Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter long weekend


...baked cookies

...grilled pizza

...did some wood working (more he than we)

...spent Easter Sunday with the fam

and celebrated that

He is Risen!

Friday, April 22, 2011

death of a bumble bee

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. --2 Corinthians 5:21

it's Good Friday.  
last year we flew to Charlotte on Good Friday for a surprise Easter weekend visit with my in-laws (well, it was a surprise for my mum-in-law -- we had to get the others in on it to plan the whole thing)  we arrived super early in the morning and snuck into the kitchen so that when she woke up and walked into the kitchen we were already sitting in her cute little breakfast nook.  i don't think i've ever seen anybody so surprised in my entire life - it was fantastic.  and so we kicked off a great weekend together - i often look through the pictures from that trip and relive the memories - it was nothing short of perfect.  
there was much laughter and time spent outside

there was boccie ball on the front lawn

the easter bunny even made an appearance!

there were pretty easter egg trees around the neighborhood 

there were lots of interesting things to look at and take pictures of

there were bumble bees and cherry blossoms (my favorite!)

...and there was the death of a bumble bee 

What a great Easter weekend it was - Happy Easter, everybody!  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chocolate Orange and Oat Scones

The only scones I've ever made before are a variation of  Heidi's Orange and Oat Scones.  I was so nervous the first time I made them, too - scones were uncharted territory and I didn't know if I could pull them off.  And while I love being in the kitchen and am pretty good at just making our meals up as I go, I am rarely able to actually follow a recipe - go figure.  I usually forget some step or the other and end up trying to creatively save the meal from complete and utter disaster.  Especially baking recipes - those are the real baddies.  But making these guys was super easy and they turned out pretty darn good.

 Encouraged by my successful attempts in scone-making, I decided to try again - but this time, I threw some chocolate into the mix (because who doesn't love some chocolate every once in a while?).  I had to play around with the dry ingredient numbers in the original recipe to make room for the cocoa.  

And after a bit of a math meltdown (math is not my forte!), Daniel saved the day on the number crunching front and I was set to bake away in hopes of finding a new (or at least slightly different) scone to add to my things-I-have-successfully-baked list.

So here's the recipe - they turned out good.  Definitely denser than I expected.  A little crumblier than I was hoping.  But good.  I almost thought they were better a couple days after I baked them, actually.  If I were to play around with the recipe again, I might cut back a touch on the cocoa, up the orange zest, and perhaps add some applesauce for some added moisture...or I might just leave it as is.

Chocolate Orange and Oat Scones

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups rolled oats
zest of 2 oranges
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

- Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

- In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.  

- Cut the butter into the dry ingredient mixture using a pastry cutter until it looks like sandy pearls - try not to overwork the dough.    
(Alternatively, you can use a food processor to do this, pulsing 15 - 20 times or so after adding the butter, then transferring the dough to a bowl)

 Stir in the oats and zest then add the buttermilk and chocolate chips until just moistened (you may not need all the buttermilk).  You should be able to bring the dough together with your hands - if it's too crumbly, add more buttermilk a bit at at time until you reach a good consistency.  

- Divide dough into two equal parts (doesn't have to be exact)and gently pat each half into a 4" round (so that it looks like a wheel of cheese)

- Cut each round into 6 "slices," like a pizza.  If your dough is a bit sticky, you'll want to do this on a lightly floured surface.

- Transfer scones onto your parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 12 - 15 minutes, or until the bottoms have browned nicely.  They do expand a bit as they bake, so leave at least an inch of room around each scone.  

- Once baked, transfer the scones to a cooling rack and try to resist the urge to break into one until they've at least partially cooled (they are quite crumbly when warm)

Oh and if you would like them sweeter (or glaze-ier), I imagine they would be good with an icing sugar & orange juice glaze (mix the two together till you get the consistency you like).  If you go that route, try and go for real OJ (i.e. not the stuff with added sugar or unpronounceable extras).  Happy Baking!

Friday, April 15, 2011

another weekend begins

These last couple of weekends have left me feeling defeated.  I haven't been feeling super well and my to-do list just keeps growing.  Plus I realized that I am barely keeping up with processing my weekends, much less posting about them. 

I did learn how to make a poached egg a few Saturdays ago, though.
(in case you missed my earlier post, I absolutely adore Saturday mornings - having the time to try new things is yet another reason to love 'em!)
I couldn't have done it without help from this witty fellow:

there is little that horrifies me more than a runny egg, though, so I left mine in for a good 15 minutes (just to be sureand it turned out great.  I can't believe how easy it was - I definitely see more poached eggs in my future.  happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Change of Plans

Yesterday I got an unexpected night off - ladies bible study was cancelled last minute.  And while I do enjoy going and discussing and learning, boy was I thrilled to have a free evening.  On my drive home, I began to think of what all I could cross off my to-do list with all the extra time I just happened upon.  Then I decided to do the exact opposite and just hang out with Daniel instead.  

We went for a super long walk, came across a gorgeous field, discovered that said field was private property, complete with a "no trespassing" sign (after an hour of exploring...), snuck through a random stranger's backyard, scaled across their ginormous ditch, then found our way back home.  I was so sad I didn't think to grab my camera - it was such an adventure!  

We wrapped up the night by going to the grocery store to pick up cheerios and milk for Daniel's dinner + crackers for my dinner (of crackers and cheese) - what can I say, we like to live it up.  There's a small part of me that felt guilty/irresponsible about our night, but a bigger part of me felt ...liberated.  You should try it sometime - don't cross a thing off your list and just enjoy the people you love.  You won't regret it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

oh baby!

just wanted to share two of my best friends' little bundles of joy - they're not quite as bundle-y as they used to be, but they're still pretty darn cute!

somebody looks just like her mama

never too young to start getting your hair done!  :) 

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