Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Very Special Kid

I just stumbled upon the most amazing child.

I don't know if I am just a big cry baby or what but this short film about this 9 year old boy named Caine made my eyes well up with how very special he is.

I know it seems long, being 11 minutes an all, but it is so worth it to witness the magic of an imaginative child. I always thought that you can never be bored because only boring people get bored. Caine has taken that mantra to a whole new level.

I hope you enjoy this film as much as I have. Let me know if you cried too or if I'm just a big sap!! :)

P.S. My favorite part maybe how he uses calculators. Oh man what a smart boy. :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mojito Cookies!!

What? Two recipe posts in a row?? Really? Yeppers. And this next recipe is also a good one. 

So I have officially decided that I am a bad blogger because I never take pictures and then need my friends to remind me that I should blog about X, Y, or Z activity. Thanks friends for being good blogger buddies.

This weekend I decided to make amazing Mojito Cookies to bring over to the family Easter celebration. I'm sorry I didn't take very many pictures but I figured I should share the delicious recipe anyways. It was pretty easy- the most annoying part was definitely zesting the limes. Man I do not care for zesting. I am always afraid I am going to scrap all the skin off my fingers and it takes a really long time! Have I ever told you that I am not a patient person? So here is the recipe with some of my notes thrown in for good measure!

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon salt
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened but still cool
1 Cup Granulated Sugar, plus ½ cup for rolling dough
1 Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg
1½ Cups Loosely Packed Mint Leaves, washed and thoroughly dried
2 Tablespoon Lime Zest
1½ Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Line2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor, pulse one cup of granulated sugar and mint leaves until the leaves have been ground down and combined with the sugar.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

I love my mixer. You are amazing dear mixer.
Cream the butter, the mint sugar, and the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg, lime zest and vanilla; beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Place the ½ cup sugar for rolling in a shallow bowl. Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. Dip your hands in the water and shake off any excess (this will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and ensure that the sugar sticks to the dough). Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball between moistened palms, roll the ball in the sugar, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, moistening your hands as necessary and spacing the balls about 2 inches apart (you should be able to fit 12 cookies on each sheet). 

Butter the bottom of a drinking glass and then dip the bottom of the glass in the remaining sugar. Flatten the dough balls with the bottom of the glass until they are about ¾ inch thick, dipping the glass in sugar as necessary to prevent sticking (after every 2 or 3 cookies).

Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and their center are just set and very lightly colored, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. You really want to pay attention to the cookies in the oven at this point. It is crucial that they come out before they get too done. You want them to be a lovely soft sugar cookie texture. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 3 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yum. And yes this recipe makes more than two cookies. These were just the cookies I brought with me to work today. Yes, I used past tense. They no longer exist in this world. YUM.

And I even got to share them with my dear friend M!! She was in town over the weekend! She currently (do you like how I refer to your current location as temporary M?!) lives up in San Fran living an awesome life and I miss her bunches and bunches!
 I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Boyfriend and I had a lovely one- we finally had our couples massage! I found it to be kinda awkward. There were toooo many people in the room (four to be exact) while I was naked for my comfort level. But Boyfriend loved it so that's good. Happy Valentine's Day to you! :)

We also met up with some friends at this boisterous rooftop beachside bar. Oh man do I feel old sometimes. Ha!
Good weekend. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest Post Risotto!

Boy do I have a treat for you today! My friend B is going to share another one of her recipes with you! It sounds delicious and she kept telling me that is it super easy and quick to make. I love that! So without further ado- here she is!

Hey everyone! I’d like to start off by thanking E for inviting me back for another guest post; I am going to share two new fun things with you today so I hope you enjoy them!

#1 My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I got to spend it with my family and boyfriend out in Beaver Creek, Colorado, which was fabulous and fun! I love being out in the mountains, escaping the busy city life. I only checked my email once (can you believe it?) and it felt amazing!

One of my favorite gifts that I received was this purse from my boyfriend! Now I know what you are thinking, “Wow, that’s really cute! It can go from spring to summer to winter, has a nice sort of 60’s mod feel with the geometric lines and also a touch of nautical with the navy and white”  (that is what you are thinking right?). Well this bag is so much more, because form the outside it looks like just a purse, but in actuality it is a camera bag! See the inside below! It holds all my camera stuff, lens’, manual etc. and also has room for my wallet!

My boyfriend got this awesome handbag/camera bag (handcamerabag?) from Ketti Handbags ( This designer makes the bags by hand so each is slightly unique. She also only makes about 5 per week, which go on sale every Monday at 9am Pacific Time. It took my boyfriend 2 weeks to get one because you have be so quick at getting the bag into your Shopping Cart and payment in. It makes it that much more special!

#2 The second thing I am going to share with you today is my recipe for Autumn Cranberry Risotto! I like to make this on rainy, chilly days, particularly in the fall. But just the other night we had a spring chill and I felt inspired. The best part, it does not take all the time and work that regular risotto recipes do!

You will need a Deep Covered Baker for this recipe. I got one for Christmas this year and I use it ALL THE TIME! There are so many dishes you can make in it that are so fast! Rachel Ray has a great line of colored ones. I have Rachel Ray’s orange one, which matches my brightly colored kitchen.

Things you will need:
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries (I like to also add in about ¼ cup of golden raisins for flavor and color)
1 medium onion
1 cup uncooked Arborio or Risotto rice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 ¾ cup chicken stock
¾ cup dry white wine (like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)
salt and pepper
½ cup blanched slivered almonds
2 stalks of celery
3 oz cream cheese
¼ cup parsley
2 cups chicken breasts cooked and diced (I usually by a rotisserie chicken and shred 2 cups)

1. Combine cranberries (and golden raisins if you are using them) and 2 cups of hot water in a cereal sized bowl, set aside

2. Coarsely chop onion. Combine onion, rice and oil in a Deep Covered Baker, stir. Microwave UNCOVERED on high for 2-4 min. or until onion starts to appear translucent.

3. Add stock, wine, salt and pepper to Deep Covered Baker and microwave on high COVERED for 13 min. stirring halfway through.

 4. Meanwhile toast almonds in pan until brown.

5. Slice celery, cut cream cheese into cubes and drain cranberries.

6. Remove Baker from microwave and add chicken and celery. Microwave on high COVERED for 3-5 min. or until risotto appears to be creamy.

 7. Remove Baker from microwave. Add cream cheese and almonds; stir until cheese is fully incorporated. (add more cream cheese if it is not creamy/cheesy enough, who doesn’t love more cheese?)

8. Fold in cranberries and raisins, garnish with parsley (when I am making it for myself I don’t bother with the parsley, but when making for others, it adds some color).

9. Enjoy with some green beans (like I did) or a nice salad or asparagus!

Thanks B for sharing with us!! I think its nuts that you make this whole thing in the microwave! And I bet you don't even need a covered baker just a microwave safe bowl and lid! Neato!