Friday, April 29, 2011

dream kitchen

I recently posted pics of our new floors.
And as I said, I want to do the rest of our kitchen SO BAD.
Here are my thoughts:
Staineless steel appliances- CHECK for fridge and dishwasher (need new oven/microwave and stovetop)
cherry wood (laminate) floors- CHECK!
black/dark countertops (would love tips/advice on what type!)
White cabinets
Grey walls (still trying to get Steve on board for this.  Thinking we could even DIY!)
Here are a few pics that I'm using for inspiration:

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gluten Free/Sugar Free S'MORES

Over spring break we were going to take the girls on their first ever camping trip.  That ended up getting canceled due to rain (we were NOT going to have their first camping experience involve rain, we wanted them to like it!) and we pitched the tent in our bedroom and roasted marshmallows (sugar free of course!) in our bedroom fireplace.  Which we had never even used before. Thats a whole different story.
ANYWAY, I digress
So, since we were going camping, and s'mores is basically my favorite part of camping, I had to figure out a way I could enjoy them with my new diet.  I found this recipe on Gluten Free Girl and the Chef.  Her recipes always include a lot of different flours and she encourages measuring them out by weight instead of with cups, so I was too intimidated to try anything. Weighing out your flour? Seriously?  Thats some hard core baking stuff right there. But then I found her graham crackers.  And I had a week off so I had the  time.  And in the end, it really was not hard and didn't take that long (the only reason it took more time than it should have was because Izzy was trying to help. And no offense Izzy, you really aren't that helpful....)

You will need:
2.5 ounces sorghum flour (that’s about 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons) {apparently a harder flour to find, usually you have to order online, but the dudes at Sprouts went and checked the back for me and found one more bag! I was so happy I almost kissed him!}
2.5 ounces brown rice flour, ground super fine, if possible (1/3 cup, plus 1 T)
2.5 ounces tapioca flour (1 tablespoon shy of 1/3 cup
2.5 ounces sweet rice flour (1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons) {I missed getting this flour, so I just used 5 ounces of the brown rice flour }
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
3.5 ounces unsalted butter, just out of the refrigerator (7 tablespoons)
3 ounces mild-flavored honey (1/4 cup) {Yay!  No sugar! Love baking with honey!}
3 to 6 tablespoons cold water
cinnamon sugar (optional) {I skipped this one, but will try it next time!}

Cutting in the butter. Cut the butter into small pieces (about 1/2 tablespoon size). Add to the flours in the food processor. Pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flours. The mixture should have a coarse, sandy texture, like cornmeal. {I did this in my brothers awesome Vita-Mix blender.  Not sure why its neccessary since the flours all seemed pretty fine already.  But whatever, I'm not the expert. And I just really wanted to eat some good grahams so I did what the expert said}
Finishing the dough. Stir together the honey and 3 tablespoons of the water. With the food processor running, pour in the honeyed water. Let the food processor run for a few minutes, allowing the dough to form a ball. The final dough should be soft and pliable, even a bit wet. If it still has not come together entirely after a few minutes of processing, add the remaining cold water, a tablespoon at a time.
Refrigerating the dough. Put the dough in a suitable container (or wrap with plastic wrap) and put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will be just enough time to let you clean up the mess, put away the flours. Oh, and to…
Preheating the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Have another piece of parchment paper, same size, ready as well.
Rolling out the graham crackers. Cut the ball of dough in half. Return the other half to the refrigerator. Put the ball of dough onto the parchment-lined sheet tray. Cover it with the other piece of parchment paper.
Carefully, roll out the dough to a rectangle about 1/2 the length of the sheet tray, or until the dough is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 pieces. (You’ll have ragged round pieces on the edges. Leave them on. They’ll make great scraps for graham cracker crusts.) If you want the final crackers dusted with cinnamon sugar, do that here. {again, didn't do this, but will with some raw cane sugar next time} Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.
Decorating and baking. Pull the sheet tray from the refrigerator. Using the tines of a fork, prick holes into the crackers in a regular pattern that looks good to you. {I just used a fork to poke across the middle.  Totally not necessary, but fun if you want the full graham cracker presentation/effect}
Bake the graham crackers until they are golden-warm brown and starting to be hard, about 15 to 20 minutes. (Turning the tray halfway through baking will help them to not bake too brown.) Allow them to cool on the sheet tray until they are cool to the touch and hardened even more, about 30 minutes.
Repeat with the second half of the dough ball.
Eat. Dunk in milk. Make s’mores. Enjoy.
Makes about 16 graham crackers (or more if you cut them in half, as we did for Little Bean’s small hands)
They are smaller than real graham crackers, but delicious!!!!  Reminded me a bit more of pie crust than graham crackers, but it tasted AWESOME with my natural marshmallows and dark chocolate

