Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Just stopping in to say a quick "Happy New Year!"  Most importantly: have fun....second most important thing: be safe!  I'll see you all in 2012 :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Navy Yard

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year is to go outside more.  Since we moved to DC, we unfortunately haven't gotten out as much.  It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just an afternoon walk would be nice.

Maybe spend some more time down by the Navy Yard this year.  (Resolution #2: Take my camera with me more often!)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

I hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends this holiday...I will share some of our festivities in the coming week :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Stringing Popcorn & Coconut Butter

When was the last time you strung popcorn?  1st grade right?  Do you remember it being hard?  I didn't either.  Actually, I didn't remember anything about it.  All I knew is we bought a tiny little Charlie Brown tree (got the most crooked one we could find at the Whole Foods) and didn't have anything to decorate it with.  Enter popcorn, 2 needles and 2 long pieces of thread.

About 86,547 needle pricks later, we got this:

We put a bird on it, of course.

Between that and ripping my hands apart climbing, I decided to embrace my inner hippie and whip up some coconut butter that Tracy from Shutterbean recommended.

This could definitely be all wrapped up pretty and given to someone for a certain holiday coming up in 9 days.  If you wanted.
Or you could keep it to yourself.  Your call.  It makes a great scrub for your hands and face, but you can eat it too!  Spread it on toast, fruit, veggies...

Recipe from Tracy Benjamin
3 c. unsweetened coconut

1.  Blend in a food processor, scraping down the sides every so often for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches the desired consistency.  That's it!  You're done!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Early Christmas Celebrations!

We are getting into the Christmas spirit around here finally!  On Monday, we bought a mini Christmas tree from Whole Foods (stringing popcorn will come later tonight) and yesterday Austin gave me my Christmas present.  It had to come early this year because it consisted of tickets to see the Flyers when they came here to play the Washington Capitals.  This very exciting gift also came with some Philadelphia apparel so I could show my loyalties! 

We had so much fun and although I would have liked the game to be closer, I'll take an easy win over a close loss any day. 

We walked back home from the Verizon Center (in Chinatown) past the capitol and the botanical gardens which are all lit up for the season!
Now, I really can't wait for the real Christmas to come :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Asparagus Orange Salad

Ok, so I'm not going to "teach" you how to make a salad.  I know you're smarter than that.  You can figure out for yourself how to put lettuce in a bowl.  But I will show you this picture of a delicious salad I made with asparagus, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, sesame sticks, and almonds.

I will let you in on one little tip though: blanch the asparagus for just a couple of minutes before adding them to your salad.  (A "couple" in my dictionary means 2.)  This salad combination was perfect for someone that doesn't really like salads much and prefers to have something with a little more substance.  Notice how you can barely find a piece of lettuce in that bowl!  (I topped it with a parmesan vinaigrette.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mt. Vernon

It was so much fun to have Austin's parents come visit this weekend!  We went to a hockey game on Friday night, spent most of the day Saturday at Mt. Vernon, and today we went to the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum by Dulles Airport.

It was a pretty packed weekend (mostly with fried food!), and I'm so glad we got to see Mt. Vernon during Christmastime.  They bring in a Christmas Camel (apparently George Washington did the same thing), made hot chocolate, and decorated a giant gingerbread house in the shape of Washington's mansion.  Mostly, it was just fun to walk around with Austin and his parents.  
After spending most of the day there, we went to Old Town Alexandria to eat dinner.  Eamonn's is a Irish fish 'n chips restaurant that specializes in all things fried.  It was all really good but I liked the desserts the best!  (Fried dough balls, fried bananas, and a fried snickers!!)  To offset some of the grease that we ate on Saturday, I think I will give you a recipe for a nice salad later this week ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Molasses Cookies

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Well, not really, but we'll eat cookies that are a lot like Christmas cookies to make up for the fact that it's 60 degrees and raining.

