Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trip Conclusion


It's our last day here.

I honestly think this was one of the fastest month's I've ever had. I can't believe the hubby and I have to pack up and fly out tomorrow. I'm feeling a bit melancholic over everything. It would be different if the house was done, and the hubby and I were going back to our brand new home. But, it's not. So, I don't want to go back :) The good news? Looks like we are about 3 weeks out on the house getting done. I'm trying to remain optimistic on that one.

I've got some pictures to wrap up the last week or so of our trip. The little brother got married on Saturday. This went off without a hitch, and was a beautiful wedding. More on that when the pictures are done!

I snapped this adorable pic of Gizmo drooling over the hubby's breakfast. He couldn't take his eyes off what he couldn't have.

Pre-wedding manicure. My mom, my brother's fiancee, and I all got pedicures and manicures Friday before the wedding. It was nice to have a moment to relax amidst the wedding chaos. Plus, I loved the color I picked.

The hubby and I at my brother and his fiancee's rehearsal dinner. It was hosted at my parent's house, and it was nice to have a glass of wine and get to know the family we are blending with.

Fresh roasted pumpkin. Yum!

So, I made Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes yesterday. I was disappointed in how these turned out. The recipe is almost soufflé-like. There is very little flour in the recipe, and no fat. The cupcake is supposed to get a slightly done crust while have a custard-like middle. I guess I didn't get these done enough, because they are all custard. I'm not giving up on the recipe though, because I think once cooked properly, these will be delicious! Not that they aren't delicious, but they just aren't perfect. And we all know I like perfection!

Last night, my parents, my hubby, and I went across the street to my parent's neighbor/family friend's house for wine and hors d'oeuvres. As I was shutting the door to leave, this was the site I was greeted with. Not a single dog approved of us leaving for the evening :)

Hors d'oeuvres platter, plus homemade guacamole. My favorite!

I loved these rustic goblets my parent's friends had. What a cool idea! Might have to be getting me some of these!
So, time for some bad news. The hubby and I will be staying with his mother when we get back to Kentucky, and she unfortunately doesn't have Internet. It will probably be about 3 weeks that I won't have Internet (I know, in this day and age, right?) Anyways, I will be taking a sabbatical for an unknown amount of time. The good news? I'm revamping the blog so when I come back, it will look all shiny and new. Plus, I will be in my new house!

Fingers crossed that this time period goes fast.

And double crossed.

And then cross some more fingers.


Last night before bed, I put the cupcakes in the fridge, hoping to save them. And save them I did! When I took one out of the paper wrapper this morning, a crust had formed around the custard. Yay! I'm happy to report these little portable pies are delicious! Turns out they just have to be refrigerated before serving. This is a very important step. I'd say refrigerate overnight before serving. Happy eating!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

So... our trip is coming to an end. I'm sooooo sad. The hubby and I only have 4 more days in Oregon, and then we head back to Kentucky. I can't believe this month went so insanely fast. It was a wonderful vacation, spent in basically another culture. The West Coast mentality could be considered to be on the complete opposite end of the behavior spectrum from a Southern mentality. I think sometimes I get stuck in a pattern of thinking, and it was refreshing to remind myself that the way life is in Kentucky is not how life has to be. I need to remind myself to hold on to my laid-back, easy-going side, and not get as uptight about the little things in life that really don't even matter.

I've got to do some baking while I've been here, and that I've immensely enjoyed. My mom had a couple of extremely ripe bananas that she was begging me to use. It's been awhile since I've been treated to homemade banana bread, and oh wow. You don't know what you're missing until it's gone. Sure, I've thought about banana bread. And chocolate chip cookies. And cupcakes. But I finally got to indulge my sweet tooth. Yum!

This chocolate chip banana bread is, sadly, long gone. It's been such a busy trip, I swear. I made this probably a week ago, and the bread only lasted a few days. The plan today is to make Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Whip Cream Frosting. Ambitious, I know. It's kind of miserable out today, with pouring rain, so I just might get this task done.

I totally used my recipe for Simple Banana Bread to make this banana bread, and then added about 2 cups of chocolate chip. Holy desert-a-licious! 1 piece was never enough, and then it became the self-control game.

