Where Does The Time Go??

It appears that blogging is a lot like running/exercising, once you get out of the routine of doing it, it’s easy to continue to not do it. I actually have quite a bit to share, but now I’m feeling a little overwhelmed about getting to it all. In addition, there’s been a lot going on in life. Some good, some stressful, some neutral, but just a lot.

I had begun a post about food, but we just had a very amazing weekend in NYC and I decided that should come first. The hubster and I recently celebrated a milestone anniversary. My parents, who are incredibly wonderful people, got us tickets to see Come From Away on Broadway. It’s been years since we were in NYC, and we’re not city people, so it was a big deal.

We were grateful to have a good friend not only put us up for the night, but spend her entire day with us on Saturday. After I told her what we were hoping to do, besides the show, she planned out all of the logistics. It was such a bonus to be able to spend the day with her (and her brother and their friend) and to not worry about getting around.THANK YOU JENNIFER!!!

First stop was the Brooklyn Bridge. Hubby had read The Great Bridge by David McCullough and was excited to see the subject of the book. It didn’t sound as exciting a destination to me, but it really was fascinating. I loved all of the different shapes and structures and signs and views.


From the bridge, we walked to the 9/11 Memorial. We didn’t have time for the museum this visit, but we took a few minutes to pay our respects.

It was so very moving, and it felt important to visit before the show, as the show is also about that day. We really don’t have strong enough words to describe how amazing this show is. The music and choreography and writing and songs were so incredible that we’re still walking around singing, “I’m an islander, I am an islander, I’m an islander, I am an islander….”

GO. SEE. THIS. SHOW!!!!!!!!!

Almond Butter Cups

I follow a few food blogs on Instagram. I have to admit, I LOVE the little food videos they post and I have been motivated to try quite a few recipes after watching. One of the recent videos was for Almond Butter Cups, posted by Pinch of Yum. It looked fairly simple, and it definitely looked very yummy.

Yesterday was a gross, foggy, rainy, cold day….so, perfect to try this out. I made one adjustment in that I split the 1/2 cup cocoa between dark and regular.

Pinch of Yum suggests 2-4 Tablespoons of maple syrup, so I went with 3. The coconut oil thickened back up quickly once I added the other ingredients, so I put the mixture in the microwave for just a few seconds. It was much easier to work with in a thinner state.

There was enough for 14 cups. By the time I got to the last two, the coconut oil was thickening up again. The original 12 looked pretty darn great, but these two were definitely seconds.

Hubby and I ate these two bloopers without freezing them, and his comment was, “these are evil!” They were so darn amazingly good. I froze the rest as directed and was super proud of how pretty they turned out. I posted this pic on Instagram and got the most comments ever in my Instagram history.

Hubby and I split this one, right from the freezer, and I have a suggestion. If you make these, although the recommendation is to store them in the refrigerator or freezer, let them come closer to room temp before eating them. When frozen, hubby and I agreed that the overwhelming flavor is the coconut oil, the chocolate and almond flavors just couldn’t compete.

For a first go at making a candy type dessert, I label this a success. And given that there is only 3T of maple syrup, and no sugar, I think it’s an even bigger success. There is, however, PLENTY of coconut oil, so I’m not sure how it really ranks on the healthy scale.


Picture Post

There hasn’t been much baking, or new recipe experimenting, or new creating lately. Pretty much just creating the same things I was before, beer totes and cross stitch. I did see a chocolate almond butter cup recipe on Pinch of Yum that I intend to work on in the near future.

I’m still having a lot of fun with the fancy camera, so I thought I’d share some recent pictures. Still mostly automatic settings, but I’m watching video tutorials and maybe some of it is starting to sink in. Maybe.

Apologies to those of you on Instagram, as some of these are repeats.

Fargo humors me and doesn’t complain…too much.


Sometimes it’s nice to have boring, even though I’d rather have full nest boring than empty nest boring. Boring doesn’t lend itself to interesting blogging. I’ve got some things in mind over the next few weeks that should be more fun.

Molly’s Mac N Cheese Adventures

We decided to have a cooking day on Sunday. I wrote about the Chocolate Coconut Almond Tart, in the previous post. This time I’m talking about our mac n cheese adventures as we followed the Molly on the Range flowchart. We followed the right side, doubled the recipe and ended up with one baked dish and a batch of deep fried cubes.

Making the sauce took longer than expected, though Molly doesn’t really indicate how long it should take. We ended up using less milk because it never seemed to want to thicken up. It finally did though.

This was Fargo, the whole time we were grating/adding cheese.He can sure concentrate when he wants to.

