Wednesday, January 28, 2015


It didn't take long for a good snowstorm to hit after Christmas.  We pushed through Noah's tears and got him in his snow pants and coat, but we skipped the snow boots to save some crying.  After drying his tears we headed out for some snow fun, he loved his sled and did not want to get out!  He complained when he got snow on his gloves and he wouldn't hold on very well so he slid around in the sled a few times.  After we got tired of pulling him around the neighborhood, we sent him down our driveway which had just enough slope that he was on his way.   I then made him sit in the snow with me, which he did not like at all in the beginning, but after a little while he was asking for more snow!

Too fast
This stuff is awesome!

The next day we went up to my parents house to see what kind of sledding we could do there.   We pulled him around the yard and then ended up sledding down the driveway with him!   He seemed to like it and kept asking for more.   He had a slight fever and cough that day so we just went a couple more times and called it good.

Family Fun!

The next snowstorm came a few days later and he was so excited to get all his snow gear on and go play that we even got his snow boots on!  He walked all over the park and a lot of the way home!  He is getting pretty heavy.  We are looking forward to our next day of playing in the snow!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Christmas Rewind

I can't let Christmas time end just yet without a blog post sharing Noah's excitement.  He was so excited to see Christmas lights everywhere and he would point out every Christmas tree he saw.  We had a great time celebrating with our families and Noah seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself.  We seemed to get all of our traditions included in the festivities this year.  We watched our Christmas movies, ate lots of Wisconsin candy, got olives from Santa, made Christmas cookies, saw Santa, drove around town to look at lights, and had a wrapping paper fight!

We went to see Santa at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  They set up a ton of lights throughout the zoo, so we bundled up and went to see the animals and Santa.  Noah was very excited when we got in the room with Santa, but then when it was his turn to say hi, he was not letting go of Daddy at all.  We did get him to say HO, HO, HO for Santa and that was pretty cute.  Then Noah gave him a high five!

Christmas Eve we spent with Mikey's family and we really enjoyed having them come hang out with us at our house.  We jumped right into opening up presents.  Noah had tried to open two or three that were under the tree before Christmas, but every time he was told it wasn't time yet he put them back. He seemed a little unsure of opening presents, but it did not take him long to get it figured out!

Noah trying to figure out wrapping paper
On a roll now!
Super excited for his Thomas Train set!  All aboard!
On Christmas morning we spent time at home and got our stockings and opened up a few presents.  He really liked his Christmas stocking on Christmas morning!  

Then it was off to my parents house for Christmas dinner.  Having Noah and his cousins enjoying their Christmas together was very fun to watch and definitely makes Christmas for me more exciting now that I get to experience it with Noah!  We really had a great time with everyone!

Noah went straight for the candy that Santa brought him
He did not want to get out of his sled!
Really into unwrapping presents now
Unsure of his new Elmo doll
But after a minute he couldn't resist
The wrapping paper fight!

Fashion Show
Reagan and Noah playing horses
Noah and Breckin playing too!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

TWD: Baking with Julia - Eastern European Rye - Guest Baker

Normally Julie is the one baking every couple of weeks, but she wasn't that excited for making rye bread, and I love rye bread.  I read an article recently that describes all of the additives and such that are put into commercial bread and that has put me onto a big kick of making homemade bread, to the point where I'm making a loaf of half white/wheat for lunches each week.  I actually bought rye flour before we knew this was the recipe because I like rye so much and the flour has the whole grain in it, mmmmm!

The recipe came out of the Baking with Julia cookbook, and Julie cooks with a group called Tuesdays with Dorie.  The link is if you want to learn more.

I cut the recipe in half since I would be the only one eating the rye, I worried it would go bad.  My Mom then asked for a loaf, so I'll probably be making these again sometime.  I also have a bread machine recipe I am going to try, but this one will be hard to beat.  The crust was out of this world awesome.  Quick note, I used my cell phone camera for all of these pictures, so sorry if the quality is a bit low. 

The starting lineup
The yeast getting nice and creamy
The recipe called for finely ground caraway seeds, but our local mega-mart only had whole ones.  That was fine I thought, since I have a mortar and pestle, this will be fun.  Turns out caraway seeds are really strong and didn't take to grinding that way.  So I gave up and used the coffee/spice grinder, that was much quicker.

