Sunday, October 21, 2012

PROJECT: Craft Room

This week I will be working on putting my office/craft room back together. So I thought I would share with you the before pictures, the really terrible, embarrasing before pictures.
The truth is,  I've been lacking in motivation lately which really blows as I have so many things that I want to do. So many half finished projects. So many Pinterest pins! 
Having Ulcerative Colitis really puts a damper on finishing projects around the house. Just when I finally get around to starting a project I'm sidelined by a flareup that puts me in bed for days at a time. Unfinished projects start to pile up and then I find that I am overwhlemed by the thought of cleaning up the mess.

So here they are,  I am happy to report that the photos are not current. I have gone through it all and have it divided into more manegable piles. I can even see the floor. It's pretty amazing.

It's terrible isn't it?

 Suitcases, an old printer & art supplies. There is even a small christmas tree, elliptical machine & three sewing machines. It's horrendous, I know.

 Well, there it is. My truth. No use in hiding it or pretending that it doesn't exist, no matter how much I wish that were true. I wish that every room in my house was as well organized, sparkling clean and meticulously decorated as my Pinterest Boards claim to be.
Someday. Someday it will all be sorta, kinda, perfect in a really imperfect kind of way.

Just the way I like it.
Next up, Inspiration!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ainsworth Hot Springs

 Hubbins and I just got back from here...
 The main pool is kept at 98.06 degrees. It's deliciously warm and I never wanted to leave.
 This is the view from the road above the resort.
That's the Purcel Mountain Range and Kootenay Lake in the background.

Inside the caves the temperature ranges from 103 to 109. It is hot and steamy and I love it. My max time in is about thirty minutes...Hubbins, being the stubborn Finn that he is likes to stay longer.
      This was our Super Swanky Designer Suite.
I love Ainsworth. The Springs Restaurant inside the hotel has super yummy food and Canadian Wine.
 With the hot water, cool air, copious amounts of good food and delicious wine, you can't help but be happy and relaxed.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apple Cake

I bought a huge bag of apples for the kids to take to school as snacks in the middle of September. It is no surprise that here we are, nearly the second week of October and I have way too many apples in the crisper.
Abandoned there, to wilt and rot. Gross. I try really hard to not let produce go to waste.
So with Fall in the air and the temperature outside falling, I turned on the oven and set about to using those apples. These babies only had a few days to live. It was time to do something with them. So here it is.

 Apple Cake

Preheat Oven to 350

First, you will need to melt one half stick of butter in a heavy pan set over medium heat.
I used my cast iron skillet.

Next, add 2 cups of  peeled & chopped apples. At this point you can grate about 1/2 tsp fresh  nutmeg over the apples.
Warning! This might make your mouth water.

After tossing the apples around a bit to soak up all the butter, add 1 cup of lightly packed, light brown sugar. Give it a stir and let it simmer. It will turn into a lovely sauce. About five minutes is all you need.

You will end up with about two cups of  chunky apple saucey goodness. Ladle it into a measuring cup like me...or into a bowl. Whatever. Just do your thing.
Either way, set it aside. Have a bite, or three...but that's it! You want those  babies in the cake!

Moving on, the next bits all get mixed together. That's a picture of them, getting to know each other in the mixer...

So into the mixer
*or big bowl if you are using a hand mixer or whisk, goes;

1 box yellow cake mix (any brand will do)
1 small box instant vanilla pudding

1/2 cup oats 
3 eggs &
2 cups apple saucey goodness (recipe above)

That's it. Mix it all up until it is all well incorporated
and no sneaky little dry pockets exist on the bottom.

I then poured the batter into my Teflon bundt pan. I had previously sprayed it with a little Pam to ensure a good release.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. To check for done ness you can use the toothpick method. Generally I find that if the sides have started to pull away from the pan then it's good to go.
Let it cool to room temperature in the pan before you invert it over a plate and flip it out.

Now, as for frosting. There are so many choices! Endless possibilites and flavor combinations...

 it went something like this in my head.

Butter cream? Should I go with Cream Cheese? Ooh, what about Caramel or SALTED Caramel.. with the apples...or...straight caramel? Ooh, whipped cream! Whipped Cream with Caramel? Honey?

onand so it went...on and on...I happen to love frosting so this was a big decision for me.

I ended up with some heavy cream, whipped up with honey for sweetness.
I used my kitchen aid.
p.s I love my Kitchen Aid.
I didn't measure or take pictures of it because I am lame.                                                        
Essentially I threw myself off track with the endless possibilities of frosting.

Please don't let the poor quality of the photos deter you from trying this recipe. :o) It's Tasty.

Let me know what you think, if you decide to give it a try!



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Burbank Pasta

This is my version of a dish I have when we visit Hubbins parents. Its called 3p at an Italian restaurant that we also order pizza from. It's delicious. The original has Peas, Parmesan and Prosciutto hence 3p. It's really, very tasty.

