Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

carrot apple ginger juice


let's talk about juicing.  i have this faint memory of people juicing back when i was a kid.  i guess it was popular at some point during my childhood.  everyone and their brother ran out to buy a juicer and to marvel at the fact that they could make a solid into a liquid in just a few seconds flat.  as a kid, it seemed gross.  no, i will not drink your concoction of miscellaneous vegetables that more closely resembles swamp water than it does juice.  yuck.

it seems as if juicing is all the rage again lately.  i love how fads and trends get picked up, forgotten, and then rediscovered again.  kind of like overalls, but that's another discussion.

my mom has had a juicer sitting on a shelf in her kitchen for years, no doubt left over from when juicing was last popular.  after discovering this relic at my parents' house i was beyond delighted.  i mean, juicers are crazy expensive.  (if you don't believe me go price out one of those babies at your local kitchen accessory store.)

the idea of a free juicer sounded perfect.  i decided to dust off my mom's old juicer and take it for a spin.  for my first adventure in juicing, i wanted to start with something simple (and with something that would not resemble muddy swap water) . . . carrots, apples, and ginger.


the carrots give this juice such a vibrant orange color.  it's so bright and cheery.  the apple provides just a little bit of sweetness, and the ginger gives it a zing.  ginger is so good for you by the way.  you will feel so healthy drinking this juice.

before we dive into the recipe, here are a few helpful tips . . .

1. start with the hardest fruit/veggie first and work your way down to the softest.
2. cleaning the juicer is crazy annoying, but an old toothbrush really helps to get into the hard to clean places.
3. don't throw away all of that excess fruit/veggie pulp when you are done juicing.  instead, you could make fruit leather with it, or throw it into a smoothie, or add it into recipes for pancakes, muffins, etc.  if that doesn't appeal to you, compost it.


carrot apple ginger juice
prep time: 5 minutes
yields: 1 cup
adapted from two blue lemons

ingredients:
2 carrots
1 apple
1 inch piece fresh ginger root

directions:
trim the ends off the carrots and peel them.  wash the apple and cut it into small pieces (be sure to remove the apple cores).  peel a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root.  starting with the carrots, then the apple, followed by the ginger, run everything through the juicer.  serve right away or let chill in the refrigerator.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Monday, July 29, 2013

the weekend.

last week was absolutely crazy.  we started off the week with this disaster on monday, and each day seemed to get progressively worse.  needless to say, we were very happy when friday rolled around.   we decided to take it easy this weekend and to try to recoup from the stressful week . . .

on friday night after work, we kicked off our weekend by going out to dinner at a restaurant that we had never been to before.  there's nothing like chicken parmesan to brighten my mood.  after dinner, we ran some much needed errands and then went out for ice cream at cold stone.  (we had a coupon and a gift card, so that meant free ice cream for us!)

on saturday, we woke up bright and early and made some pancakes.  we spent a leisurely morning driving around to several local yard sales.  we actually found a few great deals!  we had lunch and then took a drive out to blue ribbon dairy.  (we have been wanting to check out blue ribbon for a while now, but we never seem to have the time.  it turned out to be so cute!)  we came home and took a dip in the pool to cool off.  later in the evening, we curled up on the couch with a few movies that we rented from redbox.

on sunday, we did some much needed grocery shopping (thrilling, i know) and then we went biking.  we found out that a new trail opened up this past week, so we were excited to check it out.  the trail was so nice and clean, and paved too!  along the trail, there are wood carvings and sculptures that local artists made.  it was pretty neat.  we made it back to the car just in time before it started raining.  after biking, we came home and watched another movie with some popcorn while it poured outside.

i'm glad we had a chance to relax and recuperate this weekend.  here's hoping that this week is less crazy than last week!  happy monday!

love, laurie

Friday, July 26, 2013

a night at bar hill . . .


last night our friend sean invited us to bar hill to hear him sing.  sean and his group where absolutely incredible!  (such talented friends we have.)

we had a really great time sitting and listening to them sing while we munched on crab-artichoke dip and hummus with pita chips.  yum!

while we were there, we ran into a million people we know.  it was like some sort of crazy reunion.  i swear that people we haven't seen for years were just popping out of the wood work.

