Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sweet Sixteen (part 2)

Or, how to celebrate a 16th birthday.

Start with: Cinnamon Sugar Baked Doughnuts

These doughnuts are perfect sweet and buttery on the outside and doughy inside.  Best start to any birthday.  And if your dough flops it makes delicious cinnamon rolls :)

Next...  what do you make for dessert that's sophisticated but still fun? 

Lady Fingers & Strawberry Ice Cream

I can't even remember now where I got the recipe.  I do remember a bit of a fiasco with measurements though :)  We had to double the recipe part way through and wound up with a lot of lady fingers in the freezer.

Piping consistently was our biggest challenge but they tasted good whether they were shaped right or not.

We made our strawberry ice cream of course!

Happy Birthday!

Pictures by the Resident Photographer

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sweet Sixteen (part 1)

Maddie turned 16 in June!

I gave her a sketch :)

Look familiar :)

She's darling and I can't believe she's so grown up!

Happy Late Birthday Post!

Of course pictures by The Resident Photographer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Finally summer... maybe

I know it's been some time.  Do I still have any readers out there?

While the weather hasn't been very cooperative as "summer" weather (more like playing hide-and-seek) last weekend ended my primary commitments for this year - very fun but very time consuming - & sprung me into feelings of summer whatever the forecast may be.

It feels like summer vacation for real.

Maddie has been saving recipes from pile of old Martha Stewart Magazines.  Lately we've been craving Frozen Mango-Cream Cakes. 

We've been hoarding our mangoes until we've had time to use them, I'm afraid to say they were a little wrinkly :)  
We peeled them nonetheless and whipped together this mango summer magic on Sunday.  
Uhm... yum.  

We've learned a neat trick: when using heavy whipping cream in recipes you can substitute some greek yogurt.  We decided to go this route with the mango cream and I couldn't tell a difference.  I'll post our adaptation here.

Frozen Mango-Cream Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart Magazine
serves 8

You can either make this in one large 8-inch spring form pan or shape 8 individual cakes in 2-inch round ring molds.

For the Crust:
Vegetable Cooking Spray
1 oz. salted dry-roasted  macadamia nuts (app. 1/4 c.)
3 T. granulated sugar
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. unsalted butter, melted

For the Mousse:
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
1 envelope (1 scant T.) gelatin
2 firm but ripe mangoes, peeled 
(ours definitely weren't firm!)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 T. lemon juice
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. honey Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat inside of ring molds or spring form pan with cooking spray. 

For crust: pulse macadamia nuts & granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground.  In a bowl, combine nuts, flour & butter with fork until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Press mixture in to the bottom of desired pan & bake until golden brown.  (The recipe says about 12 minutes but ours burned so just check it regularly!)

For the mousse: Pour orange juice into small saucepan & sprinkle with gelatin.  Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.  Heat over low heat, stirring, until dissolved.  Remove from heat.

Slice mango to puree, setting aside some slices for garnish.  In a blender, puree chopped mangoes, granulated sugar & lemon juice until smooth.  With machine running, add gelatin mixture in a slow, steady stream, and blend until combined.  Transfer to a bowl.

With a whisk or an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream until soft peaks form.  With spatula gently fold together whipped cream, greek yogurt & mango puree.

Divide mixture into molds or pour into prepared pan.  cover with plastic wrap & freeze until firm (at least 4 hours).

When ready to serve let cake stand at room temp to soften.  Serve garnished with mango slices.

Maddie said this tastes just like summer.  The 
Resident Photographer & Maddie drizzled chocolate sauce over their mango cake.  I tried it and was pleasantly surprised but preferred the fresh taste.

Now didn't we make that look effortless?  
Actually it's been a while since we cooked together.  We made a big mess, everyone was tired & I was rushing to finish so we could watch a family movie.

But the end result was just right for a Sunday evening.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Letter B

Today (err- Saturday was) is brought to you by the letter B.

Buttery Croissants


And Babies!

Happy Birthday to the Resident Photographer!

