christmas and I'm in New England where Christmases should ALWAYS be white.
I have four days off and I was getting kind of worried that we might not have any snow for Christmas this year. We didn't get a lot of snow this morning; but we got enough to make it a little festive outside. It was nice to wake up and drink some coffee and watch it snow knowing that I didn't have to leave the nice, warm house. I have been sort of hoping for a big storm that would keep me inside my little cottage with my family for some much needed down time for the entire weekend; but that's not going to happen. So I will be grateful for the little snow that we have.
2011 has been a very busy and fun year. We have been in New Hampshire for over a year now and I think I can say that I have finally settled in to my new home. We have good health, all that we need and most everything that we want. David and I both have jobs that we love and all of our kids are finally close by for the first time ever. We are so blessed.
I don't even know how to begin this post. That's probably why I haven't posted anything since November 14th. That's a long time. I know. Life has just intervened.
over and over again.
It is what it is.
I've thought on several different occasions to just do a post and tell you that I'm taking a blogging break; but, seriously, after all the time it has been, I thought you guys had most probably figured that out already. You are smart cookies.
So here I am with a few minutes and I'm just going to ramble for a bit. I hope you don't mind.
Thanksgiving was great. I got two days off which made for a wonderful and much needed long weekend. We went to my in-laws where we enjoyed lots of fantastic food and spent time with family. I love Thanksgiving. The roasted butternut squash risotto with bacon and sage that we contributed was amazing, if I do say so myself. We didn't take any pictures. Can you believe that?
The job is going well. After two months, I can honestly say that I really enjoy it. We moved our office to a new location a month ago and it has been liberating for me. The space is bright and cheerful and I feel more organized and together. I still have a lot to learn; but I feel like I'm in a good place with it all. I'm encouraged.
With the new job though, I haven't done a lot of cooking lately or taken very many photos. I guess I've lost my mojo. I think about cooking.....I think about taking photos.....I think about blogging about what little I cook and/or photograph....and then I get distracted by something else and move on. That's just where I'm at in life right now, I guess. Maybe the new year will bring a renewal of sorts and I can get back into the swing of things.
Christmas is roaring in like a freight train for me this year. I did manage to get the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. We have a huge pre-lit tree that is absolutely gorgeous and absolutely too big for our home. Since we had it, we decided to try to make it work in our little cottage. We carved out a place for it and set it up only to find the branches and the lights to be a tangled mess. Pre-lit trees are a good idea...in theory....but when you don't have a box for it at the end of the season and you wrap it up in plastic and bungee cords, it tends to be in sad shape when you take it out to set it up for the season. Having said that, I determined to take all of the lights off and start over so I tore my hands up in the branches getting the lights off and when I had them all off, I decided that I really wanted white lights instead of the colored ones that came on the tree. Since we were going to have to buy lights anyway, we thought we should buy the LED ones and save some electricity. David and I made a run to the store before the LSU/Alabama game started and got new lights. We are saving electricity alright; but, I'm not sure that I'm sold on the way the LED lights look on the tree yet. I probably should have gotten the "warmer" lights instead of the "cooler" ones; but you live and learn and we're making it work. It's coming down in a couple of weeks anyway. I'm always excited to get the tree up; but, I'm usually even more excited to take it down again.
There are a few presents under there. I'm still not finished shopping yet; but I've made a good start, I think. I won't consider at this time that I only have one more weekend to get it done. Shopping up here is not an easy endeavor. It's a drive to get to stores or the mall. That can be a good thing, I guess, but it's difficult at Christmas.
I'm excited about the holidays this year though. My "baby" flew in last night to stay with us for awhile and we are looking forward to having all of the kids around this year for Christmas. We are settled into our cozy cottage and our sweet little Monkey is getting so big and being so much fun these days. It's going to be fun to do Christmas with her this year. What a joy to experience Christmas with children!
Thanks so much for stopping in and catching up with me. You have all been so sweet to send emails to check on me and I appreciate that more than you know.
I've said it before I will say it again.... I love Pinterest. My family is beginning to love Pinterest, as well, since I have been making some of the things that I have been pinning. Like Biscoff Cookie Dough Balls, for example...
I did not wait as long to get on the Biscoff bandwagon as I did for Nutella and I am so happy that I did not wait. That stuff is awesome.......
on my finger....
Run to the store and get a jar of it and make these cookies. You can get the recipe here at The Novice Chef blog. I know some of you will be shocked; but I did not change a thing.