In order to go for the deep fried mac, you need to do all of the steps but the baking. We made the two batches of mac in the morning and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours. I didn’t get a finished picture of the baked version, but it looked like this, with bread crumbs on top. YUM!

When it was time to fry, we dug out the VERY rarely used deep fryer and set up the flour, egg and bread crumb bowls.

It was quite a messy process, cutting the mac up into cubes, then rolling each one in flour, egg and breadcrumbs.

We could only put four into the fryer at a time, so four batches of four. It took about $4 worth of oil to fill the fryer. So, it was a lot of work, and a little on the spendy side when all of the butter and cheese is added. They sure turned out pretty! They were really good, needed some salt/pepper, but good.

Both versions were excellent. Our conclusion was that we’ll stick with the baked, since it was as good as the fried, and a whole lot less work. Chalk up another round of kitchen adventures to the empty nesters.

Pictures (except for the flowchart) taken with the fancy camera!

Chocolate Coconut Almond Tart

Hey there, been a while. It’s been two weeks of not doing much that is note or blog worthy. The weather has been all over the place, I’ve walked a few times each week, but not as much as I should have. I bought and cut the wood to make more beer totes and I’m looking forward to getting those assembled. I think we’re going to try and make a kitchen island on wheels, which I’m super excited about.

In addition, we are still working on the house. We moved some furniture out and did some rearranging in the dining room, which I like. The dining room and the garage are still housing more stuff that we are in the process of selling/sorting. Hubby did some work in the garage, and now, if needed, we could actually fit a car in there. We are doing a lot of research on a new range to be prepared since ours is twenty years old. We bought a new sink, pics of that later when the replacement process begins.

We also bought a new toaster oven, which is very exciting.

Because the old one (at least 15 years old) was creeping towards full failure (note the burned edges).

This past weekend, we finally spent some time in the kitchen testing out new recipes. I’ll post about the mac n cheese next, but first, the Chocolate Coconut Almond Tart. I don’t have a tart pan, so I opted for a beautiful pie dish our friends brought us from Poland.

The crust is three ingredients, which includes almonds (in both meal and chopped), coconut oil and maple syrup. It took longer to bake than noted, however everything takes longer in our oven. It didn’t get as brown, but I think it was a pretty thick layer. I tried to press it down, but I didn’t get much up the sides like it shows in Sally’s picture.

I mostly used Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, which I chopped, with a few semi sweet chocolate chunks thrown in. Yum! Besides the chocolate, there was coconut milk and maple syrup…that’s it.

It all turned out so pretty in the dish. Especially with the toasted chocolate and coconut on top.

I’d definitely make this one again, especially for any gluten free guests. It had a neat texture, and was delicious. Can anyone tell that I used the fancy camera for all of the tart pictures (not the toaster oven pictures). I’m still struggling with learning the non auto settings, but I do think that camera takes some beautiful pictures.

Here are two bonus sunset pictures from Sunday night. The first one was taken outside, the second (probably obvious from the window frame) was taken inside. I think the fancy camera did an amazing job, but it was still more amazing in person.


Window Photography

No, I’m not taking pictures of windows. I actually think I would enjoy that though, especially old windows on old houses. But alas, I am being a weather weenie and taking pictures through my windows. It’s actually been a good way to make ridiculously cold weather, and snowy weather, more entertaining.This time of year we have bird feeders up, the snow pretties up the landscape, and there’s always Fargo to use as a subject. Some pictures have even turned out reasonably well…others, not so much.

Not exactly the graceful running shot I had envisioned.

This one I took outside and it was worth being briefly out in the painfully cold temps. I may post a few more from this sunset at a later point. This one is definitely my favorite!

I’m still on all auto. I really need to figure out how to understand all of the manual settings better. When there are pretty pictures happening without my interference, it makes it harder to get moving on that front.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I bought myself a little present a few weeks ago. Of course I researched, because I do that even for a small purchase. Prior to this year, I used a bundt cake pan once. The pan we have was handed down to us. It gets the job done, as you’ve seen if you follow along, but the ring is wide and the cook space is narrow. It doesn’t result in super pretty cakes.

Ta da!! New bundt cake pan (oiled for impending cake mix in this picture). It’s a much heavier duty piece of kitchen equipment.

While the youngest was still home on break, we did some baking together, WHICH I LOVED!! We decided to take the bundt pan for a spin with a modified¬†Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction. We subbed applesauce in for half the oil, reduced the granulated sugar by 1/2 cup and added some honey, and split the flour 1 cup wheat and the rest, white.

Looked pretty in the pan when we took it out of the oven.

