Lucky New Year

Although we didn’t succeed in eating any black eyed peas on New Year’s Day, 2014 is starting out to be a pretty lucky year for us! On Sunday we stopped by Earthfare (our favorite grocery store) to check out their natural health fair, including vendors, samples, and a drawing. And later that afternoon we got a call telling us that we had won the grand prize in the drawing! It’s a basket full of natural health goodies and $100 Lululemon gift card. We were beyond surprised!

20140124-213137.jpg Also, I didn’t win it, but I was able to get a belated Christmas present of an iPad Air, which I consider pretty lucky! Matt and I got our iPad 2’s the day they came out a few years ago, and I use mine for everything. When we were in Norway last year my iPad had a very unfortunate encounter with the real tile floor in our apartment which cracked the screen. Rather than pay to replace the screen (which is very pricey) we decided to wait and see about getting a new iPad when the next version was released. And here it is! It’s sooo much lighter than my old one and the retina display is incredible. I wasn’t really a fan of the Smart Cover color options this time, so I went with this neat origami case from moshi that works in much the same way.

20140124-215028.jpg It also has a translucent hard shell on the back for added protection against tile floors.

And in case you’d like to know, the other two big presents I got for Christmas were these awesome Keen boots. They’re so awesome, in fact, that I’m pretty sure I’ve worn them on every outing except once since Christmas. And that was the day it was so unseasonably warm that I wore my Toms without socks.

20140124-215739.jpg
…and the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer. It was a complete surprise, and I was so excited! I tried it out a few weeks ago with a pumpkin frozen yogurt recipe using one of the ten (!) cans of pumpkin purée that I made from just the two pumpkins from my garden. It turned out pretty good, and I can’t wait to try more recipes.

P.S. Finally took the ornaments off the Christmas tree today. Yay, me!

Happy 2014!

It’s been so busy for us around here the past few months! I love the holiday season, buts it’s always kind of nice when January gets here and all the hustle and bustle is over. Time to relax, wipe the slate clean, and of course, make those New Years resolutions – like trying to keep your blog up to date! Here to help me in that regard is Kate, who is six months old today.

20140101-222527.jpg She’s relaxing here on my mom’s couch beside Matt’s shoebox full of Christmas treats. And of course, there’s no better way to celebrate your puppy’s six month birthday than by having her spayed! She’ll be getting that little gift tomorrow.

Moonlighting as a pastry chef

A few weeks ago our friend Maja from Slovenia organized a wine tasting at the Slovenian consulate and asked me make the desserts. Having never cooked for 100+ people before I found the task a little daunting, but as it turns out I’m pretty good at it!

We needed three different desserts that didn’t require silverware. The first thing I thought of were the pear-Brie bites that I’ve made several times before. This time I used little pre-baked phyllo cups to save myself some time. You can see them on the far left in this photo.

20131026-221204.jpg Matt was the photographer for the event, so of course I made sure he took lots of good pictures of the desserts!

The hosts for the wine tasting had lots of berries from their garden for me to use, so next I decided on miniature berry pies. I made some blueberry:

20131026-221514.jpg And some blackberry-raspberry:

20131026-221543.jpg It took forever to make all those tiny little pie crusts! But they turned out so cute, it was worth it. And there wasn’t a single one left at the end of the night. My favorite part was the leaves on top that I cut patterns into:

20131026-221734.jpg
I started thinking about how there was no shortage of cream-filled pastries anywhere I’d been in Europe, so for the third dessert I made mini cream puffs. Everyone was most impressed with those, even though they were so much easier to make than those little pies! I enlisted my waffle batter dispenser to fill them (with French vanilla pudding of course, not that gross whipped cream that’s in store bought mini cream puffs).

20131026-222348.jpg Several people at the party told me I should start a business! It would be a great way to make a little extra cash…miniature desserts, anyone?