Follow Me on Pinterest

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday birthday lunch with the girls

We love it when there is a birthday in the group.

It's a reason to all go out for lunch together, celebrate, yack and gossip, enjoy great food and each other's company.

We don't do this often enough, but I'm sure you know how it is...

Time is rare!

Today we celebrate Rhonda's birthday lunch at Macaroni Grill.

Six of us, having a nice relaxing time away from work.

Even though a lot of times our conversations still circle around things that happen at work!

Either way, I am so glad I work at a great place where I found so many of my friends!

I shared my appetizers with my friend Annette today.
It's always great to have friends who like to share their food :)
Sometimes we order a bunch of different items and all share.

Today's appetizers were sweet pepperdew peppers stuffed with goat cheese,
and meatballs in a spicy marinara sauce.

I loved the sweet balsamic vinaigrette on the peppers... delicious!

My lunch was a simple carbonara... I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture of it before, with a poached egg on top.

To be honest, it was just okay... it's much more delicious made at home!

As a special little treat I picked up Julian a bit earlier today and brought him back to the office.

We didn't run into too many people as it was a Friday afternoon, but we did say hello to a few, some that hadn't seen him in a while, others who have never seen him at all.

Julian just loves coming to my office, it's been a while!

He loves swiping my badge to get into the building, pressing the elevator buttons, going up and down the stairs, and most of all he loves playing around in mommy's office!

So I let him play for a while, let him call Daddy and just have fun!

Anyway...  I hope everyone had a great Friday as well!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New haircut

Last night we had to take Julian to get another hair cut.

He does so much better at the salon.

Even though now I figured out how to cut his hair at home without him crying.

I just turn on the TV, spray his hair lightly with water and then snip away.

He doesn't mind!

But of course it takes me longer and I can get away with trimming his hair once or twice, but then it needs the tender loving care of a skilled hairstylist hand!

Refrigerator oatmeal with Raspberries

I loved the mango in the oatmeal, but I also had raspberries from my Costco trip on Sunday and I did not want to waste them. Nowadays Julian only eats a couple of them whereas he could finish a whole bowl when he was younger.

Started with my old fashioned rolled oats, about 1/2 cup.
 About 1/2 cup fat free greek Fage Greek yogurt.
 1 tbsp ground flax seed meal. You can use however much you would like.
 About 1/4 cup slivered almonds.

 Skim milk to top it off plus some more.

About 1 tsp wheat germ, or however much you like or you can omit. 

Today I didn't use any sweetener, only Smuckers sugar free raspberry preserve.

I used Splenda for the mango oatmeal.

I added fresh raspberries on top so that they will only be stirred in tomorrow morning when I am ready to eat.

And here you have it...

Muffin episode #7- Carrot Apple

Tanja requested that we bake muffins since she has seen me bake all these delicious muffins and post them on my Facebook page.

Last night we were looking through my muffin recipe book and she selected a carrot apple muffin.

That's what the name was but let me tell you...

There is a whole bunch of goodness in these muffins!

Carrots, apple, raisins, yogurt, oatbran and walnuts!

Tanja was ordered to line the muffin pans.

Aren't these cute muffin cups? I bought them on sale at Target a few weeks ago.

She also shredded the carrots.

I worked on getting all the other ingredients assembled and shredded the apples.

Oooh... I have to say these are now one of my most favorite muffins!!

The recipe called for 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

I didn't see the whole wheat flour ingredient so we substituted with another cup of regular all purpose.

They still came out great but I definitely want to try these agian using whole wheat flour.

They were nutty and very juicy and just sweet enough from the brown sugar and the raisins.

Simply delicious!

Here is the recipe:

Carrot Apple Muffins
Makes 16 muffins
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C)
Ingredients:1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1 1/4 cups shredded tart apple
1 1/4 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 chopped walnuts or pecan, toasted
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsp granulated sugar

1. In a large bowl, whisk together all purpose flour , whole wheat flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 tsp of the cinnamon.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs and butter until well blended. Whisk in yogurt until blended.

3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just well blended. Gently fold in apple, carrots, nuts an raisins.

4. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups.

5. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and the remaining cinnamon. Sprinkle over muffins.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 15 - 19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool i pan on a wire rack for 3 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My new favorite breakfast

is definitely the refrigerator oatmeal.

I know many might wonder about eating oats cold and uncooked.

It's really not very different from the Swiss Bircher Muesli or any
other kind of Muesli.

When I lived in Germany, most muesli was eaten with raw oats.

The only reason I even knew cooked oatmeal was due to my mom.

I love it... making it last night only took a few minutes.

It was convenient to just grab the mason jar this morning, and run.

I ate mine in the office, it was nutty and fruity!

I want more tomorrow!

Refrigerator Oatmeal

I just love Pinterest... I have been spending way too much time browsing beautiful pictures and ideas!

Since I finally bought some mason jars I looked for some ideas and stumbled across this great blog with some great recipes for refrigerator oatmeal.

Simple ingredients and just an endless amount of varieties and possibilities beyond the 6 recipes mentioned above.

Add any fruit, grain, seads, refrigerate and you are ready to go!

