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  1. Friday, August 30, 2013

    Friday Show and Tell!

    How is it Friday already?!

    I have some fun things to share with you today for Show and Tell!

    so you think you can dance finals vote |

    In TV: I have no idea who I am going to vote for on SYTYCD! I know, stressful stuff. Also, Nate and I finally got caught up on Dexter.

    In Music: I am getting back in the groove of adding songs to Kitchen Tunage. Vacation is over, time to get serious about my kitchen playlist!

    On Babble: I put together a post with 7 yummy snacks your kids won’t trade away. (There are some good ones in there!)

    Make a comment, get a vaccine for a child in need: My friend Kristen wrote a post on her blog as part of Blogust in support of Shot at Life. The post is beautifully written and if you make a comment, a child in need will get a vaccine! Hop to it!

    Lastly, I made Magic Peanut Butter Middles last night. These cookies require a little love and effort, but they are totally worth it. Definitely a good recipe to revisit!

    I’ll be here on Sunday with my weekly menu, but I still wish you all a happy holiday weekend! And, as usual, please share with us – anything you want! It’s Show and Tell!


  2. Thursday, August 29, 2013

    Liege Belgian Waffles

    When I was in Salt Lake a few years ago, I met up with some friends at Bruges Waffles & Frites. It was the first time I had eaten a Liege Belgian waffle and I instantly fell in love. The sweetness and the texture come together to create waffle magic. (P.S. Bruges’ fries are amazing, too! Here is my post about our visit to Bruges if you’re interested.)

    Liege Belgian Waffles |

    Not too long after that, my Aunt Sue posted a recipe for Liege waffles on our family Facebook page. I’ve had that recipe tucked away for two years waiting for the moment I finally got around to purchasing Belgian pearl sugar so I could make the waffles.

    pearl sugar |

    That still hasn’t happened, BUT…when we moved away from Menlo Park earlier this year, our Swedish friends the Montags gave us a box of Swedish pearl sugar as a going away gift. They know how obsessed I am with bulle and Swedish pearl sugar is what you traditionally top the bread with. It was such a great gift, they know me too well!

    Swedish pearl sugar |

    Anyway, Swedish pearl sugar is smaller than Belgian pearl sugar, but I decided it was close enough and finally gave the waffle recipe a try.

    Liege Belgian Waffles |

    These waffles are a dream, best eaten at brunch or even as dessert. They are CRAZY sweet. As Sue points out in the recipe, you sort of feel like you had sugar shot straight into your veins! But in a good way, of course.

    I highly recommend this recipe and Liege waffles in general. Such a delectable treat! And, yes, cleaning your waffle iron afterwards is a big pain, but it’s worth it!

    Liege Belgian Waffles
    Recipe type: Breakfast
    • 2 C flour
    • 1 C Belgian pearl sugar*
    • 1 C melted butter
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 package yeast (2 T)
    • ⅓ C lukewarm water
    • 1½ T granulated sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)
    • ⅛ t salt
    1. Mix yeast, 1½ T sugar and salt into the lukewarm water. Let yeast dissolve and sit for 15 minutes (it should get foamy). In the meantime, melt the butter.
    2. Put flour in a large bowl. Make a hole in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture. Whisk together the eggs and melted butter and add to the flour as well. Knead until you get a nice, even dough. Let it rest and rise until dough doubles.
    3. Gently mix in the pearl sugar.
    4. Let dough rest for another 15 minutes. Preheat Belgian waffle iron.
    5. Place waffle dough into the waffle maker (see Sue’s notes below for a tip on this part) and bake for 3-5 minutes. Because the sugar was mixed into the dough later in the process, it will melt and caramelize and give you that special Liege waffle taste. Be careful when removing waffles from the iron as the sugar can be hot and sticky. Place on a cooling rack so the waffles can crisp up.
    Sue's notes: I can’t find the original website to credit the brilliant person who wrote this recipe. Also, you need to think of the batter as a ball, almost like picking up a blob and being able to chuck it at someone across the room. It does not pour AT ALL! You will press the iron down over the dough to flatten it out to bake. Also, when the waffles are cooked, they will need to be prodded out of the waffle iron. They seem kind of floppy when first baked. Place them on a cooling rack and as they cool a bit, they become crispy as the caramelized sugar needs to cool to get hard. They are crispy and amazingly delicious. I could only eat a quarter of a waffle without feeling like I had literally shot sugar straight into my veins. BEWARE OF SUGAR SHOCK! P.S. I only use the Waring Pro Waffle Baker that you flip once you place the batter in the baker.

