Tuesday, June 21, 2011

created....perfectly buttered popcorn..

I love air popped popcorn. I like some butter on it sometimes, but what I hate, is how the heck do you get the butter dispersed evenly. There is nothing worse to me than butter soaked kernels, mixed with completely unseasoned kernels, drives me nuts.

This is adapted from how I dress my salad, again I hate unevenly dispersed or over dressed salad, drives me nuts.

Spread some softened butter around the bottom and sides of the bowl. Pop your air popped popcorn directly into the bowl and toss around with a spatula as it comes out. this will evenly distribute the butter without over buttering some of the kernels, and leaving others dry.

add some Kosher salt, and some minced Rosemary and you are good to go!


There is nothing better than some choclately not to sweet scratch brownies.

There is nothing better than a really good scratch brownie recipe....

Perfect Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Notes on this recipe and the ingredients:
1. Use a dark cocoa powder, the best you can get. Pale, light-colored cocoa just doesn’t have enough depth.
2. It is important to make sure your eggs are room temperature.
3. Do not overbeat the eggs into the batter because it will add too much air.
3. Check your brownies often while they are baking to make sure you don’t overbake them or you will not have the fudge-like consistency.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely (I used Lindt 70%)
8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal 9x13x2 pan. You can make a kind of ‘sling’ of aluminum foil or parchment paper by lining the pan in both directions with a folded piece of each and leaving the overhang out of the sides of the pan. You will need to butter the bottom and sides of that in the pan as well. You can use this later to remove the brownies in one large piece to be place on a board and cut.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
Fill a large saucepan about 1/4 – of the way with water and bring to a simmer. Place a large heat proof bowl over the simmering water (the bottom should not be touching the water) to make a large double boiler. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined – you don’t want fast boiling water or the water touching because this can burn the chocolate and butter instead of melting it nicely. Once they are melting, the heat from the chocolate and butter that is already melting will help to melt the rest of the unmelted butter and chocolate in the bowl. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. If you stirred often when the chocolate and butter was melting then your mixture should already be at room temperature. If the mixture is still too hot, let it cool before adding the eggs so that you don’t scramble and cook them into your batter.

Add three eggs to the chocolate and butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey instead of fudgy.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Use a rubber spatula (not a whisk!) to fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture. Fold the ingredients together until there is just some of the flour mixture visible so that you don’t overwork the batter.

Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula (which will end up mixing in the remaining flour mixture at this point, which is why you don’t want to overmix before). Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotating the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.


This recipe is my go-to brownie recipe from here. The only change I made is only use 1.5 cups of sugar. The 1 cup of white sugar, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Otherwise I found the brownies to be too sweet for my taste. I am gonna mess with the recipe and see about adding puree, like pumpkin puree for half the butter or something.... I will let you know how that works when I do it.


11 days....

Really I slacked for 11 days...... I have follow through issues.

So in my 11 days of slacking, Oliver graduated from kindergarten, I think it hit me harder than I thought it would. I try not to be too emotional, but having my little man graduate kind of put me on a teary edge. I am not ready for a first grader, I am not ready for the school year to be over, I want to shrink my boys and keep them little forever.

I think it is funny how tall Surin is next to Oliver, it seems like all the girls shot up in the class, and all the boys are short.

So please excuse my slacky-ness. I am dealing with Mama issues.

Friday, June 10, 2011

. ..The lost Baby T-Rex.. .

My book: is called.
The Lost Baby T-Rex
By: Oliver Raetz
Title: Book

Once upon a time there was a baby T-Rex
(notice the little T-Rex and the big trees...)

The baby T-Rex was lost. Until the T-Rex grew.
(the trees are getting smaller, and the T-Rex is getting bigger...)

The T-Rex grew, and grew, and grew. And then the T-Rex grew huge.

Humongous. Huge, Huge.
(little trees, huge T-Rex..... I love it)

Huge, huge, huge. Huge, huge, huge, huge.
(tiny trees....)

Huge and humongous. Back to small.
(the orange circles are the T-Rex's dream bubbles...)

The T-Rex had a dream. The end!

I love this book.

Ollie loves to write stories... I have a huge stack of journals from his school, some of his stories are so funny and detailed, most involve one or more of the following.... dinosaurs (T-Rex's), a night fury (from how to train your dragon.... Mrs. Mash thought he was writing and drawing pictures of a night fairy.... which I think is kind of funny) monster trucks, skateboards, gorillas, his brother, his mom and dad, Mrs. Mash, and his friends... most of the stories have him riding something.

