Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

John and I had a busy Memorial Day. We cleaned the house, we put up new light fixtures in the bathroom, we bought paint, we shopped for vanities, we went to a BBQ with friends and we stopped by to wish his niece a happy birthday. Somehow though, the only picture I ended up with was this:

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John wanted to make sure that the beer was secure. Hey, I'd hate for the beer to get a ticket with the new seatbelt laws!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Breakfast

In the mornings I'm generally running late. I try to eat breakfst most days, but my options need to be something that I can grab as I run out the door. The days that I have a bit more time I will make some toast. I also love bagels, but I'm a half bagel eater. I don't ever do a whole while John is a whole bagel eater. There's always a half left over at some point. We also don't have one of those fancy wide toasters that can toast a bagel so we sometimes don't do bagels at our house. At least until the other day at Costco when I saw these (I also saw them at the grocery store if you don't want to buy 24 bagels.):

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Pefect! A whole bagel, but really only a half and only 110 calories.

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Fits in the toaster.

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Plus they're small and portable so I can take it with me.

I love 'em. John, not so much. The whole bagel eater in our house doesn't find these filling enough.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Harvesting

I picked a green onion the other day as well as 2 squash and 2 zucchini. The way the plants are taking over the garden, I'm probably going to have quite a few squash and zucchini in the coming weeks.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ten on Tuesday


1. What is your favorite piece of furniture in your house?
Probably my bed. I spend a lot of time on the couch, but could stay in my bed all day if I could.

2. If it was raining so hard on a Saturday that you couldn’t leave your house, what would you spend the day doing?
Mess around on my computer and sita around watching TV.

3. What was your favorite candy as a child?
Rolos or those bubble gum cigarettes that actually blew out sugary "smoke."

4. Did you get an allowance? What was it based on? What did you do with it?
Yes and no. We got $20 for lunch money. My lunch was usually about $2 a day so I always had some left over.

5. Do you have a favorite Etsy store?
Nope. I try to shop on there, but get so overwhelmed I give up.

6. Do you prefer time with family or time with friends?
I spend more time with friends, but only because my family doesn't live close by. I enjoy the times I get to spend with my family though.

7. Looney Tunes, Tiny Toons, or Animaniacs?
Animaniacs. I loved that show. Plus they had Pinky and the Brain as well.

8. Best daytime talk show: Oprah, Ellen, The Doctors, Tyra (ha!), Dr. Oz, or Dr. Phil?
I don't watch any of them. I used to be a big fan of All My Children if you want to talk soaps though.

9. Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the ability to fly?
Fly. It would make getting around much easier. I'd probably also be on time more.

10. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult.
Not much. I'd love to have those carefree childhood days back.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Taking Over

My garden is being consumed by my squash and zucchini plants.

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They'd probably spill over into the yard if the chicken wire wasn't there to contain them.

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They're taking over the green beans.

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See? There really are green bean plants under all those leaves.

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The newest green beans haven't been encroached on just yet though.

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This nasturtium doesn't seem to be faring so well

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but this one is.

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The cucumber plants are growing well under the shade from the zucchini plant's leaves.

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I have the feeling I'm going to have a lot of squash and zucchini soon.

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The spinach plants are doing alright.

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The marigolds are both about to bloom.

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My slicing tomatoes are finally showing some growth

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and all three of my romas are doing well.

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The jalapeno plants are also showing some new growth.

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I planted two of the pepper seedlings where one had died and another is about to.

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I've also potted all of the remaining seedlings. I have 2 romas, a slicing and a bell pepper at this end,

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the lettuce plants over on the side

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and two more romas at this end.

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The garden is getting quite full and I'm ready to finally start harvesting some things before the summer heat sets in.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Because Julie is the cupcake queen I made 2 batches of these cupcakes so I could try them out first. You can find Annie's recipe for a full batch here and I'll post the half recipe. I made 14 in the first batch and 15 in the second. Because I'm extremely lazy, completely suck at math and really don't want to convert fractions some will be tablespoons and others 1/2 + 1/8 or something like that.

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For the cupcakes:
6 Tbsp cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
6 Tbsp cup hot water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 + 1/8 tsp. coarse salt
1 1/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/8 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

For the ganache filling:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, at room temperature

For the frosting:
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4.5 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4.5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. sour cream

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand about 1 minute. With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles. When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated. Transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache a bit. Whisk every 5-10 minutes to help it cool evenly. Once the mixture is slightly thickened and no longer runny, you are ready to fill the cupcakes.

To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife. Cut off the pointed end of the cone and discard (or eat) so you are left with a cap of cake to cover the filling. Drop a spoonful of ganache into the center of each cupcake and recover the hole with the cap.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool until just barely warm. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Gradually mix in the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Frost cupcakes immediately.

Review:
When I made my first batch (where the picture is from) I used a smaller tip for the frosting and didn't really like the look so I switched to the larger one for the last two or three. Then I added a bit more topping to them all. I also bought Godiva bittersweet chips rather than Baker's chocolate because it was cheaper to do. I almost never like homemade cake, but loved the cake of these cupcakes. I would totally make the batter for a homemade cake. These are definitely a chocolate lover's dream and the cake is nice and moist. A half batch took me about 3 hours to make, just FYI. Both times that I made them they took me about that amount of time. It could be because I'm not a cupcake master, or it could just really take that long. They're totally worth it though!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ten on um Wednesday - John's Answers



1. If your name was a verb, what would “to John” mean?
Depends. If a john is a toilet, then "to John" would probably mean to drop a deuce, but if a john is a hookers customer, then "to John" would probably mean to visit a lady of the night. If I were a verb, then I would most likely mean "to make something awesome". (ie. dude, you totally 'johned' the paint job on that car.)

