Why, Hello There!

I truly believe food is love; it calms the soul, and lightens the heart. I am pleased you are here to share my many recipes, crafts and thoughts. Thank you so much for joining me, and may you always eat, drink, and be merry!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I Love December!

Today is the first day of December, and Jacob and I are so excited this holiday season!  We love every thing about this time of year, even the slightly annoying man ringing the very high pitched silver bell outside of Market of Choice, for the salvation army...yes it is love.

Just for fun I decided to take part in this:

And I'm off to a good start.  Jake and I pulled out all of the Christmas boxes from under the bed and began our decorating bonanza today, so there was plenty to photograph.  We didn't get everything done tonight, but we plan to put the finishing touches on our Christmas home tomorrow.  We have yet to get a tree, but that's on the agenda for tomorrow as well.  I will leave you with my first December picture. (I couldn't just pick one shot, so I stitched four of them into one; bye!)

Day 1: My View Today :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jack-O-Lantern Jars

For no reason at all, it seems like life has been overly busy for Jacob and I lately.  Halloween has snuck up on us faster than our sluggish bodies could keep up with.  We have neglected the pumpkin patch, we didn't make our cute couples costume, and we even missed a local symphony orchestra playing exclusively Harry Potter themed music, sick, I know.

So enough is enough, back on the holiday wagon.  Jacob refused to buy any pumpkins from the store, when I suggested it he basically fainted in offense.  "Going and getting the pumpkin is all the fun...it's like the best part!"  He exclaimed to me with disgust and shock on his face. So I figured something else out for outside decoration this year.  So here they are, an adorable alternative to the jack o lantern!

Spooky Cute Halloween Lanterns:

What you will need: 

  • Glass Jars of Different Sizes 
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Brushes
  • Wax Paper
  • Tea Light Candles
  • Surface to Paint/Dry the Lanterns

How To:

First Paint your jar a solid color. Make sure your brush strokes are all in the same direction, for a tidy look.  Put a thick first coat on your jar.

 Paint the monster/ghost/cat/pumpkins face in any way you would like.  A variety of different faces looks really cute when you are finished.

 I also like to paint smaller scenes on the jars for fun.

 Likewise you can also do patterns like stripes, polka dots, zig-zags and more.

**Make sure when painting your jars you stick with Halloween colors.  For example pink or blue would not match the Halloween theme very well.

Let dry, I dried mine overnight upside-down.

Cut appropriate sized pieces of waxed paper to line your jars, and insert them like a tube (waxed side facing the inside of the jar) into the lanterns.  Place small tea light candles in the middle of each jar, and light in the dark.

**Make sure you check on the candles every so often, because a fire would not be a good thing.

 Hope you enjoy your spooky cute Halloween lanterns, happy painting!       

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Bagels with Honey Cinnamon Cream Cheese...And Thoughts of Christmas...

I am so excited Autumn is here!  The holiday season is the best time of year, and to me, the start of it all begins when the leaves start turning red, yellow, and brown.

A while ago I posted a wedding theme update; and that update stated that we were to have a summer wedding with a garden party theme.  Well...that's out the window.  We have now concretely decided on a winter wedding: 12/21/2013.  It will be the first day of winter (super romantic, if you ask me).  I am thrilled, whereas before, I was just moderately excited.  The reason being, I have always wanted a winter wedding.

Since the date of our wedding is so lusciously close to Christmas, we are going 'all out' with a Christmas/winter holiday theme. Our guests will already be in the holiday spirit, and our wedding will create even more buildup for Christmas day.

For Jake and I, Christmas season 2012 will be much closer observed than Christmases past.  We will be tracking weather patterns, scooping up deals and sales right after Christmas, (on decorations etc.), menu planning, budgeting and more.  

Until then, here is a great way to welcome the chilly months ahead!  Here is my recipe for:

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bagels with Honey Cinnamon Cream Cheese


For 10 Bagels:

--1 1/2 packets dry active yeast
-- 1 C warm water 110-120 degrees
--1/3 C brown sugar
--2 tbsp unfiltered buckwheat honey
--1 tsp vanilla
--1 tsp salt
--1/4 tsp ground ginger
-- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
-- 1 tbsp cinnamon
-- 1 can pumpkin (15 oz, about 2 C)
-- 3-4 C + more if needed whole wheat flour
--olive oil, for greasing bowl & hands
--egg, for egg wash

For Spread:

--8 oz good quality cream cheese (If you live in Oregon try Nancy's Organic Cream Cheese, it is to die for.)
--1/4 cup raw honey (clover, blackberry, and other light colored honeys will work)
--2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Activate the yeast by combining it with the warm water, in a large bowl.  After about 3-5minutes stir in the sugars (brown, and honey), then let sit for another few minutes.