(i apologize for the horrible iphone photos.  bad lighting, moving people, yadda yadda yadda . . .) 

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, July 25, 2013

chocolate zucchini cake


in addition to zucchini bread pancakes, i also made chocolate zucchini cake in an effort to try to use up the giant zucchini that we bought at the farmers market.  (believe it or not, i still have some zucchini left over!  i think it is multiplying in the fridge.)

ryan mentioned that he had not had chocolate zucchini cake in years, so i thought it would be perfect to surprise him with some.  so, while he was working on sunday i whipped up a batch.

instead of making one cake, i split the batter between two loaf pans.  one loaf for us and one loaf for my parents.  it's nice to share.

this cake was a pleasant surprise.  it was super moist and it had a great chocolate flavor.  the shredded zucchini provided little pops of green color too!

this recipe is a great way to sneak a vegetable into your dessert!


chocolate zucchini cake
prep time: 10-15 minutes
baking time: 45-50 minutes
yields: 2 loafs

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips

directions:
preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  in a large bowl cream the butter, oil, and sugar together until light and fluffy.  add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  stir in the vanilla.  add the cocoa powder and beat well.  sift the flour and the baking soda into a separate bowl.  add the sifted flour alternately with the buttermilk.  stir in the shredded zucchini.

divide the batter evenly between two loaf pans greased and floured or lined with parchment paper.  spread 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top of each loaf.  bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  once baked, allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing them from the pans and transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

zucchini bread pancakes


i am still trying to use up that giant zucchini that we bought last week at the farmers market.  thus, zucchini for breakfast!

everyone is well acquainted with zucchini bread, so how about zucchini bread pancakes?  these pancakes are chock full of zucchini.  they are the perfect way to use up your left over summer zucchini.  the cinnamon and nutmeg give them such a great flavor too.


zucchini bread pancakes
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 10-15 minutes
yields: 8 pancakes
adapted from smitten kitchen

ingredients:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

directions:
in a large bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  stir in the zucchini.  sift the flour, baking soda, and spices into the batter.  stir well to combine.

heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan on medium heat.  pour 3 tablespoons of batter onto the griddle for medium-size pancakes.  flip the pancakes when they start to bubble.  cook until each side is golden brown and the pancakes are cooked throughout.  serve hot with maple syrup.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

flooded.


i was going to share a recipe for pancakes with you today, but that is going to have to wait until tomorrow because this story is just too good not to share . . .

i've mentioned before that my office building has been under construction for the past few months.  yesterday afternoon at work, i was sitting at my desk when the ceiling above me starting leaking from the florescent light fixture.  it started as a little trickle and soon became a rather large waterfall that landed right on my desk, on top of my computer, keyboard, mouse, phone, and paperwork.  needless to say, i was soaked along with most other things in my office.

i quickly grabbed two of the construction workers who were passing by in the hallway for help.  we had 10 garbage cans and recycling bins around my office trying to catch all of the water pouring out of my ceiling.

the construction workers had just installed new piping in my ceiling a few weeks ago.  later i found out that they were running water through the pipes for the first time in order to test out the system when it starting leaking in my office.  two of the pipes meet at a right angel above my desk.  the pipes are joined together by a joint (seen in red in the picture above).  apparently the bolts were not drilled in tight enough at the joint so when the pressure of the water hit the pipe joint at that right angle it came bursting out because the bolts were too loose.

there was so much water coming out of the ceiling that the one construction worker was actually wearing a rain coat with the hood up!

ryan and i stayed late cleaning up the water and drying everything off last night.  everything is going to take a while to dry out for sure.

i was tempted to come into work today with an umbrella, snorkel gear, and an inner tube just for a good laugh.

stay dry!
love, laurie

Monday, July 22, 2013

saturday in honesdale


on sauturday the weather was absolutely beautiful, so we took a drive out to honesdale for a little day date.  we spent the day walking around the cute town and admiring all of the charming historic buildings.  we felt as if we took a step right back in time.

we walked up and down main street, ducking in and out of so many quaint little shops.  one of the shops that we walked into had a vintage schwinn tandem bike from the 1970s for sale in the window.  be still my heart!  the shop owners had replaced the tires and restored the chrome, but it still had the original paint, seats, handle bars, bell, and basket.  there is absolutely no way that it would have fit in my tiny little car, which is probably a good thing, because i wanted so badly to take it home with me.  (ryan and i have been wanting a vintage tandem bike for a long time.  we would totally rock a tandem bike together!  such a good team we are.)

we stopped to see several of the street vendors outside of the shops, and we took a break for some lunch and ice cream too.  we had such a great little date together in historic honesdale . . .  
  
