Saturday, November 22, 2014

Currenty

  1. I love Nick Offerman
  2. I love creamed spinach but can never get it just right. Maybe, this recipe can fix my problem.
  3. I know this is a weird time of year from ice cream, I may need to make this!
  4. Slaw is usually nothing to get worked up about but this slaw, this slaw may be a game changer.
  5. Benedict Cumberbatch does impressions and I love it.
  6. Love this blog, love her writing, love this recipe.
  7. I know, I know it's not Christmas yet but I can't help but love this video! It might be my favorite rendition yet!
  8. Holy Breakfast Nachos Batman!
  9. I can never find Creme Fraiche where I live but now I can make it myself. 
  10. The BEST Thanksgiving recipe round up I've seen yet.
  11. I'm putting the finishing touches on my Thanksgiving menu over the next day or two. We are staying home and having dinner, just the four of us.The combination of, my husband being in retail management and have a HUGE family made us change it up last year and stay home. We could, go to 4 different meals (yes, we did that one year) and stuffing ourselves, hurrying home so husband man can close his eyes for 2.76 seconds, before scurrying off to work so he can open at midnight, Instead, we are going to sleep in, eat lunch, all take naps, watch a movie or go play in the leaves and then husband can work rested with leftovers and the kids will have had both of our undivided attention all day. Yveryone wins. And I still get to spend the day with the three loves of my life. 

Happy Weekend!
xoxo,
Ashley

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mint Chocolate Iced Coffee

Forget paying a trillion dollars a cup for a peppermint mocha when you can make it at home.


   Some mornings, aka EVERY morning, I am very slow to rise and very slow to motivate myself. That has been one constant of my entire existence. I do not wake up ready to do anything, but grunt. I never have and never will. I thought all of that would change once I brought my heathens into the world, but no such luck. They just wake up before me and demand food, while I try to pawn them off on my husband as often as possible. One day, some day maybe, just maybe I'll be a proper adult and wake up with the sun, but it is very unlikely. Until then, I drink this concoction or something very similar on a regular basis.

   I make two versions of this chocolate sauce. I make a double batch using regular cocoa for my two little guys chocolate milk and make a batch of this type for my coffee and for my husband's night time chocolate milk. He reserves it for the most stressful of days. The days he when he comes home about to explode with stress and wants to scream. Those days, he has a glass of his "grown up" chocolate milk. I use dutch process cocoa powder to make this "dark chocolate" or "semi-sweet", because it is stripped of the acidity and darkens the color and intensifies the flavor.  I recommend keeping some on hand for baking junkies, like myself.  

Make your own chocolate syrup with this simple recipe

Dark Chocolate Sauce
yields 2 cups
(click here to print)

2 cups sugar*
2 cups water
1 cup dutch prorcess cocoa powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a skillet whisk together all ingredients, then bring to a boil over medium high heat whisking often. Once it boils, cook for no more than 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until neutral to the touch. Stores, covered in a refrigerator for 2 weeks to a month.

*Feel free to change it up for something healthier, use maple syrup, brown rice syrup, whatever you choose for sweetener.


   Use this for flavoring coffee, tea, cocktails, whatever floats your boat. It's a good basic to keep around the house.

Mint Simple Syrup
yields 2 cups
(Click here to print)

2 cups of sugar*
2 cups of water
5 to 6 large springs of mint.

Combine in a pot a bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook for no more than 5 minutes Remove from heat and allow to steep and cool until neutral to the touch. Store in a covered container or jar in the refrigerator.

*Feel free to change it up for something healthier, use maple syrup, brown rice syrup, whatever you choose for sweetener.



Mint Chocolate Iced Coffee
(aka Peppermint Mocha)
makes 1 serving
(click here to print)

I take mine:
(and yes I know this is a huge portion, don't judge me)

2 tablespoons dark chocolate sauce
3 tablespoons mint simple syrup
1 1/2 cups cold coffee
1/2 cup half and half or your desired creamer
ice

Stir together all ingredients and drink up!


Prepare to become addicted and say goodbye to your drive-thru habit!


xoxo,
Ashley

Monday, November 17, 2014

Spinach, Broccoli and Smoked Gouda Soup

You can't go wrong with this combination, the creamy, smoky Gouda, the fresh spinach and broccoli, everything about this soup is perfection.  

You really need to make this!!!

