Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Years

Wishing you the best New Years ever.We're grateful for your support.

May you get your heart’s desire and more.

Go and conquer 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Post-Christmas!

Hi all!

I had a wave of adorableness overtake me, and I felt I had to post these little penguins playing Jingle Bells. It's a few days past Christmas, but we can still be merry and bright, right?

Happy Holidays, and the Best New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays

We just wanted to wish you a beautiful holiday season.

Thank you for reading our blog and commenting on our posts. You brighten our days.

We're so grateful for you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My ridiculous family party

The holiday season is filled with twinkling lights, food galore and presents. Not to mention uncles who drink beer and pray to Santa, aunts who are hyped up on substances and a grandmother that will stop at nothing to embarrass you.

I love the holiday season but the family interaction is enough to drive us mad. Yesterday was my family Christmas party. My Auntie is coming off of heroin and boy, is she a treat. She's trying so hard to stay away from substances that she's popping antihistamine’s left and right. So much that she drops one on the floor and my dog nearly ingests it.

Seriously, Auntie get a grip. A four pound dog hyped up on allergy tabs is the last thing we need over the holidays. Can only imagine what a pill would do to a little dog? She'd be pacing the floor, her head wouldn't stop moving and her eyes would be dilated.

Thank heavens my grandma saved the day. She swooped my dog up into her arms and yelled, "That's what she said."

If you're baffled, well then, so was I.

The room went quiet as we all tried to figure out why my grandma yelled, "That's what she said."

It then dawns on me that she has NO idea what that phrase means or how to use it. So the rest of the night my grandma wouldyell repeatedly, "That's what she said."

And how do you tell your grandma what the phrase means? You don't. You let the moment pass because she will forget what she's saying in less than an hour.

Seriously, when will the family parties end? On a brighter note, this holiday season has been filled with reconciliations, hope and joy. The holiday season can be stressful but it can also bring unexpected surprises that heal your heart.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Food! Overnight Caramel French Toast and Spiced Nuts

Merry Christmas! Please don't get up. Just sit there and read this lovely recipe that makes a perfect Christmas morning breakfast. Since you make it the night before, it's all ready to pop into the oven at 4:00 a.m. when the little people around your house wake you up Christmas Day.

The second recipe is for unbelievably more-ish spiced nuts--a wonderful recipe that will give your local Spiced-Nuts-in-a-Christmas-Kiosk-at-the-Mall a run for their money. I even managed to get a few pictures. Not so for the fabu French Toast. Ah well. It's good anyway.
And now, Voilá! Caramel French Toast:

Wicked-Good Overnight Caramel French Toast
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
12-ish slices French bread, crusts trimmed (Actually any heavy white bread works fine. Leave crusts on if soft)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
Ground cinnamon

-Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in pan. Stir over medium/low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Do not boil. (If you accidentally do, invest in a good jack hammer.)
-Pour into 13x9x2-inch glass dish (I'm serious with this. It's a nightmare to get out of a metal dish. Night. Mare.) Tilt to coat the bottom.
-Arrange 6 slices (or whatever will fit) of bread on caramel mixture.
-Whisk milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Pour half over bread in pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon, to taste.
-Layer remaining slices of bread on, to cover. Pour remaining egg-mixture on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
-Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or several hours.
-Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until bread is puffy and golden-brown. 40-50 minutes. A knife inserted will come out clean.
-Eat entire thing yourself. Unless you live with judgmental people. Then you'll probably have to share. Also, please, for the love of a calm psyche, don't pour syrup on this. It contains enough sugar to get you to the top of Everest if you need to. And it's moist. Trust me.

And now, TA-DAAAA! One of my Christmas favs:

Spiced Nuts
3/4 cup sugar
3 T. water
1 egg white, beaten slightly
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups pecan halves
1 1/2 cups whole almonds 

-Place first eight ingredients in a bowl and mix.
-Stir to coat.
-Spread evenly in a greased or parchment lined baking sheet (Parchment please. Much easier cleanup. Tried waxed paper--nightmare. It disappeared into the pan and had to soak for quite a while before it could be coaxed out again. Baking parchment is our friend.)
-Bake at 250-degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes

(The time will vary depending on altitude and relative humidity. Also on whether or not you doubled the recipe, which I always do because we can't stop eating these. The coating just needs to be mostly dry and clinging to the nuts when you take it out of the oven. Any minor moisture will harden. Be sure to stir thoroughly each time. Last time I made this at sea-level I baked it at 275, and that helped the time.)

Pictures! But just a few because I was so into making these I forgot to take them. But you have wonderful imaginations don't you? Just imagine mixing the sauce ingredients together. You can do it. I have faith in you.

Nuts with coating. Don't they look luscious? No idea why my lighting makes everything look yellow. We'll call it 'antique lighting.' Yeah, I like that.  Incidentally, I was out of pecans and there was no way in hinkypunk I was going out into Christmas traffic to buy more, so I used macadamia nuts. Yum-ola. Not even kidding.

Stirring the nuts. Stirring the nuts. Stirring the nuts.

All done. Note how the coating has cooked into the nuts except for a crispy bit on the outside? Note how we originally baked these for neighbors but selfishly decided to eat them ourselves? I'm sorry! I didn't mean to! Except, I did.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Horrifyingly Amazing O Holy Night

Dudes. I'm hijacking Maegan's day because I simply must share this video with you. It is inspiring, filled with sincerity, and a whole lot of what looks like emotion-based seizures. This dude is brilliant. Perhaps you've heard the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad version of O Holy Night, and it has made you a better person, as it has me. But I'll bet you haven't seen an awesome lip-syncing dude of awesomeness tripping along it like this:

Yeah *weep*. I know. I'm all verkelmpt-y and Chrismas spirit-y and stuff now too.  Peace and joy, babies.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Some holiday goodies to share with you

This is the time of holiday cheer and we have many reasons to celebrate.

One of our blogging friends has signed with an agent. Major congrats to Sara B. Larson on her incredible achievement. We're so excited for you and rooting you on all the way. Sara has taught me that determination, grit and perseverance can help you achieve your dream.http://sarablarson.blogspot.com/2012/11/traditional-picture.html

This holiday season is one filled baking. For a great baking book try our dear friend, Loraine Scott's recipes. http://www.amazon.com/Time-Bake-Cookies-Bars-ebook/dp/B007Z59I24/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354572438&sr=1-4&keywords=loraine+scott

If you are into baking bread here is another option written by our very own writing group members, Caleb Warnock and Melissa Richardson. http://www.amazon.com/Art-Baking-Natural-Yeast-Pancakes/dp/1462110487/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354572299&sr=1-1&keywords=caleb+warnock

This is one of my fave reads this year-ZOMBIES! If you need to decompress from the holiday stress, check out this novel by Candace Gleave. Warning, you will get hooked. http://www.amazon.com/Big-Game-Hunting-Zombie-Short/dp/1470098318/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354572469&sr=1-3&keywords=candace+gleave