Friday, June 29, 2012

on blueberry scones...

When life gets me down...I bake! Yesterday, helloo, pity party all the way. I'm known to get a little down in the dumps when I am feeling home sick. I miss Seattle. I miss my family and I miss my beloved friends. Distance is hard. And so baking up these delicious Blueberry Scones sure did brighten my day.
My co-worker made some of these lovely scones last weekend! I'm hooked. She found a neat little recipe over at a new favorite blog La Petite Brioche. Isn't the name of her blog the cutest thing in the world! If anything I just love the blog name but really there are so many wonderful baked goods to swoon over. I found myself going through every page and book marking things. I basically used this recipes and altered a few things. Let's get started.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon zest of orange
1/2 tablespoon zest of lemon
1 large egg
1 stick unsalted butter, cold & cubed 
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh (i think frozen is easier to work with)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, zest of orange & lemon  into your mixer that has the paddle mixer attachment. Mix those ingredients up until they are combined.

Next add the cold butter into the dry mixture. I just took a knife and cubed up the butter. Add the butter slowly while the mixer is on low. While the mixer is mixing that up get a bowl and combine the egg and buttermilk.

Once you whisk that together just slowing add it to the mixing bowl while it's on low. Mix it until blended. It's ok if the butter doesn't look like it is combining into the dough very well, it should have a rough texture to it.

Add blueberries in last. I find that taking the blueberries out of the freezer a few minutes before needing to add them is the best. This way the dough doesn't get too spongy from the blueberry juices that they let off. If you find that it does get too moist just set it into the freezer to firm it up a little (helpful little tip from Ashley, my co-worker). I used a spatula to add berries instead of the paddle mixer so it wouldn't crush them!

Time to cut triangles! Shape dough into square. Cut down and then across making four pieces and then again diagonally from corner to corner making TRIANGLES! Hurray.

Place them on a baking sheet and back them for about 25 minutes until the bottoms are slightly browned. You can brush on some heavy cream or in my case buttermilk and sprinkle raw sugar on top but I left that step out. No need for the sugar on top in my opinion! Trust me you will be loving the smells coming out of your kitchen. It's heavenly. My whole house was filled with the scent of blueberries :)

Serve while warm with a little butter on top and golly you will be going back for seconds! These are great with a cup of coffee for breakfast...I know, because that's what I had this morning. Teehee.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

on a hint of mint iced tea...

Boy oh boy. The first week of Summer here brought a huge heat wave! I am crazy about iced tea during these hot summer months and I am always constantly making fresh batches of iced tea to keep in our fridge every week. It goes fast in my house! Lately though, I have been putting a fresh new spin on my iced tea at home and not only am I loving it but the husband approves too! Mint Iced Tea is heavenly, with adding the mint I feel like it's even that more refreshing to drink! All you will need is 1 cup of fresh mint, 6 tea bags,  6 cups of water and lemon.  I hope you all enjoy it too...

1\\ Mint. It's the key ingredient in this and there is nothing better than going out to the garden and snipping off a few sprigs of mint!
2\\ boil 6 cups of water with 6 tea bags. Use whatever sort of tea that you fancy. We bought a huge bulk box of Lipton black tea at Samsclub a while back and I've been using that. Any sort of black tea will do. Sometimes I even mix black and green tea. Yumm! Once the water comes to a boil, let it boil with the tea bags for 5 minutes and then turn burner off.
3\\ next take 1 cup of chopped fresh mint and put it into the pot of tea and let it steep in there for about 10 minutes while it cools.
4\\ pour tea through a strainer to catch all the mint.

Fill a glass up with ice (or in my case a mason jar!) and pour the mint tea in, squeeze some lemon and garnish with mint! Now you can weather this heat and stay hydrated. Happy iced tea making!!

PS\\ Here's to my 400th post. Cheers :) 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

on summer book no.1...

