Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another semester down

Bobby just finished another semester on Friday...now we only have a year and a half to go. Woohoo! This past week was pretty rough with him studying, taking finals, getting Xax and Shannon moved to Utah (we'll miss you guys!), me working and pregnancy making me tired. But now we can just relax and enjoy each other for a few weeks.

We're heading to Utah on Monday to spend Christmas with Bobby's mom and to see my parents. It'll be nice to take a much needed break and see family.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Candy

I decided it would be nice to make some goodies for the rest of the bishopric for Christmas. Bobby thought that sounded like a good idea and also wanted to include one of his professors. So I decided on a fruit/nut bark, truffles and peanut brittle. Mmmmm...there is just something about candy during Christmas time that makes me feel perfectly fine eating as much of it as I want. And just in case that doesn't fly, I can always say I'm pregnant and I have to eat it. The baby wants candy...now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ruby Update

I had another appointment today and everything looks great. Ruby's a strong little girl...the midwife was trying to hear her heartbeat, and Ruby was kicking and bouncing around and the midwife had a hard time keeping tabs on her. We laughed as we watched my belly move. It's hard to imagine that there really is a little person in there wiggling around.

I switched over to the midwives at the practice I go to a couple months ago, since I want to have a natural birth with as few interventions as possible. It was a great decision. The women that I've met have been great (there's four midwives on staff and I've seen two so far) and very supportive and I've felt more comfortable with them than the doctors. It's also reassuring to know that when I'm in labor, the midwife will be able to be there the entire time, and not have to run in and out. I really like that I'll be able to have that support.

Bobby and I have also started working on his labor coaching and my relaxation. I bought a couple books and we've been practicing some of the techniques and it's been a lot of fun. We end up laughing at each other a lot but I love that he's so supportive and I know he'll do great when our little girl finally decides to make her entrance.

And, of course, another belly shot...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mmm...Cupcakes! aka Hi-Hats

I've had several requests for the cupcakes I made for Bobby's birthday, so without further ado...here they are!


Chocolate-covered Hi-hats
(from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans)

Cupcakes:
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped then melted and cooled
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the melted chocolate and then the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture looks creamy the has the color has lightened. Mix in the sour cream. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and water and mix until smooth.

Spray 12 muffin tin cups with nonstick spray (these are going to get big and spread over the top of the tin, so make sure you're prepared!) and then place liners in the tin. Fill each liner until the batter reaches almost to the top (you'll use about 1/3 cup of batter for each cupcake). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. When done baking, remove from the oven, carefully loosen any tops that are stuck to the pan. Carefully place a wire rack on top of the cupcakes and then invert them onto the wire rack. Turn the cupcakes right side up and let them cool completely.

Filling:
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine the sugar, water, egg whites and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl or in the top of a double boiler (make sure the bowl is at least a 2 quart capacity). Beat with a handheld electric mixer until opaque, white and foamy. Put the bowl over, but not touching, a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of a double boiler, if that's what you're using).

Beat on high speed for about 12 minutes until the frosting forms stiff peaks. Remove the bowl from the water and add the extracts and continue beating for another 2 minutes. Spoon the filling into a large pastry bag with a plain pastry tip or into a large gallon zip lock with 1/2 inch of a corner cut out(this is what I did, less mess and you can just throw the whole thing away when you're done without having to clean anything). Leaving about 1/8 inch around the edge of the cupcakes, pipe a spiral of frosting on each one, using about a half cup of frosting for each.

Place the frosted cupcakes onto a platter and put into the refrigerator while you make the chocolate coating.

Chocolate Coating:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons veggie oil

Melt the chocolate and oil until smooth. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Make sure the chocolate is in a bowl that's small and deep enough so that you can dunk the cupcake tops into it.

Holding each cupcake by it's bottom, dip the mound of filling into the chocolate, let the excess drip off and then spoon more chocolate on if needed to cover the edge of the cupcake and any exposed frosting. Refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least two hours. Serve cold.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Birthday Treats

For his birthday dinner Bobby requested Chile Rellenos. I've never made them before, but took on the challenge quite willingly. They weren't too hard to make and turned out pretty tasty. I just made basic ones with cheese, but perhaps next time will work on a different version with meat and other goodies. And Bobby's eating on the Red Plate we got for our wedding. One of the office couples when my dad and mom were on their mission got it for us. It's used by whoever did something special or is the had something great happen to them that day. So, Bobby being the birthday boy got to eat off the red plate.


