Saturday, August 27, 2011

Yet Another Hobby

As if I don't have enough hobbies all ready, I decided I want to give digital scrapbooking a try. I still have all of my goodies for paper scrapbooking, but I never find the time to pull them out. We'll see if I can keep up with photos this way. I doubt it, honestly.

I'm still learning and a friend recommended checking out Jessica Sprague for a tutorial, and that I did. This premade template was easy, but I definitely want to learn how to make some more with my own style. We'll see.

Guacamole with Corn

It was pouring down rain when I made this, so I ended up boiling my corn. I think I would have enjoyed this much more if I grilled the corn. I also didn't have any fresh cilantro, so I used dried, it's not quite the same.

Recipe from Pioneer Woman

3 ears Corn, Shucked
6 whole Avocados, Diced
1 whole Large Tomato, Diced
1/3 cup Onion, Finely Diced
2 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
2 Tablespoons Diced Fresh Jalapeno
1 whole Lime, Juiced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves


Grill corn until nice and golden, with good grill marks on the kernels. Allow to cool a bit, then cut the kernels off the cobs. Set aside.

Halve avocados and remove pit. Cut avocado into a dice inside the skin, then scoop out with a spoon.

In a bowl, combine corn kernels, diced avocados, diced tomato, jalapenos, minced garlic, lime juice, salt, and cumin. Stir gently to combine. Add cilantro and stir in.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Not my best photo, but that's what you get when I bake on a weeknight and use my camera phone. Good photo or not, these things were tasty!!

Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, who adapted it from Food 52.

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 12 minutes


1¼ cups all-purpose flour - 5.31 ounces
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder - 1.5 ounces
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar - 5 ounces
1/3 cup granulated sugar - 2.33 ounces
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanuts
Coarse salt for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. Beat together the butter, peanut butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Scrape the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and peanuts.

4. Drop by two heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a small pinch of coarse salt on top of each cookie. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the outside of the cookies are set but the middles are still a little soft. Cool cookies on the baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rule of 3's?

Bad things happen in 3's, correct? I hope so, because my friends and I have had enough. This May, one of my best friends had an electrical fire and her house now needs to be completely gutted. July I found out I had a miscarriage. Just this past week, another best friend's condo place caught on fire and now her condo is basically ruined from water damage. I'm hoping we are done with bad things happening to our group of friends.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peachy Bread Pudding

This was my first time making bread pudding, it was quite straight forward and yummy. I always love some bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. The recipe calls for a caramel sauce. At first it was too thin, then I tried to reduce it some more and ended up making it solid at room temperature. Dad and I agree, it didn't need the caramel sauce.

Recipe from AllRecipes

2 cups fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and halved (3-4 peaches)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups French bread, torn into small pieces

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon rum

  • Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • Chop the peaches and lightly mash them in a mixing bowl. Combine the sweetened condensed milk and the eggs; add them to the peaches and mix well. Stir in the hot water, melted butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir the French bread into to the custard mixture until the bread is completely moistened. Turn the pudding into the prepared baking dish.
  • Bake until a knife inserted in the center of the pudding comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  • While the pudding is baking, combine the brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, corn syrup, and rum in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until just slightly thickened. Let cool slightly.
  • Remove the pudding from the oven and let it cool for about ten minutes before serving. Serve warm with the caramel sauce. Cool and cover any leftover pudding and store it in the refrigerator.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good bye tree!

I have to give Dad and Joe credit where it's deserved. I didn't think they'd be able to remove it without it falling into the house, but they did! We probably have to have someone remove the stump, but we'll get to that eventually. Each time we look out our front door, we do a double take. I'm curious to see how long it takes us to get used to not having a tree anymore.

And of course I have to throw in a photo of Winston for good measure! He was afraid of the chain saw, but loved being outside when Dad and Joe were loading the branches into the truck.

Winter Garden

Winter GardenWinter Garden by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd love to give this 5 stars, but for me to give a book 5 stars, I have to love the whole thing. I know Hannah was trying to establish the characters in the first 1/3 of the book, but it was Anja's story that made it. I truly think the first 1/3 could have been condensed without losing the emotions of the family.

Regardless, if you're looking to avoid tears, go pick this up. Anja's story is remarkable, vivid, and an account I'll never forget.

View all my reviews

Quinoa Caprese Salad

Inspired by How Sweet It Is

I love summer, having my own herb garden, getting fresh local produce at the farmers market, longer days--all of it but the heat. I've hopped on the quinoa train and I am so glad I did. This particular salad was delicious! I didn't make measurements, but I don't think there are many ways you could go wrong with this.

