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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

bears. beets. battlestar galactica.

dear ryan,

i have really been enjoying watching old episodes of the office on dvd with you.  i have especially been enjoying how we sing our own made up lyrics to the theme song at the beginning of each episode.  thanks for being so tolerant of me feeling the need to quote all of my favorite lines over and over too.  you are the best!

love, laurie

ps: can you even believe these cake pops?!

Monday, January 30, 2012

visiting leko

ryan's parents came up to visit us for the weekend because they wanted to see us wanted to spend some time with leko.  this meant that the camera got a work out capturing all of his cute/bad kitty moments.  (photos courtesy of ryan's mom and her new camera!)  we enjoyed having ryan's parents come up to visit, and leko really enjoyed the extra attention that he got from his grandma and grandpa.  he made sure that he was on his "best" behavior for his visitors this weekend too.

 he spent some time playing with ryan's dad

 then he found a comfy spot on his lap for a nap

 he helped ryan's mom drink her coffee

 then he curled up for a nap on her lap too

 he inspected all of the coffee cups and got caught in the act

then he "helped" us to make dinner in the kitchen

 he showed everyone how good his soccer skills have become

 then he showed everyone how he can fit under every piece of furniture

 he perched on ryan's shoulders to watch him eat dinner

 then he decided to take a nap up there

the three of us had a great weekend visiting with ryan's parents.

hope you had a great weekend too!
love, laurie

. . .
ps: i know that there are a lot of photos,
but this little guy has stolen our hearts!

Friday, January 27, 2012

french toast

in our house, the weekends are a chance to make all of the fun things for breakfast that we don't have time to make on weekday mornings when we are trying to get ourselves up, dressed, and to work on time.  this past sunday we made french toast for breakfast with the left over italian bread that we had from dinner the night before.  

french toast is so simple to make, and the best part about french toast is that you can use any type of day-old bread that you have on hand.  there is just something about thick slices of bread that have been soaked in egg, milk, and cinnamon, and then fried in butter that cannot be beat.  ryan had his french toast dusted with powered sugar and topped with maple syrup, and i decided to cover mine in strawberries and maple syrup.  yum!  

french toast
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 10-15 minutes
yields: 2 servings

2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 thick slices of day-old bread
butter for frying
powdered sugar (optional)
maple syrup (optional)
strawberries (optional)

whisk together the eggs, milk, and cinnamon.  dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture.  allow the bread to soak up some of the mixture.  melt butter in a large frying pan on medium heat.   fry the bread, flipping as needed, until brown on both sides.  serve hot, dusted with powdered sugar, with maple syrup, or with strawberries.

love, laurie

Thursday, January 26, 2012

mystery cake

the university that i work at takes time at the end of each month to celebrate the birthdays of the staff and faculty members.  during the month of your birthday, you receive an invitation in campus mail to attend a lunch catered by dining services.  they have a build-your-own sandwich bar and a cake, and it is a nice way to get together with other co-workers who have birthdays during the same month as you.  since my birthday is in january, i received my invitation for the january birthday lunch which was held yesterday.  when i got the invitation, i was disappointed to see that the birthday lunch was scheduled for the exact same time that i teach class on wednesdays.

when i got back to my office yesterday afternoon after teaching, i walked in and found a piece of cake on my desk with a post-it note next to it that said "happy january birthday."  at first i thought that maybe the piece of cake was from ryan, but then i realized that the note wasn't in his handwriting.  all afternoon i could not figure out who brought me the cake back from the birthday lunch.  i asked everyone in my office, but no one would admit to putting it on my desk.  what confused me even further was the fact that i had locked my office door when i left to go teach.  so, the mystery cake person had to have access to a master key for my building in order to get into my office.

all afternoon yesterday i could not figure out who the cake was from.  this morning when i came into work, our sweet office housekeeping lady, pam, asked me if i enjoyed my cake.  she said that she remembered that i had taught class from 12-2 on wednesdays, and she went over to the birthday lunch and brought a piece of cake back for me!  seriously . . . pam is the sweetest person ever!  this brought such a smile to my face.  it's so heartwarming to know that there are such sweet people in this world.  thanks pam!

mystery solved.
love, laurie

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

silly kitten

over the weekend, this little guy
fit his whole head in my water glass.

silly kitten.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

chocolate fudge brownies with walnuts

over the weekend, we decided to bake brownies.  we found a recipe in my magnolia bakery cookbook for chocolate fudge brownies with butterscotch chips and pecans.  the recipe sounded delicious, but we didn't have butterscotch chips or pecans on hand, so we made our own slightly altered version with semisweet chocolate chips and walnuts.  the brownies turned out to be really dense and fudgy.  needless to say, they were the perfect solution to my brownie craving, and the perfect companion to a big glass of milk!  the recipe is in the comments section.

chocolate fudge brownies with walnuts
adapted from the complete magnolia bakery cookbook
prep time: 10-15 minutes
baking time: 35-40 minutes
yields: 6 large brownies or 12 small brownies