2. What myth have you always wanted to prove or bust?
Is Fuzzy Wuzzy very fuzzy? Exactly how much wood could a woodchuck chuck? Can God make a rock so big he can't move it? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Why does the act of driving to the mechanic fix that wierd sound my engine is making?

3. If you had the ability to get a message out to the entire world, what would you say?
"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds." "Be the change you want to see in the world" "The meek shall inherit the earth" "Be good to each other, and party on dudes!"

4. I know you’ve answered a similar question before, but it’s been awhile. Please name your current top 10 blogs.
The Adventures of Faith. um... there are other blogs?

5. Do you have a junk drawer?
I do not have a junk drawer, because I have a place for everything and everything is in its place; however, Faith has enough junk drawers/shelves/corners/bookcases/armoires for the 2 of us.

6. Bottled water or tap?
Tap, even if its dirty. Bottled water is SO terrible for the environment and such a waste of money. Did you know that to make a quart of bottled water, it takes a gallon of water just to make the bottle? Did you know that plastic never really breaks down? It becomes tiny tiny bits of plastic that end up in the ocean. Bottled water is such a scam!

7. As a kid, did you have a favorite Biblical story?
I really liked Samson and Delilah, and Daniel in the Lions Den was also a favorite, but I think my all time favorite may have been Shadrach, Meeshak, and Abendego. (I'm not sure if I spelled those correctly) Yeah, I was a Pastors Kid.

8. What is your favorite black and white movie?
Schindlers List. Citizen Kane. Its a Wonderful Life. I also like a lot of old Gene Kelley/James Stewart/Fred Astaire movies. I love film. Kind of dorky and definitely not something you talk about with the boys over football, but I love movies!

9. Aside from your engagement/wedding rings, what is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own? Does it have a story behind it?
I think I have a watch somewhere. Jewelry is not something I ever wear. I don't even really like wearing my wedding ring. (I love Faith though!) Note from Faith - he often wears his ring on a necklace around his neck.

10. What sports/activites do you hope your kids will be involved in? (Answer for both a boy and a girl)
Boy: Football, Surfing, Choir, Basketball, Music Lessons (Guitar and Piano at least), Video Games(I need someone to play with).
Girl: I don't know, um, girl stuff. Oh, and video games because I need someone to play with.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Attack of the Mushrooms

Remember when I mentioned that mushrooms were one of my garden pests? Well I don't think I quite described the severity of the problem. This was the scene this morning:

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This happens every few days or so.

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They're not just out in the open. They're hiding under other plants as well.

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Do I just leave them be? My only worry is that they may uproot one of the new seedlings. They tend to put up right at the base of the plants.

A Visit from Sarah

My high school BFF was in San Antonio for a conference and John and I met her for dinner at La Tuna. It's where I was served the Fetus Fish.

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I totally grossed out Sarah and John with stories of Fetus Fish and yes, I ate it. LOL

Here's me and Sarah

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Anyone have a date for her for our 10 Year Reunion in July?

John commented that it looked like my boobs were trying to eat Sarah so we took this picture for him.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Belated Birthday Posts

At the end of February we celebrated Karl's birthday at Houlihan's. I finally decided to try the most off the hook french fries I've ever had. If you know me, you know I love cheese fries. I even did an Ode to Cheese Fries post once upon a time. Well these delicious fries are covered in pot roast gravy and mozzarella cheese. Yum.

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Julie made Karl lemon cupcakes and John got the idea to light all the candles at once and then put them on the cake.

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Luckily no one caught themselves on fire.

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Happy Birthday Karl!

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Next up was Julie's birthday celebration in early May.

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I made some off the hook cupcakes from Annie's Eats. I'll do a post with the recipe soon.

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This is the year to contemplate birthday wishes.

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Stephanie had to raise the roof. Or something like that.

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Happy Birthday Julie!

Friday, May 14, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photography - Week 11

Week 11 was about documenting the little things that go unnoticed during the day and the challenge was to try to document your day. I started off good with my documenting, but it all went downhill after awhile. You all should be glad because it was the day I discovered the grubs in my garden and you would NOT want to see those disgusting things. Let alone the 40 something that I pulled out of my garden. By the way, two more spinach plants fell prey to them. Ugh.

I started off with a trip to the farmer's market.

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I've missed going since I've started working weekends. The one I went to was supposed to be the best one here, but I'm wondering if it's just because it was during the week (they have it on Saturdays as well). Although with 4 produce tables it was actually more than I've seen at others. Usually there are a ton of craft and jewelry vendors mixed in.

On my way home I saw this car that cracked me up (why no, I was not photographing and driving...).

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A last name in Old English lettering is not uncommon here in San Antonio, but on the back of a Bug it sure the heck is! The back of a truck? Common. The back of a lime green Bug? Not so much.

Here's my haul from the farmer's market.

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No one had any lettuce and I wanted to buy carrots, but I have a ton at home still. I made the green beans for dinner that night and they were great. I also thought about some red potatoes, but didn't get them.

I gave all the dogs "pedicures" next and then Rufus and Riley got haircuts.

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Do you see the dent I left in the left side of Rufus' head? That's what happens when you have a wiggly dog.

After this the documenting stopped. None are quite fancy, but it does show what my typical day off is. Running errands and spending time with the dogs.

Week 12 is the final week and it's catch up for any lesson that you missed.
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