Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Butterscotch Meringue Pie

Pie is supposed to be easy.  That's how the saying goes, so that's how it should be.  This pie isn't necessarily easy.  Not undoable by any means, but it does take a little time and there are quite a few steps.

Usually I stay away from things that take steps and time, but since both of my parents couldn't stop talking about this pie, I figured it was probably worth it.

My parents must have been pretty excited about it because not only did they eat their whole pie in just 2 days (split between the 2 of them), they also both texted me the afternoon I made it to ask me how much I loved it.  May not seem that crazy to you, but my parents practically had to learn how to text just so they could ask me about this pie.
Well, the answer?  Yes, I loved it!  Yes, it was totally worth the time spent stirring!  Yes, it was gone in 2 days!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vegetable Lasagna

This morning, my alarm went off at 3:15 a.m.  It wasn't broken.  I intentionally set it to that ungodly hour.  Those wheels were set in motion yesterday early in the afternoon when Denver International Airport decided to preemptively cancel all flights for the rest of the day.  Our friend, Jason, had to reschedule and get the first flight out this we woke up before 4 o'clock to get to the airport in time.

It's not really a big deal, but it does mean that now, after working all day, I'm not really feeling in the mood to cook, stand, or even keep my eyes open.
We all have days when we don't feel like cooking.  So it always helps to have something prepared ahead of time in the fridge or freezer.  Lasagna is a really easy thing to heat up the day you want to eat it.  The other nice thing about it is that it doesn't taste like leftovers.  And it's definitely going to be better than whatever fast food you'd be tempted to eat otherwise.

Project 365: Week 8

February 18 | Test driving the cars was the fun part - paying wasn't as much fun.  Austin is super excited that he doesn't have to ride his bike in the snow anymore! 
February 19 |  Dingo wasn't making it easy to take pictures - that sheet acts as my diffuser when it's not piled up on the ground.
February 20 | It was my dad's birthday - we learned how to facetime!
February 21 | I spent lots of hours this week watching high school students perform mock trials.
February 22 | Picked up our friend, Jason, from the airport!
February 23 | Dinner at Taco on Pearl St.  
February 24 | Went to the Buff for breakfast with Austin's parents (in town for a trade show) and Jason.
Then, we spent the rest of the day wandering around the American Handmade Bike Show.  Austin and Jason made me a scavenger hunt so I wouldn't get bored :)  I found the bike with the face on it!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lemon Drop

I already told you that on Monday, we bought a new car.  Everything went pretty smoothly with that until it came down to actually paying for it.  I'm guessing I'm not the only one who's experienced this.  First of all, that's when the bargaining begins.  Bargaining is about the most uncomfortable thing to do.  Ever.  Even when you feel like you might be getting a good deal, you still know you're being swindled.  It's really just awful.

Next comes the always fun experience of dealing with the financial person.  He/She is also known as the-person-who-doesn't-have-to-be-nice-to-you-because-they-already-sold-you-the-car.  She's the one who insults you and makes you walk out the door with a pit in your stomach.
On top of both of those things, we had the added bonus of leaving the lights on in our car for the whole day that we were at the dealership.

The rest of this "short week," has been equally hectic.  All I'm trying to say is, I'm sorry for the delay and I hope you have some time to sit back, relax, and have a cocktail!  Cheers!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mini Frittata Muffins

Yesterday, Austin and I bought a second car.  Austin was tired of falling down on his way to and from work in the snow and a little worried he was going to get hit by a car, so we decided we needed to change something.  And since I wasn't about to start riding my bike to work, this was the best idea we could come up with.

That was pretty random but my point is: sometimes Austin does have good ideas.  A lot of the time actually.  However, his good ideas usually don't come to him in the kitchen.  We have had some pretty tasteless stuffed peppers from some Men's Health cookbook, his breakfasts usually consist of eggs and sloppy joe meat rolled up into a tortilla, and he thinks that anything with Frank's hot sauce smothered over the top is a culinary masterpiece.
And then every once in a while, he will pick out a recipe that surprises me.  These prosciutto wrapped mini frittata muffins were one of those recipes.  They are from a paleo website, which right off the bat scared me away.  No dairy or carbs?  I don't get it and I don't want to.

