Thursday, December 3, 2009

Theme Tree

I was reading The Nester yesterday during my "research" and she feels every tree needs a theme. Not sure how I feel about that. Years ago, after a busted water pipe wiped out most of our families ornaments (that was a sad day) my mom decided she was going to do a theme tree: pine cones. We started buying all the pine cone ornaments we could find. It was pretty, but is was still missing something, so we added snowflakes. Still missing something, so we added red balls. The always looked nice, but for me, it always looked there was something missing. I guess it was all the old ornaments I looked forward to hanging up every year.

On my tree, we started out with a little bit of everything (the "no theme" theme if you will) I tried collecting cow ornaments. I have a few, but finding ones that aren't totally tack is difficult. Then I tried "green santas" (this was my protest against red santas when I found out that the red and white suit was a marketing tool for Coca Cola), but those are even more scarce than non tacky santa cows. It wasn't until I was at JoAnns one day and saw some photo frame ornaments marked down to next to nothing. I bought all they had. I was teaching at the time and figured they would make good thank you gifts for my parent volunteers. The left over frames sat in my Christmas box for a long time until we had Ben . We brought Ben home on Christmas Eve and so when I found this little frame, I thought it was perfect.

From then on, every year we add new photo ornaments to the tree. Each kid has a school picture ornament and I have one of the both of them in front of the tree. It is amazing how much the kids have grown and changed. As Sam was helping me trim the tree last night, she commented on each of her pictures. "I sure was cute back then. Huh, mom" and then practiced her potential poses for this years picture. In addition to the photo ornaments, Santa brings the kids an ornament every year reflecting their current interests so hanging out between the photos, we have Elmo, the Hulk, Dora and Hello Kitty, to name a few. Of course, no tree is complete with out painted macaroni and we have a couple of those too.

So I guess if I had to pick a "theme" I would go with "our family". Sweet and simple, just like us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December is here: ready or not

Today is December 1st.

It struck me this morning that I have a lot to get done these next few weeks.

I know I should be chipping away at my to do list, but here I sit blog hopping. I'm calling it "research" to make myself feel better.

We have our annual Christmas party this Saturday. I can't do a lot of decorating until the carpets get cleaned tomorrow, but once that is done, I'm all over it. The real reason we have the party so early is so that we aren't putting up the tree on Christmas eve. I think this year will be fun because the kids are at an age we they are really into it and are actually helpful. Ben has inherited my "it must be symmetrical" gene so his help will actually be helpful when doing the tree. Sam is still in training :0)

What I'm looking forward to this year is that fact that we are keeping things really simple. Our "buy a gift" list is pared down and I'm excited to do a bunch of baking for friends. We don't' have a lot going on in December so I'm hoping things will just be mellow and enjoyable. Isn't that the point? To take time and reflect on family and friends and spread some joy as opposed to pulling your hair out? Well, that is what I'm going to try and do. I'll let you know how it goes... :0)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend.
I spent mine:
Baking with the kiddos.

Turkey Trotting with the girls.

Eating lots of yummy turkey with the family.

Puttering around the house.

It was great.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some Lovin' from the oven

With the holidays upon us, I thought I would share a little recipe that will surely have your friends and family thinking you are the best thing since sliced bread.

About a million years ago, I found this recipe and while it tasted okay, it never seemed to turn out, so it sat in my cookbook almost forgotten. Well, the other night (always at night it seems) Joj and I had a craving for something sweet. Somehow we got on the topic of cinnamon rolls and I decided to pull out this recipe and give it another shot. Despite starting at 8pm, these little babies turned out AMAZING. I don't know what the problem was in the past (well, actually, I'm sure I was just too impatient to let the dough rise sufficiently), but these turned out perfectly. If you are a fan of Cinnabons, this recipe is for you. I had a girlfriend in HS who worked there and she gave us the recipe and this is pretty close. I feel compelled to warn you these are HIGHLY ADDICTIVE, but if you are willing to risk it, I promise you won't be disappointed. As an added bonus, your house will smell amazing. Enjoy

Buns from Heaven (aka the cinnabon clone)

2 pkg of yeast (or 1T)

1 C. warm water (105-115 degree)

2/3 C. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided

1 C. warmed milk

2/3 C. butter

2 tsp salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten

7-8 C. all-purpose flour, or more if needed

3 T cinnamon
1 3/4 C sugar
1/2 C melted butter
(You can add raisins and nuts if you want, I like mine without)

Proof the yeast ~ combine yeast, water and 1T of sugar, mix slightly and let sit 10 min until foamy

Mix milk, butter, salt and eggs then add proofed yeast

Slowly add flour (I usually use about 7 1/2 cups)

Knead for 10 minutes either by hand or with dough hook on the mixer

Place dough in a buttered bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size (I put my oven on "keep warm" and this helps a lot)

Once it has risen, punch it down and let it rest 5 min.

I find it easier to cut the dough into half and roll into a big rectangle.

