December 29, 2013

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Our house has become a battlefield. The tides have turned, and we are winning! A week ago we discovered a squirrel in here, behind our computer! Well, technically Bracken discovered it, we just noticed how excited she was about the computer... We let her chase him out the back door. Another one appeared in our living room, downstairs, a few days ago, and we decided they must be getting in through the chimney, which is NOT covered! We chased him back out through the fireplace. Today, Bracken discovered a squirrel downstairs again!! Was it the same squirrel? I'm not sure, but the Geologist is convinced it was. We tried to chase it up the stairs and out this time, but after two unsuccessful encounters with her nemesis, Bracken was ready for it... and promptly dispatched the intruder. That was unexpected. She was very professional though, and is now very proud of herself. And I have fully closed the fireplace doors and sealed them, until we can get our chimney covered. I like squirrels in trees, not in my house or on my birdfeeders. But we apparently have a secret weapon: Bracken the Squirrel Terminator!

December 27, 2013

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Color schemes are so intimidating!!! I'm trying to plan out my sitting room, it's the trickiest. The couch pillows have green and blue in them, and I've decided on super pale blue for the walls. 
I don't want to go green, because the couch is a very in-between color (grey-green-light taupe) and I don't want to bring out more green in it, I'd rather bring out the grey-taupe. But then what do I do for the carpet/rug? More blue? Or is that too matchy-matchy? Grey? Brown, or is that too much brown?? I don't want it all one color, or even two, but I have no idea what colors work together! 

This, to me, is too matchy. Not what I'm going for.

I love this, but is there too much going on? It would let me add touches of red, which are my favorite... What do you think?? I'm starting from scratch here, any advice would be welcome!!
What do you think?? I'm starting from scratch here, any advice would be welcome!! Help me decorate my house! My next step is a rug, so I need to decide what colors are good options. Help!!

December 26, 2013

Rosemary Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

Sometimes the day after Christmas feels like a bit of a vacuum, especially if you've spent two months building up to the big day! If you have family in town, it's still quite a holiday atmosphere, and you can stretch the celebrations out a few more days. When your husband goes back to work and life resumes it's normal pattern (although with kids still home from school) it can feel like a bit of a let-down. Luckily, my boys were in sparkling adorable form this morning, AND they're spending the whole afternoon at a friend's house! I get a big long relaxing break, I'm going to make a batch of my favorite cookies and take a bubble bath. Somehow, still feels like a holiday! Besides, tonight I get to catch up on the Doctor Who Christmas special!! Eeek!! I hope you're still having fun, that most of you haven't had to rush back to work quite yet! If you're in need of a quicker, lighter meal after all the Christmas delicacies, try this one out!

December 25, 2013


Source: northwudzgirl

Merry Christmas!! I hope your Christmas has been marvelous! Mine sure has been. Possibly the best of my married life. Not that any of the others were bad, this is just the first one that I haven't been stressed, dirt-poor, sick, or pregnant. We didn't spend nearly as much as last year (got a little overexcited with that first real-paycheck-Christmas) but I was twice as excited about the presents I got the boys. It was the first time that the Christmas season steadily built up in excitement and anticipation, instead of sneaking up on me two weeks before. Yesterday may not have been snowy, but it was a gorgeous day and we spent over two hours at our favorite park, not to mention taking the boys to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Hilarious. I need a pet marshmallow.) and planning my parent's approaching move to Colorado!!! This morning I woke up at 5:30, before anyone else, too excited to go back to sleep! What am I, six?? When everyone else finally woke up we had the PERFECT Christmas morning. The first one with lots of thank-yous and no fights. We'll spend the rest of the day soaking up the rest of the Christmas spirit before getting back to real life tomorrow. (And I'll take a nap...)

I wish you Christmas Days full of joy and fun and love and relaxation, and a New Year full of hope, excitement, and blessings. Merry Christmas, friends!

December 23, 2013

Weekly Menu Dec 23 & House Pictures!

Source: sutton15445

This week we have:
Cranberry Orange Muffins
Rosemary Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

For today, Dec 2 ...

December 22, 2013

Easy 1-Hour Cinnamon Rolls

 Ah, cinnamon rolls. You are so delicious, so decadently sweet and fluffy and creamy and cinnamony... And you take so darn long to make! How many of you have never bothered to make cinnamon rolls, or only made them once and then given up because they just take forever?? Hands up! Yep, I'm with you. Who wants to start them the night before, or wake up hours before everyone else? Especially on a holiday?? Not me! When I first read this recipe, I was skeptical. Could they really be that good? What are we sacrificing to get them done so fast? But finally I tried it, and let me tell you:

I'm never going back. And neither will you. This is The One.

December 21, 2013

Small & Wonderful Things 38

Wall o' Egg Nog

Sunny winter days... Even though I wish there was snow, this sun is pretty glorious, I will admit!

December 20, 2013

Eggnog Pecan Cookies

I'm generally a pretty darn positive person. Sunny little optimist, that's me! But sometimes even I take a hit from the Doubt Monster. Especially when it comes to the things I love most: my life as wife and mother, and this blog! It may seem silly that my blog is that high on the list, but it really represents all the things that make me the happiest. Food, sharing food, and "the little things". The problem is, food blogs are a dime a dozen these days! Heck, they're a dime a hundred! They're all over the place! And crazily enough, people are getting famous off these things. Really, no kidding famous! So many of these fabulous food blogs are literally works of ART. And those bloggers work hard for those gorgeous pictures! But sometimes I can't help but feel a little discouraged when I look at them. Compared to their pictures and fancy ingredients, who would want to look at mine? Compared to their give-aways and networking, who is ever going to find my little blog fun and interesting?