But they were good.  They were actually really good.  The new car is good too (there's more to that story - to come later).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Project 365: Week 7

Feb. 11 - On Monday, I started and failed a fruit cleanse.  At least it started really well with these smoothies.
Feb. 12 - My flowers started to wilt, but thanks to a very nice boyfriend and a very nice boss I got new ones to replace them on Valentine's Day!
Feb. 13 - Those Girl Scouts are back!  This tray is already gone.
Feb. 14 - Valentine's Day!  Dingo got all dressed up for the special day.
Feb. 15 - Heart-shaped ice courtesy of Ikea.
Feb. 16 - Took the Dingo on her first camping trip!  When it got down to 25˚ last night, she didn't hate her jacket as much as she normally does.
And we got to use our new 4-season tent (only the second time so far).
Feb. 17 - Spent most of the day hiking through Garden of the Gods outside of Colorado Springs.
Then, before heading back to Boulder, we drove up Pikes Peak Highway (to mile 14 of 19, where the road was closed).  We'll have to go back this summer to get all the way to the summit, or maybe climb it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lemon Buttermilk Pancakes

I hope you all had an amazing Valentine's Day, an amazing week, and I hope you're gearing up for an amazing long weekend!

We're going to try to head out of town over the weekend and since it's been unseasonably warm, we're planning on taking Dingo on her first camping adventure!  Normally she sleeps by herself downstairs, so we'll see how that transition goes...
We haven't really prepared for a camping trip at all which tends to be how it goes with us, but it feels harder with a puppy.  Especially a puppy that gets carsick.
So what will happen tomorrow is: we'll wake up, go to yoga, come home make some pancakes.  Pack the car up and get to where we're going around dusk.  We'll have to set up our tent in the dark.  Eat fast food along the way and won't see just where our perfect campsite is until morning.

At least the pancakes will be good!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Double Chocolate Brownies

As I mentioned on Monday, I started a fruit cleanse this week.  I'm not going to lie.  I didn't make it very long.  About 12 hours.  At first I felt pretty embarrassed about that.  I still feel a little embarrassed, but basically, it just wasn't working for me.  Not right now at least.
However, doing even just 12 hours of the cleanse made me realize exactly what I crave and when.  Mid-morning, I need some carbs.  Then at about 1:30, the sweets cravings kick in.
I mean, I knew that I craved those things, but doing this, made me really realize just how much I relied on those foods.

And at 3:30, I had the biggest realization: you should not under any circumstances watch the Food Network when you're doing a cleanse.  You actually shouldn't watch any TV at all.  There are a lot of commercials advertising delicious looking food.
I was having some major daydreams about these brownies.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Coconut Blueberry Banana Smoothie

I'm doing this yoga program with my studio - it's called "40 Days to Personal Revolution."  Part of the program is a "fruit feast."  For three days, all you eat is fruit (well, anything with a seed) to cleanse your system.

When I woke up this morning at 5:30 to get to the 6:00 a.m. power hour class, I was feeling optimistic. After I had my delicious smoothie, I was feeling even better about it.
Then at about 9:30, I wasn't feelin' it anymore.  I got hungry, verging on hangry.  Then I started feeling pretty sick.  You don't really need to know anymore than that, but the point is, if you start out your day with this smoothie, you'll probably feel pretty optimistic too.  Even if a couple hours later you get hungry and you eat a piece of toast with almond butter, your day will still have started out strong.

