Friday, December 21, 2012

Nik's French Toast & White Breakfast Syrup

Nik is a frech toast addict, it's his first choice breakfast. Which I find surprising, probably because I grew up with french toast made from sourdough, whereas his was fried giant slabs of Texas Toast.

Whenever we make french toast, Nik requests this syrup. This syrup can stop hearts. Partially, because it is so artery-clogging, partially because it is so dang good. We eat it on waffles, crepes, pancakes, German pancakes any food breakfast-y. I've also added it to oatmeal when I didn't have honey, and dipped fruit in it. This syrup is unstoppable.


White Syrup
Yields 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 T lite corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
Directions:
  1. Melt butter in saucepan, add sugar, corn syrup, and buttermilk.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, let it boil for 1 minute. Stir constantly. 
  3. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and baking soda, constantly stirring. 
*If you don't have buttermilk on hand (I rarely do), add 1/2 T of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let sit 3 minutes. 
Nik's French Toast

Ingredients:
  • 8 slices texas toast (or any thickly sliced bread)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 T ground cinnamon
  • 2 t vanilla
  • Canola oil
  • Honey
Directions:
  1. Heat 1-inch layer of oil in frying skillet. Preheat oven to 175-200. 
  2. Whisk eggs, cinnamon and vanilla in bowl large enough to fit in a slice of bread.
  3. Dip slice of texas toast in egg mixture (both sides). Allow excess to drip off and place in heating frying pan. 
  4. Drizzle layer of honey on upside of toast before flipping to cook on other side. 
  5. When both sides have reached desired golden brown color, place on oven safe plate in preheated oven. 
  6. Repeat until each slice of toast is cooked.
  7. Serve with butter and White Syrup. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bakery Box Cake

Everyone is aware that baked goods from scratch always taste better. Yet, when a birthday sneaks up on us we find ourselves at the grocery store grabbing a box to make a cake. I found a shortcut that I wanted to try out, that removes the fear of a trying to do it yourself, but ends in the the richness homemade  desserts bring.  I don't even know if I should categorize this under recipes, it's so easy. 


Bakery Box Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 box of cake mix in flavor of choice
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 sticks of butter melted
  • 1/4 cup of milk
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. 
  2. Combine cake mix, eggs, butter and milk.
  3. Pour into greased pan. Bake according to package directions. 


Monday, December 10, 2012

Time to Cram

What this weekend looked like:


Nik went from one project to another. All last week, sleep was given up to edit and I felt like there was always a parade of people coming in and out of our house to help edit or film (until three in the morning). Nik's brother flew in from Mesa to film another project for a new business. Saturday greeted us with the chilliest weather we've seen in a long time, but there was plenty of sunshine to trick us into thinking it was warmer than it was, perfect weather for Nik to shoot all day while I cleaned a house that felt like had been housing a million teenage boys. 

What Monday looks like:


This is probably the longest Word has been opened on my computer. We've been busting out projects, and tonight I've got a long date with a twelve page paper. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Butterfinger Chocolate Cookies


This Butterfinger has been gathering dust on our shelf. Partially because I can never justify eating a full size candy bar, partially because Nik doesn't go out of his way to eat candy... when it's right in front of him it's a completely different story. 

So, I chopped it up and threw it in cookies when we didn't have enough chocolate chips. The dough for this recipe is a good base for any type of cookie you want to throw something extra into. (Rolos, peanut butter chips, Reeses, ect.) The secret is the ridiculous amount of brown sugar. 


Butterfinger Chocolate Chip Cookies




Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2  cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-2 Butterfinger(s) chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the sugars and beat for 5 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for another minute after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in two or three additions, mixing on low speed just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and Butterfinger. 
  4. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop balls of dough onto baking sheets, leaving a few inches of room between them. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Makes roughly 3 dozen delicious cookies.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Inexpensive DIY Gifts

Last Christmas Nik and I made homemade gifts for one another, as a way to save money. Mine was kind of a flop, but Nik nailed it. Follow his example and make a gift your spouse will remember and appreciate (not to mention, will leave your wallet full).




Nik  hallowed out this book for me last Christmas. However, somehow in the past year it has been designated his 'Cash Book' where any extra money from videos is stashed in here. I think every little boy's dream is to have a secret book to hide belongings in, and it follows them into manhood.