Saturday Bethany turned 19.  
We started the morning channeling our inner French, with warm buttery croissants and cafe au lait - might I add very sophisticated.
We decorated the dining room with our bunting and the cupcakes with pennants - which perhaps isn't so sophisticated, but definitely fun.
  We had a lazy day at home, just the way she likes it. To be honest we did a lot of decorating considering how small scale the party was - but I think that's part of what makes it special.

I get a lot of inspiration for things from blogs.  But lately, I've been trying to find simple fun ways to decorate.  The bunting was a good start but I know there are so many other ideas out there!

  If you're looking for some fun party inspiration you can check out Jordan Ferney's blog.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Saturday Mornings: Leftover Paper

That's right, paper.
This week was a tad hectic.  

I haven't calculated the hours I was at the restaurant (have I mentioned I work at a restaurant - well, I do) because of V-day, but it was a lot.  While being an incredibly lucrative holiday for the restaurant it was also incredibly tiring.
I somehow managed to throw together a brunch Saturday morning but alas, no pictures.  It wasn't for us anyway but it involved some killer quiche lorraine and our orange muffins, which may have been even better the second time around.  We went out for cinnamon rolls and bought wool for felting while breakfast was enjoyed.


But that's not what this is about.  
This is about what to do with leftover wrapping paper from Anthropologie and a few vintage Ladies Home Journals.

Make yourselves some bunting, of course.

I've been plotting some bunting for a while now but planned to make it out of fabric.  During Christmas I bought some beautiful hand made wrapping paper from Anthropologie. It's been lying around ever since and I didn't know exactly what to do with it until bunting came up again.

We just cut out triangles of both material, pasted them together and strung them on some yarn.


It has totally transformed our room into something festive and is going to be amazing for birthday parties. It is a slightly time consuming process but wound up being quite sturdy.  Try it out.

Oh, and if you're looking for something yummy to try for breakfast tomorrow we made these a couple of weeks ago.  We used our pizza dough recipe with some hard white wheat, well they were yummy.  

Tomorrow is the resident photographer's birthday - ack!  I am sadly unprepared - but there will be bunting!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday Breakfast: Orange Muffins

Maddie and I have been working on a tradition.  We are the "early risers" at home - not counting parents, I mean - so on Saturday mornings we've been doing some sort of breakfast baking.  
Now, you may remember this breakfast from last year.  We hope to be doing some extravagant breakfast but lately we've just pondered the kitchen until we find something that sounds yummy and quick.

Last Saturday Maddie was craving orange muffins.  She wasn't fully clear on what she wanted them to taste like, except for orange.  A few internet searches later I determined most orange muffin recipes contain cranberries and nuts, which she did not want.  

So, we thought - hey we cook, let's just make something up.
And we did.

Now... here's the problem with making up recipes and blogging about them a week later... you might forget exactly how you did it but I'll do my best.

It goes something like this:

Orange Muffins

2 c. Wheat Flour
2 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
2 Eggs
Zest of Two Oranges
1 c. Fresh Orange Juice
1/3 c. Sucanat
1/4 c. Honey
Coarse Sugar to sprinkle on top

Mix together dry ingredients with zest.  Blend butter, sucanat, honey and eggs.  Stir together flour mixture and orange juice.   Spoon into prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake @ 350 for 20 minutes.

I can't exactly remember how long we baked these for... But I believe it was about 20 minutes :)  We will probably make them again soon since we still have an abundance of oranges around and the muffins were pretty easy to eat.

The muffins wound up with a hearty orange flavor.  Sucanat isn't a refined sugar and has a different flavor.  If we had used white flour I wouldn't have risked it.  As it was the wheat and orange flavor were just nicely sweetened by the sucanat. They were especially delicious warm but still good later.  I think you could add some yogurt to the recipe or granola for crunch, maybe even make an oat topping.  Yum :)

So, it's Saturday - go make a mess.

P.S. All Photos by the Resident Photographer

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Oh, poor neglected little blog.  
I'm posting a few more Duluth pictures in celebration of finally (and I do mean finally) getting my computer fixed.  Unfortunately I'm still having a slight issue with my internet browser but iphoto is restored.