Spread with half of the filling and roll it up jellyroll style. Cut into 9 pieces and repeat with the remaining dough.

Place rolls into buttered baking dishes ~ okay, originally it said you use 2 9x9's, but I found this was too crowded. I think it works best if you use 3 7x11 pans. I only have 2 so I used a 9x9 as well. Let rise again until doubled in size.

Bake 25min @ 350

While the buns are baking, make the To Die For frosting. I have seen lots of "copycat" recipes for this, but I'm telling you this is THE frosting you want to use. It tastes just like the cinnabon frosting and let's face it, it's all about the frosting :0)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8oz room temp cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 t vanilla
2 t lemon juice (this is the special ingredient that really makes it yummy)
4 C powdered sugar

Combine all ingreds and continue to mix for AT LEAST 12 minutes. DO NOT skip this step!! It is what makes this frosting so light and fluffy.

Once the rolls have cooled, spread frosting on rolls making sure to save a little bit. These are good fresh out of the oven or if you are like me and don't want to start baking at 3am, just make them the night before. In the morning, just nuke for 30 and add a little extra frosting. No better way to start your day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm too sexy...

So People Magazine named Johnny Depp as the sexiest man alive. I'm sorry, but they clearly missed the Alex Skarsgard memo.

With all the hoopla over Mr. Pattinson (yes, he is a cutie) I feel compelled to remind folks of another vampire (Erik Northman from HBO's True Blood). So he doesn't sparkle, but frankly, he doesn't need to :0)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Boo Boo Kitty

Happy Halloween.
I know I have been a very bad blogger, but I do make the rounds daily and enjoy what everyone is up to.

As I sit here waiting for the trick or treaters to start knocking on my door (I hope we get more than the 5 we got last year) I'm thinking about my little black kitty that is no longer here.
His name was Boo Boo Kitty. Here is a picture of his namesake. He was the best cat. We got him right before Halloween 15 years ago. He took lots of "love" from the kids and their friends and never once scratched, bit or even hissed.
Now Tinker is all alone and I can tell she misses him. We all miss him.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Old School Sugar Cookies

I like to bake.
I bake a lot.
It seems like I'm always baking something for school or for Joj to take to work. I usually make cookies because they seem to offer the most bang for your buck. While I have a few good stand bys I'm always on the look out for a new cookie recipe. I'm kind of a stickler when it come my cookies. They have to be pretty, chewy and easy. Well, I think I'm in love...

When my friend Jenny P was in town this summer, we were talking about sugar cookies. Now I have a sugar cookie recipe for "cut outs", but that takes too much effort. I've been using the cake box recipe and while that is good, I'm kind of over them. So Jenny sent me the Paradise Bakery cookie recipe and I was going to try that, but I didn't have cake flour (it was one of those things I had kept in my pantry forever and then finally pitched only to need it a week later) Jenny mentioned the recipe must be followed exactly, so I didn't make them. However, now I was craving some sugar cookies and my search began. is one of my new favorite sites. The best part is that is has recipe reviews. I love to hear what people have to say and how they tweak the recipes to make them better. Anyhoo, I found a recipe and everyone loved it (I always look for over 100 reviews with at least 4 stars) The best part was that I had everything on hand so I whipped some up. Can I just tell you they were YUMMY!! They totally reminded me of the cookies you would get with your lunch at school. They were slightly crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. Did I say they were yummy. I took them to the PTA meeting the other night and they disappeared very quickly.

So, if you are looking for an "old school" sugar cookie recipe in which I'm willing to bet all the ingredients are already in your pantry, look no further.


Old School Sugar Cookies (makes 3 dozen)

1 1/4 cups white sugar (divided)
1 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Cream together 1 C sugar and butter.

Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir.
Form dough into walnut size balls (I use a 1T ice cream scoop) roll in 1/4 sugar and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Don't flatten.

Bake 10 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.

Leave them on the sheet for about 5 minutes to finish cooking and cool.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Little Chicken in the Woods

I hope everyone had a nice and enjoyable weekend. We spend the second to last weekend of the summer at our cabin. We have been up a few times this summer and every time has been fun. The best part about our cabin is that our property is large for folks to camp and bring trailers, but there is a cabin which means a real bathroom and kitchen.
The past couple trips we have had folks bring some food and have done some community meals. The kitchen is small and we always seemed to be tripping over the collections of coolers that tend to make their way in. This time, we did all community food. I did the shopping and kept the meals pretty simple. To save money I did some shopping from my freezer and brought up a couple of chickens. I thought it would be fun to try "Beer Butt Chicken" and I'm glad I did. It was soooooo easy (you know me I'm all about the easy) and it was soooo good as well.

