Tuesday, February 28, 2012

something i ate - febphotoaday

dinner = my version of Primanti Bros sandwiches.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Trains & Sprinkles

WOW!  I'm not really sure how to describe my day yesterday.  After spending the morning making my oldest & myself beautiful (we were both participating in the recording of an EVMCO Christmas CD), grabbing lunch for the kids, tracking down a lunch & dinner for myself, dropping off my kids at my mom's house, carpooling to Phoenix (about 45 minute drive to our recording location), recording, getting home well after midnight, etc, I'm not really sure what to say about my day yesterday.  It's always a great experience to record and to participate in making beautiful music, but it's also very frustrating and literally painful!  We had one 30-minute break for a quick dinner and that's it.  And then after eating dinner you go sit in a chair for many more hours where you have to sit as still as possible, so your dinner turns into a cement block sitting in your stomach ... and don't forget your back & bottom that are screaming for a little stretching.  I think I laid in bed until well after 1am just trying to settle down & turn the music off that was running through my brain.

When I woke up today, I wanted nothing more than doughnuts & cupcakes.  Kinda weird, but I was definitely craving sugar ... not sure why. :)  Because it promised to be about 80* & sunny, I told my kids to hurry and get their school work & jobs done so we could enjoy the beautiful afternoon.

We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head to the Scottsdale Train Park.  Once we arrived, we found a quiet, secluded spot to enjoy our baked ziti and other picnic yummies.  I relaxed on the blanket in the warm sunshine, read a chapter of my book, and the kiddies set out to explore, gather pine cones, and get dirty. 

After lunch and playing in the dirt, we found a playground and took a ride on a little train.

Later in the afternoon, we made our way down Scottsdale Road to Sprinkles Cupcakes.  We each whispered the secret code of the day to the sales lady and scored ourselves four free orange cupcakes!  We each picked out one other cupcake that we wanted to try .... Penguin got the "black & white" (chocolate cake with a white frosting), Peacock picked the pretty pink chocolate-raspberry, Turkey chose the dark chocolate, and I wanted to try the chocolate marshmallow (chocolate cake with marshmallow squeezed into the middle and a dark chocolate ganache topping).  All were delicious and we were happy to bring home four orange cupcakes for Daddy to try and to enjoy the next day.

Excellent day!!!!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

shoes - febphotoaday

I'm off to record a C.D.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

where i work - febphotoaday

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something new - febphotoaday

A rewind from last week:

Well ... I know this may not be new to you, but it's new to me.  I don't make much time for reading these days, but I picked up The Hunger Games on a whim about a week ago at Costco.  Good mistake? Bad mistake? I don't know. You decide.  I'm now addicted!  WHY DIDN'T I READ THESE BOOKS SOONER??!!??  Saturday evening I dragged my kids to Sam's Club to run some errands, but most importantly to find Catching Fire (book 2).  I was done with it by Monday morning.  If I didn't have obligations, I could've just sat on the couch and read it in one sitting.  Yesterday when I was at Wal-Mart, I grabbed book 3, Mockingjay.  I'm showing restraint by not sitting down to read it yet ... I'll take it to my eight-hour recording session tomorrow because I'm sitting alone, so I'll have no one to giggle and chat with during down time.

Good thing I only have one month to anticipate the new Hunger Games movie!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Tartlets - Tuesdays with Dorie

As I'm sitting here starting this post, I just glanced at the clock and it's already 11:23pm.  Geepers.  Where does the day go?  School work with 3 kids, cleaning 3 bathrooms, grooming 4 people, lunch at Sonic, trip to a vacuum store, errands at Wal-Mart, baking tartlets, trip to Grandma & Grandpa's house, trying a new recipe for dinner which took longer than expected, trip to Walgreen's for medicine, vacuuming, some serious kitchen cleaning after all our cooking & baking, piano practicing, laundry, and the list goes on!  Let's hope I can put together a quick post for my Tuesday with Dorie baking project for this week and hit the hay soon!

I made my dough yesterday.  It felt a little dry so I added almost an extra Tablespoon of ice water.  Today when I got my dough out, it was still feeling pretty dry, so I dunked my fingertips into a cup of water to moisten things up while I was rolling out the dough.  It helped.  The dough was a bit fussy, but easy to mend & I ended up making eight 4-3/4" tart shells (I think I could've made a 9th).  I was happy with how they turned out.