    Jane's note: I don't have a fancy Waring Pro Belgian waffle iron. Mine is a simple iron, but it IS a Belgian maker - you want the thicker waffle plates for this recipe.

    liege waffle dough |

    *Here is a website where you can Belgian pearl sugar straight from a town called Tienen in Belgium. You can also get Belgian pearl sugar on Amazon. Sue has also used turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) and says you get a similar effect. Liege waffle purists don’t even like using the Swedish pearl sugar, but you can do whatever you want as far as I’m concerned! 😉

    Liege Belgian Waffles |

    Liege Belgian Waffles |

    Liege Belgian Waffles |

  3. I Forgot to Show Off My Spoon!

    I can’t believe I forgot to post photos of my beautiful pewter spoon that I told you about yesterday! Especially since I declared my undying love for it.

    Here it is, my Round Bowl Spoon.

    gibson pewter round bowl spoon |

    Isn’t she purty?

    gibson pewter round bowl spoon |

    gibson pewter round bowl spoon |

    A little extra info about the spoon from Jon Gibson: The Round Bowl Spoon, also known as a “Puritan Spoon” for its simple design, is a reproduction of an early 18th century Dutch style that was made in N.Y.C. circa 1700.

  4. Wednesday, August 28, 2013

    A Visit to Gibson Pewter in New Hampshire

    One of the many lovely spots in the northeast that we visited this summer was Hillsborough Center, NH. This quaint hilltop village is not far from where Nate grew up and seriously feels like a movie set. In fact, my sister-in-law Jess and I were convinced that all the residents had been abducted by ghosts or aliens, leaving the village quiet and pristine with nary a soul to be seen! It was almost creepy how perfect it was. The homes and buildings are original to the 18th-century and are beautifully kept, including a church, a one-room schoolhouse and a cemetery. Of course I had to wander about the cemetery and we even found a grave for a Revolutionary War veteran. It doesn’t get much more Colonial New England than that! I read the historical marker in town, which gave a lot more info on the area. I should have taken a photo of the plaque because I can’t find that info online and of course I don’t remember it! I do know that it said descendants of the original settlers still live in town.

    hillsborough center nh gravestones |

    hillsborough center nh cemetery |

    gibson pewter |

    Gibson Pewter is located in Hillsborough Center, so we stopped in to check out their wares. Nate’s mom said that I would love it and she was right. Jon Gibson is a second-generation pewterer and a world-class craftsman. His father opened the business in their 200-year-old barn in 1966 and ran the business seasonally. Jon now runs the business year-round and carries on the family tradition. Gibson Pewter owns many traditional patterns and creates contemporary pieces as well. I could have spent a fortune in the shop but limited myself to just one treasure, the Round Bowl Spoon, which is a reproduction of an early 18th-century Dutch-style spoon. I am completely in love with this spoon. I know, I’m crazy. I’m in love with a spoon. But it’s beautiful! (For some reason I forgot to add the photos of the spoon in this post, so click here to check it out!)

    gibson pewter barn web

    gibson pewter |

    The store and Jon’s pewter workshop are located in the basement of the barn and are tiny. Jon said that he keeps nice and warm in the wintertime and didn’t complain at all about the heat of the summer. He is certainly dedicated to the craft!

    jon gibson from gibson pewter |

    It was so interesting chatting with a craftsman of Jon’s caliber and imagining what it would be like to have a job like his. I am so happy we visited and look forward to heading back there again!

  5. Sunday, August 25, 2013

    Week 344 Menu

    Our realtor sent us a box of goodies from Stonewall Kitchen and we cracked open a few of the items this weekend, including the Wild Maine Blueberry Jam. SO GOOD. (Also, since we’re talking Stonewall Kitchen, their salt & pepper crackers are the greatest crackers on earth and totally worth $7 a box. I know, sounds crazy, but it’s true.)

    stonewall kitchen maine blueberry jam |

    School starts this week! I think traveling for the last month has kept us busy enough that I’m actually not ready for summer to be over yet. But I am excited for the girls to go to their new school. Should be a fun week!

    – Lasagna

    – Tacos

    Grammy’s Orange Chicken
    – Rice and Veggie

    – Leftovers

    Homemade Pizza

    – Eat out

    – Hamburgers
    – Corn on the cob and fresh fruit

    You know the drill! Please share your menus for the week – plain or fancy! 

  6. Friday, August 23, 2013

    Friday Show & Tell!

