Friday, January 22, 2016

Flavor Filled Cream Cheese & Bagels

Bagels and delicious, flavor-filled cream cheese give me a 
bad case of nostalgia.  Maybe it's because they were all
the rage in the 90s, with shops popping up everywhere in the
midwest? Maybe it's because I worked a stint at a bagel
shop in college? Whatever it is, I love kicking it old school
(ugh, the 90s officially feel old school as plaid has officially
come back around) and toasting up chewy bagels and
slathering them with cream cheese.  Here are two 
quick and simple recipes for flavor-filled cream
cheeses to whip up.  

One sweet and One savory, so I gotcha covered.
8 oz container of whipped cream cheese
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt

Blend with a spoon to fully incorporate all the flavors
Starting with whipped cream cheese prevents you from 
having to get out the food processor.  Score!

the addition of chopped, lightly toasted
pecans would be delicous, FYI

8 oz container of whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped scallions (chop up into the greens)
1/4 cup chopped sweet peppers (I love the mixed
bag of sweet yellows and red baby peppers)
salt & cracked black pepper, to taste

Blend with a spoon to fully incorporate all the flavors.


I pop the flavored cream cheeses back in the container
the whipped cream cheese arrived in, and the spreads are 
good and ready to go!

Slather on, my bagel loving friends. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dining Room, A Rug Update

A fine area rug, just never really my style.  
If I could wrap my house in herringbone, 
I likely would.

Design Tip:
Do you know the difference between herringbone and chevron?
Very similar designs, but chevron is a straight zig zag, 
whereas herringbone  intersects with the opposite, 
as you can see if this up close snap.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Microwave Popcorn

Zac and Logi are in the mountains skiing, which means one thing: I'm pulling a Kevin McCallister and eating popcorn for dinner once I get Benny to bed!  Popcorn and movie on a Saturday night...
be still my heart.

Here's my recipe for quick, tasty and chemical free popcorn cooked up in the microwave

brown lunch bag
1/4 cup popcorn seeds
1 T coconut oil
sea salt
place bag, on a microwave safe
plate, and hit the 'popcorn' button
on your microwave and let it pop away

Dinner for one.

The coconut oil and sea salt combo are perfection as is,
but if you want, drizzle a bit of clarified butter into the popped
corn and shake well before decanting into a bowl.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gift Idea: Homemade Marshmallows & Cocoa Mix

My love affair with homemade marshmallows began years ago, when my husband was in grad school, we were living in Oregon and I made a ridiculous purchase of marshmallows at Williams-Sonoma.  I still, to this day cannot believe I paid so much for those marshmallows, but they were good and I figured I would give it the o' college try (errr, grad school wife try, rather) and see about making them myself.  I did, with great success (cutting them into shapes that first year.  Trees for Christmas, hearts for Valentine's Day), and have never looked back (well, I do still look at the back of the box, when I pop into Williams-Sonoma, to see the price climb each holiday season).  Here are two recipes that will make you feel like a gift giving champ!

Find my recipe, for fluffy marshmallow perfection in a blog post 
from several years ago.  Marshmallow link.

See all those delicious flecks of vanilla bean?  Be still, my heart.

You'll see the full step by step on the old marshmallow post, but 
I cannot get over how much I love cutting huge, square marshmallows!

I bought cute little paper 'fruit' crates at the craft store (they were
labeled as food safe, FYI) and then popped the filled crate
into a clear cello bag and tied with hemp rope.  I decided I needed
to send hot chocolate with the homemade marshmallows, so I filled 
large Ball jars (they were narrow, yet rather tall...a style I had never
seen before, but am now obsessed).  To create this hot chocolate
concoction of love I put the grater attachment in my food processer
 and shaved big bars of dark chocolate (I bought the large bars
from Trader Joe's).  The shavings yielded quite a bit, but I decided
I wanted to gift more hot chocolate so I did equal parts dark chocolate
shavings, unsweetened cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar and a
pinch of sea salt. 

On the back of the little label I attached to the 
hot chocolate mix, I placed the directions of
1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot milk.

I think this is a gift that should extend well into the New Year!
Who wouldn't love to receive this from their Valentine?


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Maple & Bacon Spiced Almonds


I always make spicy candied almonds (or pecans) for salads,
but the addition of bacon...oh my!!!  I just know you will 
love this one!

What you need:
2 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 strips of  center cut bacon, chopped up
Generous cracks of sea salt
Use kitchen shears to rough cut 5 strips of bacon and place in
a pan over medium/high heat.  

Separately:  preheat oven to 325

 Brown the bacon bits thoroughly, then remove the bacon 
from the pan. Center cut bacon does not render much fat
so there will be about a tablspoon of bacon fat in the pan. 
Leave it in the pan.  


Add the raw almonds and maple syrup to the bacon fat, in the
pan over medium/high heat.

Stir and coat.  Allow the maple syrup to bubble and reduce, 
while stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, all of the almonds should be coated in thick
maple syrup reduction. 

Turn off heat and return the bacon bits to the pan, along with
cayenne pepper (if you want a bigger kick, add more), and
a very generous dusting of sea salt. Stir to incorporate.

Pour the mixture onto a parchment paper lined sheet tray and
spread the almonds and bacon out into a single layer
Place the sheet tray in the preheated oven and cook for 7-9 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and allow the coated almonds 15-20 
minutes to cool.  Then, try not eating them all.
Allow to cool completely, at least 1 hour before packaging up.

I am packaging up the almonds to give as gifts.  
This time of year you can find adorable containers in every store, 
otherwise, store the almonds in a sealed container or bag at room temperature.


Friday, November 20, 2015

All I Want For Christmas!

With age comes loads of I right, or AM I RIGHT?  Dreams of  a new blender, maybe a good book (or 20 minutes of quiet to read said book)...grown up problems.

I never need for anything, but I am sharing a few things I am obsessing over, as you might want to add one or two of these treasured ideas to you list of wants!!  That is, if you make the good list!

Beauty is the Inner Fire

I am OBSESSED with the works created by artist
 Adam Swanson. His talent is beyond measure, sprinkled
 the the perfect (lots) amount of quirk. I just haven't been 
able to decide which one I covet the most.  This is one of my
favorite paintings of the aerial lift bridge in Duluth, MN.  
Fantastic, right!

Here are a few more that I just love:

Building Blocks 

 Rhythm and Wind 

 Headed Home

Let's be real, I want so so many!  Like nothing I have ever seen!
Someday, a few of his pieces will be mine.

When am I not going crazy for a throw blanket?
When am I not going crazy for Faribault Woolen Mills creations? a classic buffalo check plaid, sign me up!

Two of these chairs, please.  I mean, for reals.

 These boots.  Glacy Explorer by Sorel.

I think I might actually ask Santa for this, as I have now officially
wanted to have this for far too long.

I really want a little succulent 'garden' for my kitchen counter this winter.
I have one from last spring, in a Mason jar on my counter and it makes
me so happy.  I want a few more.

Big Dreams Here, People!!
Ho Ho Ho.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Throw Pillows

I think I am going to update some throw pillows.  I like these patterns and textures together, but...does anyone else agree?