Quinoa - prepare 1 dry cup as directed on packaging
1 container (I think pint) of cherry or grape tomatoes
About 5 stems (or more) of fresh basil, slivered
3/4 cup fresh mozzarella
Salt and Pepper to taste
Approximately 1/4 cup of oil (I think)
Approximately 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (Again, I didn't measure, tastes even better if it's reduced)

Make quinoa as packaging instructs. I let mine cool.
Add remaining ingredients, mix, and enjoy. See how easy that was!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stress Relief - New Dress

I live a stressful life. I know this. Being a resident is not a walk in the park. On top of this, I just suffered a miscarriage. I think it would be a a lie if I said I didn't have any stress in my life. While it's not the best for our budget, sometimes I just need to shop as a stress reliever. Right after I found out I had a miscarriage, I didn't want to buy any new clothes. I felt I couldn't shop, hence I was out one of my stress relievers. I thought, "what's the point, I hope to buy maternity clothes again eventually." (Yes, after my BFP, I went and bought some stuff off the clearance rack). Today I had some extra time off of work and threw that thought out the window. I knew I needed to roam around a store for awhile. I came across this dress. It's a size smaller than I usually wear, so I know there's no way I'll be able to wear it if I get pregnant again (it's already just a bit snug at the hips). It's a little more frilly than my usual style, but I fell in love. I felt like it screamed happiness and that's what I need right now. Plus, I love the bargain - marked for $128, sold for $32. I'll take that. Buying a new dress doesn't replace our loss, but oddly enough, it helps me live in the moment of today.

Let's try this again.

Back in April I tried to recommit to working out. I told myself if I worked out 3 times a week for 4 weeks I'd reward myself with a small gift. Well, I made it about 3 weeks and then I got a cold and was on call and found excuses. Now that I'm taking more photos of Winston, I realized I want a new camera lens. I was half tempted to dip into my savings and go and buy it, but I realized since I actually want this, I should use it as my reward for working out. So that's my goal. I may actually want a different lens, but I'll cross that bridge WHEN I get to four weeks in a row of working out. I've worked out twice already this week and have time tomorrow, so then hopefully I'll be 25% of the way done. I'm not looking to lose weight, just feel better about myself. I'm not going to lie, I had a spring in my step today and I think it's because I've been working out again.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Oh the joys of home ownership! We're thinking it was hit by lightening last night. Fortunately, it landed 2 feet AWAY from the cars and fell away from the house. Joe and Dad cut up these branches and we've decided we want to get rid of the tree all together. It's beautiful, but I really don't want to find a tree in our roof. Dad and Joe say they can remove it on their own. While I love that price, I'm worried the tree is too big for someone who's not trained in removing trees. We'll see.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Gardening Help

This weekend I worked on some gardening and Winston tried to help. He's definitely a digger! He was a dirt ball, but I don't think he minded at all.Storyboards from Coffee Shop Blog

Linen Queen

The Linen Queen: A NovelThe Linen Queen: A Novel by Patricia Falvey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly, only ok. I picked it up because it's set in Ireland and I love Ireland. It was a nice balance of historical fiction and romance, but not one that kept me up all night.
View all my reviews

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Small Comforts

Today was my follow up appointment for my miscarriage. Since I had to have a D&C, they were able to send the tissue for genetic analysis. The results showed triploidy. Everybody has two sets of chromosomes, our baby instead had 3 sets, which isn't compatible with life. Supposedly medicine estimates 1-2% of pregnancies end up in triploidy and it's the cause of about 15% of miscarriages. There are times when I want to be in a select 1% of the population, this is definitely not one of those times. I'm not going to lie, there is a small comfort in knowing it wasn't my body rejecting the pregnancy and that the baby stopped growing because it had to, but it doesn't make the loss easier. Supposedly the chance of our next pregnancy resulting in triploidy is the same as it was with this pregnancy. We'll see what time brings.

Even though I have an answer for this miscarriage, it doesn't make the pain go away. I know in general time helps, but I realized this week that the past two weeks I was in a large amount of denial. I'm not one to broadcast my business (other than blogging, obviously), but this week has been tough. I was at a different hospital for the past two months and now I'm back at the children's hospital. Something as simple as, "oh it's been so long since I saw you, how are you?" is truly hard to answer. Yes, I was off doing NICU last month, but I was also off having a miscarriage. I don't say that, of course, but I wish I had something exciting to answer back.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fearless Fourteen

Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, #14)Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite a nice refreshing new mystery in the Stephanie Plum Series. Rather than Stephanie chasing after a random skip, the mystery involved family members. It was a nice way to learn more about Morelli and his family and I felt strengthened the main characters. As always, I love grandma Mazur!
View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bacon and Cheese Quiche

This was my first quiche, and I quite enjoyed it. I used some Gouda cheese, and I definitely like the nuttiness it contributed. I've been debating on making another, but my aversion to scrambled eggs hasn't abated yet, so I'm holding off so I don't feel like I waste food. It was very easy to make, especially since I used a premade pie crust.

Recipe adapted from Southern Food and Tasty Kitchen

8 strips lean bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese - I used 3/4 cup gouda and 3/4 cup cheddar
Salt and Pepper to taste
A sprig of fresh thyme

Bake crust for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Add bacon and cheese (use up to 1.5 cups if you like) to bottom of pie crust and toss together. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme, and pepper. Pour into the baked crust. Crumble bacon over the top with the shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, or until quiche filling is set and top is lightly browned.
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