Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Surprise Brunch!


As I am sure most of you know, I took a very graceful spill down the stairs and broken my foot as well as sprained my ankle. I am in a walking boot and its a pain {in both the expression and the literal meaning}.

Anyhow, Kyle has been taking extra special care of me since then and has been more than wonderful. So I thought why not surprise him with brunch?

Here is what I made and played:

On the Menu: Turkey Bacon Wrapped Frittata with Foccacia Bread 
Orange Juice and Lime Water {Kyle had been wanting to try it}
Turkey Bacon Wrapped Frittata 
{Adapted from the Katie Brown Workshop}

Serves 2


6 slices of turkey bacon {or regular bacon}
Olive Oil
1/2 shallot {I used red onion}
1/2 bag {thawed spinach} or fresh arugula or spinach
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese {I used an Italian Blend from Kraft}
salt and pepper

1/2)preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1) grease 2 small ramekins with olive oil. Place 1 strip of bacon around the edge of the ramekin. Place another strip of bacon around the edge that covers the gap from the first. Take the 3rd strip of bacon and cut it in half with cooking sheers {who knew this worked?!?} and place both halves on the bottom of the ramekin as best you can. 

2) mix eggs, cooked shallot {onion}, thawed spinach {or wilted arugula or spinach}, and grated cheese together with a whisk. Season with salt and pepper.

3) fill bacon lined ramekins with egg mixture using a measuring cup. Do not fill to the top as the egg will rise. 

4) bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the tops of the eggs are golden and puffed up.
5) carefully remove from ramekins with towels or pot holders {they are hot!} and serve immediately. {they lose their fluff as they sit}.


Onion Herb Foccacia Bread
{also adapted from the Katie Brown Workshop}

serves 4 {we made it serve 2!}


1 package of pizza dough {the kind that comes in a roll}
chopped rosemary {eye ball it}
chopped thyme {eye ball it}
olive oil {for brushing & drizzling}
thinly sliced red onion
grated Parmesan {eye ball it}
salt and pepper {if desired}
1/2) preheat oven to 425 degrees
1) open package of pizza dough and roll out on parchment paper. Brush half of the dough width wise with olive oil. 

2)Sprinkle chopped thyme and rosemary on top {don't hold back}. Lay out onion slices and finally sprinkle with Parmesan cheese {again don't hold back}. Fold the other side of the dough over the top. 

3) repeat on the top of the bread. 

4) salt and pepper if desired
5) bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes {until golden brown}
6) cool {a bit} and serve with olive oil for drizzling.


final plate:

Yummy and Pretty

So that is what we ate and let me tell you Kyle was not only surprised and appreciative but thoroughly enjoyed the meal. See?

On the Playlist:

Frank Sinatra:

They Can't Take That Away From Me
I've Got You Under My Skin

Rosemary Clooney:

Be My Life's Companion <3

Natalie Cole:

Almost Like Being In Love
Thou Swell
Paper Moon


You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You - Bobby Darin
Everybody Loves Somebody - Dean Martin

There were plenty more, but I thought this gives a pretty good idea. It was a great morning. Made me dream about the future. The peachy keen future. :) {wouldn't it be nice}.

surprise someone with a gesture of love today.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Weekend 2010

Halloween 2010!

This Halloween was the best Halloween I have ever had. For me, Halloween usually consisted of me getting blown off by friends, or not being allowed to hang out with my friends. This year it was all about the family and it was wonderful. I am really big on traditions so this was pretty much a perfect weekend. 

We started out on Saturday morning taking family (+ Kyle) pictures at Lake Shawnee and taking naps and having random plans for most of the day. We ate dinner together and then at a rather late hour decided to make popcorn balls and caramel apples. It was a lot of fun, and its not often that you catch the whole family doing something like this together. 
Caramel Apples YUM! :) 

Apples + Kraft Caramel Pieces (in the baking aisle) melt as directed and then dip apples or drizzle with the caramel. Let sit on waxed paper and then in the fridge to solidify.
Making Popcorn Balls 

Popcorn Balls

Pop your own popcorn w/o salt/butter and set aside.
In another pot melt 1 stick of butter, 1 package of mini marshmallows (plus some if you want) and then dirzzle Karo corn syrup to your hearts content. 
Melt and stir to combine. 
Mix into popcorn and squeeze into ball shapes. 
Set on waxed paper to set. 
You can add candies or M&M's if you want, but it is much harder to get them to stick together that way. 
Wrap in cellophane or plastic wrap and enjoy!
Dad adding the gooey mixture to the popcorn
Some of the M&M popcorn balls
Jess and Kyle squishing the chocolate popcorn balls.
Dad pretending to sneeze in his nasty gooey popcorn ball hands. I won't even show you the close up its so nasty!

