Wednesday, November 30, 2011

what's cookin' wednesday - pie crust "scones"

i am a cheater.  when it comes to cooking and baking, i will often seek out shortcuts and recipes that create dishes that look more complicated than they really are.  well, sometimes they look difficult.  other times, like today, they look as easy as they really are.

i found this recipe for "things to make with leftover pie crusts" and decided to make it applicable to the whole darn crust.  they have a scone quality about them that makes them perfect with tea or coffee.

Cinnamon and Sugar Pie Crust Cookies

1 frozen pie crust, thawed
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
(or you can be like me and buy the pre-mixed sugar and cinnamon)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unroll dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut shapes into the dough (i used a cookie cutter and made  braided twists).
Brush butter over the dough. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet.
Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle mixture over dough.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the dough is lightly browned.
Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.

easy and delicious!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

tuesday's treasury - stocking stuffers pt 3

a few ideas for the kiddos...

Monday, November 28, 2011

oside turkey trot 2011

in our family's second annual turkey trot, i ran the 5K in 32 minutes!  that is a personal best since i started participating in 5Ks last year.  i'm pretty pleased!  Justin and Saraya finished in an equally impressive time of 37 minutes and 54 seconds.  he worked hard running with that stroller!  this year over 8,000 people participated in the event and raised over $30,000 for local schools.

i hope you too were able to work off a little of the thanksgiving weekend treats and that you had a great time celebrating the holiday.  can you believe it will be DECEMBER this week?!  i think we'd better plan another 5K in preparation for the christmas feast...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

18 months!

my sweet and funny pandi,

happy 18-month birthday!  as i write these words, i'm overcome with such a mixture of emotions.  you are SUCH a little person now.  you are no longer my little baby; you have wants and desires, opinions and a sense of humor.  your daddy and i marvel at you each and every day.  we love to watch you grow and change and we're so pleased to be able to share so much with you.  while i look forward to what your future holds and i may get a little nostalgic for your past, i realize that right now is perfect and so i try to capture that here.

my heart sings every time you say "mama!" and it bursts with joy when you give me unsolicited hugs and kisses.  you love your routine but are always up for little adventures just like me.  you LOVE to read, draw, and play music.  and kicking soccer balls is your new favorite activity at the park.  you know the colors green, yellow and purple, and whenever we ask you what color something is, 99% of the time you say green first.  i love to hear all of your animal sounds like your cow, cat, dog, horse, owl and most of all your sheep and goat.    (i really need to record those so you'll believe us later when we say it's hilarious)  your healthy appetite and eating habits continue to astound people.  right now you are on a broccoli (brocky, brocky!) and apple kick but you will pretty much eat whatever we eat, including calamari and wild mushrooms.

your walk/run is so amusing. there's very little waddle anymore.  you look down like you're deep in thought and your step is quick and determined.  your little arms swing back and forth rapidly and you rarely slow down.  we're still trying to figure out where you're in such a hurry to go!  and you like to jump and dance.  all of that energy makes us wonder how you still manage to keep your buddha belly.

every kid is "baby" to you, even if they're bigger than you.  you have lots of "uncles" and "aunties" and even though you've never been shy before, you're starting to cling to us when you first meet people.  within a few minutes you're having entire conversations with them as if you're old friends (especially if they've shared some food).

you're on your way to being well-traveled.  so far you have been to oregon, hawaii, florida, and colorado.  you're a pretty good little road-tripper.  you love to name the things you see outside the window.  we can't wait to take you to one of the countries outside the US we love, or even to a new place none of us has been.

whatever adventures lie ahead, one thing we know for certain is that you will always be a part of them.  and we wouldn't have it any other way.  this past year and a half has been the biggest blessing.  we love you Saraya! ♥♥

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thanksgiving!

from our family to yours, enjoy this time of thanks.  and Saraya wanted me to tell you "gobba, gobba!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

what's cookin' wednesday - chocolate brioche

Image Detail

i received a copy of this book for christmas last year and have been woefully neglectful when it comes to trying out  these recipes.  i lent it to a good friend that has more than made up for my neglect and she helped me make my first bread from it this past weekend.  i thought a brioche with chocolate ganache sounded pretty heavenly.  it was fun and super easy to make.  and i was right, it tasted divine!  here's the recipe we used.  i am definitely encouraged to make more of these recipes!

