Friday, January 20, 2017

real life: our cat sits in the sink colander

in case you were wondering what life has been like around our house this week, i present to you these two pictures . . .

earlier this week while i was at work, ryan texted me the picture of the left.  he walked into the kitchen to find leko sitting like a statue in our sink colander.  what a goof ball!

last night, when ryan came home from work, we were standing in the kitchen talking for a few minutes when leko jumped into the sink colander and bedded down in it.  we just could not stop laughing because he was so serious about it and honestly, he barely fit.  (you can see the tip of his tail sticking out.)  of course we had to snap another picture on ryan's phone.

we have absolutely no idea why the sink colander is so intriguing all of a sudden.  (mind you, it's been there leko's entire life.)  we're just happy that it was empty both times he decided to sit in it!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, January 19, 2017

toasted israeli couscous with toasted sunflower seeds and raisins (vegan)

i was looking to throw together a quick side dish to accompany some falafels that we were having for dinner, when i found some israeli couscous tucked away in the pantry.  i pulled it out to use it up since it had been sitting in there forever and ended up tossing in several other things i found in the pantry.  the result was a moroccan-inspired side dish that smelled and tasted delicious!

toasted israeli couscous with toasted sunflower seeds and raisins
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 25 minutes
yields: 6-8 servings

8 oz. dry israeli couscous
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raisins
salt and pepper to taste

combine the couscous and the olive oil in a sauce pan.  toss to make sure the couscous is evenly coated.  toast over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning, until the couscous is fragrant (about 5 minutes).  meanwhile, bring the water to a boil.

add the water to the couscous, stir, and bring to a boil.  reduce the heat to medium-low and cover.  simmer for 12 minutes until tender, fluff occasionally to avoid sticking.  add the cinnamon, onion powder, parsley, sunflower seeds, raisins, and salt/pepper.  stir to combine and serve warm.

love, laurie

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

a (veggie) burger date and kitten cuddles

last weekend, we took advantage of my free birthday burger coupon at red robin and made a little date out of it.  (you just can't beat all of the coupons/deals that restaurants offer during your birthday month!)  after dinner, we came home and cuddled on the couch with leko while catching up on some shows that we had recorded on our dvr.  it was a nice little sunday date night,  especially since the past few weeks have been crazy busy and since this week/weekend isn't and different!

love, laurie

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

roasted red pepper hummus (vegan)

we absolutely love hummus in our house.  it's such a tasty snack that you don't have to feel guilty about eating because it's healthy for you!  (hummus packs a lot of protein too.)

over the weekend, i was in the mood for some hummus so i whipped up a batch.  one of my favorite things about hummus is that it's so versatile.  you can add just about anything too it.  i started out with my simple go-to base hummus recipe and then kicked up the flavor with roasted red peppers.  we enjoyed it with some pita crackers and carrot sticks.

roasted red pepper hummus
total time: 5-10 minutes

2 15 oz. cans low-sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz. roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon tahini paste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

in a food processor, combine all ingredients.  puree until smooth.  serve chilled with cut vegetables and/or crackers.

love, laurie

Monday, January 16, 2017

kitten shower

it's common knowledge that most cats don't like water.  however, leko absolutely l-o-v-e-s water.  he loves to drink it, play it in, and get wet in it.  we joke around and say that he's really a penguin in disguise in a kitten suit because he loves anything cold and anything wet.

you know, it's a typical occurrence to find leko in the tub drinking water out of the faucet.  most mornings he loves to walk on the edge of the bathtub between the outer fabric shower curtain and the inner plastic curtain liner.  it's the perfect place for him to sit, and it makes a nice little runway for him to walk back and forth while we shower.  i'm always so nervous that he's going to fall in and get soapy since it's like a circus tightrope walk.  i snapped a picture of him this morning in his usual place  after a shower . . . silly kitten!

happy monday!
love, laurie

Friday, January 13, 2017

becoming a "morning person"

even on weekends, i often wake up early to start tackling our never-ending to do list.  it's rare that i get to sleep in past 7am, but i don't really classify myself as a "morning person."  i'm not one of those people who can wake up at 5am to go for a run, but i'm also not one of those people who can lounge in bed until 10am.