Seriously all you do is season the bird (I think our birds were around 4 lb) with your favorite seasoning (I used Old Bay because that is all we had up there, but anything would work. I wanted Johnny Salt, but we didn't have)
Place the chicken upright on a can of open beer (all we had was Keystone so a quality beer isn't necessary) and roast for an hour at 400. We had two birds and one was a little bigger than the other. The larger one could have gone longer, but we just chopped it up and threw it back on the grill. Anyhoo, the chicken was crispy on the outside and the meat was super moist. I will totally make this again and if you need a cheap and easy dinner I recommend you give it a try.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fresh Blackberry Pie

Tonight we had the best dinner. We caught some salmon of the deck of a friend's house and grilled it up. For dessert we had blackberry pie. Ben and Sam went berry picking with my mom so we had lots of fresh berries and I whipped up this pie. It couldn't be easier and since it is blackberry season you might as well give it a try.

Fresh Blackberry Pie
1 prebaked pie crust
3 C fresh blackberries
1T lemon zest
1T lemon juice
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 T cornstarch plus 2T of water

In a saucepan combine 1 C berries, sugar, water, zest and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil and add cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened, let cool
Mix remaining berries and "jelled" berries, stir gently
Pour into crust and let stand until set ~ you could put it in the fridge to help set.
Serve at room temp with some whipped cream or heat and serve a la mode.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Z is for Zucchini

This is the time of year when backyard gardens are over run with zucchini. If you are someone who like zucchini then you are lucky. I am not a fan. When I was little, one summer every night for dinner my parents would make sauteed zucchini. Didn't help my love of zucchini, but I digress...
It seems everyone has a zucchini bread recipe and I thought I would share mine. It was the one quick bread my mom ever made and it tastes really good with a little schmear of butter.

Laurie's Mom's Zucchini Bread
1 C oil (just regular veggie ~ or you could be a good mom and use 1/2 cup applesauce & 1/2 oil)
2 C sugar
3 eggs
2-3 C grated zucchini depending how much you need to use up (frozen zucchini works just fine)
1/4 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 T cinnamon
3 C flour
Mix wet, add dry
divide between 2 9" well greased loaf pans and bake @ 350 for 1 hour ~ let cool for 10 min and then take them out of the pans
It will also make 24 muffins, bake those for about 20-25 min
The loaves and muffin freeze fine, just be sure to wrap them up well.

My mom gave me one huge zucchini and from it I was able to make 4 loaves and 2 dozen muffins with enough leftover for two more loaves.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lemon Love

Yesterday was my friend Matt's birthday. One of my favorite qualities of his is that he loves my cooking (which comes in handy since he works for food) Anyhoo, I wanted to make him a little treat and decided on Lemon Chiffon Pie.
This could not be any easier and you probably have everything you need in your kitchen already. I know the picture is not the best. I was planning to take more, but the pie was gone in a matter of minutes. If you like a light and lemony, this pie is for you. Plus as an added bonus, if you use a premade crust, no cooking required, perfect for a summer dessert.

Lemon Chiffon Pie
8 oz of room temp cream cheese (if it isn't room temp, it won't blend smooth)
1 can of sweeten condensed milk (I use about 3/4 of it, but you can use it all if you want)
1/2 C lemon juice (I have used fresh, from a jar and a combo of both ~ whatever you have on hand)
2 T lemon zest (I think this makes the pie, but if you don't have it a dash of lemon flavor would work)
Mix everything, pour into a graham cracker crust and chill (to help with plating, you might want to put it in the freezer for an hour before serving)

Graham Cracker Crust
2 C graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 "sleeves" of crackers)
1/2 C melted butter
3 T sugar
Mix, pat into pie plate and bake 10 min at 350. Let cool before you pour in the filling
If you wanted to, you could serve this with some whipped cream, but I think the crust is sweet enough to balance the tartness of the pie.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Somethin' in the oven...

I'm taking advantage of our cool weather today to do a little baking. Our dear friend showed up at our door last night with 3 big salmon (I love living less then a mile away from Puget Sound) that he caught off him mom's deck. We had just eaten the fish he had given us yesterday, so yummy, and now we have six more fillets waiting to be eaten at a later date. So to thank Big Daddy Fox for sharing the wealth, I'm making some of my favorite Pineapple Bread. I found this on line off some B&B site, but when I tried to find the source to give credit, I couldn't find it whaddya gonna do? So anyway, this is super yummy, tastes like pound cake and you probably have everything already in your pantry :0)

Pineapple Bread

(makes one loaf, yields 18 slices)

1/2 C soft butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs
2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 C chopped pineapple (drained) I think a 14oz can is what I use and I prefer not to use the "crushed", but I guess you could.

Cream butter and sugar
mix in eggs one at a time
add pineapple
add dry ingreds
pour into greased 9" loaf pan
bake 1 hour @ 350 or until toothpick comes out clean


Monday, August 3, 2009

Fun in 5 minutes or less... seriously.

Happy Monday Everyone!!

