Monday, August 30, 2010

Chocolate Almond Macaroons


Here is the perfect little cookie. It is delicate and sweet and oh.so.easy. They'll be gone in a snap!


Chocolate Almond Macaroons
Adapted slightly from Julie Hasson

3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
½ cup organic sugar
6 Tbsp. flour
4 egg whites
2 tsp. pure almond extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Combine coconut, sugar, and flour in stand mixer. Add egg whites and almond extract, beating until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Using a small ice cream scoop, place mounds of dough on to SILPAT. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until puffed and golden. Let cookies cool completely on SILPAT or on wire rack.

Melted chocolate chips may also be drizzled on top of macaroons if you want them fancy schmanzy!

Store in an airtight container to keep fresh!


Most people either LOVE coconut or they CAN NOT tolerate it...how about you? IS it a love or dislike???

What is your favorite cookie?

BTW...this is NOT my favorite...I am saving my favorite for a rainy day! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pumpkin Carrot Cake





Thank YOU to my dear friend, Kim who hijacked my blog this last week and who gifted Riss and I a lovely evening that will forever be a special memory. So grateful that we have you as a friend to walk through life together. And to think that it all started with a baby shower!!!

I can't imagine that there are too many friends in the world that would think to drag a big chair through wheat fields, dressers across parks, hang chandeliers on trees, be obsessive about shades of colors, squeeky blinds, and SHARPIE pens and lamp shades...and chalk dust...oh.you make me smile!

Not only are you sweet and sensitive to those around you, but your humble, gentle spirit is absolutely unbelievable! You certainly challenge me in more ways than I can think of...and I love it when we have slivers of time to spend together.

Thank you for the A.DORABLE blog makeover. It is so beautiful...and the pink baby bird is the cherry on TOP!

Much love to you...you will always be my friend and "my bunny"!



I was going to wait for Autumn to post this recipe, but I am in the mood for Autumn now as the leaves have already started changing and floating to the ground.

Several years back, Kim made this carrot cake for my birthday and I am not even kidding, it was THE.BEST carrot cake I had ever tasted...and I have had more than my share. Trust me.

I changed it a tiny bit, because I am trying to bake a bit healthier...so here you go!


Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from the Joy of Baking


Preheat oven to 350*
Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans

Whisk together:

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt


Beat together in stand mixer:

4 eggs
1 ½ cups organic sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup Libby’s plain pumpkin
¼ cup applesauce {I use Trader Joe’s Gravenstein without sugar}

Fold in:
2 1/4 cups carrots, finely grated


Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Fold in 2 ¼ cups finely grated carrot.

Divide equally between the two cake pans. Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let sit on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Invert on to wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temp
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Finely grated lemon zest and/or orange zest of one half lemon

Stack cakes on cake plate, frost and garnish with coconut and DIG IN!

ps...this is what my piece of cake looked like before MISS OPPORTUNITY devoured it. I guess I wont be taking picures of food anymore with my little dappled dachsund around anymore. Oh well, she probaly thought it was for her. Don't worry, she did NOT get in trouble. I can't resist her big, brown eyes and Stellaluna {bat} ears!


Shared with: comfy in the kitchen, Stone Gable

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Gifted Vintage Picnic

I'm hoping one day my dear, sweet friend Lisa will forgive me for taking over her sweet little blog...I just couldn't let the day pass without honoring my beautiful friend and sharing these images that show the inspiring relationship she has with her equally sweet and beautiful daughter.

As I'm sure you've gathered from reading her blog, Lisa is insanely talented in every way. She is FUN and thoughtful and caring and so, so kind. She is a nurturer...a servant and a giver. She has a way of making people feel so special. The picnic she planned for her college-bound daughter was no exception.
She hauled her $10 dresser and bags of food and boxes of dishes across a very busy public park to the perfect picnic spot, laughing and joyful the whole way. She went all out with the beautiful vintage details, right down to the paper and string she used to wrap the sandwiches. What can I say??? She just rocks!


{photo credit: my BFF...Kim}

I hope you will take a few minutes and watch this video. I promise you will walk away feeling inspired to be a better wife, mom, sister and friend. What I love most about this video is that Lisa didn't know I was videotaping her. She spoke from her heart, uninhibited, and overflowed with love and emotion. It truly was a beautiful thing.


I hope that you are all lucky enough to have a friend like Lisa. Lis, I love you so very much!




Shared with: at the picket fence, wow us wednesday

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

70's mirror +chalkboard paint=Chalkboard Menu/Message Board


Recently we took the mirror down in our main bathroom. It was headed for Goodwill when it dawned on me that it was the perfect size to make a chalkboard I was wanting for outside.

I just LOVE chalkboards and chalk ink pens. They are fun for children and an inexpensive way to make ANY celebration a bit more snazzy!

