Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hungarian Kifilies

The is a recipe for a Hungarian Kifiles (KEE-flees). We have them every year and only at Christmas. My grandma used to them very tiny, but my mom and I haven't been able to master that so ours tend to be more of a "two biter". They are light, flaky and not overly sweet. We make them with both prune or apricot lukvar, but I like the prune the best. These are the kind of cookies that will cause folks to hover in the kitchen and risk a burned mouth to eat them hot out of the oven. Consider yourself warned :0)

Hungarian Kifiles
2 C Butter
4 C Flour
4 Egg Yokes
1 C Sour Cream
Prune or Apricot Lukvar (located in the store with pie fillings)
Combine ingredients, divide into 5 balls of dough and chill overnight. (If you are not going to make the cookies up the next day, put the dough in the fridge as it will turn gray if left in the fridge too long)

Roll the dough out thinly and then cut into squares (the more even the squares, the easier to roll them)

Put a small dollop of filling and roll up like a crescent roll.
Brush with egg white and bake 20 minutes at 350.
As soon as they come out of the oven dust with powdered sugar and let cool. Once cooled, sprinkle again.

I'm linking up to Life in Grace
christmas cheer

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bacon on a Date

I'm linking up to the Favorite Appetizer Linky Party at Life in Grace.
Saturday night we hosted our annual Holiday Bash and these little babies are a MUST have. 
So simple, but they are like super yummy.
Folks raise an eyebrow at first, but once they taste them they're hooked.

Bacon on a Date
1 lb bacon (slice each stip into thirds)
1/2 lb smoked almonds
2 lb of Sun Dates (one tub at costco)
Pit the dates and insert 2 almonds
Wrap with bacon (you may need to secure with toothpick)
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes ~ serve immediately or at room temp

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Apple Cup '11

I love college football and the best game of the year is between the Washington State Cougars and the University of Washington Huskies.
As in any bitter rivaly the stakes are always high.  The Huskies think they are "all that" and the poor Cougs get no respect. 
Both teams are a little beaten up this year so bragging rights are really on the line.  I wish I was at the game, but I will have to settle for watching at home (which is considerably warmer than the stadium so not a totally bad thing)
I'm just hoping the Cougs fair a little better than the Buckeyes and Beavers. 
Go COUGS!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

T-day countdown

So Thanksgiving is just around the corner. 
Even though we will have all ten of the usual suspects for dinner, I'm not feeling too stressed
(at least right now) 
Last night we bought our turkey, all 26 pounds and now I'm waiting for it to thaw. 
Now turkey is pretty simple to prepare, but I truly believe brining make all the difference. 
Such a simple step, but if you are looking for a really juicy bird it is an absolute must.

Basic Turkey Brine
  • 3 gallons cold water
  • 1 1/2 cup salt
Soak for 24 hours

This one also looks pretty good.  I may just have to try it. You gotta love Alton Brown.

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water
My only additional advice for turkey brining is be careful where you leave your turkey.  A couple years ago my turkey wouldn't fit in the fridge so I left the bucket containing the turkey on the back steps.  I thought I had secured the lid, but apparently that was not the case. When I went out to get the turkey at  O' dark hundred I noticed some critters had started their Thanksgiving early. Yeah, not good.  Lesson learned, the garage is a much safer place.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Check this out

It seems like I'm always making cupcakes for some reason or another. 
While blog hopping I came across this video (Cue the Angles singing)
I absolutely HATE cleaning my pastry bags.  It isn't difficult, but it is a major pain. 
Well no more.  You can skip to the 1:20 mark.
If you are a frequent froster you will thank me. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just Around the Corner...

Is it just me or has November been on hyperdrive. Where has the month gone? Crazy!!
I just realized that Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday. Yikes, I have to get on it. Thankfully we keep things simple but it is a reminder that the holidays will be in full swing very, very soon.
Are YOU ready??

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

This is the first year I can remember when Trick or Treating did not involve serious rain gear. In fact, it is the perfect night for such festivities. The moon is out and it is actually a tad balmy. (Yes, balmy) Not too shabby for the end of Ocotober.
Ben will be on Trick or Treat duty with Sam this year. He and his buddies, who also have younger sibs, volunteered for the job. Too bad Ben is 6 feet tall so I doubt he will get much candy unless our friends take pity on him.

