Saturday, May 30, 2009

mother's day pancakes

Even though it is a bit late I wanted to brag on my husband for a minute:) For Mother's Day he and the boys made me breakfast. My choice. I chose a new pancake recipe that actually required a bit more effort than just opening a box and adding water. And it was worth it. NOT only did he make them BUT he did it with the kids (if you have ever cooked with a 2 and a 4 year old you know how painful this can be:) The results were absolutely delicious and the memories priceless.

We first started out with Starbucks after Mass.


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The boys got down to business!

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And that was not all...there was also crispy bacon and scrambled eggs.

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And if that was not choice for dinner too! I chose ribs!!

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Have you ever noticed that food tastes better when you are not the one cooking??? Thanks honey for a wonderful day..... already excited for NEXT mother's day. No pressure:)

PW’s Perfect Pancakes
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons butter
Extra butter
Maple or Pancake syrup

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined.Melt butter and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine.Cook on a greased skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. Serve with an obscene amount of butter and warm syrup.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

apron envy

I have it. I admit it. Serious apron envy:)

Here are some recent pics of my sewing projects. I got an adorable pattern for a girl's apron and have made these 2. The adult aprons have all been gifts. I sooo want to wear every apron I have made....but sadly have not made one for myself. Soon...I tell myself....very soon!

I love the neckline and pocket detail on these aprons!

girl's zebra with hot pink fits 2T-5

pocket detail in girl's apron

girl's cupcake apron fits 2T-5

girl's apron

This is a reversible half apron that I designed myself. It has a little pleat where the strap meets the waist. I may do some mommy/daughter apron sets.

reversible half apron

reversible half apron side 2

My friend Jenny came across this pattern on etsy and I just fell in love with it. It is such a feminine apron! You can't help but be better in the kitchen just wearing this:)

The apron is reversible. I may work on a similar pattern that is just one sided too.

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 full reversible apron side 2

Side 1

reversible full apron in anna horner side 1

Side 2

full reversible apron anna horner side 2

Side 1
reversible full apron in amy butler side 1

Side 2

reversible full apron in amy butler side 2

I LOVE the finished result but do admit that picking out the fabrics is half the fun.... especially if you are making it for someone you know and love!

Monday, May 25, 2009

pork gyros

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry red wine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bay leaf, crumbled
1/2 tablespoon (packed) fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1-pound pork tenderloins

Tsatsiki Sauce
1 cucumber, grated
1 cup Greek yogurt or whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t lemon juice

6 pita breads
1/2 half red onion thinly sliced
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Oil for pitas
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano
1 rounded teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine first 7 ingredients in large resealable plastic bag; shake to blend. Add pork to marinade; seal bag. Chill overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Peel and grate 1 cucumber, then squeeze it with your hands to remove excess water. Stir together with yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, garlic, capers, dill 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to make tsatsiki.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Remove pork from bag. Grill until thermometer inserted into center of each tenderloin registers 145°F, about 18 minutes. Transfer to work surface; let stand 10 minutes (temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Thinly slice into rounds.

Gently simmer oil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small heavy saucepan, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Brush one side of bread with oil and heat bread, oiled side up on a sheet pan, 3 to 4 inches from broiler 3 minutes or until warm and brown.

Fill pita bread with pork, drizzle with sauce then tuck in onion and sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

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This recipe was adapted from 2 different gyro recipes I found on epicurious. It was good and the kids liked everything but the tsatsiki sauce:) I will certainly make this again!

Friday, May 22, 2009

mmmm... my kid's favorite dip

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Mmmm. Hands down the most requested thing in the house by the kids. White Dip. Well, that is what we call it. It is actually a cream cheese fruit dip. So good and so very easy (the easy part even actually makes it even taste better)!! Mom made this for us as kids and we called it Caramel Apple does taste close to caramel apples and it is certainly less hassle. I have made it hundreds of times. If you have come to my house for one thing or another I'm sure you have had it!

Fruit Dip aka White Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 small jar marshmallow cream
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Use electric mixer for best results. Serve with cut up fruit. Green apples are the boys favorite with this dip.

I use neuchatel cheese which is a light cream cheese.

Here is Xavier "testing" it for me to make sure that it is as good as he remembers it to be.

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Yup! It sure is!!

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I am really behind on posting new blog entries but I will catch up soon , I promise:)

These are some of my **favorite*** recent pictures of Xavier. I really {heart} them!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

boomie juice

Enough said!

