Pioneer Woman…You will be the death of me!

Or, at least increase the size of my butt! This woman is amazing though, and if you haven’t taken the time to try out some of her recipes please head on over NOW!

http://thepioneerwoman.com/

We have tried the “Corn Chowder with Chilies” AH-MAAAZING!!! Have you seen “Happy Endings”? It’s a really funny sitcom and I recommend a watch.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/corn-chowder-with-chilies/

The “The Perfect Pot Roast” This was really easy and super flavorful. I will do this again for sure.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/09/2008_the_year_of_the_pot_roast

And the one I’m actually writing about… ” Cinnamon Rolls 101″

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/cinammon_rolls_/

This is the one I think you should make immediately. I feel very strongly that you should head on over to her website and check it out. Therefore, I am only going to be posting photos of my last cinnamon roll day. I called them, “Nemo Cinnamon Rolls”. Really, you can just create any reason to make these, they are THAT good. You’re welcome.

Happy Saturday!

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Hot out of the oven...delish!

Hot out of the oven…delish!

English Toffee Traditions

Every year for as long as I remember my dad made English Toffee for Christmas. In fact, a lot of my family has a special thing that they make/made for holidays that I attach to them personally. Having my own family has made me think a lot about traditions and starting new ones. This year was the second year I made the toffee and the first year it turned out well.

We started a tradition 4 years ago, The Mack Cookie Party. This year was our 4th and it keeps getting better. I also will make Rachel Ray’s “Christmas Pasta” again and we will have a couple friends over to eat for Christmas Dinner.

This year is extra special with the birth of our second child, Evelyn Louise. Thomas (17 months) is becoming a little boy more and more every day. It will be exciting to watch him open up gifts from Santa Christmas morning.

Now for what you’ve been waiting for… The Recipe.

The end result... Delicious!

The end result… Delicious!

English Toffee *

1 cup butter (extra for greasing pan)

1 cup sugar (I used granulated organic sugar)

1 six ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts                                                             (I found them already done at Trader Joes)

What you will need:

Heavy saucepan

wooden spoon

9×9 metal pan (cake pan) although, I used a glass 9×13 and made a double batch

Candy Thermometer ( digital one would work)

wax paper

festive tin

The important part

Butter your pan well and set aside. Combine butter and sugar in pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly. ** Be careful with the heat… You may need to adjust as you watch the time and temperature rise on the thermometer. Once the thermometer reaches 305-310 take it off the heat and test it by dropping a little into a glass of water; you want it to form into a hard ball and be brittle when removed from the water.Pour quickly into the greased pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Cool until hardened. Melt half the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler (I used a small metal bowl over a pan of boiling water). Spread the chocolate over the candy and sprinkle with nuts. Cool until chocolate has hardened. Turn candy out of the pan onto waxed paper with chocolate layer on the bottom. Melt remaining chocolate and repeat above process. Cool until this layer has hardened (this can take awhile, be patient it’s worth it). Break toffee into pieces and store in a tightly covered tin for at least 2 days to develop the flavor. ***           Makes 1 pound.

Pour into the buttered pan and smooth out with spatula or spoon.

Pour into the buttered pan and smooth out with spatula or spoon.

Pour over melted chocolate and sprinke with nuts. I pressed them down into chocolate slightly too.

Pour over melted chocolate and sprinkle with nuts. I pressed them down into chocolate slightly too.

After the chocolate gets hard, turn out on the waxed paper. This is where I came into trouble using the glass pan, a metal pan has some give.

After the chocolate gets hard, turn out on the waxed paper. This is where I came into trouble using the glass pan, a metal pan has some give.

* Recipe taken from The Redbook Cookbook

Dad pointers

** This section should take about 40-45 min and the outcome is a nice caramel colored sugar mixture. The better the color the better the flavor.

*** This is true, but let’s be honest… It’s still darn good right away

Pink explosion!

I have been busy preparing for our little girl to arrive and have neglected my blog… Obviously!
The de-clutter projects have continued in full force and I am happy to report much has left the apartment.
Bedroom closets have been switched and shelves/hooks added. I know that the hooks still look a bit messy, but imagine all that hanging on the top of the door and you will agree it’s SOOOOOO much better.

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We bought the hooks/shelves at IKEA and John was able to easily install them in a couple hours. We added three to the bathroom door for guest towels/robes as well.
My favorite project has been transforming the all boy nursery into a boy/girl room… Ah, apartment living in NYC!
I found the idea on Pinterest and went from there. I had a great time picking out the perfect fabric with my momma on our trip out to Oregon in September.

I cut the fabric to fit the embroidery hoops and attached it with “Tacky Glue”. (photo 1)
It was time consuming, but worth it. I also think a glue gun would work well.

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We are still anxiously awaiting her arrival. I’ll be 40 weeks tomorrow and SUPER ready to get the show on the road.
Happy Thursday!!!

Hiatus…

Hello there!

I know I’ve been gone for awhile,  but I have an excuse. I would like to report that I have been doing some de-cluttering and not JUST sitting on my butt on the couch (though, I have been doing my fair share of that too). My son will be turning 8 months tomorrow and he is rapidly changing before our eyes. Today, he stood without any help for about 10 seconds before sitting down on his butt. I knew that it was bound to happen, this standing and walking business, but I think it’s going to be sooner than later.