I used some fatfree Fage greek yogurt, my favorite brand.

Publix had a BOGO on Quaker Oatmeal.
 I already had Bob's Red Mill ground Flax seed at home (didn't have the chia seeds in the recipe but I did order from Amazon)
 Added some slivered almonds that I also had at home.

Top with fresh skim milk.

And added cubed fresh champagne mango - I bought a case at Sam's Club last night.
It doesn't look very pretty and it was too late to get any good lighting :)

I can't wait to eat this for breakfast tomorrow!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Soup and sandwich makes a great lunch!

There is something soothing and comforting about soup and sandwich for lunch.

And sometimes even for dinner.

A hot steamy bowl of soup, and fresh tasty bread... yum!

Since my macarons didn't turn out so well I was in need of a little digital kitchnescale.

With my Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon in my hand, Julian, Tanja and I stopped by there, got a scale and a few more things, then headed to Crispers for lunch.

Tanja had never been there and it's a place I love to go to during lunch. I don't do it too often, but every once in a while I love their great variety of soups (my favorite is the spicy Kickin' Crab), sandwiches and fresh salads.

Tomato soup, and a club sandwich on a delicious multigrain roll.

Afterwards we headed to Costco where we bought some fruits and veggies, and fish.

And where Julian had about 5 crackers with blue crab and main lobster spread!

My baby loves seafood *proud mommy moment*

Of course I had to buy some for the house :)

But not this monster here!

Luckily Julian was willing to put the huge teddy bear back.

I wish I had gotten a good picture of him when he first saw the bear... he asked me to get him out for him, then just kissed and hugged him!

Animal Kingdom

My friend Tanja flew in from Hamburg last night.

Brought a ton of my favorite sweets... Knoppers and Yes Toertchen!!

And easter candy for Julian :)

Disney was on our list to do today, surprisingly hubby was given the day off!!

We let Tanja decide where to go and she chose Animal Kingdom over Magic Kingdom.

My 3 day Florida pass expired last time we went to Disney, but the deal was just too sweet, so I bought another 3 day pass.

$99 plus tax for 3 days, any days, any park between 4/14 and 5/25, instead of $95 plus tax for just one day!

I'm sure I'll be back with Julian even if it's without hubby!

He does really well on the 1 hour drive and I want to take him back to Magic Kingdom, and Epcot Center.

I was disappointed that the Tree of Life was closed due to technical issues :(

The weather was gorgeous, but it was crowded! Springbreak...

Julian had hs name written in Thai in Asia... there was a little booth with lovely people from Thailand so they wrote his name for him :)

My baby was so tired and exhausted that he feel asleep around 3pm, sitting in my lap... while watching The Lion King show! Incredibly loooouuuuuud music and singing, so I put my hands over his ears once he fell asleep :) I had to fight falling asleep myself! Almost fell over twice!

We watched one more show, went on a ride in Dinoland, and then had dinner at The Rainforest Cafe, I just love this place!

Southwest eggrolls as an appetizer.

Just love all the animals, trees, flowers, the "rain"... I just wonder how they ever clean all of this? Hmm...

And our glorious volcano dessert... brownies with vanilla icecream and lots of whipped cream.

The four of us didn't finish it :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The macarons are ready for presentation...

Ahhh don't you love my beautiful iPhone pictures??? :)))

One of these days I will have to use our Canon Rebel again... I just don't bring it out often enough, and am too lazy to upload the pictures afterwards.

Ever since I have my iPad I barely ever open my Powerbook, but one of these days I will have better pictures on this blog.

So here are my macarons... assembled and ready to eat!

I filled more than half with the white chocolate ganache, which turned out beautifully.

Julian was allowed to lick the whisk and was so proud!!

I was too busy filling the macarons and didn't take a picture of him licking the whisks clean :))

The rest I filled with strawberry preserve... I was planning on raspberry as I thought I had some, but nope...

only strawberry.

After sitting in the fridge for one night (filled... so the 2nd night in the fridge) they came out tasting amazing!!

Even my friend Tanja, who came in from Germany last night said they taste just like the ones she gets

when she is in Switzerland :)

Friday, March 23, 2012


Ahhh yes.... macarons!

I have gotten into the macaron fever as well.

They are just simply too pretty, so delicious and the endless possibilities of tasty combinations.

And they are so expensive to buy!!

Plus hard to come by in Tampa Bay.

A few weeks ago I bought a macaron cook book, and made sure I had all the ingredients.

Tonight was the night to try out my very first batch of macarons.

My first step was last night, when I separated 4 egg whites to age them in the fridge for 24 hours.

Then started following the directions.

Which in hindsight I have to say it was a little chaotic, but only because I didn't lay out everything I had prior to make sure it was right there, as the book suggests.

No, since I don't like to plan and rather be spontaenous, I just decided I'll do this, only had the foresight to age the eggs and that was it.

So I was running around like crazy trying to find my almond meal, my powdered egg whites and could not find the piping tips I just recently bought!!!!

I did have bags, just wasn't able to use a piping tip... I just cut a hole in the pastry bag and did without.

