28 February 2013

Dog

It's no secret that I'm hoping our family can adopt a dog sometime this year.  Usually, the first question people ask is, "What kind?"  Well, meet Dog.
He's the canine that watches over the farm where Stoney and Dancer are staying.  I don't have any particular breed in mind, but I'd like one like him: big, shaggy, friendly, gets along with everything from goats to chickens, cats to horses and people.  He offers a warning bark with a wag of his tail and lives life as a modified cross between a functional farm dog and a pet.  And he's adopted.  That's the kind of dog I'd like.

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Blueberry and Cream Scones

We had some fresh blueberries in the fridge and decided to put them into a batch of blueberry and cream scones.  They were tasty!  Serve hot with a pad of butter or drizzle with powder sugar icing to make them a sweet treat.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (or half and half or whipping cream if you've got it)
1 egg
Preheat oven to 375F.  Sift together dry ingredients then cut the butter in.  Gently fold in blueberries.  In a separate bowl, whip together the sour cream, egg and milk/half and half/whipping cream.  Slowly add to the dry ingredients and once a dough forms, knead only a few times to incorporate ingredients.  Divide dough in half on a lightly floured surface and shape into two circles.  Cut into six wedges and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve warm.
Enjoy!

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27 February 2013

Even More Sure

What's even more sure than a groundhog or robin signalling an impending spring?
The shedding of the horse (Note that their white hair always starts first).
Right now, Dancer's only shedding from her star.
It has begun!

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26 February 2013

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Roll Ups

After a rowdy Family Home Evening, complete with horse races (Jack is a total dirty racer), snowflake ballerinas and a game of pile-on-daddy, we whipped up this treat to end the evening.  It was delicious!  It was quick!  It was crunchy and creamy!  So, it's a keeper!

Ingredients:

1 can refrigerator crescent rolls
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
Cinnamon sugar

Combine cream cheese, sugar and powdered sugar until creamy.  Roll out crescent rolls two together to make a rectangle.  Place a large spoonful of cream cheese along the length of the dough and roll up, pinching together the seams and ends.  Roll in melted butter and cinnamon sugar.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes (or according to package instructions)  until hot, crispy and golden.
To change it up, try wrapping up fresh, sliced fruit with the cream cheese mixture.
Enjoy!
Thanks to Easy Kitchen Recipes for the inspiration!

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25 February 2013

Nutella Cookie Cups

We bought a huge jar of Nutella and promptly forgot about it once it got shoved to the back of the pantry.  It was a happy day when I came across it again.  We made these cookies to share with a dinner guest and they were a hit.  Enjoy with a layer of creamy peanut butter if you'd like or filled entirely with chocolaty Nutella.
Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raw almonds, crushed or chopped (if you only have whole, put them in a zip top baggie and take out your frustrations on them with a rolling pin)
1/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, optional
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Cream together the sugar, butter, egg, vanilla and salt.  Slowly add in the flour until combined.  Add in the crushed almonds.  Roll into balls and place in a mini muffin pan.  Poke a hole in the center.  Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes until slightly golden.  Allow cookies to cool and fill with peanut butter (optional) and/or Nutella.
Enjoy!

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Pretty Amazing

In our travels and moves, we have visited several children's museums.
Gazing up at the four story glass sculpture from the comfort of a rotating chair.
Indy's is pretty amazing.

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22 February 2013

What Daddy Does

A few weekends ago we went to a museum open house where Jack works to see just what daddy does all day.
Vertical takeoff, anyone?
He told us the history of Rolls Royce (formed by no other than two men with the last names of "Rolls" and "Royce"), showed us a few engines and taught the girls about gears.
The girls single-handedly out cranking cousin Kyle.
Even when they lost interest, they still found a way to be entertained.
So that's what smart people do all day.  Build jet engines.
Among other things.

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21 February 2013

Crispy Cream Cheese Chicken Wrap

One of Jack's favorite Mexican fast food items has always been crispy chicken burritos.  This is a play off of them, but even though they're healthier, they're still flavorful and delicious.  Save extra calories by using lite cream cheese, sour cream and lo-carb tortillas.

Ingredients:
2 cups chicken, uncooked and chopped into small chunks
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup sour cream
1/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
3/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped (no stems)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Tortillas (about four)
Frying oil or cooking spray

Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder.  Cook until no longer pink.  Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, spinach and cheddar.  Season lightly with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Add chicken, mix and spread one heaping spoonful to each tortilla.  Wrap tightly and either fry in 1/4 cup oil or spray each tortilla with cooking spray.  Cook until golden brown and serve hot.
Enjoy!

