Friday, May 14, 2010

Spring reds

I love baking, but have somehow missed out on the spring glory that is Rhubarb. All of my favorite food bloggers have been cooking up decadent pastries, pies and panna cottas (I might be guilty of spending far too much time lusting over this over at Tartelette's blog..) so I thought I'd give it a try. The husband was in the field all week for training eating crappy Army food (mmm MREs) and, as this is one of his favorite pies, I thought he deserved it. I've actually never even tasted rhubarb (gasp) so once we slice into my first strawberry rhubarb pie attempt after dinner, I'll let you know what I think.

I didn't know where to begin as far as finding a recipe, so I initially turned to the recipe collection on Williams Sonoma's website. While they rarely disappoint, I couldn't help but think their particular pie recipe looked a bit boring, so I headed over to the Food Network site to see what they had. This was the winner (I mean, who can resist strawberries and rhubarb mixed with cinnamon, lemon zest and all that lovely butter...).
I have a fantastic gluten free pie crust recipe (found in Gluten Free Gourmet Comfort Foods cookbook) that I'm too lazy to type out here. Generally it works like a dream but the humidity must be low or something today because we had an all out fight. Instead of the usual silky dough, I ended up with a pile of crumbles that, in the end, I did manage to force into two crusts. It didn't make for the most gorgeous pie (thankfully you can't see my awesome patch jobs on the bottom crust) but man, that crust is so flaky it's unreal! I also threw some cinnamon and nutmeg into the crust to spice it up a bit.
It smells incredible and the little bit of filling that bubbled over was immediately swiped up with my finger...and it tastes fantastic.

I should mention that we are also having Pioneer Woman's meatloaf for dinner b/c J loves meatloaf and hers is positively decadent. I mean, who else has the balls to wrap her meatloaf entirely in bacon...that woman is my hero.

So before I eat my arm off (the smell coming from my kitchen is having that effect..), I'll leave you with a little project I did last week: I have one of the best neighbors ever living upstairs whose mothering skills I hope to emulate someday. I was making my mom a flower arrangement for Mother's day so I thought I'd make her one too..

Again, I'm too lazy to write out a tutorial on how to make the butterfly but it's pretty simple...I just covered some pages out of an antique french book (the literary gods are going to get me someday for cutting it up, but until then, it makes for great crafting material) with some tissue paper, cut out the butterfly wings, glued them on a little wire body that i made and stuck the little guy into the bouquet.

And with that, I'm off to gorge myself on some seriously amazing food.
And hang out with my awesome husband who I haven't seen in a week...YAY!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Granola bars on a breezy Friday afternoon

Today was another quiet day--carless and still no baby. The car problem will be remedied Sunday evening when my [completely awesome] parents arrive from SC with my beloved VUE. The baby problem...well, we'll see when that goes down.

Springtime in Kansas has proven to be absolutely gorgeous. Today was slightly on the cool side, probably mostly due to the fairly stiff breezes all day. I decided to make homemade granola bars and the scent of baking oats, cranberries, apricots and honey paired with the gusts of wind coming through my window kind of evoked a bit of Fall. I imagine Fall here is beautiful...

Here is my first attempt at granola bars:

I don't think I'll ever buy the packaged kind again!
The thing I love about these is that you can put whatever you feel like in them AND be totally sure they're gluten free. I used gf oats, cashews, chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries and puffed flax (puffed rice would be good too, but flax is full of all sorts of wonderful nutrients)...the binder was honey, a little butter and a little vanilla.
Next time I think I'll probably make them a bit thinner so they're crunchier and stay together better (these just sort of fall apart, which is also fine since I've just been grazing off the pan all afternoon!).

That was the extent of my excitement today. Hopefully I can convince J to take me to Hobby Lobby so I can get some stuff to work on a couple of projects I have in my head. Oh, and tomorrow is the first Saturday Farmer's Market in Manhattan and I can't WAIT to go!

Finally, I just had to post this beautiful travel baby bed by Lalapanzi. Yes, I'm lusting...

Happy Weekend to you all! Hopefully I'll have a baby by the end of mine.....ha!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Evolution of an empty fireplace

Yesterday I discussed my disdain for the unusable fireplace in my living room...which got me thinking about it even more....and made it impossible for me to go to bed last night without at least attempting to make it look awesome.

This is a rough draft of what the final product will be.
The greenery is temporary, simply a filler until I can get some actual plants to fill in some of the empty space. I'm loving the mirror, as it kind of opens up the cavern a bit. All of the candles are yellow (the color is a bit washed out in this picture). I'm also going to get one or two small paintings to add to the mix from my dear friend Annie (and I'm hoping this one is still available...):
I still welcome your suggestions. I had considered using it as a bookshelf (good call Rachel!) but this would require way more cleaning than I'm willing to do (lots of historic soot!).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

nesting much?

Let's face it, weeks 37-40 are the most brutal weeks of the pregnancy. Everything is a major operation, from turning over in bed to walking down the hall, not to mention the waiting. Just waiting.

Today, however, I apparently began "nesting". The dishes have been piling up in my sink for the past few days because my belly has become a barrier between me and any waist-high counter space, and I've generally lacked any desire whatsoever to do them anyway. The bathrooms were bordering on almost being disgusting, and the laundry was to the top of the hamper. None of this has phased me much until this morning, when I woke up horrified that I'd let the place go and determined to rectify the situation before lunch. So as I write this, my house is sparkling and I also hung all the artwork in the dining room that had previously been chilling on the floor.

I also managed to completely exhaust myself, so here I am sitting on my couch, contemplating my next decorating move. Which brings me to my latest source of consternation--the cavernous eyesore, otherwise known as the fireplace that doesn't work but can't be removed because my house is a historical landmark.

Perhaps in an effort to ease the blow of a fireplace that must forever remain useless, the housing people left us that incredibly high quality piece of crap screen and a couple of tools to at least make it look legit (both will be finding new homes in the basement shortly). I am now left with the challenge of figuring out how to decorate it without it looking cliche (read: candles) and without it being a hazard for crawling babies eventually (read: candles, most live plants, just about anything else you can think of). I may give myself a pass on the latter since she won't be crawling for some time and since, knowing myself, I'll need a change of scenery about the time she does become mobile.
So if you're reading this, feel free to give your ideas. I'm not entirely against plants and candles, I just don't want them done in the way that every other new housewife does them.

Speaking of plants, I stole a few clippings from the landscaping in my yard and popped them in a couple of spice jars (my new favorite bud vases).

There really is nothing better than fresh flowers sprinkled throughout the house.

And last but not least, my walls would be extremely happy if either of these lovely Etsy finds were hanging on them...I mean, how cool is that lightbulb vase??

Light Vase by JohnCorcoranDesign
Hanging Test Tube Vase by PigeonToeCeramics