So I was having kind of an unproductive morning and all of a sudden I get this wild hair to paint something. I am not one of those girls who is addicted to spray paint (in fact my last spay paint project didn't go too well) and any other attempts to paint have yielded less than lackluster results. Anyhoo, yesterday I was blog hopping and I saw a few different chicks who had painted their house address on their front doors. The first time I saw this was over at My Sweet Savannah (she is a local girl up north who has a beautiful home and a great eye for decorating). I remember thinking when I get a new door I'm soooo doing this. Well, today for whatever reason, I thought I'm just going to do it and literally 5 minutes (okay, maybe 7) later I was done. I LOVE it and it could not be simpler. Here is what I did...

My door before (yes, it could use a cleaning and has some chippy spots, but if I had to do too much prep, it would never get done so I channelled the Nester and kept on going)

I printed up my address in a WORD doc and made the font (Curlz MT) 150 since that is what fit my door. I also colored the back of paper with chalk for some homemade tracing paper.

Using a sharp pencil I traced the numbers

Got out the white paint pen I bought to use on my chalkboard project, but never did, and started to "color in" the lines and Voila!!

Is it perfect, no. But I like it and it a one of the few projects I can put in the "done" column.

So there you have it. A quick painting project from someone who doesn't paint.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

At Last...

Here are the first tomatoes of the season. Despite their name "Early Girl" they seemed to have sure taken their time. I think I'm about 2 weeks from being up to my eyeballs in tomatoes, but that is okay. I can eat them like apples and the small ones like candy. My goal is to have enough to make some homemade sauce with the fruits of my labor (pun intended).

As a new school year looms, I find myself feeling that "fresh start" feeling starting to creep in. Every since I was 2 years old I have had a "first day of school", as a student, teacher and now a mom. For some reason it feels more the start of the year than January first. I'm feeling motivated to purge overflowing closets and refine my organizational systems to help ease our transition back to school.

My mom and I are thinking of trying our hand at a big bulk cooking session. I've done mini versions of bulk cooking and it wasn't that overwhelming and I LOVED having stuff on hand. Since my freezer space is limited I will probably keep things simple again by focusing mostly on prepping main ingredients like ground beef and chicken. I will probably brown up a bunch of ground beef so it is ready for tacos, chili, sloppy joes, etc. as well as cook and shred a bunch of chicken breasts. Of course, a mega batch of meatballs will most likely happen as well. I find that if I at least have a head start on something, I'm more likely to actually cook (at least that is what I keep telling myself)

Happy Sunday Everyone!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What a whirlwind

Summer Salutations
Is it just me but this summer has been speeding by? Ours certainly is but not without some very festive moments. Probably the biggest event of my summer was turning the big 4-0. Yikes, am I really that old? (I guess it is better than alternative)

Last week I said goodbye to my thirties with a good group of friends. We did dinner at one of my favorite restaurants Stanley and Seaforts. If you live in the south sound region you really should try this place. It is a bit chichi, but go for happy hour and get the appetizer tower. Super yummy. Not to mention the view of Tacoma and Commencement Bay is gorgeous.

Last year, my buddy Holly took part in a local triathlon (the Federal Escape) as member of the Olympic distance relay. She, her sister and her sister-in-law each did one of the three legs. Holly did the 1.2 mile swim. It was so inspirational to watch her as she came out of the water. I thought maybe I could do that too. So last August I began to train. Now it certainly wasn't anything intense or scary, it basically meant getting up off the couch (or away from the computer) and start moving. The first time we ran I was able to run about 2 blocks and the thought of an actual triathlon was just no where on the radar. However, I stuck with it and on July 25th I completed my triathlon. It was so hot and I wasn't able to run as much as I had hoped but I finished and it felt really good. It also helped that a group of us did it together and we were there to cheer each other on along with friends and family.

That night I celebrated competing the tri and turning 40 with a good old "back in the day" spodie. The combination of good food, friends, drink and the exhaustion of earlier in the day kind of put me out of commission for a few days, but it was worth it. I never felt so loved by my friends. You know you have good friends when they will stand over hot stoves and cook for you when the temps are in the 90's. Joj did a great job of pulling it off and I was so grateful to everyone who helped him do it.
Other than that our summer has been pretty lazy. We have been a semi-permanent feature at the pool. However the last few days have been HOT. Now us W. WA folks don't do HOT. It is supposed to hit 103 today. We have A/C but is broken. I'm sitting her waiting for the repair guy to come out and hopefully fix it. (I'm hoping we won't have to sell both kids to pay for the repairs, but it is in the 90's and we need our A/C) At least with the heat I haven't been baking as much. I bought a cherry pitter to make some cherry pies, but my kids ate the prepped cherries and now it is just too hot. I did make a Lemon Chiffon Pie today and that was good, nice and cool and very refreshing.
Speaking of baking, I was featured on Jesus Loves a Casserole over at Timi's blog. She is such a hoot and I was so jazzed she picked my little Rhubarb Bars. If you like Rhubarb, or have a bunch of it and don't really want to make a pie, give this a try. Super easy and pretty. It is a great change of pace from lemon bars. They are sweet, but somewhat addictive.
Well, that is about it for now. I'm hoping that my blogging mojo will return with the cooler weather. Hope you all are having as much fun this summer as we are.
Happy Wednesday Everyone!!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Good Morning,

As evident by the lack of updating, the inspiration around here has been pretty lacking. I think between the insane amount of stuff happening this time of year and being sick (I had a doozy of a cold) there just hasn't been too much going on. In fact, the daily grind was starting to get to be a bit much. However, I'm happy to report I have received the shot in the arm I apparently needed.