Now for the excuse…I’m pregnant!I just hit 10 weeks yesterday. The little peanut is doing very well and seems to be enjoying his/her space in my belly. I found out the day before I left for California so I spent another Disneyland trip not getting to ride Space Mountain. It’s all worth it for the little pumpkin. It’s still early so we are not telling the world the news, except for family and good friends. I’m excited to announce it and will be using a cute idea that I saw on Pinterest (I’ll post the picture here too). This pregnancy has been far worse than with the first, but each day closer to the 2nd trimester I seem to be getting more energy and feeling less like I want to vomit. My poor husband has got the worse of it…I’m not that pleasant of a pregnant woman during the 1st trimester. He’s counting down the days till the 2nd trimester starts. Hoping Pink, but pretty sure I’ll be a momma of 2 boys (just me and Nadia the cat).

So, that is what has been going on in our world.

The de-cluttering will have to go into high gear in the next few months since our nursery/office/guest room will have to become JUST a nursery/playroom. I’m excited to paint and get ready for the new and last addition. I’ll keep you posted!

Happy Friday!

Uninvited guests and my missing ceiling…

Sorry for my week long plus absence. I’ll fill you in…

I began the work on the cubby holes and realized just how big a mess it is. We left for a few days to visit with my husband’s mom in Wisconsin  and visit a few friends in Chicago. We’re back, and I’m still working on them; pictures to come. Now on for the fun stuff… HA!

Currently,the background noise I’m listening to is more of my bathroom ceiling being jack hammered away and the sound of falling debris. I will, of course, update this post with a large picture once I can get in there. It seems to be that they have found the problem with the leak from our upstairs neighbor. However, there is more than one reason being thrown around and it is dependent on WHO you talk to. ” I don’t really care what the problem is people, I want it fixed”! So, I sit here waiting for them to finish, two cups of coffee into my morning…

And now we get to the uninvited guest part. I grew up where you called people before stopping by. You did not stop by unannounced and I feel like this was the norm with my friends. I think it’s rude. You don’t know what people are doing or wearing and frankly, they just may not want to see you at the door. My husband on the other hand grew up with the exact opposite, which is fine. Now, there are always exceptions for surprises; friends coming into town to visit, romantic gestures, and emergencies. And then, you have friends that are always welcome at any time of the day. These friends that I speak of, KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt who they are and frankly, they would still probably call in advance. This has been a discussion a few times over the years, but recently was brought up again with all the problems of the ceiling. The woman upstairs who is running a hostel for students and lies about it as well as the super of the building think it’s fine to ring the doorbell at all hours. I open the door, baby in one hand and a bottle in the other hand standing in my nightgown (this happened three times over an hour time). How hard is it to pick up the phone, or text me, it’s 2012 people! I just don’t understand it, we are not in college, living in a dorm room; we are adults living in a big city in an apartment that is our home. My opinion of this may change if we moved back to California and lived in a small beach town and one of my best friends lived five houses down (this is a possibility and I dream of it often). Until then, I stand by my statement.

Happy Friday!

P.S. I’ll let you know what the next de-clutter project is very soon. I still need to finish the cubbies. :o)

Cupboards and Calories

Week 2 down and 50 to go. I’m not sure if this project is going to make the year go by faster or slower. So far, it’s gone by at lightening speed. I’m hoping that it slows down to a normal pace because I’m not ready for my baby to grow up. He’s going to be 6 months in just a couple weeks!!!!

It was really interesting going through the cupboards this week. I found THREE bottles of apple cider vinegar… I’m not really sure why, but there was a time I was really into coleslaw and I felt I perfected coleslaw dressing and I’m guessing that I kept buying it thinking I didn’t have a bottle at home (I think I’ll make some this week). I was able to organize the spices into categories and alphabetize, we’ll see how long that lasts.

Another goal I’ve taken on for the year is getting to the gym at least 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes. The first week I made it 4 times and felt great. This week I must admit I only got to the gym 3 times. I have been alternating the treadmill on a steep incline and the elliptical. I know that I’ll need to start incorporating some strength training which will happen this week. Thankfully, my gym has some great classes that do just that. Classes help motivate and make me work harder than I would on my own.

Week 3 is going to be cleaning out and organizing the other side of the cupboards. I can hopefully make room for the Keurig so I can proudly display my new Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
I’ll post pictures at the end of the week of before/after.

Here are the “after” pictures of week 2…

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Happy Monday!!!!

Progress While Napping

Some may think I’m kinda hardcore with my napping schedule, myself included at times. However, it allows me to get some things done around the apartment or sit on my butt and watch something I DVR’d. 9-10 am, I get to drink hot coffee and catch up on news, this has decreased some due to the fact that every time the news is on it’s about some horrible murder, abuse to a child or animal, or Beyonce’s new baby who apparently has a new song. BLAH! Noon-2pm-ish, I get to work on the de-clutter projects, do laundry, clean apartment, write post on blog, shower/brush teeth… okay you get the picture. 4:30-5:15pm, I prepare dinner and pick up a little. These are things that allow me to enjoy the weekends with my husband and son.

Today, I got done two of the three cupboards in the project for the week and they look pretty good. I do need to plan a trip to “The Container Store” to pick up some shelving that will allow me to use vertical space (my husband is a fan of this). I showered AND got to use lotion, pretty luxurious I know and had a bowl of Cheerios for lunch. I’m going to finish this post up and make  an easy dinner for the hubby to heat up later because I’m going to have a much deserved night out on the town with a friend. We are going to have drinks and see Patti and Mandy on Broadway. See the link before for more info.

Hope you all are enjoying your day and working on your own de-clutter projects if you are doing it. I think it’s pork chops, polenta and broccoli for dinner tonight. I’ll let you know how great the show was tomorrow.

Happy Thursday!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/23/patti-lupone-mandy-pantinkin-broadway_n_1111133.html