3:57 PM

A dark chocolate bar, cup of tea, banana bread in the oven, and my snuggle bear. Hubs is off to work. It's pouring rain. I don't think we will brave it outside this year. Plus, we aren't big Halloween people anyhow. However, we are armed with a big bowl of candy for any littles who do brave the rain this year. And those who do, will be kindly greeted by our little Holland bear and one overly excited puggle.

How are you celebrating? Or are you?

Happy Halloween. 


Caramel Apple Bread

11:12 AM

Looking for a Halloween treat? If only houses gave out slices of this to trick-or-treaters. Yum-o! Or, if you're not into Halloween (we aren't really) this is the perfect fall treat. Or an anytime treat for that matter.

Caramel Apple Bread
Yield: one 8x4 inch loaf

1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups peeled and chopped apples (about 1½ to 2 apples)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1/8 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
coarse salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x4-inch loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, grease parchment paper; set pan aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

 In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add in the oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix until smooth. Next, add the sugar and mix until well-combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until the flour is just combined. Fold in apples with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden and a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

While bread is baking, make your caramel. 

*Note: You will have left-over caramel. Drizzle it on another delicious delectable or enjoy it over vanilla ice cream. ;)

To make the caramel:
Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/8 cup water in a medium saucepan over high heat. 
Cook, without stirring, until mixture is dark amber, about 10 minutes. 
Remove from heat, and carefully pour in cream (mixture will spatter); stir until smooth. 
Return to heat, and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees, about 2 minutes. 
Pour caramel into a medium bowl, stir in 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and let cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Let cool completely.

Ok, now back to the bread...
Cool bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a dull knife around the sides of the loaf and turn it out on a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper and place right-side up. Cool completely before slicing. 
Once sliced, arrange on a platter of your choice. Drizzle with caramel to your hearts desire and thoroughly enjoy. 

Wrap leftover slices in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. 


Meals! Week 3.

11:21 AM

So...how bout those Giants??  Woot woot!!


Remember those shrimp & chive dumplings I was so excited about from last weeks menu? Well, we never got to them, but that's ok, because I am making them tonight and just as excited about it. The rest of the week we will focus on using what we already have. I hate food left unused in the pantry. Plus, our grocery bill will be minimal this week, like fruits and veggies minimal. I always love that!

Hopefully we will get a couple loaves of banana bread made too, with walnuts and chocolate chips of course. :)

Tuesday: Mango curry chicken and rice
Wednesday: Vegetable fried rice
Thursday: Udon noodle soup
Friday: Asian slaw and tofu
Saturday: Beef and broccoli {crockpot meal}
Sunday: Date night

What are you cooking?


Double Duty Decorating: Blanket crib skirt

8:50 PM

I am so pleased with myself right now…maybe a little too pleased. Anyhow, I've been wanting a crib skirt for our little Holland…something to cozy up his crib some, however I am frugal. His crib has been sitting pretty bare since I gave up on his bumper. Twelve ties that ALL have to be untied and then tied again every time I change his crib sheet. Really? Twelve? Is that really necessary? Anyhow, I sat browsing crib skirts online, after an unsuccessful trip to Target, frowning at the prices…and then, it dawned on me! What is cozier than a big plush blanket?? And there you have it. Crib skirt.

I just pulled one out that we had gotten from Ikea a couple years ago, a blanket we loved dearly and well, so did our puggle. So much so in fact that he snagged it multiple times all in the center making it rather unsightly but none-the-less still cozy.

It is now our new crib skirt.

I did no cutting, so sewing, no alterations. I simply laid it down underneath the mattress, adjusted it and there you have it. Since his crib is up against the wall it didn't have to cover all four sides of the crib, just two. If you have a crib where all four sides show, just choose a bigger blanket. :)

Take that other crib skirt tutorials all over the web. ;)

Simple. Easy. Double duty decorating.

I like the non-perfect look of the blanket as the crib skirt, but if you do not, simply choose a blanket or fabric that can be ironed out to smooth over the look and crease the corners!


Meals! Week 2.

9:36 AM

As you will see we have some repeat meals this week. Last week got super busy, like 4 birthday parties in 48 hours busy, so we didn't quite make it through all our meals. But that's ok, I carried them over for this weeks meal plan. Less grocery shopping for me!