Even though I haven't been blogging, my morning ritual includes checking out the other blogs hoping that something will inspire me to get up and get going. The common theme these days was the annual pilgrimage to the big Farm Chicks show in Spokane a couple of weekends ago. While I consider myself a pretty die hard "thrifter" I had never been "junkin'". So when Timi shot me an email about the Funky Junk Sisters show that was just down the hill from in me in good old Puyallup, I thought what the heck. Not only would I get a chance to finally meet Timi and Laura, but I thought I might find a little inspiration along the way.

My mom and I headed down there and we the best time. We hooked up with Timi and Laura who are exactly like I thought they would be, a total hoot, and started shopping. I've been reading their blogs forever and was so glad to finally meet them. (Who knew blogging would hook me up with such great folks) There was so much neat stuff. The folks that do these shows are so creative. How they can took at something and see the beauty in it is really amazing. I found myself just walking around thinking, "wow, how simple, but oh soooo fun". My favorite "trash to treasure" was using old knives as plant markers. Simple, fun and a project that takes 30 seconds which is very important to someone like me with horrible crafter ADD.

Walking around all the displays really made me want to go home, give my house a good cleaning and start looking at what I already had to transform into some kind of treasure. Last weekend while gsaling I found a desk that would be great for Sam's room. After seeing all the cute ideas, I'm totally inspired to finally get it finished. Not only is Sam's room on the top of the "to do" list, I'm inspired to look at the other rooms in my house. I am so craving "light, airy and uncluttered". It will be a big job, but worth it in the end.

Well, the laundry is needing to be put into the dryer. The only drawback to a fun packed weekend is that it is everything piles up and waits for you. Luckily, there isn't anything going on until tonight and the weather is nice and cool. A perfect day to work on the house.



Saturday, June 6, 2009

Garage Saling

Today is the big Heritage Park garage sale. I'm excited. It can be a pretty big sale and last year I scored my hutch for only 40 bucks. This year I'm not on the look out for anything particular (always dangerous) but I'm sure I will find something. The only draw back to this sale is that a lot of my friends live in this neighborhood and sometimes I feel funny digging through their stuff. It also makes it hard to haggle,on the other hand, sometimes I get the "just take it". I know that when I have a sale, if a friend shows up I tell them to just take what they want. There are a couple of other big sales around here so I'm hoping the hunting is good.
I'll let you know if I find anything good :0)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hello...Is there anybody out there?

Instead of Pink Floyd, how about some pink peonies. My peonies are aobut to burst and I can't wait. They are such a pretty flower. I just love them.
I can't believe it is already June. Where did May go. It was a blur I tell you. After I got back from my WONDERFUL trip to AZ, it seemed to be non-stop stuff. Usually May drags on and on, but not this year. Hopefully June will be a little more slow going. So far things are looking good.
Here in the Great Northwest we are going on 2 weeks of sun. That never happens and it is in the 80's today (again, rarely happens) I think today will the day that the news stops reporting "fantastic weather" and focus on when will "Heatwave 09" end. We have very slow news days around here apparently.
Hope it is sunny wherever you are!!
Happy Tuesday Y'all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Leavin' on a jet plane...

Tomorrow at 8am I am on my way to good ol' SeaTac Airport.
I'm finally flying down to Arizona to help my BBF Jenny P's big 4-0 birthday.
It is going to be so much fun. How could it not be?
It should be 90.
We have pedis already scheduled.
She has a pool and has found the perfect margarita recipe.
We are set.
The only thing besides poolside festivities is to walk at least 3 miles a day while I am there. My triathalon is starting to loom and a week off is not worth the pain of making up for lost ground. It should be pretty easy to eat well, so I'm not worried about that. The liquid calories might start to add up, but if they do a couple laps of the pool and I will be all set.
I'm back on Thursday night and I'm sure I will lots of blackmail material, I mean fun photos of our adventures.
I hope everyone has a fabulous week!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Black Bottom Pecan Pie

Good Morning!!

I know yesterday I said I would post the recipe for the Fresh Blackberry Pie, but I've changed my mind. Yesterday I made this, Black Bottom Pecan Pie (another recipe from my buddy Nick)

and it was very easy and very tasty. Be warned, however, this is a sweet pie. It is the kind of pie that requires a nice glass of cold milk.

Black-Bottom Pecan Cheesecake Pie
1 pie crust (used a 9" deep dish, trust me on that one)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 TBS. half and half
1 (8-oz) pkwy. cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup light corn syrup
3 TBS butter, melted
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350*.