Activate Yeast

2.  Add vanilla, salt, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and the pumpkin to the activated yeast, and combine well.

Mix In Wet

3. Add 3 cups flour into the bowl and knead for about 8 minutes, all the while adding in more flour as needed.  I ended up using about 4 1/2 cups altogether.  The dough should be elastic and only moderately sticky.
Add Flour

4. Set in an olive oil greased bowl, cover, and set in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.

Let Rise

5.  Remove dough from bowl and place onto a lightly floured surface.  Separate into 10 equal sized balls.

6. One by one poke a hole (using your thumb) into the middle of each ball.  Gently squeeze, pull, and shape each so it has a nice round appearance, with an approximately 2 inch hole in the middle.  Flour and oil hands as needed to prevent sticking.


7. Set on a cookie sheet in a warm place for another 20-25 minutes, to rise again.

Cover and Rise Again

8. Meanwhile, when the 2nd rising process is almost complete, boil a pot or pan of water.  After the uncooked bagels are finished rising, boil each one for about 45 seconds on each side.  Remove from water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Heat Water


9. Put boiled bagels on a greased cookie, and brush with an egg wash (1 beaten egg).  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Egg Wash The Boiled Bagels

Remove From Oven


10. While bagels are cooling, make the cream cheese mixture.  Combine cream cheese, cinnamon, and honey by hand, or whip with an electric mixer (for about 3 minutes) for a fluffier result.
Cream Cheese Spread

Feel free to toast and to spread liberal amounts of the cream cheese on these yummy bagels.  Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Who Needs McDonald's?

The summer season is at an end but the early fall bounty is upon us.  Jacob and I have been experimenting with freezing various dishes for later. It makes meal preparation really easy, all they require is quick oven re-heating.  I simply call them 'freezer meals.'  So far I have made three types of burritos, three savory pies, creamy chicken enchiladas, cookie dough, and today we finished a batch of pancake breakfast sandwiches!

We love getting the freshest ingredients for our meals, and for us, going to the farmer's market has been our food destination of choice.  Lately the booths have been booming with organic produce, meats, honey, jams and more.  Unfortunately, the autumn harvest will soon be over, meaning our local farmer's market will also end for the season.

Before the winter begins, I want to create as many freezer meals (with the current array of farm fresh foods) as possible, so we continue to enjoy all of the tasty nutritional benefits throughout the barren months.

 This will hopefully save copious amounts of time, stress, and even a bit of money.

I want to try freezing soups, casseroles, fillings, and singular food items like sliced peaches.  I am in the process of acquiring a chest freezer to store everything.  We will keep it out back so as not to disturb the ambiance and feng shui of our apartment.

To follow is my recipe for yummy pancake breakfast sandwiches. They are laced with the sweet notes of maple, vanilla, and cinnamon.  

Makes 12 super yummmmy sandwiches!

For Sausage:

1 pound grass fed lean ground beef
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
1/4 generous cup pure organic maple syrup

In a medium bowl mix spices together, then add ground beef, combine.  Next add maple syrup, working it into the spiced meat. Shape into 12 equal rounds and bake at 350 degrees, or cook in a skillet until done. 

 For Eggs:

12 eggs
1/4 cup milk, or half and half
sprinkle of salt
sprinkle of pepper

With a whisk in a large bowl whip eggs, milk, salt and pepper together.  Bake at 350 in a greased large muffin tray for about 20 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.

For Pancakes:

4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 cups whole wheat flour

Mix together dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in another (excluding the milk).  Combine wet and dry, then pour in enough milk to make the mixture look like warm runny peanut butter.   Cook 24 equal sized pancakes on the stove, or on a griddle.  Cook them until just barley done if freezing, or all the way if eating straight away.

Jam/Fruit Spread

These sandwiches are fun to experiment with.  I added thin slices of cheese in between a few layers for extra decadence. Dip in a bit of maple syrup for more delicious maple flavor, or spread fruit preserves right on top and eat with a fork.   Try new combinations, it makes life fun!