October 31, 2011

A Must Try Recipe: Pork Shoulder Ragu from Dinner: A Love Story

Source: Dinner: A Love Story

I found this recipe for Pork Shoulder Ragu over at Dinner: A Love Story and it was a no brainer. I've had a pork shoulder in the freezer for awhile and this just sounded delicious, I had to make it. Luckily, I was not disappointed. It was ridiculously easy, melt in your mouth tender and absolutely delicious. You should definitely give this a try.

A few notes about how I made the dish:

* I followed the recipe up until the point when you are supposed to put it in the oven, instead I dumped the whole mess into the Crockpot, turned it on low and let it cook for almost 8 hours. It worked like a charm.

* We didn't have papperdelle pasta so I used fettuccine which was good, but I might have preferred a penne or rigatoni instead. Also I would make sure to cook the sauce and pasta together a bit before serving.

October 28, 2011

Photo Friday: Crazy Hair

People laugh when I tell them that Audrey often wakes up from a nap with her hair sticking up, or out, or otherwise all over, but it is completely true. 

She definitely has some crazy hair. It starts out stick straight, but throughout the day gets increasingly more curly and generally out of control. Maybe at some point we will have to consider a haircut, or hairstyle, or a bucket of gel, I'm not sure, but something that will tame it, until then though, she will keep on rocking the crazy hair.

Happy weekend all.

October 27, 2011

Eleanor's Rainbow Busy Book

Update: I have received many emails and comments asking about a pattern, it's posted in a few places around the blog, but I thought I'd add it to the top of this post too to make it easier to find. I followed Simplicity 3709 for these busy books, with very slight deviations. 

The Shop's first official order was shipped out yesterday. This book is going to a little girl named Eleanor for her first birthday. Super cute name, right? Her aunt ordered it for her and asked for a rainbow of colors with graphic prints and a bit of a vintage vibe.

I hope she likes it as much as I do because I fell in the love with the colors and fabrics while making the book. I'll admit, I might even be a little jealous that this isn't Audrey's book.

It was pretty fun to get to package the book up and ship it off. The first order just seems a bit special.

Oh, and if you're wondering why the shop is currently empty, it's because I'm up to my ears in orders right now. As soon as I get this batch of books finished and shipped I will add more listings. I'm so thankful for all the support and enthusiasm I've gotten about selling the books. When I listed the first one I didn't know what would come of it, but to have all the listings sell out in just a couple weeks time blew me away. So thanks!

October 24, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch

How was your weekend? Good, I hope. Ours was mostly spent being lazy, napping, watching Toy Story 3, and blowing our noses... a lot. That's right, Audrey was a sweetheart and shared her cold with me. And although I do remember telling Bryce at one point that I was seriously dying, the worst seems to have passed and we were able to pull ourselves together enough to go to the pumpkin patch on Sunday with my in-laws.

I'm pretty sure that once your kid can walk the pumpkin patch is some sort of requirement, you know, something you are supposed to do. Similar to a visit from the Tooth Fairy when a tooth falls out, an Easter basket from the Easter Bunny, and sitting on Santa's lap (I'm still trying to gear up for that one, something about the long mall lines and the somewhat creepy Santa freak me out a little). I'm also fairly certain Audrey won't remember this trip to the pumpkin patch, but she did have fun, so in my opinion it was totally worth it.

Can you guess what was the best part about the pumpkin patch? I'll give you a hint, it had nothing to do with pumpkins. It was the animals. There was any type of farm animal you could want and much to Audrey's delight there was a whole pen with baby goats and a sheep that you could pet and run around with. She was absolutely beside herself. Please ignore the blurry pictures, she was moving fast!
Aww, look at that sweaty little head... poor girl, she gets it from her dad.
Of course there were also pumpkins. We found a whole "patch" with pumpkins just Audrey's size.
Now if I can be a bit cynical for a moment... when did pumpkin patches stop being actual fields of pumpkins? This is what I remember from being a kid, you go to a farm, walk a really long way out to a super muddy field full of pumpkins, find the one you want, cut it off the vine and carry it all the way back to the car and if you couldn't carry it you couldn't have it. Isn't that how a pumpkin patch is supposed to work? I'm not the grinch or anything, but when did everything become so commercial. To me the best part is that this farm doesn't even grow pumpkins, they have them shipped in just like a grocery store does. We are going to have a whole generation of kids that think pumpkins magically appear on beautifully mowed lawns each October. When Audrey is old enough to actually remember going to the pumpkin patch you better believe we are finding one where the pumpkins are still on the vine. Ok, enough said, cynicism over. 