I had been bugging Bobby for a couple weeks about what kind of cake he wanted. Finally he told me he wanted me to surprise him with some cupcakes from my cupcake cookbook. This coming from the man who, a very long time ago, told me that cupcakes did not have a place in his world. Then I made some for a ward picnic and he decided cupcakes might not be so bad.

So the ones I made were High-Hats. They were scrumptious! They're a chocolate cupcake with a marshmallowy topping dipped in chocolate. They were actually easy to make but a little time consuming and totally worth it when Bobby bit into it and groaned with yumminess.



And for a present, he got a video game. We've had a lot of fun playing video games together since we've been married. Many times he's told me how fun it is that I enjoy video games, especially since some of his married friends' wives don't exactly approve of said activity. We had a great time spending time together that night and celebrating his special day.

Happy birthday, Bobby! I love you with all my heart!

Bobby's Birthday

Today my most favorite man in the world turns 35. Yikes....35?! The last month or so I've several times referred to him as 35 and he would very clearly state to me that he was not 35 he was indeed 34 and he would not be 35 for several weeks.

So I've cooked and baked and wrapped a present and can't wait for him to get home from drill so that we can celebrate together.

First Snowfall

This weekend we had our first official snowfall of the year...now, I say official, because in my book it doesn't count as snow unless it sticks. There's been some measley attempts by winter to start some snow, but it's vanished before it's even hit the ground. But this weekend, I woke up to find branches covered, grass covered and my car covered (groan, why does Bobby have to be at military this weekend when he should be here scraping my car?).

All I want to to do is curl up with some hot cocoa, turn carols on and gaze out the window.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is going to be just a quiet day for us, just spending time with each other, which I am extremely grateful for and then a dinner with a few lovely people from our ward who couldn't make it home to family. It'll be a great day! There is so much that I'm thankful for....

My family. Mom, Dad, Annie, Jonathan, Lilly, Rob, Becca, Maren, Dave...I love them so much! The laughter, love and support they show are strengthening and I can't imagine not having them with me.

My new family. Having Bobby in my life is wonderful. The love and joy and kindness that he shows everday is so precious to me. And especially now that we have little Ruby. When we first found out we were pregnant we felt more than a little shock and awe. But now we can hardly imagine her not being part of our little growing family. Everyday we talk to her and feel her move and wonder what she will look like. We can hardly wait until we finally get to see her and meet her in March.

And this whole experience makes me feel very lucky to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. To have the knowledge that our little family will be together forever. That we have a loving Heavenly Father who knows us and knows our every need. That we have our Savior Jesus Christ, who has done everything He can so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father one day.

There is so much that I'm thankful for and I'm so grateful for my life, friends and family. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

My beautiful mother's birthday is today, and Bobby and I just wanted to wish her the most wonderful birthday ever! Mom, we're really excited to see you in a month, and Ruby's excited to see you in just a few months more. We love you so much and wish you the best!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Baby Update

All is going well with our little Ruby. But the newest thing is that Bobby is finally able to feel her move! She likes to do gymnastics when we're lying in bed getting ready to sleep, and I would say, "Oh, she's moving now!" But she was ever elusive and Bobby would miss it. Until this week. It was sweet to watch Bobby's face as he felt his little girl wiggle around.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Spooky pumpkins

Bobby and I carved pumpkins for halloween and we both decided we wanted them to be non-traditional. So of course, Bobby went with the dental theme and I did one with polka dots. Cute, no?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bridal Shower

I had a bridal shower for my friend Natelle last weekend. She's getting married in November and then moving away to Delaware in December, so it was nice spending some time with her and seeing how happy she's going to be with her hubby.

But, the big thing about the bridal shower was that I made the cake...for fifty people. I love to bake and totally was willing but I have to say I was slightly intimidated by the logistics of such a feat. I had to buy pans, something to serve it on, etc, etc. So I did and I baked the cake layers earlier in the week and decorated the cake the morning of the shower. It didn't turn out quite as cute as I would have liked--I think the flowers on top turned out kind of lame, but I guess that just means I need to practice!