My family goes a little overboard with the cookie thing every year.  By a little, I mean the entire kitchen is full of cookies.  Sugar cookies, press cookies, magic cookie bars, lemon bars, angel wings, peppermint something-or-others, pecan fingers, thumbprints, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip rice krispie cookies, fudge, cheese wafers (my personal favorite), snickerdoodles, and many many others!  I'm not exagerating - we (by we, I mean my sister and mom) really make all of them, then we give them away by the pounds!!
Another good recipe that we make is for Molasses Cookies.  An all-time classic that is perfectly balanced between sweet and spicy.  Just a little bit chewy on the inside but nice and crunchy on the outside.  Just plain perfect.

From Great Grandma James
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. crisco
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
+ sugar for rolling cookies in

1.  Mix together sugar, shortening, molasses and egg in mixer.

2.  Add dry ingredients.

3.  Roll into balls.  Roll balls in sugar.
4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Sorry but it's another day and another post without something tasty to eat or something creative to make.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends last week!  I had an awesome time at home, and now I am having trouble readjusting to the swing of things.  That includes making dinner.  So since I don't have anything original to post, I will share some creative things that other people did from my Pinterest boards!

If you haven't heard of or used this site before, it's a great way to keep all of your ideas for recipes, crafts, etc. organized and you can get inspired (overwhelmed really) by all of the other things that people post.  It's a good time.  You should join me there!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow's the big day and this may come as a surprise to you, but I am not going to share a recipe with you.  But really, you just want the same turkey, the same stuffing, and the same cranberries you have every year.  Thanksgiving is not the time to be experimenting.  Stick to what you love, enjoy the time with friends and family, and then Friday you can start your Christmas shopping!

Last weekend, Austin and I helped our friends, Dave and Leah, get a jump on their Christmas shopping.  Actually we didn't help.  We just distracted them while they were trying to find a Christmas tree that they would like to come back for in a few weeks.
Now, I thought I knew everything about Christmas, (I know all of the songs, that's for sure), but I hadn't even heard of "tree farms!"  I've never had a real tree myself but I thought people always just went to the drugstore and bought their tree from some fenced in area in the parking lot.  I guess not :)
Anyway, we spent the day Saturday driving through the beautiful country roads of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.  It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun pretending to be Yetis running through the rows of pines!

Friday, November 18, 2011


There are a few things that you can make in your kitchen that are so surprisingly easy to do but yet we still think that they are impossible and somehow they come directly from nature packaged and sealed in a nice little container.  One of these things is whipped cream.  Whipped cream does not actually come in that form straight from the udder!  I know!  Hard to believe. 

Another simple thing to make yourself is applesauce.  You know the best part?  It tastes a million times better than the store-bought stuff.  It's got chunks of real apple in it so you can actually recognize the origin of the food and it is naturally sweet without all of the added sugar.
Sack of Apples (sweet-ish ones are better for this, or a mixture...I used McIntosh)
Cinnamon (optional)
Sugar (optional)

1.  Peel, core and slice your apples.
2.  Place in the bottom of a large pot.
3.  Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pot (maybe 1/2c for the entire sack of apples).

4.  Cook over medium heat until the apples start to break apart.  Then use a potato masher to smash the remaining pieces of apple. 

5.  Optional, add cinnamon and/or sugar to taste.  Serve it warm or refridgerate...both are amazing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bread Pudding

What do you do when someone comes to the gym toting a giant box of somewhat old hot dog buns?  It's a tough decision, but if you are smart, you will grab two bags. 

These weren't your basic Sara Lee hot dog buns - these were fancy.  These were like flaky, buttery croissants on the inside with smooth, egg glazed tops.  Fancy buns for a fancy hot dog.  Well, I don't make fancy hot dogs.  I do make fancy bread pudding though.
Of course, if you don't go to a gym where people bring you boxes of carbs to offset whatever progress you are making at said gym, you could use croissants.  Hypothetically, you could use any bread that you've got but I'll let you in on a secret: croissants are way better!  I mean, croissants are better than regular bread no matter what, but I think the croissants soak up the egg/cream mixture of the bread pudding better and make for a softer, 'moister' pudding!

