Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lemon Drop Cookies

I made these cookies for my sweet cousin Emily's baby shower. (Of which I would have loved to share photos, but I forgot my camera that night.)

I absolutely loved baking them. Not only do you get to zest an entire lemon, but you get to grind up lemon drop candies! (Do I sound lame? Well, it's nice to mix things up sometimes, okay?)

Lemon Drop Cookies (via See Jane Cook*)

2 c. sugar
1 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon extract
4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Finely chopped zest of one lemon
1 (6-oz) package lemon drops (you can find these in the candy aisle at Target or Walgreens)
2 c. powdered sugar
juice of two lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, cream sugar, shortening, and eggs; add flavorings. Stir in dry ingredients, lemon zest, and crushed lemon drops (I crush them in my blender). Roll into balls, flatten slightly, and bake on parchment lined (if you don't use parchment, cookies will stick to pan) baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly on pan for a couple of minutes. Make a glaze by mixing powdered sugar with lemon juice. Brush glaze over cookie tops. Let cookies cool completely. Makes 4-5 dozen cookies.

*Disclaimer: I know, I know... I use A LOT of recipes from See Jane. But seriously, can you blame me?!

It's written in the stars...

...June's gonna have some good times with her cousins.

(I love this picture because it looks like their flying, so of course I had to add the stars.)

June got to meet some new cousins these last couple weeks.

The above cousin is Kensley, Alan and Jenny's new baby. She was born November 23rd (which also happens to be Kent's birthday... definitely a lucky day). I can't believe how huge June is compared to tiny Kensley. She is so beautiful. I can't wait to watch June and Kensley build forts and play house.

June was also privileged to meet Andrew (Laura and Steve's baby) when we went to Utah for Thanksgiving. Oh boy, is he a cutie. AND he was one of the most calm babies I've ever encountered, except in this picture:

I can't wait for Andrew and June to build forts and play ninjas.

Yes, it doesn't matter which cousin is involved, there WILL be plenty of forts being built.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

June's First Band Photo?

Here's how it happened.

We were getting ready for the day. I put June's jeans on, then had William hold her while I went down into the basement to get her a shirt.

Within about 30 seconds of going downstairs, I opened the door and encountered this:

They also filmed my reaction:

When I look back, I was actually not THAT surprised to see everyone with their shirts off... why is that?

A Bacon Blankie to keep the Turkey warm.

Yeah you heard right... bacon blankie.

It's what David used to cover our turkey. Check out the beautiful weave pattern:

And that's pretty much how delicious our Thanksgiving meal was.

What is it about Thanksgiving that forces you to put hours of work into your meal...

... only to devour it in ten minutes?

It's a beautiful tradition.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful Day 20-27

My goal to do a "Thankful" post everyday in the month of November was just a little too much for the week of Thanksgiving. You'll understand why as you read on.

I call this photo "RED HAIR."

I'm sad because not everyone we spent the fun week with is in the above photo. (We'll try again next time.)

The following is a list of things I am thankful for during my week spent in Utah with my in-laws (in no particular order):

Michael's Talk
Andrew's Blessing
Bradford Time Zone
DP Cheesesteaks (with Jalepeno cream cheese)
Biscuits and Gravy
Minor Sheep Threat Shirt (see above photo)
Thanksgiving Dinner
Leather Jacket
Daniel's Red Scarf
Cafe Rio
Pumpkin Gas
Baby Kensley's arrival
Ripped Diamondback Shirt
Double Features
80's Bully David
Vitamix Smoothies
Bacon Wrapped Turkey
Surprising Big David and breaking his bed
Denting Big David's car with basketball hoop
Kitchen Cooking arguments
Dirt Tooth Construction Projects
Dirt Tooth arguments about job title positions
Sleepless Nights
Back Seat Drivers
Everyone yelling that the rolls were burning and they weren't
Chapstick Smoothie
Nelli's (Martinelli's)
Tates (Potatoes)
Walk through Bethlehem
Old Man Angel sitting on high perch hidden in the corner
22 people sleeping in one house
Jam Sessions
Purchasing one refillable beverage but sharing it
Robs mad
Five Guys
Sonic tots in freezing cold weather
Old Navy Quick Change
Walmart Trips
Triple Double Oreos
Leather Jacket Draw the Line Dance
Tight gas
Spent $20 beating the Terminator Salvation Arcade game in a leather jacket
Uncle David dancing to Atlanta Rhythm Section
Vernors and Egg Nog
Everyone getting tough in car rides

Doesn't this list sound like the greatest week ever? I'll elaborate on a few of those later.

Also, it might sound like I'm complaining on a few things listed, but I promise I'm not. It was all good times.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful Day 19

This picture was taken a few weeks ago in our alley after a particularly stormy night:

When it's Saturday, and William is wearing his sweats and a t-shirt, he calls himself "King Saturday", whatever that means.

Today I am thankful that our tree is fixed and that we are flying up to Utah to spend an entire week of eating food, watching movies, playing music, and making jokes. And I'm also thankful that William and I can give ourselves nicknames and nobody judges.

Possum Jenkins

Thankful Day 18

Today I took pictures, but I left my camera at my mom's.

So here's one from about a month ago:

I don't know why I love this picture so much. I think it's because they both look so serious? Or bored? Thoughtful? Anyway...

Today I packed, cleaned, ran errands, did the laundry and cooked. I hate packing... but unpacking is even worse.

It was pretty much another boring day, that is, until dinnertime. Thanks Debbie and Russ for letting us invade your house for a few hours. I think my favorite part of the evening was hearing your William cheering for Harry Potter in the next room. That was the best. I also forgot to ask where you purchased that Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Today I'm thankful for funny friends and Pumpkin Cheesecake. And I'm thankful that we are finally taking our trip to Utah for Thanksgiving week. I can already hear William and his brothers wrestling...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Day 17

Today June and I tried on a lot of hats.