DIY Hallowed Book:

Items Needed:
  • Elmer's white glue
  • Bowl to hold glue solution
  • Box Cutter (or X-acto knife)
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Ruler, or straight edge
  1. Purchase a hardcover book from D.I. or a garage sale. I think it's more meaningful if you can find one that has some sort of inside joke. 
  2. Mix glue and water in bowl, 50/50 solution. 
  3. With the book closed, holding the spine of the book, brush glue solution along the sides of the exposed pages. 
  4. Place a spacer (such as a pad of post-its) between the book cover and first five pages of book. (This is to prevent the first couple of pages from sticking to the cover.) Place a heavy object on the book and along glue to dry for 30 minutes. 
  5. When dry, draw a half inch border along all four sides of first page. 
  6. Using a straight edge, cute along lines into book with box cutter. 
  7. Continue cutting through layers. 
  8. When book has reached desired depth, brush glue solution along inside pages. 
  9. Allow book to dry for 30 minutes. 
For step by step pictures go here




This is my favorite gift Nik's ever given me (Besides my wedding ring...does that count?). It was so unexpected and thoughtful. It's moved with me through three houses,  each time I've found a different place to add a cute detail to. 

DIY Teacup Candle

Items Needed:

  • Candle (old or new), or wax (scented or unscented)
  • Wick
  • Teacup
  • Optional: scented oils (lavender, vanilla, grapefruit, almond, ect.)
  1. Boil water in large pot or double boiler. Place candle in water until wax melts. (Or place wax in pot and melt over boiler.)
  2. Optional: Add in scented oils. Mix. 
  3. Fill teacups with melted wax to the top. 
  4. Wait five minutes.
  5. Insert wick into center of teacup. Rest a stick or pencil across the edge of the teacup to ensure the wicks stays centered and straight. Remove after a few minutes. (If not, it will create a dent.)
  6. Do not touch wax until completely cooled, approximately 2 hours. 

For step by step photos go here

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chocolate Cookies With White Chocolate Chips

2 Reasons (if it already isn't) cocoa powder needs to be in your pantry:

1. To make that banana peanut butter chocolate ice cream recipe that's all over Pinterest. It's as good as everyone says it is.
2. To make these cookies.

I used to not be a believer in cocoa powder, being that I always purchased brownie or devil foods cake mix. Waste of money. Having cocoa in your cupboard will get used regularly, and will not allow the trip to the store deter you from giving into a massive chocolate craving.




Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips 
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until smooth, add vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips. Scoop with cookie scoop onto greased cookie sheets. Flatten with spatula.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in oven, or until cookies reach the consistency you desire. You can allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on a wire wrack...but who has time for that?


Monday, December 3, 2012

Crock-Pot Apple Pie

Isn't one of the most appealing aspects of camping dutch oven desserts? Remembrance of those desserts is probably what sparked this. 

 Yesterday, at noon I was craving something sweet and wanted to make a dessert for after our Sunday dinner. Except we didn't have any eggs, oil, or chocolate chips...which I'm pretty sure rules out every dessert possible. And then I saw a fruit basket full or apples that were going to go bad. After trying to find a recipe according to the ingredients we had in our cupboard...here is a compilation of three. 

This is the first dessert I've made in a crock-pot and after church our house smelled exactly how a house should on a cold day, warm cinnamon-y apple-y soooo good. 





Crock-Pot Apple Pie

Ingredients:

Apple Mixture: 
  • 4 apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
Crust Mixture:
  • 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cold butter
Directions:
  1. Toss apples in a large bowl with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and vanilla. 
  2. Place in lightly greased crock-pot. 
  3. Combine flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  4. Combine 1.5 cup of dry mixture and milk. Spoon over apples in crock-pot.
  5. Combine remaining dry mixture with brown sugar. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or knife and fork until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over other layer of dry ingredients. 
  6. Cook and cover in crock-pot on low for 6-7 hours. 
  7. Enjoy delicious smell that fills your house. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or by itself.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gorgonzola Garbage


I tried warning Nik ahead of time, saying "Hey, I'm making something new tonight and you might not like it because it's a girly meal." I feel the need to disclose to Nik that a dinner is 'girly' if it doesn't involve meat. 'Girly' meals send Nik to the fridge two hours after dinner smacking his lips, saying, "You know what sounds really good right now? ...A steak." 

But I knew this dinner would be especially pushing the limits of how girly of a meal I could cook, because it involved sautéed pears, cranberries, nuts, and a cheese I had to go to a special aisle to purchase it. 

The reaction I got from my husband was unexpected. 

There have been two times where Nik couldn't stand what I cooked. A hash brown incident that involved a rotten potato and his first experience with homemade macaroni. But he choked down both and said nothing, cautious of hurting my feelings. It was only until months later it was revealed it was traumatic experiences eating these meals. 