Which is probably one of the reasons why my macarons were so oddly formed :)

I have never used a pastry bag before!
And remembering some old tips I read years ago, I just used plastic food storage bags, the ones without the ziplock, so I wouldn't have to spend so much money on pastry bags.

I am sure this will work much nicer with actual piping tips :)

So here is my second tray of piped batter... not too shabby I must admit!

The color scared me a little bit! I did want pink, and used the beautiful Wilton pink gel color but I didn't not expect this very very bright pink! Note to self - use less next time!

I already had a feeling that my batter was too stiff. Whether it was because I overbeat my eggs and they were too stiff, or because I didn't incorporate the dry ingredients enough or my almonds weren't grounded finely enough.

I realized it when I was piping, it did not really look like the pictures and videos I saw on youtube.

It still worked though and the shells looked beautiful, nice dome, no cracking, all even and round...

until I increased the oven temperature as indicated by the book.

Suddenly I had some bubbles rise up in the center, and of course those and a few more cracked.

But some came out really beautifully, completely even and round, glossy and pretty.

Except for my feet. They didn't really want to form!

The picture above shows the true pink color.

Below you see that some shells didn't crack at all.

And some show a little bit of feet.

By the time I was done, it was so late already, and I didn't have the foresight to premake my ganache filling so that the filled sandwiches could rest in the fridge and come together.

From everything I read, the sandwiches will taste better after sitting in the fridge and FILLED after one night.

So we will see :)

Working on white chocolate gananche now...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

German style dinner...

I miss all the delicious and hearty bread in Germany.

The whole grains and seeds.

And the heavenly rolls or "Broetchen", which are so hard to find here.

We always call it "real bread" in comparison to a lot of the bread that you typically find here :)

And I miss the meats, cheeses, and other toppings.

Every once in a while I break down and buy the liverwurst from Publix.

Today I bought some Pretzel rolls "Laugenstangen", and that was my dinner.

Two halves topped with liverwurst.

One half topped with delicate prosciutto.

The last half topped with creamy goat cheese drizzled with Forest honey (Wald honig).

All topped with some green onions.

So simple but yet so delightful!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Owl time!

I really have been missing my crafty activities. Ever since I had Julian I put that on the backburner, and happily so. Nothing makes me more happy than spending time with my baby and watching him grow up!

But now that he is older and has a good sleep schedule, I have been feeling the crafty itch again.

It started with all the cupcakes and muffins I have been baking recently, as well as buying some new items to decorate and package my goodies to give away or just to bring to work.

One of my bad habits is that I get obsessed with something and I just have to have it and need to start working on it.

I have been eyeing handmade fabric dolls for a while. They have been popping up everywhere, or I'm sure they have always been there but I just never paid attention.

Looking at them I thought I can surely make some of these... it doesn't look thaaaat hard!

So I bought some scrap fabric from Joann's and started looking at all kinds of pictures of dolls... until I settled on an owl.

Reason one, owls are just too cute, and reason two they looked pretty easy to make based on the easy round shape.

I got my inspiration from all kinds of images online but didn't download any template.

I just made my own template freehand and started sewing - no particular plans.

(Starting to sound familiar yet?? Yep, I'm not a planner! An idea pops into my head, I google it, and then just go and buy stuff and do!)

I am certain there are much easier and more efficient ways of making a fabric owl doll, but this worked for me for now.

Oh yes, I do have one of those machines called Sewing Machine in the closet.

Tucked away somewhere in our guest bedroom closet.

My inlaws gave it to us years ago... I think it was a Christmas gift? At least 5 years ago if not 6 or 7.

Oh the plans I had with that cute little machine.

But I have to admit it still sits in its original box, unopened!

So all of this is completely done by hand. Which takes longer, but that's ok.

For now.

I will break out the sewing machine soon, because now I have gotten midly obsessed with making my own fabric dolls for Julian :)

They are just so cute and surprisingly uncomplicated.

I would definitely need to research on Youtube how to use a sewing machine to sew on an applique (new word I learned this week).

Maybe I'll attend a sewing class at Joanns? If I can convince a friend to come with me :)

I actually like the homemade, not perfect machine kind of look. It has charm to me :)

I love that my own will be a unique once in a lifetime doll.

I didn't use any template... handdrew the shape of the owl on the fabric directly and got a little smarter already when I drew out the wings and feet on paper first, then cut them out and traced them on the fabric. But I threw those away.

I thought about just leaving the owl like this:

Julian was excited when he saw the owl and immediate asked "Mine????" and gave it a big hug.

But then he asked "Arms? Missing!"

So when I asked him if he wanted arms for his owl, he eagerly responded "Yes". And then daddy taught him that birds have wings, not arms.

After Julian went to bed I worked on attaching wings and little feet, and a heart.

Here is the final outcome!

Julian was very happy when he saw his finished owl!

He clapped his hand, jumped up and down yelling "Yay, yay, yay, my owl!!""

And then he happily said "Wings now? Can fly!"

(This was a 3 day process for me)

Oh the possibilities!

I can make him monsters, an owl family, a rabbit for Easter, an elephant, a tiger, etc.!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...