As for the Trick or Treating front on our end it has been pretty dead (pun intended) We don't get a lot of trick or treaters. So far I've answered the door 5 times. My friend Candy lives in a development up the road and that is THE place to go. The development gets really into Halloween and it is the only place that is flat around here to that makes it a win win for most folks. Last year Candy said she ran out of candy. Who knew 50 pounds would not be enough. Needless to say that is where Ben and Sam are headed.
I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween with lots more treets than tricks.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

She's Ready for Her Closeup

Halloween is seeming to last forever this year.
Friday night we had Street of Screams.
Saturday Girl Scout Halloween Party.
Tonight is Trunk or Treat.
Tomorrow, actual tick or treating.

While we enjoy Halloween, the costumes always seem to fall on me. Sam told me she wanted to be "Goth" for Halloween. When I asked her if she even knew what that meant she said it was someone who wears black. Okay...

So in a panic I headed to the local thrift shop on a search for a "goth" costume. Little did Sam know I planned on returning with Witch fixings and she would just have to go with that. However since it was the Friday before Halloween, pickings were slim. I ended up with a black cocktail dress and I pitched the idea of a glam girl as an alternative. Since wearing lipstick was her major criteria she agreed. For something that was thrown together last minute and only cost us 6 bucks for the dress, I'm thinking she looks pretty good.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

Today was a GORGEOUS Autumn day here in the Pacific Northwest. It was also the perfect day for a little comfort food.
I made Chicken and Dumplings.
This was something that we never ate growing up, but when I saw Rachel Ray whip it on 30 meals I thought "how hard can it be?" Super easy is the answer and now it makes it way into the rotation every now and then.
If you watch Rachel Ray you know most of her start off with onion, celery and carrots. This is no exception.

Chop and drop your veggies in a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)and saute' until soft. Add a little salt, pepper and maybe some poultry seasoning if you have it on hand.

Deglaze the pot with some chicken stock (I used a box and half which I think is about a quart) and add chicken breasts. Simmer for about 20 minutes, shred meat and return to pot.

In another small bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt and milk. When I have it, I chop up parsley and throw that in too. It adds a nice flavor and some much needed color. Once it is all mixed, dip your spoon in the broth before scooping the batter. This will help it slide right off. When all the batter is in the broth close the lid, set the timer for 10 and don't peek. I mean it, DO NOT peek!! You need the steam to cook the dumplings. If I can resist the urge to peek so can you.

After the timer goes off, remove lid and admire fluffy goodness. Scoop into your favorite bow and voila dinner is served.

Chicken and Dumplings
2 Carrots, 2 ribs celery, 1 med onion all diced
Season to taste ~ salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, whatever you like
1 Qt or so of Chicken Stock
2-4 Chicken breasts depending on how big they are or how much you like chicken
1 C four
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 milk
small handful of parsley fresh or dried

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Clutter Question

Last night Ben was looking for a pencil sharpener. I told him there was one in the junk drawer.

He said there wasn't. We went back and forth before he gave up and searched elsewhere. This morning I opened the junk drawer to prove I was right. Yup, I couldn't find it either.
I started thinking about clutter and holy grail of "clutter free". I've read about it. I've seen pictures of it, but my question is how is it actually achieved?? More specifically, do clutter free folks just throw all the little randomness away??
All the rubberbands, pens, plastic forks...all the "overflow" that starts to take over.
So for those of you who read this little blog, PLEASE answer this question...
Are you a clutter tosser?
I need to know.
Okay, I'm off to deal with the junk drawer
Happy Sunday

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hearding Cats

I am spending this week subbing in my friend's Kindergarten class.

I can not think of a more perfect phrase to sum up the experience of working with Kindergarteners in September.
It can be a whole lot of crazy, but it sure is a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Happy Joy Joy

This is a pictue of me and my fellow Browns Point parents.
After 8 days of striking teachers the kids are going back to school tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


We are in day three of a teacher strike here in Tacoma.
In '94 when I was teaching my district went on strike.
Strikes are not fun and teachers would rather be in their classroom with kids than walking a picket line.
Talks between the district and teachers resumes today.
I hope they can find a solution.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Look who finally showed up...