Brioche Filled with Chocolate Ganache
1 pound brioche dough (grapefruit sized)
1/4 pound bitter sweet chocolate finely chopped (semisweet works too, but not as well)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan.
4 tsp unsweetened cacao powder.
1 tbsp rum
5 tablespoons corn syrup.
1 egg white lightly beaten with 1 tbsp of water.
Granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

Making the ganache:
1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave on low heat, until smooth. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir until incorporated.

2. Stir the cocoa powder into the rum, add the corn syrup, and mix until smooth. Add to the chocolate.

3. Assembling the brioche:Lightly butter 9 x 4 x 3 inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated brioche dough with flour and cut off a one pound piece. ( I flour my hands and work area more so than the dough)Dust the piece with flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the ball a quarter turn as you go. Using a rolling pin, roll out the ball into 1/4 inch thick rectangle, dusting with flour as needed.

4. Spread 1/2 cup of the ganache evenly over the rectangle, leaving a 1 inch border all around. Starting at the short end, roll up the dough, being careful to seal the bare edge.

5. Gently tuck the loose ends underneath, elongate into a oval , and drop into the prepared pan.

6. Allow to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Using a pastry brush, paint the top crust with egg white. Sprinkle lightly with the granulated sugar.

8. Bake the brioche for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the sugar caramelizes. Due to the butter in the dough, the brioche will not form a hard crust.
9. Remove from the pan and cool slightly, then drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup of ganache over the top crust. Cool completely and slice. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

chocolate giveaway winner

congratulations to Pnut for winning the Indahphoria Chocolatier giveaway!  and thanks to everyone who entered.  keep looking out for more giveaways coming soon...

tuesday's treasury - stocking stuffers pt 2

for husbands, boyfriends, dads, grandpas, brothers and friends...

Monday, November 21, 2011

autumn photos

here are some more pics from our recent trip to oregon.  these were taken at lithia park.  there were some deer hanging out and when Saraya followed one to the bushes, she  was completely unaware that another one was following her.  this is also the first time she got to see an acorn in real life and she was intrigued.

Friday, November 18, 2011

giveaway - Indahphoria Chocolatier CLOSED

this is Aaron.  he owns an amazing company called Indahphoria Chocolatier.  Indahphoria translates to "carry the beauty" in a mix of indonesian and latin languages.  Aaron was born in southeast asia and has had many adventures to include farming cacao plants in hawaii.  he became fascinated with cacao and combined his love of chocolate with his passion for creativity and exploration to start Indahphoria Chocolatier in the fall of 2010.

all of these dark chocolate specialty bars are hand-crafted in Bend, Oregon using fair-trade and organic ingredients.  and these are NOT your run of the mill flavors either.  inspired by his travels, Aaron creates masterpieces like Himalayan Sea Salt with Goji Berries and Queso de Cabra (made with rare sharp goat cheese and turkish figs).

now, one of you lucky readers will get the chance to enjoy some of this awesome chocolate! i'm giving away one Aphrodite's Love.  72% cacao infused with 8 organic/fair trade aphrodisiac herbs from around the world, this bar "awakens the heart and inspires the soul with sweet emotion."  

all you have to do is visit Indahphoria Chocolatier and leave a comment here letting me know which flavor you're looking forward to trying.  for a bonus entry, like Indahphoria Chocolatier on Facebook and leave an additional comment here letting me know you did.  winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 22nd. good luck!



