Monday, February 28, 2011

Rosemary-Lemon No-Knead Bread

Isn't it beautiful?
It tastes good too. REALLY good. But, if you are a regular follower, you might be noticing a trend--I like lemons in everything! (lemons in my banana bread, lemons in my cheesecake....)

And take a look at that wonderful texture!

So, it looks beautiful. It has a fantastic texture. It has a wonderful, crispy crust. It has lemons and rosemary in it. And did you catch that part about "no-knead"? It's true! You just stir everything up and let it sit overnight, shape it, let it rise, cook it, eat it.  Done deal. :)

From start to finish, the this bread is a pleasure to cook. I love the fresh lemon zest and rosemary--the way it smells, the way it looks.

And pulling it out of the oven is a fun surprise--you never quite know how it'll look.

 I made sure and saved a few slices for my family. :)

I saw the recipe years and years ago (houses ago) in a William Sonoma catalog, and it's been a keeper every since. Hope you enjoy!

Click here for recipe.


Here's where we link up.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Mexican Shredded Chicken Salad (Crock pot some chicken with salsa and spices, then turn it into a salad by layering: tortilla, black beans, rice, lettuce, chicken, and either salsa/sour cream/limes or make a sour cream-lime-cilantro dressing)

Spaghetti (I think I seriously have spaghetti every week--but it's quick, easy, popular, and so many variations--sometimes vegetarian, sometimes ground sausage, sometimes sliced sausage, sometimes squashes like crookneck or zuc, sometimes broccoli, etc.)

White Bean Chili

Baked Salmon w/ Dill and Lemon Basil (my aerogarden is in full "bloom"!), baked yams, broccoli, and brown rice

Individual pizzas (this the recipe I now use for the crust--it's wonderful!)

Out to eat! It was my baby's birthday so we took her out to Johnny J's Diner (and my oldest--she's 3 1/2--had her first milkshake--is it terrible I waited so long? Or just fun? She thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was cute).

Sweet and Sour Chicken

How about you? Anything yummy on your menu this week?


Friday, February 25, 2011

Baby Onesie Applique and Plush Toy

Someone special is having a baby!
Whose the special someone? Emily! Yea! Emily, her husband and their little boy are going to welcome in a beautiful baby girl this week, and I'm totally dying to go see her. Alas, distance separates us, so I made gifts instead.

 I made an applique onesie and matching plush toy for the sweet baby girl (elephants because they are completely adorable and because Emily has a thing for elephants), and the big brother received a set of applique shirts--a race car and a snake, because what little boy doesn't like race cars and snakes? Not this one. :)

The real star of the set was the baby onesie and matching plush toy. I thought they turned out really cute--the toy elephant had a soft side and ribbon tags to keep baby fingers entertained as she gets older.

To find out specifics of what I did, continue reading....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brown Bag Gift Wrapping

I don't know about you, but I don't have wrapping paper for every different occation. Recently I ran out of everything but Christmas paper and I need a quick wrapping solution. Here's what I came up with...

A brown bag, a tag made of scrap paper, and some hemp to tie it shut. I've used this idea a few times now because it is sooo easy!
Another idea I had, make a few baby gifts ahead of time, put 'boy' tags on the baby boy gifts...

and 'girl' tags on the baby girl gifts. Then when the time comes I just write on the name and I'm ready! (Instead of scrambling and getting a gift there weeks late)

 Here's a bag I put together for a birthday party gift.

and some for party favor snacks. (it was a monster party).

Have fun wrapping!

Here's where we're linking up!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fun with Food Dye

Today we bring you....

How fun is that? Anyone else want a little color to brighten up the last bit of winter?

I first saw this idea on my personal friend and fellow-blogger Lyndee's blog and last week we shared it on Not JUST a Housewife.

I turned the whole thing into a science lesson about hydrophobic and hydrophillic molecules, where we learned about attraction and repulsion (my inner scientist coming out), but you could very easily turn it into a lesson about how soap works to wash our hands, or you could just have fun because it looks really cool. :)

Want to have fun with your kids today? Here's what you do.

1) Get some milk (preferably whole, but I used 1% with satisfactory results).
2) Pour the milk into a baking dish or shallow bowl.
3) Apply drops of food coloring.
4) Completely not necessay, but I also poured some cooking oil in the milk to demonstrate how oil and milk don't mix. The oil also looks cool when you dip the soap in it.
5) Now get your cotton swab and dip it into some soap (hand soap, dish soap, whatever).
6) Dip your soap-saturated cotton swap into the food dye or into the oil and watch what happens!

You'll be amazed at how quickly things will happen. 

What fun pretty colors you can make!

Have fun playing with your kids today.


Here's where we're linkin' up.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What's for Dinner?

Ricotta Stuffed Manacotti (I usually use whatever recipe is on the manacotti box. Sometimes I change it up by adding spinach)

Chef Salad


Asian Noodles with Stir-fry Vegetables

Super Nachos


Steak and Red Potatoes


Friday, February 18, 2011

Perfected Lion House Cheesecake

What is "Lion House Cheesecake" you might ask?
Well, it is a wonderful cheesecake variation that includes a tangy-creamy-smooth sour cream layer on top that will make your taste buds do a little happy dance. Seriously. We are huge cheesecake fans, and this is one of our favorites!

