Friday, February 29, 2008

Rhubarb assistance needed.

The hubs most favorite pie is strawberry rhubarb from Julian Pie Company. But for some reason, I’m not such a fan. I prefer Dutch Apple or Cherry if I am going for a fruit pie. ::shrugs:: Does anyone have a rhubarb recipe I could try that maybe we both would love? I’m open to pretty much any baked item with strawberry (or any berries) and rhubarb. Hit me with your recipes, please!

UPDATE---- Rhubarb looks like this:

Strawberry Rhubarb pie looks like this:

Thanks for any and all help!

Foodie Blogroll.

See that little apple on my page? It's down a bit on the right... Got it? Good - in that little box, you'll find a good list of amazing foodies with blogs to read and drool over. If you found me through the foodie blogroll, please give me a "hollla" here and if not, take a minute to check out my fellow foodies. Feel free to join so you can make all kinds of new foodie friends. You know you want to!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tagged in another dimension!!

OK, so I wasn't really tagged in another dimension but I was tagged by someone who reads my blog (that's the point right?) and who happens to live in NEW ZEALAND! Hello!! I can't believe anyone besides my mom is reading this blog, much less people in countries that are on the OTHER HALF OF THE EARTH. Wow! Needless to say, I am most def doing this tag by Tammy who makes amazing Wee Treats. Seriously, I'm a huge fan of her blog and am so glad she tagged me. Hurray!

A tag is a questionnaire that helps your readers know a little bit more about you. I've answered these questions before so I am thinking of new answers. So, here goes:

What were you doing 10 years ago? In February of 1998, I was living a very minimalistic life. I had no TV and worked three jobs. I also went to bed really early. It was a simple time but I needed that to find some focus.

What were you doing 1 year ago? I was applying for a new job which I got and love!

Five snacks you enjoy:
Since I've answered this one before I will say what five things I do NOT like to eat.
1. Shellfish. Yes, I love to eat fish. Nope, I'm not Jewish.
2. Coconut or coconut related items.
3. Pineapple on pizza. (this is just wrong)
4. Chick patties, also known as fake chicken patties. They smell really gross to me though the hubs loves them.
5. Tapioca pudding. It's a texture thing. Ew.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
I've already answered this one so I chose new, yet true, answers.
1. Keep it a secret.
2. Get a maid.
3. Buy all the fancy jeans I want (at least 3 pairs).
4. Upgrade to the fancy hair salon my friend goes to. Her hair always look SO fab.
5. Buy something nice for hubs.

Five Bad Habits:
1. I never make the bed unless I know someone other than myself and hubs will see it.
2. Leave lights on (working on this).
3. Let my gas tank get down to E before filling up.
4. Drink diet soda.
5. When I get change from purchases, I just shove the cash in my purse instead of taking time to put it in my wallet neatly. I do it later, but never at that time.

Five things you like doing:
1. Singing along to the radio.
2. Drinking hot tea in the morning.
3. Making a big breakfast on the weekend.
4. Typing out online blog comments for our local newspaper and then closing the window before posting. It makes me feel better to type out what I want to say to the morons that post there but since I work for a city, I don't post it.
5. Shopping - all kinds.

Five things you would never wear again.
I'm going to say what my five fave things to wear:
1. My newish red patent leather wedges.
2. Skirts (though I don't do it much)
3. Flip flops
4. Jeans that make my backyard look awesome
5. a smile :D

Thanks for tagging, Tammy! I'm not going to tag anyone right now. But, I reserve the right to tag at a later date. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Long week!

I am very fortunate to work a 9/80 schedule. That means I work 80 hours in 9 workdays, rather than 10. It means a slightly longer workday with the benefit of every other Friday off. This week is a 5 day week and it feels a little like 15. I've had several lengthy meetings this week and while sometimes I find meetings energizing, they've been a bit draining this week. Also, we have a big event at work on Monday in which I am involved and there have been several last minute things pop up to take care of, nothing major (like a ruined wedding dress 3 weeks before a wedding) but still slightly pesky.

While I'm talking about work....why do people hate Mondays? I personally think that Tuesday is a much worse day to deal with. Besides Tuesdays with Dorie, my favorite blog event, Tuesdays have pretty much nothing awesome to offer me. I'm not as refreshed and rested as I was on Monday, I probably have a frillion things to do, and I'm not even to hump day yet! The next time someone is cranky, I'm going to ask them if they have a case of the Tuesdays. Seriously, the terrible Tuesdays. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

But today is Wednesday and I like Wednesday. It's a nice friendly day. It has a name, Hump Day. I love most anything with its own clever name (double entrendre not required though definitely appreciated). I think Wednesday deserves a song. Monday has one and Friday has many. I think I'll put "Write a song about Weds" on my to-do list. Too bad I have zero musical skills.

