Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Happy Birthday: Beer Tasting

I randomly started looking at this blog in between periods of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals (let's go Hawks!), and saw that I had this post that I never posted. It may be over two years old, but hey, better late than never, right? Okay, in this case, it probably doesn't matter. But I'm going to post it anyway. Happy Belated 30th, Tim!
1. We made a board for people to pin up the beer label they brought. The idea was that everyone could vote for their favorite. 2. Pretzels - I think the recipe came from a Sweet Paul Magazine but I can't remember what issue. 3. Chocolate cake! 4. Other small bites to go with the pretzels - cheese, vegetables, olives...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Raspberry Almond Scones

Ages ago, when I used to post on this blog, I'm pretty sure I shared with you my love of breakfast. So after a long "sleep," what better way to start blogging again than with a breakfast post!
Have you ever made scones? It's become the thing I make for family or when we have visitors or when I need help getting out of bed in the morning. Not only do they taste scrumptious, they don't need that much time in the oven, which means you can eat them that much sooner.

Raspberry Almond Scones
recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 egg and 1 Tbsp buttermilk (for brushing the tops)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the butter into small pieces and put in the freezer.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Take the butter out of the freezer and, with your hands or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture. You should end up with pieces of butter throughout the flour mixture, no bigger than a pea.
Pour the buttermilk and almond extract into the flour/butter mixture and stir lightly until the liquid is pretty much incorporated (you don't want to over stir - the small pieces of butter should still be visible and there will be some flour not yet 'wet').
Fold in the frozen raspberries.
Empty the dough onto a light floured surface and knead 6-8 times. Again, you don't want to over do this step. Fold one half of the dough onto itself and press down lightly. Rotate 90 degrees and repeat. This should help the flour to become completely incorporated.
Form a circle out of the dough and pat down lightly so the circle is 1 1/2 inches thick.
Cut the dough into 8 triangles.
Place scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Whisk the egg and extra buttermilk with a fork in a small bowl and spread on top of the scones using a pastry brush.
Bake the scones at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

If you happen to have leftovers, send them my way, or store them in a tupperware or ziploc bag and keep in the fridge. You can always warm them up in the oven again the next day. They also freeze well in a ziploc bag.

Part of the reason I love this scone recipe is because you can get creative with what you put in. I feel like I say this a lot, but choose what you like and experiment. If you want blueberries and orange zest in there, go for it! You're a chocolate fan? Do it! Chocolate raspberry, ooh, I might have to do that one sometime soon! Depending on what you decide, you may want to replace the almond extract with 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Winter Blues

Is anyone else ready to move on to the next season? If only it worked that way....

Well, while we are still stuck in winter, I propose making this Spinach Feta Avocado Blood Orange Salad by Joy the Baker. It cheered me up!

And, if you live close to Chicago, stop in the greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

Standing there, with my face toward the sun, I can almost trick myself into believing I'm in Florida. Almost.

Monday, January 14, 2013

DIY Humidifier

When my nose was really dried out, as it easily becomes in winter, my co-worker gave me this great idea to humidify our apartment using the stove top. Not only does it add moisture to the air, it creates a lovely aroma. I chose to use rosemary, lemon and vanilla, but there are really all sorts of options. Sometime I would love to try lavender.

Side note: my vanilla has little bits in it because I made it by soaking vanilla beans in vodka.

Stick everything in a pot with at least enough water to fill 1/4 of the pot - you don't want all of the water to evaporate and cause the rosemary and lemon to burn. Turn the stove on low and enjoy the moisture and aroma in the air!

This probably goes with out being said, but make sure you turn the stove off after a while.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kitchen Table

It's about time I showcased some of my husband's woodworking. The last few years, he's been turning another person's garbage into beautiful furniture for our home. Let's take our kitchen table for example. He found a white rectangular table on the side of the road one day, brought it into his woodshop in the basement, did some re-configuring (sanding, cutting, replacing the legs with sturdier 4x4's that he probably found on another nearby street) and, voilĂ !

But that's just the beginning. It needed some paint. 

After looking at the November issue of the Martha Stewart magazine that featured some "Bright Ideas," we were inspired to try out a bright blue.

photo from
I really liked how it turned out! But what do you think about doing something with the top of the table? At first, we were thinking about painting a tile pattern on top of the table, but now we are second guessing that. Or should we paint some sort of design on the tops of the stools? Which, by the way, are old stools from a school's woodshop that Tim cut to a shorter size to fit our table. Resourceful guy, don't you think? :)

What do you think? Do more? Or leave as is?

Monday, December 10, 2012


A few weeks back, we had the opportunity to host a wedding shower for some good friends of ours.  This couple have each spent time in a number of different countries, so we thought it would be fun to highlight that aspect of their relationship by incorporating maps and flags and foods from around the world into the night.

(1) We started the cultural theme with the invites. By using a circle and map paper in the background, I created an inverted globe of sorts. :)
(2) My friend Katie made this amazing cake for the event! She used map paper as the background for the cake topper and incorporated the 'g' and 'e' style from the invitations as well. Katie never ceases to impress me with her cakes! And they always taste as good as they look!
(3) We had people bring foods that represented other countries and made little flags to stand beside each dish. Side note: I'm bummed that the coloring of the photo is not that great - still working on how to get decent pictures in the evening. Suggestions welcome.
(4) We rented champagne flutes from a nearby rental company so that everyone would have a proper glass to toast the wonderful couple (for some reason I really get a kick out of drinking something from the proper glass). I made little glass markers so there would be no confusion about where guests set their flute. 

This cultural celebration was a group effort, and I think it turned out perfectly. Thanks to all who helped!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Can you believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday?! I'm really looking forward to all of the traditional Thanksgiving foods - mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole... I'm getting excited just thinking about it!

A few months ago, my sisters and I made dinner for some friends. I've been meaning to share the menu from that dinner, however, it kind of turned into a smorgus board - not exactly worthy of a blog post. So instead, I'm going to share with you all one of the dishes my sister Natalie made that night, Curried Sweet Potato Salad. This salad was beautiful and tasted fabulous! The sweetness from the potato and raisins, the spicy flavor from the curry, the crunch from the celery and cashews... yum! Not the best dish to eat with pasta, which is what we tried to do, but would be amazing with chicken and a green salad.

Maybe something different to add to your Thanksgiving table? I'm not usually a fan of deviating away from tradition, and I do love sweet potato casserole, but I thought I'd throw the idea out there. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!