The recipe originates from The Lion House, a historic house located in Salt Lake City, UT. It was built in 1856 by Brigham Young, founder of Salt Lake City and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The house now includes a restaurant, The Lion House Pantry which is known for their fantastic dinner rolls.

Well, Emily recently perfected this already-fantastic recipe. Emily's husband isn't the biggest fan of graham cracker crusts, so she swapped the traditional crust for a shortbread cookie crust and put a nice twist to the recipe by giving it a lemon flair. So good! (What doesn't lemon make better?!) 
Why not make something extra delicious this week?
And if you've never made cheesecake before--do not fear!!! Too many get intimidated by this velvety-smooth dessert. It really isn't difficult to prepare! Just invest in a spring-form pan and follow the recipe. You'll be golden. :)

Here's the recipe.

Perfected Lion House Cheesecake

1 c. flour
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ c. butter, softened
1 slightly-beaten egg yolk
¼ tsp. vanilla

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
3 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

2 c. sour cream
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare crust: Combine the flour, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then, add the egg yolk and vanilla, mix well. Pat about 1/3 of the dough on the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan with the sides removed. Bake at 400 for about 8 minutes or until the crust starts to appear golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the crust to cool. Now, butter the ides of the pan and attach the bottom (with the cooked crust). Starting at the bottom, pat the remaining dough on to the sides of the pan. It should go up about 1-2 inches.

Reduce heat to 300 degrees.

Filling: In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth; add sugar a little at a time while mixing. Keeping speed on the mixer at medium-low add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 1 minute) and scraping the bowl after each addition. Mix in vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest and combine thoroughly. Pour into crust; fill to within half an inch of top to allow room for topping. Bake at 300 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, until mostly set (when the pan is gently moved, the center will jiggle only slightly).

Topping: When cheesecake is almost finished baking, beat sour cream with a wire whisk; add sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well. Pour over cake and bake an additional 10 minutes. The sour cream layer will not appear to be set or cooked enough, but it is! Just take it out and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Run a paring knife between the cake and the pan sides. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 3 hours but up to 4 days. For best results, let cake come to room temperature before serving (take out of the fridge about 30 minutes before desired time).


Here's where we link up.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wintery day activity: TP tube sculpting

Did you know Duct Tape now comes in all sorts of colors? How fun is that!? 

I originally bought this pink tape when we were moving with the intent of using it to tape up my daughter's boxes, but in the end she wanted stickers on her boxes like the rest of the house.

Then my husband acquired the blue Duct Tape as a Father's day gift from the ward (fun idea huh?).

What to do with such fun tape?

Make a work of art of course!

My mom had seen this fun art project, so she saved tons of tubes for my daughter. What fun we had! So much fun in fact that we did it for several days: take the sculpture apart and re-build.

Happy sculpting!


Here's where we link up. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pink Puppy Party Inspiration

Now that Valentine's is officially over, it is time for me to get crackin' on my daugther's first birthday party coming up in a week and a half!
Remember this post when I explored my ideas for different party themes? Well, I decided to not to any of those ideas. :) About a week after I made that post, she said her first word, "dog,"  and ever since then, that's been her number one obsession. She loves dogs like I've never seen an 11-month-old love dogs before, so I've decided to throw her a Pink Puppy Party!

I'm thinking I'll go with a soft baby pink, white and tan color scheme.

Here's some inspiration I found.

(felt puppies: Hair Fairy Clips, puppy cupcakes: Cake Central, stuffed puppy: Baby Gund, puppy cookies: SweetnSuch, puppy cake: Gracescakes)

Narrowing down the cake will be the hardest--I saw so many fun ideas when I was searching for inspiration. Sooooo many cute puppy cupcakes! :)

I may do paw prints every where--that'd be cute.

If I can acquire a big box, I think I'll make a big cardboard "dog house"--she'd go nuts for that.

Maybe some bone cookies?

Maybe some Chex "muddy buddies" or "dog food" or whatever you personally call that treat?

Maybe a large puppy poster?

A bunch of puppy stuffed animals?

Oh, so many ideas. :) Any ideas from you readers out there? Anyone want to make her one of those adorable felt birthday party hats? :) hee hee.

Naturally, I'll post pictures when the time comes! Until then, have a great day.


Here's where we're linking up!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

We've been busy! Holidays are so much fun--fun to bake for, fun to decorate for, and fun to celebrate with friends and family.

Here's some of the fun we've been having this Valentine's season. :)



Lots of love and Happy Valentine's everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Decadent Chocolate Truffles

These truffles are so rich and delicious and surprisingly easy.

Perfect for any special occation...

or just a serious chocolate craving.

and unlike the ones you buy, they won't cost you a dollar each!

Want to know how to make your own?
Of course you do.
Read more to find out how.