Friday, October 14, 2016

candy corn bunting

Clean and Scentsible
recently posted this fun project
made with cupcake papers
I look forward to trying it.
{blog shout out #13}

{photo credit: Clean and Scentsible Blog}

It looks like a fun project to do with kids.
If you can't find cupcake papers
I bet paper plates would work.

Clean and Scentsible: How to make a Candy Corn Bunting

Friday, October 7, 2016

creamy cauliflower soup

My son Blaine is a fan of America's Test Kitchen
and asked for a Cook's Illustrated Cookbook for Christmas.

So . . . I have been looking at their recipes and they always 
have a bit of culinary science woven in.

For example, their recipe for Cauliflower Soup has an interesting twist:
To really let the cauliflower shine, we cooked it in seasoned water 
rather than broth. We also added it to the saucepan in
two stages to ensure that our soup had both 
the grassy flavor of just-cooked cauliflower and 
the nuttier notes that come with longer cooking times.

Here is their recipe adapted a bit by me . . .

Creamy Cauliflower Soup
{America’s Test Kitchen}
Serves 4-6

"For a creamy cauliflower soup without cream, we relied on cauliflower’s low insoluble fiber content to produce a velvety smooth puree. To ensure that cauliflower flavor remained at the forefront, we cooked the cauliflower in seasoned water (instead of broth), skipped the spice rack entirely, and bolstered the soup with sautéed onion and leek. We added the cauliflower to the simmering water in two stages so that we got the grassy flavor of just-cooked cauliflower and the sweeter, nuttier flavor of long-cooked cauliflower. Finally, we fried florets in butter until both browned and used each as a separate, richly flavored garnish."

1 head cauliflower, (2 pounds)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced, and washed thoroughly
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
5 cups water
½ teaspoon sherry or white wine vinegar

1. Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Cut heaping 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from head of cauliflower; set aside. 

2. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.

3. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until leek and onion are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.

4. Increase heat to medium-high; add 4 1/2 cups water and half of sliced cauliflower. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, 15  minutes longer.

5. While soup simmers, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and imparts nutty aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to transfer florets to small bowl. Toss florets with vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour browned butter in skillet into small bowl and reserve for garnishing.

5. Process soup with an immersion blender about 45 seconds. Adjust consistency with remaining water ½ cup water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred) and seasoning with 1/2 tsp pepper and salt to taste.

6.  Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, drizzle of browned butter and seasoning with pepper to taste.

I am not sure I could separate the grassy flavor from the sweeter nuttier flavor but it was delicious.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


On “free museum day” this year we visited the
Birthplace of Jell-0 in LeRoy, NY
{most images from}

A tour guide gave us a quick rundown on the history of Jell-O, and then we walked through the rest of the quaint museum displays on our own.

We loved looking at the old Jell-O memorabilia, everything from old boxes to recipes to advertisements.

It was really a trip down memory lane for us. I am not sure if a younger visitor would enjoy it as much as we did.

We are now inspired to recreate some of our old favorite recipes from our childhood.

Jell-o Trivia

In 1845, Peter Cooper dabbled with and patented a product which was "set" with gelatine but it never did "jell" with the American public.

In 1897, Pearle Wait was putting up a cough remedy and laxative tea in his home. He experimented with gelatine and came up with a fruit flavored dessert which his wife, May, named Jell-O.

In 1899 he sold his formula to a fellow townsman, Orator Frank Woodward, for the sum of $450.  Sales were slow and disheartening for the new product

An advertising campaign in 1902 proved so successful that in 1902 Jell-O sales mounted to $250,000.

They began the distribution of recipes and samples in 1904. The first of the Jell-O "best seller" recipes rolled off the presses. In some years as many as 15 million booklets were distributed.

 In 1904, Jell-O introduced the Jell-O Girl, four year old Elizabeth King whose father, Franklin King, was an artist connected with the Jell-O's advertising agency.

