Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day

Yes, it’s Valentine’s day. Yes, I planned a special dinner and bought my true love a couple of gifts. And yes, Mike bought me flowers. But the truth is, I never was big on Valentine’s day. I told Mike specifically to never propose to me on Valentine’s day. That it was to cliché'. Although I doubt it would have kept me from saying yes. ;-)

Valentine’s day is what we refer to around here as a “Hallmark holiday”. But in my opinion love should not be celebrated just one day a year. It’s something that should be celebrated everyday. And it doesn’t have to be though big extravagant gifts.

It’s the little things that say I love you, a text message to let someone know your thinking about them, a note stuck in your spouses lunch, a back rub, a hug, a kind word, support and encouragement, sending someone a card. I think you get the point. There are many little ways to say “I love you.”

I always tell Mike that there’s no way he couldn’t even doubt that I love him. Even if I didn’t verbally tell him every day, my actions would show it. And no matter who the person is in your life, parents, siblings, friends, your spouse. Make sure you find a way to let them know whenever you seem them or talk to them that you love them!!

Without love the world would be a depressing place…



Friday, February 11, 2011

Early Valentine’s Day Breakfast


Since Valentine’s Day is Monday I thought I’d make a special breakfast early since it’s kinda hard to do much in the morning when both of us leave by 7. I’ve noticed that if we pick up something sweet when getting latte’s at coffee houses, that Mike is partial to Cranberry Orange Scones. I figured it’d be the perfect thing to attempt to make for him!

Since he’s worked every day this week I’ve brought breakfast to him in bed every morning. I’ve actually found that our morning routine goes better if we eat in bed instead of in the kitchen anyway. And then we can watch the weather, news and traffic report to make sure there are no accidents on 81 that are going to make Mike late to work.

Since he’s working today too, we had breakfast in bed again and I’m pretty sure it was a hit! I know I thought the scone tasted really good! I had tried one yesterday strait out of the oven and in my opinion they were much better this morning and with the glaze. I don’t think I like them warm…



2 cups of flour
1 stick/1/2 cup cold butter
3 tbsp sugar
11/2 tbsp grated orange zest
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries
2 eggs
¼ cup + 3 tbsp milk

Must use the special spoons, after this was made with love!!


I love making messes, plus flour makes the dough less sticky!!


For egg wash
1 egg + 2 tbsp milk – beat together
some sugar for sprinkle

For Glaze
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon of milk
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest together. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.
3. Combine the eggs and milk and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. If the dough is too dry add a bit more milk.  Add in the dried cranberries the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.
4. Pour the dough out to a well-flour work surface. Knead lightly to form a ball. Flour your hand and rolling pin and roll out the dough to ¾” thick. (I used my hands here and sprinkled some flour on the dough because it was so sticky!)
5. Using a knife or a cookie cutter cut into desired shapes(I just cut in into 8 pieces like you would cut a pie). Place the scones on the baking pan. Collect the scraps of dough and roll it out and cut into shapes again.
6. Brush the top of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle it with a bit of sugar and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly brown and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to touch.
7. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla and drizzle over the scones.

Egg washed and sprinkled with sugar


Baked for 25 minutes, nice and golden brown


Drizzled with the glaze and waiting to be enjoyed for breakfast!!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Homemade Almond Granola Recipe

Since Mike and I both love granola(he eats it for breakfast) I’ve been playing around with making it. I’m not sure you could go wrong with any blend of oats and nuts but I ran across this recipe here and decided it was just what I was looking for. The final result tastes great!



1 ) 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats - preferably thick cut

2 ) 1 cup raw nuts, your choice of any mixture (I did a mixture of slivered almonds and whole almonds)

3 ) 1/2 cup shredded or flake coconut

4 ) 1/3 cup sunflower seeds

5 ) 3 tablespoons extra addition - such as untoasted wheat germ, high fiber cereal or flax seed or a combination

6 ) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (and/or other spices)

7 ) 1/2 cup honey

8 ) 1/2 cup maple syrup

9 ) 2 tablespoons brown sugar

10 ) 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

11 ) 2 tablespoons of water

12 ) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract

Other Mix-Ins for after the baking:

chocolate chips, raisins, other dried fruits, etc.

Stir together the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

P1010346 P1010347

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small microwavable bowl, heat gently and pour over dry ingredients in large bowl and stir well.



Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread granola mixture in a layer over the entire sheet.


Bake in the oven 15 minutes, then stir with a spatula. Bake 15 to 20 minutes more until light golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Stir a few times while cooling to break up the pieces - if you want it chunkier, don't stir it too much while cooling. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 5 cups.


Enjoy with milk as your morning cereal or use as a yogurt topping or trail mix! Yummy!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

One of my favorite things to get when we go to Panera Bread is their broccoli cheddar soup. It’s just awesome(although so it their baked potato soup) and it always hits the spot! So a few months back when I found a copy-cat recipe online I knew I HAD to try it. It was good. Pretty much just a good as Panera’s soup which made me pretty happy.

So last week I set a new goal for myself. I decided that by the time Monday’s roll around I would have a game plan for the meals we’d be eating during the week. Well, I think I pretty much failed week one. For once I did know last night what we’d be having tonight but normally I find it hard to plan much more than 2 hours in advance. Regardless tonight’s supper seemed to be a big hit and Mike yuummmmed his way though it and said I was an awesome cook. I think he may have been just deliriously tired but I was thoroughly enjoying compliments just as much as I’m enjoy him cleaning up the dinner dishes while I blog.

Have I mentioned lately that I have an AWESOME husband? Because I do!! <3

So here’s the soup recipe I’ve tweaked it a little bit but you can follow the recipe if you’d like…

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half (or just regular milk)
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I prefer to use a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and just a sprinkle of nutmeg)
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar


Sauté onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve with freshly baked rolls.

*I also put in a squirt or two of Dijon mustard.

Butter, flour, milk & chicken stock


Sautéed onions(I didn’t have a whole 1/2 cup)


Cheese, carrots and broccoli




Soup base with spices added to it


Adding all the veggies


Adding the star of the soup… cheese!!!


The delicious end result


Served with a roll, chicken breast & sparkling grape juice!!



Bon Appétit!!