When I was in school, the "lunch ladies" made the best rolls. I remember the wonderful aroma of those rolls being prepared for lunch. You could seriously smell them all over the school before lunch. Several years ago, David worked at a job that took him to the school cafeterias to support the staff with their IT issues. He got first hand experience with the amazing smell of the rolls and somehow managed to get the recipe from the grateful "lunch ladies". Of course, the original recipe makes 120 rolls and had to be scaled down to a more reasonable amount.
He hasn't made them for years; but recently, at the request of my mom, the baker returned and he made a batch of these amazing rolls. I knew that I had to share these with you just in time for Thanksgiving.
School House Rolls
adapted from the "Lunch Ladies" recipe from Lincoln Parish Schools
3 1/2 cups Water
1 Tbsp. Honey
6 1/2 to 7 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 cup Dry Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
2 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 sticks Unsalted Butter*
3 packets of Yeast
Extra butter for the tops of the rolls
Heat water to 110 degrees (hot tap water). Stir honey and one stick of melted butter into the water until thoroughly combined. Add yeast and let it grow (about ten minutes). Add all of the other ingredients to the water and butter mixture and mix until a ball is formed. Transfer the ball into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover and let rise until double in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the dough has risen, pinch rolls into balls and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Let the rolls rise again, approximately 30 minutes. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and place in the preheated oven. Bake until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
* The lunch ladies used shortening instead of butter in the rolls. We don't like to use shortening so David used butter in place of the shortening this time. The rolls are delicious either way; however, I think the rolls made with the shortening have a slight edge.
I have never been a huge peanut butter cookie fan. My mom made them a lot when I was growing up because they were my Dad's favorite. I always begged her to let me have some of the raw cookie dough because to me, the raw dough was always better than the baked cookie.
1 egg 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon vanilla white sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees° F. Combine all ingredients except for white sugar in a bowl and mix well. Roll the dough into balls and roll in the white sugar before placing on a parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheet. Using a fork, flatten slightly in a criss-cross pattern. Bake 10 minutes and cool on the baking sheet before removing.
And when you combine them with kale that has been massaged with avocado, salt and fresh lime juice, add some cooked wheat berries and top it with crumbled goat cheese, you get a salad that you simply must tell your friends about.
It was so good and so good for you.
Thanks so much for stopping by,
This post is being linked up here with the Hearth and Soul Hop.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed and add the powdered sugar, espresso, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly. Add the flour and beat until combined. Roll the dough into 1″ balls and place them 2″ apart on the baking sheet. Press the cookies slightly to flatten. Bake about 12 minutes or until the edges are set. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool.
* We used the finely ground coffee that gathers at the top of the coffee grinder box. ** I used Roasted Saigon Cinnamon. Awesome stuff.
The original recipe says that you can store the cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight storage container. There is absolutely no way that they would last that long in this house. You can, also, freeze for up to 3 months. That will be the only way that I could keep any here. They were seriously so good.
That's not a snow bank on the bottom right of this photo. It's one of our cars.
According to WMUR, anywhere from 3 to 25 inches of snow fell in New Hampshire with this storm. Over 300,000 people are without electricity according to the utility companies.
We were blessed. We got a lot of snow; but nothing like other parts of the state. Our snow event is over here; but it continues to our north. We are even seeing the sun shine out there right now.
It's really pretty; but it's way too early. I still have outside things that I want to do.
It's supposed to warm up this week into the 50's and that's a good thing.
We have plenty of snow to melt.
Just ask David.
Doesn't he look like he was having fun?
He was so good to get out there and shovel for us and take some photos for me while I stayed inside and drank coffee and decided what to cook today. This was not his favorite weekend activity, as you can see.
For the record, I was safe.
There was no way that he was going to throw that snowball at me inside the house. I was holding the camera and I cook.
The snow storm on Thursday was just a teaser. A couple of inches is nothing to compare to what we are getting this weekend. It is being called "historic" and I believe it.
David said that he doesn't remember when it has ever snowed before Halloween. I'm sure this isn't the first time; but it's the first that he can remember.
Fall was just here last week. I saw it. There was still some color on some of the trees this afternoon when I took these photos; but at the rate that it's snowing right now, it's safe to say that Fall 2011 is over.
See what a difference a month makes?
It was beautiful while it lasted.
I submitted the Red Barn photo to Yankee Magazine for the 2011 Fall Foliage Contest and they accepted my entry. There are so many wonderful photos on their website that I know that mine will not be featured in next year's Foliage Edition; but I'm still excited to see my photo on their website. You can even send it as an E-Card here.