You know what this recipe would be perfect for?!  Thanksgiving!  and Christmas!  Perfect way to add some variety to your dessert/pie table.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'll admit it...

...fall is pretty perfect here.

Corn Casserole

Thanksgiving is just a week and a half away and I for one could not be more excited.  Last year, I had a case of the stomach flu and forced myself to eat a few bites of food.  Then I realized, if I got sick again I would never be able to enjoy another Thanksgiving I refrained. 

This year though, I am going to wear some pants with some give in them.  I will take full advantage of that give.  I won't fill them out with turkey and mashed potatoes though.  Sure, I'll eat some.  But I'll really hold out for the good stuff.  The pie!

Maybe this year, you have a little bit of this corn casserole before you eat dessert.  It's like corn bread, but it never gets dry.  You won't have to worry about crumbs getting on your holiday sweater.  :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

'Pumpkin' Cookies

If you read many other cooking blogs out there you will notice an overwhelming amount of pumpkin related recipes circling the interweb this past month or so.  I'm sure they're all good, but really we need a more balanced diet right?  We can't just eat pumpkin and squash all day can we?  Do you think we would turn orange from eating too much squash?  Just carrots?  Ok, well still, let's eat something else.

Just to make the transition a little bit easier, we will make them pumpkin shaped.  I don't want to scare you too much right off the bat.
If you're thinking, "wait, these are cookies!  These won't help me have a well-rounded diet!"  You're wrong.  All you've been eating since the temperatures have dropped below 75 and you glimpsed that first leaf start to change is vegetables.  You forgot about the point of the food pyramid!  It's fats, oils & sweets!  Don't ever forget about those.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

It's getting to be that time of year.  The time of year for turkey and stuffing and big helpings of pie!  The most important part is the pie!  I love pie...blueberry, apple, pecan, coconut cream...the list could go on forever, but I have never been a fan of pumpkin pie.  I know that last statement just discredited my tastes altogether for some people as it's considered a blasphemous statement.  But if you're still reading, you should be happy to hear that I made one anyway!  And I liked it!

Normally, I would actually forego dessert altogether if pumpkin pie was the only option.  And that means a lot.  But this one! - This one is good!  It tastes more like a pumpkin flavored cheesecake and it's smoother and creamier than the pumpkin pies I have tried in the past.  Just think what someone who loves pumpkin pie would think of it!

Recipe from Paula Deen
8 oz. cream cheese
2 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg + 2 yolks, slightly beaten
1 c. half & half
1/4 c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 pie crust
whipped cream, for topping

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Roll out your pie dough into a pan and crimp the edges.
3.  Line the entire crust with foil then place pie weights/dried beans in the bottom to weight it.  Put in the fridge to firm up for an hour.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, take out the pie weights and foil.
4.  Beat cream cheese.  Add pumpkin, sugar and salt.

5.  Mix together eggs, half & half, and melted butter.  Add to pumpkin mixture. 

6.  Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat until well blended.

7.  Pour the filling into the warm pie crust.  Bake for 50 minutes, or until center is set.
8.  Cool pie on a wire rack.  Once cold, top with whipped cream!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chicken 'n Dumplin's

Happy Halloween!

Austin and I borrowed costumes from last year (because they were so good - not because we were lazy) and went 'costume climbing' at the gym on Tuesday.  Tonight we won't be doing anything fun because of work though - but I am trying to think of some fun "tricks" to teach in yoga tonight! 
When we were little we always dressed up as something really good (actually I think I was a witch almost every year) but then we had to cover up our costume with snowpants and our big winter coats because it was so cold.  This only got worse when we moved to Utah and kids just stopped trying altogether and 90% of them were "dressed up" as skiers or snowboarders. 

I thought the kiddos in DC would be luckier than we were, but then it snowed here on Saturday.  The snow didn't stick but it still gets me ready for winter. 

