Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Masquerade Mask & Caramel Apples

A few weeks ago I had a predicament. Halloween was creeping up and a mask that fit comfortably over glasses was nowhere to be found. This past week, inspiration was found -with some yarn and a crochet hook, a mask was made. My basic pattern was inspired by Priscilla's Crochet's Masquerade Mask. My deviations are the following: H hook; Round 2 were hdc's instead of dc's; Round 3 was slst all around except for the sides where I did a 3ch slst back into the same hdc for the temples of my glasses to go through; and at the end I used the tail to stitch together the middle for a more prominent nose flare and to fit my glasses so I could see out better. Then I sewed on sequins and accessorized with glittery bird clips (Christmas ornaments actually).
Happy Halloween!
Caramel Apples

Monday, October 29, 2012

Deep Breath. Big Smile.

I debated for months whether to blog on this HUGE news. I thought about what I would write. I thought about why I enjoy what I enjoy from other blogs. I laugh at the stories behind recipes. I get the "I totally know where you're coming from" feeling even though I've never met the blogger. That's what I want. I want that connection. But I'm nervous. I'm anxious about what bumps and hiccups will come along the way. I feel vulnerable because it's so personal. Is this something I really want to share with readers around the world? Over the past few months, it has become hard to blog at all when holding on to such a big secret that seeps into everything I do and say everyday without giving it away. I thought and I thought and I thought. Then, I came to the realization that if this blog is a journal of inspiration food, beauty, and life as I state in my "About Me" section, how am I not to share the news? The truth is, this news has EVERYTHING to do with inspiration, food, beauty, and life. We are embarking on a new adventure. There are many stories to tell and many more to come. So here we go. 

Ready? Deep breath. Big smile.

My husband and I are expecting a baby girl come February 2013! We are extremely excited for this new addition to the family. Our parents and siblings look forward to meeting their first granddaughter/niece. 

And now that the secret it out, I can and will share more freely!

Mommy & Me
Me, Mom, Grandma. Looking forward to adding another girl to this photo! (not sure who took the photo? Dad?)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cranberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

This easy recipe from start to finish (including cleaning up) takes less than an hour. It's perfect for a quiet Sunday morning, to take to a brunch potluck, or to enjoy as an afternoon snack!

Prep: 15 minutes        Bake: 18 minutes        Oven: 400F        Yield: 12 muffins

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten extra-large egg
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup dried cranberries (feel free to get creative and use dried blueberries or nuts too)

  1. Line twelve muffin cups with paper bake cups; set aside. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients for muffins. Make a well in the center of the mixture and set aside.
  3. In a 1 cup Pyrex, measure oil and soy milk together, then add beaten egg. Add mixture all at once to flour mixture well and stir just until moistened. Desired: lumpy batter. Over mixing can lead to a tough muffin with peaks and tunnels. Fold in cranberries.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Sprinkle Streusel topping over muffin batter in cups. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. While muffins are baking, clean up the kitchen!
  5. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing. 

Streusel Topping:
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons rolled oats

  1. In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in rolled oats. Evenly divide up over muffin batter in cups before baking.

Slightly adapted from Better Homes and Garden Cook Book 75th Anniversary Edition.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Whole Wheat Caramel Apple Pancakes

Good morning Weekend! Slept in until eight, purposely interrupted the breakfast of forty-something pigeons feasting on the newly seeded backyard, and started our own breakfast of whole wheat caramel apple pancakes. 

In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients and make a well.
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a Pyrex, measure and mix together your wet ingredients:
1 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 extra large egg

Pour wet into dry and stir until mixed but should still be slightly lumpy. Add more milk if you desire a thinner pancake. Heat up non-stick pan. Using a ladle (I find this less messy and more consistent in pancake-size than pouring from the bowl), pour in pancake batter. When it bubbles and the sides look dry, flip it with a spatula. Approximately a couple minutes per side. I like to put the done ones on a large plate and stick it in the microwave to keep warm, you may have other tactics. This batch makes about six large pancakes but I'm sure you can stretch it to eight or even 20 mini ones.

Caramel Apple Sauce

1 tablespoon-ish butter
1 tablespoon-ish soy milk
1/4 cup-ish brown sugar
1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced (2 would probably be even better but I only had 1 apple left)

Using the same pan, melt in a tablespoon of butter, add about 1/4 cup of brown sugar, stir until melted before adding some milk to thin it out a little. Stir until well mixed and add the apple slices. Stir to coat, let it bubble in yumminess. Be careful not to go higher than medium heat so it doesn't burn. After a few minutes, transfer to a small bowl for serving.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pink & Brown Floral Infinity Scarf

I purchased this fabric several months ago. It's soft, fun, and fall-ish but not the expected burgundy, browns, and wines of fall. This playful floral infinity scarf is perfect for a white t-shirt and jeans combo - for those of us living in the desert, fall means no more triple digit weather!

Available on Etsy!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Garden Surprise: Bobcat

Ready to trim back some bug-eaten leaves on the bougainvillea and clean up the summer snapdragons, I slid open the patio door and was startled by a sudden movement from the garden bed. A bobcat had jumped out and was as startled as I was. We both froze and had a staring contest for what seemed like a minute but was likely less than five seconds. I retreated back into the living room and tentatively closed the patio door. The bobcat took a few steps towards the back fence before finding a shady spot to nap under the mesquite tree. Guess the trimmings will have to be done later! In about an hour, I checked on the bobcat and it had moved back into the garden bed, and nestled into the hole where it was initially relaxing. Watching this bobcat makes me want to take a nap in a garden bed surrounded by snapdragons and chilies....

Friday, October 5, 2012

Puffed Wheat Crispy Treats

To change up the classic Rice Krispies treat, I substituted the cereal for two types of puffed wheat. 

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
10 oz marshmallows (approximate measurement)
3 cups puffed wheat cereal (approximate measurement)
3 cups KAMUT® puffed wheat cereal* (approximate measurement)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional, feel free to add peanuts, raisins, or other ingredients!)

Melt butter in nonstick pot on low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until they're completely melted. Remove from heat and fold in cereal and dried cranberries. Pour into a buttered nonstick baking pan (or lined with wax paper) and press flat. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. 

*Note: “KAMUT” is not the name of a wheat. It is a trademark used to market a grain with certain guaranteed attributes. In 1990, the word “KAMUT” was registered as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark office. This was done to protect and preserve the exceptional qualities of a particular variety of the ancient wheat, khorasan, for the benefit of all those who are interested in high quality, healthy food. Only by the use of a trademark can customers be guaranteed that products produced with KAMUT® khorasan wheat contain the pure ancient variety, organically grown to high quality standards. 

KAMUT® khorasan wheat shall:
1. Be the ancient khorasan variety of wheat
2. Be grown only as a certified organic grain
3. Have a protein range of 12 – 18%.
4. Be 99% free of contaminating varieties of modern wheat.
5. Be 98% free of all signs of disease.
6. Contain between 400 and 1000 ppb of selenium
7. Not be used in products in which the name is deceptive or misleading as to the content percentage
8. Not be mixed with modern wheat in pasta