Thursday, December 19, 2013

Early Christmas

Last weekend we got to celebrate an early Christmas with Brian's parents. It was super low key and so nice to simply enjoy each other's company. It almost felt like a mini vacation and I certainly wasn't ready to head back come Sunday evening. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful second family. 

Moose & Summer 

David & Sally dancing to some Christmas tunes

Louie missed us

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holy Cannoli

This last week I decided to take on a new challenge...making cannoli! I should preface this story with the confession that I really am not a baker. I much prefer cooking but I ventured out of my comfort zone. I also didn't realize how much work go into these delicious morsels but I was all in. I even went to Lowes to have custom made dowels cut for me.  
Thursday I figured that if I tackled the shells I could fill them on Friday and not be stressed for time since we were leaving for the weekend that evening. So on Thursday I was very happy and excited to get started on what I thought would be a pretty easy road. First step, tackle the dough. Mixing all the ingredients went smoothly, I mean how hard can it be to combine all my ingredients, but when it came to actually kneading the dough for at least 15 minutes I simply couldn't do it. I think I lasted maaaaaaaybe 8. Even though I knew I probably didn't knead it long enough I thought that this will have to do. I let the dough ball rest for a couple hours and brought it back out to roll and cut. I was already fatigued from the kneading that it was a tad difficult to even roll the dang ball out thin enough for the shells. Once again I said out loud, "this will have to do." Except I'm pretty sure I said it in between heavy labored breathing because I am so out of shape! If I didn't know it then I sure do now. Note to self...start lifting some weights. I get all my circles cut out, roll the dough around the dowels and prepare the hot oil for frying. The smell that those fried shells made was amazing. After I let the rolls sit and cool I put them in a ziplock bag for the next day to fill. 
Thankfully I was thinking ahead and didn't wait until the very last second to pull them down. I thought, I'd better try one before I fill them all. Uh was chewy!!!!! Literally, my jaw was tired just from getting through one. Crap. I immediately panic because I don't have time to make another batch, nor would I have been able to even muster up the strength, and get myself to the computer to look up bakeries. I call the Italian deli down the hill first to see if they sell cannoli shells and they did. I was in luck. So I swing by to purchase the shells and finish my little project. It only took about one second to notice my shells were NOTHING like the ones from the deli. I will say that the filling was very tasty and will definitely keep that recipe handy. Lesson learned and this experience hasn't scared me away from trying again. After I get a mixer of course! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Latest Inspirations

This last summer Brian and I got hooked onto this show called "Oddities." Anyone ever seen it? It's a reality show that follows the employees of this curiosity shop in NY. After watching ALL the episodes in a very short period of time we grew fascinated with all of these "bizarre things" taxidermy included. We still have yet to buy an oddity ourselves, but don't fret! It will happen at some point. We even talked jokingly about turning our cat into taxidermy after she passed and thought it would so hilarious we actually looked into it. However, it was a little more money than we were able to pay and the pose wasn't what we wanted either. So instead she rests in her little urn on our bookshelf. 
I have also recently been inspired by landscapes and plants, the leaves more so than the actual flowers, and decided to google image search Natural History Taxidermy. After scanning all the pictures I realized I need to visit the Burke Natural History Museum here in Seattle. Here are a few pictures I found on google that I really liked. Random post but it's my blog and I can do what I want! bwahahaha :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Beef Stout Stew

There are few things better than a stew simmering in the kitchen making the apartment smell like heaven! If you have never gone to before then get your butts over there! I frequently peruse their website for recipes and have been happy with my meals every time. Brian bought 4 lbs, yes 4LBS!,of beef chuck because he really wanted stew. Real subtle way of requesting it huh? :) Brian really likes a good stout beer on cold days so I thought this recipe sounded like a win win.  

For The Stew-

  • 1/2 lb slab bacon, cut into thick pieces
  • 2 lbs chuck roast, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 red onion, medium dice
  • 2 carrots, medium dice
  • 2 celery stalks, medium dice
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 12 ounces stout beer
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • flour for dredging
For The Garnish-
  • sour cream
  • parsley, chopped
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • Over medium heat, add 2-3 tbsp oil
  • Season the chuck roast and then dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Add to the pot and brown. Once deep golden brown, about 10-12 minutes, add the bacon. Stir to combine. Add the garlic, onion, mushrooms, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Tie the herbs together with kitchen twine
  • Now add the stout and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the stock and herb bundle. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover than pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the chuck is tender, about 1 1/2-2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 
  • Remove the herb bundle and discard.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a pinch of parsley, some cheddar cheese and crusty bread
Perk of making a stew? I can enjoy a glass of wine while it's busy simmering. Bonsoir! 

Early Christmas Present

My early Christmas present this year was my mom coming up to spend the weekend with us! Living far away from my parents is definitely the hardest thing about staying here in Washington so any chance I get to see them means the world to me. We shopped, ate and fought the cold...although a certain someone never got used to the chilly weather :) 

This picture is by far my favorite. Poor mom!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

This weekend was full of fun things and I'm pretty sad it's over already. Brian and I went to the Nordic Heritage Museum, ate some tasty food and cut down our own Christmas tree from a tree farm. That was a first! We also played Christmas music all weekend and watched Christmas movies. We obviously have not wasted any time getting into the holiday spirit this year.  

We learned about the first Scandinavian immigrants 

Miniature version of the Norwegian Lion

Seattle has Sasquatch, Norway has trolls

Sawing Away

Our tree!