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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

leko and the disco ball

this week we have been cleaning up various things from our twisted theatre show.  one of the props that we used in the show last weekend was ryan's disco ball.

when we brought the disco ball back home after the show, leko discovered it for the first time.  (although we have had the disco ball for years, leko has never seen it before because we store it hanging from the ceiling in our basement.)

ryan was able to grab a couple of pictures on his phone of leko with the disco ball.  we thought it was so cute to see him with the disco ball, especially since we named him leko!

love, laurie

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

lemon poppy seed crepes with lemon blueberry cream cheese filling

crepes are one of my favorite things to have for breakfast.  i especially love crepes stuffed with fresh strawberries.  i love how crepes are lighter than pancakes.  they just seem so delicate.

recently we made lemon poppy seed crepes.  fresh lemon gave the crepes a wonderful bright flavor, and the poppy seeds gave them a great crunch.

instead of stuffing our crepes with slices of fresh fruit like we usually do, we make a lemon blueberry cream cheese filling to spread inside the crepes.  let me tell you, this filling might just be my new favorite thing (and i'm not even a fan of blueberries normally).  i want to spread it on everything!  it is so delicious and it has the most beautiful purple color too.

you could easily swap out the blueberries in the filling for strawberries or raspberries instead.  either would be super yummy!

lemon poppy seed crepes with lemon blueberry cream cheese filling
prep time: 5-10 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes per crepe
yields: 6 crepes
adapted from say yes

crepe ingredients:
1 large egg
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon granulated sugar

filling ingredients:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

to make the crepes, combine the egg, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and poppy seeds in a large bowl.  whisk until combined.  add the flour and sugar, then whisk until smooth and no lumps remain.  the batter will be very thin.  heat a small 8 inch non-stick frying pan over low heat.  grease the pan with butter and pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan.  allow the batter to cook until the edges begin to curl away from the sides of the pan (about 2-3 minutes).  flip the crepe over and allow the other side to cook (about 1-2 minutes).  be careful to not let the crepe burn.  remove the crepe from the pan and place it on a plate.  repeat with remaining batter.

to make the filling, combine the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla.  beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth, then add the blueberries and smash the berries with a fork.  mix the berries thoroughly into the filling.

spread the filling on each of the crepes.  either roll or fold the crepes.  dust with powdered sugar, and top with additional berries and lemon zest.

love, laurie

Monday, April 28, 2014

twisted theatre

wheph, this weekend was a whirlwind!  on thursday, friday, and saturday, we had the performances of "twisted theatre" which is the show that we have been working on for the past few weeks.  then on sunday, we had to strike the show.  needless to say it was a power-packed weekend.

we had such a blast working on this show.  the show was a black-box style show that was a broadway musical review with a bit of a twist . . . the cast reversed roles.  men sang songs originally written for women, and women sang songs originally written for men.

the production was a fundraiser for the broadway cares / equity fights aids organization.  admission was free, but all proceeds from raffle tickets and donations went to benefit broadway cares.  in total, the production raised $705 for broadway cares!

the show went great!  it was really well received by the audiences each night, and the cast/crew all worked so hard.  we can hardly believe that it is over already.  we're so sad to see it go, but we will be happy to get a little time to rest now!

in addition to directing the show, i also had the opportunity to design the set.  two weeks ago, i shared a few pictures from when we were in the process of building the set for the show.  now that the show is over, i wanted to share a picture of the finished product.  the concept for the scenic design was a silhouette of the new york city skyline set against a colorful sunset.  the set was 20 feet wide, so we built it in 5 sections that were 4 feet wide each.  we built the set in our garage at home, and then transported it to the theatre where we put it all together.  here's what it looked like.  (trust me when i say it looked even better under the theatre lights!)

love, laurie

Friday, April 25, 2014

happy friday!

wheph!  it has been an exhausting but exciting week.  we have been in tech/dress rehearsals for the show that we are currently doing all week, and last night was opening night of the show.  it went great and the audience loved it!

in the midst of everything else going on this week, 3 of the cast members in our show had birthdays this week too.  to celebrate, ryan and i threw a group birthday party for them.  of course there was cake.  we made homemade confetti cake with vanilla buttercream frosting.  the cake turned out great (probably the best confetti cake we have ever made) and the cast/crew absolutely loved it.  there's nothing quite like hearing a group of theatre people singing happy birthday in four-part harmony.  they sure are a talented group!

i can't believe it's friday already.  we have more performances of our show this weekend, so by the time sunday rolls around i'm pretty sure we are going to be totally exhausted and ready for a vacation!

hope everyone has a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, April 24, 2014

dutch baby with fresh berries

we've mentioned before that we are pancake fanatics.  we don't just love traditional pancakes, we also love baked puffed pancakes too.

dutch babies somewhat fall in the general category of pancakes (although they more closely resemble puffed pancakes than traditional pancakes).

dutch babies come together so easily with just a few simple ingredients, and you don't even have to stand in front of the stove to flip them like you would with traditional pancakes.  you just pour the batter into a hot cast iron skillet and put the skillet in the oven.  brilliant.

you won't find any baking powder or baking soda in this dutch baby, just whipped eggs.  those whipped eggs give the dutch baby a light and tender consistency.  the cast iron skillet gives the outsides of the dutch baby a slight crunch too.  so good!

