Friday, September 23, 2016

Food for Thought

I haven't posted recipes in a while, but not because I haven't been cooking, but because I haven't done much original cooking.  That happens when you don't plan meals for the week until you're already at Wednesday of said week.  For one reason or another, I haven't done my usual Sunday planning/Monday shopping and that means cooking on the fly.  It's that "crap, what am I gonna make."  It's food without thought.

Cooking on the fly, for me, usually means cooking from what I have on hand.  One night I needed a side and had some languishing sweet potatoes in the pantry.  These Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes were the ticket.  They had good flavor and were super simple.  I diced them a little too small, and will leave them larger so the insides are nice and creamy.

We didn't make arrangements for the annual Palisades Peaches, nor did we attend the Peach Festival.  We were those crazy people driving around town looking for a pop-up peach stand to get our yearly "hit" of sweet, juicy Colorado peaches.  We gorge ourselves on them and then put up the remainder, in some fashion, when we can't possible take another bite.  This year I saw this Peach Butter recipe in my inbox and thought, "There's what I'm doing this year."  At initial glance, I liked that it was a small batch recipe; I don't need eight quarts of Peach Butter.  I haven't had the processed product, but it was awesome when I was bottling it.  Lots of great spice, like any fruit butter, but the sweetness of the peaches was there, too.

I have my grandmother's Chocolate Chip Cookie (CCC) recipe, and that's pretty much the only CCC I make.  I typically bypass those recipes on Pinterest, too.  But for some reason these Big, Fat, Chewy Chocoalte Chip Cookies called me to stop.  The ingredient list isn't much different than most CCC recipes, it was the prep that intrigued me.  So, i pinned it and then made them.  While my grandmother's will always be number one, these were good and big - which my kids loved.    They were chunky with chips and quite chewy.

Our Birthday 'Palooza was a brunch.  So I asked those with birthdays what they liked and did my best to get a dish for them.  Eggs Benedict is one of those items I don't make at home, but will order when we're out.  Luckily, I'd pinned this Eggs Benedict Casserole which is perfect for serving to a large mass of people and getting a Benedict fix.  It was simple.  It was something to prep the night before.  It was good.  My only complaint is the hollandaise, which is THE thing in Benedict.  I'm not sure what exactly it was missing, it was bland and didn't have that bite, but I'll keep the casserole, and try a different sauce.

Funeral Potatoes, also sometimes called Crack Potatoes, are a must at a brunch or breakfast.  I liked these because they didn't call for a condensed soup.  They were creamy and cheesy, and I really like the crunch of chips and Parmesan on the top.  I opted to use dehydrated potatoes (a pantry staple here), re-hydrated, instead of frozen.

I was looking for something different for a weekend breakfast for hubby and I.  I had potatoes in my pantry that needed using, so I found Baked Cheddar Eggs & Potatoes.  I cut the recipe in half, since it was just the two of us.  The recipe calls for red, but I had russets, so I just made sure I diced them small enough to cook well.  It was tasty with lots of herbs, and a good bit of crunch on the skins of the potatoes.

When you're not taking time to plan a menu, you tend to go for short cuts and make too many runs to the store.  The night I made Macaroni Taco Bake was not only an in-law dinner night, but the 17 y.o. needed to carb-load for a meet the following day AND I didn't have a plan.  My "plan" came at 2:30 when I was frantically flipping through a Taste of Home looking for something fast and easy.  This recipe met both those needs, but it was also good.  Warm and comforting.  I grabbed an extra box because I was serving eight.  Next time, when I've actually planned it, I'll make the mac 'n cheese (instead of the box) and finish the recipe as it stands.