Well, not so much a who more like a what.
We have had the worst summer but now that the kids are back in school summer has shown up and the tomatoes are happy.
While I wish the overall look of the garden was a little more lush, there is fruit on the vine, so I guess that what is important.
My sunflowers and zucchini never came up (I must be the only person on the planet who can not grow these) so one bed looks a little empty. I find it funny the only thing that really took off was the marigolds. I'm not a huge fan of these oh so beautiful orange and yellow flowers, but all good gardeners plant them to help keep the bugs at bay. I guess the yellow ones aren't too bad.
So far I've harvested two handfuls of Juliets and about 6 cucs. It is supposed to be gorgeous this week so I'm hoping the extra sun will kick the tomatoes into overdrive. I like to get a batch or two of sauce made and it is always so much fun when the 'maters come from my own little garden.
Happy Gardening

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Heat Wave

Well, it took until the third week of August, but the summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Ahhhh, just in time for school to start next Thursday. While I have been doing my best to deal with the extreme heat the past couple of days (the above photo was taken on my dad's deck today) I do find myself longing for the cooler days of fall. We have had the GRAYEST summer EVER around here and so I am really hoping for a beautiful Indian summer.
Fall is my favorite season and usually the prettiest around here. Even though we are the "Evergreen State" we have our fair share of foliage that turns all those great reds and yellows. Between the leaves changing, Mt. Rainier and the Olympics against the crisp blue skies I don't think there is a prettier place. While I wish my tan was a little darker and vacation a little longer I'm ready for fall.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Girls Weekend

This weekend I headed to the hills with my favorite girl and her Girl Scout troop. The girls decided that with the proceeds from their cookie sales they wanted to go camping. Now I'm all for camping, but I also enjoy toilets that flush, so I offered up our cabin. Nine girls and 5 moms headed up to Index, Washington. We have about an acre on the Skykomish River and it is the perfect place for "glamping". The girls did great. They pitched tents, cooked over the fire, built a "box oven" to cook a birthday cake for one of the girls, went on a killer 5 mile hike to Wallace Falls and of course made up skits celebrating being a scout.

Good Times

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July

Today there is this big yellow thing in the sky. Rumor has it is called the sun.

A sunny 4th is RARE around here but none the less, I'm stoked.

We are heading up to our friends' annual bash and they could not have asked for a better day.

I made about 100 of these little guys as my contribution to the potluck. When I saw them on baking bites, I knew I had to make them.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July!!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Best Chocolate Buttercream

I know this is a repost, but I wanted to share this recipe again.

I've made chocolate buttercreams before, but this one is a KEEPER. It whips up nice and light and it makes and makes enough to frost a 2 layer 9" cake as well as 2 dozen cupcakes.

Rich Chocolate Buttercream
2 oz baking chocolate

2 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1 C butter

4 C powdered sugar

2 t vanilla

1/4 C coco

1/4 C milk

Melt chocolates and set aside.

Cream butter, coco, half of the sugar

Add melted chocolate, vanilla, milk, remaining sugar

mix until fluffy

Makes 3 3/4 cups of frosting

I'm linking this up to Yummy Fridays over at Yummy Mummy

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lack of sun = time spent baking

Surprise, surprise, surprise
(that was meant to be read with your best Gomer Pyle voice)
A week in and still the sun is for the most part MIA and I have to say I'm going a little stir crazy. Now I guess I should be channelling the pent up energy in a super productive way like cleaning out the garage, but nope, I've been baking.
At least I gave most of them away.

Hope the sun is out wherever you are (and if it is, please send some my way)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It was nice while it lasted

Yesterday was the first day (and hopefully not the only day) of summer.
The sun was out and it reached 77 degree which is big time warm here in the Pacific Northwest. We went to the pool and soaked up the sun. Today I woke up to clouds that don't look like they are burning off anytime soon. Oh well, I need to go run errands and without that pesky sun calling my name, I might actually get things done.
Below is one of my favorite pics of me and my bff Jenny P. back in the day working at the pool.
I love that place.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Bluest Skies I've Ever Seen Are in Seattle...

Tomorrow is the first day of summer and I really hope the sun shows up soon. This is what has been outside my window for as long as I can remember.

Oh sure the sun has shown up for a tease here and there, but not enough for my liking. We got a glimpse of the sun today around 5:30 so hopefully it will make another appearance tomorrow. We are hitting the pool and I would really like to leave the umbrella at home.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Vacation: Day 1

Today was the first day of summer vacation and I couldn't be happier. I love summer. The best part NO schedules.
The sun actually showed up today so the kids and I took full advantage and worked in the yard. Now I'm sure the kids would agree that the day would have been much more fun poolside, but the pool we belong to won't be on regular schedule until next week, so yard work it was.

I was surprised how long they lasted. Apparently the trick to keeping a 12 year old enthusiastic about gardening is to him a saw and tell him we are taking out a third of a very overgrown lilac. The 8 year old was a little easier, watering can.