^i loved this mural on the side of one of the buildings.^

^cute plates displayed in a window.^

^an alley that hid several unique shops.^

^we walked through an alley between two buildings to look at a few shops, and it opened up into this cute little garden area.  there were so many beautiful flowers back there.^

^we had lunch at a little bagel shop called camp umpy's.  so good!^

^this walk-up ice cream shop was tucked away between two streets.  they were running a special, only $1 for a soft serve cone!  it was the perfect treat since it was so hot outside.^

^it was so warm, we were tempted to jump into the fountain!^


^the street that runs parallel to main street is church street.  that street sure is appropriately named.  we counted 6 churches on church street!^

love, laurie

Friday, July 19, 2013

as julia child once said, "a party without cake is just a meeting."


this past weekend ryan's brother and his family were in town visiting from north carolina.  while they were here, our families got together to celebrate ryan's grandmother's 92nd birthday!

since a birthday party just isn't complete without cake, ryan and i made dessert.  wise woman, that julia child.  :-)

we had a great time seeing everyone and celebrating.  we are so very blessed to have ryan's grandmother in our lives, and we are grateful that we were able to celebrate her birthday with her!


happy birthday today to ryan's grandmother!
love, laurie

Thursday, July 18, 2013

it's farmers market season!


one of the things i look forward to in the summer is the local farmers market.  booths and booths of fresh fruits and veggies make me so very happy.  everything is locally grown by farmers in our area, and the prices can't be beat.  (they sell other things like local honey and fresh meat too.)

the farmers market opened for the season yesterday, so we just had to stop by after work.  although most things were sold out by the time we got there, we still managed to snag some gorgeous lettuce, several aromatic tomatoes, and one insanely long zucchini.  we can't wait to put these veggies to good use!

the farmers market is open every monday, wednesday, and friday from now until thanksgiving, so we'll be frequenting the farmers market often this season for sure!


seriously, this zucchini was only 75 cents! 
love, laurie

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

swimming with mama

the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer night!
love, laurie

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

bits of happiness


we're long overdue for a happy list so here are . . . 
ten things currently making me happy:

10. leko chasing morning shadows across the bed
9. tiger lilies blooming in our yard
8. meals on our back porch
7. ice cream dates
6. walks around our neighborhood
5. sleeping with the windows open at night
4. lots and lots of pool time
3. tiki torches in our back yard
2. fluorescent nail polish
1. fresh summer fruits and veggies

. . . 

what is currently making you happy?
love, laurie

Monday, July 15, 2013

italian frittata


we sure love breakfast foods at our house, and the weekends are just perfect for all sorts of fun breakfasts.  when it comes to eggs, we love to make omelets, quiches, stratas, and casseroles, but somehow we always forget to make frittatas.

poor frittatas.  i'm not sure how they fell into the forgotten food category at our house, but i sure am glad we discovered them again!  i love frittatas.  they are basically like quiches without crust.

recently, i came across a recipe for a frittata with ham, cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and basil.  it sounded italian to me, and since i can't resist anything italian i just had to try it.


i whipped up this frittata in no time.  i love recipes where you can just basically dump everything together.

super easy, super simple.  just what a weekend morning calls for when it comes to breakfast.


this frittata smelled absolutely heavenly while it was baking.

the finished product was delicious.  all of the flavors blended together so well.  we ate the leftovers for dinner the next day, and let me tell you it was just as good (if not better) the next day.


italian frittata
prep time: 5-10 minutes
baking time: 30-35 minutes
yields: 4-5 servings
adapted from the daybook

ingredients:
8 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cooked ham, cubed
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

directions:
preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk.  arrange the ham, tomatoes, cheese, basil, and pepper in the bottom of a greased pie dish.  pour the egg mixture over top of the ingredients.  cook for 30-35 minutes until cooked throughout.  serve hot.


enjoy!
love, laurie