The shower was fun, though. We played ridiculous shower games and ate food and had a great time laughing and catching up and celebrating Natelle and her wonderfulness.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Getting ready for our Ruby

Both Bobby and I are really excited that we're having a girl. Bobby's been especially cute since we've found out what we're having. He texts and calls throughout the day to ask how his girls are, and he kisses my belly and talks to Ruby when I come home from work in the evening.

We went last weekend to look for some baby clothes and Bobby had a great time finding some cute outfits for her. Granted, he only lasted about ten minutes, but it was fun seeing him so excited about our little girl.

The next big project is the nursery, which will be in the piano room. We're going to paint and rearrange some things and it's going to be quite a bit of work, but I'll be sure to do a before and after so everyone can see what we've done.

We can't wait until March when our Ruby arrives!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's a girl!

We had our latest prenatal appointment today, which included "the" ultrasound. It was incredible being able to actually see a little beating heart, hands and feet that included fingers and toes, and bones and everything else our little baby is growing. We were also able to see that our little baby is a she! Little baby Berry is now officially Ruby Grace and we can't tell you how much we love her! The ultrasound tech was trying to see her face, to make sure everything was normal and little Ruby kept covering her face with her hands or turning her head. I think she'll be stubborn just like her dad (though Bobby would tell you she'll be stubborn just like her mom).

And for Maren, and all those who want to see a belly shot, here it is! And we'll keep you updated as it keeps getting bigger.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn

We've had cooler temperatures this week, cloudy skies, drizzly days and it's been downright cold at night. The leaves are beginning to turn, and there are already a few scattered on the ground. But what really tipped me off to fall being here? I was itching to have some hot chocolate. And I've been wanting soups and other yummy comfort foods. Yup, fall is here and I'm so excited.

We had a glorious summer...beautiful, not too hot. But when the weather starts cooling and I can start opening the windows, I love that time of year! And I'm especially grateful that I'm going to be pregnant during the fall and winter, so I don't have to deal with sweltering temperatures and being as big as a house!

So I've pulled up all our straggly flowers that have gone the way of all the earth and I'm going to run to Walmart and pick up some mums and pumpkins and fall-ify our place. I love it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bathroom Makeover

For months now I've been griping about how much I loathe the wallpaper in our bathroom. It's not that it's hideous, it's just that it's not us and besides, who puts wallpaper in a bathroom? It peels!

So a while ago, I went to the store, bought wallpaper stripping stuff with every intention of starting. Then we found out I was pregnant and the wallpaper got put on the backburner and was forgotten. Last weekend Bobby was in the bathroom for awhile and low and behold, he was stripping wall paper! He surprised me big time and I was so excited that he had started this project, because I was beginning to think it wasn't going to ever happen.



So he stripped wallpaper and I came back through and cleaned up the walls and taped every thing off and bought some paint. He painted for a couple days and now we have a beautiful new bathroom!



And yes, Bobby is the greatest husband ever! He's been willing to do so much since I've been pregnant and has stepped in and has helped so much.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Latest

I had another prenatal exam yesterday (Bobby wasn't able to be there because of school, alas!) and it went just fine. I'm doing great and the baby is doing great and that's all there is to report. I heard the baby's heart and was able to hear the baby moving around but I still can't feel it yet.

Our next appointment will include an ultrasound and we'll find out if this little lemon is really a little boy or a little girl.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lemon of my eye


I have to admit that it has been a while since my last post. You can ask Maggie about how I get a little harumph when I don't get any messages on my blog entries, so I just kind of stopped. Well, being an almost father makes me want to step up a little bit and brag about my amazing wife and my little lemon. Lemon you say?? Yes Lemon. Every Monday, we check on this website to see all about what the baby has developed, how big HE is and all sorts of little tidbits. Well, since Maggie still isn't sure what sex the baby is (I know its a boy), we call the baby whatever size it is....so this week the little angel's name is lemon. Ode to a lemon....I love lemon....lemon is so sweet...lemon is my little baby. Okay, if that was a poem it was awful. Maybe it was a haiku. I happen to be related to some literati out there in the blogosphere who will probably correct me on my use of haiku (sorry). Anyway, blah blah blah, Maggie is amazing, I love her with all of my heart, and I also love my little lemon.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

New Year Picnic

Our ward had a picnic to celebrate the new school year and welcome the new students. We had tons of food and Xax was the grill master for the evening.