Here's to hoping for a more inspired menu planning session this week.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Throw Back Thursday

I mentioned earlier this week I had to pick up my temporary work space in our dining room to accommodate guests at the birthday party.  I'd love to take it down to the basement, but that is the staging area for some inventory and sorting that hubby is doing.  In other words, he's taken over what progress I've made down there.  I haven't pulled my goodies back out yet, but I did sign up for the Scrapbook & Cards Today Single 2 Double Class.  I think Week Three will be out tomorrow, so I'd like to sit down and play this weekend.  That should work, but. . .well, it's life.

I still have a couple layouts from the last class that I haven't shared.  If you haven't counted, the layout above is the 10th layout that I completed during that one class - the SCT Easy, Detailed, Expert Class.  I've used five kits, this one makes six and countless odds and ends from my stash.  Not bad for one $20 class.

The above layout is using October Afternoon's Very Merry line, which came out in 2009.  If I remember right, the Very Merry line was in an over-sized, one-time seasonal kit which Apron Strings offered from time-to-time.  They were known as Blue Plate Specials.  The photos are from 2008.

We celebrate St. Nicholas Day, which is what's going on in the photos.  This layout will go in the family album.  It's also the First St. Nick's Day for our, then, newest member of the family who is just three months old.  I believe this makes four layouts the poor thing is actually in.  He's eight now.  I have set his photos from that day, along with more from this kit, to eventually do a layout just for his book.

I used Week Five's sketch from the SCT EDE class, which is the left side of the layout above, flipped 180 degrees.  More or less.  I flipped it to extend the extra photos to the right, but could have left it and extended photos both left and right.  I wish I could say I tried something new, but no.  I stayed in my comfort zone.  It happens.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

We Are

We are having a hot spell . . . or were. . . Monday and Tuesday with temps at or above 90.  Summer always overstays its welcome here.  Today, though, as I opened curtains and blinds there was more gold in the trees and a scattering of fallen leaves in the street.  Fall is here and it won't be a long one, unfortunately!

  • Finished up a weather unit by being weathermen and predicting the weather based on previous patterns the kids tracked.
  • When there's a lot of laughing, A.  LOT. of laughing, in some far corner of the house, it must be a new SnapChat filter.
  • A meet that was nice and close to home and had him shaving a minute off his previous run.
  • Birthday number Eight for this one.
  • The birthday boy and Granny holding a most prized gift
  • Two of the three Birthday 'palooza participants
  • Creating.  This time in watercolor
  • Colorado Evenings
  • The first of two meets this week.  This one, the course was challenging.  The weather was hot and humid.  It knocked the stuffing out of some finishers. . .literally.  Probably the only time that there is some gratitude (if you can call running seven miles a day something to be thankful for) that your school sits on a hill and any way you and your team do training runs you're going to be running hills.  Thanks to those hilly runs, this dude finished strong.
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sketches on Tuesday

September is our busy month for birthdays, with three in just my little family.  So, this past weekend we held our 'Palooza Party to celebrate all three.  We hosted a brunch and invited both sides of the family, which makes the guest list over 20.  That meant I needed more than my kitchen table and the back patio (the weather was perfect for breakfast outside) to have for people eating.  That meant I needed to clear off the dining table, which had been transformed into a scrappy table.  So, I blew the dust off my supplies and loaded everything back into my totes.  

I'm hoping it's only temporary.  I signed up the the Scrapbook and Cards Today Single 2 Double class to inspire me to drag it all back out later this week - I have to say, though, I'm kind of enjoying the tidy look in the dining room.

However, Becky Fleck of PageMaps does the sketches for the classes at SCT, and sketches are a way to get rolling without necessarily needing the accountability of the class.  Currently, I need the accountability, but not everyone does ;).

That being the case, I headed over to PageMaps, and opted to start looking in September 2015, where I found this sketch.  I love the grid.  I love the three photos, but obvious room for up to three more (maybe even six, if you take up the journaling spot with photos.)  I like there's plenty of options for filing all those spots in whatever manner needed.  It is also an easy sketch to stretch into a two-pager.  There's enough room to make the photos larger, whether that means larger squares, or going vertical.

