Saturday, November 30, 2013

Holiday craft workshop 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Yippee!

I had the pleasure of joining some rad ladies a few weeks ago for a holiday craft workshop extravaganza!  My good friend and upstairs neighb, Julie, hosted at her adorable apartment.  'Twas an afternoon of wine, crafts, wine, crafts, and more wine.  Followed by some margaritas.  Yesssssss.....

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What a lovely day!  All photos in this series were taken by Julie Carroll.  Totally rad babe.  We made hand painted ornaments and mugs, mason jar waterless snow globes, and fiber art pom pom garlands.  I love them all!

What about you guys?  Have you done any crafting yet this year? 


Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving turkey sliders

Happy Thanksgiving week!  Happy Christmas begins week!  Happy 'you don't have to feel bad for listening to Christmas music already' week!

I just got back from spending the weekend with my grandparents who live a few hours away.  This definitely marks the beginning of holiday season this year.  Doesn't it seem like it came super late this time around?  I think so anyways......

Well..... unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), Jerdy and I don't cook a Thanksgiving dinner.  We have about 4 cooked for us by friends or family between October and December, but we never make our own.  I always try to make a "mini" Thanksgiving meal, or some kind of meal that sort of resembles a Thanksgiving dinner, but for only two people.  This year, I found this recipe for Thanksgiving turkey sliders.  Dudes, this recipe had me at "cranberry mustard."  SOLD!  The recipe calls for using a grill, but I just used my skillet, and they turned out great.

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Here is what you need to make 16 little sliders, packed full of that Thanksgiving flavor goodness:
Total time to make:  1.5 hours

8oz fresh cranberries
1/4 cup honey
1/4 water
2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp butter
3/4 lb large assorted mushrooms, tough stems removed, sliced
1/2 yellow onion sliced into rings
2 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1.5 Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
3/4 cup mayonnaise, divided
16 slider rolls
2 cups packed arugula leaves

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First, make that incredible cranberry mustard.  The shining star of the sliders.
Heat cranberries in a small saucepan with honey and water over medium low heat.  Cook until berries burst and sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.  Let cool, stir in mustard.

While the cranberry sauce is cooking, cook your mushrooms and onions.  Saute mushrooms and onions in the butter in a small frying pan until browned, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Mix turkey, onion, herbs and mayonnaise in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Shape into 16 small patties, about 3 inches each.  Create a dimple in each to avoid dry burgers.

Heat oven to around 325, and heat your slider buns until nice and warm.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet pan.  Fill the skillet pan with burgers, you will need to cook these in batches.  Cook about 3 minutes, or until browned, and flip.  Cook through, but do NOT press on those patties!  That will pour all of the juice out of them.

turkeysliders2 photo turkeysliders2_zps2ec6dbe7.jpg Assemble your burgers.  Cranberry mustard on bottom, then arugula, then burger, then top with mushrooms and onions.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!  Now go blast those Christmas tunes I know you've been dying to hear!


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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hearty mushroom bolognese

Hey girlfrans.  What's shakin?  Ready for some Thanksgiving grub next week?  I KNOW I AM!

I've been trying to go a bit more vegetarian the last weeks before the gut bomb that begins next week.  Sometimes a lot of meat can just leave me feeling.... like I really need a salad!  So, in my efforts, I stumbled across this mushroom bolognese recipe that promised to be as hearty as a meat sauce without the meat.  Cha!  Right!  But no really, it definitely lived up to its word and I just had to share it.  I normally tweak recipes a bit, but this was followed to a T, and the ingredients and instructions below are listed exactly as the website lists them.

Sidenote before I begin: You don't actually have to serve this with a cocktail glass of water and a weird piece of bread.  What was I thinking when I styled this shoot!?
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Hearty mushroom bolognese:
Serves 8, total time: 1 hour


1 small onion, coarsely chopped 
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped  
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped 
1 medium parsnip, chopped  
1/2 small turnip, coarsely chopped 
1 pound king oyster mushrooms  
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
Kosher salt  
Ground pepper 
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms  
1/2 cup dry red wine 
1 small Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, plus 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano  
Pinch of crushed red pepper 
1/4 cup heavy cream  
1 teaspoon minced rosemary 
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti, cooked until al dente and kept warm  
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

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In a food processor, pulse the onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, turnip and king oysters until finely chopped. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, 20 minutes.

