Tuesday, May 15, 2012

another food post! hurray!

I had so much fun last year writing about food, I thought I would do a post on some of our favorite things we've made this year. I highly recommend any of the following items to everybody and anybody.

Homemade Tortillas: My world brightened a little bit when these came into my life. Sure, they take more time than buying a bag at the store, but they are totally worth the extra effort.
Roasted Butternut Baked Penne: After making butternut soup last year and not loving it, I was hesitant to make this, but I’m so glad I did. The butternut flavor was not overpowering, but the combination of flavors absolutely rocked my world.
Roasted Red Pepper and Fontina Pizza: Pizza dough + olive oil + roasted red peppers + carmelized shallots + bacon + fontina cheese+balsamic reduction=perhaps the best pizza we’ve made so far, imho.
Pretzel Rolls: Basically pretzels in a form that you can eat for dinner. Win.
Sesame Chicken: Easy, sesamey, not too sweet and still feels like Chinese take out.
Glazed Carrots with Orange and Cranberries: I would even decrease or omit the sugar in this, as the OJ gave plenty of sweetness. It was a delicious, easy, healthy, and rather fancy dish.
Chocolate Macarons: I was so excited to make these, and they turned out amazingly. I have to admit, this is something I was pretty dang proud of, and if you have a kitchen scale, they really aren’t too difficult.
Cheesy Penne with Tomatoes and Spinach: Here’s the thing. I never liked the Kraft macaroni and cheese growing up. I still don’t. So, seeing homemade macaroni and cheese recipes never looked appealing to me, until I realized you didn’t have to use macaroni, and you are making a cheese sauce. Hello. I have to say, this meal was off the charts. Seriously, truly fantastic.
Fudgy Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars: I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon in February, and this is the first thing that I made from the site. Imagine: Graham cracker toffee crust, fudgey chocolate middle, chocolate cookie dough top, sprinkled with toffee bits. Delish. Oh, the thing is that it is a pillsbury recipe, so they tell you to use a roll of refrigerated Pillsbury dough--I just used my favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies.
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake: I made this for my half-birthday. Imagine a brownie-ish cake layer on bottom, a chocolate mousse layer in the middle and a white chocolate mousse layer on top. So good.
Quinoa Chicken Salad: This one was one of Matthew's favorites. It was healthy, and had a lot of flavor. And came from Pinterest. ha.
Meditteranean Grilled Vegetable Tartine: A tartine is an open-faced sandwich, and I think the marinade on this, combined with the hummus flavor was what made it unforgettable. 
Sourdough Bread: Very good. Nothing more to say.
Homemade Yogurt: This is so easy, and so fun. I will say, I have deviated from the directions in the link quite a bit in order to get it to work better and more consistently, but now that we have a good method down, it works like a charm. 
Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing: I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, and I think we ate it 3 times that month. 
Strawberry Butter: This is simply pureed, simmered strawberries beaten with butter and honey. And all I'm saying is that it is definitely not disgusting.
Chiang Mai Noodles: I like expanding my Asian cooking repertoire. This one is definitely in the long term rotation
Veggie Fried Rice: Again, expanding Asian repertoire. This turned out very similar to our favorite take-out place.
Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce Chicken: Probably in my top two favorite meals this year. Our old bishop's wife made this for a get together thing. The flavor is absolutely amazing.

Whelp, that is it! I'm super hungry now thinking about all this stuff. A couple of these thingers don't have links--I know I should either write in the recipe or not include them here, but I don't really feel like typing it in right now, plus it will make this post even that much longer, so maybe I'll just say if you are interested in any of the three or four things that don't have links, let me know and I'll either send it to you or just do a separate post later. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

natalie's latest living arrangements

I've actually gotten several requests for pictures of Natalie's room. First though, I want to point out that she likes her room. I feel the need to make that clarification because yes, her room is technically a closet/laundry room:

 And that is my hand.
The choices for her bedroom were either this room, or the front room which is right by the door to the outside. Personally, I didn't want my baby sleeping by the front door, both because I would stay up worrying about her safety, and because then when she's sleeping it is a lot harder to go in and out without waking her. Plus, her little room is all cozy. And she totally is okay with it. Look at that last picture, she's about to unload a cupboard full of diapers. What's not to love??

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

its the little things

Do you notice anything different about me?

I'm blogging from a new apartment! Huzzah! We are living in the downstairs apartment at Matthew's sister's house (hey guys!) and it is great, and I'm not just saying that because I'm pretty sure she reads this now and again. Besides the obvious reasons why we are really enjoying living here--you know, much more spacious living arrangements, nice kitchen, beautiful backyard, close to family--there are several other things that are enormous improvements over our last place.

1. When I stand on my tiptoes, my head doesn't hit the ceiling. Yes, I could do this at my last apartment.

2. There is a thermostat that we can control for the lower level. At our last place, the upstairs people controlled the temperature, and I WAS ALWAYS FREEZING. It was so cold, so often. Part of that was due to it being winter, and we are in the basement, so it is naturally going to be colder, but when it finally was in the 70s for a day, what did they do? THEY TURNED ON THE AIR CONDITIONING. FOR 5 HOURS! Ask me how I feel about that. ha.

3. There is a normal countertop here. At our old apartment, the countertop was tiled. So there was grout and grooves. And food got stuck in it, and it was hard to get it out, and you had to scrub to get the thing clean. Who wants to scrub counters on a near daily basis, or, have them full of crumbs and grossness? Not me. So glad to be done with that.

Anyway, we are pretty stoked to be moved and here. And that is my story.