Wednesday, April 16, 2014

yay, it's spring . . . nope, it's still winter.


two days ago the weather was absolutely beautiful.  it was 80 degrees and sunny outside, and it felt like we skipped over spring and went right into summer.  then yesterday the temperature dropped down to 30 degrees and it snowed!

these two pictures of our yard were taken just 24 hours apart.  what is going on around here?  this weather is absolutely crazy!  i have no idea how to dress myself in the morning anymore.

forget spring, i'm ready for summer.
love, laurie

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

leko's ladybug


the weather has been getting nicer, and it is finally starting to feel like spring.  along with the warm weather came a cute little lady bug who has taken up residence in our bathroom.  the ladybug has been hanging out in our house for several days, and leko has had a glorious time investigating, hunting, and watching the poor little lady bug which is now leko's "pet."

the ladybug is pretty safe so long as it stays up high on the walls.  however, as soon as it comes down to leko's level, we have to keep it far away from leko's "kisses."  poor little lady bug.


silly kitten!
love, laurie

Monday, April 14, 2014

set building


wow, this weekend was a whirlwind.  our whole weekend was consumed by theatre.  we juggled performances, rehearsals, tech work, scenic painting, and a load-out for three different shows . . . three!  needless to say, we are exhausted.

even with all of that going on, we had to carve out some time this weekend to build a set for one of those shows.  we had so much fun building the set.  even though it was a lot of hard work, we got to do it together.  it was actually peaceful to spend time, just the two of us, in the garage doing something productive.  plus, the weather was absolutely gorgeous outside too!

the set isn't totally done yet, but it's getting there!  we hope to complete it within the next few days.  i can't wait to share pictures of the final product once it's finished!

^this guy loves his power tools!^

love, laurie

Friday, April 11, 2014

sleeping baby


whenever ryan sits in bed to watch tv, leko loves to curl up in a little nest between ryan's legs.  it's so cute.  the other day, ryan sat down for a few minutes and leko decided to make himself comfortable.  he must have been tired, because he was totally sacked out.  he sure gets into some of the funniest positions when he sleeps.  at one point he had his tail covering his face.  it was just too cute!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, April 10, 2014

oatmeal cookies with coconut, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips


i've mentioned before that i teach college courses at a local university.  last week i had to keep my grad students late after class since we had a ton of presentations to get through in our very large over-enrolled class.  i felt bad for them for having to stay so late, so i baked a batch of classic chocolate chip cookies and took them into class for my students.  they went wild over the cookies, and absolutely loved them.

one of my undergrad classes happened to hear that i baked cookies for my grad class, and they were jealous.  so, to keep the peace, i baked a batch of cookies and took them into class for my undergrad students.  instead of making chocolate chip cookies again, i made oatmeal cookies with coconut, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips.

oh my goodness, these cookies were so incredibly good!  ryan came home as the cookies were cooling on the kitchen counter and of course he had to dive right into them.  the combination of the oats, coconut, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips was awesome!

somehow class is just so much more fun with a batch of cookies!  (i hope they don't expect me to bring cookies to every class now!)


oatmeal cookies with coconut, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 20-22 minutes
yields: 20 large cookies
adapted from our best bites

ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips

directions:
preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until combined.  add the egg and egg yolk and beat well.  mix in the vanilla.  in a separate bow, sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  add half of the sifted flour mixture to the batter and beat just until combined.  add the remaining flour mixture and beat.  mix in the oats and the coconut.  fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.

line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop 3 tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the cookie sheet for large cookies (be sure to space apart the cookie dough balls since they will spread as they bake.)  bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.  once baked, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

coffee pancakes


i think we are turning into pancake fanatics.  send help . . . or maple syrup.  we are so religious about eating cereal for breakfast during the weekdays, so we love making fun things like pancakes on weekend mornings.

when we were flipping through adrianna adarme's pancakes cookbook this past weekend, we found a recipe for coffee pancakes.  since we are both coffee lovers, we were really intrigued to try them.  these pancakes are delicious.  the coffee flavor is subtle, and they are so yummy.  such a nice spin on traditional pancakes!

coffee pancakes
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
yields: 2 servings
adapted from pancakes

ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon salted butter, melted

directions:
in a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  in a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, instant coffee, and melted butter.  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until no lumps remain.

heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan on medium heat.  pour 1 tablespoon of batter onto the griddle for small pancakes.  cook for 3 minutes, until small bubbles begin to form.  flip the pancakes when they start to bubble, then cook for 2 minutes, until they are golden brown and cooked throughout.  once cooked, transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree F oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining pancake batter.  serve warm with maple syrup.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

kitchen basics: how to make self-rising flour

next in our kitchen basics series, we're taking a look at self-rising flour.
self-rising flour is nothing more than flour with a leavening agent (baking powder) and salt in it.  when recipes call for self-rising flour, they don't call for an additional leavening agent since the baking power is already in the self-rising flour.  instead of keeping a container of self-rising flour in your kitchen, it is easy to just make your own as you need it.  all you need is three ingredients: all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.


to make your own self-rising flour, simply combine:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

sift the three ingredients together 2 times.  this will incorporate the baking powder into the flour and aerate the flour.  voila!  homemade self-rising flour!

. . .

are there any kitchen tips/tricks that you would like to learn?  leave a comment or send me an email to let me know what you would like to see next in the kitchen basics series.

happy cooking!
love, laurie

Monday, April 7, 2014

cinnamon bun pancakes


we were pretty busy this weekend with rehearsals for the two shows that we are working on right now.  unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of each other this weekend.  however, we did manage to carve out a little time on saturday morning to have breakfast together at home before we had to run out the door.

we are such pancake fanatics, so of course pancakes were on the menu for saturday morning's breakfast.  one of our favorite pancake recipes would have to be these cinnamon swirl pancakes.  we have made them countless times and absolutely love them.

we were flipping through adrianna adarme's pancakes cookbook on saturday morning, and saw a recipe for cinnamon bun pancakes.  we knew we just had to try them.


these pancakes are different than the cinnamon swirl pancakes that we have made in the past, because they have cinnamon mixed right into the pancake batter so the cinnamon is evenly distributed throughout the pancakes.  they have such a great flavor.  if you don't have time to make traditional cinnamon buns, these pancakes are a great alternative!

these pancakes are good by themselves, but they are even better with vanilla glaze on top of them.  yum!


cinnamon bun pancakes
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
yields: 2 servings
adapted from pancakes

pancake ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tablespoon salted butter, melted

glaze ingredients:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

directions:
in a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  in a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and melted butter.  add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until no lumps remain.

heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan on medium heat.  pour 3 tablespoons of batter onto the griddle for medium pancakes.  cook for 3 minutes, until small bubbles begin to form.  flip the pancakes when they start to bubble, then cook for 2 minutes, until they are golden brown and cooked throughout.  once cooked, transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree F oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining pancake batter.  serve warm with glaze.  to make the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Friday, April 4, 2014

a little date night!


i mentioned yesterday that we have been super busy lately with rehearsals for different shows that are going on simultaneously right now.  by some wonderful act of god, we both happened to have the night off from rehearsal yesterday.  it was the first time that we have both been available at the same time in months, so we decided to make a little date night out of it.  after work, we had dinner and then we went out to rita's for italian ice and custard.  we came home, got in our pajamas, and watched a few of the shows that have been backing up on our dvr.  it was so nice to relax and to spend some time together.

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, April 3, 2014

fun links


we have been running like crazy lately.  in addition to our full-time jobs, we have each been beyond busy with rehearsals for different shows that are going on simultaneously right now.  so, you can imagine how i felt when i found this inside my fortune cookie recently.  hey, universe . . . i'm not sure that i can even find any available time "to step up to the plate in new ways" right now.  (we really need a vacation!)  luckily, by some wonderful act of fate, it worked out that ryan and i both do not have rehearsal tonight!  so, we are very much looking forward to spending a little time together.

it's been nearly three months since i shared a fun links post, so here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently:

i made this quinoa chicken broccoli casserole for dinner this week and it was so good!  we both absolutely loved it.

a simple yoga sequence to start your morning off right.

how to make symbols with your computer keyboard . . . i wish i would have learned about this years ago!

this is a genius way to keep your kid contained!

how to make your own vanilla almond milk.  i need to give this a try!

raspberries and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations, so i would love to sink my teeth into a slice of this raspberry chocolate chip cake.

33 unbelievable places that actually exist.

have a great day!
love, laurie