friday faves - kitchen edition

September 27, 2013

another friday, another faves.
here are some of the things that i'm longing for in my kitchen.
one day.. one day.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

September 23, 2013

So, remember that phase I went through a couple weeks ago where I baked EVERY single day..? That was such a delicious week and it made me realize how much I LOVE baking. There is something about it that just totally centers me, calms me down, and just plain makes me happy (just going out on a limb here.. but I'm guessing it has to do with all the sugar Ive been putting in my body... maybe?) Not to mention the sheer joy that it creates with my husband. The expression on his face when he gets home in priceless (think kid going to disneyland. Yes he really gets that excited.) Anyways, lets get to the point.

(just thought maybe I'd throw that out there)

Anything that has rhubarb in it is a winner in my books. I love the combo of tart and sweet. So when I came across this recipe I knew I had to give it a go. In all honesty the way it turned out wasn't amazing. There are several things about the recipe that I would tweak - but I'll get to that later.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

3/4 pounds Rhubarb (trimmed and cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 Tbsp Butter plus 6 Tbsp cubed (for cake)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup Shortening
1/3 cup Milk
2 Eggs

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

^can we call just take a minute to admire how beautiful rhubarb is.. ? ^

^chop it into 1 1/2 inch pieces^

^combine rhubarb, 1 cup sugar (not all), 4 tbsp butter, lemon juice, vanilla paste, and 1/4 tsp salt in a cast iron skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until rhubarb is tender and the sugar is melted^
^whisk together your remaining sugar and salt, and add flour and baking powder. Add remaining butter and shortening and combine until you get pea sized pieces^
^add milk and eggs and stir together until combined (it will be sticky)^

^spoon the batter over top of your cooked rhubarb and cover evenly^

^bake until crust is golden (about 30 mins)^

^remove from oven and invert the cast iron skillet onto a plate^

^now eat itttttt!^

Overall - the flavour was great! It looks nastier than sin - but it was very flavourful. 

Okay! So here are the things I would tweak with this recipe. 
1. I would add more rhubarb. 
I found the cake to be very dry and dense. I feel that more of the rhubarb would have helped to make it more tender - and who the heck doesn't like ooey gooey delicious rhubarb?
2. I would slightly undercook the rhubarb. 
I cooked mine to the directions and found that it just turned to mush in the oven. I would have liked to have a little bit more texture from the rhubarb. (personal preference) Plus I think it would have made for a much lovelier presentation. Cause lets be honest the finished product looks like a hot mess. 

I also feel like this could easily be made in a non-cast iron skillet. 
Give it a try and see what you think!


September 18, 2013

Its crazy how quickly you can get behind on blogging. 

The past week has been a good one. We've been busy doing all sorts of things, like having our niece stay with us for 4 days, going to the corn maze, having our house appraised, helping unpack my sisters place, getting a girls night with a great friend, baking (lots of baking!!), reading an amazing book (Daring Greatly - READ IT! You wont regret it) and even some one on one time with Ster. 
The past couple of days I have had a few moments of quiet reflection and I've felt SO overwhelmed with how beautiful and full my life is. I am so blessed. I have THE cutest kids. They aren't perfectly behaved, or even remotely calm - but thats what makes them so loveable. They are the craziest. EVER. And I am lucky enough to get to enjoy their shenanigans every day and be their mother. I have such a loving, kind, patient, goofy husband who just adores me and our kids, and I love him. 
We live a very happy life. 
I forget sometimes in the craziness of life how richly we are blessed. But, I am so grateful for those quiet nudges that I get to slow down, take it all in, and enjoy every single second of it. 
I am SO blessed.

friday faves - dress edition

September 13, 2013

Who doesn't love a good dress? There are few things that make me feel more confident and feminine than a stylish, well fitting dress. Here are 10 of my current fav's that I dream of wearing.. enjoy! 

one  | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten

Creme Brûlée Cheesecake

September 6, 2013

I know, right?
Two of the yummiest things combine forces and make a super yummy (and easy) dessert! When I saw this on pinterest I had to try it out. I am a sucker for anything creme brûlée. After Ster and I were first married I kind of got obsessed with it and tried to perfect it.. Like I'm talking probably over 10 batches of it in a week span..

That was such a good week.

Here's the recipe:

The Crust:
9 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup butter - softened

The Filling:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese - room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt

Brûlée topping:
1/4 cup sugar


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
 Line a square baking dish with aluminum foil {makes for the easiest clean up}

^In a bowl or food processor, grind up the crackers until they are fine. Add your butter until its incorporated and the crumbs are moist^
^Press to the bottom of the baking dish and throw it in the oven for about 8 minutes. Then, take it out and let it cool. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees^

^Next, whip the cream cheese until its smooth^

^Add your sugar, eggs, vanilla paste and salt^

^Combine until smooth and delicious looking^
^^Look at those dang vanilla beans.. Mmm^^

^Wait until your crust has cooled and pour the cream cheese mixture into your baking dish. Bake until the cheesecake is set but still a little jiggly in the centre {about 45 minutes}^
Remove from oven and let it cool down - completely. Cover it and chill it until its firm.
At this point cut it up into squares and sprinkle the tops with a generous portion of sugar. Torch the tops until it turns a deep amber colour. Refrigerate and serve.