Thursday, November 17, 2011

knitting progress

as promised, here's a little update on my knitting.  in addition to the cute little mini scarf i first made, i have now completed 2 other projects.  first, i made a beanie for saraya.  to emphasize the importance of gauge, please note that i did not measure her head and that is why this beanie has a bit of a yamaka look to it!  at least her stuffed animals can wear it until i make an appropriately-sized hat.  after the beanie fail i attempted to make a cowl scarf for myself.  i used the free honey cowl pattern and a beautiful skein of hand-dyed yarn from madeline tosh.  next time i would use two skeins.  it was a very easy pattern to follow.  and on my needles right now is a beanie for justin in olive green.  this one should be better than the last beanie fiasco.  wish me luck!

almost done!

i love these colors!  luckily i have enough yarn left to do this right-sized.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

what i wore wednesday - black and blue

not just for bruises anymore, this color combo can be pretty fun.  AND that pretty little infinity scarf i'm  sporting?  I MADE IT!!  tomorrow i'll share all of my knitting progress...

Monday, November 14, 2011

DIY bow display

baby bows are easier to lose than socks and keys!  i thought that it would be a good idea to create a display for her hair stuff that was both cute and practical.

i found this little hook at the goodwill for 1.00, spray painted it with chalkboard paint (which will be making some more prominent future appearances), and stapled a few ribbons around it.  quick (not including drying time) and EASY.

Friday, November 11, 2011

fashion friday - casual fall fun

veteran's day 2011

in honor of our nation's veterans, many businesses offer freebies to those who have and are serving.  here are some deals that are being offered this year.  i encourage you to share this info as well as any other deals you may know about.  and if you are a business with the opportunity to do so, please consider showing your appreciation too!

Applebee’s – free meal, Friday, Nov. 11: Last year, Applebee’s served 1,024,000 million free meals to military veterans and active servicemembers. Applebee’s is again offering a free meal to military veterans and active-duty service members on Veteran’s Day, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. There will be 7 entrées to choose from. Military ID or proof of service required. Find locations at

Chili’s – free meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Chili’s is offering all military veterans past and present their choice of one of 6 meals. This offer is available during business hours on November 11, 2011 at participating Chili’s in the U.S. only. Dine-in from limited menu only; beverages and gratuity not included. Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service. Visit their website to find locations.

Golden Corral – Free meal, Monday Nov. 14: The 10th annual Golden Corral Military Appreciation dinner will be held on Monday, November 14, 2011 from 5 pm to 9 pm in all Golden Corral Restaurants nationwide. The free “thank you” dinner is available to any person who has ever served in the United States Military. If you are a veteran, retired, currently serving, in the National Guard or Reserves, you are invited to participate in Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Monday dinner. For more information visit
Special thanks to Golden Corral: To date, Golden Corral restaurants have provided over 2.5 million free meals and contributed over $4.3 million to the Disabled American Veterans organization.

Hooters – Free Meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Hooter’s is serving up a free meal to military veterans all day on Veterans Day. Offer good for all veterans and active duty military personnel. Choose one of the new specialty items on the Hooter’s menu. Offer valid at participating Hooters only; open to all active duty and military veterans with valid military ID or proof of military service. Drink purchase required. For more information, visit,

Krispy Kreme – Free doughnut. Available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees & veterans on Friday November 11th. Be sure to call ahead to verify your local Krispy Kreme is participating.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants – free lunch or dinner, Sunday Nov 13, 2011: McCormick & Schmick’s is celebrating their 13th annual Veteran’s Appreciation Event on Sunday, November 13th. Veterans will be able to choose a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée. Veterans must provide proof of military service. Be sure to contact your local McCormick & Schmick’s as this is valid at participating restaurants only. Also, Space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. For more information visit: M&S Veterans Appreciation Event.