In a bowl, cover the porcini with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water; let stand until softened. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the water. Rinse and chop the porcini, add to the vegetables and cook until fragrant, 10 minutes. Add the wine, rind and red pepper; cook until the wine evaporates. Add the reserved porcini water, cover partially and cook over low heat, stirring, until thick, 25 minutes. Add the cream, rosemary and 1/4 cup of grated cheese and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard the rind.

Add the warm pasta, butter and 1 cup of water to the sauce and toss, stirring until the pasta is well-coated. Serve. 

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I love this pasta!   One of the best I've made in a while.

Hope you enjoy girlfrans!  And let's raise our martini glass of water and plain bread to next week's ultimate feast!  Yippee!


Sunday, November 17, 2013


Oh my gosh you guys, November freakin 17th!  I'm realizing from these photos that life has been pretty hermity the last few months.  This fall has kind of kicked my ass both physically and emotionally.  At least I've still got a month of my fave season left huh?  Here are the life moments I've captured (semi) recently:

Homemade pumpkin bread from my fave upstairs neighb.  Love that girl.

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 The leaves turned so quickly this year!  I believe this photo was taken in early October, which is usually still a bit like summer around these parts.  Fall hit us like a ton o bricks, and I loved every minute of it.

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Hot drinks seem to be the  theme of this fall for me!  I've always loved them, but for some reason I've been digging them more this year than usual.  Maybe it's the extra month of cold for us Seattleites, or maybe it's because I finally tapped into a love for hot alcohol.  :)

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Walking Dead dinners started again!  I briefly touched on this last year, and I'm so pumped the tradition has started again. We switch off dinner duty with the upstairs neighbs and watch the show together.  Lots of wine drinking and nail biting...... YES!

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 Squash, squash, squash, squash, squash.  I think we've got 5 in our kitchen right now.  Soup time!

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 More pretty leaves.  Seriously blown away at how gorgeous this fall has been.

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 Halloween came and went!  I made this little cutie this year, and it became one of my highest viewed posts ever!  Check out the tute here.

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 We had about a week of seriously thick fog.  It was pretty awesome walking to work in this hazy shit.  Surreal around these parts.  Photo really doesn't capture it, it was nuts!

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 More hot drinks!  Jerdy's hot chocolate and my earl grey with honey and a bit of cream.  I've discovered a hard core love for hot toddys this year, which I'll go into a bit later on the bloggie.  This girl has fallen hard.

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 Well, there you have it.  The last few months.  Thinking I need to spice things up a bit.  We got a bit into hermit mode after the craziness of the wedding, then came a bit of sickness, then came some serious tragedy that I touched on briefly earlier, then came more sickness.  I hate to say it, but this fall has been one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most challenging ones I've ever had.  Can't all be sunshine and rainbows all the time I guess.  Things are looking up though, and the holiday season is upon us! 

Happy holidays everyone, and cheers!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pumpkin spice body scrub

Hey friends!

I'll admit, I've been a bit turned off by the amount of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING this year.  I think we've all been giggling about those hilarious "pumpkin spice has gone too far" jokes and vids.

This one is freakin fantastic.

BUT....... I do still love this festive, seasonal delight.  Hard to beat a great pumpkin bread, or latte, or cheesecake, or..... ok..... so many good things.  This will be my ONLY pumpkin spice post this year, I promise. :) (maybe.)

I tried out Kinsey's pumpkin spice body scrub this past weekend!  I followed the recipe exactly, and, well, mine ended up more like a pumpkin pie body oil mask.  Still, I kind of love it.

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1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves

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Melt the oil in a small pan on low.  Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the pumpkin to the melted oil.  Slowly incorporate the oil into the dry mix, until you have a dry, sort of scrubby paste.  I just added all of it at once and created more of a dough rather than a dry scrub.  Let cool completely, and use within a few weeks.

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Although mine is more of a body oil rather than a scrub, it smells delicious and makes my skin uber-soft!  I kind of love this messy, festive goodness.  Even if I do have to clean out my shower a bit after using it.

Pumpkin spice will eternally make me think of fall, which is why I still love it, but a few tastes and I'm good for the season I think. What about you guys, are you sticking around on the pumpkin spice bandwagon?  Or are you jumping off screaming for mercy?