Upon taking his first bite of this dinner, his face gave a hint at what he thought. When I pushed for a reaction he responded with a dry, "I'll tell you in ten years what I think." Which I know is code for, "I have to let a large amount of time pass so when I tell you it won't crush your feelings." I gave him som wiggle room stating, "Nik gorgonzola is a pretty strong cheese... it tastes like mold." To which he replied, "If I fell off a horse and ate the manure on the ground this is what it would taste like."

Needless to say, I will not be sharing the recipe. Or cooking with fancy cheese again. Ever. 

Wish List 2012


1. Anthopologie apron- An apron thats cuter than most dresses I own? Yes please. With pockets? Yes, please.
2. DIY Burlap Art- Good daily reminder displayed simply and adorably
3. Gold Infinity Ring- simple piece of jewelry that can be worn everyday, and allow for mixing metals
4. J. Crew Flats- preferably in every color and pattern
5. Pallet art- can't get enough, I want pallet everything.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kitty Christmas

When down in Provo, while at lunch with my sister we discussed the lack of Christmas ornaments during one's first year of marriage. Maybe word got back to my mom, but on our way back up to Idaho from Arizona we were told to pick up a package my parents left us. Left on my sister's doorstep was a decorative Christmas box, the kind my family stores our ornaments in. Inside was a dozen individually wrapped items in white tissue paper. We unwrapped our first Christmas ornaments. And my mom did it right. Cat ornaments. Being the crazy cat family that we are (Nik on the opposing side) I was ecstatic to become the owner of nine unique cat ornaments. It's a Christmas miracle!

In our house's storage we found a fake Christmas tree, and much to our disappointment as it was pulled out of its box we realized Charlie Brown's could put this one to shame. It is a dwarf, standing barely two feet tall and unfortunately has colored lights attached to it. (We always said we would be a strictly white lights family.) However, I knew that if anything could makeover our pathetic tree it would be the cat ornaments. I've also been trying to make some ornaments of my own. They never turn out as cute as I'd hoped, because my hands were not made to sew. 

Also, we have a fireplace. How many newlyweds get a fireplace!? None! If only we had stockings.



 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Road Trippin Alter Egos



I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who lives by the philosophy that you don't know someone until you hop in the car with them and take a long road trip with them. The endless, lack luster inferno that is the Nevada desert causes emotions to arise in people that you normally don't see. Having spent countless hours driving all over the west coast with Nik, I'd say we have both seen a fair share of each others' road trip alter egos.
Introducing:

Road Trip Nik


 


  • Starts every morning road trip with McDonald's breakfast
  • Toughs it up and drives any distance, at any time of day (or night) and refuses to let his wife get behind the wheel
  • Pops caffeine pills like an addict (result of previously stated tendency)
  • Whenever there is a lull in music, promptly plays "I Believe I Can Fly" and belts out like he was R. Kelly himself followed by a monologue of the first five minutes of Aladin
  • Swears a cop won't give you a ticket if you wave to them when you pass
  •  In response to my statements of "Oh, I've never seen that movie," describes the entire plot so vividly I end up on the end of my seat ready to hear the ending, but always to my disappointment he'll finish with, "It's a great movie, we should watch it some time." (Revealing a movie ending is apparently a sin.)
  • Watched the entire Lord the Rings trilogy on an iPod while driving back home once    


Road Trip Sara
   


  • Starts every morning road trip with McDonald breakfast
  • Rarely put behind the wheel due to dangerous combination of a horrible sense of direction, anxiety that accompanies lane changes, and severe fear of getting squashed between semis
  • Pretends to sleep to hear husband sing embarrassing songs
  • Scans radio constantly to find a decent country station 
  • In charge of GPS, despite inability to use anything electronic
  • Competitively exclaims, "Look how much prettier my side is than yours!"
  • Requires frequent rest stop bathroom breaks


Strategies to Make a Road Trip More Bearable:

  • Have the car clean before you start, it will help reduce the inevitable greasy feeling the accompanies being in the car for long periods of time
  • Stock you iPod, in fact just bring your iPod... I can't tell you how many times we've listened to the couple of playlists on Nik's phone
  • Play '20 Questions', but not the version everyone plays... I just ask Nik a question, he answers, he asks me one, I answer, ect. It's an excuse to make conversation and get to know each other better
  • Count how many times we see the 'Hill' (there's a ten minute stretch in Utah that has 33)