Crossed off my first book on my summer reading list. Hurrah! The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. Great read! I was hooked just by the tittle when I saw it sitting on the shelf in Target. It was a quick read and had such a wonderful story to it. It was all that I hoped for and wanted. Of course, I am connected to this book simply by the fact that it's about a little coffee shop, obviously in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Sunny who is originally from "Nowheresville, Arkansas" now calls Kabul home after traveling there with her boyfriend who is off on dangerous missions leaving Sunny to run her shop. Kabul is not an easy place to own your own business with all the bombings, guns everywhere and the Afghan culture to uphold but Sunny molds to all of these things and creates life in Kabul.
Sunny is a strong women who has not only built a cute, quirky coffee shop but has also brought traditions that create quite a buzz around town. She becomes linked to four different women whose lives and secrets are not only dangerous but make your heart seize up.

It's a fun read about family, friends and relationships. Although, this book doesn't go into great depth it does give a nice understanding of life in Kabul. It was also interesting finding out at the end of the book that the author actually lived in Kabul and owned her own hair salon and even though this book isn't a true story she says that the characters are ones that were inspired by real people in the time she spent in Kabul. True stuff and very neat!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

on raviolis with creamy tomato sauce...

Raviolis are my favorite pasta. They are easy to cook up and serve and taste so fabulous with a good sauce. I tend to always have a package of raviolis in my freezer for making dinner. If Bobby is working late I will even boil up some raviolis for Sebastian and I and simply add some butter and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese right on top.
I really love making homemade sauce with bright red flavorful tomatoes, herbs & spices and a splash of cream to give it a nice texture. If I can add some cream to my red sauce I will, that creamy flavor goes great with any sort of stuffed ravioli. Also cream helps cut out some of the acidity the tomatoes give off, which my stomach is usually thrilled about. Here's how I made my sauce...

Chop up some onion and saute with one tablespoon of olive oil. Once it is starting to look translucent add the garlic to it and let it saute for another minute. Meanwhile, boil three large tomatoes. I used some nice ripe on the vine tomatoes. Once you see that the skin of the tomato rips slightly they should be perfect. Don't let them bust open though!

Next, toss the tomatoes, onion and garlic into your blender and puree until there are no chunks. This took no time in my blender! It should have a pasty texture.

Meanwhile, melt one tablespoon of butter in a pan and then pour the tomato mixture right into the pan. Cook on low. Now add your oregano, fresh basil, salt & pepper. Let it simmer for about 3 minutes.

While the sauce is on the stove simmering, take a small dish and mix together 1/4 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. The cheese and cream will create a thick mixture. Then go ahead and add the cream to the tomato and whisk it well. Make sure the heat is all the way low so the sauce doesn't burn or bubble over.
Boil up your chose of raviolis and you're set to go!

I added a little something extra to this dish! I had some flavorful chicken sausage stored in the freezer that I cut up and cooked to have with our raviolis. You can do without it, no worries.

I think this is a wonderful pasta dish for even the summer months. It takes no time so you're not heating up your kitchen in all this humidity going around. If you don't have a blender simply use a hand blender or food processor. Happy cooking!

3 large vine tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup whipping cream
3 teaspoons fresh basil 
1/2 teaspoon oregano 
salt & pepper to taste
1 lbs raviolis, your chose 
1/2 pound chicken sausage (optional)  

1\\ saute onion & garlic together. Boil tomatoes in water. 
2\\ put boiled tomatoes and onion mixture into blender until pureed into a paste. 
3\\ melt butter in a pan then pour the tomato sauce into the pan, cook on low. add oregano, fresh basil, salt and pepper to taste. 
4\\ in separate dish, combine whipping cream & Parmesan cheese and whisk slowly into tomato sauce. Simmer for three minutes 
5\\ boil raviolis and serve with creamy sauce! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

on dad's day...

My day started out with cooking up some chocolate chip pancakes for my husband and wonderful dad. I even let the guys sleep in. Aren't I a sweetheart? He was a happy camper with a plate full of chocolate flapjacks. 
Other than spoiling all the dad's in our lives, today's theme was relaxation. My mother-in-law and I were tossing around different dinner ideas this past week. It was either crab cakes or portabella mushroom  Parmesan. But of course my father-in-law came up with the best idea, let's just order pizza's! Me and mom more than welcomed the idea. What is this mother's day?!