    It’s Friday? And Friday is almost over already? This week has flown by and I’m still not caught up from vacation. I also cannot believe my kids start school next week and that Anna will be in Kindergarten. Where does the time go?

    Time for show and tell this week!

    I made my friend Kristen’s Summer Harvest Salad last night and it was awesome. So simple to prepare and sooooo tasty. It’s a salad made up of ingredients that you normally eat first in other salads because they are so good!

    top 8 sytycd

    I finally voted on SYTYCD this week and I switched from Team Hank to Team Walt.

    20 heavenly hazelnut recipes

    On Babble, I assembled a collection of 20 truly heavenly hazelnut recipes (ranging from sweet to savory), 10 Mexican breakfast ideas you can use this weekend, and I pulled together a piece about how to choose healthy protein bars (reading food labels can be such a bear!).

    As always, please share anything you like! A link to a blog post of your own, something you found on Pinterest, who you voted for on SYTYCD, anything at all!

    Happy Weekend!


  7. Thursday, August 22, 2013

    Chocolate Cake Doughnuts (Almost) Like Dunford Used To Make

    I don’t normally “celebrate” National Doughnut Day because, well, it’s sort of silly, right? BUT…this past June 7 I kept seeing Facebook status updates and Instagram photos of people eating lots and lots of doughnuts and, wouldn’t you know it, I found myself wanting doughnuts! The house we were living in at the time was nowhere near a decent doughnut shop, plus dragging all the kids in and out of the car seemed like too much work. So, I hit the computer and started looking for recipes.

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    You need to know two other things leading up to today’s recipe.

    1) Dan’s grocery stores in Utah used to carry Dunford’s Chocolate Cake Donuts. The latest I heard is that Dan’s no longer carries the donuts and that they are impossible to find (Update: Harmon’s apparently sells them and the Dunford’s in South Jordan is still around). Dunford’s were the greatest chocolate cake donuts of all time. I have never had a chocolate cake donut that compares. I am on a constant quest to find a Dunford’s replacement and I am constantly disappointed.

    2) A doughnut is not a doughnut if it is not fried. Yes, there are a lot of good recipes for “baked doughnuts” out there but, if you ask me, they’re basically muffins in a doughnut shape. They aren’t really  doughnuts.

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    With these two thoughts in mind, I decided that since I can’t buy Dunford’s donuts I was going to have to make them. I read through a lot of recipes and finally decided to use a Chocolate Cake Doughnut recipe from Sunset Magazine.

    I made a few batches and the final final product was MIGHTY FINE. Still no Dunford’s, but close! And they were better than any other store-bought chocolate cake doughnuts I’ve had, so this recipe was a winner!

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    Chocolate Cake Doughnuts (Almost) Like Dunford Used To Make
    From Sunset Magazine, but I changed a few things up based on my experience with the recipe
    • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1½ cups sugar
    • ⅓ cup buttermilk
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 6 to 8 cups vegetable oil for frying
    • Chocolate Doughnut Frosting (See recipe below)
    1. In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, and melted butter to blend. Stir into dry ingredients until well blended. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
    2. Scrape dough onto a generously floured surface.
    3. If you have a doughnut cutter: With floured hands, pat dough out to about ½ inch thick. With a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts. Pat together scraps of dough and cut again.
    4. If you do not have a doughnut cutter, this is what I did and it worked wonderfully: Roll dough out into a rectangle that is about 5 inches wide and ½-inch thick. Cut into strips about 1 inch wide (so you end up with pieces 1”³ wide and 5”³ long). Shape the strips into circles. With a little bit of water wet the ends with your fingertips and then seal the ends. Trust me, it actually works really well and made about 16 doughnuts.
    5. Place doughnuts on a well-floured baking sheet or back on your floured surface.
    6. Add about 4 inches of oil into a 5- to 6-quart pan; heat to 375° (I have an instant read thermometer that I use throughout the entire cooking process – it’s important!). Place one doughnut at a time onto a wide spatula and gently slide into oil, frying three at a time. Cook, turning once, until puffy and cooked through. The original recipe says to cook 3 to 4 minutes total, but that was WAY too long. I cooked each donut 1 minute per side and that was perfect – cooked through completely but also not burned or dried out. With a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Test temperature of oil, reheat to 375 if needed. Repeat process to fry remaining doughnuts.
    7. Let cool on a wire rack. Dip top half of each doughnut in the chocolate frosting and place back on wire rack to set for about 5 minutes (or longer).
    Chocolate Doughnut Frosting
    Sunset’s recipe was more of a glaze, I changed mine to match the Dunford’s frosting more
    • 6 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
    • ½ cup whipping cream
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
    • Powdered sugar (amount TBD)
    1. In a heatproof bowl, combine semisweet chocolate, whipping cream, butter and corn syrup. Place bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar until the frosting thickens but is still of a consistency where you can dip the doughnuts into the frosting.