Monday: Teryaki chicken bowls
Tuesday: Simple fish with corn and yellow tomatoes
Thursday: Polenta pizza 
Friday: Shrimp & chive dumplings with miso salad (I am really excited about this one)
Saturday: Left-overs
Sunday: Sushi

By the way, last weeks ginger fried rice was most definitely a success. The crispy crunchies on top of the dish, yum! We will be making it again. Quick, easy, delicious. 

So, what's on your menu? Did anyone cook off of last weeks?



10:16 PM

I make them everyday. Ok, just about everyday, and meal plan weekly, so why not share? Perhaps we can bounce ideas off each other? At the end of each week I spend about 15 minutes "meal planning". Deciding what to make on which day, and writing a grocery list. I go to the store about once a week. It saves us time and money. We write out each meal by the day of the week on a chalk board in the kitchen, and there you have it, our dinners for the week at a glance. Breakfast is generally fend for yourself, and lunch quick easy stuff or left-overs.

Do you meal plan?

I love trying new recipes so you will see a few regulars as these posts go on (which I do intend to do) and a whole lot of new stuff too. I like to switch it up.

So here we are this week:

Monday: Steamed salmon with a ginger vegetable broth (it was amazing and surprisingly easy)
Tuesday: Ginger fried rice, mixed green salad with strawberries and cantaloupe 
Wednesday: Simple fish with corn and yellow tomatoes
Thursday: Warm tuna and bean salad
Friday: Fried egg sandos
Saturday: Beef roast, cauliflower mash
Sunday: Take-out

What's on your menu?


A 3 Month Birthday Boy!

7:44 PM

I can't even believe it. Holland is 3 months old today. And HUGE might I add. Our 3 month old is now wearing 6-12 month pants on most days, unless momma squeezes him into something smaller. And I mean squeeze. To celebrate he boycotted nap ALL day long. And somehow managed to stay totally chipper. Way to go little man.

Happy 3 month birthday Holland Cooper. I cannot believe you've already been in our lives for a quarter of a year, but then again I can not imagine life without you little charmer.

Now let your body rest. The celebration is over. ;)


Holland's new clouds

10:07 PM

Super easy paper cloud tutorial.

As some of you might recall...Holland had this very shabby triangle mobile I made in a rush one night in his nursery. 

I say shabby in a not so good way. I wasn't very pleased with my impatient (and free) attempt at a mobile, and well neither was Will. In fact he hated it. So when I stumbled across this tutorial tonight, I was on it!! And best of yet, it cost me nothing. Nadda. Not a penny. You probably have everything you need too. 

Plain white paper. Check. Cardstock. Check. Scissors. Check. Needle and white thread. Check. 

You my friend are ready to go!

We hung ours simply, 3 clouds from smallest, to biggest. Just leave extra thread for this. ;)

Improvement? Yes.

Also, funny looking back at this picture. We moved everything around shortly after this post. Same items, different set-up. 

 Now, back to clouds…give it a try!!

We love our new mobile. Hopefully Holland will too. Come morning diaper change he will have a new something to admire.


*Note: if you live in a place with moisture in the air, consider using thicker paper. Steam from the shower got to our clouds, and one of them is sorta floppy now. :/


Lived and Learned

6:23 PM

It's been a long couple weeks. Nothing in particular has gone on, just the daily grind of motherhood and housewife has been keeping me busy. Hubs has worked a ton, studied a ton, and been school a lot, so our time together has been spent, well...together hence my blog absence. Anyhow here's a bit of this and that...

We (Holland and I) are officially dairy-free. Oh how I miss ice cream and cheese, but it is temporary and so worth it. He is a much happier little booger without it in my diet.

I skyped for my first time this week. Pretty stinkin cool! And about time. ;)

We've been making pesto like crazy along these parts. And serving tomatoes with every meal, as well as pawning them off on whoever we can. They are coming out our ears! But I love it.

On that note, grow a garden, it's worth it, no matter how big or small. We are just about to put our winter garden in the ground. Northern Californian's, you should too!

Back to being dairy free...it's hard, especially since I don't eat meat! Im eating more soy than I'd like :/ Vegans, you amaze me.  I LOVE my eggs. 

Food52 is amazing! More recipes than I could ever look through, and they ALL look fabulous. My new go to site for meal planning.

Fall is here! Can you believe it? I can't, but I'm *trying* to welcome it. I'm sorta partial to summer. To help, I got a few little pumpkins today, and we plan on doing this.  

You've got to try this Buttermilk Chicken. My husband said it was amazing. I left it for the full 48 hour marinade....(actually 72, but shhh). Stick to the 48 just to be safe. ;)

Happy Sunday all.


like us on facebook