Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy 2nd Bday Asa!

I cannot believe that this guy is already 2!!  Can't imagine life without him!
He's such a sweetie - loves to wish baby sister's bassinet sweet dreams, make stages out of blocks to stand on and "preach," tackle Dada, watch basketball, hug me, help with chores, play with Amara, and cook cook cook!  
Love you buddy!

Wilkins Bday Song for Asa!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Favorite Birthday Things!

Mike leaves really early  for work, but I woke up to freshly roasted coffee (roasted by Dad C), freshly ground in my new burr grinder and a happy bday sign on the fridge!  Such a great guy! Thanks babe!

And my sister-in-law made my favorite bday cake!  Funfetti Cake and Sprinkles Frosting!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Party Prep Helper

Asa and I have been making stuff for his party - (this has generally resulted in making extra of everything since when he tries to "glue" or "attach" or "color" it turns into a crooked mess that he has oodles of fun playing with).  He's gotten extra toys out of the deal and I've just gotten more practice - win win!
We've had a few sunny days and Asa's taken full advantage of the back porch.  (The yard is still a swamp.)
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Portland Trip

(Asa and Emma)
Over the weekend we made a quick trip down to Portland to see Grandma G. and meet the new second cousins! (Packed in a shopping trip to IKEA and downtown Portland too!)

(Asa and Elliott)
 LOVE the chalk wall!
We stayed with Aunt Jill - and Asa was talking about it the whole trip back! Thanks Aunt Jill!

Lunch at Heidi's!
We got Asa a kids table at IKEA - and the first thing he did when we set it up was to go get stuffed animals to "eat" with him.  He then proceeded to get the Bible and read to them all - funny lovable kid.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Waiting for spring...

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Aunt Carolyn Visits

and surprises Pop!
Thanks for the fun bday gifts for the kids.

(The grill has been a HUGE hit.  And yes he's grilling with his brand new undies on his head.)
Miss you! (Asa's expression is due to the fact that  I told him to say "cheese" but he held up the bread and said "no - bread.")
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Recipe Testing: Our FAVORITE Cinnamon Rolls!

Well, it's happened.  We've discovered our favorite cinnamon roll recipe - it's basically everything we've been looking for!  Soft dough, great cinnamon filling, and amazing glaze/frosting that's not too thin or too thick!  (I don't know if this will make us stop testing other recipes, but I've definitely got my fall back!)
This recipe is from Pink of Perfection and I really didn't need to change a thing!  These are great for time (as you don't have to let the dough rise).  I also tested out freezing the cinnamon rolls as soon as I formed them (instead of letting them rise overnight) to save for another morning.  Then I just pulled them out in the evening and let them thaw and rise on the counter overnight. Then baked them as directed the next morning.  It didn't affect the flavor at all and made them even handier!  So here you go:
(sorry for the lack of pictures on my part!)
(picture from pink of perfection)

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 1/3 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup maple sugar (if you can’t get maple sugar, use 2 cups powdered sugar, and you could add some maple flavoring, if desired) - I didn't have this and used a 1 Tablespoon of real maple syrup in place of 1 T of milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (or more) whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add eggs and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding more flour as needed, about 5 minutes.
Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together filling ingredients.
Roll out dough into a 9×12 inch rectangle. Spread dough evenly with filling mixture. Roll up dough from the long end and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in a 9×12″ baking pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, remove cinnamon rolls from refrigerator and let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to take the chill off. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together glaze ingredients, adding more milk to thin glaze, if necessary. Remove rolls from oven, and pour glaze over hot cinnamon rolls. Serve warm.
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Hat Kid

Naphtali grabbed this on her iphone while we were out shopping at Ross yesterday. Asa cannot pass up a hat (or a mirror when he has one on.... oh dear)
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Just Some Asa

Dad C took these the other day of our crazy kiddo.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pancake Tuesday

I'm thinking we might try out these oatmeal pancakes from smitten kitchen tonight!  That and Alton Brown's Mushroom Crepe Cake.  We'll let you know how they are!

(pictures from smitten kitchen)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Recipe Review: Cook's Illustrated American Sandwich Bread

Well I think we may have discovered our new favorite sandwich bread!!  We make bread fairly frequently and I try out new recipes or adapt them almost every time.  We've enjoyed the American Sandwich Bread by Cook's Illustrated (from The New Best Recipe) but the Buttermilk Variation brought the loaf to amazing levels!!
*side note - I love this cook book.  It doesn't have any pictures but it has all of your basic recipes with extremely detailed directions, and you can almost 100% guarantee that it will, not only turn out, but be good.  It's pretty much my go-to cookbook for the basics.  And if you enjoy reading about the science behind all their testing and decisions you can - I love this stuff.*            

Here's the Buttermilk Version (shortened to the basics):

3 3/4c unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk (original calls for warm whole milk - 110 degrees)
1/3 c hot boiling water (original calls for warm water - 110 degrees)
2 T unsalted butter melted
3 T honey (I've used brown sugar too with great results)
1 envelope instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)

1. Mix 3 1/2 c flour and salt in standing mixer fitted with dough hook
2. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 4 cup liquid measuring cup
3. Turn the machine to low and add the liquid mix.  When it comes together turn up the speed and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny - adding the last 1/4 c of flour a little at a time as needed.
4.  Knead for probably 7-10min
5. Form a round ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled - about 1 hr.
6. Form dough into a loaf and press, seam side down, into a 9x5 bread ban.  (mine aren't quite that size and it still works)
7.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise till doubled - 20-30 min
8. Heat oven to 350.  Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack.  Boil 2 cups water.  Pour water into the baking pan.  Place loaf on center rack and bake 40-50min.  Inside loaf temp of 195 degrees.  (I've found with convection this only takes around 30-35min).



We've had a whole bunch of snow in the last couple of days!! This has meant a lot of shoveling for Mike - and a lot of snow time for Asa! (He tries to help shovel, complete with hard working grunts and flying snow - pretty cute.)
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