Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gaby meets Sage

We have started letting Sage come in at night that its getting colder. Poor dog just wants to be friends but all the cats hate her. Gaby included. She did NOT like meeting Sage for the first time.  The first night Sage slept inside, I heard Gaby his and hit the door of her kennel several times throughout the night.

I think this is the only time she has gotten close to Sage. Now, as soon as she hears her, Gaby runs into the kitchen and hides behind the washer. She can recognize the sound of Sage coming up the stairs to come in and the sound of the kennel being opened so Sage can get out and stretch in the morning before going back outside.

The other morning I was on my exercise bike and Gaby was in the middle of the front room. She heard the kennel open and she SHOT into the kitchen. She was going so fast she couldn't stop in the tile to go around the fridge. She didn't stop until she slid into the wall at the far end of the kitchen. Then she ran back towards the fridge and skidded around it before finally finding safety behind the washer. All before Sage was even out of the bedroom and down the hall.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This year we went to Josh's grandparents for Thanksgiving. Which just may be my favorite place to go because they are such wonderful cooks.

There is always too much food, so this year I wasn't going to take anything. But on Monday night, Jessica was telling me about all that she was taking to dinner because she wanted to use what she had learned form our cooking classes. So I decided to take ONE pie, a mixed berry pie like I made in class.

Then on Tuesday I woke up all excited and decided I wanted to show off. (That is so like me!) So I decided to take THREE pies, a veggie tray and a diet type drink for Melanie & myself since we have been working so hard on our diets.
I had to take a veggie tray because I saw the CUTEST turkey shaped veggie tray on Pinterest. Mine turned out so cute and everyone loved it.

Dinner wasn't until 2:00 on Thanksgiving Day, so I decided to make my pies that morning. At one point Heather started to chat with me online. She started with "Good Morning Beautiful" (that's why I love her). To which I responded, "Is it?!" She knew that meant I was in the middle of one of my kitchen disasters.

I really did enjoy my pie baking class. I felt so good afterwards that I could now cook pies. My one complaint was the directions didn't say how long or at what temperature to cook my crust that needed precooked. I follow recipes to the letter, so for me, this was a disaster waiting to happen.

I made a lemon meringue pie for the first time (thanks to Jessica for giving me a great recipe). It turned out pretty good, as long as you didn't mind it only had a crust on the bottom. When the crust cooked, the sides all slid down into the bottom of the pan. Hello my first kitchen fit of the morning.

I was going to make a German Chocolate pie, but after reading through the directions I found a 2nd list of ingredients needed for the topping. Enter kitchen fit #2. Why couldn't that website list ALL of the ingredients together! After panicking for a few minutes, Josh asked if I could just make something else. After I calmed down, I realized I had everything for a Coconut Cream pie, so I made that instead. Once again, my crust collapsed so its mostly only crust on the bottom, except one side seemed to stay up ok.

My Christmas list now included a pie pastry mat. I think part of my problem is I roll my crust out too thin because I want to be sure I have enough to go in the pan and up the sides.

A side note on the Lemon Meringue pie; When we got home that night, we were lazy and didn't put the pies in the fridge. When we got up the next day, there was a pretty good bite out of the coconut cream and ALL of the meringue was eaten off of the lemon pie. ALL. Gaby is having issues with boundaries and where she is and ISN'T allowed. She LOVES to get on the kitchen cupboards. She also apparently loves meringue. And pizza. And just about anything else we leave out for more then 2 seconds.

My 3rd pie was best one. The sides can't collapse when there is stuff in the pie and the bottom crust is pinched to the top crust. ;) I was going to do a mixed berry pie, but in all my excitement of showing off, I found a recipe for a Cranberry-Cherry Nut Pie. Josh loves Cranberries, so I decided to try this pie instead. It was so YUMMY!

I love the holiday punch that is always a part of Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinner, but I've worked so hard on my diet, I was worried about how much sugar was in the drink. So I decided to bring my own drink this year, but make enough to share. I made Cherry Limeade from Better Than Burgers. I shouldn't brag, but at the end of the night my drink was completely gone.

