Friday, May 27, 2011

AND SHE LAUGHS

I had another post in mind BUT on Wednesday night Norah laughed for the first time and it is just so funny I HAD to post this video!!! Enjoy!!!




video


Monday, May 16, 2011

Adventures in Baking

I don't know if I've mentioned it but I do not cook. Well let me rephrase that... I DO cook... I just don't like to AT ALL and Ryan LOVES to cook. SO unless absolutely necessary I don't cook. I DO however LOVE to bake!!!

Two weekends ago we headed to Ryan's Godparents farm. They have a gazillion egg laying chickens so we always end up coming home with WAAAAY too many eggs! 10 dozen eggs is just ridiculous! After giving tonnes of them away we were still left with over 5 dozen eggs. I decided to get my bake on! Last week I made the following (I hadn't made any of these before):

Morning Glory Muffins
These were good but I found them greasy... could be the cup of oil in the recipe!! I don't think I'll make these again... I'll try to find another recipe that isn't as oily.
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups, plus 2 tbsp. flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (I never add salt in recipes... so I omitted this)
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated (or finely chopped). I finely chopped and did not peel the apple, I like apple peel in recipes as it has more nutrition.
1. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs. Then add oil, vanilla and sugar and combine well
2. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. When well mixed add remaining ingredients
3. Pour dry-fruit ingredients into creamed ingredients. Blend just until everything is moistened.
4. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Banana Bread
This was FANTASTIC banana bread! However, it did take forever to bake.. the recipe says bake for 30 minutes BUT I had to bake it for almost 50 minutes and it was still a little gooey in the middle... could be because I used a double yolk egg by mistake and my bananas were extra large. It could also be because I omitted nuts from the recipe. I will definitely try this recipe again!!
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 bananas, mashed
1 cup jam (I didn't have any jam so I used blueberry baby food instead)
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chopped pecans (I omitted this as I didn't have any)
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add mashed bananas, jam and eggs and blend well.
2. In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking soda together. Add to wet ingredients. When well mixed stir in nuts.
3. Line the bottom of a 9 by 5 loaf pan with waxed paper (I didn't do this and didn't have any problems)
4. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
5. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then remove loaf an continue to cool on wire rack.

Cheesy Pretzels
I didn't overly enjoy these BUT Ryan and Dave LOVED THEM. They devoured them!!! So I will make them again!! I may use a flavoured cheese next time to add a little zing.

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
kosher salt (or substitute garlic or onion salt)

1. in a large bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients with a fork until blended
2. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. With your hands, roll each portion into a rope about 12-14 inches long. Lay them on greased cookie sheets, forming each into a pretzel shape as you do so.
3. Brush each pretzel lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with salt.
4. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Fruit Squares
These were surprisingly fantastic! Next time I would make a double batch in a 9 by 13 pan as the single batch is SUPER skinny, it would be better if thicker. I also decided to use dried cherries instead of dates and raisins.
2 cups finely diced unpeeled apples (I used granny smith apples)
1/2 cup raisins (I used dried cherries)
1/2 cup chopped dates (I used dried cherries)
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

1. In a medium bowl, combine apples, raisins and dates. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. In a third bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cinnamon; add to egg mixture. Stir in fruit.
2. Spread in lightly greased or non stick 9 by 13 baking pan. Bake at 350 in preheated over for 25 minutes (Mine only took 20 minutes) or until tester comes out clean.

Ryan has been SO happy that I've been baking up a storm!! I plan on baking more this week as well! We'll see what I manage to make! I still have SOOOO many eggs left! I think tonight will be omelette for dinner night!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

They Have Landed!


I'm going to apologize right now for this as it may turn into a ranting post!


Last weekend Ryan and I spent hours in the backyard getting it ready for spring/summer. We have VERY fertile soil which equals MILLIONS of weeds that we fight all summer long! So we spent a good chunk of Saturday deweeding and tilling soil and getting rid of yet another garden we had in the backyard (I forgot to take before and after pictures sorry). The majority of the time was spent getting rid of the dandelions that have taken over our yard. We filled about a yard waste bag with dandelions and were sooooo happy about it. We honestly thought we had gotten rid of them!


THEN 2 days later I looked out the window to find THIS!!!!





DO YOU SEE ALL THOSE YELLOW DOTS!!!!!! Those are unwelcome dandelions! There are THOUSANDS OF THEM!!!! Apparently Ryan and I DIDN'T do a very good job!!!!! The worst part is that since I took this photo they have quadrupled!!! SO MANY!!! We will have to find some time to go dig these up before they spread more seeds and we have even MORE next year!


The only thing that made me a little happier is that our perennials that we planted last year have come up and look fantastic!!! We planted them last year but they looked very pathetic last year... they didn't do so well. But so far they look GREAT this year! Isn't this super pretty!!! The purple flowers make me smile when I go outside!

See how nicely they are all coming up! Don't ask me what we planted... I couldn't tell you! I just bought what I thought looked pretty!!! haahaa can you tell I'm NOT a green thumb person!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Handmade Cuff Links BY ME!!!

When Norah was first born I wanted to get Ryan something to thank him for being so completely awesome. He not only was working full time but with me on bed rest and not being able to get up to do anything he was taking care of me and getting up at night to change Norah's diapers and hand her to me because I couldn't even sit up. I knew I wanted to get him some customized photo cuff links. I hunted and hunted for ones that I liked and that were reasonably priced. I finally came on this one pair that were only $25 so I sent a photo of Norah and 2 weeks later these came in the mail.

Now I LOVED them and Ryan loved them even more!!! I looked at them and realized these would be SUPER easy to make. So I hunted down some materials and ordered a bunch knowing that Ryan would want more Norah cuff links as she grows and that I could probably make these as gifts or even to sell.

With that said these are my first pair of homemade cuff links! They are made out of 1 inch square glass tiles. This picture I don't have the cuff link backing on, I meant to take a picture of the finished product BUT I went to do that this morning to find that Ryan is wearing those cuff links today! This was my first trial run at them. They honestly look amazing!!!!! (ignore the shine on the one on the left it was hard to take a picture of them, they are actually identical and not as grainy as this photo makes them appear)


Ryan loved them so much he already wants more!!! If anyone is interested in customized cuff links just send me a message! I can make customized pendants as well. I promise to upload more photos of these as I make more! They are fun to make!