Here are me & the girls before we started to bake!
These are my ingredients for my s'mores!
So no points for artistic/photographic ability here, but just so you can get an idea.....
Delicious! I seriously had four of them.  And then finished off the graham crackers over the next 36 hours......

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Cuteness!

Easter morning was a very exciting morning in our house- the easter bunny had left eggs starting all the way upstairs!
 I was so excited that Izzy actually understood.  She'd look around for eggs, see one and say "MOOOR, mor eggs!" 

 I did Jessica's hair in this fun braids on top kinda scandanavian/Heidi style.  She wasn't too stoked on it
 But how cute does she look?
 Family picture!  Poor Izzy doesn't have enough hair to do anything but antenea on top of her head
 We got the dress Izzy is wearing for Jessica a few years ago, and then inherited a hand me down for Jess to wear this year.  Perfect!  Though the dress is only one size difference, so it was a little too big on Izzy and a little short on Jess.... at least they matched :)
 Oh, and don't you love the accessories that Izzy piled on?  Jessica' put on her special pearl necklace, so Izzy had to find somethings, too.  I love the purple hat her Auntie Anne made her :)
Hope you all had a Happy Easter!

Monday, April 25, 2011


I guess now its called the Safari Animal Park or some such nonsense, but to me it will always be the WAP (Wild Animal Park).  And I've only been a SD resident for six years, 
so I can only imagine what the locals think.
Anywho, just some fun snapshots of a recent visit to the WAP with the family
Posing on the Rhino.  Izzy refused.  
Maybe she was just embarassed that her mother climbed up on top like a kid would?
 Birds and monkeys up high.  I always love pictures of Steve holding our babies, so cute

 Cheesy cute girlies posing for pictures while waiting for our tram ride to start.
I was quite stoked that I actually got them both to wear their matching sweaters.
I'm a total nerd with the matching thing, but I love it
 Looks like Jessica is taking after her mommy! She snapped this picture of me & Steve
 I think the girls were more into their snacks than they were into any of the animals.
 I have so many pictures of myself and my brothers in front of the gorilla wall at the San Fransico Zoo growing up.  But the girls refused to pose.  Luckily Steve was more than happy to :)
 Love this.  Checking out the gorillas
 The first time we ever discovered the Kid Zone!  I love when they hold hands on their own

 You know we had a good time when BOTH girls pass out on the way home

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Anatomy of a Preschoolers Outfit

The shirt is hotpink, even though in the pic it looks red (hand me down. love those)
Pink flower sweater (Old Navy)
Purple plaid pants (gift, no idea where its from!)
Gold glitter semi heel shoes (hand me down)
long flowing blond locks- all her own. She's growing it long like her teacher Miss Justine ;)
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Floors!

So we used to have carpet in our family room area.
And they had just gotten disgusting.
Thats what happens when you have 12 preschoolers tromping on them every day for over 5 years.
Yeah, gross.
They needed to get replaced, but I decided that carpet in general is just gross (no offense to any carpet lovers out there!) and that laminate just made the most sense.  Affordable, easy to take care of, easy to clean, and looks good.
Then, some laminate flooring when on sale at Costco.
We were ALL over that
Then we found a dude to hook us up for installation (we didn't want to attempt it ourselves, considering neither of us had ever done anything like it) (after some drama with our original dude who was going to hook it up, and help with our yard, but then he fell off the side of the planet and yeah, thats basically the story.)
It was originally supposed to go in when we were camping and gone during spring break, but since dude #1 dissapeared and dude # 2 couldn't do during the week, it ended up being over 2 weekends sandwhiching my spring break.  The first weekend happened to be when I was in Napa.
So Steve was in charge of all the craziness of living in a house with the living room and kitchen under construction, 
AND  being the sole parent to the two girls.
It was intense for him, but he did it with no complaints
He's awesome :)
Anyways, I'm in LOVE.
And of course, as these things go, I now also need to redo the cabinets and the counters.  But since those are not necessary (like the health code violation that was my carpets. J/K. Kinda...) or cheap, its going to be awhile.
So here are a few shots of my floors:
 My favorite part is it looks like they're angled in the hallway to the bathroom because of the way the house is set up. Looks so cool!  (And they are a cherry color, not as light as in the pic below)
 Half nakid baby running on the fabulous new floors!

