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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Few Little Treasures

Yesterday, I watched the Memorial Day parade in my tiny town with my mother and grandpa. He didn't want to even go, let alone sit in a chair outside of the car. I bribed him out to sit by me by telling him he could sit next to me and we could get a really great picture taken together. It worked. I love my grandpa.

Watching the parade was really bizarre because it is the first real year that I actually sat and watched the whole thing without being in it. I have rode the preschool "Little Bunch" float, walked as a girl scout, played in the Elementary School Band, was in the drumline, was a flag twirler, and spun a rifle. So, I've had lots of memories from these parades and it was really cool to see it all.

Sunday after church, my mother and aunt and I went to look at Antique stores.
My mom found me this amazing antique sifter to use when I bake! Needless to say, I'm in love.

I found this Betty Crocker Recipe Keeper and it still had the plastic on it. I needed something like this so badly. I currently keep all of my recipe clippings in a huge folder, with no organization what so ever. This really bugs me because I never know how to find a specific recipe. This book even has cooking times, cheese charts, herb charts, spice charts, substitutions all inside of it.

It came with these baking magnets and little notepad for the fridge. We are now using the notepad as a grocery list. If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you know this book is so so me! 

Here are some of the little dividers. All my recipes are now sorted. This entire book cost me on six dollars.
Did anyone do anything exciting or special this weekend?

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday's Sweets: S'morekies

I love stuffed cookies. There is something about taking a bite into a cookie and having an unexpected, and delicious surprise that just makes me want to keep experimenting with recipes. This weekend we have S'morekies-- S'more stuffed cookies. They are gooey and soft, they literally melt in your mouth. I'm still working on perfecting this recipe but, I couldn't wait to share this with you. So, here it is:

1 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 farm fresh eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Marshmallows or mini marshmallows
1.5 Hershey's chocolate bars
2.5 sheets of graham crackers

preheat the oven to 375 degrees
1. Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer.
2. Add the eggs and vanilla to the mixture.
3. Then, add the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix on low until combined.

4. Fold in the chocolate chips and refrigerate the dough while you set up the s'more ingredients.

5. Chop the graham crackers into small squares. I break them into their long strips and then cut them in half again. Break the chocolate bars into the small blocks of chocolate. Cut the marshmallows into fourths. I made some with 1/2 a marshmallow and there was too much marshmallow and it bubbled out of the cookie. So, either cut your marshmallow in half twice or use mini marshmallows. I stacked them together before I got the dough out so they would be ready. You should have graham cracker on the bottom, then chocolate, then marshmallow all lined up and ready.

6. Scoop out two teaspoonfuls of your dough. Put one on top and one on the bottom of your S'more stack. Then, add another scoop to the sides. I squished down the top and then added in the extra dough were it was needed. Once your dough is added, roll it lightly in your hand to make a ball. Then, set your s'morekie onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I fit 6 on a sheet.

7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. The marshmallow still oozed out of the top of the cookies so, they are not the prettiest cookie ever but man do they taste wonderful.

Now that I've made S'morekies and Pillow Cookies (stuffed with brownie), do you have any other suggestions to stuff cookies with?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Heaven Is For Real

Here is a quick little book review for all of you readers out there. This is my first book review in a while and I'm thinking about making them more of a focus this summer because I'm planning on reading many more books. I've read a lot of blogs where people post their perfect little summer reading lists for the whole summer. I've tried to make reading lists before and to be completely honest, they do not work for me. I never actually go to my list and pick the next book. So, I end up with a reading list a mile long with only one book crossed off, the one I start with. I like to find a book that sounds good, read it, then find another book that is inspired from how I feel after reading the first one. If I love it, I find a similar one. If I hate it, I read that new title that everyone is talking about or just start with a random one.
Now that I've gone through my little intro, here is my first summer reading book. This book is fantastic. I read it in about two or three days. It is written by a father, Todd Burpo, who tells the story of his son who nearly died and during surgery the son went to heaven. Now you may not believe this but, this child repeats things that there is no way he could know unless he actually went to heaven. I don't want to give anything away but, I highly recommend this one. 
This one is really special to me because the day before I found it, I prayed to God asking for help finding peace with the idea of Heaven. I always wonder what happens when you fall in love with someone and then die young, and they remarry or re-fall in love, what happens? I have this fear that I'm going to die early and wait in heaven for the one I love and find out that when he actually comes to Heaven, he is with somebody else and not me. I don't know. For some reason, this bugs me a lot. Regardless, I prayed for understanding and the very next day God put this book into my life. I'm even reading another one similar to this and exploring even further. Also, I guess I'm sharing this with all of you now, too. God works in mysterious and wonderful ways.
If you read this or have read it before: what do/did you think?