The feast.

And my diet? I LOST weight that day! I was so proud of my self control. I only took a little bit of each dish I wanted to try and even then, I only had half of the dishes that were offered. Then I went for an hour long walk after dinner.
Later that evening an engagement was announced! Josh's little brother Dallon is getting married in the spring. We love Natalie and are so excited to have her as a permanent member of the family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Kits

Last night, I got together with Randi & Jessica and we put together our Thanksgiving kits from the Idea Closet. We usually go to Jessica's house, but Randi had some leftover soup from her Pampered Chef party, so we went to Randi's house this time. The soup was delish and the company was the greatest. I love hanging with these gals.

This year the Idea Closet offered an updated version of the turkey. Jessica & I did the turkey last year, but we loved the Gobble Gobble block the new one sat on, so we ordered just that block.

All three of us did the subway art. 

This was my favorite kit to put together. I exchanged the paper for some of my own and love how it turned out. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pie Baking Class Night 2

I LOVED the pic making class. I feel so much better about making pies then I ever have before. Which has Josh pretty happy, now he thinks I should make pies all the time. He took the apple pie with him yesterday when he went back to work. He said they loved it and even licked the pie plate clean.

Last night, we had to choose to make a creme pie (banana or coconut) or a berry pie. I decided to make both so I could get that much more practice in. It was a busy night for me, but I'm glad I went with both pies.

My first pie crust didn't turn out as good, but it was still good. Here's a picture of it baking in the oven. The teachers use the beans to help hold your crust down. I think its a good idea, but I probably won't do it on my own. Its an extra step that I don't want to hassle with. (Truth be know, I don't have any beans and even though they are cheap, I don't want to buy any.)

While my first crust was baking, I assembled my berry pie. I had a deep pie dish, so I used 2 bags of raspberries and one bag of blackberries. I forgot to take a picture of the filling, so I folded back my top crust for a quick picture. It looked so good and it hadn't even baked yet. 

My berry pie going into the oven. After about 30 minutes, we put tinfoil around the edges and let it bake a little longer.

My coconut cream pie all finished. I was the only one to make it, every one else made banana cream. That made for a slight misunderstanding while I was trying to make my filling. I had to add my cornstarch at a different time then every one else, but we missed it. We couldn't figure out why my pudding wasn't thickening. Finally, Jessica and I reread the directions and figured out I was supposed to add my cornstarch when my mixture started to boil (which had been quite a while before). After we figured it out, my pudding thickened up quickly. 

We had made a big patch of apple pie filling the night before, but didn't have a way to take it home. So last night, they divided it all up in little baggies. Now I have no excuse to not make another pie. 

My berry pie as it came out of the oven. I think only one other person made a berry pie, but theirs was about 45 minutes behind mine so wasn't close to being done. The class thought I should cut into mine and share. But if you know me, Savannah doesn't share well with people, at least people she doesn't know well. 

I have to take a pot luck to a scrapbooking workshop on Saturday. So I think I'll save my pies until then and take them with me. And I'll make sure I get the first slice of each. ;) I can't wait to try them.

I had so much fun taking these classes with Jessica. The teachers were talking about maybe offering a candy making class around Christmas. I hope they do so I can take it too.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pie Baking Class Night 1

This week, Jessica and I are taking a pie baking class. This is the class I was most excited about. A few years ago, I tried to make a pie. BIG FAIL. Which resulted in a BIG meltdown on my part. I can't hold myself together when something falls apart in my kitchen. After that, I vowed off pies, unless they came in a box with Marie Callender on it.

Last night was so much fun. And by the end of the night, I had a pie that I had made all by myself. I was so proud.

Rolling out the bottom crust.

Putting it in the pan. Most of the class did it by lining up the wax paper and then peeling it off, but I followed Jessica and rolled my dough up on my rolling pin and then rolled it out in the pan. 

