Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies


Sometimes it’s good to take a break from training, not that I didn’t ride last Saturday, but before riding my bike. . .  I made a few cookies . . . 


My good friend and co-worker is getting married and we had a bridal shower


Because I do food, and somehow people think that I like food. . .


. . . probably because it’s true

I like food, good food. . .


So I am frequently called upon to help in this area


So I made cookies. . . .

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On Saturday our LITTLE kitchen turned into a cookie factory as I made

dozens and dozens of cute little cookies!

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Gingersnap Cookies with Orange Cream Icing

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Pumpkin Marshmallow  cookies

And. . .

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Mint Chocolate Nut Brownie Cookies

It was a fun project. . .


. . . but as always the best reward is hearing people enjoying my little creations.


Today I will share the gingersnap cookies. . .


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First, cream together the sugars and butter. . .

you may recognize this photo from the smores post I did this summer. . .

but the process is the same.  to Cream is not merely mixing your sugar and butter, but MIXING, Beating, beating, and beating some more. . .  for like 5 minutes more.


you may notice that I NEVER use margarine, only butter!  Margarine tends to do funny things to food. . . and leaves a funny taste in my mouth. . .


. . . so only butter for our little kitchen

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Now stir in the dry ingredients, the vanilla and eggs.  

You may use a mixer for this part, just be sure to mix everything together super good

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Then, using a scraper or large spoon, stir in the flour.  Note that I didn’t say anything about using a mixer for this part. . . you will just use power from your arm, to GENTLY fold/incorporate the flour into what is called cookie dough.

This is great, because if you make LOTS of cookies you will get strong arms! 


BONUS!


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now, roll your cookies into little balls and then roll them in sugar. . . I am using Turbinado sugar here but you can easily use regular sugar it will work just fine

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place them on your baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat.  Some cookies do better on parchment, but these are fine on either liner.

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These cookies do flatten and spread a little, so leave enough room in-between each little ball or they will stick together.


bake for 10 minutes


. . . let the cookies cool before trying to move them.

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They come out of the oven kind of puffy like this, then as they cool

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they magically flatten and go crinkly like this

To make your cookies extra special, if you want, make an orange cream icing to go on top.  I normally don’t do this step if just making cookies for fun, but this was a special occasion so I added an extra touch of goodness. . .


I'm confident you will enjoy your cookies with or without orange icing.


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I used a zester to create long strips of orange for the garnish, that were then cut into little pieces.  After I had my garnish made, I then zested the remainder of the orange for the icing and used fresh squeezed orange juice as my liquid with a little cream and cream cheese. . .   mmmmmmm. . .

it sure is a yummy addition!  ~ ~ ~


~ ~ ~ a perfect blend of orange and ginger!


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Gingersnaps are one of the simplest cookies to make for sure, and super yummy! 



. . . These are always a favorite


If you want to make these for yourself 
click this little box
and like magic the recipe will appear.


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Sunday, January 15, 2012

pomegranate & rye salad


For a Christmas party this year I made this salad that I learned to make from a class at Kitchen Kneads, the chef is Joy and she is the master at using whole grains in a scrumptious delicious way!

This salad is no exception. . .


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It is so yummy AND healthy!

but before I talk about salad, allow me to ramble on about da blog for just a minute. . .
As I look back at the history of da blog I averaged one post per week for 2011, and have had over 5000 peeps take a peek, from all over the world, for lots of different reasons, with a grand total of 58 comments posted directly to da blog.

When I started the blog I wasn’t sure what I would do with it, but if nothing else its been a fun hobby and gives me a way to remember some of the stuff I’ve done throughout the year.  So now a new year has begun and it will be interesting to see what sorts of stuff makes it to narration via da blog.

Hands down my LOTOJA reports have been the most highly visited, my 2010 post has had over 228 peeps look at it and my 2011 has already had over 60.  These seem to get more traffic as LOTOJA approaches, but this has been super fun to watch the popularity of these.  For a while if you were to google search “LOTOJA 2010 report” my lil-ol post was in the top 3 to pull up and for a while it was even number 1!  Beyond that everything else gets visits at random times and quantities.  The funniest was after LOTOJA the post that I titled

“LOTOJA 2011 Lottery Results” had a whopping 506 visits. . . I am certain people thought it might be the final results of the race, not my account of waiting to hear whether I was one selected to ride the ride. . .

I’m fairly certain there were 500 or so disappointed viewers whom didn’t stay and visit for long. . . I did not count all those peeks in my total count, although it would be kind of cool to claim all of them!


ahh, thanks for letting me ramble. . . 


and now, back to the salad. . .


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Begin with toffee glazed almonds. . . if you can find the pre-slivered ones, it is best,

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. . . or you can “sliver” them yourself, even though it’s more time consuming and a little messier, and they aren’t as pretty as if they were done before toasting.

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cook up 3 slices crumbled bacon

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add 1 cup sunflower seeds

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combine baby spinach and spring mix in salad bowl

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you will need 2 cups cooked rye, the rye is tender, but nutty. . . I like it



. . . it doesn’t taste at all like rye bread, but is nuttier than wheat berries


if you have a pressure cooker, it is the easiest and best method to cook rye. . . 


. . . or lots of stuff for that matter!


I will talk about the pressure cooker on another day in the near future. . .


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dump all of this yummy goodness on top of your spinach and spring mix


now for the grapefruit. . .