In 1909, the Genesee Pure Food Company posted sales earnings of over a million dollars. Four years later, that number doubled. January 6, 1925, Jell-O is issued a patent for a sugarless gelatin dessert known as D-Zerta.

The first four Jell-O flavors were orange, lemon, strawberry, and raspberry. Lime was introduced
in 1930.

There are currently 18 flavors.

The little Jell-O package which was born in LeRoy in 1897 left its hometown to make its way in the wide wide world in 1964. Today Jell-O is manufactured by Kraft/General Foods in Dover Delaware.

There is a small gift shop to purchase souvenirs.

Do you have a favorite jell-o memory?

Friday, September 16, 2016


these cute cousins who
are just 6 weeks apart in age
recently spent a weekend together
{one from Vancouver - one from Vermont}

Selah and Opal

Grandma Mary, Pa Jim, and Uncle Seth

one more cousin coming in 4 weeks

more cousin are waiting

Ezra, Cedar, Selah, Amanda and Daniel

Saturday, September 10, 2016

magic jigsaw puzzle

There are a few games I play on my ipad and this one is my favorite.

Magic Jigsaw Puzzles {by Zimad}

This daily updated collection of more than 20,000 HD pictures will help you relax after a long day, avoid stress and will surely become a favorite pastime for you and your family.

Plenty of puzzles are free which are the only ones I do. You can purchase sets of puzzles or upload your own photos to turn into puzzles. Every month there is a free set that sends you a puzzle a day. My go to size is 143 pieces.

I also play Words with Friends {by Zynga}

Words with Friends is a multi-player word game. Players take turns building words crossword puzzle style in a manner similar to the classic board game Scrabble. Maybe we could play each other :)

Do you have a favorite app you like to play?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

zucchini brownies

Zucchini Brownies
{Thanks Cousin Renee Hanley}

Mix together:
1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup almond milk (or half and half)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar

Stir in dry ingredients:
1 ½ cup flour
½ cup  cocoa or carob powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
½ cup nuts (optional)

Spread in 13 X 9 pan, Bake @ 350 for about 25 minutes.

Top with frosting, if desired
Eat & enjoy!

Ganache Frosting Glaze
8 ounces dark chocolate chips
8 ounces (1 cup) heavy cream

Place the chocolate chips into a medium bowl.
Heat the heavy cream in a sauce pan until it just begins to simmer
Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes.
Stir until chocolate mixture is smooth.
Allow the glaze to cool slightly and pour over brownies

Ganache Frosting Whipped 
8 ounces dark chocolate chips
8 ounces (1 cup) heavy cream

Place the chocolate into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Heat the heavy cream in a sauce pan until it just begins to simmer
Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes
Stir until chocolate mixture is smooth.
Allow it to come to room temperature {approximately 3 hours}
Once at room temperature whisk on high for 4 to 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

river walk

Enjoying a morning walk along the Allegheny River
with three handsome sons, three lovely ladies, 
and one adorable baby

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

shrimp salad with lime dressing

Shrimp Salad with Lime Dressing
Easy Summer Salad ~ Serves 4

1 lime
1/2  teaspoon kosher salt
1/8  teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound cooked medium/large shrimp
2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced
2  tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 cup celery leaves
2  scallions thinly sliced {optional}

For Lime Dressing:
Zest lime and then juice same lime {3-4 tablespoons juice}
In a small bowl combine zest, 3 tablespoons juice, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil until combined.

For Salad:
Rinse and thoroughly dry shrimp.
In a medium bowl toss shrimp with remaining lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

On four individual plates divide and arrange: shrimp, avocados, tomato, and onion {optional}.
Drizzle with dressing and top with celery leaves.

Monday, July 18, 2016

cord wrangling

With so many devices in our home
we needed a way to wrangle and label all their cords.

I bought some at RuMe but you can make your own


Picture Tutorial
{I couldn't find neoprene so I used vinyl}

These little cord wranglers would make great 
stocking stuffers or party favors
don't you think?