Friday, July 29, 2011

Fillin' In The Blanks Again

I've been a little MIA this week,
Mainly due to laziness and lack of sleep.
I promise some good recipe posts next week,
And another Wedding Wednesday,
And a post on our white water rafting trip last weekend
which was SO fun!
In the meantime, I'm filling in the blanks on Lauren's page.
Head on over and join in!

1.   My favorite color is       Green, for no particular reason other than I love it.  Looking around my apartment now I'm realizing there's green everywhere!

2.  My travel destination of choice is    anywhere new.  I'd love to visit South America, Canada, Italy, Sweden, New Zealand....this list never ends!

3.  My favorite  food is     ice cream.  I'll never tire of it!

4.  My happy place is   the beach, or somewhere near the water.  I think I've always been a water person (hence, I was a swimmer) and feel so calm when I'm near the water.  Whenever I'd come home from living in the mid-west, I'd always have to take a drive along the coast to see the water.  It just feels like home to me.

5.  My favorite saying is      And miles to go until we sleep.  It's from a Robert Frost poem that I had to memorize in 7th grade, but I always loved it.

6.  My dirty little secret is      I'm a physical therapist and I hate working out or going to the gym.  So boring.  I need to fine a sport that motivates me to get off the couch!

7.  Something friends might say about me is that I   cry easily when I'm stressed or frustrated.  I think all my friends from grad school saw me break down at some point or another.  One time in the middle of the anatomy lab while studying for a test.  Ah, good times!

Happy weekend!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins

We are going camping tonight by the Kern River.
Near Bakersfield,
in the middle of nowhere,
so we can go river rafting on Sunday morning.
Woo hoo!

Since we have to check into the rafting place at 7:45am
I knew we'd need some quick and easy breakfast options
because there is no way I'm waking up any earlier than I have to on a weekend.

So I looked up a few blueberry muffin recipes
and settled on this one at Epicurious.
Mainly because it had the fewest number of steps
and I already had everything needed.
And it included cinnamon.  Yum.

They turned out soooo good, 
Bursting with blueberries.
And super easy.
You just need a spoon, a whisk, and two bowls.

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins - from Epicurious
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 400.
Put liners in muffin cups.
Whisk together butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg in bowl.
Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
Add milk mixture to flour and stir until just combined.
Fold in blueberries gently
Spoon into muffin cups.
Bake about 25-30 minutes.

And wish me luck that I don't fall out of the raft and get washed away!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - The First Look

The First Look.

It's getting to be pretty common nowadays to do the First Look, where the bride and groom set up a little photoshoot when they see each other for the first time before the ceremony.  At first we didn't think we wanted to do one.  We liked the idea of him seeing me for the first time as I walked down the aisle.  But then I started to get worried about the photography timeline, about getting all the pictures of the wedding party and family that we wanted, and still having time to enjoy cocktail hour.  I also started reading about how much brides and grooms enjoyed this time together, alone (mostly), before the craziness of the day started.  I knew that once the wedding started and guests and families were involved, we would be pulled in a million different directions.  I wanted to feel that there was a special chunk of the day that was just ours.  And so we decided to do the "First Look"

The photographer stationed my groom on the walkway outside our venue.  I was to come out the front door, walk up behind him, and tap him on the shoulder.  Here's how it went...

In the end we were both so happy that we chose to do the first look.  Tor commented that he was feeling nervous and anxious all morning, and that seeing me helped calm him down.  I loved having this time together, even if the whole thing lasted about 5 minutes.  I also loved that we had a TON of time for wedding party and family portraits!  For anyone leaning towards doing a First Look, I would say go for it!

Up party and family portraits!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Field Trip: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez

I could lie
and say that these photos are from this weekend.
But I'm not a liar (usually).
These pictures are really from Mother's Day
and they've been sitting on my computer for months
and I've just been too lazy to post them.

So here you go.
Our wine tasting trip to Santa Ynez,
just outside of Santa Barbara.