We sat around eating, chatting, playing games and it was a really great time. Both Bobby and I have loved our ward, we've made some great friends here, the Bishop Chapman and his wife are wonderful, and there's always something new to learn or do and lots of fun to be had.

Friday, September 4, 2009

White Coat Ceremony

Bobby's class at school had their White Coat Ceremony this past weekend. It marks the transition into their third year when they'll be spending the majority of their time in the clinic. The ceremony is a pretty big deal and involves a lot of pomp and circumstance. There was music, speakers, all the professors there to show their support, and of course, the class received their white coats. I thought it was going to be pretty cheesy, and it was, but it was also exciting to see Bobby moving forward with school, and coming nearer to accomplishing his dream to be a dentist.


Afterwards, there was a lovely reception and the class and their friends and family were able to congratulate each other on the accomplishment. Two years down, two to go!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We're Having a Baby!

Bobby and I are going to have a new little addition to the family sometime around March 15. We learned we were pregnant in July but waited to make the announcement until we had our first prenatal exam, which was last week. We didn't want to wait quite that long, but with being on vacation and everything it was the earliest we could manage.

We had an ultrasound and heard little Baby Berry's heart and saw little hands waving and it was such an amazing moment...we can't wait for this little one to come into our home in the spring.

So now life goes on much as usual except I'm looking for maternity clothes, planning the nursery, rebudgeting, starting to buy diapers, figuring out where all the stuff that is already in the nursery needs to move to, etc. Luckily I haven't had to deal with any morning sickness and I've felt pretty good except for being tired and hungry all the time.

We'll keep everyone updated as we learn more!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vacation! Part 4: Other stuff

Bobby and I spent some time visiting our friends while we were in town. Our great friend Chad moved to Spanish Fork a couple months ago and we miss him alot. But, luckily we got the chance to see him while we were on vacation. We met up with him and Bobby's friend Nate to eat some good BBQ in Provo. So, if you're in town and want some good eats, Lon's Cookin' Shack is pretty tasty.


Bobby, Mutti and I also were able to go up to my Grandma's cabin while we were in Logan. My grandma and grandpa built the cabin several years before my grandpa passed away and there are a lot of great memories there. We spent summers going fishing and hiking and fourwheeling up in the mountains in Idaho, and that's how I remember my grandpa the best: taking us fishing at five in the morning.


We had a cookout and made smores and I took Bobby out on the fourwheeler to look at the view. It was so much fun and made me remember the wonderful time I used to have there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vacation! Part 4: Temple Square


We had so much fun in Draper with my family! We went to the park, the pool, went on hikes, played games and just had fun together. Of course, I adore Lilly. She's so cute, and I feel like one lucky aunt to be able to spend so much time with her.

We decided we'd go to Temple Square one morning so that she could see the flowers...she loves flowers and spent most of the vacation wanting grandpa or her dad to go with her into the yard to pick some.


She loved Temple Square, but what really enthralled her was the organ recital we went to in the Tabernacle. It lasted for about a half hour, and she sat still the whole time watching the organist with her little hands clasped in front of her. Of course, what she really loved was the light changes behind the organ pipes. First the light was blue, and she kept pointing and saying, "Boo one, boo one" then it changed to green and she said, "Een, Een". And eventually red, purple and orange. But she liked blue the best and by the time it was over and blue hadn't come back she kept asking for the "boo one."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vacation! Part 3: Dad's Birthday


We celebrated my dad's birthday by having a cookout with all the kids there and eating lots of food and having lots of laughs. Lilly loved her Grandpa's hat and Grandpa loved seeing her in it (he preferred that she wear it rather than him...he doesn't like to have the spotlight on him at all).


For dessert we had a yummy chocolate mousse raspberry cake courtesy of my mom and I made some rhubarb ice cream and my sweet corn ice cream. Big hit! Dave's brother and sister were in town and Joe found that sweet corn ice cream is to die for.