Have a "pumpkin spice" Wednesday!  heh heh.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Orange spice cheesecake with gingersnap crust and cranberry topping

Guess what my favorite food is guys?

A: Thanksgiving

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When Jerdy told me he wanted a cheesecake for his scrumptious birthday treat this year, I just about died.  Ohmygodohmygodilovecheesecake.  I had originally planned to make a chocolate oblivion truffle cake, but hey, always Thanksgiving, my bday, and Christmas to make treats for this year. :)

I tried and tried to find the perfect cheesecake treat on the web, but just never found what I was looking for.   I took this recipe, and altered it a bit, to create orange spice cheesecake with gingersnap crust and cranberry topping.

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For the crust:
1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (I used nabisco)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the cheesecake:
4 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
rind of 1 small orange
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs

For the topping:
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 cups water (divided)


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Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Using your hands, blend gingersnap crumbs, butter, sugar, and cinnamon.  Spread along the bottom of a 9" springform pan, and press until you have a nice firm base crust.
Start beating the cream cheese in a mixer on low.  Slowly add in ingredients through cinnamon, until well blended. 
Add eggs 1 at a time, making sure to blend each before adding another.
Turn mixer up to medium-high, and beat some air into that batter!  Only for about 10 seconds.
Pour mixture over crust, and spread evenly
Bake 55 minutes, or until center looks almost done. 
Combine cranberries, sugar, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan.   Heat slowly, until cranberries burst and sauce begins to thicken.  Add the remaining water and cook until sauce is desired thickness.  Test the sweetness here, you may need more sugar.
Let sauce cool, and then refrigerate. 
Once cheesecake is pulled out of the oven, separate the cake from the pan using a knife.
Let cool, then remove the side of the pan from the cake.
Refrigerate for 4 hours.

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Serve at the table with a festive Thanksgiving centerpiece!  Top cheesecake with the cranberry topping and garnish with a few fresh cranberries.  This cheesecake won't last long in your house, I promise.

Cheers to Thanksgiving month!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Let's chat {about sorrow and shit}

Well..... I haven't been vocal about it on this here bloggie, but a good friend of Jerdy's and mine was killed a couple of weeks ago.  I haven't figured out how to (or if I should) express my feelings publicly on the blog.  It's SO SAD!

For the purpose of this blog, let's call him Dude.  Jared had been friends with Dude since Junior High, and having known Jared for almost 8 years, I had known Dude about as long.  We partied together mainly, but also laughed, joked, smiled, sang, cared, pissed off, annoyed, cried, and loved.

Jared's birthday was October 20th, and very late that night, Dude was hit by a car, and left to die alone on the side of the road.  It was a hit and run driver, and Dude's body was found at about 1:30 in the morning.  The driver has since turned herself in, and the story just gets weirder and weirder, but there's no need to go into it.  It's already done.

The last weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion.  So many lows, but so many ups as well.  Sorrow for the loss of a friend.  Pain in the heart for the details involved.  Grief for everyone who is suffering.  Guilt for not being as patient as I should have.  Compassion for family and friends.  Love for everyone.  Seriously, so much love for everyone.  Sincerity in everything I feel.  Nerves for driving/walking/even just moving.  Heartbreak to see the love of my life have a broken heart, and people I love all around me hurting.  Crap, the list just goes on and on.

Most of all though, I feel so grateful to have know him.  I didn't know him well, but I knew him enough to know that he was a lover, a jokester, a pranker, a magician, a sports lover, a son, a brother, a scholar, a human being with flaws, and most of all to Jared and me, a friend.  He tried so hard to make everyone smile, and I'll never forget that.

Dude's parents said that 3 weeks before his death, he had mentioned that he wanted this song played at his funeral:

And so it was, ironically enough.

The silver lining in all of this, is my renewed faith in humanity.   I have never witnessed anything as inspiring as the people who came together to help each other, with only the love for Dude as the string that binds them.  All that love in one place..... I hope I don't let go of what that felt like. 

Friends: please remember to say "I love you" today.  And every day.  Please rekindle relationships and say "I'm sorry."  Please remember just how fragile and precious our relationships and lives are, and think about how lucky you are to live the life that you do.  

Cheers to you Dude.  You tried so hard to make everyone around you smile.  Remembering your adventurous spirit and contagious laugh will never go out of style.  Ever.  Love you Dude.

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