July 30, 2014

Honey Almond Granola with Cranberries

It's raaaaining, it's pooouuuuring, and my kitchen is full of scrumptious smells! You've probably heard of Christmas in July, but today we're having October in July! It's been raining steadily since I woke up, I'm wearing comfy socks and the back door is slightly open so I can hear the rain. It's not even 60 degrees! I'm a happy girl!  I wonder what all this rain this year means for our winter... will it be milder, or will the precipitation continue and we'll get loads of snow?? I must admit, I'm hoping for the latter. The Geologist is actually reporting mixed snow flurries with the rain up in his skyscraper office. Craziness! Perfect day to be snuggled up at home, baking granola and watching waaaay too much TV. I'm thinking grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Mmmm... Happy October-In-July, everyone!

July 28, 2014

Weekly Menu July 28

Source: sutton 154445

This week we have:
Honey Almond Granola with Craisins
Braised Short Rib Tacos - Improved!!
Zucchini Cake Bars

For today, July 28 ...

July 20, 2014

Double Dark Chocolate Cake with Black Velvet Icing

You guys, I am flipping out just a little over here right now. You know I'm a little self-conscious of my photography skills, and layer cakes are the bane of my existence. No mater what I do, they look all skeewompus, and could not for the life of me figure out how people got those PERFECT cake shots! I'd set up the shot JUST like the pictures I admired, perfect slice, perfect angle, perfect plate, perfect light... and it just didn't work. It was like the fun house mirror version, every time. That's why the cake shots you get from me look like this:

Instead of this:


Turns out, I need one of these:
Look at that lens! What a beast! My Dad was nice enough to let me play with his completely awesome camera this week, and all I had to do was stand all the way across the room (so weird), point, and click... And it was PERFECT!!! I squealed. And danced. And cried, just a little. So. Apparently I need a giant beastly lens to get cake pictures that don't look like the leaning tower of Pisa, or force me to only photograph a corner of the darn thing. Or something. I shall be lens shopping for the foreseeable future... I love my camera, despite its non-DSLR-ness, so I need to discover the equivalent lens for my camera. Should be fun! And lots cheaper than buying a new camera! I'm soooo excited. This means I am not just food-photography challenged! There is hope after all!

July 18, 2014

Sour Cherry Almond Jam

I have for you today, a List of Things. Silly things, ridiculous things, things that entertain me and make life just that much more interesting.

First, we have a giant window air conditioner. It sits in our bedroom window, at the back of the house, and cools off the whole house from all the way back there. For it to work, you have to create a path for it by opening a window somewhere. You can imagine that this thing has to work pretty hard to cool the whole house on a 90+ degree day, and while not perfect, it has some serious power. So Thing Number 1: In the morning, when I turn on the cooler, I push the power button and sprint for my door, trying to make it through the doorway before it catches up to me, because when it does, it's like a wind tunnel. Or standing next to a jet turbine. Or something.

Thing Number 2: There are critters in our chimney. They like to comment on whatever we're watching on TV. Earlier this year, January or so, we had squirrels in our house three different times. The first time, we had no idea where it came from. The second time we discovered they were getting in through our fireplace, downstairs, and the third time, Bracken dispatched one. She was tremendously proud of herself. We discovered that the flue had been propped open, so we closed it and figured they'd learned their lesson from the fate of their fellow squirrel, and didn't think about it again. Until two weeks ago, when we started hearing the creepiest noises from the fireplace. I think it is squirrels again, Mom thinks it's birds. Whatever they are, there is a family of them, and they're creepy. Like, alien horror movie squeaky-chirpy-chattery creepy. We'll get someone out here eventually. The flue is still closed, so they can't get in...right?

The third thing comes with a video! Bracken takes bedtime very seriously. If I don't come upstairs when it is time for bed, she will come get me. And if I drag my feet, she gets very annoyed, and scolds me! We played this little game for weeks, until she got tired of my shenanigans, and now she just stands there and stares at me until I come to bed. (Pardon the dead spaces, she's not as good at performing on cue as I would like! And my crazy-person laughter. It was late.)

I hope you have enjoyed my List of Things. And now, JAM!!

