Thursday, August 30, 2012

Peach and Raspberry Puff Oven Pancake

Breakfast anyone?
 
 
 I was all set to make my Peach Oven Pancake,
when I noticed these little red beauties in the fridge...
 
 
and it just didn't seem right to ignore them.

This breakfast really is so quick and the outcome so rewarding.
Here's what I did.
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
pinch of salt
 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put your pan in oven while it heats so it gets hot too. Put butter in pan and let it melt. Place remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix. Poor mixture into pan and return to oven. Bake for 20 minutes until browned.
 
Top however you like. I used plain yogurt, sweetened with a little brown sugar, peaches and raspberries. YUM!
 
 





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Monday, August 27, 2012

Marinated Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad


Just in time for the summer harvest of garden veggies!
I LOVED this dish. Such a nice change from the zucchini bread and grilled squash we've been eating. It's been fun to have a garden for the first time and try out lots of new zucchini/yellow crook neck recipes, and this one has been a fun alternative to the usual.
 
 
 
It also looks kind of fancy--something about those ribbons of fresh veggies. (I was hooked on the long thin ribbons when I made the cucumber sandwiches.) A vegetable peeler is used to achieve these long slices (make sure it is nice and sharp).
 
The squash is marinated in a vinegar-sugar dressing that is just plain perky and yummy and then to add fresh basil oil and little cubes of mozzarella cheese--perfect flavor sensation!

 
Great recipe I'm glad I found, and now I'll share it with you! Hope you have a garden full of zucchini and yellow crookneck (or at least a neighbor with it...all my neighbors are sharing in the bounty since I felt the need to plant WAY more than one family could eat. Next year I think I'll cut back a bit....).
 
Marinated Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad
adapted from Health.com
 
1/2 c. cider vinegar
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
2-3 small-medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 small-medium yellow squash (about 3/4 pound)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
 
1. Combine vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until sugar dissolves. Trim ends of zucchini and squash; cut into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Add to vinegar mixture. Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Bring a small pan of water to a boil; add garlic. Remove with a slotted spoon after 1 minute. Rinse under cold water; set aside. Add basil to boiling water; immediately remove and rinse under cold water. Reserve 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid. Transfer garlic and basil to a food processor, and add lemon juice, olive oil, reserved water, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth.
3. Drain squash. Top with cubed mozzarella, and drizzle with basil oil. Toss to combine
Click here to print recipe.
 
Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sunflower Door Decor

 
I think Sunflowers are just the thing for that transition
 from summer and fall.
Still bright and fun, but a little hint of what's to come.
 
My sister Lisa just made this great sunflower for her front door and was nice enough to let me share it with you- thanks Lisa!
 
 
(the center was made from torn apart pine cones... isn't that awsome!)

 
She said she saw the idea for the sunflower here,
but made a few changes.
She sewed the petals like I did in this sunflower tutorial, and then glued them to a styrofome circle.
(the larges petals were  2 1/2" across, but 3" would work great too, and she might add more around the outside next time.)
 
So go make your own... I think I will!
 






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Monday, August 20, 2012

Parfait Bar

Last time we were together with family we decided to give this Parfait Bar a try and I think we all agreed it was a total success!



We went the non-fancy route and just used plastic cups, but it would be easy to dress it up for a party with pretty glasses and a cute dessert table.
Just think of anything and everything that might be delicious as part of a parfait, set it out, and let guest build their own.
We've found that build-your-own works well for this group. Everyone can take what they like and avoid what they don't- or what their allergic to :)

The kids loved it too.
(check out my boy- strait for the chocolate chips.)



There is one major problem though. Deciding. I mean, you could go for a little of everything, but its one of those things that seems to grow uncontrollable and you're left eating a huge dessert. Darn.



We used different flavored puddings, whipped cream, and whater anyone had already that we thought might be good (nuts, marshmallows, fruit, grahams, chocolate chips... just to name a few).

Here are a few theme ideas:

FALL
spice cake, pumpkin bread, walnuts, caramel, cinnamon whipped cream, vanilla pudding,
 apple pie filling

BERRY DESSERT
berries of all kinds, cheesecake pudding, lemon curd, whipped cream, crushed graham crackers

ISLAND
banana pudding, toasted coconut, pineapple, mango

DEATH BY CHOCOLATE
chocolate cake or brownie, chocolate pudding, chocolate whipped cream, chocolate chips, oreo

KIDS
colored cake, pudding, whipped cream, sprinkles, m&m's, marshmallows, animal cookies

You get the idea!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DIY Backyard Chicken Tractor


Did I mention how much I like owning my own house. OK, not really OWNING, but you know, having our own house.... Now we can finally get the chickens we've been talking about forever. :)

And what better way to welcome our lovely little ladies to their new home than with an adorable hen house of their own? :)


This house + run is an appropriate size for 4-5 adult hens to run around and make yummy fresh eggs for us. (It's 8' x 4' plus the house.) It's not quite finished--the last little job is to put wheels on the back end of it (under the laying boxes at the back) so that we can move it around the yard. That way, your hens are pretty much always free-ranging and they won't destroy any patch of grass (if, of course you move it enough).