If you're ever in the area
I'd highly recommend taking a wine tasting trip
because the area is beautiful
and you get to drink wine!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baking with Mom - Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake

My mom made this beautiful cheesecake for a 4th of July party.  Doesn't it look so sinfully good??  When I saw the picture posted on her Facebook page I told her she had to post in on here.  I recommend you run out and make this cheesecake ASAP, and then send me a slice!

From my mom...

Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake
-from Taste of Home, June/July 2011 edition

The Crust
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
3/4 cup butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

The Filling
5 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup half and half
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk
1 cup crushed strawberries
1 cup crushed blueberries

1.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and lemon peel.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Whisk egg yolks and vanilla; add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.

2.  Press into the bottom and 3 inches up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan.  (Don't make the same mistake I did - I greased a coated pan and when the crust cooked it slid down the sides.  However, I baked it a little longer and it turned out good.  Nobody knew the difference!).  Place pan on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degress for 5-8 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

3.  For filling, in a large bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the half and half, flour, lemon peel, salt, and vanilla.  Add the eggs and yolk; beat on low speed just until combined.

4.  Divide batter in half.  Fold crushed strawberries and blueberries into half of the batter.  Pour into crust.  Top with the remaining batter.  Return pan to baking sheet.

5.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300 and bake for 60-70 minutes longer or until center is almost set.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer.  Refrigerate overnight.  Remove the side of the pan.

6.  Garnish with assorted berries.  (I had sliced some strawberries and added the raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries and mixed with a little sugar.  I spooned these into the center of the cake).

Makes 16 servings.

Warning- this is not an inexpensive cheesecake to make because I had to purchase all of the fresh berries.  BUT it was wonderful and only 2 pieces were left at the end of the party, and there were 3 other desserts there!

The only thing wrong with the picture is I forgot to put my little American Flag on top before I served it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Getting Ready With The Girls!

Since I know several of my readers are here from Wedding Bee, I figured I'd feed your wedding appetites by writing some posts about our recent nuptials in Santa Barbara, CA.  Though it wasn't exactly the sunny California weather we are used to here, I think the day turned out beautifully.  In my totally unbiased opinion, of course.  I'll try to narrow down the 1,000+ pictures we have to give you a taste of our day.

To kick off these wedding recaps, I'll start with a few pictures of my bridesmaids helping me get ready.

Here's my dress, shoes, and flowers waiting for me...

In my attempt at sparing everyone the sight of my bum, I thought I could step into my gown and pull off the dress I was wearing over my head.  I didn't factor in the cathedral length veil that was now attached to my head.  So my bridesmaid Sally had to reach up under my gown and pull the dress down.  All the while being careful not to yank my undies down too.  So much for modesty!

Finally in the dress and zipped up, the girls button me up.  My seamstress gave me the great tip of using crochet hooks to button the little buttons.

My shoes and jewelry...

My something blue, Mom's ring...

My bouquet that I LOVED...

Applying some final touches before heading downstairs for our First Look.

Next week...our First Look.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Adventures in Baking - Lemon Thyme Cookies

This is what happens when you forget to put the full amount of flour in cookie dough...

You get one big cookie blob!

As I was scooping out the dough onto the pan I thought to myself,
"Wow this dough is really wet and gooey!"
I'm pretty sure I put in 2 cups of flour
instead of the 2 1/2 it called for.

Guess I was tired from waking up at 6:00am this morning
to see an early screening of Harry Potter.
(It was awesome, by the way)

After that sad mess came out of the oven, 
I added some flour to the dough until it seemed right 
and was able to salvage some cookies.
And I have to say, they're pretty darn good!

Lemon Thyme Cookies
Inspired by the big batch of fresh thyme growing on our balcony
Adapted from this Land O'Lakes recipe

2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400.
Put all ingredients into a bowl.
Mix on low until mixed well, scraping the sides often.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a baking sheet a few inches apart.
Bake 6-8 minutes until golden around the edges.
Cool on sheet for a couple minutes, then move to cooling rack.