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Monday, May 18, 2009

how many noe boys...

does it take to mow the lawn? If you look at how long the grass is ...

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you will see that it takes three!

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AND if you heard how rough the lawnmower sounds you would also see that it takes both a bubble mower and an empty fertilizer cart to get the job done!

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Friday, May 8, 2009

i love dinosaurs??

Before we got to my parent's house I was talking to the boys about their dog Barney. Barney was the cause of much angst to the boys on the trip back to MN last July. For some reason, the boys just lost their cool every time poor Barney even glanced their way. It was SOOO frustrating to have them act so ridiculously. By the end of the last trip however, they were able to quickly pet him and at least not shriek when he looked at them. After spending a good 15 minutes on the subject of Barney, I asked the boys whether they were going to cry and whine and be afraid when they saw Barney. Xavier said "No I am not. I like Barney... he is so nice!" Dax said "I not going to whine or try....I like Barney...he is a good DINOSAUR!"

Xavier really did like Barney. He liked to tell him to get in the back of the 4 wheeler...and most of the time he did! We said we would give Dax a "surprise" if he would touch Barney. A few quarters later he would touch him quickly but didn't ever really like it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

merci gladys

My sister had her baby early. Merci Gladys was born April 20, 2009. Her actual due date was May 7th. She was born early on a Monday morning. My sister went into labor on Sunday. It was Divine Mercy Sunday. How cool! Her middle name is my maternal grandmother's name.

Merci was born with Pfeiffer Syndrome. It causes early bone fusion. This primarily affected the bones in her head. Her elbows are also fused. I was fortunate to be able to see my newest niece already. She has already had her first photo shoot:) A week after her birth she had her first surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain from the early bone fusion. She did great and her head shape looks really good! We were all so impressed. One week after that she had a tracheostomy. Her nasal passage is closed on one side and so very tiny on the other. If all goes well, she will have it for 1-2 years. She is being cared for by some of the best doctors/teams in the world at Mayo Clinic and we are so grateful for that. She is so sweet and we are happy to have her here with us. I know that my sister is anxious to get her home.

Please keep her in your prayers so that she can hurry home to join her 6 brothers and sisters. Yes. Merci is number 7. And yes. My sister is crazy. Just kidding Gina.

Kind of:)

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spring salad and wedding cookies

In attempt to find a new and interesting salad for my SIL's wedding shower, I came across this recipe for a salad. Here is the recipe as written.

Blueberry Spinach Salad

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach, torn
1 (4 ounce) package blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a jar with a tight fitting lid mix the first 5 ingredients together. Assemble the rest of the salad in a large bowl pouring dressing over right before serving.

I tested out a version of this salad out on a friend who was visiting (thanks Steph for being my guinea pig!). Here are my substitutions:

I used raspberry white balsamic vinegar and feta cheese for the blue cheese. The store was out of blueberries so I used strawberries and I used my friend Susan's awesome sugared nut recipe (which I will post) with walnuts instead of pecans.

Susan's Awesome Sugared Nuts

2 cups nuts
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in a glass bowl and stirring to mix. Microwave in one minute intervals and stir. It is finished when the mixture crystallizes. Pour out on a plate or baking pan to cool- breaking up clumps. My microwave takes about 7 minutes total. You can even add cinnamon or cayenne pepper to them if you would like but I like them best plain:)

In the final shower for the salad, I used a mixture of spinach and spring lettuce mix and used blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. The dressing was served on the side. It was beautiful and very tasty!

I also made some wedding shaped cookies as favors with fondant and royal icing . The recipe was from the William Sonoma website. It makes a very rich and flavorful cookie.

Sugar Cookies

16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 piece vanilla bean, about 2 inches long
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds into the butter mixture. Mix well. In a sifter, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the flour mixture directly onto the butter mixture. Reduce the speed to low and beat until well mixed.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball, then flatten the balls into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (The dough can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.) Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough disk 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets. Gather up and re-roll the scraps and cut out more cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough disks. Bake until the cookies are golden on the edges, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

Makes 24 to 30 cookies.

I think that using real vanilla bean is such a nice touch since the ingredients are so simple. You can get them in the grocery spice section or online. After the cookies cooled completely I spread a thin layer of buttercream icing (to act as glue) and then rolled out fondant and used the cookie cutter and put the fondant cutout on top of each cookie. Royal icing was used to make simple embellishments. So pretty!

Thanks J for all of your help and planning for the shower. I think it turned out great!