I went to Duluth back in October, I think.  I took somewhere around 60 photos but most of them are retakes as I found myself readjusting to my sad little camera - it's from 2004, which I think is "ancient" for digital technology and I didn't have the Resident Photographer.

And actually Amy may have taken this one...

...there, that's one thing I've been meaning to do for some time now!  Hah.  I wish I had taken more pictures but I found myself finding a hard time identifying as a "photographer."  I certainly didn't want to be a tourist and I felt awkward pulling out my little camera - it just doesn't look the same sitting around adjusting your settings when your camera looks a little outdated but isn't old enough to look cool vintage.  I must have succeeded somehow because I did get asked multiple times whilst near the lighthouse to take group photos :)

And one more...

Maybe I'm trying to much with the black and white setting (and I don't know the people in the picture) but I like the feel to be sure.  If you would like to see more pictures of Duluthishness and beyond you can look here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Goodbye Christmas, Hello 2011

How was your New Year's Eve?  I spent mine over a hot stove at work... but I think if you have  to work holidays then you might as well do it at a restaurant (in case you didn't catch it, I work at a restaurant) - at least everyone around you is celebrating and you can live vicariously :)  In my case it was twice vicariously since I only saw the servers, but whatever, I still like the idea.
In any case I did make it home in time to ring in the new year with my journal and my puppy sleeping on my toes.  There also may have been chocolate, but I'm not saying.

I didn't make a "list" this year.  I usually like to make some sort of goal list but this year I didn't feel the need.  However, if I had to say some goals for this year, they would be:

Knit More
Blog More
Be Creative More

There that's done.  As for the first I don't think it will be much of a problem.  At the moment I'm working on a marvelous surprise project.  I don't think she reads my blog but just in case we'll stay hush hush until after it's delivered.  I'm also totally inspired by Amanda Soule!  She knit 12...13... 14! Sweaters this year.  
Now for the second, this one I'm counting on my sisters to keep me in line for and as far as being more creative goes, I think this is a good first project.  January is cold and dry and depressing here - some patches of bright would be fun to pull out when we have company with children or for a birthday, don't you think.

Now, on to these babies...
These are French Macarons - Sort of like a sturdier meringue sandwich cookies.  And the chocolate ones are to die for.  

No, really, they are.
I should have had someone else hold this thing.  Look at my cuticles!  I was the one eating it I  suppose.

I found these macarons surfacing in the blog world last yearish?  Mostly from the Portland area I think.  I made them for our family Christmas this year. 
 And I'm not going to lie, they are a lot of work but as I said before the chocolate ones are to die for.

I found the recipe over at David Lebovitz site.  I followed his recipe and instructions and they worked fine when I didn't pipe the cookies out too big.  I think they're supposed to be pretty small but I've never seen one in real life!  The big one's just cracked.  I got very impatient waiting for the ganache to harden so I would recommend making that first and letting it chill until you're finished with the cookies.  The white one's are just vanilla with buttercream in the middle, they really aren't very impressive - I've a request for a different flavor and think i'd like to try raspberry or something else.

They (that is the chocolate ones) pair nicely with a cup of strong coffee.
Oh... and I read that these little guys are the new "cupcake" so watch out for them.

I also wanted to post a picture of the last Christmas Project.  
This is the one I was finishing on Christmas Day... 
This is a pretty traditional dress for me to
 make and it wasn't complex I just had sooo much going on.

Unfortunately the pictures of this dress aren't fantastic.  By the time I finished it I had lost the light.  This dress is for little Lilly, my 6 month old niece.  My mother was going to buy her a dress but I stopped her.  It seems so impractical to buy little girl's dresses when they're so simple to make.
I hunted all over the fabric store for something pink or purple (LIlly has three older brothers - she's always in a girl color) but I kept coming back to this sweet little print.

I went ahead and added a belt so I could make the dress bigger.  The shoulders are quite broad but the belt keeps everything together pretty well.  I wouldn't be surprised if she fit in it until she turns one.  

happy new year!