Microwave chocolate chips and whipping cream in glass bowl until chips begin to melt. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into pie crust, spreading evenly. pour cream cheese mixture over chocolate layer.

Whisk together corn syrup, melted butter, remaining 3 eggs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, & 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir in pecans, pour over cream cheese layer.

Bake at 350* for 55 minutes or until set.

Cool completely on a wire rack ~ This is really important. The pie will not plate properly until it is set. Once it was pretty cool, I put mine in the fridge for a little bit.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Just add sun...

So there has been this very strange yellow thing in the skies of W. Washington. Legend has it, it is called "the sun". It is very rare in these parts so when it shows its face, Washingtonians go crazy. How crazy?? Long walks, 10 mile bike rides, yard work... stuff like that. So to the 5 of you who read my blog, that is were I have been. Trying to soak up enough vitamin D to last me through the next stretch of gray and wet (which is just always around the corner)

In other non sunshine news... I have discovered a really great recipe for fresh berry pie. Through my adventures on Facebook, I have reconnected with a guy who I went to high school with. Now we knew each other and had a lot of mutual friends, but we never hung out or really talked for that much. He was quite the "horticultural entrepreneur" so our paths never really crossed. Well, these days it seems he has become quite the "foodie" and we enjoy emailing about different recipes. He sent a link for Fresh Blackberry Pie. I usually stay away from fruit pies, because they don't plate due to the fact the filling is runny (a BIG pet peeve of mine) Anyway, I gave it a try and it was a big hit. I sent the pie off to DND for official taste testing and the guys liked it. Best part, it plates. I'm a happy camper. I can't wait for local berries to come into season. I will post the recipe tomorrow.

Well, it supposed to hit 70 today. I've got Lily and we are off to run around town and hopefully get some time to play in the yard. My sweet peas are still unplanted, ugh.

Wishing everyone a sunny Monday.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sunny Days

The sun in no longer missing here in the great northwest. The last two days have been amazing. We're talking actual spring weather. It is supposed to be nice again today (which is fantastic because it is also baseball) and I'm hoping to get a little more work done in the yard. My favorite little local nursery is up and running and I bought some sweat peas that need to get into the ground ASAP.

I just love sweat peas. They are so pretty and smell amazing. The one year my sweat peas did well I brought little bouquets in every day. I felt very "Martha". Nothing beats fresh flowers.

The picture above is from another local nursery. The Van Lierop Bulb Farm is amazing. It so pretty this time of year. It makes me wish I had planted more (or at least some) spring bulbs last fall. I love tulips. At our old house I had an 4x12 raised bed (a mother's day gift) that I had completely stuffed full of flowers. I had flowers from March to October. It was so nice. I would love to have another "cutting garden" but our yards layout isn't the best. I did win some landscape architech time so maybe she can help me figure something out.

Anyhoo, I hope it is sunny in your neck of the woods today.

Happy Thursday, Everybody!! :0)

Monday, April 13, 2009


Any more rain and I think I will turn into this.

Thank heavens no baseball tonight, but we have games Tuesday and Thursday. My only hope is that all the rain will fall now and our summer will be dry (unlike last summer which just happened to be the wettest summer in 100 years and that is saying something for Seattle)

April showers hopefully won't drown the May flowers.

Happy Monday everyone :0)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

Spring break is over.


I so enjoy not having a schedule to deal with. I like the "play it by ear"ness that come with vacation time. There are 12 weeks left of school and then we will be schedule free again.

Today I will be out and about testing kids' English. I actually like this job for 2 reasons: it is easy and it is good money. I make almost twice as much as I do when I sub. Subbing is fun though and I'm actually subbing 4 days this week, only half days though (I'm not crazy)

As far as my spring break cleaning... well let's say I made a pretty good dent. The weekend was really nice and so I took the opportunity to work out in the yard. At the preschool auction this year, I won 2 hours of a landscape architect. I'm very excited, but felt compelled to at least week the back beds before he came. My backyard flowerbeds are a mess. I moved around a lot of plants last summer and when we got all the snow this year, they weren't strong enough to survive. What is a real bummer is that most of the plants that died I have had for a few years and had raised them from 2"pots. Just when there were getting to a nice size, poof, gone. I lost 2 hydrangeas and I'm not looking forward to replacing those. Plants are so spendy if you opt for something of a decent size. Oh well, I guess I will just have to be on the look out for some good deals. I guess I should also wait to see what the landscape guy says as well. It is all very exciting.

On Saturday, we hit the local Fred Meyer along with everyone else in S. King Co. but it was sunny and that is what W. Washingtonians do. I decided I would finally plant the pots on my front steps and I'm so glad I did. Between giving the porch a good cleaning off (pic taken prior to the cleaning) and getting the pots planted my entry way looks happy now.

Happy Monday :0)

Monday, March 30, 2009

I really mean it this time...

