Monday, July 14, 2014

Family Reunion in Breckenridge...

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, we just returned from beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. Boo's family had their annual family reunion and it was a great time seeing everyone and meeting new faces. We stayed in the a beautiful mountain lodge, about 10 kiddos and probably 30+ adults. I didn't get as many pictures as I wish I had, but here is a little peak into the house and a couple happenings... 



the entrance to the Little Mountain Lodge...





totally in love with this wall hanging...


no mountain house is complete without a little taxidermy...


one night we had "Thanksgiving Dinner in July", with turkey and all the fixings...



out in town...


a shot of us together...

Hopefully next year I can get more photos!













Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Vacation with my little man...

A couple weeks ago Liam and I went to LA to visit our friends Karen and Caleb. It was an overdue trip that came at the perfect time. We crammed so much into our 5 days that we came home exhausted, but totally worth it.

So much of our trip was centered around great food, we all share a love of eating and drinking the best. We literally spared no expense, dining out was my souvenir this trip! As you can tell from the pics...


Louie Bottega, the best pastries I have had in years!  Not only are the pastries beautiful, the space is just as amazing; marble, gold, intricant molding. Sometimes its a plus that Denver isn't as much of a foodie city as I wish it was. 


Just look at this, #drool!



Liam getting down on some sushi...needs some work on handling chopsticks.


The 4 of us...


At the beach...


Someone developed a love of  French macarons at Louie Bottega...





Best day ever at Disneyland...


I even rode the tea cups and didn't get sick, I hate rides that spin...


Met Spiderman on Hollywood Blvd...


Stomping the Walk of Fame...


With one of my idols...


Had to flex our muscles at Venice Beach...


My favorite picture from the whole trip, we had such a great time!


Til next time LA, you treated us well and we cannot wait to come back. Thanks so much to our friends for taking time off work, showing us around, and for your amazing hospitality! You are dear friends and couldn't imagine life without you, we LOVE you!



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Super Healthy Oatmeal...

Is it just me, or do you feel super good about yourself when you start the morning off with a great breakfast? I would love to eat breakfast burritos and french toast everyday, but in reality I really do love a healthy start. 

This has to be my new favorite way to start the day, I've even been getting Liam to eat this and to my surprise he actually loves it! There's so many great ingredients; its a power punch to get the day started.


Read all about how great all these add-ins are,




The cocoa nibs add a great chocolaty crunch and the hemp hearts add a nice nutty bite.


Raisins add great sweetness and a tender chew. Almonds add even more great nut flavor.
I add a splash of vanilla and a little agave for sweetness. And who doesn't love cinnamon? Great flavor and even better for you? You can add whatever floats you oatmeal boat, the healthier the better.


Super Healthy Oatmeal

Serves 2

1 Cup Oats, cooked
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons Agave Nectar
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Golden Raisins
2 Tablespoons Sliced Almonds
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Nibs
2 Tablespoons Hemp Hearts

Cook oats.
Add remaining ingredients.
Serve hot!




Monday, June 23, 2014

Rosemary Peach Sangria...

Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed your weekend, I'm still recouping from my trip to LA. So much fun to share soon. 

I have a quick drink recipe that can be made with or without booze, of course its more festive with booze. Its that time of year when stone fruits like peaches and apricots are amazing and adding them to drinks makes them even more special. 

If you've been reading my blog for awhile them you know my love of combining sweet and savory. Here are a few of my all time favorites...Fig Thyme JamChocolate Thyme Cookies, and Peach Thyme Cobbler. Why stop at desserts when you can add to cocktails, too?! Definitely something your guests will be talking about for awhile.


When making this recipe use ripe fruit, this yields the best outcome. 


Make sure to double or even triple this recipe if serving at a party, the puree can even be made a day ahead. 

Enjoy!

I'm sharing this recipe at Time to Sparkle Link Party.

Peach Rosemary Sangria

serves 4 

1 Bottle White Wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
2 Springs Fresh Rosemary (plus more for garnishment)
6-8 Fresh Peaches 
2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar 
Juice from Half of Lemon
Ice

Peel and dice peaches.
Put peaches, rosemary, agave, and lemon juice in a small pan. Cook on low heat until fruit breaks down, and infusing flavors together. About 5 minutes. 
Remove rosemary springs and chill mixture. 
Depending on consistency of fruit, you may need to blend it. You are looking for a smooth puree.
Add chilled wine and puree to a pitcher, add ice. Adjust sweetness with more agave if you like.
Garnish with rosemary spring.
*Can replace wine with soda water to make nonalcoholic. 