I came very close to buying this one:

but then I realized that June looked too much like...

DANG. Why didn't I get that hat?!!

Today I'm grateful that June looks as awesome as the blonde guy from the band, Nitro. I love dressing up my girl.

P.S. I just wikipedia'd Nitro. The blonde is named Jim Gellete. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Thankful Day 16

(This was supposed to be posted yesterday, November 16th... I'm getting pretty lazy with my own deadlines.)

Today seemed really really long. There isn't anything to report.

So I'll tell you a story instead.

A couple weeks ago, William and I were making our favorite snack: cheese quesadillas. June was playing in her bumbo on the counter. As I was eating my quesadilla, I looked over at June, who decided to try a sample of El Pato Sauce. It seriously looked as though she was ready to chug it down.

Luckily, William swept down and saved the day... but not before spilling it all over June's pants. Better her pants than her mouth, I guess.

That is some awesome sauce.

I am thankful that I have a husband who is quick on his feet, who probably saved our daughter from being scarred for life by our favorite hot sauce. Also, I am forever thankful for El Pato.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Here's the salad I served at Suppa' Club.

It's just as delicious as it is pretty.

Winter Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing (via See Jane in the Kitchen)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp diced green onion
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbs poppy seeds
1 head Romaine lettuce
4 oz shredded swiss cheese
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 apple-peeled cored and diced
1 pear-peeled, cored and diced

1. In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard and salt. Process until well blended. Add oil in slow steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds and process just a few seconds more to mix.
2. In a large serving bowl combine the lettuce, shredded Swiss cheese, almonds, dried cranberries, cubed apple and cubed pear. Toss to mix then pour dressing over salad just before serving and toss to coat.

Thankful Day 15

(This should have been posted yesterday, November 15th.)

Today I caved and made caramels.

Making caramels is like camping. You have to prepare yourself very thoroughly if you are going to do it alone. There will likely be injuries. No matter how hard you try not to, you end up spending money on it. Then afterwards, you regret doing it.

Here's what happened:
-I PLANNED on making them while June and William took a nap. I got everything out, opened the butter, milk, and cream, pre-measured the vanilla, pans cleaned... I was ready.
-As it was boiling it occurred to me that it was going to overflow. I quickly poured some boiling buttered sugar into the sink, spilling it all over the stove and the kitchen floor along the way. I called William's name. He flew down the stairs thinking I had burned myself or caught the kitchen on fire.
- As William cleaned up my mess, I realized yet again, that it would boil over. We quickly got a larger pot. Unfortunately, the candy thermometer does not reach the caramel in the large pot, so William had to stand there over the steamy pot, holding the thermometer for 20 minutes while we waited for it to reach the right temperature.
- Just as it was about to reach the right temperature, William dropped the thermometer in the boiling caramel.


Despite the failures, the caramel does taste pretty good.

Today I am thankful for a husband that woke up at 2:00am, came home late in the afternoon to take a nap, only to stay up another 45 minutes to help me with my annoying (but delicious) hobby.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Suppa' Club

This month was my turn to host Suppa' Club.

Dinner included: Quinoa with Vegetable Melange, Winter Salad with Lemon Poppyseed dressing, Spice-rubbed Turkey with Cranberry Barbecue Sauce, and Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake. It was probably my favorite Suppa' Club meal so far.

Want proof of our delicious food? Well, you're just going to have to take my word for it. We forgot to take pictures yet again. I'm tellin' you, when that food enters in, we can't help but reach for our forks (instead of our cameras).

I will post recipes another time. You better believe that I will be makin' those dishes again.

So instead, here are pictures of the party itself. This time, I decided to go with a Thanksgiving Native American theme. As foodies, I thought we owed it to them, since they showed the Pilgrims how to plant corn and all.

I just hope we weren't offensive in any way.


The guests arrived in their Native attire. We listened to "Sacred Spirits" internet radio station, which set the mood for the evening. We may have sang "Savages" from the movie 'Pocahontas', and "What makes the Red man Red" from the classic movie 'Peter Pan'. Following our feast, we played Bonanza (a game about planting beans... get it?). What an adventure.

The banner I made unintentionally became the "photo booth" backdrop. I just tore large strips of fabric, then sewed fabric scraps to make Native American-y designs.

The little ball garland is actually for my Christmas tree (an early Christmas gift from my mom), but I thought it went perfectly with the banner.

Sweet wolves (a perfect Goodwill find):

Dinner Table (I need to find more excuses to use that lovely dinnerware):


I know, the little pine trees look like Christmas. But I really wanted to capture the environment the Native Americans lived in when the pilgrims paid them a visit. And I'll be using them for Christmas too. (See? I'm killin' two birds with one stone, just like a Native American would.)

Suppa' Club, thanks for a super time. I did the math, and I'm in charge of the next Suppa' Club meeting in March, which just happens to be the same month Hunger Games is coming out in theaters, which probably means we'll be having a Hunger Games Theme. You know what this means: fighting to the death for our meal.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful Day 14

I wanted to spread the love...

so I put the flowers from one bouquet into three jars, covered and tied with burlap.

Today I am thankful for Fresh & Easy. Their flowers are so cheap.
Listening to: The Avett Brothers. Thank you, Carli.
Reading: Hunger Games. After watching the new trailer today (three or four times?), I decided it was time to read the book again.
Eating: Snyder's of Hanover Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches dipped in Hershey's Milk Chocolate. 'Nuff said.
Finished Watching: Storage Wars... in like 3 days. Not a proud moment for me, but boy was I hooked.
Thinking about: making caramels tomorrow. I need to stop.