7am is my ideal time to wake up.  however, i recently started a new position at work which requires me to be up a bit earlier than i'm accustom to waking.  a new year means new beginnings, so today we're sharing some of leesa's tips for becoming a morning person . . .

we find all of these tips to be super helpful.  do you have any tips/tricks that work for you?  if so, what are they?  (the number one thing that gets us out of bed each and every morning is a screaming 5 year old kitten who needs his breakfast immediately . . . who needs an alarm clock when you have a hungry leko?!)

love, laurie

Thursday, January 12, 2017

kitty tunnel

when we were at ryan's parents' house over the holidays, we saw that they bought their cats a really cool tunnel toy.  as soon as we saw it, we knew leko had to have one too.  for leko's adoption anniversary last week, we bought him the same tunnel.  he has been enjoying playing in it.  i keep saying that i want one my size because it looks like so much fun!  ryan snapped a few photos on his phone when we first gave leko the tunnel.  so much fun!

love, laurie

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

pistachio cake with pomegranate buttercream

i have been making my birthday cakes for the past several years, mainly because i really enjoy baking, but also because i'm super picky.  this year, i had no time/energy to make a cake for my birthday celebration.  luckily, ryan stepped in and saved the day!

as soon as i read this recipe, i knew i wanted it for my birthday cake.  the combination of pistachios and pomegranate was so unique and sounded delicious.  i gave ryan the original recipe (along with my list of edits) and he set to work on the cake while i was at work.  when i came home, he had created a masterpiece that was both beautiful and delicious.  everyone loved it!

pistachio cake with pomegranate buttercream
prep time: 15 minutes
baking time: 28-30 minutes
yields: one two layer 9-inch round cake (16-18 servings)
adapted from my name is yeh

cake ingredients:
1 cup unsalted pistachios
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup water

frosting ingredients:
1 1/2 cups salted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
red food coloring (optional)

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  grease and flour the sides of two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.  

to make the cake: grind the pistachios in a food processor until they are the consistency of small crumbs.  measure out 1/4 cup of the ground nuts and set them aside.  pour the remaining ground nuts into a large bowl with the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, eggs, milk, oil, extracts, and water.  add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans.  bake for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  once baked, allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing the cakes form the pans and allowing them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

to make the frosting: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth.  measure out 1 cup of the frosting and set it aside.  add the pomegranate juice and a tiny drop of red food coloring.

to make the filling: mix the reserved frosting with the reserved ground pistachios.

love, laurie

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

birthday celebrations!

on saturday, we got together with our families at my parents' house to celebrate my birthday!  we had such a great time.  my mom made homemade gnocchi with shrimp and asparagus in pesto for dinner.  for dessert, ryan made a pistachio cake with pomegranate buttercream.  everything was so delicious!  after dinner, i opened presents from our families and of course we played with my parents' triplet kittens.  it was such a great birthday celebration!

love, laurie

Monday, January 9, 2017

celebrating 32!

my birthday was on friday, and as soon as i got home from work we started celebrating!  we went out to dinner, opened presents, and watched a movie with leko . . .

^for dinner, we went out to a new restaurant that we had never been to before.  i had salmon florentine and ryan had seafood risotto.  both were delicious!^
^ryan surprised me with balloons.  purple and orange are my favorite colors.  leko was super excited about the balloons too because he loved playing with the strings!^
^ryan had a lot of help wrapping my presents.  leko was especially helpful making sure the ribbons lined up just right on the packages!^
^i absolutely love the new vera bradley tote bag that ryan bought me.  (i also love the cute orange fur bunny that i found inside the tote bag too!^
^i also found the same orange fur bunny hiding out under the wrapping paper!  after we opened presents, we curled up on the couch with leko to watch the secret life of pets.  it was a super cute movie and all three of us really liked it.  such a nice way to celebrate my birthday!^

love, laurie