Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beautiful Lighting

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm slightly in love with the Pottery Barn. I wanted to post some of the beautiful lighting they offer. First, I have shown you a close up of the pendant or chandelier and then in a room. I would take any of these, but I think the first two are my favorite!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sauerkraut Pierogies

I have been really craving sauerkraut pierogies for a while now, and finally filled the void today! Pierogies are a dish I was brought up on and really brings me back to being a little kid again. They are for sure one of my top 5 favs. Although, my first experiences with pierogies were that of disgust. I suppose I was scared to try the sauerkraut. So, until I tried sauerkraut and realized it would probably be one of my favorite foods forever, my family would just boil and pan fry rounds of pierogi dough and then I would dip them in vinegar. Hmmm...I liked vinegar, but not saurkraut. Pierogies were always a special treat because as you know if you have ever made them, they are very much a process and very time consuming, but sooo worth it. My Grandma and I came up with a recipe that has similar flavors, but is easier to make when we don't have time or feel like making the real thing. We boil egg noodles, and mix in saurkraut that has been sauteed with a bit of bacon fat, salt, pepper, and probably some butter. Oh this is so good and so simple. Today, however, I did have time to make the real thing. I am not a pro at making pierogies, but they still taste good. Hopefully over time I will improve my skills. 

Sauerkraut Pierogies

Dough #1
2 C. flour
3/4 C. warm water
1 egg
1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt


Dough #2
2 C flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
8 T. cold water

Sauerkraut (drained and squeezed of liquid)
butter and olive oil for pan frying
salt & pepper to taste
diced onions (optional)
garlic (optional)
sour cream (option)

Okay so, dough #1 is the recipe I have used the past two times I have made pierogies. I think maybe the warm water makes the dough easier to work with. However, this time, the dough seemed a little too moist, in which I had to use a lot of flour when rolling out the dough. The second recipe is my Grandmas recipe. I think I will try this one again the next time I make pierogies. Either one will work. 

Mix flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the center. In another small bowl lightly beat egg and water. Add egg and water to the flour mixture and gently toss with a fork until combined. Knead the dough a few times and let rest for a few minutes. Lightly flour surface that you will be rolling out dough on. Roll out dough with a floured rolling pin. Cut out circles and fill with about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of sauerkraut (depends on how big your circles are). Fold the dough over and use a fork to seal. Sometimes I flip dumpling over and press with fork on the other side. If the dough it too dry or too moist it can be difficult to seal. In this case you can use your fingers to try and seal them, dip fork in water if too dry, or dip fork in flour if too wet. They may not look pretty, but they will still taste good. 

Place pierogies in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 5-6 minutes. Heat a large sauté pan and add some olive oil and butter. Add the pierogies and sprinkle them with salt,pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. If you are using raw onions and garlic, cook for a little bit before adding the pierogies. They are ready to eat when golden brown. Serve with sour cream if you wish. Enjoy!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mochaccino Brownie Wedges

I have been on a mini baking hiatus because I am trying to lose a few pounds. This is so hard for me because I love to cook and bake, and making healthy baked goods just doesn't sound as fun. I finally gave in today. My friends and Co-workers usually get lucky when this happens because they reap the benefits of my need to bake.  This was a very simple, one mixing bowl recipe, but even better, I was able to make the entire recipe without having to go to the grocery store. So, Mochaccino Brownie Wedges from the Hay Day Country Market Cookbook, it was.  

Mochaccino Brownie Wegdes
from Hay Day Country Market

About 3 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
generous 1/2 C. blanched hazelnuts (I did a mix of walnuts and hazelnuts)
8 Tbs. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
4 ounces (2/3 C.) Semisweet chocolate coarsley chopped (I used Semisweet Chocolate chips)
2 Tbs. finely ground dark roast coffee (I had whole bean and used my magic bullet to grind it very fine)
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 C. sugar
3/4 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter 8-inch square baking pan, and dust it with cocoa powder ( This is one ingredient I did not have, so I lined the pan with parchment paper and then buttered it). 

Scatter hazelnuts in a small baking pan and toast them for about 5 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven. Coarsely chop them and set them to the side. 

Melt butter and chocolate in a small heavy bottom saucepan over low heat. Add coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring briskly after each addition. Stir until mixture is thick and shiny. Then stir in the flour, salt, and all but 2 Tbs. of the nuts. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle reserved 2 Tbs. of nuts, pressing them slightly into the batter. Bake in the middle of the oven until the brownies are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan. Cut into four squares. Then cut each square into four bite size triangular brownies.

Friday, January 15, 2010

25 Randoms

I was tagged to do this "25 Random facts" about me a while back on facebook! It was a lot of fun! It's nice to sit down and reflect on your thoughts, values, and things of importance, etc. Hope you enjoy!

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I believe home is where the heart is, and still love the feeling I get when I see the weedsport exit! 

2. Its too bad you dont realize the importance of family when growing up, now I realize, never take it for granted, and cherish every moment.  Life is short! 

3. I love the ADK's and dont have to go far to feel like I'm on vacation! 

4. I love my alone time, even if it's closing the bedroom door and reading a good magazine. 

5. I love the kids I work with and sometimes feel like I am a parent to 12 teenagers. It can be very bittersweet.

6. I believe my true calling is to someday own a cozy coffeeshop/cafe/vegetable stand/stay at home mommy, haha who knows... 