Thursday is a day really after my heart. Sometimes, it's my "Friday", sometimes it's not. I usually have meetings on Thursday mornings but I like them. They are usually challenging and informative so that's good. Besides, Thursday night is awesome TV night. I get to watch the Office, My Name is Earl, Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, and others. Pretty much every prime time show I like airs on Thursday, except PR which is a Wednesday night staple (must use that as fuel for my song) Of course, I never have time to watch all these shows on Thursday but thank goodness for modern technology so I can record them and watch at my leisure.

Oh, how I love Fridays! The Fridays that I work are shorter, 8 instead of 9 hours and I get to dress down a bit. The days I don't work, I get to sleep in and run all the errands I don't have time to do during the week. I get a haircut or do whatever. Love it. But, I won't say much else about Fridays. It's all been said before and well I really want a snack right now.

Have a happy hump day, ya'll!.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New look!

I'm in love with my new layout. Mucho thanks to Jess at Cuppycake Designs for the orangey deliciousness that is my blog. What do you think, dear reader?

TWD - Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits

This week's TWD recipe made me feel right at home for me as I am a huge fan of all things biscuity. Growing up in Texas, homemade biscuits were something to savor. And, I love all things nutty so I was excited for this week's challenge.

Ashley of eat me, delicious chose this week. Man, how much did I love these biscuits! So very good. Mine weren't as tall as I expected them to be but I think I may have overworked the dough a bit. Also, I cooked them a bit too long but they still tasted amazingly good. I can only describe it as nutty with a side of sweet. Next time, I may add a bit of cinnamon as cinnamon makes all things better but these biscuits were great as is. I will definitely make these again!

Tuesdays with Dorie now has over 50 members - can you believe it? Check out the other fab bakers at Tuesdays With Dorie to see what these Doristas did to these biscuits. I'm so inspired! :)

PS The hubs loved them, too!

PPS None of my pictures took. I'm not sure what I did wrong! :'(

Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits (Makes about 12 biscuits)
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/2 cup cold sour cream
1/4 cold whole milk
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, preferably toasted

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Get out a sharp 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour(s), baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between-- and that's just right.

Stir the sour cream and milk together and pour over the dry ingredients. Grab a fork and gently toss and turn the ingredients together until you've got a nice soft dough. Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick gentle kneading-- 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together. Toss in the pecans and knead 2 to 3 times to incorporate them.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour, pat the dough out with your hands or toll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high. Don't worry if the dough isn't completely even-- a quick, light touch is more important than accuracy.

Use the biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of the first round. By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, working with them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet. (The biscuits ca be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months.

Bake without defrosting-- just add a couple more minutes to the oven time.)Bake the biscuits for 14-18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown. Transfer them to a serving basket.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Belated Update - Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

A week ago or so, when my ILs were here, I made some of the famous snickerdoodle cupcakes to take to work for a friend's birthday. I was in a super rush to get them done as I had online class and then a soccer game for hubs so I wasn't paying much attention. Now, the snickerdoodle recipe is really easy. I mean, really easy. The base is a cake mix and you just add a few extra ingredients and BAM! tasty cinnamonny goodness. Easy, right??

So, I had mixed up all the cupcakes and put them in the oven when my MIL said, "can I taste the batter?" I told her to go for it and she got in a good lick's worth. "Mmm, minty!", she said. "Minty?", I asked, confused. Then it hits me! I have put peppermint extract in the cuppys rather than vanillla. Totally gross!

So, I figure I'll let them bake up and go for round two after I finish all my other stuff. So, after class and the game, I made a second batch using a yellow mix instead of white (I'd used my last white on the minty batch) and made them mini cuppys since I had no more regular sized liners.

Overall, the cupcakes turned out amazing! I loved the mini size and I think the yellow mix tasted even better than the white version I've tasted before. The ones I took to work were gone before 10:30 am and several people asked me for the recipe. :)

See, you really do learn from your mistakes!

Recipe from CB, my changes in bold. No photos - I was too tired.

For cupcakes
1 package plain white cake mix (I used yellow)
1 cup whole milk
1 stick of butter, melted
3 large eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For frosting
1 stick butter
3 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
3-4 Tablespoons milk1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

To make cupcakes Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake tin.
Place cake mix, milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend for three minutes (stop to scrape once).Pour into pans and bake for 22-25 minutes (I baked 40 minis for 12 minutes). Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting
Beat butter until fluffy for frosting. Add all other ingredients.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Need a photog in SD?