PageMaps designer Marla Kress interpretted the design pretty close to the sketch.  She opted to use just one journaling spot, that crossed two spots on the sketch and kept the title block without further journaling.  She also enlarged the mat under the photos (the sketch shows a block that doesn't encompass the photos.)

Guest Designer Ivonne Morales from Revista RL Scrap Design Team also stayed relatively true to the original sketch.  She opted to put her journaling in one of the patterned paper blocks, directly beneath the title.  She matted the three vertical blocks individually, rather than the larger block on the sketch.  

I don't always need a class, but I can never go wrong with a sketch.

Go. Create.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We Are

Some serious connectivity issues have kept me from regular posting.  By the time there's internet, it's later in the day and I've lost my "window."

Life is just plugging along.  The trees are changing.  There are little dabs of yellow here and there.  A smidgen of red on some.  It's awesome.

  • When you look forward to certain days, but others can't appreciate them because they're not in medical classes
  • When it's in her genes
  • If it counted, we could all eat for free
  • When your kids were little and you worried when you didn't hear them. . .apparently there's no set time for that to stop. . . 
  • And you wonder if you've gone wrong somewhere
  • First-ever batch of Peach Butter. 
  • Meet number two - the "herd" is about half what the first one was.  It's still crazy.
  • Official time 23:45
  • The runner, himself
  • When you find someone sleeping in your bed.  She only growls like a bear.
Happy Wednesday,

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We Are

Life and technology don't always play like you'd like, but, eventually, they work out their differences. . .for a few moments anyway.

We had a pretty uneventful Labor Day weekend.  I can't recall anything we did.  I'm sure there were kids who did something, went somewhere, worked somewhere, but it's gone from my head.  I'd need to see my calendar to shake loose a thought.

  • Cleaning out her room.  One thing seems consistent. . .hockey.
  • Not thrilled with the length of his team running shorts
  • Or the tan line that proves he's never worn them - even in training
  • First Cross Country meet ever attended.  I had no idea the entire "herd" would start at one time (and that was just the boys.)  Holy crap!  I asked after his race, "How was that crazy start?"  Him, "Not good."
  • Cross Country High School races are generally 5k's (aka 3.1 miles) over terrain - in other words not on relatively even, paved surfaces.  He had a burst of speed in the last 100 yards, though, that surprised even him
  • Official finish time was 22:45, roughly the middle of that huge group of runners.  He kept a nice 7:00+ minute pace during the race.
  • Good luck prying his butt outta there before the weekend is over.  He found the beta release.
  • You're home.  She sees you're home.  You've got the "good" blanket.  You've now got a TV-watching buddy.
  • If you can handle the Yellow Jackets, it's not a bad place to study.
  • Jury Duty.  blah.
Happy Wednesday,

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

We Are

We are looking forward to cheering a child on in sports again. . .who knew you'd actually miss it?  It probably helps that practice is after school.  Or, that said child can drive himself.  The 17 y.o. has taken up Cross Country; distance running seems to be one of those things he's built for.  His first meet is this Friday, so it should be fun.

Home projects continue.  Clean up from those project continue.  I feel like a group of squirrels preparing for winter.  If all this stuff is done soon, we can cocoon ourselves in for the long winter with a nice, organized house.

  • The perfect downtime after class, but before heading in to work, is a viewing of SpaceBalls
  • Which came first - the record player or the desire for vinyl
  • First snow on the peaks, that we can see down here on the Front Range
  • When you're trying to get just one good photo of your dog for #nationaldogday
  • Ah. . .SnapChat
  • . . .and you're thankful your parents kept their collection.
  • Keeping watch during the evening sit on the porch
  • AKA throwing in the towel on dressing for class
  • When you come out of Phantom of the Opera and find a free concert
  • Adulting
  • It's not hockey season, so you can't blame the swollen eye on that.  But we have no clue what caused the watering, pain and swollen eye the night before.
Happy Wednesday,