We spent the day lounging in the pool and sipping on iced tea while the sun tans our pale bodies. It makes my heart skip a beat seeing Sebastian and Bobby play poolside. I am one lucky lady to have such a family oriented man in my life. Such a sweet and goofy dad!
 (That's the father's day treatment right there!)

Annnd here's a shout out to my amazingly awesome papa bear who I miss dearly!

on my summer bucket list...

Summer has a tendency to fly by. I'm sure most of you can relate. What's up with that? I think it's always fun to think up a list of things you would like to do in the summer. Things that you've never done or just things that are simply perfect for the summer months ahead. It helps me with ideas when a day pops up here or there when nothing is planned and you are sitting at home trying to not let yourself say I'm bored (which by the way, I rarely ever do. It's the other two in my house that need keep with simulation!). I hope to keep this tradition not only as a list for myself but for my family or even a list that Sebastian can think up (when he gets a little older) that way there is always something that can be done and boredom doesn't set in. Good thinkin' huh?! Here is my summer list, a mixture of family things and a few of "me" things...

1\\ read, read & read some more.
I already shared my summer reading list and I hope to spend these months turning pages and being sucked into worlds unknown. I've seem many lovely book lists around the blogoshere and it's always excited to see what other people are planning on reading. I actually have added onto my list after seen some really great books on few blogs! Have you compiled a list for yourself yet? 

2\\ pack a picnic and eat at the park.
This is something we don't do enough and I love picnics. It's something about being on a thick blanket on the grass eating a simple light lunch or dinner and enjoying the outdoors with each other. The mood is always pleasant and fun. I want to do this more often this summer and appreciate some new parks in our area! 

3\\ make homemade popsicles & ice cream!
Yummm...Pinterst is blowing up with neat popsicle creations with colorful fruits and I've always wanted to make my own ice cream or frozen yogurt. I think it's looking like there might be an awesome ice cream party in the future?! 

4\\ Dorney Park.
We have season passes to Dorney Park. My wonderful husband did some work on one of his friends cars and because he wouldn't except payment from his friend he in return gifted us with season passes to Dorney. Hurrah! Yesterday was one of those bogo days for us, we didn't have any plans at all and so last minute Friday we decided that we would head to the theme park for the day. It was a great day and Sebastian's first time there this season. Fun filled days at Dorney Park this summer is of course on the list! 

5\\ camp out in the backyard & make s'mores. 
I think Sebastian will get a kick out of this and it would a nice family activity to do. Snuggle in sleeping bags, roast hot dogs and make s'mores. 

6\\ all day family hike.
Bobby and I hiked in Snoqualmie Falls the day after we got married and we loved it. I've sworn to hike more often after that! I want to pack a picnic and our backpacks and take Sebastian hiking. Adventure in the great outdoors and take lots of photos. 

7\\ put some purple in my hair! 
This is something I've wanted to do for a while. I would love to dye my whole head purple but because I probably wouldn't be able to really keep up with it, I am planning to put some cute peek-a-boo highlights of lavender. Something new & exciting and what I need in my life at this moment. 

8\\ grow a veggie-licious garden.
I planted my garden and after giving some TLC I hope to have a very lush garden full of veggies. I have a strong desire of lots of tomatoes and because I have two different tomato plants I should get just that! With whatever tomatoes I don't end up eating I want to can for  the winter months. Canned homemade red sauce at my disposal, I think so! 

9\\ complete four D.I.Y projects-- two of those with Sebastian!
I have so many do-it-your-own projects that I've started and not finished. I am set on finishing them and showing you all. 

10\\ go on a date to a drive-in movie.
Never been to a drive-in movie and summer would be a perfect time to cross this off my bucket list. Sweet date with my man, love it!