I'll post a picture looking into the kitchen soon.  Maybe.  But really, my counters and cabinets look horrible now.... Oh, and we rearranged the furniture in our family room and I've been slowly decorating it thanks to my friend Jessie's fabulous advice.  Will post pictures when its finally done.  Which at this rate will be in like 2 more years......

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Goodness..... I mean, Cake

You will need:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for the pan
8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used a combo of bakers chocolate & dark chocolate. Tasted good to me!)
6 large egg yolks
6 large egg whites
1/2 cup cane sugar (granulated sugar works well for normal not crazy sugar free diet like me people)
Confectioners sugar for dusting (on everyone's piece but mine)
Berries mixed with agave to top
Or Rice Dream Ice cream in mint :)

1.  First, be careful if cooking with wine
Wine IN the bowl is not a good thing

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Unless you have a ghetto oven like me, then do 300.  With the rack in center.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Place butter and chocolate in a large bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time, until melted: cool slightly.  Wisk in yolks.

2. In another bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks.  Do this on a high speed- it will take a few minutes.  And then you'll feel like you belong on the Food Network.  Gradually add sugar: beat until stiff and glossy.  Whisk 1/4 of whites into chocolate mixture: gently fold mixture into remaining whites.  Learned how to do this from Chef Johnathon on my Napa trip.  Don't know how to explain it other than you are actually folding it gently into the mixture.  Do this slowly.  Again, you will feel like you deserve to be on the Food Network with your own show.  

3. Pour into prepared pan: smooth top.  Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and is just set in the center.  45 to 50 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  Serve dusted with confectioners sugar and mixed berries.  


{Pictures and recipe from my weekend in Napa.   Taught to us by Chef Jonathan Bodnar. 
I have since made the cake 2 more times, the second time turning out better, but both times delicious!}

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

Having fun playing around with Jessica & her friends one day at school. They totally posed for me- this was one of my favorites :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Big 3-0

The Big Dirty Thirty
Thats Crazy
But I'm not freaking out about it
I think its because I'm where I wanted to be at 30
I have an amazing husband
2 beautiful daughters
I have a successful business
I pride myself in my preschool teaching skills
I'm in pretty darn good shape.
I ran a MARATHON for goodness sakes
I would say I'm a runner, but right now I'm an injured runner who is unable to run :(
I am slowly finding the balance of life and creativity and becoming a scrapbooker again
I am a amautuer photographer
I have some the best girlfriends any girl could ever ask for, from all stages in my life
I love to cook, bake (all gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, redmeat free, etc, of course)
I love my wine
And dark chocolate (they make it with other sugars so I can have it :0 )
A bit of a hippy at heart
And, crazy enough, I am now a morning person.  Up everyday between 4:30 and 5am! 
(except on Sunday, some days I sleep in all the way till 8:30.  Seriously, who AM I?)
I am happy
Happy 30th to ME!
(Not the best picture of me, but recent and decent enough)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011


That pretty much sums up Miss Izzy J.
She is the QUEEN of the cheesy smile
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Sooooo, I thought I had figured out the pictures.  But its not looking like it over here.
Let me know if you can see them....

3-24-11: Special Daddy Jessica time, since Daddy had a minimum day!
3-27-11: Jessica wanted to do a candle lit dinner!
4-11-11: Loving our beautiful new flooring!
4-12-11: Jessica looking at LAST years PoTD album
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