Ah, the holidays!

I don’t particularly like to announce when I’m going out of town, on the odd chance a stalker decides to rob my house or something (though I’m sure he’d be sorely disappointed in his findings.)

Anyways, last Wednesday, my house looked like this:

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Check out this AWESOME blanket my friend gave to me for Christmas.  Janetha, I know you’re jealous!

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Breakfast.  Tea and oatmeal.  I only like oatmeal on cold days.

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My bag was overpacked and I was ready to go.  On a short plane ride to Oregon to see my parents.

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Here is a picture from the sky of some part of western Idaho.  You’re welcome.

The next few days were spent baking and lounging.  I made a delicious lighter version of pound cake for Christmas dessert.  I forgot to snap a picture but here’s the recipe I borrowed from Cooking Light.

Light Sour Cream Pound Cake


cooking spray
3 cups cake flour (I used regular and it came out just fine)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I used just a dash)
3/4 c. butter, softened
2 c. granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. light or fat free sour cream

1. Spray cooking spray generously into bundt pan (this always reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when her fiance’s mom brings a bundt cake and her mom has no idea what it is.  Anyone remember that?)  Sidetracked.  Coat the inside of the bundt pan with flour.

2.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in small bowl.  Place butter and sugar in large bowl and beat until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add milk and vanilla and mix until just combined.  Add flour mixture and sour cream alternatively, beat until just combined.

3. Spoon into prepared pan, bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes, then loosen with a narrow spatula, place plate over pan and invert cake onto plate.  I like to top it with a vanilla or caramel or lemon sauce.  Yum!

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(source)

Skip to Saturday aka Christmas feast.

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Ham, pineapple cranberry sauce, gingered carrots, green bean casserole, potato rolls, mashed potatoes.

Also, I thought I’d share this gem with you:

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My brother and I, playing in a box.  Never too big, right?

We had leftovers the next day, but with some kind of balsamic glazed brussels sprouts.

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Yeah, I still don’t like brussels sprouts.  Even if I think it’s cool they look like tiny cabbages.  I ate them anyway, since I guess they’re good for me.

We also went to see Tron: Legacy

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It was awesome!

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The theater was called cinnebarre.  I tried to take a picture, but it was dark and I only had my phone.

My point is, that they took out half the seats and replaced them with long tables.  You can order food and they’ll bring it to you during the movie.  Quite brilliant.
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Unfortunately, we’d already eaten dinner and didn’t participate in any ordering of food.

The other cool thing, was there were TONS of movie posters lining the walls.  Most of them were old, OLD posters (I’m thinking prints of old posters, not actually the originals).  It was really neat looking at all of them.

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I also tried out Jessica’s Kicked Up Spinach Dip but minus the bacon.  Don’t tell her that I left out the bacon, k?

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Totally yum-o.

Now I’m back home and happy to see this guy:
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He was at the kennel charming all the staff and making new friends.  Still, I think he missed me.

Now I’m wondering: how long can I leave my suitcase in the middle of the floor and get away with it?

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What was your best memory of Christmas this year?





A Day of Holiday Baking in Pictures

I baked my little heart out on Friday (the day after finals).  Even though it was a lot of work, it has brought me so much joy to give away my little baked treats made with lots of love.  I love seeing the smiles on the faces of my friends when they admire the different shapes and colors of each one.  I’m glad that it’s a talent I can freely give, especially at Christmas time.

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p.s. Listen to the song I’m currently obsessed with (Hazy- Rosie Golan feat. William Fitzsimmons)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Deck the Halls!

Thanks so much for the well wishes on my last post!  I’m glad to say that I’m feeling much cheerier these days, despite two finals tomorrow and one on Thursday.

I tried my first papaya:
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Interesting.  I think I should have waited a little longer for it to ripen.

You know what one of my favorite things about the holiday season is?  Having lots of excuses to bake and did I ever.  
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I made snickerdoodles.  Recipe here.  Unfortunately, I over mixed the eggs and butter so they came out flatter than usual, but still tasty!
And chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  Recipe here.
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Ooohh, deaath by chocolate!
I also put up my tree
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My nickname for Jeremy is bear and so each Christmas I get him a bear ornament.
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This year’s bear was a hunting bear.  Can you spot his magnifying glass, binoculars and gun?
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and started a few other Christmas decorations. 
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I still need to deck the halls bannister!
Now I’m trying to get my butt out the door to finish some Christmas shopping (yes, my November goal failed miserably) and do some studying!
What’s your favorite cookie?

Blue, Green and Red

It tends to happen every winter.  I just get a little blue.

No not like this:

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More like this:

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Although, looking at that face has to cheer you up a little.