My hubby painted the back of the mirror with two coats of chalkboard paint...and since we had a ton of beadboard scraps...the molding was free. When does that EVER happen? Anyway, the chalkboard is mounted under a deck light and behind the summer buffet. WE LOVE IT!

I am so excited to write messages, write out a summer evening menu or an Autumn brunch menu...spring baby shower wishes or even mounting old pictures to it. The possibilities are endless!

So if you see an old mirror at Goodwill or have a friend remodeling a bathroom, I suggest you take it home, paint it and CELEBRATE in style...and don't forget your chalk ink pens. Your children may just catch YOU doodling when they come home from school. Imagine them writing a note to let you know where they are going and when they'll be home, an "I LOVE YOU" from your honey or tiny scribbles with little hands!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A {very} SWEET SOIREE...at twilight





More on this project later...but it is our old mirror from our main bathroom that was headed for Goodwill. I turned it around and it is now my menu/MESSAGE chalkboard for outside...perfect for summer entertaining. I am making a border for it out of leftover cedar beadboard...can't wait!


Summer Buffet: A.K.A. our Frugal Find...$10.00 vintage childrens chest of drawers from the side of the road!!! Literally!







Things have been crazy busy around here...home improvements, celebrations, shopping for college, getting Caleb ready for camping and a retreat, meetings with friends, etc. I am sure you are all in the same boat.

Tonight was Poppi's birthday celebration. VERY FUN! We have been planning it for a week...to make sure everybody was able to make it {we will excuse Caleb for being a bit late...at least he made it in time for dessert...he IS his momma's child!!!}

I am not sure what it is about eating dessert on the deck at twilight...but I think it is completely indulgent and a bit "magical" even though I do not believe in magic! It was lovely listening to the water fountain gurgle in the background...and the bees had tucked their little selves in for the night...which was AWESOME!

By about noon today, I wasn't sure if it was going to come together...but it did! Between nailing boards to the ceiling, going through stacks of beadboard with my running shorts, cami, an apron, flip flops, one pearl earring {got a phone call and forgot to put the other one in!} bubble gum pink garden gloves and a pony tail...making a cake, doing laundry {because I had better things to do yesterday} and making piles to take to Goodwill...it was a full day, but a great day.

All this to say, I think you all need to have a SWEET SOIREE at TWILIGHT...on your deck, front porch or at a park. You will Love it!


Do you have a very favorite Frugal Find or a favorite cake to make for a SWEET SOIREE?


Menu:
Lemonade
Carrot Pumpkin Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Ice Cream

I am linking to Kevin and Laylas http://www.theletteredcottage.net/


I am linking to http://shabbynest.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

I am linking to http://missmustardseed.blogspot.com/2010/10/furniture-feature-friday-favorites-link.html

white wednesday

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A SWEET TRADITION {first day of school}




My Twinsie and I on our first day of school! Thank heavens for organized parents who still knew where the picture was...all these years later!




Having grown up in Germany...I am still in love with TRADITION! It is something to look forward to and even more than that, it is something dear to you that you can not wait to pass down to your children and to their children!
On our first day of school, we {no pig in my pocket...my twinsie and I} got our very own "SCHULTUETE". It was like Christmas morning! Typically, they are filled with lots of sweet treats and erasers, pencils, crayons etc. but you could really fill them with whatever you would like!

If any of you are teachers, I am sure YOU could imagine how hyper your little students might be on the first day of school.

Since Laurissa's first day of college is this next week, I wanted to do something special for her...so, I filled her "SWEET SCHOOL CONE" with some things she will need in college...white washcloths, soap, post it notes, gift cards, a book of stamps and envelopes, chapstick, straws and some other little things that she loves! I can NOT wait to give it to my little bunny.

Her Daddy gives her flowers every year on the first day, so we included a little vase from him to her. That is when I "lost it" today...and I was doing sooo good!

On her tag, I stamped "with GRATITUDE" because I am so thankful for the daughter she has been, is and will continue to be...she challenges me, loves me unconditionally, takes Sunday afternoon naps with me, but most of all she loves the LORD with all her heart, and she shares it with everybody she meets. I know that if you met her, your life would be THAT MUCH better...just for knowing her. SO, my heart is full of gratitude and am reminded every day of God's grace in blessing me with the sweetest daughter ever!

This year will be the first year since she started preschool that we have not had our annual back-to-school dinner, so I am going to have to find something creative to do...not sure, yet. SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME!

BY THE WAY, my parents have a picture of my twinsie and I on our first day of school in Germany with our "SWEET SCHOOL CONES", so I will post that when my Dad finds it.

Do you have a favorite back-to-school memory or SWEET TRADITION?


I just guesstimated and used what I had on hand to make mine. That's why it's a bit Christmassy looking!