The fillings was easier to put together.  I almost always use Trader Joe's chocolate, but I decided to try a different kind this time around:

I'm not gonna make a special trip to buy this chocolate again.  It almost smelled a little bit like vinegar after it was melted.  Weird.   Since I now I have two empty tart shells on my counter and I think my six filled tarts could've been more full, next time I think I'll double the filling recipe.  For add-in's, I used white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, Oreos (in 3 tarts), and Trader Joe's Dunkers (in the other 3 tarts).

I was happy with how the tarts tasted, but the filling was definitely better than the crust. :)  The filling reminded me a little of a very dense brownie or flour-less cake.  My family enjoyed our tarts with a little Breyers vanilla ice cream.

Happy Tuesday!

For videos & the recipe, go HERE or HERE.

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a favorite photo of me - febphotoaday

april 2010

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Monday, February 20, 2012

handwriting - febphotoaday

Penguin - Feb 2012

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I think we spent almost our entire Valentine's Day cooking & eating ... or doing something that involved food sugar!

I stayed up past midnight the night before our big love day baking a chocolate cheesecake...

For my little loves, we woke up and made an apple-cinnamon Dutch baby for breakfast.

After breakfast we hit a couple more grocery stores to get the rest of the items that we needed for our V-Day dinner.   We found some strawberries on sale, so we came home & made some of these:

Then the kiddies got busy making their valentines.  Since they don't attend a school where they get to exchange cards with their friends, valentines were made for grandparents & each other.

Hubby didn't head home from work until after 8pm and he was 45 minutes from home, so the kids ate their dinner and then I waited for Hubby to get home so that we could eat together.  We made steamed shrimp, crab legs, stir-fried asparagus, mashed potatoes & gravy, a salad (with red leaf lettuce, gala apples, & Craisins ... had to get more red on our table!), homemade sparkling-berry-lemonade, bread, and of course our chocolate covered strawberries & cheesecake for dessert.

Even though I ran my dishwasher THREE times on Tuesday and Hubby washed some dishes by hand Tuesday night, I still woke up Wednesday to an overflowing sink of dishes ....
But ... it was worth it!!  Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

heart - febphotoaday

I saw a "heart" photo online that I wanted to try & copy.  I had all my kids model.  These were my 2 favorites photos after a very quick photo shoot (we're talking 2 minutes or less ... most of that time is spent by me begging kids to cooperate) and candy bribes ... none of us had much patience for a photo shoot this morning. :)  

I think this one turned out the best ... best eyes, best lighting, etc....

But I had to include this one too cause I love his little hands up there in the picture.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Self Portrait - febphotoaday

Just sat at my desk and held the camera arms-length away. :)

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Nutella Tartine - French Fridays with Dorie

French Fridays with Dorie brings us another fun & easy recipe this week.  I cheated a bit and only used ingredients that I had on hand, but I really enjoyed my version of Dorie's Nutella Tartine.

This was such a simple recipe that even a young child could make on their own.  I used some of my leftover homemade white bread from my Tuesdays with Dorie group and toasted it up with a little butter. (I actually don't even know where to find challah or brioche bread in my town ... if I were still in Pittsburgh I'd just run to the little local grocery store and have all kinds of choices of yummy bread!)  Dorie recommends orange marmalade on top of the toast, but I'm not a huge fan of orange marmalade, so I used some homemade strawberry jam that was in my fridge.  Then I melted some Nutella and drizzled it on top.  I also haven't had any luck finding hazelnuts in my town.  In the past I've looked at grocery stores, Wal-Mart, & Trader Joe's, but I've had no luck.  Maybe I need to make a trip to Whole Foods or Sprouts.  Anywho, since I wanted to use ingredients that I already had at home, I found some sliced almonds in my freezer and I toasted them up & sprinkled them on top of my tartine.  I have to admit that the toasty almonds were my favorite part of this dish.

Dorie says the Nutella tartine is comparable to American's milk & cookies after-school snack, so my kiddies & I enjoyed our tartines for our after-school snack one afternoon.  I highly recommend this little treat!!