A pal of mine is now sharing her fab photog skills with the masses. Check her out at

Turkey Meatloaf & Mashed 'Taters

One of the favorites in our house is Turkey Meatloaf. I got the recipe from a friend at work who does not eat red meat. I mentioned how much I love meatloaf and she gave me this recipe. I love that it's a handful of this, a handful of that and it turns out yummy everytime!

Turkey Meatloaf
Recipe by Julie, (all amounts approximate as I just do the recipe as I remember her telling me)

1 pound ground turkey
2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1/3 small bag of shredded carrots, chopped fine
1/2 a medium onion, chopped fine
1 or 2 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped fine
1 tblspoon olive oil
1 egg
1 handful real oats (like in the canister). Use one handfull
salt & pepper to taste
1 small can tomato sauce

Combine the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic in a pan and add the oil. Cook the veggies until they are limp. Combine ground turkey, cooked veggies, egg, salt, pepper and oats and mix well. (I use my hands.) Pack into a loaf pan, top with tomato sauce and bake at in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. If you use a glass dish, bake at 325.

Enjoy! It's really yummy and healthy. You can add, subtract veggies and it will still be yummola!

For the mashed potatoes, I make 'em like mom. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Put the chunks in a pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes plus a little more. Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Using a mixer or hand masher, mix potatoes while adding salt, pepper, butter and milk to taste. You know how you like 'em!

Pics to come soon. Camera is charging.

Crossing fingers and toes!

I'm so excited! Today is the first playoff soccer game for the hubs and the team of HS boys he coaches. I'm so excited for them!

Think good weather and good shots today.

Go Frogs!

Update: The Frogs lost 2-0 in a well fought match. Great job to the League Champs - you'll get 'em next year!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Classnight = Leftovers & Tagged!

Tonight I had class online so the hubs and I had leftovers. Neither of us were complaining since we had AMAZING Tacos leftover from yesteday. So good, you guys! Seriously.

I also recently was tagged by two lovely ladies (BB & April) so here goes:

These are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Five facts you didn't know about Rachel!

1. My house fever hurts, real bad!
2. I have double jointed shoulders.
3. I have a freckle in my eye.
4. My secret Hollywood boyfriend is Luke Wilson (shh don't tell)
5. I keep my toenails painted at all times.

I'm not tagging anyone because I think everyone I know has been tagged.

Have a lovely evening all!

Tuesdays with Dorie - Almost Fudge Gâteau

I've been lurking on a blog called Tuesdays with Dorie for a few weeks. It's a site where a group of bakers take one recipe per week from Baking by Dorie Greenspan, bake it, then blog about it on Tuesdays. Totally adorable, right?

I've been patiently waiting for my book to arrive from Amazon and I seriously squeeled when it finally came. What is up with the free shipping taking so long to get here. Seriously, do they send your book 'round the world first? But, I digress.

This week's recipe was chosen by dear friend and fellow knottie, Nikki of Crazy Delicious. I've called her at least three times needing last minute cooking/baking advice so I knew whatever she chose would be excellent but also a good challenge for me.

When I flipped the book to page 218, I let out an "uh-oh" as my one and only springform pan was MIA. I'd searched the house for it recently when the mood struck me to make a cheesecake. So, after a quick Google search, I was off to Bed, Bath & Beyond for a new springform. I picked up some extra parchment, just in case, while I was there.

After a quick stop at the store for cream and chocolate, I came home and dug right in. I had already promised the hubs "Amazing Tacos" for dinner since I was off on Monday but thought I could get both done and I did! ::raising roof::

I was pretty nervous about all the double boiling and folding. I'm not exactly sure what folding is but I think it is kind of like enveloping the indrediant gently rather than just stirring it up. Surprisingly, I had no mishaps and the cake turned out AMAZING. The scariest part was flipping it over and I wish someone had taken a picture of me, with oven mitts flipping the cake with the hubs "spotting me". I called him over just for moral support but gave him his own mitts, just in case and he was so sweet to assume the position. Luckily everything turned out just fine.

This cake was sinful! Seriously. It was so rich and chocolatey. The hubs and I aren't huge chocolate fans so one small piece with a scoop of vanilla and we were good. I cut a couple pieces for the chocoholics in my office, a hunk for home (dessert tomorrow) and am sending the rest to work with hubs. His fellow teachers will luv me, I'm sure.