Okay, so it now finally spring break and I need to get cracking. I posted a while ago about giving the house a really good deep clean, well, life happened, kids got sick and I didn't get as far as I would have liked.
So I am publicly posting my cleaning schedule for the week and so help me I am going to get it done (the fact that Joj is home for a few days this week to help is a real bonus)

Slowly but surely...

Here it is
Monday: Bathrooms ~ DONE!!
Tuesday: Kitchen ~ DONE!!
Wednesday: Family Room
Thursday: Living Room/ Dining Room ~ DONE!!
Friday: Bedrooms
This wasn't on my list, but it was sunny. Weed, weed and weed the backyard flowerbeds ~ Done!!
So now I guess I'm off to start. Fun, fun, fun
We are on spring break this week with a forecast of rain everyday. Yesterday was beautiful, so I'm hoping the weather folks are wrong about the rest of it.
Happy and Productive Monday Everyone!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oh Spring, Where Art Thou?

I need me some spring.
I need my flowers to bloom.
I need to see the plants I thought were killed by the snow this year are actually alive.
I need my little local nursery to open to I can walk around and smell the yummy smells of freshly watered plants.
I need a freshly mowed lawn.
I need happy flowers planted in the pots on my front steps.
I need the gray to go on vacation at least for a few days.
I need me some spring.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Muddy Mud Mud

We have been in a constant state of rain, sun, heavy rain, sun, down pour with this cycle repeating every 30 minutes (I'm not kidding)
Tomorrow was supposed to be Ben's first game of the season. Weather forcast: 37 degress and rain. Ben was oh so thrilled.
There are no "boys of summer" in the Soundview Little League. We are the boys of freezing rain and whiteout hail. We are the "blue tarp ball players". We don't tan we rust.
I spent all day running around getting the things Ben would need to stave off a case of hypothermia only to come home, check my email and see that the game has been cancelled due to too much mud on the field.
I've never seen Ben happier.

* Interesting side note... I googled images of muddy baseball players and there weren't any. Apparently no one in the world plays baseball in the rain except us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Paperboys and Cheese Fondue

Good Morning Everyone!
I hope everyone had a fun and safe St. Pats Day. We spent ours kid free with some friends and we had a great time.
We had tickets to see The Paperboys and the show was great. They played the Showbox downtown and it was a perfect venue for this Celtic, bluegrass, folk rock band. If you live in W. WA they are a band you would hear on the Mountain. That being said, I guess I just have to accept the fact that I'm coming to an age where the concerts I go to will most likely involve some type middle aged, yuppie mosh pit. But seriously, the music was great. Even the opening band Chuckanut Drive (can you guess they are from Bellingham?) was really good. This was our second Paperboys show and I'm sure we will see them again. They are coming to the Triple Door at the end of April (another great little venue) and I highly recommend them.
Another thing I highly recommend is this recipe for Cheesy Beer Fondue. We made it as part of our preshow apps party and it was a big hit. I'm all about the easy and this could not be easier:
Cheesy Beer Fondue

2 cups beer (I used a pale ale Henry's)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground dry mustard
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (3 cloves was pretty garlicly)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
Combine first 4 ingreds and half of the flour
Toss rest of the flour with the cheese
Once beer mixture is boiling, add cheese and melt (add a couple of drops of lemon juice if cheese is too clumpy)
Then dip all kinds of yummy stuff like bread, apples, veggies, etc.

While at one of my favorite thrift stores, I found a Rival electric fondue pot for $4.00. If you ever have a chance to pick on of these up I highly recommend it. I've had the flame type fondue pots before and they are kind of a pain (we never seemed to have the bunson burner stuff on hand). With the electric one you just plug it in and voila you are ready to roll. You can also control the heat better and the fondue wont' scorch as easily. (I suppose a small crockpot would work as well)

Well, that is was is new at Chez Yoko. Not much on the agenda today except to curl up with a book for a few hours. I'm reading Love in the time of Cholera. It is okay so far, but it sounds promising.
Happy Humpday Everyone :0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A little Irish Yummy

Here is a little something yummy to go along with your green beer and cabbage rolls.
We are spending this St. Pats with good friends and going to see some really good music.
Happy St. Pats Everyone :0)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sam is Six

On Monday, Sam turned 6 with lots of pink frosting.
We had cupcakes at school and dinner and cake with family and friends.
Ben seemed like he was little forever. Sam is 6 going on 16.
I never wanted to have a little girl, but then I had Sam and now I couldn't imagine life without her.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Not really, but I am taking a small blogging break (like I haven't already been on a break) I'm working all this week and I need to free up the blog guilt.
That being said, I'm giving myself one more week of decluttering. Starting next Sunday, I'm going to do a week long Spring Cleaning. One area of the house a day so that hopefully by the end of the week CPS won't take my kids. I'm just really feeling the clutter this winter and it needs to go. I watch Oprah's declutter show. I've decided that Oprah is obnoxious. My house would be beautiful too if I had a staff to decorate it and clean it. gimme a break. Anyhoo, I do like the Peter Walsh and it is really true what he says about how just 10 minutes can really make a difference. So now that I've publicly said I'm really going to clean stuff out, I feel more accountable to make it happen. I will try and remember to post the before, but I'm not sure I'm that brave. We shall see.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a great week. We are supposed to get a bunch of rain (big shocker) Hopefully, it will change its mind and get at least a few sun breaks.
Happy Sunday!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