The pic to the left are my Sweet Peas. I was cleaning out the junk drawer and had a packet of seeds. I planted them fully expecting them not to come up, so I was very excited when they actually started to grow. I love cut Sweet Peas, hopefully I will have blooms soon.While we worked in both the backyard and the veggie garden I'll show you the veggie garden. It is still in its "before" stage, but hopefully things will start to chug along now that the sun should be around a little more often (in theory at least) The beds are on the south side of the house.

The first bed has Yellow Pear tomato, Sunflowers, Lemon Boy tomato, Juliet tomato, Zucchini, Garlic chives

The second bed has Early Girl tomato, Sugar Peas, Patio tomato, Sweet 100 tomato, Shallots, English cucumber, Jalapeno peppers

Tomorrow the forcast calls for rain, shocking I know, but hopefully I will be able to get a little more puttering in before it starts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Feel Good Summer Reading

This is what I will be reading this summer. I picked them up at our school's book swap and I got lots of "Oh, you will LOVE this book". My mom has read The Help and I've seen Cutting for Stone mentioned on other blogs, it sounded interesting.

Last year when I was subbing for my mom I ran into a PTA mom who was in the middle of their school's annual book swap/sale. Basically the kids bring in books from home, for every two books they bring in they can select one new book and the leftover books are then sold for a quarter a piece at the end of the year ice cream social. What a great idea. I brought the idea back to my school and we decided to give it a try.

While I liked the idea of the "swap" the headache of a "sale" was more than I wanted to take on. I decided that the leftover books would instead be donated to local reading programs. Last year we brought in just over 1200 books, not too shabby for something thrown together the last few weeks of school. This year we brought in just over 1500 books.

Yesterday we dropped off over 700 books to a local outreach program. This is such an easy was for kids to give back and make a difference. If this sounds like a project you want to try, feel free to email me and I can give you give some "tricks of the trade".

Sunday, June 12, 2011

T minus 2 1/2 days...

School is out in two and a half days.
I can't wait.

Summers USED to mean lounging poolside soaking up rays, smelling like Hawaiian Tropic or Coppertone, putting a little lemon juice in you hair to help along those summer highlights. So far this summer I've spent more time in jeans and sweaters than I have in shorts.

We have had a few hours of sun this month and today I was able to take advantage and get my herb garden planted. I was trolling the gardening archives over at An Accomplished Woman and it inspired me to go out stimulate the economy. I picked up parsley, basil, oregano, cilantro and shallots. I'm especially excited about the shallots. I thought I had missed my window (google said they had to be planted in the fall) but apparently not. I like shallots but they are so spendy. Hopefully the starts will work out.
Despite the lack of sun, there are promises of things to come...

I LOVE peonies and these babies are about to burst. Please forgive the darkness of the photo, it was RAINING!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Today is the first round of the Tournament of Champions.

Ben's team won their league and now they play for the District 10 Chmpionship.

Besides hoping for a win, we are hoping the rain will stay away.

Apparently, W. WA missed the memo that June is supposed to be part of summer.

Oh well, Go Tigers


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

While I was away...

My little brother Tommy got married.

Sam was a flower girl and Ben was a groomsman (I think this is the only picture he smiled for)

We are so happy for them

Saturday, April 23, 2011

PB&J Cupcakes

It has been cupcake central around here lately. I've gotten a few more "gigs" which is kind of exciting. My friend asked me to make 300 minis (devils food w/ chocolate butter cream) for a benefit she is doing. I will definitely have to recruit Akiko for a little extra help. Last night Joj asked me if I could make a PB&J cupcake. I tried to "bake in" the jelly. This did not work. It just sank. I guess the next time I will just have to "inject" the jelly. Oh well, lesson learned.

It is a beautiful day here in the PNW. The sun is shining and we will be spending it rooting on Ben and the Tigers.

Happy Saturday Everyone!!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Instant Gratification

I'm not one to tackle projects that require any length of time. I seem to have adult onset ADD. If something is actually going to get done, the window is about 30 minutes. Well, today I actually got one done.

I've had this yellow bucket for years. I found it at the goodwill and usually use it as a drink bucket. Somehow it was left outside and it took a pretty good beating. The bottom is pretty rusty so I'm thinking its water proof days are over. Now I needed to find a new use. I had an idea. I have this little corner by the front door that just needed something. So out came the black spray paint.

For less than $5 worth of spray paint, my little tub when from blah to bodacious. When I went to Freddie's to get some flowers I found this hanging basket marked down 50% so I splurged (so worth not having to wait for little starts to grow ~ its the ADD kicking in again) A little chalk and I was good to go. I love it!!

I'm linking up to Show and Tell Fridays at My Romantic Home