Overall, my first experience with TWD was a great one. I feel so proud that I baked something I can't even pronounce. Who thought this Texas lass gone west could Gâteau with the rest of 'em? I can't wait for next week!

Almost-Fudge Gâteau
5 large eggs

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup of sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons coffee or water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the Glaze (optional)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that's fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm, but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the butter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you'll think it's done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn't shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature right side up. As the cake cools, it may sink.

To Make the Optional Glaze:
First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you'll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips.

Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven – the chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.

Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don't worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake – it will just add to its charms. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you're impatient, slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a little gentle heat from a hairdryer.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What the flip?

Can someone please help me figure out why the spell check function on my blogspot doesn't work? I got bad grades in spelling growing up. I need you, spellcheck!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

New words, pain, and beef!

My new favorite word that I stole from someone else is "frillion" as in a I have a frillion things to tell you guys. (Thanks Natalie for my new favorite word.)

First, I had company from last Friday through Wednesday which was super fun. The hubs parents are really sweet and we always have fun with them.

Then, Wednesday night, I went to lift something thinking it was maybe 10 pounds when it was about a frillion. My back was not pleased and I've spent the last few days either at work crying or laying flat on my back.

I have to write in short spurts because sitting at this desk is not fun. I sooo need a lap top!

Anyway, off to finish cooking dinner (No Peek). I'll back soon with updates and lots of pics!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Hi Stranger!

I've had an extremely busy week. I miss my bloggy friends. I'll be back this weekend with mucho updates.
PS - I still haven't heard from Mr. Cuppycakes!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rise and Shine Campers...

...don't forget your booties cause it's cold out there!

It's GROUND HOG DAY! It is also my brother's birthday (hi T!) and my good friend J's birthday. Since my bro is 1500 miles away and J is only 15, I decided to make her some groundhog cupcakes.

I made mix cupcakes (gasp!) and used premade vanilla frosting (double gasp!). The hubs and I took turns frosting the cakes and sprinkling them with the oreo cookie crumbles. We both made the faces on the Snickers and then I placed them in the cakes. We used ziplocs of icing to make the final touches, adding ears, fixing eyes (where we could), etc. The result:

I am very proud of our fantastic Groundhog Cupcakes. I'm so happy we made them together! Here they are, ready to go in their cupcake carrier.

I give us an A++ and I think my friend J will love them! :)

It's all about me!

Here's the follow up post to my first 50 things about me. Since blogging is a supreme form of narcisism, I figure I'll go ahead and knock out the next 50 for my fans - all three of them. Sorry Mom, you don't count as a fan. :)

1. My favorite color is green.
2. I also like orange.
3. As a child I would eat all the green candies when offered a choice of many colors.
4. The only type of M&M I like is peanut.
5. My favorite candy is Starburst
6. I try not to eat candy.
7. I often fail.
8. I love to drink Diet Coke
9. I also like Diet Dr. Pepper
10. I’m not a fan of coffee
11. I prefer Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf to Starbucks.
12. I think they are only in CA, though.
13. I’ve lived in CA for 5 years
14. I’ve been with my current employer since then, as well.
15. I vested in my retirement system on Monday
16. Also as of Monday, I now accrue 3 weeks of vacation per year.
17. That made me do a funny dance.
18. I like to do funny dances.
19. I have naturally wavy hair.
20. I find it to be really annoying most days .
21. It takes 12 minutes to blow dry.
22. You can tell when I've overslept; that's when my hair looks wavy.
23. I snooze my alarm at least twice per day.
24. I'd snooze it 20 if I could.
25. I am not a morning person.
26. I am a night owl.
27. I love reading, especially at night.
28. I got grounded from reading as a kid.
29. I also got grounded from Punky Brewster.
30. I love 80's TV shows.
31. Even more so, I love game shows.
31. Bob Baker is my hero.
32. Pat Sajak ain't bad either.
33. I think Trebek is kind of a jerk.
34. I am really good at charades.
35. I love to play board games, too.
36. I'm cut throat at Monopoly.
37. I have a reputation for cheating at games.
38. I do NOT cheat.
39.I'm a horrible singer.
40. I still belt out songs when I get in the mood.
41. I am a car dancer.
42. I make that white person "I'm bad" face when I dance.
43. My dancing is all booty.
44. It can also involve finger "guns".
45. I am really flexible.
46. I am not athletic.
47. I've never played a sport competitively.
48. I should have been a gymnast. (see #45)
49. I'm an economic developer.
50. I'm happy.