Directions for a Sweet School Cone:

1. Cut poster board to desired size. I left mine BIG.

2. Cut wrapping paper to the same size.

3. Using Elmers Spray Adhesive, spray a thin coat over poster board. Do NOT spray adhesive on flimsy paper. You will have a big.ol.mess!

4. Place wrapping paper on top of glued poster board. Working quickly, be sure to line up paper and gently smoothe out wrinkles and ridges.

5. Working from the bottom up, form cone shape. Be sure to have a pointy bottom, so that nothing falls through...or you can add a pom pom...like I did.

6. Using a large metal clip or clips, secure the top of the cone. Heavy duty paper clips may also be used. Use the clips to adjust it the way you want it.

7. Glue gun the seam.

8. Trim the top so that it is even and straight across the top. It will look just like a sugar cone.

9. Add the finishing touches with ball fringe, ribbons, grommets, fabric initials, stickers, stamps, photos...whatever. Use your imagination! If you made a mistake, this is your chance to embellish away!

10. Using your hot glue gun, glue small sections at a time across the top, inside lip. Quickly pleat tissue paper to the inside on top of the glue.

11. Fill with healthy school snacks, sweet treats, paint, stickers, fun papers, etc.

12. Present to your little ones {or BIG ones!} on the morning of their first day of school!


My twinsie and I on the first day of school...1970's :}

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Truths to Ponder

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter copied this down and gave it to me in case I wanted to share it with YOU! I love it. I will always keep my copy and will read it frequently when she is off to college. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE her and HOW much I love handwritten notes? Be VERY happy I am not handwriting this to you. You would have to decipher it for sure! I hope it is encouraging to you today.

Not sure who wrote it...maybe if you know, you can let me know.


1. God gave you unique spiritual gifts, a unique heart, unique abilities, a unique personality, and a lifetime of unique experiences so you would make your own unique differences in the world.



2. God want to build our faith in the valleys. We love mountain tops...but we build faith in the valleys. When we come face to face with a dark valley, we get on our knees.



3. God wants to use you to make a difference in the world. He wants to work through you. What matters is not the duration of your life, but the donation of it. Not how long you lived but how you lived.



4. EVERYTHING that happens to a child of God is Father-filtered and He intends to use it for good.



5. God was thinking of you long before you were thinking of Him. His purpose for your life pre-dates your conception. He planned it before you even existed.



6. God is pleased when we do small things for Him out of loving obedience that may be unnoticed by others, but God notices them and considers them an act of worship.



7. God did not need to create you but He chose to create you for His own enjoyment. You exist for His benefit, His glory, His purpose and His delight.



8. Trusting God completely means having faith that He knows what is best for your life. You expect Him to keep His promises, help you with problems and do the impossible when necessary.



9. Our hope in difficult times is not based on positive thinking, wishful thinking or natural optimism. it is certainly based on the truths that God is in complete control of our universe and he loves us.



10. God designed each of us so there would be no duplicates in the world. No one has the exact same mix of factors that make you unique. That means no one else on the earth will ever be able to play the role God planned for YOU.



11. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny.



12. Good things are ahead for all of God's people. We're all in a battle but we already know we're going to win it because the Bible tells us.






Isn't it good to know what a powerful God we serve! I know that today I am taking refuge in His tender hand because He is trustworthy and full of GRACE!

Love to each of YOU...and Happy Wednesday!

Shared with: a holy experience

No More Popcorn {ceiling}!!!




Not sure how many of you have popcorn ceilings, and if you do, maybe you like them, but with my hubby's allergies to dust, they are a nightmare! They always feel and look dusty, no matter how many times they are vacuumed!

Anyway, a couple of years ago, we {my daughter and I!} watered down the ceilings and scraped the popcorn off...taking full advantage of my hubby's 24 hour work shift! Needless to say...we left the bedrooms alone to work on down the road!

Last year my hubby mentioned the dreaded ceilings and I was not up to another home improvement project, but the idea of putting bead board OVER the popcorn was doable, so that is exactly what we did with my hubby's last couple of days of vacation. Another reason he is THE BEST! I love doing home improvement projects when the whole family is involved...especially an energetic son who LOVES HARD work!

I spent the day at THE.LAKE with great friends and the kiddies and when we got home, the trim was almost done...thanks to my SWEET father-in-law and hubby.

Now for the paint...and sanding of the bed and chest of drawers and mirror!...

What home improvement project do you have looming?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Auntie Laura's Jack Cheese Salsa




Okay ladies...I am back from our 20th anniversary festivities. I am completely overwhelmed by how much fun this past week has been! We went back to THE.LAKE today and had so much fun. I just don't want this summer to end! How about you?

Anyway, this salsa is so easy and can be made up ahead of time. It is our family's favorite! The longer it sits, the better it tastes. This is what I made to share at the lake today. If you are making it for teenagers, you had better plan on doubling your recipe...that is if you want some, too!