I was going to add the glaze that's on the Land O'Lakes recipe
but I didn't have powdered sugar on hand.
And I actually liked them better without the extra sweetness of frosting.
They're nice, light, with just enough lemon to be refreshing.
Perfect for a summer day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Field Trip: Malibu

A few weeks ago we drove up to Malibu for the afternoon 
so Tor could surf and I could lie on a blanket 
and hang out with seagulls.  
Here are a few photos from the day...

They don't look that big in the picture
but the waves were 6-10 feet that day.
Huge in my books.
Which is why I was lying on the beach
and not in the water!

This guy kept me company.

Afterwards, we stopped at Duke's for a happy hour drink

We were lucky enough to get a corner table with a view

...and look who came to join us!

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July Cakeballs!

It's 4th of July weekend
(in case you live under a rock)
and I wanted to make a festive treat
for our little get together with friends.
Originally, I wanted to make this flag cake.

But then I heard that the place that we're going for the 4th
does not allow outside food.

So I needed something much smaller
and more smuggle-able.
And what's more compact than a cake ball?

I took the idea of a red, white, and blue cake
and transformed it into a cake ball
by stuffing a blueberry in the middle!

Hopefully the 4th of July police
won't find the tupperware full of cake balls at the bottom of my bag.
Otherwise there's gonna be a group of people
stuffing cakeballs in their mouths at the front gate.
And that's not gonna be pretty!

In case you've never tried cake balls, here's the recipe
as adapted from Bakerella:

1 box of cake mix
1 can of cream cheese frosting
2 bags of candy melts or chocolate chips

Bake cake as directed on box.  Cool completely.
Crumble the cake up in a large bowl.
Mix in the frosting with the cake
(this is best done by smushing it with your hands).
Roll the mixture into quarter sized balls.
Put on a cookie sheet.

Note: my cake mixture was getting too warm and soft
and was making messy balls
so I had to put the whole thing in the fridge for a while
before rolling into balls.

Cool balls (hee hee) in the fridge for several hours
or freezer for several minutes.
(This is to help the balls stay together
when you dip them in the candy melts)

Melt the chocolate or candy melts
in the microwave or a double boiler.
Use a spoon to dip the cake balls 
in the melted chocolate/candy melts.
Make sure to get the whole thing coated.
Put on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Makes about 40-50 balls.


Have a happy and safe holiday!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fillin' In The Blanks

Woo Hoo!
It's Friday!
And it's a 3 day weekend!

It's supposed to be really sunny this weekend
so I'm hoping to do a lot of this...

Interspersed with some of this...

I'm also thinking about whipping up some treats 
like this,
or this.

In the meantime I'm filling out some of Lauren's blanks.
Go on over to her blog and link up if you want to play along!

1.   The best news I ever received was       Oh, I don't know....maybe getting into grad school.  I remember being super excited to get accepted to my program.

2.  Something I'm looking forward to is    the THREE DAY WEEKEND!  Though I have to admit I'm slightly bitter and jealous at my husbands five day weekend.  Seriously?  Five days?  He's so spoiled!

3.  Something I would never do is     get a tattoo, or a piercing.  I passed out in Claire's when I was 20 getting my ears pierced.  So let's just say that needles aren't really my thing!

4.  If I could choose someone to be my life coach (famous or not, living or dead), I'd choose   hmm, not sure I would ever hire a "life coach."  Maybe Oprah so I can learn to be as successful as her.

5.  If I had to put a label on my style it would be    physical therapist on weekdays.  Which is to say my wardrobe is very bland and unexciting - sensible shoes, pants, short sleeve shirts.  BORING.  Weekends are more easy comfort - jeans, cute tops, sundresses, flip flops.

6.  One should always       use their blinker when turning or changing lanes!

7.  I want to       get a pedicure today!

Happy Weekend!