Friday, February 24, 2012


Yesterday I celebrated my 28th birthday.  I slept in, received a package of burly spun yarn from my in laws, used the yarn to get started on my rug for the foyer,  ate my favorite dinner marinated lamb and red skin potatoes, drank a bottle of cab, and watched 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, and the Office.  Not my most eventful birthday but just as good as any other.
The pattern is a combination of 2 different  patterns.  I found one that I really liked and started it but couldn't figure out one part of the directions.  I really liked the center so I kept it and  just started doing a granny circle.   The round shape is perfect for in front of the spiral staircase in the foyer.  I will be posting pictures as soon as I finish!
100% wool....Love!
Card from my Mom.   Perfect for me,  I laughed so hard.  Although my husband kind of liked the idea.

Spinach salad with my homemade vinaigrette.

I made the marinade the day before.  Its ever so simple but oh so delicious.  I start by heating EVOO in a pan then add onions, once they are translucent I add garlic, rosemary, and pepper,  let it cool  then add balsamic vinegar. 
Peanut butter rice krispie treat with chocolate and butterscotch on top.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Making Progress

When I was home a couple of weeks ago my Mom taught me how to crochet a granny square. It was her second attempt at teaching me and I was determined to figure it out this time.  After a few successful granny squares  I started this blanket.  I was making it for the dogs, but my husband refused to let me give it to them and suggested I give it to him instead..  I decided to make a giant granny square instead of a bunch of little ones because I thought it might be a little easier and go faster considering this is my first blanket.  Its almost finished.

Over the Weekend

This weekend one of our very dear friends from State College came to visit.  Friday I made lasagna and we played scrabble and listened to music while we got to catch up.  Saturday we woke up early to fresh snow on the ground, ate a big breakfast, then headed to the forest for a hike.  We worked up a ravenous appetite on our 9 mile hike and when we got home we devoured the leftover lasagna.   That night we had been invited to a dinner party with an Indian theme and were to bring our favorite dish.  Our visitor made lamb sagg  and we made chicken makhani; extra spicy.  Each dish was so delicious! I tried everything, maybe a little too much of everything  and as a result my night ended in a food induced coma.  Sunday, feeling recovered we took our friend to our favorite breakfast spot John Williams European Pastry Shop.  I ate two breakfasts; my usual fromwhich, bacon egg and cheese on a croissant then for breakfast dessert I had a belgium waffle and a old fashioned donut.  We went back to the house and vegged on the couch and watched movies then said goodbye to our friend.  What a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Lineup

In 2006 my husband and I went to our very first Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee.  It was an amazing experience which resulted in an annual trip to the Roo in the following years.  This summer will be the 7th trip and our last....  at least for a while.  We have decided to start trying to have a baby after this years Bonnaroo.   Each year we try to out do the last; better campsite, better food, and try to see more bands.  In the weeks leading up to we practice setting up our elaborate campsite in our yard.  Since it is hot as hell in TN that time of year my husband gets out the compass and we position our tent according to the sun.  We also like to eat well when there, last year we dinned on swordfish tacos with my homemade salsa, marinated lamb kabobs, and goat cheese with some other goodness to picnic when in the venue.  Since the festival does not allow glass bottles we have searched high and low for every premium beer that comes in a can,  my favorite is Dales Pale Ale.  We have mastered the art of smuggling those premo beers into Centerroo. Yesterday the gods of Bonnaroo announced this years lineup and just like every year we huddled around the computer to see it.  This year was this first time that we bought our ticket in November before the lineup was announced.  I am so excited for Major Lazar, Skrillex, the Beach Boys, and so many others.  Only 4 more months!!!!




Sunday, February 12, 2012

Made With Love

Last May I made my husband a yellow cake with lemon curd filling, lemon frosting, pistachios, and candied lemons for his birthday (Recipe).  It probably was the best cake I have ever made.  Also that month Real Simple featured an article called the only cake story you'll ever need.  The article contained a yellow and chocolate cake recipe, six different frosting recipes, three special filling recipes, twelve different topping ideas, and tips for better baking.  With all the different variations the possibilities are endless.  For Valentines day I decided to try chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate ganache frosting .


Chocolate cake:

2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 t pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk

Heat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Reduce mixer speed to low.  Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix just until combined (do not overmix).

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes.  Let cool completely.

Chocolate ganache:

1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
pinch kosher salt

Place the chocolate in a large heat proof bowl.  In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a bare simmer.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, add the salt, let stand for 2 minutes.  Whisk until melted and smooth.  Let cool, stirring occasionally, until thick and spreadable, 4 to 5 hours.  (Note: Don't try to speed the cooling process by putting the frosting in the refrigerator; it will become lumpy.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Handmade Valentines

This Valentines Day I wanted to send my nieces something extra special.  Saying goodbye after spending a whole week together was very hard.  I want to remind them of the fun times we shared and that I am still thinking about them.  They are still pretty young so its hard for them to understand why I live so far away and why I don't get to visit that often.


After leaning how to crochet last week I have become a bit addicted.  I started a granny square blanket and made these cute heart hair pins for my nieces.  Found a great how to video at Little Birdie Secrets.
Valentine centerpiece ( similar to my Christmas centerpiece)