My twinsie always makes it and there are never leftovers! I am pretty sure you could get some good bartering deals out of it! I know I have!

Do you barter or trade services for your cooking, baking, crafts or anything else YOU enjoy making? If so, what do you make or do?


Auntie Laura’s Jack Cheese Salsa

1 lb. Tillamook Jack Cheese, shredded

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch of cilantro, soaked, drained,dried and chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped...I cut off about half of the green ends

1 {6oz.} can olives, sliced

1 {4oz.} can green chilies, the diced ones

1 garlic clove, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced... you may want to remove membrane and seeds

¼ cup red onion, chopped

1 cup Italian dressing, {I use homemade or Trader Joes}



Mix all ingredients together and pour dressing on top. Mix and chill before serving.
Serve with blue corn tortilla chips.

You may want to add more dressing before serving if you want it more moist.


Sometimes I double the batch and use the leftovers to top tortillas with black beans. Instant dinner! Just serve pineapple chunks or watermelon on the side and lemonade to drink! YUMMY!

other addition ideas: a bit of chipotle peppers, rinsed and drained black beans, avocado.

tidy mom, mom's crazy cooking, comfy in the kitchen, southern hospitality, this chick cooks

Friday, August 13, 2010

Twenty Years

I have hijacked Lisa's Blog Today. I had hoped to do it on our actual anniversary but we were on vacation and did not have Internet access long enough to post this.


Lisa and I August 11th 1990



Lisa and I August 11th 2010


I have been married to this wonderful woman for twenty years. To this day I am still amazed at all we have been through together. We have seen the good the bad and the ugly. She has stuck by be during the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We have experienced our two children coming into the world and seeing my younger brother and good friends leave it. She gave up more than most would have to allow me to pursue a passion for a career that most people will never truly understand. We have experienced things that would tear most couples apart, but by the Grace of God all these things have allowed us to grow closer to each other and to Him, and it has taught us to lean on each other and God for strength when we felt that we just could not take any more. In the end it has given me such an appreciation for you. This is going to sound so cheesy but its true (I can’t believe I am about to quote Jerry McGuire) She completes me.


I Love you Lisa with all my heart you are my helper and my best friend I know I do not deserve you but I thank God every day for blessing me with you. You, Lisa are the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman.




I love you Lisa Happy 20th Anniversary.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

VACATION



...my hubby is sweeping me away to the beach for a few days...I am SO.EXCITED! Then to Sunriver with the kiddies! We will catch up when we get back!



Enjoy your last few weeks of summer!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Auntie Laura's Spinach Dip


This dip is seriously ADDICTING! It is an easy dip to make, especially if you keep some of the ingredients on hand.

Auntie Laura’s Spinach Dip


1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

½ cup green onion, thinly sliced

½ tsp. dill seed

1 cup mayonnaise {Light if you prefer}

1 cup sour cream {1/2 strained plain yogurt and 1/2 sour cream is also GREAT!}

1 tsp. Lawry’s seasoned salt

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice {I LOVE Italian Volcano!}

2 8 oz. cans sliced water chestnuts, chopped {thank you, honey for dumpster diving!}

*Mix all ingredients together.

*May be made 24 hrs. ahead of time.

*Flavors are way better after it sits in the fridge for several hours. So, you may want to plan ahead on this one.

*Serve with fresh veggies, crackers, or sliced bread.


ENJOY!


HAPPY HAPPY FRIDAY!

Shared with: at the picket fence, women living well

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chest of Drawers..."summertime buffet"





Last weekend I was on my way out to a tea party when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a chest of drawers on the side of the road. I quickly stopped {because we do.not.talk on the phone while driving!} and called my sweet hubby and asked him if he could drop everything he was doing and go get the scoop on the chest of drawers. He was on it! Ten bucks!

He asked me where I thought I might put it. I told him I would think about it and let him know when I got home.

As soon as I got home, we got into his car, which he had already cleaned out and went for a drive up the road to pick it up!

He asked me if I knew what WE were going to do with it! KNOWING there was no room in the house, I told him we could use it outside as a summertime buffet. He said, "for ten bucks, why wouldn't you?!"

After bringing it home in all of its "adorability", I hardly have the nerve to start sanding it down...and then putting it outside. EEEKKKK...now I think it should be kept in the house...not sure how I am going to gently tell my hubby???

I am leaning toward painting it a light blue or yellow, but will most likely end up painting it white...like everything else. Then there are the knobs...I think some cute little, delicate ones would be just perfect...but not sure either. Who knows? Maybe I should just leave it alone and save it for a grand-baby...down the road. Decisions.Decisions.Decisions. This is exactly what happens when you can't find the power tool when you are ready to start a project!

What are your ideas? What do you think I should do? I hope I am not opening a can of worms.




linked to:

PINK POSTCARD

Thrifty Thursday

crafty scrappy happy