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |
    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    homemade chocolate cake doughnuts |

    These doughnuts come Owen Approved!

  8. Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    This Kitchen Tip Will BLOW YOUR MIND and Give You the Power to Tackle Any Plastic Wrap or Foil In Your Path

    Nate’s Aunt Linda shared today’s kitchen tip with me last week on the Cape. She saw it on Facebook recently and everyone she’s shared it with since has had the same reaction I did: “DUH! How did I not know that?!?!”

    Are you ready for this life-changing, super simple, we-all-should-already-know-this kitchen tip?

    You know how when you need to dispense aluminum foil or plastic wrap from the box you kind of have to hold the lid closed just the right amount so that you can still pull the plastic or foil without pulling out the whole roll and it’s always kind of finicky and annoying? (I think Virginia Woolf would be very proud of that amazing run-on question. 10 points for liberal arts majors!)

    trick for dispensing plastic wrap and foil |

    Okay, look at the ends of the box and you’ll notice a little spot that says something like “Press here to lock roll” or “Push tab” or something like that. Guess what? You just have to push those tabs in on both ends and that holds the roll in the box for you. VOILA! No more battling the roll! I’m thinking these tabs have probably been around FOREVER.

    How many of you already knew about these handy tabs? How many of you were just as clueless as the rest of us?

    trick for dispensing plastic wrap and foil |

    You better believe I’ve pushed all the tabs in on my boxes!

    Happy Rolling!

  9. Sunday, August 18, 2013

    Week 343 Menu

    We are home! I have been traveling with the kids since July 22 and I am wiped out! We just walked in the door and I can finally get my menu planned for the week. I’m glad I didn’t have time to plan this morning before our flight because I came home to a kitchen full of food, thanks to my wonderful friend Emily. Life is good!

    toyota highlander |

    I need to give a shout out to Toyota before we get to the menu. They graciously provided our family with a Toyota Highlander to use for our entire east coast trip. We loved the Highlander and drove it from New Jersey to New York City to Boston to New Hampshire to Cape Cod. The car drove like a dream (a little too easy to speed, but no tickets!), can fit 7 people (which came in handy while visiting family), and I loved the radio/USB/navigation system. The system worked really well with the various apps I listen to on my phone (This American Life, Spotify, etc) and I loved the touch screen. Also, we discovered on the second-to-last day of the trip that you don’t have to use the keyfob to unlock the car – if the key is nearby, you just push a little button on the handle and the car magically unlocks. Wish I had figured that out a month ago! You can also get the Highlander as a hybrid, which I think is great. Anyway, thank you, Toyota!

    Menu time!

    – Pasta and caprese salad
    – Corn on the cob

    – Omelettes
    – Fresh fruit

    Maple balsamic chicken
    – Potatoes and a salad

    – Leftovers

    – Waffles and more fresh fruit!

    – Takeout

    – TBD! I’m too tired to think right now!

    Looking forward to seeing all of your menus for the week. Please share!

  10. Friday, August 16, 2013

    Friday Show and Tell: Bacon for Dessert?

    Happy Friday! Actually, for me it’s UNhappy Friday because it’s our last day on the Cape. Back to real life in just two days!

    Okay, Show and Tell time!

    Have you heard Frank Turner’s music? We’re kind of loving it around here.

    Breaking Bad is back! I am SUPER excited for this last handful of episodes. Also, I am on Team Hank. How about you?

    bacon desserts

    I pulled together a round up of bacon desserts on Babble today. I’m still not convinced of this crazy fad, but every last one of the pictures in this collection of recipes makes me want to dive right in. Hmmmm….

    I also rounded up 10 recipes for 10 different types of fish.

    Oh, and lemongrass recipes. I really love lemongrass.

    Check out our fun Mexican-themed family night we did with Grandma Phyllis!

    And don’t miss these 10 tips I shared for staying healthy even when the busy school year starts. (I employed some of these techniques while traveling the last few weeks and we did pretty darn good!)

    PHEW. For being on vacation, I’ve been busy. I need another vacation!

    Remember, you can Show and Tell, too! Show us what you got!