It’s probably a lack of vitamin D, finals, finals and did I mention finals?  This winter has been especially tough being back in school, in some really hard classes and worrying about whether or not I should retake them to improve my grade.  It kind of makes me feel not good enough.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m not doing well in one aspect of my life, I start doubting if I’m good enough in other areas of my life.  Am I a good enough wife, friend, daughter?  Am I doing a good enough job keeping the house neat, paying bills, being kind to others?  And then, I tend to turn on myself.  Am I eating because I’m hungry or to fill a void?  Why have I been so lazy about exercising?


Sometimes, life is hard.  When I feel like I can’t stand another minute, I like to listen the song “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” by Gary Allan.  (Hopefully this link works.)

Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s have some fun.  Good thing I have this goofy boy (he’s feeling much better!) to cheer me up:

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We went for a walk along the canal road behind our house.

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Snow boots for me.

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Sometimes, Hunter thinks he’s a cat.  I guess that day he thought he was a reindeer.

When I got home, I was in the mood for some comforting soup.  I never thought I’d say this, but since I started making homemade soup, I’ve snubbed the canned stuff.  With a few exceptions, it just can’t compare.

I was reading Better Homes and Gardens and came across this recipe for asparagus potato soup.  It’s really, really good.

First, gather your ingredients:

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Chop:

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Asparagus, you are so photogenic.

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Simmer:

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Blend.

Then get out the big guns:

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Back away from the turkey bacon.  I said the big guns.

You better make two extra pieces, you know, for the dog:

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Hunter turned into a puddle of drool.  He doesn’t get people food very often.

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First four

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The second four practically get deep fried.

To be honest for a second, bacon is a food I’m afraid of.  All that fat and grease.  I tell people a lot of times that I don’t like bacon but the truth is, I do.  I could eat the whole package.  Which might be why I usually avoid it.  But hey, life is short, a little bacon won’t hurt.

Save a table spoon of bacon grease (just do it) and add more chopped asparagus:

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Garnish:

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Eat up!

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I think next time, I’ll save a little of the soup and only blend half, this comes out pretty thick.

Asparagus Potato Soup
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

1 1/4 lb asparagus, chopped
1 1/4 lb poratoes, peeled and diced
12 oz. evaporated milk
1 1/4 c water
lemon zest
6 slices bacon

1. Reserve 1/3 of the asparagus and combine the rest with potatoes and evaporated milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, lemon zest and water.  Simmer until potatoes are tender.

2. Blend until smooth, half at a time (or only blend half for a thinner soup).  Cook the bacon and reserve 1 tbsp of the grease.  Cook asparagus until crisp.  Garnish with chopped bacon and asparagus.  Simple!

I also made red velvet woopie pies with peppermint cream cheese filling.  (Jeremy always laughs when I say whoopie pies, you know why.)

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They were just ok.  If you want the recipe, let me know.

Oh, and I made a Christmas wreath:

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This Saturday I’m getting my tree!  Yay!

What’s your favorite soup?

It’s That Time of Year Again

I don’t care what the calendar says, it’s officially winter here.

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Last time, I mentioned we had our first snow, and traces of slick ice and dirty slush were still lingering when I met up with Sara at a new restaurant downtown called the Matador.  It was one of the coolest decorated restaurants I’ve seen in a while: Spanish style with lots of wrought iron touches.

We shared a few dishes:

Spinach Pear Salad

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Blackened Ahi with Green Apple Slaw

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Pan Seared Scallops

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My gorgeous dinner date:

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It was so great to catch up with my old friend.  I could not believe how time flew as we talked about life, school and of course our fellow bloggers (all good things!).

To days later, it snowed, and snowed and SNOWED!  I got a lovely 5:30 am wake up call (it was a recording) from the school letting me know classes were cancelled.  I’d already declared it a personal snow day anyway.

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After a while, I began to wonder when it would stop.  Still, a big snow is always exciting (especially when I don’t have to drive in it!)

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No need to to go the gym for a workout, I just shoveled our three car driveway!  I’m actually sore today…

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Good thing I dug out Jeremy’s truck to brave the roads!

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Which worked out because someone wasn’t feeling himself.  I had made an appointment the night before to take him to the vet because I was concerned about kennel cough, basically a respiratory tract infection.

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Bet ya didn’t know dogs can cough??  It sounds more like a gagging/hacking than human coughs.  I researched to see if there was anything I could do to make Hunter more comfortable, and one website recommended strong peppermint tea with honey.

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I was surprised, he licked it right up!

And I set up the humidifier in the bedroom.  It might sound like a lot of trouble for a dog, but he’s my baby.  Plus, the tea and the humidifier helped and he was already feeling better the next day.  I still took him to the vet to make sure he was ok and sure enough!  He didn’t even need any antibiotics because the vet was certain that it was clearing on its own.  I love when vets or doctors don’t immediately turn to drugs.

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He clearly was still feeling well enough to play in the snow!  That dog never slows down.

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Friday I have plans to make amazing red velvet cookies with cream cheese peppermint filling.  Stay tuned!

Has your pet ever been sick?