Farmer's Wife Friday: Week Two

Sorry for the late post! Life has been just keeping me busy since yesterday. I was going to post about this Friday night and ended up finishing a book and going to the movies instead. Alec and I saw Men In Black 3 and it was amazing. Then I was going to do it this morning but, we ended up spending all day at the lake and then I worked on a project that I will share with everyone when it is finished. 
Anyway, less about me and more about this farmer's wife. The letter for this week came from Furnas County, Nebraska and is titled "No Safer Road to Travel". My favorite quote in the whole letter is when she wrote: "To wake up in the early morning to the bird calls, the animal greetings, is better than the best symphony concert every played."  She then continues to write: "To see the sun climb out of bed and reach out rosy fingers to pick up the dew drops from field and meadow, and to watch the joyous greeting of all nature, in the summer time, is worth more than silver and gold can buy". I mean, wow. This is so completely true. In fact, I even wrote "completely agree" in the margin of my book. I absolutely love waking up in the morning and drinking my coffee out on the porch so I can enjoy the view and listen to the birds. Being a country girl myself, for this reason alone I would recommend being a farmer's wife...if it meant you could wake up to nature every morning.

This block is called Country Path. I really like the colors here because I am a browns, greens, and beige fan.   These are unlikely favorite colors for an 18 year old, I know, but my entire room is themed around those three colors. This block didn't turn out too awful and I love the checkered fabric.

Now this little block...this little block was quite the challenge. I do not paper piece, or know when to paper piece but, I feel like this block might have been one of those moments. Clearly, it turned out more than a little wonky. I love the fabrics though, and love the little pinwheel in the center. It gets a little crooked from there, though. This one is called "Silver Lane". I'm loving this quilt along and can't wait to read next weeks letter!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Life Through Photos

This is my life as of lately through the photos from my phone ( and some other peoples' phones). 

My cousin, Courtney, had her Bachelorette party.

Shadley the cow.

Alec half-smiling as he tries holding the baby chick.

Meowzers the cow.

I've been doing a lot of this lately.

I finally met Melissa's baby, Gracie.

She is so adorable. She was asleep and rolling her eyes in this picture.

Some bedside reading....

Kitten does this every time I sew.

New pretty in pink bow flip flops! I'm in love.

Baby ducks at the lake.

Leopard isn't my thing but I couldn't resist.

Some scrapbooking.

Couponing pays off (literally)

Meowzers and I bloggin' on the porch in the sunshine.

Rose frosted homemade vanilla cupcakes.

Practicing my frosting.

Grocery shopping with my list on the kindle and my coupons buttoned onto the cart.

Found this coupon under a box of tea that I put in my cart. Thank You, stranger!

Freeze lemon slices to put in drinks.

Woke up to this entire thing on the floor this morning...what a wonderful opportunity I had to organize my thread by color.

And some more lounging in the porch swing with Meowzers.

Lots of random things going on in my life right now but, it is so relaxing to just have a few weeks to breathe.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Corn Chowder from my Childhood

This recipe is an all time favorite in my family. At least for my brother and I. Usually I have a decently delicious looking picture of whatever I'm about to tell you how to make at the beginning of my posts. This time, I forgot to take a picture of the chowder in a bowl looking all scrumptious before I ate it. If this is any indication of how much I love this corn chowder, you should take my advice and make it yourself. Instead, I added a photo of my brother and I from this past weekend before he went to his Senior prom. Since all of my memories of this corn chowder have to do with Sean sitting there right next to me scarfing it down, too. Back to the recipe- this chowder is thick, creamy, bacon-y. and only takes 20 minutes to make. It stays really well in the fridge and is even better the next day. 
Go ahead, make it for dinner and let me know if you and your people feel the same about it as my people and I do. 

Corn Chowder 

white or russet potatoes (I used about 7 small potatoes, but use as many as you'd like)
2 cans of creamed corn
2 cans of corn kernels, drained
1/2 bag of bacon, or the whole dang bag if you really love bacon.