Outback Steakhouse – A week of Free Bloomin’ Onions and Cokes Monday Nov. 7 – Friday Nov. 11. Outback Steakhouse is honoring America’s military veterans by offering active duty military and veterans a free Bloomin’ Onion and a Coca-Cola product during the week leading up to Veteran’s Day. This offer is available to Military Personnel who have one of the following forms of identifications: U.S Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, Current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), DD form 214 Veterans Organization Card (i.e., American Legion and VFW), Photograph in Uniform, Wearing Uniform. For more information, visit,
The Outback understands commitment. For the past two years, The Outback, with the help of their patrons, has donated $2 Million to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization providing everyday and emergency support for active troops, wounded warriors and their families.

Subway – Free Six Inch Sub. Select Subway locations offer a FREE six inch sub to military veterans on Veteran’s Day. However, Subway restaurants are franchises, so this offer may not be available everywhere. Please call ahead.

Texas Roadhouse – free meal, Friday, Nov. 11. Offer varies by location; our local Texas Roadhouse is offering a free meal from opening until 4pm. Other locations may vary in offer, hours, or availability. Call ahead to your local restaurant for more information.

T.G.I. Friday’s – Buy one get one free Nov 11-14. At participating locations for anyone with an old or current military ID. November 11-14.

Uno Chicago Grill, Friday, Nov. 11. Uno’s is offering a free entree or individual pizza with a purchase of an entree or pizza of equal or greater value. Offer good for all military  for veterans and active duty military. ID or proof of service required: Show up in uniform (if your service permits), provide military ID, show a picture of yourself in uniform, or have other ID showing proof of service. More info here.

Home Depot and Lowes 10% Military Discount Available Everyday.
Home Depot: The Home Depot is offering all active duty personnel, reservists, retired military, veterans and their families a 10 percent discount off their purchases in honor of Veteran’s Day. The offer is valid on purchases of up to $2,000 for a maximum of $200 and is available at The Home Depot stores, The Home Depot Design Center locations, Yardbirds and EXPO Design Center(R) locations. The 10% discount is available everyday for active duty and retirees, but not all veterans. Home Depot makes this offer available to all veterans on most military holidays. You can also find Home Depot discounts online.

Lowes: Lowe’s Companies, Inc. will offer all active, reserve, honorably discharged, retired military personnel and their immediate family members a 10 percent discount on in-store U.S. purchases made during the Veterans Day holiday. The discount is available Nov. 7 – Nov. 11. The discount is available on in-stock and special order purchases up to $5,000. To qualify, individuals must present a valid military ID or other proof of service. Excluded from the discount are sales via, previous sales, and purchases of services or gift cards. Like Home Depot, Lowes offers this discount daily to active duty military members, but not to veterans. However, they extend the offer to military veterans on military holidays. You can also find exclusive discounts at Lowe’

Here's to the Heroes
Anheuser-Busch Parks. Anheuser-Busch Parks offers Active Duty Service Members free admission for them and up to 3 dependents to any of their parks once a year. Throughout 2011, members of the military and as many as three direct dependents may enter SeaWorld, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place parks with a single-day complimentary admission. The Here’s to the Heroes program is only available to Any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman. Eligible parks include: Adventure Island, Busch Gardens (Tampa Bay or Williamsburg), SeaWorld (Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio), Sesame Place, and Water Country USA. Not valid at Discovery Cove and Aquatica. Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. is not included as part of this program. For more information and to register, visit: Free admission summary, and ticket application.

Colonial Williamsburg Free Admission. Colonial Williamsburg offers free weekend-long admission tickets to active-duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, and their immediate dependents from Friday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 13th. The complimentary ticket incudes admission to Colonial Williamsburg exhibition sites, art museums, and most daytime programs, as well as free parking and use of the shuttle bus system. Tickets are only available at on-site ticket sales locations. Tickets are also available to families of deployed servicemembers. Tickets available on the following dates: Nov. 11-13.

Historic Jamestowne – Free Admission. The National Park Service commemorates Veterans Day with Fee Free days at Historic Jamestowne November 11-13. Free admission for everyone. See events calendar.