there's no need for maple syrup either.  a combination of cinnamon and sugar along with fresh berries is the perfect topping for this dutch baby.

a warm dutch baby fresh out of the oven with cinnamon sugar and fresh berries . . . that's what breakfast is all about!

dutch baby with fresh berries
prep time: 5-10 minutes
baking time: 18-20 minutes
yields: 1 10-inch dutch baby (2 large servings)
adapted from joy the baker

dutch baby ingredients:
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons salted butter

topping ingredients:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh berries

preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  beat the eggs with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until pale and frothy.  beat in the milk, flour, and cinnamon until completely combined.  the batter will be very thin.

place a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat.  melt the butter in the skillet and spread the melted butter evenly around the bottom and the sides of the skillet.  remove the skillet from the heat and pour the batter into the skillet.  place the skillet in the oven, and bake for 18-20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.

while the dutch baby bakes, mix the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping.  slice the fresh berries, and toss the berries with a few spoonfuls of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  once baked, serve the dutch baby hot from the oven, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and topped with fresh berries.

love, laurie

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


"and then my heart with pleasure fills, 
and dances with the daffodils." 
- william wodsworth

it's always such a treat to see the first daffodils of spring pop up around the yard.  daffodils are such cheery spring flowers.  william wodsworth even wrote a poem about daffodils.  it has been rainy and cold here yesterday and today, and it hasn't really felt like spring at all.  but, these pictures of the daffodils at my parents' house this weekend are the perfect thing to cheer up an otherwise dreary day.

love, laurie

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

coconut bundt cake

ryan and i were in charge of making dessert for easter this weekend.  it's a tradition to have carrot cake on easter sunday, so we made carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  they are always so yummy!  in addition, we also made a coconut cake.

this past christmas one of the things on ryan's wish list was this awesome nordic ware bundt pan.  ryan's parents bought it for him as a christmas gift, and we have been waiting for a chance to use it ever since.  it has the coolest shape.  when we decided to make a coconut cake for easter, we just knew we had to make it in ryan's new bundt pan.

this coconut bunt cake is so good.  the outside edges of the cake are perfectly crisp while the inside is light and fluffy.  it has a great coconut flavor.  the glaze on the top of it just adds the right amount of pizzaz too.

if you are a coconut lover, you have to give this cake a try!

coconut bundt cake
prep time: 10-15 minutes
baking time: 40-45 minutes
yields: 1 bundt cake
adapted from style at home

cake ingredients:
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

glaze ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.  add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes.  add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  stir in the vanilla.  in a large bowl, sift together both flours and the baking powder.  add one third of the sifted dry ingredients to the batter and beat until just combined.  mix in half of the milk.  repeat with another third of the dry ingredients and the second half of the milk.  then add the remaining third of the dry ingredients.  beat until combined.  fold the shredded coconut into the batter.

spread the batter evenly into a greased bundt pan.  bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  once baked, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes, then turn the cake out of the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire cooling rack.

to make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl.  whisk in the lemon juice and the water.  drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled bundt cake.  the glaze will harden.  top with additional shredded coconut if desired.

love, laurie

Monday, April 21, 2014

easter sunday

we had a wonderful time celebrating easter with our families yesterday!  in the morning, we woke up and led leko on a mini easter egg hunt around the house.  he was really thrilled to find that we hid some of his favorite kitty food in the easter eggs.  then we headed down to my parents' house for easter brunch.  everything was so yummy, my mom is such an amazing cook!  after brunch, we went on a easter present hunt that my parents put together for us.  it has been a tradition for years, and we love doing it.

we spent some time playing with my parents' three kitties, and then ryan's family joined us for easter dinner.  (i can't believe i forgot to take pictures at dinner, but i did manage to remember to take pictures of what ryan and i made for dessert!)

it was so nice to visit with our family yesterday.  there's nothing better than celebrating holidays with family!  after we came home last night, we gave leko his easter basket from my parents.  he really enjoyed playing with the little catnip squirrel that he got and he can't wait to try is new kitty food too!

^my festive nails for easter^
^leko's easter egg hunt^
^brunch at my parents' house^
^my parents' kitties playing with their easter dinosaur toys^
^carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (recipe here)^
^coconut bunt cake (i'll share the recipe soon)^
 ^my mom and dad in their backyard^
^pretty daffodils^
^leko playing with his easter basket from grandma and grandpa^

. . . 

hope everyone had a lovely easter!
love, laurie

Friday, April 18, 2014

happy easter weekend!

have a lovely easter weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, April 17, 2014

fun links

ryan's excited because it's that time of the year for pastel colored pretzel m&m's and speckled egg-shaped peanut butter m&m's.  i can hardly believe that easter is just a few days away!  time sure is flying.

here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently:

how to turn your boring dinner rolls into cute bunnies for easter.

naturally dyed easter eggs.  such a better alternative to regular dyes.

the coolest (and most colorful) kitchen clock d.i.y. project.

i love this idea for keeping track of your travels.

espresso pudding?  count me in!  yum!

i can't wait to make homemade tofu out of chickpeas!

how to pet a kitty . . . this really made us laugh.

have a great day!
love, laurie

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