P.S.  Dorie also recommends sprinkling a little fleur de sel on top, but I opted to not do that.  So far I haven't been a huge fan of desserts with fleur de sel.  I know it's popular and I spent a pretty penny to get my own bottle of this fancy salt, but it just doesn't seem to be my thing.  I've found it to be too strong when I have used it.  Any thoughts?

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sun - febphotoaday

Playing out in the evening sun.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

White Loaves - Tuesdays with Dorie

OK.  So in a weak moment I joined another online cooking group ... baking to be exact.  I'm not having great results with most of the Baked Sunday Mornings recipes that I've tried, so I decided to jump on board with another Dorie Greenspan cookbook ... Baking with Julia.  If I understand correctly, Dorie Greenspan compiled recipes from a PBS series hosted by Julia Child where Julia welcomed a wide variety of famous chefs onto her show to share recipes & techniques.  We will be baking twice a month and our recipes include everything from breads to desserts.  Like other online cooking groups, I can not share the recipe on my blog, but I can direct you to the "hosts" for each recipe who will be allowed to share the recipe on their blog, so you can snag it there.

First up, white loaves.  I don't have a ton of experience with yeast breads, so this was a good place for me to start and I'd love to work on & improve my yeast doughs/breads this year.  With only six ingredients (all were already in my pantry or fridge), this recipe came together very quickly.  For those who are wondering, my Kitchen-Aid mixer did a lot of dancing, but it's done the same for other thick doughs.

After letting the dough rise for about an hour, I shaped it into two loaves....

After rising for another 45 minutes ... ready to go in the oven....

Right out of the oven....

While my bread was baking, the smell was KILLING me!  I had to restrain myself from pulling the bread out too early and gobbling it down!  

I did put one my loaves back into the oven (without the pan ... directly onto the oven shelf) for just a couple minutes so that the sides could brown a little more.  It browned very quickly.  Results: I think I prefer the softer, less-browned crust unless I planned to eat the bread with something that I was going to soak up like soup or spaghetti sauce.  My 9-year old liked the more brown/crispy crust better.

I better run.  My kids are anxious to sink their teeth into a slice of warm bread!

If you'd like the join our group, there is still time.  Go HERE.
If you'd like to get a copy of the cookbook that we'll be using for our Tuesday baking group, go HERE.
To get today's recipe, go HERE.

PS  After seeing a few other bakers produce some HUGE loaves of bread, I decided to try a bit larger of a bread pan than what the recipe recommends ... I used two 9-5/8" x 5-1/2" pans.  The bread still grew taller than the bread pan while baking.

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Button - febphotoaday

Today's Photo Theme ... Button.

Check out other button photos HERE.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Hands - febphotoaday

Today's subject:


Since my 9-year old hasn't been picked on yet for the week, she got to be my hand model. :)  Can't decide which one in my favorite.  Maybe the last one.  What do you think?

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Cauliflower Gratin - French Fridays with Dorie

This week I chose to rewind & try a recipe that I missed ... cauliflower gratin.  We had ours for dinner with a big salad and some bread and it was well received by all.  It was more egg-y than I expected, so I thought it might be perfect for brunch or breakfast party.

I decided to make mine without the bacon, but I can see how bacon would be a very nice addition to this recipe!

Happy Friday to all!

P.S. What yummy food will you be enjoying this Super Bowl weekend?  Go Steelers!! :)

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Words - febphotoaday

Every Thursday (if I haven't already done so earlier in the week), I read the words of Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, Around My French Table. 

February 2, 2012 Photo a Day: Words

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Your View Today - febphotoaday

Happy February!

I saw something come up for a photo-a-day in February that caught my eye.  
I decided to give it a try.

The theme for today ... Feb 1st ... is "Your View Today".

I have lots of "views" throughout my day ...

naked bottoms,
lots of school work to grade,
my home & yard,
messes & toys scattered about,
food ... always nice to view,
3 clean bathrooms ... after I cleaned them, of course!,
sometimes a few tears,
& thankfully lots of sweet smiles!

I picked four of my views to share with you today.

The view from my kitchen table where I sit while I help my youngest two with their morning "pages" (school work):

A view from my back door ... I was too lazy to put shoes on.

My youngest:

My middle child ... note she just lost tooth #2 down there on the bottom!

If you'd like to try doing a photo a day, check out the list of themes for each day this month.  I'm not promising to do this every day, but I'm hoping to take more photos of every day life and use my camera more than I have the past year!

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