Friday, June 25, 2010

My new favorite thing!

Quite a lot has happened since my last post. I'm a mom now and keeping busy with my almost 8 week old baby girl! I haven't had much time to cook, bake or eat out so I don't have much to share but I'm getting back into the swing of things and plan on doing lots of baking in the near future!

Just a few pictures of my adorable little girl before I tell you about my new favorite thing...




Okay, so a few years ago I saw this wonderful reusable cup at Starbucks used for iced drinks. Complete with reusable straw and everything. I didn't get it and I should have. They sold out so fast and they don't offer them anymore in stores and the one's I found online were around $40...so sad. I've been making iced cafe mocha's at home and I thought about those cups all the time and how convenient they would be but couldn't find anything like it anywhere!

Cut to an outing today with my sister-in-law. We were eating breakfast on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore and decided to walk to Polly's Gourmet Coffee for a delicious beverage (fyi, they roast their coffee beans fresh so when you walk in the aroma is wonderful!). Can you guess what I found? That's right! A reusable cup, with lid and straw just for my iced mocha's and my water and whatever else I want to use it for.

Perfect for some iced tea or even white wine sangria (Sorry for the terrible picture!)

BPA free, insulated to keep drinks cold (or hot), made from acrylic, 16 ounces and just perfect. They have it in 4 colors: clear, purple, red (I think, don't exactly remember!) and blue. $10 for the cup and a free coffee with purchase. I absolutely love it and I highly recommend you buy one if you are in the area!

It took me 2 years to find this and I think I may need to go back and get a few more just in case something happens to the one I have!

Here are a few links to some recipes for iced coffee:

Vietnamese iced coffee from White on Rice Couple
Cold brewed coffee...Enough for 2 Cups from Smitten Kitchen
Large batch coffee concentrate from The Splendid Table
Cold brewed coffee and tea from Simple Bites

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Frozen Yogurt + Pizzelle Cones


I had a major craving for Pinkberry the other day and I decided to indulge and remembered how much I love tart, plain frozen yogurt. Making my own frozen yogurt is much more affordable than going to Pinkberry every other day! And this is such a delicious recipe and so easy to make that I definitely recommend trying it yourself. You won't regret it!

I also wanted to experiment with my pizzelle maker so I decided to make mini cones and although they don't hold a lot they are the perfect little spoon to scoop up this wonderful frozen yogurt.


Frozen yogurt + fresh fruit + pizzelle = A wonderful dessert.


Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

3 cups Greek-style yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes about 1 quart.



Cinnamon-Vanilla Pizzelle Cones
Adapted from Epicurious.com
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for buttering pizzelle maker
Special equipment: an electric pizzelle maker; a 5 1/2-inch cone-shaped pizzelle mold
Makes about 20.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Floral Embossed Plates

After meeting Rachel and Miss K at Noah's for some delicious bagels this morning, we met up with Melissa and Miss J and drove to some estate sales across Long Beach. I wasn't able to find anything at the first two sales but at the third sale I did stumble across these adorable plates. At only $4 for a set of 8 I just couldn't resist. My only problem...I'm not exactly sure how to use them! I do have a few idea's but I wanted to hear from you.

So tell me, how would you use these plates? They are white ceramic with petals and flowers, about 8.5" in diameter and they would look amazing on a table with my vintage milk glass vases.


Addendum---Thanks to Heidi for telling me that these are artichoke plates. Great to know their original use and can't wait to use them for artichokes and so much more!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baking with Buttermilk


For some reason I've ended up with a quart of buttermilk each week for about the past month. A recipe calls for just about 1/2 cup and then you are left with the rest and what do you do with it? Well normally I will make buttermilk pancakes (I have been craving those almost every day for breakfast!), buttermilk english muffins or buttermilk biscuits. Today I decided to try a few new recipes using this wonderful ingredient.

But what exactly is buttermilk? Well a long, long time ago buttermilk was the liquid that was left over after churning butter. Then the buttermilk ferments naturally to a thick, tangy cream. Today bacteria is added to low fat milk and then heated. A common misconception is that is is high in fat, but it is normally made with low fat/skim milk and does not contain any butter. One of these days I plan to make my own butter and then will have this natural buttermilk at my disposal and I wonder just how different it tastes from what I buy at the store.


Buttermilk-Blueberry Bran Muffins with Crumb Topping

This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz who adapted it from Pastries from La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton.