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 stick salted butter
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  grease and lightly flour an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.  melt the butter and the chocolates together in a saucepan over low heat.  stir gently until smooth.  remove from the heat and allow the chocolate mixture to cool.

beat the eggs and the sugar together until light and creamy.  add the vanilla and beat well.  add in the chocolate mixture and beat until combined.  add the flour and mix thoroughly.  stir in half of the walnuts and half of the chocolate chips.  spread the batter in the prepared pan, and sprinkle the remaining walnuts and chocolate chips evenly over the batter.  bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the pan comes out with moist crumbs attached.  be careful to not over bake the brownies.

love, laurie

Monday, January 23, 2012

snow weekend

on saturday morning we woke up to the most snow that our area has seen all winter.  it seemed like a really good excuse to have a lazy snow weekend at home to relax.  here are a few snapshots from our weekend . . .

 our backyard looked like a winter wonderland on saturday morning

we put on our winter boots and took a walk 
around our neighborhood to enjoy the snow 

we walked to katrina's pizza for lunch
and we shared a double crust white pizza with broccoli

 we came home and made chocolate fudge brownies with walnuts

we spent time relaxing on the couch with leko

we made french toast for breakfast on sunday morning

 we bundled up and ventured out on sunday
for errands and a lunch date at brown's

we came home and snuggled up on the couch with leko
to watch old episodes of the office on dvd 

. . .

hope everyone enjoyed their weekend too!
love, laurie

Friday, January 20, 2012

pizza dough

we love making homemade pizza over at our house, and we love trying new pizza dough recipes too.  recently, we made pizza using this pizza dough recipe.  the dough was incredibly easy to make, and it baked up to perfection!  this particular recipe called for bread flour, but we didn't have any at home (we used ours up on a previous project and forgot to replenish it) so, we used all-purpose flour instead.  the dough turned out great, but it probably would have been even better if we used bread flour because bread flour contains more gluten than all-purpose flour does.  more gluten leads to a nice pizza crust.  (looks like we will have to pick up a bag of bread flour the next time that we are at the grocery store so that we have another excuse to make homemade pizza again!)

 {we used the dough hook on our stand mixer to knead our dough}

 {we let our pizza dough rise in a lightly greased bowl for about 1 hour}

 {we used non-stick pizza pans to bake our pizzas}

{we made chicken parm pizza and plain cheese pizza with our dough}

love, laurie

Thursday, January 19, 2012

how to: iphone ringtone

ryan and i like to make custom ringtones for our iphones and change them depending on the season.  here is an easy tutorial that we put together for how to make a ringtone for your iphone using any song that you like!

. . .

step 1: open itunes and choose the song that you want to make into a ringtone.  decide which section of the song you want to use for your ringtone.  (it should be approximately 30 seconds long.)

. . .

step 2: right click on the song that you chose and select "copy."  go to the top left-hand corner of the screen and click "file" and then select "new playlist."  a new playlist will appear in your playlist area.  (you can name the playlist anything you want, such as "ringtones.")

. . .

step 3: open your new playlist.  go to the top-left hand corner of the screen and click "edit" and select "paste."  a copy of your selected song will appear in your new playlist.  right click on the song and select "get info."  click the "options" tab and click the boxes in front of "start time" and "stop time."  enter the start time and the stop time that you chose for your ringtone.  then, click "okay."  right click on the song and select "create acc version."

. . .

step 4: go back to your itunes music library and locate the new 30 second version of the song.  right click on the new 30 second version of the song and select "delete."  click "delete song" and then click "keep file."

. . .

step 5: find where the song saved to your computer.  if you are using a computer with windows, the saved song is usually located in "my music" under "itunes" then "itunes media" then "music."  when you find the song, right click on the song and select "rename."  change the ".m4a" ending to ".m4r"  right click on the song and select "open with" then click "itunes."   

. . .

step 6: go back to itunes and open your itunes ringtones library (called "tones").  your new ringtone will appear there.  when you sync your phone with your computer, the song will appear as a ringtone on your phone!

. . .

enjoy your new ringtones!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

walnut waffles with roasted walnut and banana syrup

sunday mornings are made for fun breakfasts!  this past sunday, we stayed at home in our pajamas and made walnut waffles topped with roasted walnut and banana syrup.  we used this recipe which originally called for pecans, but we substituted walnuts instead because we didn't have any pecans in the house.  the waffles turned out to be so light and fluffy, and the roasted walnut and banana syrup was absolutely divine.  believe it or not, this recipe was pretty quick and easy to make too.  i love delicious meals that are not time consuming!  this recipe is a keeper for sure.

love, laurie

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

over the weekend . . .

we kicked off our three day weekend with a peppermint mocha.

we drove down to easton to see ryan's dad's singing concert.

we had dinner in downtown easton with ryan's high school friends.

we froze walking around because it was so cold outside.

we made banana walnut waffles for breakfast.

we had a doughnut date with kelly.

we watched the golden globe awards with popcorn and a curious kitten.

we made homemade chicken parmesan pizza and plain cheese pizza.

. . .

hope your weekend was wonderful!
love, laurie