I have spent the last couple of nights pouring over his books. I think I am going to compile them in one big book. I just can't get over how awesome they are. I will post some of my favorites!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


We do not have regular television in our house. When we were cutting back our expenses, Cable was of course, the first thing to go. Instead we stream Netflix through the Wii, and watch shows via Hulu, or from the network sites. This actually works quite well for us, there is no unintentional couch potato-ing. You have to really work at finding something to watch.

So one of the things about Netflix, it has kind of weird shows that the boys get sucked into. Like Voltron defender of the universe (from when B and I were kids). The boys favorite..... BeyBlade metal fusion.
The other day at Target, B and I were looking at Helmets, and the boys were allowed to go over to the toy aisles. They came back so excited pulling us over and exclaiming, "You will never believe this, it is what we have been dreaming and wishing for." Guess who carries BeyBlade toys, of course Target. With the boys piggy bank money, each got a Bey, and they got a battle arena. Pure Heaven for these two little men.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

day 8... created clean...

So Obviously I am using the term Create loosely. I don't mind. Today I created a clean kitchen.

Just in time to go to the garden and bring this mess in.

We washed and dried all our greens than put them in containers to toss in the fridge. So awesome having a fridge full of greens me and the boys grew with our own two hands.

...day 7... Garden...

I love being part of a community garden. I love that is only a block from my house. I love digging in the dirt, and I love being able to make dinner from our Garden.

I wish the stupid weather would cooperate so that we can have veggies coming out of our ears this year, last year I made a lot of stuff with green tomatoes.

I am so stoked on our Community Garden, this year we have put in a watering system, apple trees, blueberry bushes and a seating area. We also got two flats of Tomatoes donated, so we have tomatoes all over the place.

I love our Community!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday... already behind...

Today I kept my kids alive.

I am going with that, somedays as a stay at home mom, my biggest accomplishment may be just keeping my kids alive, well and I had an extra, so today not only did I keep My created ones alive, I was entrusted with keeping someone elses kid alive too!

Yay for me!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bake Sale!

Maple Bacon Scones, are you kidding me.

I figured since I invited a bunch of people to the bake sale for breakfast, I would need to provide something other than a bunch of cookies and cupcakes (although really for the kids, they thought they were in heaven, surrounded by cookies and cupcakes).
I wanted something that wasn't going to be too sweet, and had some substance to it.
I have a really great scone recipe that I love. So I tweaked it a bit, used Maple syrup and brown sugar for sweetness, and bacon instead of berries... next time I think I will do a brown sugar bacon, and maybe some cinnamon added. They were super good though, I personally prefer the straight up berry and lemon zest version, but always up to try something new
Here is the Scone recipe (with the cinnamon added that I think it needs)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 3 tablespoons Brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 3/4 cup crumbled bacon
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup pure Maple syrup
  • 1 large egg yolk lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons heavy cream, for egg wash
  • Coarse sanding sugar

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers. (The largest pieces should be the size of small peas.) Toss in bacon. Pour in cream, and Maple, and stir until mixture just comes together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and pat into a 1-inch-thick round.
Cut into triangles or whatever shape you want. Freeze for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush tops of scones with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 28 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Drizzle with Maple glaze.

Maple Glaze

1 1/2 tablespoons Maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk (or water)
1/2 to a cup of powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients and drizzle over scones.


...watching Create...

Saturday morning, I sat on the edge of my mom's kitchen and helped her make bread for my bake sale. By helping I mean I drank coffee and talked, and talked, and talked. My mom bakes the best bread!

after I was done talking, I did make some more tiny pies.... So I guess I can say I did create too!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Speaking of pies in a jar.... day 3.

I am heading up a Bake Sale this weekend for our Womens group at church. I made individual Strawberry Rhubarb pies in a jar that are frozen, who doesn't love home made pie ready to pop in the oven, and no mess in the kitchen (the pie pictured above is already frozen, that's what they look like when you open them up to bake them, super cute, right?).
I have made these a couple of times to give as gifts, but have had issues with labels not sticking and coming off, or just not looking the way I would do them myself (there are some free downloadable labels here).
So Ollie and I made labels for our lids, they turned out great and so far are not doing anything funky in the freezer.

Here is how we did it.

 Using the ring as a guide draw a circle template, on some nice weight water color paper, with a super fine tip sharpie (I Love Sharpies).

I drew this little line drawing, than used some acrylic paint and water like water color to just add some color and detail. Cut out the circles leaving about a 1/4 inch of white outside the black line of the circle. just did this freehand with scissors, I am sure you could use an exacto if you aren't comfortable cutting freehand, just use the ring again but use the outside line as a guide rather than the inside.