In this picture you can see the white handle we'll use to lift it and then move it (wheel-barrow style).


Then if we ever want to let them out to run around the yard, the side door (with the red X on it) can be used for both cleaning out the hen house and getting the hens in and out (we have a ramp for that too so they can come in and out).

And for ease of changing their water and feed, my husband added a hinged door on the top.



Cute, cute, cute.

A variety of free examples and plans are available at Backyard Chickens.
Now we just need our little gals to grow up a bit so they can live in it and mature enough to lay us those eggs. :)


For our little flock of hens we have a silver laced-winged wyandotte, a black australorpe, a buff orpington, and 2 americaunas.

Keep your fingers crossed for us that they actually all are females. :)




Monday, August 13, 2012

Ladybug Themed Birthday Party

After looking for lots of inspiration for our ladybug party, this was the cake we decided on.



I think it turned out pretty darn cute!

Here's the DIY notes:
  • I cooked the body in a heat-safe glass bowl, and then I cooked the head in a ramekin, but a muffin cup would work equally well.
  • I cut the head to fit snuggly against the body of the ladybug, and then I got out my star tip and went to town making a red body!
  • For the spots, I used Oreos and then crushed oreos for the head and black line down the center of the body.
  • Because I like chocolate licorice quite a bit but DON'T like black licorice, I used chocolate for the legs and antenae. For the legs, I cut the licorice in half and just stuck them in, but then for the antenae, I cut them in half width-wise and length-wise so they would be short and skinny.

Turned out cute, and the birthday girl was happy. Her younger sister kept proclaiming all day that "I must eat that ladybug!" Eventually, we did. :) 

For birthday decor, we hung up black and red streamers and had black and red balloons scattered about. I also drew little ladybugs to hang on the walls. Fun day for all.





Saturday, August 11, 2012

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

Few flavors rival my love of lemons, but rhubarb is definitely one of them. LOVE it. :)

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that my new house we moved into this summer had not one, but several healthy rhubarb plants, just waiting for me to harvest and enjoy.  We've eaten enough rhubarb crisp to almost satisfy my palate.

Well, after a recent trip to Costco where I couldn't resist the large containers of strawberries, we decided to make some strawberry-rhubarb freezer jam. And boy is it delicious! Love it on some homemade bread or even some pancakes. I'm thinking it'd be pretty awesome on vanilla ice cream too. :)



I did leave it, apparently, a tad too tangy for many people's preferences (aka my family) BUT I think it is perfection. Here is my recipe. I hope you make some and enjoy!



Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

Boil together:
3 c. diced rhubarb
3/4 c. sugar (up to 2 c. depending on how sweet vs. tart you like your jam)
2/3 c. apple or orange juice (orange is particularly good I think)
1.75 oz. package of reduced-sugar pectin

Add 3 c. sliced srawberries. Mash with a potato masher and boil for 4-5 minutes longer.

Pour into containers and freeze.

Easy and delicious! Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bubble Art


Jaime had pinned this idea here, and I thought I'd let my kids give it a try.


I had a bunch of almost-gone washable crayola paints and needed a fun way to use them up.



We just scraped the last of the paint into a plastic cup, added a couple drops of dish soap, poored in a tiny bit of water and mixed.


See my beautiful model mixing the paint... NOTE TO SELF: maybe I should have had her mix with a spoon because the straw was too tempting and she had a little taste. That was exciting.


Then this handsome guy blew lots and lots of bubbles (just like in chocolate milk)- a dream come true :)



We pressed the cardstock down onto the bubbles and wha-la!

(the bubble prints were actually more pastel, but when I scanned them then copied a little wierd)

A COUPLE TIPS
-don't add too much water or the pictures will be super light
(the green was our first try, but we used less in the other colors and it worked better)

-this probably should have been an outside project.
That might have something to do with the fact that my 1 yr old was 'helping' us, but still, its a little messy.

-use you bubble prints for all sorts of projects!
gift cards, wrapping paper, cool background, you name it





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