The youngest wanted to sub in cream cheese icing. We again based it on a recipe from Sally and modified. We used half the butter, then taste tested after each half cup of confectioners sugar. After 1 1/2 cups of sugar, it was perfect!

I’m sure I should have evened up the bottom before turning the cake out, or somehow smooth the batter better. I had no idea how to spread the icing on the cake so it would be pretty. We all ended up spreading more icing on our pieces, so I also should have just put more on to begin with, but it really did turn out fine.

Very, very yummy!!

Here’s a bonus pic of Fargo and the youngest, which you may have seen on Instagram, and is one of my all time favorites.I’m learning about color adjustments, as you can probably tell.

Can you tell which of the pictures in this post were taken with the fancy camera? I’m having a lot of fun with it. I love the bigger lens that came with the deal. I’ve taken tons of bird, Fargo and landscape pictures.



Cucumbers are a garden staple for us. We have been growing the Middle Eastern Zagross variety from Fedco Seeds for years. Last year, friends gave us a few pickling cucumber plants, and they produced well enough that we decided we ought to try pickling.

Do you have any idea how many pickling processes and recipes are out there? Even if you narrow it down to dill only? A FREAKING TON!!! We decided to try both refrigerator pickles and canned pickles.

Refrigerator pickles are certainly easier, given that there’s no boiling water/canning bath involved. They were tasty, but not our favorite.

A few weeks later, we went for the big process of canning pickles. We went with the Rodale recipe.

I have to say, that one of the more difficult parts was fitting cucumber slices of all shapes and sizes into the hot jars in a rapid manor.

We had enough dill from our garden to use in all of the jars. I love dill and I think it’s beautiful.

Unfortunately, we had a first batch mishap. Not sure if it was a jar defect, or if we didn’t work fast enough and the jar was too cold going in, or if it was something else, but ooops…

Luckily, it was only one jar, and that was our only loss.

We will be adding these to the annual canning list, for sure. I think they’re just a tad on the salty side, but everyone else who has tried them, gave us thumbs up.

Winter Camera Fun

Most of the pictures I’m taking are through the windows in this arctic chill that is seeming to go on forever. I am still on auto because, for whatever reason, the manual information just will not stick in my brain. I plan to continue to work on it. Fargo and our pupguest and birds using our feeder made good subjects to play with.

Two Wood Projects

Before I begin, best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy 2018. As I noted in my last post, I want to start off this year by writing about two fun wood projects I worked on. Besides painting and stenciling, I have little experience working with wood, and even less with saws and drills. I didn’t post about these earlier because we gave them all away as holiday gifts.

My first step was to google “wood projects for beginners.” Pretty sure I have about 20 bookmarks for items I really want to make. I thought it would be the smart thing to start out with a smaller project, and I found free plans for a wine caddy on Shanty-2-Chic.com. There is a video with instructions on their website as well.

Hubby and I went out and bought supplies, and then he set up the mitre saw and showed me what I needed to know. Apparently mitre saw = outside use, which is fairly limiting at this time of year. Luckily, this day wasn’t too bad.

I’m sure it took me way longer than it should have, but I was pretty proud of my mitre saw prowess.

Instead of staining them, I decided to use leftover paint from our upstairs hallway because I really love the color. I must say, that I didn’t find it helpful to glue first because as soon as I started hammering the brad nails, the glue job was toast. Maybe if you have a brad nailer to use, it would make more sense. It did make things more complicated in terms of measuring, angles, etc.

Another first for me was using a drill. I love that our drill has a level on it so that you know if you are actually straight up and down.

I also used it to drill holes for the handle.

I really love how this turned out! If there was anything I would change, it would be the shiny silver corners, but after looking at multiple stores and online, there aren’t many other options in a similar price range.

Next was a beer tote by Rogue Engineer. I didn’t want to send in my email address to the site, so I followed from what was online the best I could. I decided to go buy supplies on my own. Apparently I have a learning curve in this area as well, because I had to make a return trip and returns, before getting what I actually needed. It was darn cold windy this time and I had to take breaks to get feeling back in my finger tips. We set the saw up going the other direction, behind the car, to try and buffer the wind a bit.

I cut angles this time!

I made four of these at once and had an assembly line going.

I bought bottle openers online. A lot of bottle opener reviews focus on how far you have to tilt the bottle to catch the top. I figured that with this beer caddy, the actual caddy could be tilted as well if need be.

Again, so darn excited with how these turned out.

I am absolutely making more of these. I enjoyed the project and the finished product. I will, however, need to wait until the temps rise above the teens.

Also, I’ve walked two miles on the treadmill two days in a row. YAY ME! Maybe I’ll get crazy and throw a few minutes of running in there. I’ll see how it goes.