Than we added some random stripes and painted the outside edge with Robins egg color, just cause I like that with the red...

I used Modge Podge to glue these, I dipped my brush in water first and brushed a thin layer of slightly watered down Modge Podge on the back. Pressed it to the lid, and than painted the top with another thin layer of Modge Podge. (make sure your paint is completely dry before you start glueing) I wanted to use a new Modge Podge that leaves a slightly raised clear layer, but this is what I had, and I didn't feel like heading to the craft store... Next time I will try the raised version though.

I love having the boys help me with projects, Ollie jumped in and wanted to do one. He used my design as a template, I must say his is awesome! Who can't resist a handmade label from a little man. I think I might have to make some of these for Ollie's teacher as an end of the year gift, all with his sweet little labels
... Love...

 Next time I do these I am going to make sure I write the heating instructions on the label. For this bake sale I am just going to attach a small tag with the instructions. Really having it right on the label is so much more convenient.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

day 2... hippie hair...

About 6 months ago I stopped washing my hair..

I know it sounds weird, I know it makes me more of a hippie than I like to admit. The reason I stopped, I kept seeing articles about how washing your hair on a daily basis just strips your hair of it's natural oils, than we try to replace them with all this synthetic crap that the "Cosmetic Company Man" was telling us we needed to have healthy, beautiful, hair. The constant cycle of trying new shampoos than slathering my head in conditioners, than putting in leave in conditioner, gel or serum, and hairspray.... soooo much crap. Just to get a good curl going, that was going to stay all day. What this left me with is the need to repeat the cycle everyday... or my hair was a big ratted mess (it still kind of is, but at least it doesn't have a bunch of crap in it).

So that lead me to researching natural home remedies to use on my hair, that was going to leave me hair clean, but not stripped. To let it be natural and not all gooped up. So this is what I do.

I use a combination of a couple of different shampoo methods, just whatever I feel like for that day.
Sometimes just a apple cider vinegar rinse. I add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar to a glass of Hot water, I put it on my hair, massage into the scalp and than rinse with lots of hot water. Sometimes the smell of the vinegar bugs me, but my hair never actually smells like vinegar... just in the shower.

Sometimes when I want the squeaky clean feeling, I put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a glass of water and massage the crap out of me head and scalp. This leaves you with a really squeaky clean feeling head of hair. I usually use a small dab of a natural organic conditioner after the baking soda... I have dry hair (i have even used lite coconut milk on my hair for a really deep condition).

What I like most is just half a lemon. I just cut a lemon and take half in the shower with me, I squeeze the juice on my head and massage it in. I like this the most, it smells super yummy and leaves my hair looking great. It is on the drying side, so I don't do this more than once to twice a week.

Than to really kick the hippie up one more notch. I make my own hair gel... so freakin weird, right!

Well I love it. I put one cup of warm water in a bowl and add one teaspoon of plain gelatin, mix well and stick it in the fridge. Once it has set up, I whisk in a couple of drops of lavender essential oil. I keep my gel in a jar in the fridge... it lasts me quite awhile, and seriously it is the best hair product I have ever used on my head. I don't feel all producted up, and it doesn't weigh my hair down like normal gel does, and it keeps the curls nice so I don't have to wash and repeat with the whole hair thing everyday.

So today, I made a batch of hair gel, does this count as creating something... I think so!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

..day 1.. sweet treats...

Today I was baking for the Bake Sale I am heading up this weekend...

Super cute little Strawberry Rhubarb pies...

It is not fun when you are baking for a bake sale and you don't get any of the goods.

Seriously though... those pies are so freakin cute!

So Max and I made some little butterscotch pudding tarts to share with Ollie when he gets home.

First we lined some tiny muffin tins with left over pie crust. Cooked them up and than dropped a couple of chocolate chips in each one and let them melt.

Than we made our pudding and let it sit up, I much rather would have liked to use chocolate pudding, or even our Raw Chocolate pudding recipe (kind of on a chocolate kick) but we didn't have any, so butterscotch was our only choice... it did the job though.

and aren't they super cute... seriously I think anything in tiny little measurements is awesome.

It was so easy, and perfect cause we only had to make a couple of them. This actually is a dessert I have made a couple of times, when I just want that little baked something, but am not really in the mood to make a mess or take to much time in the kitchen! Yum! It made this really grey, yucky, rainy first day of June a little better... just a little.
...Max approved...