Knotts Berry Farm Military Tribute Days – Free Admission. Knott’s Berry Farm has an annual Military Tribute event in which they offer military members past and present by offering free park admission. This year the Military Tribute Days run from November 1 – 24 November (Thanksgiving Day).  Veterans or current serving military personnel plus one guest get in FREE with proper ID presented at Knott’s turnstile (DD214, Veterans Administration Hospital ID or Active Military Service ID). Purchase up to six additional tickets for just $17 each. More info.

Fee Free Day at National Parks. To honor America’s service men and women, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that areas managed by the National Park Service would not charge entrance fees for Veteran’s Day weekend – November 11-13, 2011. Over 100 national Parks will be participating in this event.

San Jacinto Monument and Museum (La Porte, TX). November 7-13: Free admission to the theatre, Observation Floor, and (on November 12-13) the special exhibit to all veterans and their families. More info.

Bed and Breakfast for Vets - In the third year of the program, B&Bs for Vets has organized over 485 (and counting) participating Bed and Breakfasts and Inns across the US and Canada which will be offering veterans a free night’s stay on November 10th, the night before Veterans Day. This offer is available to both active duty military members and veterans with ID, but space is limited. Each Inn and B&B has at least one room available for this promotion and reservations must be made directly through the participating Inns and B&Bs. For more information visit B&Bs for Vets.

Free Hugo® Canes for Veterans - Sam’s Club® locations nationwide will distribute 36,000 Hugo® canes free of charge on November 9th, 10th, 11th, 2011 to U.S. military veterans in need of mobility assistance. Limited quantities available, while supplies last. Sam’s Club® Membership is not required, but proof of military service may be required. For more information, visit

Some of these stores are franchises, so verify participation before assuming the discount is in place.

  • Free Car wash. Thousands of car washes around the country are offering vets a free car wash on Veterans Day. Find a list at Grace for Veterans, which helped veterans receive 101,537 FREE Washes on Veterans Day in 2010.
  • – Discount “Veterans Day Honor” MP3 album download. This downloadable album includes 12 songs as performed by the military bands and ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces. Visit Amazon on Veteran’s Day to download the album.
  • Netflix – One Month Free Trial.
  • Sport Clips – FREE haircut to active-duty military & veterans. Offer only available at select locations. Please call to verify local participation.
  • Tim Hortons – all US locations are offering a free donut to all veterans (check out the Star Spangled donut!). 

haiku friday - veteran's day

please thank a veteran
proudly serving our country
sacrificing much

Thursday, November 10, 2011

mushroom festival!

this year we had the pleasure of attending the 30th annual mushroom festival in eugene, oregon.  it was pretty amazing!  they held it an the mt. pisgah arboretum, a 209-acre living tree museum.  the festival showcases several hundred species of fungi, collected throughout western oregon.  they even have experts there to help identify mushrooms.  last year, 2 people brought in previously undiscovered fungi.  the largest mushroom display on the west coast, the festival also features a plant sale, scarecrow contest, hayrides, crafts, live music and lots of mushroom inspired food.  we enjoyed the most delicious chantrelle mushroom pizza and a mushroom soup featuring 5 different varieties of fungi.  we also sampled some lion's mane (my favorite!), oyster, maitakes, and buttercaps.  saraya loved them ALL.

there were long rows of tables filled with all types of mushrooms.  daddy and uncle drew were teaching the pandi about boletes.

so many funky kinds!

this one isn't edible but it sure looks fun to draw on.  it's called artist's conk.

best in show

my favorite!
i'd love to try one of these cauliflower mushrooms
we actually found and ate some of these lobsters
this little black elfin saddle is cute but inedible 
she was excited about the leaves falling from the trees.

lots of dancing

and lots of hippies

her horse noises are pretty cute

we picked up a little surprise from the festival as well; if all works out, you'll see it soon...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

halloween 2011

this year, our toddler was foofa from the show yo gabba gabba.  at first she wasn't a fan of the headgear but she eventually warmed up to it!  we spent the evening with some friends (a ninja, a fairy, and a giraffe) and someone even had a little bite of a reeses peanut butter cup...