I was craving it just the other day and had similar but not quite the same ingredients on hand. So I improvised...with really tasty results. That's what I love about pasta. Just toss and eat.
Again, this is not a low fat dish. You could probably make it low fat. If you are so inclined. I'm usually not. But that's just me. Don't be like me.
This is for one serving. Because sometimes the kids are at school and Hubbins is at the office. And I really need some pasta and cheese and peas.
Its a really simple recipe though and can easily be doubled or tripled etc... to feed however many hungries you have in your house.
You will need (per person)
1.5 cups cooked spaghetti
1/2 cup diced ham
1/2 cup frozen but now thawed peas
1 tbs butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup shredded Dubliner cheese. (if you haven't yet had this delicious gift from the gods, now is a good time.)
red pepper flakes
For the Sauce
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, ideally the one you used to boil your pasta. Less dishes to do, ya know.
Once the butter is melted and sizzling in the bottom of your saucepan add in the diced ham. Let it cook for a few minutes and then add the cream. Next you stir in the cheese and let it get all melty and wonderful.
Then you just add the cooked spaghetti and the peas to the sauce. Toss it all together and add a healthy shake of some red pepper.
Doesn't get much easier than that.
Let me know what you think and if you try it, take pictures...I  can't seem to remember that part. :o)

Friday, October 5, 2012

White Chocolate Chip Coconut Brownies

These are super yummy, super easy and super fantastic.  

Preheat oven to 375°

Spray the bottom and sides of a 8x11 casserole dish and set aside
Into the stand mixer or big bowl if you are mixing by hand.

1 box German Chocolate cake mix
2 Eggs
5 tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Mix together until all the bits are well incorporated.


Then smash the gooey goodness into the bottom of your casserole dish like so...

  Once its all evenly smooshed, place it on the middle rack of your preheated oven and bake for
20 minutes.

It will puff up to the top of your dish when it comes out of the oven and then fall back to about half again as it cools. The result is chewey, chocolatey goodness.

I like them served up super cold with a glass of milk. Warm with ice cream on top. Cut into bite sized pieces and mixed into a frosty...use your imagination.

Anyway you serve it up, its tasty.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes

Hubbins is particularly fond of meat and potatoes...

Preheat oven to 375°

Serves 5

2lbs ground beef
1 pkg Onion soup mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup oats
1 tbs dried parsley
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
salt & pepper

1 large box beef broth
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour

8 cups Mashed Potatoes. 
Tonight I used Idahoan Instant Potatoes.  Usually I have potatoes on hand and Girl Child peels and slices 10-12 russets. Boils them for approximately 20 min. Until fork tender. A splash of cream, some butter, salt and white pepper all go into the stainless bowl of my kitchen aide where I set it on medium and let it whip those potatoes into fluffy perfection. 
Or if I'm pressed for time or simply out of potatoes...use instant. Its one of the items I try to always have on hand. Like Champane or Chocolate. see where I'm going.
Follow the directions on the box. Easy.

For the Meatballs
I used my Kitchen Aide to mix together; the ground beef, eggs, soup mix, parsley, cayenne pepper, oats and nutmeg. (p.s...ignore the onion in the photo. And apologies for the lame pictures. I'm currently using my phone to take pictures. Someday, I will have a camera!)

Form the meat mixture into 1 inch size balls and place them on a cookie sheet.
Set them in a preheated oven on the middle rack.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Then turn the oven up to 415° and bake another 8-10 minutes. Or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the meatballs reaches 160° This gives the ...balls.... :o) ...a nice color.

For the Gravy
Pour the drippings and crunchy bits from the cookie sheet into a heavy pan. Add the butter and melt. Whisk together the flour and about a 1/2 to 3/4 cup beef broth in a cup and set aside. Add the entire box of beef broth to the melted butter and meatball drippings. Bring to a boil and then slowly whisk in the flour/broth mixture. Let simmer until thickened.

salt and pepper all you please

Mine was not low sodium, but that is probably something you should think about. If you think about such things.

Add the meatballs to the gravy and heat through until bubbly...if the gravy is too thick just add a little water until you get the consistency you desire.

Serve over hot mashed potatoes.  With a side of buttered corn, if you please. 

Let me know what you think! :)

p.s.s it has occurred to me as I finish up this post, that pictures of the process would be nice... but it's a little too late for that now isn't it. shoot!



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

20 little bits that I LoVe about Fall

I Love....

Blankets on the Sofa
Orange and Cinnamon and Clove simmering on the stove top
Soft Striped Cardigans
Reading while the rain falls outside
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Spice Lattes
All The Pretty Colors

via design-seeds
Bon Fires in the Back Yard
Wind blowing the leaves all around
Fluffy Wool Socks
My UGG Boots
Flannel Sheets on the bed
Cool Crisp Air
Hot Bubble Baths
Our Yearly trip to Ainsworth, BC
Its Snuggling Weather

 What's your favorite little bit of fall ?