July 17, 2014

Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar Potatoes with Goat Cheese

*singing* All byyyyy myyyyyyself... 

My parents and sister have whisked The Geologist off on a backpacking trip for the next three days. I love being outdoors, and I love being in the mountains, but backpacking has never really sounded like fun to me. I have the joint issues of someone twice my age, am just a teeny bit lazy, and like really yummy food too much to limit myself to tuna and oatmeal for a weekend! Just one of the reasons The Geologist is my parents' favorite child. :) There was a decent amount of rain in the forecast, so I hope they stay dry! I, on the other hand, will be enjoying these slightly cooler summer days as much as I can with those two boys of mine. Scootering at the skate park, backyard pool, neighborhood pool, movies in the oh-so-cool basement, perhaps a burger date! And some yummy hash for dinner with these leftover potatoes. Yum!

July 15, 2014

Weekly Menu July 15

This week we have:
Sour Cherry Almond Jam
Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar Potatoes with Goat Cheese
Double Dark Chocolate Cake with Black Velvet Icing

For today, July 15...

July 13, 2014

Chicken & Asparagus Stir Fry with Honey Ginger Sauce

It's raaaaaaaining!!!! I am a HAPPY girl!! Love love love my Colorado summer rainstorms. And my beautiful windows!
Speaking of rainstorms, we had a pretty crazy storm here a few days ago. 60 mph winds, golf-ball sized hail just north of us that luckily ran out right before the storm hit us, and the most insane, constant lightning I have ever seen! I got a video, but it's kinda long. My parents, on the other hand, captured this incredible picture of our storm from about 60 miles away...
Yup, that's us! Sixty miles away, under that giant, towering thunderhead. It was scary. But kind of cool and exciting too! 

I have an announcement. I am on a mission to discover the best classic chocolate layer cake recipe EVER. Rich, moist, fudgy cake topped with perfect chocolate frosting. Now accepting applicants, now testing recipes! I shall report my findings along the way. Up first next week: the most ridiculously DARK chocolate cake I've found. Not sure if it really qualifies, but it's so worth blogging on it's own merit. Until then, friends! 

July 12, 2014

Small & Wonderful Things 43

Stephen's love of pickles

Watching the boys have waterfights with Grandpa

July 10, 2014

Cherry Blackberrry Galette

If you've been reading for a while, you might be wondering why I went somewhere else to pick a gazillion pounds of cherries when I have two huge, gorgeous cherry trees in my front yard. Well, while we were visiting Washington DC in April, there was a pretty nasty freeze back here at home. Right when my poor cherry trees were putting out their very first buds. Most of the flowers froze. They squeezed out a few more blooms later that month, but most of our cherry crop was dead before it ever began! We watched the few developing cherries jealously, but our timing was off again, because we went camping right as the cherries ripened enough for the birds to go nuts on them. So. This was our total cherry crop for the year:

I couldn't just toss them, and they're pie cherries, so they're a little too tart to just eat plain, so I had to find something special to use them in. Something that would do them justice, but let me pair them with something else to make up the difference. Introducing, the galette! The perfect use for ANY random summer fruits and berries you have lying around that really need to get used up. You're gonna love it! :)

July 9, 2014

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Cherry picking was so FUN!! It was just starting to get hot when we arrived, so we were on a MISSION to get as many cherries as we could in an hour. Turns out my Mom is a cherry-picking machine. I underestimated her. Dad turned into a cherry-picking ladder, hoisting Joe (and for a much shorter time, Stephen) up to the top to find the best bunches of perfectly ripe cherries. Stephen and I stuck to the lower branches. Sometimes he'd get inside, under the branches, and we'd call ourselves the "Inside Out" team. It was a lovely hour, and Stephen said that cherry-picking was "kind of like meditating. So relaxing!"

 The Geologist was a little bit shocked when I told him how much we picked... (He's off visiting a rig in Utah somewhere) ...but I figure sixteen pounds of cherries should last me at least a year, right??

July 7, 2014

Weekly Menu July 7

Source: souljournals

This week we have...
Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
Chicken & Asparagus Stir Fry with Honey Ginger Sauce
Cherry Blackberry Galette

For today, July 7...