Hopefully that's how the Pumpkin Cupcakes turn out! :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trip Update: 10/10/12

We've been on vacation almost 2 weeks now. It's been heaven! We've gone to a majority of our favorite restaurants, been to a Duck's football game, and seen a lot of people we've missed. Oh, and just so you know. I totally started this post yesterday, literally got yanked away from the computer, and never made it back. It's hard to blog when you never have time!

Last Saturday was the hubby's birthday, and also a home football game for the Oregon Duck's. My mom, being a season ticket holder, gave the hubby and I her tickets for Saturday's game against the Washington Huskies for his birthday. I drove up to Eugene on Friday night to spend some time with one of my oldest friends. The night that ensued only brings to mind the time we spent together when we were younger. I haven't had a night like that, oh, probably since my bachelorette party. And now I know why.  I'm not that young anymore, as evidenced by the 2-day hangover I was bestowed with after our night out. I made it to the game with the hubby, and I will only say he was less than sympathetic about my hangover. He did warn me not to have too much fun. Too much fun? Does that even exist?

Yes, yes it does.

I've been having a fabulous time in the kitchen. Tuesday night, I made a Bourbon Glazed Chicken, Spinach and Parmesan Basmati Rice, and Sauteed Grape Tomatoes. Delish! We called this a "freezer meal". I grabbed a bunch of things from my parents freezer to make this, I didn't have to get a single thing at the store. I think my parent's are well stocked for the apocalypse. I'm planning on doing some baking today, I found a recipe for Banana Cinnamon Swirl Bread that I'm going to try.

Also made yummy, yummy Snickerdoodles. They're all gone now :)

I always have an audience when I'm cooking, one of my observers usually being my dog. He likes to think he is a person, and sit at the bar when people are in the kitchen.

Gizmo adores sleeping on my parent's end tables in the living room. I know, not the best manners, but my parent's don't seem to mind.

On Sunday after the hubby's birthday, we had a brunch at my parents house. My brother and his fiance were there, as well as some close family friends and their parents. Two giant bottles of champagne were drank in mimosas, and we ate a ton of food :)

The hubby just had to take a patio heater to the next level yesterday. It hasn't been working for awhile, so the hubby took it upon himself to take it apart and figure out why. He battled a nest of bees with an air compressor, and in short, had a fabulous time killing insects with high-powered air.

We've also made a small trip to Portland to stay with some friends. It was a short, one-nighter which means we will have to make it back at some point to see more friends. Whilst we were in Portland though, we had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (Salvador Molly's) and lunch the next day at Mio Sushi. I've missed sushi so much. It's not nearly as... fresh in Kentucky.

We are halfway through our trip, I'm sooooo sad. Especially when the hubby and I hear that nothing has happened at our house. The hubby and I leave for a month, and the project falls apart. It figures. Anyhoo, I'm heading to the Oregon Coast tomorrow, and will be spending Friday night there. I love the coast :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cheddar and Jalapeno Biscuits

Well, the hubby and I have been in Oregon for a week now. We definitely needed the vacation. So far, we've had gorgeous weather, tons of Widmer Hefeweizen, a very tasty salmon, and plenty of sleep and good conversation. Time is flying here, I can't believe we are down 1 week on our trip! It's been a whirlwind.

One of the things I'm enjoying most about being home is getting back in the kitchen! I've helped my dad make several meals, including frying eggplant for eggplant parmigana, making a tomato-cream pasta dish, and baking cookies and biscuits for a family friend going through a difficult time. Baking was pure heaven on Wednesday. My parents gave me this recipe to make biscuits. I was a little hesitant, since I don't make a whole lot of biscuits. These turned out beautifully, however.

I was shocked to see that this recipe is from one of the blogs I follow. I did miss this post somehow, though. I think it was posted right before we left, and life was pretty much a blur of packing and organizing before we left ol' KY.  It's a small world. These biscuits had great flavor, and the light, crumbly texture is delicious. Two thumbs up from the West Coast!

1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup polenta
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne
6 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp jalapeno, diced
3/4 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour through cayenne. Stir in cheddar (reserving 1/4 cup of cheese) and jalapenos.
3. Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour the cream in the well, and mix ingredients together with clean hands. Mix just until the ingredients come together. Dough should be sticky and clumpy.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 3-4 times. Spread the dough out until it's 3/4 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out round biscuits.
5. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, placing biscuits an inch apart. Sprinkle reserved cheese on top of biscuts.
6. Bake 11-13 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: Simply Recipes