Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Staying Sane and Brown Butter Sugar Cookies...

It feels like forever since my last post and I have missed writing, baking, and taking pictures. I survived the first weekend of Restaurant Week, and boy was it grueling on Saturday. We got tons of snow on Sunday causing all kinds of troubles for me, a little accident and stuck in a ditch for 3 hours! But its all good because nobody was hurt and minimal damage.

I have been working on these Brown Butter Sugar Cookies for a couple months now. My favorite kind of cookie is thick and chewy, so I have tested it a few ways and finally happy with the results; yet it could be a little fatter. I LOVE Brown Butter, it makes life that much more special. The nutty aroma that fills the house is amazing.

recipe after jump...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Snow Day...

Anyone that lives in Colorado knows that the weather here is amazing. We have over 300 days of sunshine a year, beautiful snow capped mountains in the winter, and lush green landscapes in the summer. This winter we haven't had much snow at all, which I am in fact happy with. We had forecasts of a winter storm over that past few days and I went to sleep last night expecting to wake up to a blizzard, but it was quite the opposite. Enough to pull out the snow boats, but not enough to close schools. Liam is still a little under the weather and so I kept him home and had our own little snow day.

The snow was the perfect mix of fluffy but packable...

our first snowman, Jack...

my angel making a snow angel...

no snow day is complete without a little fight...

look at that face!

Liam has been wanting to help out in the kitchen a lot lately. Like me he loves watching cooking shows and trying new foods.  I realized the other day that we have never made Rice Krispy Treats together, so we made them after our fun in the snow, complete with some hot cocoa!

Apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Today was a perfect day! I wish I could get paid to stay home and play with this little man everyday!

Have you had fun in the snow lately?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Preparing for Hell Week and Some Chicken Piccata...

Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend. I'm preparing both at home and mentally for the worst 20 days of my year, Hell week!

Hell week is usually referred to college students preparing for exams and papers or Navy Seals during their rigorous training. Anyone that works at a restaurant in Denver knows that the last week of February and first week of March is our Hell week, also know as Restaurant Week. Its basically two weeks of working everyday serving 1000's of people a day ( I kid you not, 1000's at one of my restaurants), working long grueling hours, its a roller coaster of emotion every year.

It hasn't even started yet and everyone I work with is ready for it to be over. For the next 20 days straight I will be juggling  two jobs, my kiddo, and will try to blog my usual two posts a week and try not to throw my hands up in the air and give up. If I don't make it, I'll see you on the flip side!

Liam has been under the weather lately and I wanted to make him something that I knew he would gobble right up. I make this Chicken Piccata at least once a month, we both love it so much. Its a great recipe that is wonderful to share with friends and pair with a glass of Santa Julia Torrontes.

Do you have any horror stories of working in restaurants?

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Valentine's Celebration...

Happy Valentine's Day! I know a day late, but I had to get all the pictures together from the whole day...didn't want to leave one cute detail out! This week has been very exciting with many celebrations and festivities happening, and I'm so happy we participated in everything!

Valentine's day we woke up early and I surprised Liam with his gifts and the cutest breakfast. It was exciting watching his little face light up at the sight of toys and candy at the crack of dawn. My favorite part was him thanking me, "Thank you for the candy Mommy".

Liam had a party at school yesterday and earlier in the week he worked on his Valentine's for his class. We made chocolate cake pops for everyone and gave his teachers and all the girls in his class flowers, I'm creating a heart breaker! He was so excited passing out his presents to his friends, he really is a giving child and that makes me so proud.

After we had our heart inspired breakfast it was time to get all dressed up, it was a celebration so dressing to the nines was in order. Not sure how much he liked that part of the day, but he sure did look like the most handsome gentleman! 

Before school we made a trip to Lamar's Donuts, the best donut in Colorado. A special surprise I had planned for him as a well teaching him a little about random acts of kindness. I've always wanted to take him to the fire station to meet the fire fighters and to see the trucks up close, and today was the perfect chance to show our love and appreciation for our local heroes. We delivered a dozen donuts to the guys, he was a little shy at first but opened up we he got to sit in the big ladder truck and got his own personal fireman hat! Truly a great experience and memory I'm sure he will talk about for a long time.

Our Valentine's Day was a complete success and I was happy to share it with my little man! He truly melts my heart with how sharing, grateful, and loving he is. Hope you had a wonderful day filled with love! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A birthday celebration and a Pink Ombre Cake...

Yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting our friend Sierras' 3rd birthday party. We reserved a room at one of my jobs and decorated it pink and white; complete with balloons, streamers, confetti, presents, and a pink ombre cake. A few weeks back I asked Sierra if I could make her cake and she requested a pink one, and I knew I wanted to make it ombre...something I haven't had the chance to do. Ombre is the transition of color from lightest to darkest. Its been making an appearance in everything from fashion, design, hair, art, and pastry is no exception.

I used a vanilla cake recipe that I created that is adjusted to the altitude, its still a work in progress, but pretty happy with the results. The buttercream recipe is the one I used to make Liam's Chocolate Cupcakes, its my go to buttercream. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

A week of Love and a yarn wreath...

Today starts a week of love in our home, we have many parties and events planned and are excited to share them with you. I get all sorts of excited when the stores start putting out the Valentine's Day inventory. And this year was no different, except I wanted to make all the stuff that I would have normally spent money one. This past Christmas I got into making yarn wreaths for my friends and coworkers started placing orders themselves. Last week I put together this wreath to go with all the other crafts I have been working on.

Start with a Styrofoam wreath and wrap in whatever colors you choose, I wanted all red and white to match my vases that I re purposed a few posts back. So half was wrapped in red yarn and the other half in white. The flowers are the most time consuming, but the most fun to make. Cut felt in different size circles and then cut a spiral shape into that circle, leaving a quarter size circle in the center.

Wrap the felt up, starting from the outside until you reach the quarter sized circle in the center. Then hot glue together. I added pearls to the centers of the flowers to jazz it up a bit and used different scissors for different shapes and textures. Use your imagination and have fun with it.

Once you have all your flowers done now comes the fun part of arranging them onto your wreath. I recommend figuring out the placement before hot gluing them down.

Have you made any crafts for your home or sweetie?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Back from vacation and some Coconut Pancakes...

We are finally getting back into the groove of things from coming home. We spent 5 glorious days in Florida visiting my Aunt Kelly and Cousin Stephanie, a post will be up soon about all the fun that was had there.

The whole time we were on vacation Liam kept asking for a coconut, (guess he wanted to shimmy up a palm tree and get one himself) and this morning he asked for pancakes. I am still in this tropical mindset, so I opted to make coconut pancakes. I've made this recipe a few times and have adjusted it to work with the altitude as well as a balanced flavor and texture.

Place shredded coconut on a baking pan and bake at 350ยบ for about 5 minutes, turning pan half way through. Keep an eye on it, it toasts up fast!

I made a few for Liam without the toasted shredded coconut, I knew he wouldn't care for the texture of it. After his were done I added it to the batter for mine and it was wonderful, added a nice crunch and extra coconut flavor that I was looking for. 

Whether the toasted coconut is added or not the result is a soft, fluffy, and buttery cake. Melts in your mouth, I wish I had doubled this recipe today! Please feel free to add comments, I'm always looking for feedback.  

Coconut Pancakes

makes 6 Cakes

1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut, toasted

Sift dry ingredients, add liquid and mix together. 
Place on a heated griddle (medium heat) by 1/3 cup portions.
Once bubbles cover cake, then flip. cook for an additional 2 minutes, until golden brown. 

Serve with more toasted coconut.