I think most of us have had times when we felt "less-than". Whether we're comparing ourselves to others, to our as-yet-unachieved goals, or even to our own pasts, we feel like we just don't measure up. We're not as good as "that other". Who would care about us? Well guess what. SOMEONE cares, I guarantee it. Someone thinks you're completely awesome. Most likely quite a few someones! Friends, neighbors, children, spouses and significant others, cousins, grandparents, parents, co-workers... Heck, I think you're awesome! I'm not just saying that. If you like my blog enough to be reading it, then we've got to have something in common, and I bet we'd be great friends! Everyone has something to give, something special, something to contribute to life that no-one else can! My pictures may not be as gorgeous as I would like, but my food is yummy, and there is no one quite like ME out there. At least 200 of you think I'm spiffy. :) So rejoice in YOU, and go get a hug from whoever it is that thinks you're the greatest thing ever. And if you can't find them, drop me a line, and we'll be friends! Cuz I bet you're pretty spiffy too!

December 19, 2013

Gingerbread Muffins

"It's the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiiime of the year!"

I don't care what religion or non-religion or whatever you are, what holidays you celebrate or don't celebrate, this time of year feels special. Sure, there is a lot of commercialization, fixation on "stuff", and some people are still cranky and negative, but I would say in general there is a feeling toward the end of the year of excitement, love, and service. Wouldn't you? There are always plenty of negative things to find. I would rather dwell on the happy things. Like how much my boys enjoyed picking out toys for the toy drive, or how suddenly they're sharing SO much more. How I feel when I'm planning the gifts I'm giving, not getting. Especially gifts that involve yummy treats! I hope you're feeling all the joy of the holiday season, and finding lots of ways to share it, too! :)

December 18, 2013

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

This is it, my very first food photoshoot in my new kitchen!! The rest of it is a mess at the moment, I'm baking up everything I need for this week. I promise pictures soon. I might have to devote a whole post just to my kitchen... It is without a doubt my favorite part of my house!

December 17, 2013

Weekly Menu Dec 17

Source: alittlebitofsillinessreally

This week we have:
Christmas Treats!

Gingerbread Muffins
Eggnog Pecan Cookies
Christmas Chutney
1-Hour Cinnamon Rolls

For today, Dec 17 ...

December 9, 2013

Apple Cider Caramels

The old keys are turned in, the lease is paid out, the truck is returned and all the boxes are inside... WE'RE HOME!! Now it is time for the unpacking, organizing, rearranging and plan-making! Also a few squirrely internet issues to work out, so I'm going to take a week off to settle in. Sorry this post is a day late!! You'll love it anyway. I'll be back in a week with stories and pictures!

December 7, 2013

Small & Wonderful Things 37

Someone made this phone box a Doctor Who sweater (In Denver!)

December 5, 2013

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies & Black's Bakeware Review

Gah, so much going on today! I need to clean out the fridge and microwave, clean bathrooms, take the boys shopping for a donation present for the concert tonight, make dinner, GO SING!!! Then tomorrow we pack all day, go sing again, and Saturday we're out of here! We really couldn't have picked a much worse weekend to move. The highs are only in the teens. We're going to all get frostbite. Oh well, it's worth it!! Sorry I don't have much cleverness today, my brain is too full to be clever! BUT I updated our family blog with pictures from our trip to DC, camping trip, and our Fall/Halloween week, plus a last summer adventure (look right before the football game). So you can go look at pictures while I rush around like a crazy person!

December 4, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower with Lime & Spices

Jeez louise, it is COLD! It's been a long time since I've seen single digit temperatures! Feels fantastic. Winter should feel like winter, don't you think?? The snow is falling thick and soft, slowly building... Not sure if we'll get all the way up to 15 inches, but it's definitely a Winter Wonderland! I'll take pictures tomorrow. :)

December 3, 2013

BBQ Chicken

This is it, folks! My Colorado snowstorm! We've gone from a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning, the snowfall forecast has gone from 3 inches to 6-15, temperatures below zero. Batten down the hatches, it starts tonight! Of course, me and my craziness can't wait. I just hope we make it home from dress rehearsal! You'd never know this was coming looking outside. It's nearly 50 degrees out and sunny at the moment. But the clouds coming over the mountain give a hint of the weather that will be here by tonight!

I mentioned last week some of my failings as a "true gourmet", one being funky bits of meat. Sometimes this extends to chicken still on the bone- all those tendons and cartilage and things. I will admit I would much rather have a boneless, skinless chicken breast 8 times out of ten. The problem with those bit-less pieces of meat is that they are SO easy to ruin! Dry, tough, tasteless, in no time. I've been looking for a good BBQ chicken oven recipe for years, and friends, this is IT!

December 2, 2013

Weekly Menu Dec 2

This week we have:
Amazing Oven BBQ Chicken 
Roasted Cauliflower with Lime & Spices
Apple Cider Caramels
Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

For today, Dec 2 ...