...and make every moment count!!!

What's on your summer bucket list? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

on homemade ranch...

Now that I have an awesome herb garden with tons of yummy greens I made myself some homemade ranch! I saw a lovely recipe on one of my favorite blogs Baked Bree (if you haven't seen my interview with Bree check it out here). I am a serious ranch-a-holic. I'm admitting it to the entire world wide web! I love me some ranch. It's my all time favorite dressing on salads and I will even dip my pizza & grilled cheese into ranch. So there.
It was a super easy recipe and I was giddy as crazy as I was pouring it into a sweet little mason jar. Simple too! The two main ingredients are sour cream and buttermilk plus some little things like Worcestershire and not to forget our herb friend-- parsley, dill & chive. Check out the recipe and make some for yourself! Oh and seriously if you ever need some help in the kitchen just head over to Baked Bree because I know you will without a doubt find something that makes your mouth water. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

on currently...

Reading\\ I finished Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a few weeks ago and that was good. Curious as to how the movie is going to turn out. Just the other day I started my first book from my summer reading list The Little Coffee Shop in Kabul. I am loving it already. I'm enjoying the characters as well as understanding more about the culture and religions that are present in Afghanistan. Although I'm not one to be super interested in religion, the way this book touches on it and more so within the characters makes this to be a great read for me. 

Watching\\Teen Wolf. I love this show! Since I don't have cable and that means no MTV my good friend Ashley (girl on the far left above) is a doll and actually records it and then lets me come over and watch with her :) Cue Kristen Wiig's voice as Annie in Bridesmaids-- help me I'm poor...But anyways, now that Vampire Diaries and Glee are no longer, I switch to Teen Wolf and True Blood. Love love love. The best part is when I meet someone via work or wherever and find out they like the shows that I watch. Oh golly. My voice gets all high pitched and the giggling happens. It's a mess. 
Also went to see Snow White and the Huntsman with the girls above a few weekends ago. It was a great night and I give the movie a 4 out of 5. I fancied how dark and haunting the story was and yet it had that mystical forest in it to make it feel like a fairytale. For some reason I was expecting more of a love interest happen between Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth). For me that was a let down. Action was good and of course Charlize Theron was amazing. It's worth seeing in the movie theater!

Anticipating\\Sebastian's birthday day. This year he has really came to understand the significance of birthdays...presents!! Yep, that is of course what makes it special and let's not forget that soon I'll have myself a four year old! That's still crazy for me to say and even think about. These four years have gone unbelievably fast which is quite scary and also sad. I want to savor every waking moment with this little guy because soon he will want to be locked in his room listening to loud music instead of cuddling on the couch while watching Disney movies. Tear. Although sometimes I get weepy just seeing him get bigger and the digits going higher it's still just a glorious feeling knowing how much he has accomplished this past year and how much more he will in the next. Proud Momma right here!

Listening to\\ Lately these songs have been on repeat...

Wishing\\ that I could teleport back to Seattle and give my dad a hug. It was his birthday yesterday and I couldn't help but feel a little down in the dumps.  It was a sad day until Sebastian called him up and said happy burffday to him and in effect made him shed happy tears. Which in turn made my heart melt into a oozing puddle! Distance is hard. Isn't that the truth?! I wish it got easier with time but it doesn't. 

Random\\ so last Friday we went to Dorney Park which is an amusement park with half water rides and the other roller coasters. We got there around 11am and started on the water rides. On our last ride we chose to go on a tube water slide, it's were you sit on a inflated tube and ride down the slide. I didn't really think much of it but towards the end of the slide it got really steep. Now, since I was going like a million mile per hour I flew up into the air as I hit the top of the steep part and my eye glasses slipped off my face and were literally floating in midair. No joke.  I had two options. One, take my hand off the tubes handle and grab my now hovering glasses and risk flying off the tube myself (since I was going so fast) or just let them fall to their doom. I chose to save my glasses. So to speak...because as I took my hand off the handle and went to quickly grab my glasses I heard a crunccchh. I got to the bottom safe and sound but I can't say the same for my glasses. I crushed them with my bare hands. Talk about a Hulk moment. I cracked the framed right in half. This happened some time in the afternoon so the rest of the day I was walking around the park basically blind. I held onto Bobby's hand for dear life making sure I didn't loose him in the crowds. I laughed and the day was in no way ruined. And don't worry I have a older pair that I am currently using but now this gives me an excuse to get my butt out to buy myself a brand new pair of frames or two!

