Friday, March 27, 2015

Notes From A Blue Bike

Some people have seen and commented on our cleared kitchen counters and asked why? Then asked what prompted it. It started with Notes from a Blue Bike. I honestly cannot remember why I requested it at the library, I know that I saw a post by the author about something and then noticed that she had published a few books. I checked the library: Organized Simplicity and Notes from a Blue Bike so I requested them both. Notes from a Blue Bike came in first. The subtitle, The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, really peaked my interest prompted me to give it my attention before the other books that I signed out. It was mid-January and let's be honest, everyone wants to start the year out feeling like "this year I will accomplish more than last year" or something similar. Being pregnant, with the house in chaos most of the time, having more free time due to not working and wanting to make more time to spend with the kids doing things more intentionally this book was like a sign. I picked it up and didn't stop.

Friday, March 20, 2015

40 Minute Brioche Rolls (Hamburger Rolls)

I love hamburgers. Seriously, medium rare (yes I miss these when I am pregnant!) on a bun with tomato, cheese, maybe a little lettuce. I have been known to eat them with barbecue sauce when I am not nursing, or with pickles. I love a good, juicy burger. The key? Great meat. The second most important thing? A good bun. Before kids we would eat the store bought ones but they never measure up to the buns you get when you go to a good burger joint. Now I make buns. It took a while but I finally found the perfect hamburger bun recipe. The best part? These rolls are just as amazing the next day for chicken salad or just toasted with a little butter and jam for an afternoon snack.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chicken and Egg

Happy St. Patrick's Day to the many of you who celebrate. Unfortunately there will be no recipes for green eggs and ham today but there are a lot of egg recipes to be found in Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole.

For Christmas I got an amazing pasta book from my sister: Making Artisan Pasta. In fact, the book was so perfect for me that my in-laws got me the same book. Since I didn't need two copies, I returned one copy to Amazon and received a credit. Two of the books I ordered in exchange were Chicken and Egg and The Good Egg. I put off reading it for a while but once I decided to clean out my cookbooks, I decided that owning so many egg cookbooks was probably unnecessary. I already owned Eggs and The Fresh Egg Cookbook before the holidays and four books on cooking eggs seemed a bit much. Chicken and Egg is shorter than The Good Egg, I decided to start with Chicken and Egg.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sunshine and Coconut Muffins

Have I mentioned that I recently purchased a distressed bag of organic, unsweetened shredded coconut? Or how much I love coconut? I tend to add it to a lot of recipes such as bread or scones because I like it. I am though, quite a lazy coconut lover because I never think to toast it until midway through the recipe. Needless to say, the other morning when I really wanted some muffins I started looking for a quick coconut muffin recipe. I found a recipe at Teeny Cakes but modified it so much that it doesn't look anything like the original recipe.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Buttermilk Scones with Honey

Many of you asked for the recipe I used for my scones so last week I published the recipe for these same scones using maple syrup. I had been wanting to see if I could make it work with honey though since it seems that sap season is never coming this year and we are starting to run short on maple syrup. Plus maple syrup tends to add a specific flavor that while I love it, not all people do. Last week, after making butter, L1 and I gave the honey recipe a try. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I couldn't really taste the honey and that they were a little fluffier than with maple syrup. It makes sense since honey is twice as sweet and therefore doesn't require as much extra liquid as the maple syrup version. I made the first batch with chocolate chips because that was what L1 wanted but I think next time orange zest will be added perhaps with a some dried pineapple for a taste of sunshine.

Friday, March 6, 2015

What We Are Reading - Children's Books

We read a lot in our house. The boys love to read just about any time and are open to most genres. They love reading home improvement magazines with my husband, old travel magazines, fiction books, chapter books, you name it. Their appetite is endless. Whenever we are starting on a new project I spend a lot of time trying to find good books we can read with them to get them excited and involved. Since we are getting bees, here are top three bee children's books along with a few others we are loving.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Buttermilk Scones with Maple Syrup

Thank you for all the wonderful support while the kids and I have been terribly sick these past two weeks. Yesterday morning I got up and felt partially human. To celebrate my return to the living I decided to make some scones. It was an excellent decision because my get up and go, got up and went by 9 am when the sinus pressure in my ear reduced me to tears. Thankfully though as I coughed and dealt with the pain, I wasn't also hungry! Plus the kids were full and content. Some days, that is the best you can do.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Maple Nutty Nougat

I love cookbooks. I really love cookbooks with beautiful photos. I want to bake everything and have it look just like the delicious photos. As I have worked to clean out the kitchen, I have easily pulled cookbooks that I never use, have simple recipe or have very few photos. I have been having trouble letting go of a few of my other cookbooks, mainly ones with lovely photos that inspire me to be the kind of Suzy homemaker I wish I was.

Then there's another kind of cookbook: ones that were gifts. These are especially hard to part with. Why? Well, some one whom I love gave them to me and thought of me. So this week, as I perused my cookbooks trying to decide which one I would go through tonight, I found Mangiamo, the Sebastiani Family Cookbook. What is so special about this cookbook? It was given to me not by a special person but as a gift from a woman's conference back when I was working full-time in computers. So why the attachment? Really, it had more to do with what it represented that I no long am: a professional woman who travels for business. So I decided to bite the bullet and read it and see if it was really worth the space on the bookshelf as a cookbook or was it only a reminder of something I used to do.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

I hate to start the day or week complaining but is snowed. Again. We already had eighteen inches and the extra six we got yesterday are making the trip to the chicken coop more and more difficult.

When the snow gets deep and the winds blow this hard, I tend to hibernate. I would be happy just spending the day in a chair in the backroom, a stack of books/magazines piled next to me. Unfortunately the kids like to eat and be read to, do crafts and get out of the house a little. In order to try and fill both our needs, we have been spending quite a bit of time at our library. L1 even got his own library card this year! I was so proud of him because although he isn't quite writing his name yet and he seems to have a strong dislike of writing at this point, when the librarian told him he needed to sign his name to get a card, he asked me to write it and he copied it to the best of his abilities, no complaints.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Honey

As many of you probably noticed, I did not post anything on Friday. This past week has been a rather draining week. Not that anything crazy actually happened, I think that perhaps, being 24 weeks pregnant and all the snow and  cold finally caught up with me. This would be why, as those of you following my 100HappyDays project probably already noticed, I been spending a lot of time reading and hibernating and eating good food. Basically, I have been taking a little rest from the outside world. Not that the kids and I have not been stuck inside, we have found time to go to the library quite a bit, but overall we have been just recharging. The good news is that I have tons of great (and some not so great) book reviews for you. Unfortunately today is not one of those book review days.