This is after 10 minutes of pounding and grinding, notice how whole the seeds are
Take that well-put-together seeds!
After adding the flour mixture into the wet ingredients the dough got really hard to stir.  I used the bowl with a handle (great idea) and a wooden spoon (another great idea), and I had to get the shoulders and back moving to get it combined.  But it came together nicely and went well in our largest bowl, well greased of course.  

Mmmmm, dough
Going in for the first rise
Covered with a festive towel...
It got huge!!  
Sometimes I just feel so deflated, you know? 
Rolled into the square for shaping.  
The instructions said to roll into a rectangle, roll it up, then put it on its side and push your fingers in while pushing dough in, then pull it apart and repeat until you get hospital corners or something.  I tried this and I could not get it to push in correctly, pulling it apart either ripped it or it just came apart at the seams.  I decided that kneading it a few times while shaping it into a loaf would work just as well, and it seemed to come out with the right texture and shape, so that's nice.

I didn't really understand why the bread should go into a sling for 30 minutes, but it was kind of fun, so I did it anyway!  I figured it might be to rise evenly without pressing against the counter or bowl, but it didn't seem to make much difference in the shape that I could tell.

Going into the sling
This was actually safer than it looks
Once out of the sling you cut into it, add the toppings, and bake.  I did half salt and half caraway seeds on top of the egg wash.  I liked the taste of  the salt side better, but I loved the look of the caraway seeds, so I will probably do both next time and see what that gives me.

Half salt and half caraway seeds
Crunchy, crispy, warm, smelled great
Because I started this way too late in the day, the bread didn't come out of the oven until 11-ish at night, so I let it cool a bit and then put into a cake holder so it wouldn't dry out.  The crust got a bit soggy unfortunately, but was otherwise unharmed by this.  I had my first slice the next morning with breakfast, and it was magnificent.  The flavor was great, it toasted well, and just wow.

My phone's best attempt at capturing the grain of the bread
The first meal with the bread: Runny eggs and rye
Toasted pastrami on rye
I will almost certainly be making these again.  I will compare it other recipes since this one took a lot of time, but the flavor and crust will be hard to beat with this one.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

TWD: Baking with Julia - Inside-Out, Upside-down Tirami Su

I love tiramisu, I think my affection for it came when I was a waitress at an Italian restaurant during college.  I am pretty sure it was the first place I ever tried it.  So, when this week's recipe was tiramisu, I was totally in for trying it.  It turned out to be something that completely changed the traditional tiramisu.  It tastes kind of like tiramisu, but did not look like it or have the right creamy texture that normally go with tiramisu.

It started out with a making frozen coffee granita, which was super simple to make, just espresso, milk and simple syrup, and stuck in the freezer.  After that was made I moved on to make the sabayon, which seems like a fancy word for custard.  It was egg yolks, sugar, milk and cinnamon, and it smelled delicious.  The recipe said that after cooking it for a few minutes to put it in a bowl of ice... I just stepped outside and let mine cool in a pile of snow that we had gotten over the weekend.  (Side note, our mailbox is being replaced after someone slid into it).  After it was cooled, I added whipping cream and mascarpone cheese.  Yay, mascarpone cheese, the essential ingredient in tiramisu!

Granita, I am going to have a lot left
Uncooked sabayon
the finished sabayon

After that was all ready, I baked some phyllo dough.  It said to cook a half slice in a four inch baking dish, and seeing how I need to make eight pieces and had one four inch dish, I just made little pillows and put them on a cookie sheet.

Finished phyllo pillows

After they were cooled, it was time for assembly.  My granita started to melt as soon as I scooped it out of the container.  Then I added heaping spoonful of the sabayon and topped that with another phyllo pillow.  Then more sabayon on top with some chocolate shavings and powdered sugar.  It completely started to melt before I could get a picture of it, it kind of turned into a soupy mess on me.  I probably needed to refrigerate the sabayon longer!

So, my opinion, I will probably never made this again, I ate it in about four minutes, but it is super rich, it is CRUNCH.Y., and I think I missed the rum, HA!   I would really like to try to make the traditional recipe someday, but after having this and all the sweet snacks over Christmas, I am going to have to think about doing that in about eight months!  It was fun to try!

For you non foodies, we really will write some other blogs about our adventures soon!