I had to buy a pie plate last minute before the class. I was the only one there with a deep dish. But I was only able to fill it with the same amount as everyone else so there would be enough apple pie filling to go around. 

Rolling out the top crust.

When we pinched the edges, I again chose to just follow Jessica's example. Every one's looked the same and I'm not entirely sure how we did it differently, but this way worked so I'll keep doing it. 

We each cut a different design in our pies. I went for kind of a sunburst effect. 

My pie is the back right one and Jessica's is the back left one. 

I love how my pie turned out. I wanted to dig in right then. But I decided to send this one to work with Josh and then keep one of the pies I'll be making in tonight's class. 

Our class with the teachers on the back row. They were the same teachers that taught the bread class. The teacher behind Jessica has won several awards for her pie making skills in local fairs, etc.

Both of our pies turned out great. But of course the best part was being able to take this class with my best friend.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dinner with my family

Around Father's Day, I talked about getting together with all my siblings and having dinner with our dad. But we couldn't all find a day that would work, and it eventually got forgotten. Then a few weeks ago, I decided to try again. We were finally able to get together on Sunday at my house for dinner.

I forgot to take pictures of the food, because I was distracted by this cutie, wearing his super cute outfit I bought him.

And this cutie. He actually came in a different shirt, but got it dirty during dinner. Vanessa was just going to leave him in the dirty one, until I told her I had a new shirt for him. I had also bought a car seat cover for Daxsen.

Our menu included
Marinated Meat (my dad's favorite)
Mashed Potatoes
Twice Baked Cauliflower
Blackberry Limeade
Frozen Pink Lemonade Pie

I guess I didn't make enough because everyone ones plates were licked clean and there was no food left in the serving containers except Jello, which I sent home with Valex.

Gaby is such a wild thing, but she seemed to like Alden. I couldn't believe it when I saw him holding her and she wasn't biting him. I wish she would be that calm for me.

Valex would put his hand on the chair and she would pat it. He thought that was great fun.

Secretary Day

Each year my company is great to give us a small thank you gift on Administrative Professionals Day. (I still call it Secretary Day though. I wanted to be a secretary while growing up, not an administrative professional.) This year they gave us a gift certificate to use at a local boutique store. I just loved how the store made it so cute.

Even though I received this in the spring, I am just finally used it this weekend. When we went to Swiss Days, Jessica bought some wrapping paper. I wanted to buy some too, but didn't. Ever since then, I have regretted it. I was so excited to see the store I had my gift certificate for had some. I didn't even have to look around at the other stuff, I knew that was how I wanted to spend my gift certificate. I bought a Christmas one and then a neutral one to use for birthdays. I can use blue ribbon to make it boyish or pink to make it girlish. These rolls are thick, so they should last me for a long time.

Gaby being a pill. She kept swiping at my feet each time I walked by this bag that was on the floor.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bread Cooking Class Night 2

I thought last nights class was a little more fun. We started by making a dough recipe that can be turned into dinner rolls or cinnamon buns. After mixing the dough, we split it in half so we could make both. First we make our rolls, so they would have time to rise.

Then we started on our cinnamon buns. I had never made those before, so I was excited to learn something new. We punched our dough out into a rectangle. Then we spread it with butter and sprinkled it with sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon powder. 

Then we rolled it up and cut it into the rolls. 

While our rolls baked and our cinnamon rolls raised, we went over some other recipes that I am excited to try. Then our rolls came out and we lightly brushed them with butter. 

The teacher already had the frosting made, so as soon as our cinnamon rolls came out, we brushed them with frosting. Everything looked so good!

Jessica and I each made 10 rolls and 10 cinnamon rolls, so we ended up with 20 of each. I love how its all from one recipe. I can get up in the morning and match a batch of dough. Then turn half into cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then turn the rest into dinner rolls for that evening. 

A group picture of our class, with our instructors on the back row.

I'm so glad I took this class. I don't know that I learned a lot, but I loved hanging out with my best friend for 2 nights. Next week we go back again to learn pies.