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vacation starts now...

Hello friends, I just wanted to post before Liam and I hit up The City of Angels, Los Angeles. We are visiting one of my dearest friends Karen, aka Carebear and her beau Caleb. 

VIA


Karen and I have been friends for about 3 1/2 years and I knew from the get go, this girl was my kinda girl! She has style and sass, all things required to be my friend. They moved to LA about a year ago and we are visiting them for the first time since they left. Excited is and understatement! 

Karen and me at a Denver Bronco's Game, too much fun!

We are hitting up Disneyland (my first Disney experience), the beach, and some LA hot spots. So much fun with this girl!

 I cannot wait to get this trip started...giving Liam the experience of traveling is something that I am very proud and lucky to do. He's been more places in his short 5 1/2 years than I had in 18 years, he yearns for adventure just like me!

 So until next week, have a great week! 




Monday, June 16, 2014

Cantaloupe-Coconut Popsicles and Eating Healthy...

Eating healthy is a challenge for a lot of people, especially for someone like me. I'm a classically trained pastry chef. I love full flavor; cream, butter, bread, fat! I can't help it, it warms my soul. Recently my doctor informed me that I needed to watch my sugar levels, I'm not diabetic, yet. So in an effort to take control of my health I have started eating and drinking healthier. I've drastically changed what and how I eat and cook; its definitely time to get creative. This recipe is my first attempt at keeping sweets in my life...without sweets I'm not a nice complete person.


These were so easy to whip up, and with only 4 ingredients it makes them that much better. 


I'm excited to try new flavors and texture combinations throughout summer, stay tuned for that!


Liam loved these some much, even better when the kiddos love healthy! I'm trying to get the whole family involved with my new found "healthy" lifestyle. And since I'm the main cook, I don't think that will be an issue. I'm already sneaking super healthy stuff in Liam's oatmeal, shhhh don't tell him!


Any healthy suggestions for me?

Cantaloupe-Coconut Popsicles

makes about 5

1/2 of a Ripe Cantaloupe
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/2 of Lime, juiced
1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar *see note*

Peel, seed, and chop cantaloupe.
Put in blender with coconut milk, lime juice, and agave nectar; blend until smooth.
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

*NOTE* Agave can be omitted if your cantaloupe is super sweet, or more added if not sweet enough.
I buy super fragrant melons to ensure they are at their peak of sweetness. 





Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gluten Free Pasta with Pancetta, Tomatoes, and Peas...

I've been on quite a health kick lately, and one thing that I'm trying really hard to stay away from is gluten. Hard to believe with Mondays post on the Strawberry Cream Cake. In all honesty I only had a couple small slices and it was worth every dreamy bite! 

At least once a week we have pasta, so I'm making the attempt to convert the whole family to gluten free pasta, aka by Boo as "hippie food". But once he tried this recipe I think he was a believer, fingers crossed. I used to be an unbeliever with gluten free as well, all flour or nothing at all. But I'm pleasantly surprised with the quality of the products available and I'm all about trying anything that is better for me.


This pasta was so rich with the addition of a small amount of cream. I know what you're thinking "I thought this was healthy?".  Well I cannot simply change everything about me, baby steps. I am a firm believer in everything in moderation. 

fresh basil from my garden, mmm!

Another great thing about this pasta is that it takes no time to whip up, less than 30 minutes and its on the table. We can all appreciate a quick meal any day of the week.


Any thoughts on gluten free?

Gluten Free Pasta with Pancetta, Tomatoes, and Peas

Serves 4

1 Pound Brown Rice Pasta
8 Ounces Pancetta, diced small
3 Cloves Fresh Garlic, diced
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine or Chicken Stock
2 Roma Tomatoes, medium dice
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Pinch of Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
6-8 Fresh Basil Leaves, chiffonade  See example here

Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet on Medium heat cook pancetta until browned. Once cooked transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain grease.
Add chopped garlic to same pan and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add wine or stock and cook for 3 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook for about 3 more minutes, until tomatoes break down.
Add heavy cream and cook for about 3 minutes, until bubbling and thickened slightly.
Add parmesan cheese and return cooked pancetta back to sauce.
Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Add frozen peas.
Toss sauce with cooked pasta and top with basil.

Serve immediately and enjoy!






Monday, June 9, 2014

Strawberry Cream Cake...