After these festivities we watched Clue the movie on ABC family. If you haven't seen it you should. Its great, really pretty funny and very entertaining. Clue is my favorite board game (of all time) so this was a treat for me. And we actually watched it ALL! :) It has 3 alternate endings and ABC family showed them all in a row which was really fun. 

The next day (Halloween) the festivities resumed. Kyle and I got to sleep in for once and then we helped dad prep the pumpkins for carving. I wanted to be as sustainable as possible, so I saved all of the seeds and other insides so it wouldn't get thrown away. I roasted the seeds (for the first time) and then saved all of the other fruit for grandma in a plastic bag so that she could throw them in her compost bin (that's right my grandma composts!). 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Take pumpkin seeds and separate from any pumpkin flesh. Rinse and drain with a strainer.
Measure 3 cups of fresh pumpkin seeds and put in sauce pan with 4 cups of water and 2 tsp of salt
Boil for 15 minutes, then drain in a strainer and let drip dry.
Mix 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of paprika in the dried sauce pan.
Pat seeds dry and then mix into spice/oil mixture. 
Once thuroughly combined spread 1 layer thick on baking sheets.
Bake for 30 minutes.
recipe courtesy of delish.com

Then we carved our pumpkins. And for me I think this was my first time actually carving a pumpkin by myself. 20 years old. sigh. It was a blast though and our steps looked legit. 
Dad Carving Olivia's Cat Pumpkin.
Kyle Carving His Pumpkin.
Jess Carving Her Pumpkin.
My Pumpkin!
Kyle's Pumpkin!
Jess's Darth Vader Pumpkin.
Olivia and Dad's Cat Pumpkin.
The Porter's Pumpkin. Carved by Kyle. :) 
Look How Cute our Steps look!

Other than that we watched Hocus Pocus while I painted Jess and Olivia's nails to go with their costumes, and then grandma and Bob came to visit. We had homemade chicken and noodles and some biscuits for dinner. Our counter looked surreal.


Olivia made a cute spider t-shirt at day care that she wore up until she transformed into sleeping beauty.
So cute.

We told our cat Griswald, (Gris/z) that it was his day because he is the definition of a black cat :)
Not so happy I woke him up from his nap for the picture but oh well. 

Jess dressed up as a vintage KU cheerleader and Olivia was Sleeping Beauty. They are both way too cute. This year I was without a costume, but next year I will add that to the traditions for sure. :) It just sneaks up on you so fast!

Rock Chalk.

Sleeping Beauty (awake)

It was the greatest Halloween ever. Can't wait until Thanksgiving and Christmas to create more family traditions and fun! 


Sunday, October 31, 2010

My New Favorite Book

How to Sew a Button and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew

By: Erin Bried
This book is a how-to guide for doing things the simple, cheap, eco and old fashioned way. Bried interviews 10 grandmothers who survived the depression and uses their wisdom as the basis for this book. She covers everything from how to play charades to how to make dandelion wine and everywhere in between. I especially enjoyed that she built pie-making into the book, because ever since I learned to make a pie (crust and all) I have thought it is something every woman should learn to do! The sections are short and extremely funny to read. 

My grandmother is my hero and I have learned so much from her so to see someone like Bried sharing what grandmothers from across the country know with the world is a wonderful thing. You will be sure to be pleased with this book. It makes a great gift and is especially good for young people who are learning how to live on their own. This is probably why I enjoyed it so much, because as I read it I got to decide which parts I wanted to build into my life as I build it.

Just a few days after I finished reading this book I had to use it! It was amazing. A friend in my house asked me if I knew how to unclog sinks, and I began saying "no, sorry" when I remembered that was one of the many useful things covered in this book! I hobbled upstairs and grabbed the book came back and we gave it a try! And guess what? It worked! Really well. 

Here is what we did (sorry for the lack of photos).

