Wednesday, February 29, 2012

happy leap day!

 {in honor of leap day, be sure to check out this movie}

today is february 29th and i think that it is pretty exciting that we get an "extra" day on the calendar once every four years.  did you know that we actually need leap years in order to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth's revolutions around the sun?  believe it or not, if we didn't add one day to february every four years, we would lose about six hours off our calendar every year.  after 100 years, that would add up to 24 days off our calendar!  the concept of leap year actually dates back to the time of the roman empire over 2,000 years ago.  since then, there have been a few traditions and superstitions associated with leap day . . .

an old irish legend states that women are allowed to propose to men once every four years on leap day.  it is believed that this switch helps balances the roles of men and women just as leap day helps to balances the calendar.

a person who is born on february 29th is called a leapling!  anyone born on leap day is invited to join the honor society of leap year day babies.

in scotland it is considered unlucky for someone to be born on february 29th, and in greece it is considered unlucky for couples to be married during a leap year, and especially on leap day.

according to guinness world records, there is one family who has produced three consecutive generations born on february 29th, and another family who has produced three siblings all born on consecutive leap years.  how wild is that?!

. . .

enjoy your leap day today!
after all, it will be another four years 
until we have another february 29th!

love, laurie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

bits of happiness {by jaime}

it has been a long time since we have featured a happy list over here.  so, today i'm excited to bring you a great happy list that was submitted by the lovely jaime from sparkles and sticks.  jaime lives in california with her husband, and she has been blogging since 2006.  be sure to head over and check out her blog!

here are . . . 
ten things currently making jaime happy:

10. seeing daffodils and other spring flowers start to bravely pop out of the ground
9. visiting friends in san francisco
8. taking photos of my feet when i am visiting a new place, or simply out for a walk around my neighborhood
7. reflecting on the past few years of my life while i stuff photos, ephemera, and memories into my new project life scrapbook
5. painting a coat of sparkle nail polish over whatever color nail polish is already on my fingernails
4. coffee dates with myself and my laptop
3. the knowledge that the hunger games movie comes out in less than one month
2. listening to audio books while i go on long walks in training for . . . 

thanks for sharing jaime!
{photo of jaime}

. . .

what is currently making you happy?
love, laurie

Monday, February 27, 2012

simple chocolate ice cream {by ryan}

over the weekend, ryan made homemade chocolate ice cream for our parents who came up to visit.  (i'm telling you, he is a man of many talents!)  ryan makes the best homemade ice creams using our cuisinart ice cream maker and his simple chocolate ice cream has to be one of my all time favorites.  the deep cocoa flavor along with the soft, smooth, and creamy texture makes this ice cream a true treat.  if you don't own an ice cream maker, you seriously don't know what you're missing!  go out and get one . . . you won't regret it.

ps: ryan did all of this while i was upstairs.  it was such a nice surprise to come downstairs into the kitchen and find him making this.  the best part was that he even took pictures as he made it!  best husband ever!


simple chocolate ice cream
adapted from cuisinart
prep time: 5-10 minutes
freezing time: 25-30 minutes
yields: Approximately 14 1/2 cup servings

ingredients:
1 cup hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups skim milk
3 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

directions:
in a large bowl combine the cocoa powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and skim milk.  whisk the ingredients together with a hand mixer on low speed for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved.  gently stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.  using a 2 quart ice cream maker, turn the machine on and pour the mixture into the freezer bowl.  (the freezer bowl must be already pre-frozen.)  let the mixture mix in the ice cream maker for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until thickened.  for soft and creamy ice cream, serve immediately.  for firmer ice cream, transfer the ice cream to an airtight freezer safe container and freeze for about 1 hour.

enjoy!
love, laurie 

Friday, February 24, 2012

happy friday!

this week leko had his first encounter with seltzer water.
he was absolutely fascinated with the bubbles.
it was seriously too cute.