2 bananas
1 1/2 c. blueberries, frozen
1/4 c. coconut milk

1.  Blend it all up, pour it into a cup!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Project 365: Week 6

Feb. 4 - Making backgrounds for my pictures on this here blog after work!
Feb. 5 - Had to take the Dingo to get spayed on Tuesday :(  She wasn't so happy about her sleepover with Dr. Takahashi.
Feb. 6 - Have you ever tried to keep a 20 week old puppy from jumping and playing?  Yeah, it's impossible.
Feb. 7 - Put on a big fundraiser for Legal Aid.  This was before everyone else showed up and the chaos of setup began.
Feb. 8 - Out on our daily walk - there were kids playing frisbee out in the field.
Feb. 9 - We made it through 4 hours of Ikea without this happening (it's hard to tell what happened with the couple behind Austin who are debating plastic chairs though).  Ended up eating Swedish meatballs, buying the dishes we went for - and a rug, chair, and pillows that we didn't go for.
Feb. 10 - Our brand new cow pillow!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine Cocktail

Valentine's Day is kind of a weird holiday.  People get really upset about it.  If they're single, they don't like the flaunting of hearts and love all around them.  If they're in a relationship, the grand gestures are never grand enough.

Austin and I went on our first date when I was 16 years old, so needless to say, we have had a wide range of Valentine's dates.  Our first Valentine's Day, we watched a movie, then ordered a pizza from Domino's which we ate in Austin's old Jeep.  It was...something :)
The past few years, we've basically decided to not make a big deal of it.  I think this year, we'll just rent a movie and drink a cocktail.

1.5 oz. white rum
2 oz. cranberry juice
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. lemon lime soda

1.  Combine all ingredients.  Serve over ice.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes

There's a problem in American school systems.  The problem: the food.  I'm sure you've had plenty of time to form your own opinion on the matter, and while I love my desserts (obviously), my opinion is that we should get rid of a lot of the junk served in school cafeterias.
Maybe I can illustrate my point better.  In middle school, almost every day I ate 1 (or 2) "pink cookies" and a strawberry kiwi Snapple.  That's it.  The pink cookies came wrapped in plastic.  They were not homemade.  They were not cafeteria-made.  They were most likely made in China, packed with preservatives, and then shipped to the hands of 13 year-olds all over the country.

So here's my official stance on school lunches: I don't mind desserts.  I don't mind that kids are eating chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes.  What I do mind is that the food is prepackaged, frozen, and full of chemicals to keep it "fresh."
That's pretty much my stance on the way everyone should eat.  If you want to eat cookies, that's fine but make them yourself.  If you like fried chicken, take the time and prepare it yourself.  At least then you know what's going into it.  Anyone who knows me, knows I don't eat "healthy," but what I do eat is homemade.

In my opinion, and probably every other kid I went to middle school with, these "pink cupcakes" are better than the "pink cookies."  And when you put your own time and energy into your baked goods, they will taste all that much better.
1 c. butter, room temp.
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
5 eggs
2 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
For the Icing:
1/2 c. butter, room temp.
2 c. +/- powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
3-5 Tbsp. cream
2-3 drops red food coloring
sprinkles, optional

1.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla. Mix in eggs one at a time.

2.  Whisk together flour and baking powder.  Slowly add to butter mixture.

3.  Place 18 paper cups into muffin tins.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake at 325˚ for 20 minutes.  After cooling in the muffin pans for 5 minutes, remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.

4.  Prepare the icing: beat butter and powdered sugar together first.  Add vanilla and salt.  Slowly add cream until icing reaches the desired consistency.  Taste test and adjust ingredients as needed.  If it is too wet add more sugar, too dry, add more cream/milk.  Mix in food coloring until the icing is light pink.

5.  After the cupcakes are completely cool, spread icing over the top.  Decorate with sprinkles (optional).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Project 365: Week 5

Jan. 28 - Finally, we got a little bit of snow this winter!
Jan. 29 - Snow and giant tree branches are the Dingo's favorite.
Jan. 30 - I've been reading up on food photography and I was really excited to go home and practice.
Jan. 31 - Found my favorite boots buried deep in my closet.
Feb. 1 - I have the best BFF ever!  That's homemade holiday jam!
Feb. 2 - Austin has had his eye on this bike for a long long time.  He talked to the manufacturer and they brought him one to test ride (it doesn't come out on the market until March) - hence the big smile!
Feb. 3 - Like everyone else in America, spent Sunday evening watching the Super Bowl.

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