Wednesday, June 30, 2010

goodbye june.

These projects totally scream July:

Simple Tunic [Anna Maria Horner]

American Pie Cupcakes [Mommy Topics]

This Quilt [Cluck. Cluck. Sew.]

Lemonade Stand [Paper and Cake]

Rainbow Pudding Pops [Random Thoughts of a Supermom]

Monday, June 28, 2010

salty vanilla caramel

I can think of a million things to dip, drizzle, or spoon this onto (including straight into my mouth)... tonight it topped Cookie Dough Ice Cream. Homemade caramel sauce is so easy, and soooo worth it!

Do you use vanilla sugar? If not, you're missing out. I always stick my scraped vanilla pods into the sugar jar. It makes such a difference, and I can't think of anything I use sugar for that wouldn't benefit from a little extra kick of vanilla. So, of course, I used vanilla sugar here, adding to the yum.

**The longer the caramel sits out, the thicker it will become, so make this a few hours ahead, if necessary!

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Mix the water and sugar in a saucepan. Without stirring, cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 8-10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a medium brown, about 10-12 minutes, gently swirling the pot occasionally. Don't let it burn! Carefully add the cream, vanilla, and salt. Everything will cease up a bit. Simmer until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes.

And one more sweet thing...

{<---------click on the one in the sidebar!}

I somehow ended up amongst Bakerella and the Pioneer Woman as a 2010 BlogLuxe Nominee for Tastiest Blog!

Crazy! If you feel like showing some love for little old Cookie Mondays, voting is super simple and open today through July 12th. You can vote for your favorite in each category, once a day per email address!

My personal faves in some other categories being (and there are LOTS of great blogs!)...

Best Eye Candy: Joy's Hope
Funniest: Rage Against the Minivan
Most Inspiring: Mama Manifesto

Fun stuff!
(More about the award here.)

Thank you!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

did i mention i'm HUGE?

  • weight: 134.5 (39 lbs. gained to date)
  • blood pressure: great
  • belly measurement: 34 (2 weeks ahead)
  • baby's head is down... way down
  • fetal heart rate: great, 140s-150s
  • major complaint: I'm huge... constant back & pelvic pain... sort of feels like his head is being drilled into my pelvis.
  • doctor's orders: rest during the day... funny.
  • next appointment scheduled: 35 weeks

  • So with school being out, Chloe finally had the opportunity to join us at the appointment. How about some highlights of her experience?

  • She was disgusted at my peeing in a cup, then appalled at my storing the test tube safely in my purse.
  • She was repulsed by the female anatomy diagrams posted around the room.
  • She asked me what a vagina was (rhymed with "WAG-in-uh")
  • She quietly and politely interrupted the doctor to ask me if we had lemons at home.
  • After learning what checking my cervix entailed (for a future appointment), she informed the room she'd rather, quote: "take a plane to Canada than come to that appointment."
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    stretch... splash... spin.

    {Summer classes are officially underway!}

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    frozen key lime pie

    This is one of my favorite Barefoot Contessa desserts. (They're all good!) I made this for Kevin for Father's Day. He is really picky about dessert- but is a key lime fan- and I have been craving anything lemon or lime, so it worked out well for us both. The recipe comes from Ina's Family Style book, and is perfectly refreshing for summer. And I'm about to go eat the leftovers.

    For the crust: *I multiply these amounts a bit, to make a thicker crust... he's picky, remember?*
    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
    1/4 cup sugar
    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:
    6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
    2 tablespoons grated lime zest
    3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes) *I find this actually takes about 8 limes.*

    For the decoration:

    1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Thin lime wedges


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

    For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze several hours or overnight.
    *If you're concerned about raw eggs like me, whisk yolks with half of the lime juice over a double broiler until they reach 140 degrees, then proceed with the recipe.

    For the decoration, beat the heavy cream on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with lime.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    summer break



    We're unplugging this week!

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    ten on ten

    Inspired by Mel...
    My first ever 10 on 10!

    Take a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month.
    Document a day of your life and find beauty among the ordinary moments.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    salty, caramely goodness

    Wanna try Julie's version of my version of
    ridiculously good cupcakes
    we devoured in Kansas last year?

    Well, you should.


    Monday, June 7, 2010

    diy turquoise mason jars

    Adding this to my must-do list!

    Saturday, June 5, 2010

    in the garden

    {weeks three & four}

    Growth since Day 14:

    We have a few more little Early Girls, but no new Juliets, and still no Romas.
    All the tomato plants are getting huge, and we need to get three more cages.

    A baby strawberry!

    The herbs are beginning to flower. We are eating them faster than we can grow them. The cilantro & chives made the best guacamole last weekend!

    The zucchini is growing like crazy! No fruit yet, though.

    We haven't seen much action yet from the cucumber or hot peppers.
    No problem with pests, but the snails have made their way to the surrounding flower pots (making the kids very happy), so we're watching carefully.

    Oh, and the cutest little thing in the garden?

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Emily update

    Remember the Emilys?
    How about a recap and an update.
    A brand-new American Girl doll. Meant for Chloe, not Camden:

    After 7 months of compulsive hair twirling/thumb sucking:
    (This was the last time you saw Emily... And I thought this was really bad.)

    In October my mom brought up my sister's and my vinatge AG's and all their cool clothes. Here we have a glimpse at a fashion show, in which Camden had an anxiety attack about Emily's hair going under that rain hat:

    How does Emily's hair look today, almost a year after my first Emily post?
    It looks awesome.

    And no, we will not be sending her in to the American Girl hospital for a brand new head. Once it's gone, it's gone. See, Camden ONLY sucks her thumb while holding (what's left of) Emily's dreadlocks. There are no substitutions. She immediately picked Crystal as her American Idol fave this season, simply because of the matching dreads.

    I "huwt her feewings" by snatching Emily to take that last shot.
    Wonder what face she'll make when the last strand is gone.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    I love long weekends!