Eating\\ salads. Fresh green salads with lots of yummy veggies! That's all I've even wanted to eat lately especially with this humid heat. I can hardly ever eat heavy dishes in the summer. Bobby feels the same way so we've been putting off making dinners and just putting together different sorts of salads. Monday night we made chicken taco salads. So yummy!


Thursday, June 07, 2012

on my summer reading...

Summer is always the time to get some reading done. I read tons year-round but it's something about Summer that really motivates me to read as many novels as I possibly can! I've got a pretty good list going here this year and I'm sure I'll be carrying into Fall.
Reading has always been a passion of mine, since I was a young adult. I was always one to crawl into bed early just so I could lay back and flip some pages of my book. Growing up my favorite series was Harry Potter. I was totally a sucker for them and still am! I hope Sebastian will become an avid reader like myself. Books are really such lovely things to help ease your mind. I know when I have a tough day reading is one of the number one things I do to relax and to have the capability to just jump into another world or reality for a little bit, well, we all need that in one way or another. Happy Reading!
(all photos & descriptions from Amazon)

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I bet a lot of you are looking forward to this one! The second book to A Discovery of Witches. If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for? So good! I without a doubt love my witches, vampires and demon books but I truly think these books are great for people who don't normally read that genre. This baby comes out July 10th. Mark your calendar. 

Game of Thrones by George Martin. This is on my list for two reasons; one because I want to read it and second because I want to watch the show on HBO. Most books that are made into shows or movies have to be read before I watch them. It's like a rule for me. If I watch the show or movie first then I won't read the book. Usually. For example, I never read all the Vampire Diaries books until after I already started the show. I read the first book and stopped. It was horrible and the show is hands down waaaayy better. So there. 

Divergent by Veronica Roth. Okay, people are saying that if you like The Hunger Games that you will like this. I will give it a try. It's a trilogy and the second book is called Insurgent. I'll let you know!

Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard. Obviously by the cover you can pretty much guess as to what sort of book this is going to be :) Not going to lie when I say that I am a member of a Fifty Shades of Grey group on FaceBook and all the women on it are raving about this series. There's two books, this one and one called Gabriel's Rapture and they say it's the closest to Fifty Shades than anything out there and it's GOOD. I need to see what all the hype is about!

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio. This book has great reviews and most of all it's set in Washington State which is always a something that grabs my attention in the first place. It's about Emily who in her twenties who has a perfect husband and a perfect life but after 10 years things flip upside down. She ends up going to hang out with her Aunt in Bainbridge Island! Just reading the description of the book I already like Emily as a character. 

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Robriguez. Story about a person who owns a little coffee shop and her meeting people that influence her life. Um hello, story of my life. Enough said. 

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. You know I had to toss a vampire novel into this mix. I've read Richelle's Vampire Academy series which was two thumbs up. This book looks similar to those so I hope to enjoy it. 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This guy is on the top seller list everywhere. Here's a little description off of Amazon... 
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 

Last but not least, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. This is in Oprah's new Book Club 2.0. Sounds like an amazing story about a women who is on the brink of losing everything and sets out onto the Pacific Crest Trial that goes from Mojave Desert through California & Oregon to Washington with no experience. This book reminds me of Eat, Pray, Love. Where a women that goes on an adventure to escape life and journeys to a new one through struggle and self realization. I really love reading memoirs like this, it's very inspiring to ones soul.

Well, I hope maybe at least one of these books caught your eye. If you have any recommendation for me don't hesitate to post them in my comments :)