My "day off"

I'm sure most of you are spending this President's Day doing something wonderful with your family. Well, I'm trying to do something for my family. I'm trying to gut the house of as much clutter as I can before the kids come back from BaChan's house and we have folks over for dinner tonight.
Am I crazy, probably, but it is either clean or light a match and the last thing I want is Jim Forman in my front yard reporting on the crazy lady who decided it was easier to burn the place down than deal with the clutter (for those of you not form the area, when the four horsemen of the Apocalypse show up Jim will be the one to cover the story). The good news it that I'm already a couple of hours into it and considering it isn't even 8 am, I feeling pretty good. My mom is coming over at 9:00 and I'm giving myself a good three hours. We shall see how it goes.
Happy Presidents Day!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's Snowing!!

I know Laura and poor Timi are probably rolling their eyes right now, but I'm so happy to see the snow has come back to our neck of the woods. I'm really hoping it continues, because they just might cancell the PTA meeting for tonight. I know I'm evil.
I guess I am the eternal 10 year old who just gets giddy when the snow shows up. My kids don't get that excited, but I sure do. I'm already hoping for another snowday. I know I will be regretting this once summer rolls around and we are in school until July, but right now, a snow day is just what the doctor ordered. I find that snow is so peaceful and calming. I love how it hides my gardens and yard that are in dire need of attention. It just seems to cover up all the messy things that are happening and replaces it with quiet calm.
I love the snow.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Girlly Girl

Yesterday was my first official "mom of a girl" activity. No boys, just 4 little girls. To say I was nervous was an understatement.
Up until now, Sam's buddies have been boys. Sam didn't mind, she is rough and tumble and keep up with the best of them. She does however have quite the girlly side. She has been asking me to have some "new" friends over from school, so yesterday we had a Valentine cookie deco party.

It was the first time over for all the girls and you just never know what to expect. I planned the party for 2 hours thinking that would be enough time to get everything decorated, have some lunch and let the girls play a little bit. I must say things went pretty well. Despite Sam melting down with a half hour to go, the girls got along well with minimal secret telling and bossiness. I would say it was a success and would love to have any of those girls over again.

As they were playing I started thinking about my best friend Jenny P. We have been friends since we were in Kindergarten. I couldn't help but think if one of these little girls here today would be the maid of honor at Sam's wedding? That started to freak me out a little. I don't want Sam to grow up. I want her to stay little and sweet and unharmed by all the nastiness that is the life of a girl. However, if there was ever a little girl who had the moxy to stand up to all the girl BS it is Sam. One of my favorite memories of Sam is when she got her first bike and we went riding. She kept yelling,"I'm AWESOME!!". I hope she will always feel that way.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Attemp at Being Crafty

So Sam tells me she wants to have a tea party.
We agree on having a couple of kids over to decorate Christmas cookies.
Massive snow hits and it never happens. Sam is bummed so we decided to reschedule for a Valentine's Day cookie decorating tea party instead.
I must say I'm a little nervous. The girls she has invited I really only know one of them. I'm hoping the other two are nice. The party is only two hours long, which will include lunch, so I'm sure it will be fine. We will be decorating sugar cookies and since that usually means mess I decided to make some aprons for the girls to wear.
While I was at JoAnn's the other day I was hoping their Valentine fabric would be a little more discounted, but I found some really cute fabric anyway. I had some "love bug" fabric that I was going to get, but then I saw the cherry fabric and knew I had to get that. I also found some red and white polka dot fabric to back the aprons and use for the ties.

I read a lot of blogs of folks who are actual sewers and they are always talking about the amazing fabrics in their stashes. I also have a fabric stash, but for some reason I hate to cut into the fabric. It just seems so final. Weird I know, but the lady who cut my fabric at the store said she was the same way. Anyway, I've started the first apron and I think it is going to be super cute. In fact, I'm not wanting to use all the cherry fabric up on the aprons for the girls I don't know. Isn't that awful??? It would be one thing to send this super cute fabric home with girls I knew would appreciate it, but unknown girls?? Hmmmmm that is a toughie. I think what I will do, is make Sam the apron with the cherries and make the other girls' aprons out of the red fabric and do the pocket in the cherry fabric. That way I will still have some of it left for other projects (an apron for me perhaps) In hindsight I should have grabbed a few more of the Target aprons when I was there a few weeks ago. Of course when I did go back all the aprons were gone. Oh well.
So today I will spend sewing, making cookie dough and possibly cleaning. The sun is trying really hard to peek out and I hope it makes it. I'm so much more productive when it is sunny.
Happy Humpday :0)