Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, one month late

Ramsey celebrated her 4th birthday on September 1st. Since she loves to play tea party with her Yaya, we decided to throw her a fancy tea party. Girls only. The girl only part is a whole other story of her bitching.
Her is Ramsey still in her p.j.'s just starting to dress up.
And here she is checking out the goings on sans pants.
Now she is gussied up.
This really isn't the full spread for the kids but I liked this picture best. They had mini bagels with vegan cream cheese, pb&j, tofurky sandwiches, shortbread, scones, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, mini veggies, and fruit salad. They were drinking ice tea mixed with apple juice.
The adult sandwiches were tomato basil with vegan cream cheese blended with balsamic vinaigrette, mock egg, and cucumber. The desserts were the same as the kids.
The kids dug into the cupcakes right away but then evened things out snacking on sandwiches and fruit. I don't think any of them touched the veggies.
And here is Ramsey and some of her friends exploring her loot. I made her the chefs hat.
She really did seem to have a great time, even without boys, and the grown ups had a great time chatting and snacking. Happy Birthday Ramsey.

Monday, September 29, 2008

America's Favorite Animal Shelter

Care 2 is holding a contest where people vote for their favorite animal shelter or rescue group. The group with the most votes wins $10,000. The four next highest groups get $5,000. And Adopt-a-pet.com is awarding $1,000 to a shelter at random each week.

I don't think I've ever posted anything like this before but it only takes a second to vote.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


So, we have two weddings coming up this month. One is the husband's cousin, Megan. The other is one of my brothers, Neil. I've had this green fabric sitting around since last year that was supposed to be Ramsey's last Christmas dress. She ended up talking Daddy into buying this other dress and the fabric was left unused. I decided I'd make her a skirt for the wedding.

Ramsey doesn't have any dressy tops and I thought I'd try my hand at inventing something for her. I thought that a black velvet would be nice and match the skirt. I started cutting out the skirt. I was preparing to sew it when Ramsey came in ready for me to measure her for the shirt. I put the skirt fabric down and started on the shirt.

Taking the shirt fabric out of the bag the store put it in was a surprise. When not in the lights of the store the fabric isn't very black. It almost looks purple. I decided to take a chance with it. There are still kinks to work out but it wasn't so bad. While I was sewing Ramsey was playing with the left over fabric and scraps.

Then came time for the skirt. I grabbed my piece of fabric and got to it. I found it odd that I kept having to make adjustments on the hem. It wasn't straight. When it was finally finished I called Ramsey in to model.
This is a bad picture but that puffy skirt was supposed to be knee length and puffy. Not ankle length. Ramsey had switched up my fabric piles and I didn't know it.

So, I have a skirt that's to long and wonky. A shirt that's not really black and still not right. I guess Ramsey will have to squeeze into her Easter dress.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lazy Pie

Me and the husband were dying for something sweet the other night. Being the fair parents we are, we waited for the kids to go to bed to whip something up. I just tossed ingredients in a bowl until it looked like a pie crust should. Inside is some apples and cinnamon.
This was neither the best pie crust I ever had or the juiciest apples. However, it was not the worst and it killed the craving. I've never done a lattice crust and was playing around on the one. I think it would be easier on a full sized pie.

We will be going apple picking in two weeks. Expect some more pie or desserts along that line.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Adam and Eve

I awoke to lowered voices...

Ramsey- Isaac have a piece of chocolate.

Isaac- No, we aren't supposed to. You have to ask mom first.

Ramsey- No, I had three. I just sneak it.

Who has visions of my future life parenting a teenage Ramsey? Looks good, no?

I promise she was not just trying to be a 'good sister' by offering him candy. She was planning ahead by offering him some. She would rather them both go down together then go down alone. I offer a warning to Ramsey's future party buddies (Sophia, Elizabeth, Quora, Maggie, Athena) if she gets caught she will rat you out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Who got a shiver up their spine? Admit it, that creeped you out. No, I'm not currently knitting up Christmas stockings or stock piling wrapping paper. But there is one thing I wanted to make that has to be put aside well in advance.

Homemade Vanilla
Easy, pretty, and impressive to gift receivers. (Any of my friends who receive this gift need to stop reading and ignore that "easy" part)

Most store bought vanilla beans are very pricey and at 3 beans for $5 you use them like there made of gold. I purchase my vanilla beans from a store front on ebay, Vanilla Products USA. They sell organic and not, grade A and B, several varieties and different weights. To give you an idea, I have a pound of grade B for $13. That is a lot of beans.

So, it was no hardship at all to split open two beans for each of these pretty bottles. Some people cover with vodka and some with Rum. I'm a Rum fan, just ask my friends. ;) I put these lovelies away in one of my cupboards and when I think of it I swirl them around a bit.

When the holidays arrive I will have a pretty, yummy, and useful gift.

Happy NOT Holidays.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Stock in Earth Balance

With all the tester cookies that I've made I feel like I should own stock in Earth balance. These chocolate chip cookies are a traditional . They are exactly what you think of when you hear the name. Better then a bakery cookie but the same enormous size and crowd pleasing abilities.
These shortbread are my favorite! The recipe is spot on and to die for. Tender, flaky, buttery. I can't rave about them enough.
Graham crackers just the way you expect them to be. Not as easy to make as Isa's recipe but very good crackers.
These gems are far better then their store bought counter parts. They look tiny but you get a lot of bang for you buck. We could only eat a few each.
White Russian's. I've never had the drink and soft cookies aren't really my fav. These were good but I wouldn't rave.
I do love coconut. These crispy coconut cookies were very good and extra nice with ice cream.
Thus ends our tester cookie tour. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The good. The bad. The ugly.

Ok, so really it's just the good and the ugly. But the other sounds better, right?

I came across Rocks N' Rolls at Whole Foods being sampled one day. That's obviously how they suck you in because I found myself carrying a bag home. I finished said bag, with help, in one day. I also totally tore up my mouth with all that crunching but that's off topic.

The problem with Rocks N' Rolls for me is that I don't go to Whole Foods very often. They are $4 a bag. And most of all, I like to make my own stuff. These three points have caused me to try and recreate this recipe for the past two months.

This would obviously be the ugly picture. Turned out real well, eh? I'm only posting the really bad and the good. I didn't bother with the in between mediocre batches.

I had another visit to Whole Foods on Tuesday and snatched up another bag. Early I was comparing these cookies to a smoother, more airy, biscotti. I've finally decided they are more similar to animal crackers in sweetness and flavor and digestive biscuits in texture.

Here is the good. This is my best batch so far. They are very close to what I was going for. I was going to make another attempt but my friend and husband said they liked this version better then the store bought. We were taste testing them side by side.

I hope to work on more flavors but we'll see. Here's the recipe if you're interested.

Vanilla-Lemon Crunchies

1 cup flour
4 tlb sugar (could easily be cut back to 3 or maybe even 2)
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tlb canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/4 tsp molasses
2 tlb water

Preheat your oven to 375'. Mix together the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients. This will be a dry dough. Everything should be wet and but just clump together if pressed.

Mush teaspoon sized amounts into a circle or oblong shape. Bake on a lined sheet for about 10 minutes. They should get a bit golden.

The cookies are mostly crunchy with a bit of moisture in the middle. If you like them completely dry I'd lower the temp down to 350' and leave them in a few minutes longer. Keep your eye out.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.