. . . 

have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, February 23, 2012

thanksgiving leftover sandwiches

over the weekend, my mom cooked a whole turkey.  ryan and i love it when things like this happen because it often means that my mom sends food up to our house for us.  (best mom ever award.)

since we had leftover turkey from my mom and leftovers of the stuffing that we made on sunday, we thought that there was nothing better to do than to make tanksgiving leftover sandwiches!  we found a lovely loaf of sourdough bread at the grocery store.  we sliced it, spread cranberry relish on it, and we piled it high with turkey and stuffing . . . heavenly.


yes, it's basically bread between two slices of bread.  but there's turkey and cranberry relish in there too, so that balances it out . . . right?  yes, it's messy.  get a napkin, or better yet, get a bib if you plan on making this sandwich.

oh, and one more thing: let me tell you from first-hand experience that it is downright dangerous to eat this sandwich at work. it will make you want to crawl under your desk and hibernate for the rest of the afternoon!

happy thanksgiving (in february)!
love, laurie

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

pizza night

in honor of fat tuesday, yesterday after work ryan and i picked up a pizza and headed over to our good friend kelly's house.  kelly found awesome doodle paper place mats at anthropologie, so we sat around her table for several hours talking and coloring our place mats with colored pencils.  it was really therapeutic to relax and color while spending time with good company.  i felt like i was back in art class in elementary school.

after we devoured the pizza and had our fill of colored pencils, kelly entertained us by demonstrating how to use siri on her dad's iphone.  we were delirious from laughing so hard at the responses that siri gave to kelly.

later in the night, i suggested to kelly that she should give up shopping for lent.  that suggestion prompted kelly to make this little video.  kelly's mom is the person telling kelly what to say in the video.  i am the person laughing like a nut in the background.


we had such a good time visiting 
and sharing laughs with kelly and her family.
what a great way to spend fat tuesday!

love, laurie

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

simple stuffing

over the weekend i woke up thinking about my great aunt.  every year for thanksgiving she always made the best stuffing.  this stuffing seriously could have won an award for how well it performed as a side dish next to the turkey, sweet potatoes, and cranberry relish.


i could make a meal out of just this stuffing.  it's embarrassing, but seriously, it is that good.

for the last few years, my mom and i have attempted to recreate my great aunt's stuffing recipe.  we never get it exactly the same, but we have come pretty darn close.  


alright, now let's be honest.  i fully realize that thanksgiving was only three months ago, but i just couldn't bare waiting until november to have stuffing again.  so, i made stuffing on sunday night, and it was a lovely side dish next to pork chops and broccoli.  

go ahead.  make yourself some stuffing as a side dish in february . . . you know you want to.


notice that there is a section missing from the bottom corner?
that's right, i got so excited about tasting it 
that i forgot to take a picture first!

. . .

simple stuffing
prep time: 15 minutes
baking time: 1 hour
yields: 6-8 servings

ingredients:
30 slices of white bread
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion
2 stalks celery
2 eggs
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper

directions;
preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  finely chop the onion and the celery.   in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, saute the onion and the celery in butter.  set aside.  in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, chicken broth, sage, garlic powder, and pepper.  cut the bread into cubes and add to the egg mixture.  gently toss the bread, making sure that bread is evenly coated.  mix in the onion and celery.  press the mixture into a lightly buttered 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking dish.  bake for 1 hour, or until the top is brown.

enjoy!
love, laurie 

Monday, February 20, 2012

weekend reorganization

we spend the weekend at home reorganizing a few different areas of our house.  we actually had fun doing it (and we had a furry little assistant that had fun helping us too).  there's nothing like newly arranged closets and cabinets to make you feel nice and organized!

it all started on saturday morning when we woke up and got the idea to tackle the bottom of the closet in our bedroom.  since our house was built in the 1940s, the closets in the bedrooms are very basic, and our shoes just sat on the floor of the closet in our bedroom.  so, we took a trip to lowe's and bought closet organizer shelves to make shoe racks.  the friendly people at lowe's even custom cut the shelves for us.  we were so thrilled with this simple yet functional change to the closet in our bedroom that we moved downstairs to our kitchen on sunday morning and reorganized our small appliance, and then all of our dishes, glasses, coffee cups, and travel mugs.

it turns out that organizing things is addictive.  once we got started, we were on a roll.  we are really pleased with the outcome of our weekend reorganization project, and now we are looking around the house to see what we can tackle next!  

here are a few pictures from our shoe reorganization project.  it's amazing how such a simple change can make your daily routine so much easier!