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If you have never done this to a grapefruit before. . . you should try it


it’s like eating a little piece of heaven. . .


. . . grapefruit heaven


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begin by cutting off the end

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make sure you cut off all of the white part. . . it’s bitter and VERY Icky!

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now cut off the rind from the sides, following the round curve of the grapefruit. . .


. . . This works for oranges too, 


I’ve used this method for lemons and limes, but not to eat . . .

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again make sure you get ALL of the icky bitter white stuff off!

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. . . when you are finished your grapefruit should look like this. . . 


. . . yummmmmm


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for this project you need a SHARP knife with a thin blade

on each side of the membrane, slice down to the center. . .

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you will cut out each section of grapefruit

leaving all of the white icky, bitter membrane behind

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when you are finished you will have only icky grapefruit membrane left

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and yummyful wedges to enjoy


. . . go ahead and sneak a wedge. . .


. . .just enjoy the goodness. . .


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for this salad. . . cut them in half and place them on the bed of spinach and spring mix

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now get a medium size bowl and fill it with water you will want it for. . .


the next step. . .  the Pomegranate

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cut pomegranate in half

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place it in the water and peel away the membrane and outer skin.  The membrane and outer peel floats while the seeds sink to the bottom.

drain the water away and you have only the seeds/fruit remaining

no spraying pomegranate juice all over your tie, or white blouse, or apron. . . 


. . . pretty slick I say


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add the pomegranate seeds/fruit to your salad and gently toss

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add in 1/2 red onion sliced super thin. . . I did these slices at 1/8” thick

This salad is great with a poppy seed vinaigrette

. . . enjoy             





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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Holiday’s Have Come To An End. . .


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We almost decided to skip Christmas this year.

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because of the whole bug thing. . . 


if you are tired of hearing about our bug dilemma. . .



. . . try living here in the middle of it!


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Seriously, we didn’t get a tree until Friday, December 23rd.  

I’m not sure what happened, but on December 22nd, we finally got the house completely put together and all of a sudden I decided we should get a tree.  So before work on Friday afternoon off we went to  our favorite Christmas tree lot, the Merrill Family Christmas Tree peeps and found this perfect little flocked tree.  We were going to get a bigger tree but they wouldn’t have been able to flock it due to the lateness of the hour of the season. . . We have never had a flocked tree, but it looked so pretty. . . so we took the one that was there, ready and waiting just for us.  It’s only about 4 1/2 feet tall and absolutely PERFECT!  We placed it on our game table in front of the window and decorated our little tree. 

This is the new norm for our house. . .

. . . We loved it soooooo much.


Both the Genius and the Muscisian were not super excited about having to wait an additional whole week for Christmas. . .  but in the end they both survived.

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Our nativity nestled underneath our little tree, as a focal point

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 it was so peaceful, a perfect fit.


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our Christmas Table. . .

So much more elegant BEFORE it’s been covered with food!


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So Clean and shiny 
This is one of those things that you just want to admire and not mess it up
 
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Love it

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beautiful and impressive. . . I love Christmas, 


I love Christmas music, 


and. . . I love our Christmas dishes


We look forward to Christmas breakfast each year. . . 

                                                                                           . . . It’s tradition!


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This year we did something a little different.  I was actually was spawned onto the idea from
a co-worker.  The three wise men came instead of Santa. 

They came bearing three gifts: 

. . . Something you need

. . . Something you want

. . . Something for fun

It was a great success and helped us to stay focused on the purpose of Christmas and it helped the budget too . . . triple bonus. 

The gifts set up nicely around the table on the floor, not hiding the nativity at all. 

A perfect picture.


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This was my favorite “fun” gift. . . Angry Bird Beanie for the Genius


. . . do you see any resemblance of the two?   

. . . it was a perfect match, I love this photo!

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Before the daughter was married, her roommate used her apron as a hot-pad and caught it on fire.  Since that day she has complained that she needed a new one, so I put the creative skills to work and made this for her. 

It turned out so perfect!

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from last year you may recognize that we have begun the onsies tradition for Christmas.  Typically we wear these Christmas morning for breakfast, but we had breakfast on Monday, the day after Christmas so the Musician, who wasn’t here last year needed his monkey pj’s, so he opened them on Sunday for Breakfast on Monday.

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He wasn’t quite sure what to think

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They look rather large and long. . . but they are perfect!
Truth be known, we love our pj’s and wear them to stay snuggly warm even when it isn’t Christmas.  Turns out the musician was a good sport about it in the end, but still not convinced these types of pj’s are a good idea after Christmas breakfast is over.

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for our annual Christmas photo!

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We have determined that Oscar dog likes his pajamas!  If you know our dog he has pretty severe allergies, and itches and has muscle spasms constantly.  I’m not sure who is more bugged by his ailment, he or us.  It’s pathetically sad that a dog knows the meaning of “no itchies”  which he hears multiple times in a day.  He gets Clairton on a daily basis and when he's at his worst, he scratches himself till he bleeds.  He has struggled with this for so long that he has no fur on his sides. 

Poor sad miserable puppy.
While in his PJ’s we didn't notice one itchy all day long.  I have always sort of made light and joking jabs at peeps who dress their dogs, but we have decided our Oscar needs something on just so he doesn’t itch. If it works, who cares what people say. . . . right?

So while we were a week behind for Christmas it turned out absolutely perfectly wonderful

Until next year. . . .

I hope you had a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



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