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20 February 2013

Peeping Tom

We have a peeping tom in our midst.
Haha, get it?  A boy cat is called a tom?  And he's peeping in the shower?
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Queso Fresco

Admittedly, it is difficult to "rehomestead" in an apartment, but we've found ways.  Last year in Texas, I drug a few bags of wool with me and learned to wash and spin it into yarn.  This time, the wool has all been packed up so I went in search of other ideas and decided to try one that Jack certainly would love: cheese making   We didn't dive head first into making aged Gouda or anything but queso fresco is a start.  It takes about a day to complete though only fifteen minutes or so of actual work.  The result is a tender, crumbly cheese that's great on pizza, enchiladas, scrambled eggs, made into dips or as enjoyed as a snack.

Ingredients:

1/2 gallon whole milk
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
Salt to taste
Cheesecloth
Heat the milk in a large pot to about 180F (hot but before boiling).  Add the white vinegar and stir until curds form (they aren't large chunks so don't be discouraged if it sort of looks like curdled, yellowed milk).  Remove from heat and let stand for about ten minutes.  Pour through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth.  Wrap tightly in cheesecloth and let drain overnight.  Squeeze out any excess whey and sprinkle with salt, combining gently.  Let cheese sit another few hours to dissipate salt.
***If you'd like your queso fresco shaped rather than in crumbles, add salt during the milk heating process and once drained through the cheesecloth, shape into desired sized rounds.  Also note, queso fresco isn't a "melting" cheese***
Enjoy!

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18 February 2013

Sneak Peek

The great room.  Claire has already made it abundantly clear that wall will need to be put up right away.
Jack and I have been searching for acreages in Indiana since before his official job offer was extended.  It was partly out of curiosity, partly hoping that there'd be something to suit our needs.
The kitchen is currently upstairs but I'm not dragging groceries that far.  I'm thinking it'll be a bedroom again, especially since it's already got a cedar closet attached.
Though there are plenty of acreages in the largely agricultural state of Indiana, they are either a pretty penny (and out of our price range at the moment) or would require a lengthy commute for Jack which I found unacceptable.  So, we went with our real estate agent, admired a few homes and pondered if they would work, then, we found the ONE.
Not one, or two, but three full baths. 
It was sort of a fluke find.  I wasn't very excited about it online but decided to stop by since we were going to the area to view another home.  I fell in love with the house, the short commute, the undisturbed land.  Sure, it's a fixer-upper but nothing we haven't handled before.
What a fun play/family room with a great deck right outside.
We snatched it away from another bidder by turning in our offer last minute to avoid counter offers and dazzled the bank who owned the house with our clean pre-approval letter.
The original kitchen.  I'm dreaming of an awesome laundry/utilities/mud room.
I'm already making plans for where I'll put the garden or what color of siding to put up and have to remind myself that slow and steady will be best.
This must have been a large office.  I'm visualizing it as the new kitchen since the other kitchen was put upstairs.
More photos of our improvements sure to come.  For now, enjoy a sneak peek.
What a fun deck!  Outdoor summer entertaining anyone?!

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Chicken and Spinach Pizza

Shortly after moving to Indiana, some church members warmly welcomed us into their home for pizza night.  The hostess mentioned she'd make a pepperoni pizza for the kids and a "grown up" pizza for the adults.  I'll admit I was skeptical but after the first bite, I'm okay with being the grown up.
Just a note: Enjoy your toppings either above or below the cheese layer.  However, if you want your spinach above the cheese, place on the pizza during the final few moments of baking to avoid scorching.

Ingredients:

1 pizza crust (if you're making it from scratch, do not bake beforehand)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup chicken, cubed and uncooked
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons +/- Red Wine Vinegar
Fresh spinach
Provolone (sandwich slices work great if you can't find shredded)
Sugar, parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and ground cinnamon
Olive oil

In red wine vinegar and about two tablespoons sugar, caramelize onions.  Meanwhile, cook chicken thoroughly in one tablespoon olive oil, a dash of parsley, basil and/or Italian seasoning, garlic powder and a pinch of ground cinnamon.
While preparing onions and chicken, roll or toss pizza crust to desired size.   Lightly oil top with olive oil.  Spread mayo on the dough (not the crust) then sprinkle with sugar and garlic powder.  Put chicken and onions over the mayo and top with pieces of spinach.  Cover completely with provolone.  Bake about 15 to 20 minutes at 400F (or according to pizza dough/crust instructions).
Enjoy!


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