7. I love to create things. I watch how its done, and then have to do it myself from then on... 

8. I am a thinker and a dreamer and often live in "la la land". 

9. I second guess myself too much 

10. I love going to Wegmans with my mom when Im home. If you didnt grow up with a Wegmans you wouldnt understand. 

11. My favorite place in the world is my grandparents home. I walk around and immediatley am brought back to days of playing pirates, bird watching, hobo lunches, and homemade movie theatres. I was lucky to have room to grow as the peace pilgrim would put it, "I wish that every child could have growing space b/c I think children are like little plants. If they grow too close together they become thin and sickly and never obtain maximum growth. We need room to grow." 

12. I have a hard time speaking my mind. It all makes sense in my head, but not when it comes out of my mouth. 

13. My mom is my hero, seeing what she came from, who she is now, and what she has taught me, all shows me that you make your life what you want and cant depend on others to do it for you. If you want to better yourself, than do it!! 

14. I have a very naughty orange cat. His name is Reggie Alouicious Heath. He is currently sitting on my lap mixing bread in my leg and it really hurts! He also would rather drink water from a glass than his own bowl. 

15. I am the luckiest girl in the world b/c I have the most amazing boyfriend. He is patient, respectful, and silly. I dont have to change myself one bit for him to love me. The "one" is someone who not changes your personality, but compliments it, and that is truly who he is. 

He is my best friend! 

16. I am addicted to running, and would be distraught if I could never do it again.

17. I have the 2 coolest nephews in the world.

18. I miss 74 court!

19. Im very lucky to have been brought up with values and a belief in God. Its hard to explain, but when you truly believe, you can feel his presence. You always have someone to talk to or ask for help.

20. I have very little drama in my life and would like to keep it that way. However, I am sometimes amused by others drama.

21. I am not good at hiding my feelings. Usually the way I feel appears directly on my face and it is sometimes unintentional.

22. I am not good at keeping in touch, but love the fact that when you have true friends, you can pick up right where you left off like you never skipped a beat.

23. I enjoy the simple life. My favorite summer day, is waking up, drinking french pressed coffee, riding my bike to the farmers market, taking a short ride to the lake, laying in the sun or planting flowers, making a yummy dinner and sitting outside in the backyard with friends after dark!

24. Even though there is no chance of owning my own house anytime soon, I often purchase stuff for it knowing exactly in my mind what it will look like. Then it just sits around my tiny apt.collecting dust with no place to go, while I hope it does not get broken.

25. When I have kids I will tell them what to expect or should I say what not to expect during their twenties. I think others would agree that our parents failed to tell us that life is not going to just fall into place. Maybe they did, and we didnt listen. 

To date- (Re: #25  They told us, we just didnt listen)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekend in Burlington

Mr. and Mrs. eating some dinner in Lake Champlain

Church St. at night

More Church St.

and some more...

Baby it's cold outside...

Penny Cluse Cafe for breakfast

Mama Cruz's Huevos Rancheros

Polenta & Eggs

As I mentioned in my previous post, Joe and I went to Burlington on Friday for the night. We had a great time as usual. It would be hard to have a bad time in Burlington (even if it was only 9 degrees outside). Friday night we shopped, at Pottery Barn of course, went to eat the the Vermont Pub and Brew, and went to see a blues band at Nectars. After, we went back to our hotel to get a good nights sleep. Well, aside from the 3 drunk young kids coming home at 3:30am and screaming outside our door, leaving for a while and coming back at 4:30 am and doing who knows what in their room, the snow plow, plowing the entire parking lot at 5:30am and the leaf blower, blowing the snow off the side walks, we got a good night sleep. Ok, that was definitly a lie. It was a horrible nights sleep. We had to call down to the front desk and tattle on the kids in the room next to us. Come to find out, they were kicked out at 6:30am because they had numerous complaints. I think that was a little too late, but we did get a good amount of money off our room fee. Feeling a little grumpy from lack of sleep, we went to Penny Cluse Cafe to cure our morning blues. This breakfast could cure anything. Pictured above, are the best huevos rancheros in the world! I don't know really b/c I have only had huevos at a few other places, but these are truly epic and must be some of the best! Oh, and did I mention the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice?? YUM! After breakfast, we shopped a little more and finished our mini trip to Burlington at the City Market/Onion River Co-op. I could spend hours in here. I love to cook, but often have to substitute ingredients because I cannot find what is called for in stores available to us. Well, if only this was closer because any ingredient imaginable, can be found here. I wanted to take pictures, but it was packed, and I didn't want to be "that" tourist. You will just have to check it out yourself, if ever travelling in Vermont. 

I also wanted to post the WINNERS! Well, just the winning items, that my gift card purchased at Pottery Barn. 

(one of the small lamp shades)

(the small one)

Oh and I almost forgot my new baker's rack from Home Port. Another purchase with a gift card! You can't really see the color, but it's dark red, with a bit of the black showing through. I, well actually Joe (and he is very proud of this) found this at such a great deal. It was marked 30% off.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Burlington, VT Pottery Barn, Here I come!!!

We're off to Burlington, VT for the night and I can't wait! And along with Burlington comes cashing in some gifts cards. I already have a few things on hold over the phone at Pottery Barn, in fear they would sell out. I received their latest catalog yesterday and as usual have been drooling over their staging photos. It makes me want my own house sooo bad!! The images I have posted are a mix of rooms I love and items I may purchase with my gift cards. Yay!!