I used the basic recipe but substituted the whole raisins for blueberries, replaced the vegetable oil with almond oil and added a crumb topping. Because who doesn't love a little more delicious sugar on top of a muffin? I think next time I will use dried blueberries instead of the raisins and then a combination of fresh and dried blueberries. That sounds just about perfect!

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 T. light brown sugar
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 T. butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients in small bowl. Add melted butter and stir until combined. Sprinkle generously on top of batter just before placing in the oven.


For those of you who think that bran muffins are dry, tasteless and boring then you MUST try this recipe. These are the most moist muffins I have ever had and the addition of blueberries and crumb topping just makes them even more delicious!


The second recipe I tried is from the wonderful book Leslie Mackie's Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook: Favorite Breads, Pastries, Sweets and Savories. This cookbook was a gift from my sister-in-law a few years ago and each and every recipe from this book is incredible! And if you are ever in Seattle, you must make a trip to the Macrina Bakery and try all the delicious pastries and breads.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread

The rise on the bread is just beautiful, the texture is light and not heavy at all. The crust is perfect. I love this loaf of bread. It is great for toast with a cup of tea or a pb&j sandwich (yes, I still eat these ALL the time!).

Delicious baked goods made with buttermilk, what could be better?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Celebrating


Today I am celebrating because I passed my glucose test and I don't have gestational diabetes! Which is a very good thing because it would be so hard for me to give up the wonderful carbs, sweets, sugar, fruit and all the foods that are excluded from a diabetes diet. So I decided to celebrate by making some cinnamon-swirl cupcakes, which taste a bit like snickerdoodles. I love all forms of cinnamon and sugar...cinnamon rolls, cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, cinnamon toast, the list goes on and on.

Being thankful and celebrating this good news made me think of all the other things, large and small, that make me happy and that I am thankful for today.

* That I'm almost 7 months pregnant with our first child, a baby girl!

* My wonderful, handsome husband.

* Absolutely amazing family & friends.

* A freshly mowed lawn, thanks to our new gardener (after waiting 8 years to hire someone!)

* Getting to celebrate one of my best friend's baby at a shower this weekend.

* My awesome dad is building a crib for the baby! And we get to use the bassinet that my father-in-law made over 34 years ago for my husband!

There are so many more things that I am thankful for today but these are at the top of my mind this morning.

What are you celebrating today?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to Basics


I'm so happy to say that I have been back on the baking bandwagon for the past month or so and it makes me feel like my old self! Last week I had a craving for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and those were delicious (no pictures, too busy enjoying them). This week I went crazy with homemade bread. Amazing english muffins, whole wheat bread and ciabatta sandwich loaves. All the recipes are from The Bread Baker's Apprentice and the bread I have baked from this book are just wonderful. Now the hard part is deciding what type of bread I want to eat!

Today's lunch: turkey, bacon, avocado and mache lettuce on a homemade ciabatta loaf, AMAZING!

*****

On another note, I was doing some shopping at TJ Maxx and I found these cute note cards and adorable little shoes for $5 and I just can't wait for my little one to wear them!


Friday, January 22, 2010

A New Hobby and Some Exciting News!


Hello Everyone! I apologize for my disappearance these past few months but I do have good reason. I'm so happy to share that I am 5 months pregnant! And these past few months I just haven't been motivated to bake, cook or blog so I took a brief break but now I'm doing better and can't wait to get started again!

I just recently bought a new book Simple Sewing for Babies by Lotta Jansdotter and after a few weeks of perusing the pages I finally got up the courage to tackle a project. It has been about 3 or 4 years since I last sewed so this first project took me a little longer than I anticipated but I absolutely adore the finished pieces and can't wait for my little one to wear them!

There is a discount fabric store near my house called M&L Fabrics and my mom and I took a trip there and I was overwhelmed by all the fabric choices! They have a large offering of Amy Butler, Robert Kaufman, Alexander Henry and so many more. I limited myself to about 5 different fabrics and then came home to see what I wanted to make first.

I decided on the simple dress with matching bloomers and though mine does look a bit different from the pictures in the book, I am so happy with how it turned out! Now that I know how easily these can come together I plan to make quite a few of them. So my little girl will be running around in lots of adorable dresses!

Front of dress with pocket and button

Close-up of pocket with button to match the back

Detail of fabric and back opening with button

Adorable bloomers

Well, I have to go and sew a few more things on this beautiful, rainy day in Southern California! Hope you are enjoying your Friday!

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