1) I scooped the water out of the sink as best I could.
2) measured 1/2 cup of baking soda and poured it into the drain.
3) measured 1/2 cup of vinegar and poured it into the drain. 
fizzing began.
4) put a kettle of water on the stove and plugged the drain.
5) after approx. 15 minutes or the kettle whistling we poured the kettle down the drain. 

I felt like a million bucks. No draino needed. No chemicals, no plumbers. We did it ourselves and it felt great. 

Just before this incident I was wondering how I would use a lot of my new knowledge without having my own house, here is the proof that you still can!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arab Shrine Craft Fair 2010

Arab Shrine Craft Fair 2010

In June my grandma gave me all of her jewelry making supplies, beads etc for a craft fair at her shrine this weekend (October 23rd). I spent a lot of my time and money preparing for the show. 

I made a lot of very cute things, and had a great table set up. However the audience was not buying it. I sold enough to make a small profit, but overall it was a pretty big let down. Regardless here are some pictures of the jewelry and my display.
Me at my booth. 
 Center Table Display.
 Newest Color Set
 Earring Display. I love these frames. <3 Worth every second of work, and every penny. 
 Beaded Bracelets.
 Plates, Cups etc displays.

That is pretty much it. The look was exactly how I wanted it. The turn out was very disappointing. I have a lot of things left, so I will be hopefully having a jewelry party at Miller and possibly one at my house as well. Or maybe an Etsy account will be opened. I will keep you updated.

Thanks to the few of you who came to visit! :) And the even more of you who have been supporting me outside of the craft fair. :)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chocolate Week October 11th-18th!

Chocolate Week 
October 11th - 18th
I love chocolate. Most of you can relate I'm sure. But I never really realized how much I loved chocolate until this week, chocolate week. I'm sure you just got a great mental image of me eating a huge box of chocolates in one sitting in my sweat pants, because I absolutely did too. The actual experience however has been quite different.
Chocolate, I crave it each time I finish a dinner, late at night, when I see a particularly tasty candy bar in the line at the supermarket, and any time we go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt. But the reality is, as good as it sounds, its never that good. I mean think about it; unless its been a really long time since you've eaten it last, do you find yourself saying "that was a treat!" or "How delicious" after you finish that insert name of candy bar here? I don't. So honestly, I was beginning to tire of chocolate in all together. 
Even boxed chocolates, you know its Valentine's day and your family or boyfriend etc gives you a box of Russel Stover chocolates. Exciting right? Sure, it can be. But at my house it usually ends in a fight over the caramel, coconut and truffle flavors. Or what happens when someone looses the chart that tells you which kind is which? Or if there are only 5 or so chocolates left and they have been moved around? You end up with a strawberry cream and spit it right back out if you're me.

Thank goodness for chocolate week which made me fall in love with chocolate again.

 Search for Mediocre Chocolates and Fail

I decided that a nice box of chocolates would be a romantic surprise for Kyle and that we could enjoy them together. The idea was good enough, but the search was a bit of a struggle. My initial thought was the standard box of Russel Stover's but as I began searching it was a lot harder than I expected. Target only had Ghiradelli boxed chocolates and honestly that didn't sound like it was going to cut it. I was going to do this right. T.J. Maxx was my next stop. Nothing. World Market. Nearly nothing. The Merc? Yeah fancy organic chocolates? Non-existant in boxed form. Dissappointment. Apparently boxed chocolates are extremely hard to find outside of February.(note: yesterday I found tons at walmart and hyvee... )

Unexpected Success/In Love Again

The next day I rememberd that Lawrence has a lovely European Market called Au Marche. I nearly ran downtown in excitement. I walked in and there they were. Beautifully made and decorated artisan chocolates all lined up perfectly in a large glass case. Wonderful. As I looked at the different flavors I was dissappointed to see that they were a little picked over in selection. But I was determined to have a chocolate week surprise, so I picked four flavors and had them wrapped in a box. The chocolates were not actually from Europe, but a local artist in Kansas City. I was excited and very hopeful especially when I got to the cash register. For those four chocolates I spent approximately $10! They had better be good! 
Conclusion: Chocolate = Worth The Splurge
Those chocolates were the best chocolates I had ever had. They were beautiful, extremely delicious and worth every penny. We made a night of it and rented Chocolat as well. It was a really nice and very tasty evening. Now I know where to get the best chocolates in town for any occasion that I might need them! 
Have a Wonderful Chocolate Week! Too Late? Extend it a Week, No One Will Know. And also it took me forever to post this. Boo for busy-ness.