Hi friends! I have the perfect spring/summer cake for you...Strawberry Cream Cake. I found this recipe via Pinterest via the Spiced Blog. The writer David has a beautiful blog with gorgeous photos, delicious recipes, and great stories. When you have a chance check out his blog and grab a cup of coffee; cause you'll be there for some time.


When I found this recipe I knew that I had to make it and make it stat! And I'm so glad I did, the crumb is tender and flavorful and the frosting is creamy and slightly sweet. Its definitely coming along to summer get togethers.


This years crops of strawberries have been amazing, so sweet and juicy. We are getting our fill around here for sure.



Liam would eat strawberries for every meal, if I allowed it. He got his taste buds from his mother for sure. LOL!


I hope you get a chance to make this cake and soon while the strawberries are at their peak of sweetness. 


Here's a link to the original recipe blog David's, Fresh Strawberry Cake.

Have a great day! 

I'm linking up to Time to Sparkle Link Party.






Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Coconut Chicken and one of my BFFs...

I'm here to share a recipe that my dear friend Jen shared with me. Before I get into cooking I wanted to talk about Jen. 

Jen and and her husband Tobin are part of my "Colorado Family", they are some of the best people a person could ask for. When I was going through a really rough time they opened their home to me and Liam until I got on my feet. Never once did I feel pressure to hurry up and leave or that my then small son were a hassle. Every holiday we spend together and its some of the best times ever! 

Jen is like my #1 supporter, she reads all my blog posts and claims to love it, LOL! And she encourages me with how amazing she is too everyone she meets. She is a rockstar for sure! 

I love you JEN!!!


Ok, now onto some Coconut Chicken! 


This chicken is so good! Juicy and tender and packed with flavor. What more could you ask for? I tweaked her original recipe a little bit. 


This recipe is best served with a sweet and spicy salsa, you can certainly make your own but store bought will work just as good. 


A perfect summer time recipe to share with your BFF! 

Coconut Chicken with Salsa

Serves 4

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, pounded thin
2 Eggs
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
Zest from 1 Lime
Salt
Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Garlic Powder
1/4 Cup Canola or Coconut Oil

Start by pounding chicken breasts thin.
Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
Mix eggs with coconut milk.
Combine shredded coconut and panko, and add lime zest to it.
Dredge the chicken breasts through the flour, tapping of any excess.
Next dip into egg and coconut milk mixture.
Finally ending with the coconut panko mixture, pressing chicken into mixture to ensure it sticks.
Heat oil on medium heat, once hot add chicken and cook until browned. Please use caution as the coconut will burn fairly fast. Flip over and cook on other side until fully cooked.

Set on paper towel lined plate to absorb and extra oil.

Top with your favorite salsa...I used a Mango Passion Fruit Salsa, but a Pineapple salsa would work great too. Anything that is tropical with a little heat!

Enjoy!








Monday, June 2, 2014

Best of May...

June 2nd! Can you believe we are already in June? I certainly cannot, but I'm glad its here! Summer has definitely set in around our house. So many projects and events going on, its hard to squeeze everything in; I'm sure we will manage. 

A lot went down in May and have to say it was a good month, I wanted to share a few things that happened here on the blog and in our personal lives. Hope your May was a good!

The beginning of May started with the One Room Challenge Reveal. A large group of bloggers participated in this event hosted by the great Linda of Calling it Home, where you had six weeks to transform a room and update your readers weekly. I was super thrilled with how everything came out and cannot wait to another ORC. Thanks to all that showed there support though out the six weeks, it was amazing!


 Almost immediately following the One Room Challenge, Brandon and I started on our backyard transformation, #384yardcrash. Its still a work in progress and a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and margaritas have gone into it. We have a long way to go!



We are happy to announce that we have grass! I have never been so excited about grass, ever!


For Mother's Day we went to The Brown Palace in Denver for brunch. It was so great spending time with Brandon's mom, Lisa and step dad, Rod. I had been prepping Liam for weeks about how to act in a fancy restaurant. He now compares every meal to The Brown Palace.


Liam graduated Preschool, here he is with his teachers.


Two of my favorite girlfriends and I went to Taos, New Mexico for a girls weekend...it was such a blast!

Liam tested up from a yellow belt to a camo belt, so proud of my tiny tiger!


I got crafty and made a simple DIY, Instagram Photo Frame.


And finished the month with a refreshing Watermelon Mimosa.


Off to start summer, I cannot wait to finish these projects we have lined up!