We had fun playing games, roasting marshmallows and gorging ourselves until we felt sick. We love you, Dad!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vacation! Part 2: Lady



Get ready for the cuteness! Bobby's mom (we'll call her Mutti because I'm tired of writing "Bobby's mom") recently bought an absolutely adorable little dachshund puppy and named her Lady. She is so cute I can hardly stand it! Mutti already has a cat, which unfortunately, I'm very allergic to, so now it's nice to have an animal in the house I can actually interact with. And lady loves to interact! As soon as we walked in the door, she ran to us, eager to play.


And does she love the cat! As soon as Lady sees him, she runs and starts gnawing on him, and the cat is so patient and gentle, but eventually, enough is enough.
video

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vacation! Part 1


So, if you're wondering where we've been for the last three weeks or so, the answer is: Utah! We took some much needed time off to go visit family and friends and get some R&R. We did a little jumping back and forth between Bobby's mom and my parents and we found three weeks wasn't nearly enough time to enjoy with family we love.

Bobby's mom lives in Logan and we went and stayed with her first. She's a busy busy bee and does a summer market where she lives but decided she was going to branch out and do Raspberry Days at Bear Lake this summer. It's a local fair/market at a lake about an hour from Logan. And we thought we'd be good kids and help out.


It was a lot of work but a lot of fun. Good food, people watching, and some good trading at the end. Bobby's mom ended up getting us a lot of goodies from the other vendors by trading her leftover baked goods.

We had a great time but by Saturday night we were glad it was over and we could just take a break and enjoy spending time with Bobby's mom.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Woohoo!

Bobby got his results back from his boards exam and guess what??? He passed! Yay! I'm so proud of him and we're both so relieved that we won't have to go through this madness again. Now, onward and upward!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Greenbrier


The Greenbrier is a resort in south eastern West Virginia, and opulent is just about the only word to describe it...enormous works too. The annual WV dental conference was held there this weekend and Bobby had to attend as a recruiter for the Army National Guard, so he took me along and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.



We arrived on Thursday and set up his booth and then wandered around the Greenbrier for a couple hours. And it's big enough that you can literally wander for that long. We stopped in the boutiques there (they have about 10 different shops for clothing, jewelry, art, kids stuff,home decor, etc...all very expensive, let's just say they're for the people who can afford to actually stay at the hotel). Then we stopped at one of the restaurants, a cute bright soda shop, to get a $10 banana split. It was about the only thing we could justify spending that much money on, but man, was it good.

Then we left to go find our hotel (did you think we'd actually be staying at the Greenbrier? no way the army would actually pay to put us up there!). The next day Bobby did his military thing and I met up with my friend Katie Johnson and her mom to wander around Lewisburg, the little town where we stayed, see their antique shops and it was a lot of fun.

Bobby and I went out to dinner with his boss, Gary and his wife and we had a nice time getting to know them a little better.

We left on Saturday, and even though Bobby had to work on our "vacation", it was nice just to get out of Morgantown and see something new and splendid like the Greenbrier.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back to normal...(whatever that means)

Bobby took his boards on Saturday. The test was in Pittsburgh so we drove up the night before and stayed in a hotel. Highlight of the drive up? Passing an older couple on one of those huge motorcycles with all the compartments and seeing the woman sitting behind her husband crocheting.

The test started at 8 am, and I drove Bobby to the testing sight and he proceeded to undergo 7 hours of torture. While he was thus occupied I wandered around Ikea for awhile then went to Borders until he called me to come rescue him.

So now we wait. We should get the results in a few weeks, and we're hoping that Bobby will pass with flying colors and we won't have to go through this insanity all over again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Getting ready for Boards

Life has been a little crazy lately...sorry for the lack of posts. Bobby has been studying furiously for his second year board exam, which he takes on Saturday (cross your fingers and say your prayers for him!). This last week and a half has been full of 12 hour study days for him, getting home between 6 or 7, eating in a stupor and going to bed at 9. Needless to say, we are both going to be very glad when this week is over and boards are behind us.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More Projects

I've been bitten by the crafty bug and continue to work on things in the house that have been bugging me. (Nice play on words, huh?)

