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Archive for March, 2012

Oh geez, where to begin?  Sometimes we don’t know how to leave well enough alone.  We just poke the bear.  I don’t know why.  We know we have a good thing going with our little family of four.  Everyone has a spot on the couch, everyone is happy. POKE!

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So spring has arrived and I could not be more jazzed.   Yes, I said jazzed.  I also use phrases and words like monkeyshines and holy nerds to try to keep my swearing at a PG level but it can get an R rating for language at times.

This week could have been one of those times.  I am currently having a bit of poison ivy or oak problem.  In my basking in the sunshine I was gung-ho to start  my yard clean up and garden prep,  now have red itchy arms and ankles.   (I just had to go without socks and set my feet free from winter..Blurg!)

I also lost my last remaining link to childhood, or as I described it on my husband’s voicemail when I called  to share with him the news.  I lost my last baby tooth this week!  Weird I know, apparently an adult molar never grew in so I never lost the baby one.  Well, until it popped out at work the other day.   Henry Winkler!

The same day a dog jumped up on me at work and ripped my necklace off, breaking the chain.  The one piece of jewelry that besides my engagement ring and wedding band my husband has gotten me.  (To be fair to him I do not wear much jewelry and he did get me roller skates that I get way more use out of… Fiddlesticks anyway!)

So what’s a girl to do?  slump down and weep? No.   Shout “HOLY NERDS”?  Maybe.  But I think you should make these mini chocolate chip muffins, enjoy their deliciousness and maybe next time find out what poison ivy looks like before you start any garden projects.  Holy Nerds, indeed.

Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

yield 12

(From the Joy the Baker cookbook, blueberry muffin recipe, I didn’t have any blueberries at the time)

MUFFINS:

7 tbsp unsalted butter

1/3 cup milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 ts vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 ts baking powder

3/4 ts salt

1 cup mini morsel chocolate chips

FOR THE TOPPING:

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup flour

3  tbsp sugar

Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.

For muffins, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it browns and smells nutty.  Remove from heat so it does not burn.  This step goes quickly so keep you eyes on it.

Mix milk, egg, yolk and vanilla, add browned butter and mix to combine.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add liquids and stir to combine,  Fold in chocolate chips.  Divide batter into muffin cups.

Make topping:  combine ingredients in bowl and squeeze together until crumbly, sprinkle on top of muffin batter in cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until tops are golden and tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes then enjoy and let your troubles float away.

P.S. Newton and Larry would approve of these if they were allowed to eat chocolate.  Monkeyshines!

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So remember when I was so excited about the warmth and the sun and could care less if mother nature still had some winter left in her.  Well…she did and I still didn’t care.  Okay maybe I cared a little bit and used some not so kind words when one minute it was fine out and the next there was already a few inches of snow on the ground.  I think even the boys were a little depressed looking at it and they love romping in the snow.  

But then we remembered how pretty everything looks covered in snow and that spring is still on its way and we should enjoy a pasta salad because in my mind that is part of the warm weather food chain and ta da, it worked.  The snow melted by the end of the day.  The end.

So to melt your winter snow, figuratively and who knows maybe literally make this Pasta Caprese.  It will make it 72 degrees in your mind.

PASTA CAPRESE

(a few adaptions made from a recipe by Joe and Jill Biden in Food Network Magazine – yes, that Joe Biden)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice from 1 fresh squeezed lemon

1 minced shallot

2 minced garlic cloves

1 tsp sugar

pepper and kosher salt to taste

1  1/2 pints grape tomatoes halved

12 oz fresh mozzarella cut into small pieces

1/2 cup rough chopped fresh basil

12 oz box of tri color rotini

1/2 tsp lemon zest

Whisk olive oil, lemon, shallot and garlic.  Add sugar and salt & pepper to taste.  Mix into bowl of tomatoes and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.  Meanwhile cook pasta according to box, when done drain and run under cold water.   Add pasta and mozzarella to tomato mixture and toss well to coat.  Add basil and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate, tossing occasionally until serving.  Enjoy!

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In continuing with our meet and greet, let me introduce our middle dog Franklin.  He is our stately and imposing looking 4-year-old shiba inu/sheltie mix.

We ended up adopting him when he was 7 months old because we got it into our heads that Newton really wanted a  best friend.  He has been informing us daily  that in fact that was never the case and he had been very content being the sole recipient of our attention and snacks.  But in our heads it was and happily the 3 of us went down to the animal rescue league and started the search for our newest family member.

Newton met lots of dogs that day but none clicked and then the staff suggested we try “Teddy”.  We had seen him in the kennel and you can tell how he got his name, he looked like a puffed teddy bear but he also had notes and signs all about his “special adoption” needs.  He had no social contact so was very nervous, don’t look at him, don’t move fast, shibas are very stubborn and smart so are difficult to train and the list went on and on.  We weren’t sure but out he came and of course the two of them got along like gangbusters.  So a week later Teddy became Franklin and our adventures with him began.

Frankie is a very sensitive boy and though most passers-by only see the barking dog with big teeth informing them they are too close to our property we know the sweet guy who is so smart and polite and waits to be given the okay to do anything (most of the time).  The one who seems to feel his brothers or our pain and tries to make it all better with licks.  The one I think I trust the most not to lose his head and bite and a single harsh word would devastate him.  He has an obsession with cheese and band aids.  He will very gingerly pull one-off your finger whenever he sees one.  He lets his brothers jump all over him and when they play tug of war he could easily whip Larry around the room but he lets the little guy think he’s winning.   He was a tough nut to crack and it was a lot of nerve wrecking work in the beginning that we worried that maybe we just didn’t have what he needed to be a happy dog but we have been doing our best and wouldn’t change a second of our time with him.

He is our cherished, fragile Frankie and we love the little nut.

 

Introducing Franklin!

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Today had that feeling.  That spring is right around the corner and my fingers and toes are tingling with anticipation feeling.  You know what I’m talking about.

I shouldn’t be so excited seeing that New England has barely had a winter this year but I can’t wait to have sun shine down on me and to dig my toes into the warm sand.

Don’t worry I’m a realist, I know what will happen.  I’ll be so hopped up on springtime merriment only to be crushed when we get walloped with a blizzard.

That’s o.k. I know it’s almost here no matter what obstacles mother nature tries to bring me down with.  I mean today I got home from work with the sun STILL out and making my kitchen look just heavenly!  So I was moved to make Wednesdays my day to share kitchen adventures.  Give or take a day here and there of course.  Hey, life can get unruly.

So keep posted for some Kitchen Adventures and fingers crossed, NO BLIZZARDS!

P.S.  Notice that little beagle just waiting for some crumbs to fall his way, what a goober.

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