. . .
happy monday!
love, laurie

Friday, February 17, 2012

broccoli, bacon, and cheddar quiche


when i was in grad school, i worked as a barista in a local cafe that served quiche for breakfast.  each day, two different types of quiche would be featured on the menu.  ever since then i have loved quiche.

quiche is so versatile because you can put anything in it.  the combinations are endless.  this past weekend, ryan and i made a quiche with broccoli, turkey bacon, and cheddar cheese in it for breakfast.  it was absolutely delicious!

broccoli, bacon, and cheddar quiche
prep time: 5-10 minutes
cooking time: 30-35 minutes
yields: 5-6 servings

ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cold butter (cubed)
3-5 tablespoons cold water
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups chopped cooked broccoli
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

directions:
preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  in a food processor cut the butter into the flour until coarse crumbs form.  while the food processor is on, add the cold water until the mixture forms into a ball.  on a floured surface roll out the dough to fit a 9 inch pie plate.  fit the dough into the pie plate, and flute the edges.  place the broccoli, bacon, and cheddar cheese into the crust.  in a bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, and mayonnaise.  pour the mixture into the crust.  bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  let the quiche stand for 5 minutes before cutting into it.

enjoy!
love, laurie

Thursday, February 16, 2012

strawberry banana oat smoothie

we recently found this recipe and we highly recommend it.
you can never go wrong with a good smoothie!

. . .
love, laurie

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

snapshots from our valentine's day . . .


we're not crazy about how commercial valentine's day has become, so we try to avoid the overpriced flowers and crowded restaurants on february 14th.  instead, we would rather keep things simple.  we like to make each other hand-made cards and enjoy a quiet relaxing evening at home with homemade dinner and dessert.  we had a great day yesterday celebrating valentine's day with each other . . .
  • we wore red to work for valentine's day.
  • we were thankful for our co-workers who brought festive doughnut holes to work for everyone to share.
  • we enjoyed left overs of the heart-shaped cinnamon rolls that we made this past weekend.
  • we had a lovely surf and turf dinner at home with stuffed mushrooms and orzo. 
  • we learned that leko likes lobster very much!
  • we made white chocolate raspberry cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crumb crust for dessert using this recipe.
  • we cuddled up on the couch with leko to watch the valentine's day episodes of glee and new girl.
  • we exchanged homemade valentines with each other.

i hope everyone had a lovely valentine's day!
love, laurie

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

heart-shaped cinnamon rolls


in the spirit of valentine's day, i made heart-shaped cinnamon rolls for breakfast this weekend using paula deen's recipe.  ryan loves cinnamon rolls, but since they are so time consuming to make, we don't often have them.  so, cinnamon rolls are a special treat in our house, but there is just something extra special about them when they are shaped like hearts!

happy valentine's day!
love, laurie

. . .
ps: check it out!  
a picture of us is included in 
a valentine's day collage over on this blog today!

Monday, February 13, 2012

paper heart garland

we don't typically decorate for valentine's day, but this weekend i just couldn't resist.  i love the idea of making something that is hand made and simple for valentine's day.  so, on saturday, while ryan was busy working, i got in the valentine's day spirit by making paper heart garland to decorate our dining room.  i only used a few simple supplies: colored paper, scissors, and a stapler.  i also had a furry little kitten who decided to help!  he really enjoyed chasing around the strips of paper!  :-)

. . .

supplies: colored paper, scissors, and a stapler.

cut strips of paper about 1 or 2 inches wide.

fold each strip of paper in half to make a V.

loop around the two ends of the V and staple to make the first heart.

add on as many hearts as you like to make a paper chain.

. . .
simple and festive!
love, laurie

Friday, February 10, 2012

crock pot thai peanut chicken


i love finding good crock pot recipes.  i am always amazed at how simple it is to make anything in the crock pot.  really, it's like having your very own chef in the kitchen watching over dinner for you.  recently, i stumbled across this recipe for thai peanut chicken made in the crock pot.  we tried it out, and it was delicious.  when we made this recipe, we were sure to make enough so that we would have leftovers for dinner all week too.  i highly recommend putting your crock pot to use for this one!  it is so simple!

by the way . . . when we made this recipe, i used a crock pot liner for the first time.  i'm not convinced that i loved it, but it sure did make cleaning up so much easier.  do you ever use liners for your crock pot?

place chicken breasts in the crock pot

mix together the ingredients and spread the mixture over the chicken

when the chicken is done cooking, shred the chicken with a fork

. . .
enjoy!
love, laurie

Thursday, February 9, 2012

hey mom, can i help you brush your teeth?

this little furry guy caught me by surprise the other night when he jumped up onto my shoulders while i was brushing my teeth before bed.  i guess he wanted to help!

leko likes to be right in the middle of whatever we are doing.  currently, he is obsessed with the sink and the bathtub.  he gets really excited to watch the water running, and he gets even more excited when he can hop into either the sink or the bathtub to lick up the water.  i thought cats were supposed to hate water, but not this little guy . . . he loves it!

every day we have to pluck him out of the sink and the bathtub and dry him off because he gets soaking wet.  he now even has his very own towel just for drying him off after his "bath."

he's just a little bit spoiled.