Bobby had a side table that was actually pretty functional and had nice details but wasn't too cute. Just a boring old wood stain. So I painted it and look what we have now:


And, this one I'm in love with. It was an ugly little stool, dark brown wood stain with a mauve floral on top. I had some extra of the kitchen fabric left, so I recovered the cushion and painted the wood. And, ta-da! Isn't it so cute?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kitchen Mini Makeover

When Bobby bought the house, the guy who lived here before had decorated it very nicely...to his tastes. Needless to say, there were some projects I knew I would need to tackle when I moved in. It took me a while to get started but I finally have. I painted our little entryway a cheerful buttery yellow (it was an odd mauvey color); took down an old moldy, stinky curtain that hung in our shower and frosted the window so that neighbors won't see us all naked; and now I've been working on the kitchen. The funnest part? I've finally been able to use the sewing machine Bobby got me for my birthday.

This is what it looked like before:


I had no problem with the wall color, but the curtains drove me crazy, and they've started driving Bobby crazy the last few weeks. The fabric wasn't too bad, but there was just too much of it, and it hung to the floor so that when you were sitting next to it, it was always in the way. I made a valance for the window out of a cute, light floral, which softened the room a lot and opened it up quite a bit. I'm really proud of the trim.

The other thing that was driving me wonkers was the pillows we were using as chair cushions. So I decided to upholster the seats with foam and a basic muslin and then make slipcovers for them. That way I can switch them out whenever I want, or easily wash them if they get dirty.

So here's the after:



What do you think? I still need some art or something for the wall next to the window, it needs some color, so that's still in the works. But, I love the change and am very proud of myself for figuring it out all by myself!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Isn't he handsome?

Bobby was called to be 2nd counselor in the bishopric a little over a month ago. He readily accepted, and started serving. I'm lucky to be married to a man ready to do the Lord's will. Anyway, he felt sadly lacking in a suit. He has a couple, but they were purchased second-hand or given to him and he's had them for years and none of them fit him quite right. So we felt a new suit was in order.

A men's store in town was having a sale, so we picked one out, got it tailored and here it is....doesn't he look handsome?


He's decided he likes having nice suits that fit him perfectly.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies


Can I tell you how much I'm loving my Cook's Illustrated? For my birthday, Bobby and his mother got me a subscription and the first one arrived a couple days ago. After seeing how great the Summer Entertaining issue was, Bobby was pretty excited to see my first regular issue come in the mail. And he just about fought me for rights to read it first. But I handily snatched it from him and told him it was my birthday present, so hands off!

There were so many things from the issue I want to make, and Bobby has a list going too, but what I absolutely needed to start with were chocolate chip cookies which pompously claimed to be perfect. How could I resist?

The recipe was a little different and slightly more involved than your typical dump-everything-in-a-bowl-and-poof-there-you-have-it cookies. And there's good reason for it: these were to die for. Nice and crisp on the outside, chewy goodness on the inside, lovely warm toffee flavors with smooth dark chocolate chips. They were sinful.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Work (Yuck!)

My fun job with Kaleidoscope (an after school elementary program) ended in June with the school year. And since then I have been utterly enjoying not working. I've been able to get some things done around the house and have been loving the freedom...well as much more freedom as you can get from only working 15 hours a week to not working at all.

Needless to say I've been dragging my feet to get a job and Bobby has been doing his best to motivate me to get one. I just haven't had to not work for years and I'm majorly a fan of being unemployed. So finally Bobby won out and I joined the ranks of a temp agency. Today was my first gig as a receptionist.

Can I tell you how boring it was? I started at 8 and left at 3:30 and probably only answered the phone 15 or 20 times. I played solitaire, I wrote in my journal, I read 150 pages of my book. And I was ready to start poking my eyeballs out I was that bored. Hopefully any other work I get won't be that painful, and luckily it's only for another month or so.

I can't wait for fall and Kaleidoscope to start up again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Raspberry Picking


Our lovely friends Daniel and Katie brought their little girl, Madeleine, over this week to pick raspberries. Katie had been watching my blog and was envious of all the raspberries I'd been bragging about and decided she wanted in on the action. And since raspberries are one of her absolute most favorite foods, I thought it would be too cruel not to let her get her fix this season. We had a lot of fun with them. Thanks for coming over guys!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Morning Buddy

I was just going about my business this morning, cleaning the kitchen, working on a new kitchen curtain in the living room, when I heard some tapping against the kitchen window. I looked in and saw this little guy hanging out on the ledge:


What a cutie-patootie!(He's an American Goldfinch, in case you're wondering). I ran to get my camera, chanting to myself "Don't fly away, don't fly away!" I had little to worry about because he hung out all morning, tapping against the window, just chilling on the ledge and looking in. I think he was bored and wanted to play. Or eat my food. Or poop in my newly cleaned kitchen. Take your pick. But he made me smile.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Raspberries are coming out of our ears!