I asked my mother-in-law to take a picture of Audrey and me to prove I was there. Twelves picture later and I'm still not sure we got a keeper. I'll let you be the judge.

 All in all it was a great day at the pumpkin patch!

October 21, 2011

Photo Friday: A Bit Under The Weather

We have been doing a little more of this than usual lately. 

Audrey has been a bit puny the last few days. 
Meaning her normal energy level of 15 on a 1 to 10 scale is only about a 9 now. 
I feel bad she is sick, but I can't lie, I love all the extra snuggling that comes with it.

Happy weekend (and stay healthy)!

October 20, 2011

Dilly Beans - My Canning Success Story

I'm so excited to report that my canning experiment was a complete success! I made Dilly Beans, something I've never had before, but couldn't resist because one, I had a ton of beans and didn't know what I was going to do with them and two, because I'm a sucker for a pickled vegetable. I used this recipe from food.com

After carefully inspecting the jar to make sure there wasn't any mold or funny business going on, we opened the first jar last week when we had company over for dinner. The beans were absolutely delicious. We polished off the whole jar in just one evening. These dilly beans were perfectly crispy and spicy. Surprisingly even the two little kiddos weren't turned off by the spice and ate a few too.

At this point my only regret is that there are just six jars left. I feel like we can only pop one of these open on a special occasion. I will definitely be making a lot more next year.

October 18, 2011

A Bit of Crafty Chaos

I've been busily working on a few orders for the shop these last couple of days and am constantly reminded each time I walk into my sewing room that I need to do a little picking up. The whole room is one big mess. I have piles and projects everywhere.

Scraps from a pink busy book that is in the works.
A sneak peek at a rainbow busy book... can I just tell you how in love I am with these fabrics?
These knits are ready and waiting to be made into dresses.
And of course these are all lined up on the window sill just waiting to be sewn onto the playmat for Audrey's little buddy. They are constantly mocking me. Oh my gosh, I have to finish that playmat.
 Even despite the chaos isn't there just something so beautiful about fabric. I could stare at it all day!

October 17, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

I have to admit that I am kind of obsessed with the tomato sauce I made this year. I'm wishing I had had even more tomatoes to have been able to make more sauce because at the rate I'm using it my supply isn't going to last long. A couple of weeks ago I used the tomato sauce to make Chicken Parmesan (or at least what I'm calling Chicken Parmesan, I have no idea how authentic it is). Obviously you could also use store bought tomato sauce too and I'm sure it would turn out great. This was a VERY last minute idea and came together really quickly and easily, just my kind of weeknight dinner. I will definitely be making it again.

Chicken Parmesan
2 chicken breasts
2 eggs, lightly beaten in a shallow dish
1 cup breadcrumbs, in a shallow dish
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Pound two chicken breasts to an even thickness. I always do this between two pieces of plastic wrap so chicken juices don't splatter everywhere.

In a large oven-safe pan heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken first into the beaten egg and shake off excess and then into the breadcrumbs and shake of excess. Place the chicken in the heated pan. Cook chicken for two minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Pour the tomato sauce over the chicken and cover each piece in cheese. 

Place in oven until the cheese is slightly golden and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.


October 14, 2011

Photo Friday

Audrey is definitely a country girl at heart.  This makes me even more excited to move to the country and start a mini-farm! 

October 13, 2011

Brown Butter Pound Cake


You absolutely, positively MUST make this recipe for Brown Butter Pound Cake from Gourmet. We topped it with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce and it was out of this world good.