1. Peel and dice the potatoes. Then, boil them for about 10 minutes, or until soft.

2. In the meantime, cut up your bacon and place on a frying pan on medium-high until it is slightly crisp. You could always cut it up after its cooked but, I like how it cooks when it is smaller. The pieces get crispier, quicker, in my opinion. 

3. Drain the potatoes and then combine all ingredients into a large sauce pot. Cook for about 6-8 minutes more on medium heat to combine and heat up the corn. This part is the best part because the chowder becomes thick and delicious. By this step, your kitchen smells great and your mouth is watering. 


Monday, May 21, 2012

My First French Macarons

This is a big big day today, people! French Macarons have been my all time favorite dessert for years. I used to work in a Tea Room and that is when I first tasted these lovelies. I couldn't get enough. I have never loved another baked good or dessert as much as I love French Macarons. Past attempts at making these have failed ( and I mean can't even get to make round-ish shapes, waste of expensive bag of almonds, burnt, stuck to the pan failed). 
So today, the very first day that I have eaten these in years, is a big day in itself. But..for me to have made these is like the kind of joy that just fills up your entire body and makes you want to smile. This is one of those moments in my blogging career where I just sit back (eat a macaron) and realize that hey..I just reached a goal. I learned about baking enough to know what to fix when something goes wrong, and I have finally managed to create my own favorite dessert that I have been striving towards for a while now. Like I said, big day people.
I don't know if any of you have ever tried to make these precious, melt in your mouth, treats before or not but apparently its pretty difficult. I researched a little before I started and found pages upon pages of people showing pictures and giving tips and explaining textures simply for creating french macarons. Here is my own little version and it includes all that I needed to know to create them.

French Macarons:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour (ground up almonds)
2 large, room temperature, egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar, or a drop or two of lemon juice
1/4 cup superfine sugar

1. To make almond flour, pulse almonds in a food processor or blender until it is in very small pieces, like a flour. You can use any nut but, almonds are typically used. For a nut-free version, use pumpkin seeds.
2. Blend the confectioner's sugar and the almond flour until combined. You are supposed to sift these twice but, I don't have a sifter so I didn't and they turned out wonderfully.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk the egg whites with a mixer until foamy, then add the cream of tartar or lemon juice. Continue mixing until soft peaks form.

4. Now, add in the sugar ( I just used regular cane sugar) and mix on high until stiff peaks form. This should take about 8 minutes. I don't have a standing mixer and trust me, this 8 minutes feels like a trip to the gym. It is oh so worth it, though.

5. Fold in the almond and confectioner's sugar mixture into the egg whites. This is going to be a folding and pushing against the wall of the bowl sort of stirring, so that the two different textures combine. I started with a rubber spatula and switched to a wooden spoon.  By the end, your mixture should be smooth and shiny. This step is also where you add in any food coloring or flavoring. Unfortunately, I was so excited that they were turning out okay that I forgot to add food coloring on mine.

6. Put the batter in a pastry bag with a regular round tip on it, or just put it into a plastic zip-lock bag and cut a hole in one corner. Pipe 3/4-inch circles or rounds an inch apart, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
I found it was easier, and prettier, to just hold your bag in one place and pipe out your circle holding the tip close to the paper. This way, your macaron will expand to a larger circle on your own. Instead of leaving a peak in the middle just drag your point off to the side.

7. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F. and bake them for about 8-10 minutes. They will be done when you jiggle the pan a bit and the tops do not slide around separately from the feet. Remove from oven, let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then put on a cooling rack.

8. Pipe a dab of ganache or frosting onto one macaron and top with another. You can really use tons and tons of fillings. Seriously, google some varieties. I wanted to do chocolate ganache but, I did not have any heavy cream. This chocolate buttercream frosting is great in it though. My mom asked if it was ice cream...that is how good it is.

(To Die For) Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 stick, or 1/2 cup butter, softened
about 1.5 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
a splash of vanilla extract
a splash (around 2 Tablespoons) of milk 

1. Mix the butter on medium until it is smooth, then add in the sugar and cocoa powder.
2. Mix until combined. It will start off really dry, and then turn really thick.
3. Add the vanilla and milk, mix until light and fluffy.
4. Taste test this beautiful frosting and fight the urge to eat it by the spoonful. 

I hope everyone goes out and tries this recipe. It might be daunting but it is so worth it. If you do try it, please tell me how it went and I hope you enjoy every minute of it half as much as I did.
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