*note there are no pictures of the finished product? Once it was cooled {or should I say once it was cool enough for us to get our hands on it} and then brûléed we dug right in {at 11pm}.. It was almost devoured by the time I thought to take a picture of it.*

This is a super simple recipe and it tastes delicious. The Brûlée top pushes it over the edge from being just a yummy moist cheesecake. That bit of crunch from the sugary top adds just the right touch. Try it out and let me know what you think!

wonderful wednesday

September 4, 2013

(Firstly, thanks for all of the love and support. Yesterday sucked, but I feel enormously blessed to have so many people that care about me)

(Yes, I did title this post Wonderful Wednesday)

I felt a bit like a Debbie Downer for my post yesterday - but I'm just trying to be real. Not every day goes right, I'm not always perfectly happy, and I'm not always depressed and negative. I hope I'm not the only one like this..? I am just trying to paint a real picture of my life.  Yes, yesterday sucked. But the great thing about life is that we get to CHOOSE how we let things affect us. Today I am choosing to be happy - to look for the good things in my life (because they majorly outweigh all the bad.) 

(I mean who wouldn't have a great day after having chocolate waffles for breakfast :))

So, that was my little happiness rant for the morning. Onto other items of business. We finished our basement (as mentioned in previous posts.) We had been plugging away at it for months and months and had essentially nothing to show for it. Then, 2 weeks ago we heard that the LDS missionaries were looking for another place in Taber. We thought it would be a long shot, but we called anyways. (in our minds we were thinking they needed a place in a month or two) Wrong. They were interested in renting our basement in 7 days. We freaked out a bit, but decided we needed to make it happen. At that point the basement walls had been drywalled and needed one more coat of mud, then sanding. We worked day and night - sanding, painting, installing floors, trim, building a closet, finishing a bathroom, plumbing, tiling, installing a kitchen, and more painting. It was sooooo much work. Looking back at it, its pretty incredible what we were able to get done (with Sterling working everyday until 5 pm). We had a lot of help from family and friends which was the only way we were able to get it finished. But magically it all came together and it was finished on time. We really couldn't have asked for a better set up or better renters. We feel very blessed. 

(this was mid-missionary move in. Its pretty basic, I would obviously decorate it 
much cuter if it were my living space, so use your imagination..)

^there will be a frosted glass panel in place of the shower curtain^

It isn't incredible or anything, but its DONE! 
Its such a relief, and I'm so proud of my Sterling. He is such a hard worker and it always amazes me how determined he is. 

(is anybody else missing the Auschwitz effect?? I was so tempted to keep it that nice fluorescent teal..)

worn out

September 3, 2013

these two words sum it up pretty well.
physically, emotionally, spiritually - all of the above. 

The past couple of weeks have been hard. Like really hard. We finished up our basement (yay!) but it drained us of everything. Energy, money, sanity, patience.. you name it - its gone. And not only did we sacrifice those things but we totally put our children on the back burner to get said things done. (I know, bad parenting 101) I've had a ton of guilt all week for that. So when we were finally finished and the weekend came Sterling headed off to his Man Trip, and I set off on my Women Trip. I had such high hopes for a relaxing, drama free weekend with the girls, and what do you know - it was neither relaxing or drama free. Turns out when you ignore your kids for a week they really pick up their best spaz game to get the attention that you neglected to give them for the entire week. I don't blame them. I was a bad mom this week. But then to have sleepless nights and crazy drama where you are targeted and its pointed out to you that you are a bad mom and that you ruined someone else's trip - that just plain sucks. Especially when it comes from someone you love, and especially when you are already self conscious about your parenting skills from the previous week. I cried - a lot. I've been trying this new thing lately where I'm trying to just really own and feel all my emotions - whatever they are - and be okay with feeling the way that I feel. I've been doing really good at it, and its been helping me feel more engaged in my own life - but going into this weekend I was already skating on thin ice. After that conversation (or scream fest - whichever you prefer) I totally shut down. Its easier to not even have to feel. Its easier to just be numb and un-present in your own life, that way it doesn't hurt so much, right? So after a terrible weekend, here I am. Tucked away safely at home, and in stretchy pants. I felt like I was doing so well. I was working out, I was eating good, I was feeling really good about myself, I was being really present in my own life, I was having fun with my kids (sans the last week), I was just in a good spot. Then real life hits ya, and now I feel like I'm tumbling head over heels down a rocky jagged cliff. Uggghh! Life sure is funny sometimes. But I'm not going to let it ruin my life. I've just got to move on and keep trying to be the person I want to be. 

Listening to: Honey - Mindy Gledhill
It feels like she is singing right to me.
I dare you not to love this song. 

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