October 11, 2011

Our New Sled - A Very Manly DIY

I would like to think that most of the projects I put on here are pretty projects, you know, easy on the eyes. Well, this isn't one of those. It is still awesome and completely functional, but not going to win any beauty awards. We spent a few hours over the weekend working on a sled to pull Audrey in the snow.

My parents gave us an old pair of cross country skis and we mounted a big tub onto them for Audrey to sit in. Audrey appointed herself project supervisor and double checked most of her dad's work.
Oh my goodness, this picture makes me realize how desperately we need to clean our garage.
The sled turned out great. It will be so nice to be able to pull Audrey behind us while snowshoeing this winter. We took advantage of the wet grass after a really rainy day and gave it a test run. Audrey seemed to enjoy it.

Posted at:
Frugalicious Fridays at Finding Fabulous

October 10, 2011

Fall is Here!

I know it has technically been Fall for a few weeks now, but it really hadn't felt like it until just this past week. I love this time of year and am soaking up all it has to offer.

Of course I love the weather and the changing of the leaves, but I'm also enjoying some of my favorite smaller fall traditions.

Like pulling my slippers out from their summer hibernation.
I know, I know, they are some seriously ugly slippers. However, they are super comfy and there isn't anything better than slipping cold feet into soft, warm slippers.

Also, wearing this sweatshirt way more often than should ever be allowed.
I've had it since my freshman year in college (Go Beavs!!) and love it. In fact I don't feel like I can wear it out into public anymore because both sleeves are now riddled with holes, but it is still my go-to sweatshirt around the house. (p.s. Can we just talk for a minute about how cute Audrey is? We were enjoying a lazy morning on the couch, some Toy Story might have been involved.) 

And of course Fall is nothing without apple cider. 
I know I say that I like to do everything homemade, but this stuff, straight from the packet, without any homemade loved add to it, just a little bit of hot water, well, it is absolutely delicious! So this time, I'm just not going to mess with a good thing.

What are your favorite smaller traditions about the season?  

October 9, 2011

Big News!!

I hope you don't mind, but I need to brag a little bit. Last week was rather quiet around here and while I mentioned we went to visit my parents I didn't exactly say why.

My grandma, Bryce, Audrey, and my mom
Obviously we don't need a reason to visit, but this time we happened to have one. Bryce had a job interview.

A really really BIG job interview.

As in a job interview for the job he has been working for for basically his whole life, and really I'm not exaggerating. I'll give you a hint... he wears scrubs to work each day and people call him Doctor.

So he cleaned himself up (i.e. shaved off the horrible beard), put on his suit and did his best to wow the pants off of the employer.

Apparently he did a good job because on Friday we found out he got the job. We are moving to Oregon in July!!

I am so excited for what this means for us, but more than anything I'm just really proud of him. He has worked so hard for so long and completely deserves this.

October 6, 2011

Hand-Me-Down Dresses

My mom has been doing some cleaning out lately and came across four dresses that my grandma had saved from when she was little. She couldn't have found them at a better time because they are just the right size for Audrey right now. 

All four of them are adorable, unfortunately I only got photos of Audrey in one of them. And I am absolutely amazed that this is what little girls wore on a daily basis. I would never have the patience to do all the ironing that these must have required.

I was also amazed at the shape these dresses were in. Decades after being used for two girls they still looked great.

There is just something so great about clothes like these that have a story and history to them. I am pretty certain that my grandma didn't sew these for my mom or her sister, but it does inspire me to continue to make Audrey some special pieces that can be passed down because I know that the sweats and t-shirts she wears normally sure aren't going to stand the test of time.

What about you... do your kids wear clothes that have been used by multiple generations?

October 5, 2011

One Month To Win It Auditions

We've been up at my parents' house this week. We are having a great time and being completely spoiled.

For now I'm just popping in to remind you about this:

One Month To Win It has been completely redesigned and is currently holding auditions for season 6. And check out the prizes... hello, a $100 gift card to Target, Anthropologie, or Home Depot for first place. Yes, please! So head over now and link up your audition project. It really is a lot of fun!

Hope you are all having a great week.