Even if you're one of those people who hates winter, there is at least one good thing about it: warm, heavy, satisfying meals.  These chicken 'n dumplin's are all of those things.  They're also easy!

These are so simple to make and the best part is that you'll only have one dish to clean when all is said and done.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shenandoah National Park

The weekend before last, we drove down to Shenandoah National Park to go bouldering, hike around, and do some leaf gazing.
The leaves had already changed for the most part, but it was still one of the prettiest places I have seen near DC.  I think we will have to plan a snowshoeing trip up there this winter.  Winter camping too?
As we were on our way out of the park...after I got pulled over for speeding through the park (she let me go with a warning - thanks park ranger!)...we stopped to do some yoga tricks!  Why not?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


It's another cool, rainy day in the nation's capitol today.  Considering that last week on a similar day, my umbrella flipped inside out and I had to wrestle with it on the stairs of the metro, I will be walking home in the rain without that thin veil of protection.  It's cool - I will just have mascara running down my cheeks and my wool sweater will smell like a wet dog.  But really.  It's fine.  You know why?  Because I have leftover chili just sitting in the fridge waiting to be reheated.  Waiting to be eaten in front of the TV (once I have changed into my pajamas).  So really, it's perfectly fine.  I'm even kind of looking forward to it. 
Unrelated topic: last night while I was making this Chili, I remembered these tea towels that I bought at a craft fair in Adams Morgan a few weeks ago!  Aren't they neat?  They are made by this woman from up in Philadelphia (Girls Can Tell) and she makes a ton of really awesome stuff.  Click here to see what she offers!

Anyway, you probably want some chili by now...

Recipe from Mom
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. ground beef
~1 c. dried kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 lg. can crushed tomatoes
chili powder
tobasco sauce
salt & pepper
1.  Soak your kidney beans in water overnight...or if you want your soup tonight and not tomorrow put the beans in a saucepan.  Cover with water and simmer until softened (still won't be as soft as canned).  About 1 hour.  Continue to add water so the beans are always covered.  If you don't have time for that either, you could buy canned kidney beans (1 can).

2.  Cut up your onion and garlic and throw it in the pot with your ground beef.  Cook until all of the meat is cooked thoroughly.

3.  Drain fat out of the meat/onion mixture.

4.  Add beans, tomatoes, sauce, and spices.  (Taste it and adjust the chili/tobasco as you like it)

5.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

That's it!  Pretty simple.  Not a lot of beans to please the picky eaters and the beans that are in there don't get mushy like canned beans.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apple Dumplings

Here it is.  Yet another apple + dough recipe.  Even though they all (apple crisp, apple pie and now apple dumplings) seem so similar...apples + cinnamon + sugar + flour...they are so different!  Each delicious in its own special way.  And this one's probably my favorite of them all. 

I remember when I was little and we would go over to my Grandma Flinn's house for dinner, my sisters and I always wanted to have apple dumplings!  For being one of my favorite things to eat of all time, you would've thought that I would have made them before now.  For some inexplicable reason, I didn't.  In fact, I waited so long before making these that I forgot what they were even.  It wasn't until I could smell them cooking in the oven that the taste came back into my mouth.  They didn't disappoint at all. 
These apple dumplings are the perfect balance of sweet and doughy.  The dumpling doesn't have any sugar in it, so all of the sweetness comes from the apples and the sauce.  If you have quite a few apples that you want to use up, you might want to double the recipe - I promise they won't go to waste.

New Address!

Hi everyone!...I just wanted to let you know that I have changed addresses.  You can now find me over here at posting all of the same stuff just with a different name.  Make sure you click on the "Follow" button on the right hand side and add the new blog to your feed. 

There will be a delicious new recipe up very soon too!...Also, I am going to be working on some renovations to the site's interface so if you have any suggestions please don't be shy!

Sorry for the inconvenience...I promise I won't be moving again anytime soon...enjoy this picture and forgive me :) 

Blogging tips