So the raspberries are now in full swing and there are more than we know what to do with! We've already made two batches of raspberry jam, which means we've picked about 15 cups so far, and the end is nowhere in sight. I decided we don't need anymore jam (we have 14 cups of strawberry and 12 cups of raspberry in the freezer right now, with potentially some grape jelly on the way when Xax's grapes come into season...i think we're good!)so I asked Bobby what else he wants me to make with the raspberries. We decided on this Raspberry Chiffon Pie from Cook's Illustrated.


If anyone out there loves to cook or bake, this magazine is to die for! When I worked at Crate, we regularly received this and everyone would fight over getting to read it first. It has wonderful tips and hints, it does comparisons to find the best gadget, appliance, ingredient, brand,etc., and each recipe includes the process the author went through to figure out the best way to make it. It's a lot of fun, and everything I've ever made from it has been wonderful.

So when I was in Walmart a few weeks ago, I saw that they had the Summer Entertaining issue and I had to get it. It was $8, and I brought it home and when Bobby found out I had spent $8 on a magazine, he just about had a heart attack. Then I started making things from it and I have been redeemed. I made black beans last week and they were the best black beans he'd ever had.

So here's the recipe for the Raspberry Chiffon Pie. It's nothing short of divine.

1 baked 9" pie crust

Fruit Layer:
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen, whichever is easier)
3 tablespoons Sure-Jell pectin
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh raspberries

Cook the 2 cups berries over medium high, stirring occasionally until berries begin to give up their juice, about 3 minutes. Stir in pectin and bring to full boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and salt and return to full boil and cook for 2 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer and press to extract as much puree as possible.

Transfer 1/2 cup puree to a small bowl and cool to room temperature. Gently fold the 1 cup of raspberries into the remaining puree and spread evenly over the bottom of the pie shell.

Chiffon Layer:

3 tablespoons raspberry flavored gelatin
3 tablespoons boiling water
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream, chilled (must be ice cold!)

Dissolve gelatin in the boiling water in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and reserved 1/2 cup raspberry puree and beat with a mixer on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup cream and beat on medium low until incorporated and then on high until it holds stiff peaks. Spread evenly over the fruit layer in the pie shell, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

To serve, top with sweetened whipped cream and eat, observing that your eyes roll up into your head and you groan with pleasure.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

My favorite Dad memory? Annie and I were probably 5 or 6 and asleep in our bedroom one wintry morning. We woke up and looked out the window. There was snow everywhere, it seemed like a ton and we were very excited. But then we noticed that Dad was out there and he had already made two huge snowmen, one for me and one for Annie...I think they had to be as tall as him. I couldn't wait to get outside and play in the snow with my Dad.

Dad, I love you!

How to make raspberry freezer jam

I had a couple people ask me about how to make jam after my post, Bread and Jam. They wanted a recipe, and if you've never made freezer jam before, it is just about the easiest thing ever to make. We made some raspberry freezer jam this weekend, so I thought I'd share in the simplicity and absolute deliciousness of the process.

First, you start with these:


Then, you find someone like this to pick them:


It helps if you have some moral support:


Once you have the fruit, you get the rest of the ingredients. Pectin can be found in any grocery store around the canning supplies. The box comes with instructions about exactly what you'll need; how much fruit, how to prepare it, how much sugar, etc.


Then, just follow the instructions. Basically you mash up the fruit and combine it with the appropriate amount of sugar. Tons of sugar...if you are afraid of calories, jam is not for you, although there are some pectins out there for sugar-free jams.


Boil the pectin with some water:


After stirring the pectin into the fruit/sugar, you pour it into containers:


I like these containers, they're 2 cups so they're not too big and they stack up nicely in the freezer. After sealing the containers, you let them sit out at room temperature for 24 hours and then store them in the freezer if you're not going to use them immediately.

Easy, huh?