 Sorry, I was a little bossy up there. It's just that this soup is so freaking delicious and it really hit the spot while we all were (still are in some cases) super sick. Although, I normally tend to shy away from dairy while we fight with sinus and allergies, but I couldn't help myself with this one. I was compelled to make it. I could hear the Gouda calling my name from the refrigerator and the most amazing thing happened. When I placed this bowl in front of my uber picky 5 year old, he actually ATE it, ate every last drop. He even told me it was "dewicious" which in Caleb speak means delicious and is the highest compliment given! I almost cried, I did, actually start to tear up. It was momentous. He's the "anti-Mikey" he won't eat anything. He's the kind of kid that when faced with going hungry or eating something he won't like, he simply won't eat and doesn't complain. True story, he went almost a full week with no dinner. I fixed meals that I knew he would like, if he just tried them and he refused. He loves breakfast food and lunch is easy, because pb&j suits him just fine, but trying something new just doesn't happen. So when my husband and I developed a new philosophy. You try 4 bites of everything on your plate and if you honestly don't like it, then fine, but you must try everything. With that many bites, he's getting enough food to sustain him. I knew we were in for some fight, but his new obsession with Masterchef Jr., Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Jamie's 15 Minute Meals has led him to try new things and actually enjoy them. This soup got me some resistance at first, but after a couple of bites his face went from "ew" to hmm and by the fourth bite, he was saying it was the best soup he's ever had. That's a winner in my book and I'm hopeful we can use this soup as a stepping stone to shed his picky nature! Hopefully it will woo your pickiest of eaters too. 





Spinach, Broccoli and Smoked Gouda Soup
Serves 6-8
(click to print)

1 yellow or white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups milk
4 cups broth
4 cups broccoli, chopped
4 cup spinach
8 ounces smoked Gouda, shredded
salt to taste

Greek Yogurt for topping

  In a large stock pot, over medium heat, add onion, garlic and butter. Once butter has melted, stir in the flour, making sure there are no lumps. Allow to cook a couple of minutes, then slowly stir in the half and half just a little at a time. Once that is incorporated, stir in the milk, followed by the broth. Add in the broccoli and drop to medium low heat, allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Once the spinach has wilted and broccoli has softened use a stick blender (or just pour into a regular blender) and blend until smooth. Stir in cheese and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve warm, I like to top mine with Greek yogurt or extra cheese.


   Now, that it is officially FREEZING, I suggest you make this and curl upon the couch with someone you love and binge watch Arrested Development.


xoxo,
Ashley

Friday, November 14, 2014

Currently


  1. Do you watch New Girl? Enjoy some Smchidt Quotes. 
  2. Yep.
  3. So much, this! Things are changing in my life and as I get older I've realized some people aren't going to be there and I'm not going to feel guilty when they're the reason why I have to walk away. Wow, that got deep and dark pretty quickly. Uhhhh.... 
  4. I just made some pumpkin butter, but her's looks so much better!
  5. I want to make these.
  6. So yeah, I'm going to be adding these brussel sprouts to my Thanksgiving menu. 
  7. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I made a Pinterest board dedicated to it. 
  8. I bet my picky eaters would totally snack on these
  9. CocoaPebblesCerealMilkPudding might just be my husband's dream dessert.
  10. Slow Cooker Hard Cider Braised Pork with Sour Cherries and Cheesy Polenta. That is totally happening next week,
  11. How cute is this party? I feel the need to recreate it! Who wants to make me Marquee Lights?
  12. Beer Battered Fried Calamari Pizza. It's like she made this pizza for my oldest child. He loves calamari and pizza. (aaaand he's the picky one!)
  13. Mom, if you're reading this, I want to make this apple cider for the Christmas Eve party.
  14. Loaded Junk Food Brownies. Be still my heart!
  15. As always, Amanda speaks to my inner sugar addict, with this frosting!
  16. So, what do you think of the new look? I may not be totally done but I like it much better. I think, I should be back in full force, next week, but I'm still fighting this sinus thing. 
  17. Speaking of being sick, I would like to thank Netflix for finally adding some stuff from Food Network and HGTV. I've been binge watching Pioneer Woman and David Bromstad the past couple of weeks. All four of us have been pretty pitiful lately, but I can't seem to shake it. Plus, I pulled a muscle in my back (again) and I think that is definitely contributing to my general feel of ick.  Now, back to my hot tea and some design tv. 
Happy Weekend!!
xoxo,
Ashley

Monday, November 10, 2014

Under Construction!!

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! 

   Did you miss me? So, I'm not total back just dropping in to say hiiiiiiiiiiii-eeeeee and let you know what is going on. First things first, my entire family has gone and gotten themselves sick! This happens every year, we are not contagious buttttt we all have terrible allergies and it always happens at the same time. Every, dang time. I just wanted to stop in and say, I haven't blogged because I have only cooked one thing blog worthy and just didn't have the energy to shoot it. I'm on the upswing and so are my man and my little guys. Secondly, since I'm just not feeling up to the, actual stand on my feet, type of work it comes with blogging and my brain is too fuzzy to write any decent posts, I am going to finish a little makeover that I've been designing behind the scenes. Nothing major, it will still be a similar look but I just want to teak a few things. I'm hoping to be back by Friday but it may be next Monday before you hear from me again. I have no clue what I am doing when it come to coding and I'm learning as I go, therefore I have no real idea how long this may take. See you soon!!!

xoxo,
Ashley

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Wrap Up

Image Map


   Another month has passed! I suppose, it's time for me to start over loading you with Christmas posts! I promise to give you a couple more weeks before I do that, but in the mean time, here is what I did last month! To go the post you want to read, just click on the picture.


Happy November 1st!
xoxo
Ashley