Friday, November 28, 2014

Five for Friday - Thanksgiving edition

Hi everyone! I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for Five for Friday!
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was quiet as it was just my mom, sister, and I this year. My dad was working out of town and my brother is still in France. I cooked a nice meal anyways. But then again, I always like an excuse to make a good meal!

1. Hannah and I watched some TV and I made a nice breakfast. Vanilla bean scones, bacon, and coffee.

2. Then we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We have been watching every year for as long as I can remember! We usually record it and fast forward through the billion commercials. Is it just me or does it seem like there are getting to be more commercials every year? And KISS was really weird.

3. Dinner was SO good! Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dish, and my mom has an excellent recipe! I made my own breadcrumbs for the stuffing and that made it even better! I also made dinner rolls, steamed carrots, herbed roasted chicken (we didn't want a whole turkey for the three of us!). My mom made some homemade cranberry orange sauce, mashed potatoes, and Hannah made some deviled eggs. Definitely a great meal! And I like being able to have leftovers for a while!

4. Pumpkin pie! My mom cooked a sugar pie pumpkin and then pureed it and made her own pumpkin puree. Hannah then made the pie (crust and all!) and it was really good!

5. An organization in our area partners up with foster kids and senior citizens in nursing homes and puts together Christmas lists for them. So my mom, Hannah, and I sat down and went through the lists in the newspaper and picked some people to shop for. It was kind of sad seeing the Christmas lists for the senior citizens; most of them just wanted sweatshirts and socks and things like that. It's just sad to think that they actually have to ask for those things because they don't have someone to get those things for them. I have never seen any organization do anything like that before, so I thought that was a neat idea! We picked a bunch of seniors and some kids and are excited to shop for them!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Browned butter & apple zucchini bread

A couple of months ago, our neighbors brought over a bag of vegetables from their garden. The bag was full of tomatoes, peppers (all kinds, jalapeno, poblano, anaheim, red, and green.), there was also some zucchini in there. I wasn't quite sure what to do with the zucchini. The last time my mom had made zucchini bread had been when I was a kid. Zucchini just wasn't something we typically ate. So, with three ripe zucchinis sitting on the counter, I decided to make some bread. I looked through Pinterest for a recipe, but I just couldn't find anything that sounded good. So I ended up creating a recipe of my own.
Start by gathering your ingredients.
Make your browned butter.
Peel the apple, cut into slices, and remove the seeds. 
Grate the apple and zucchini.
 Whisk your dry ingredients together.
Then mix the wet ingredients.
Add your dry ingredients to your wet and stir until just combined. Then add your grated apple and zucchini.
Pour batter into a greased bread pan. I used a 9x5x2¾. 
Make your streusel topping and crumble on top of the batter.
Place in a preheated oven and bake.
Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
Once cool, slice and enjoy!

Browned butter & apple zucchini bread
1 3/4 cup flour
1   tsp. baking soda 
1   tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup browned butter
1/2 cup apple sauce
2   eggs
1   tablespoon vanilla
1-1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 medium apple (about 1 cup) grated

Streusel topping
1/4 cup browned butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1.Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.Spray a medium sized (9x5in) bread pan with cooking oil.
Make your browned butter (using 1 stick or 1/2 cup.). Pour into glass measuring cup and set aside to cool.

3.Grate about 1-1 1/2 cups zucchini. You can use a little more or less depending on how  much zucchini you have. (And I recommend using a grater with medium sized holes. Not giant ones like in the above picture.)

4.Peel, core, and slice your apple into about 6 pieces. Then grate.

5.Whisk together the first five ingredients in a small bowl. 

6.In a large bowl, stir together the sugars, 1/4 cup browned butter, apple sauce, eggs, and vanilla.

7.Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. 

8.Add the grated apple and zucchini and stir until combined. 

9.Pour the batter into the greased bread pan. Set aside

10.Make your streusel topping by using the remaining browned butter and adding the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It will be crumbly looking. 
Sprinkle the struesel on top of the bread batter.

11.Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 10-20 minutes more. It will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes up with no batter on it.
Once done, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Some Monday humor

Thought I would share some funny pictures to (hopefully) make you laugh today!

Hopefully you found at least one of these pictures funny, so then we won't feel like the above gif ;)
And last but not least, if you need some encouragement for the day!

Check out my Pinterest board for more funny pictures!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five for Friday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for Five For Friday.

1. I made a pretty awesome dinner earlier this week! I made BBQ chicken sandwiches and Kansas chopped salad. They were so good!
The only thing I did different with the croutons is I used Italian bread instead of ciabatta, and I used Italian seasoning instead of seasoned salt. I also omitted the hot sauce in the dressing and used a few different veggies in the salad. Overall, it was a great meal and everyone liked it!
2. I finally got a book I had been waiting for! It was released on November 1, but it was out of stock for a while. Then it came it stock so I quickly ordered it and then it got sent to the wrong address. So I called Amazon and they sent me a replacement, which ended up taking a couple of days to process. And then we got the snow last week which means delivery was delayed for 4 days (thanks FedEx. :/ ) And I finally got it on Monday! (I know book nerds like me will understand the struggle!)
3. I also made cookies earlier this week. Chocolate chip cookies are the best! Although chocolate chip cookie dough is pretty awesome too! ;)
4. I got my hair done this week. I went in to get a touch up on my color, but ended up with a full color. I like the way it turned out. It's pretty much the same as I had before. I also really needed a trim, so it was nice to get that done!
5. We have been watching a lot of Mork & Mindy lately. It is such a funny show! If you need a good laugh, I would definitely recommend getting it! Mork is just hilarious.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to make browned butter

Today I thought I would post a quick tutorial on how to make browned butter-or beurre noisette, which is a popular French technique. I started using browned butter this past summer in some of my baked goods. I have used it in bread, muffins and cookies. I haven't tried it in any cooking recipes, but I will definitely be giving it a try soon! It gives off a rich, kind of nutty flavor. So good! It's pretty easy to make and I don't think you will be disappointed! So give it a try next time you bake something!
 Start out by putting your butter (I used 1 stick or 1/2 cup because that is what my recipe called for.) in a skillet on medium-high heat. Some say to slice the butter so it melts faster, but that isn't necessary.
 Keep an eye on it as it melts.
 Give the pan a quick stir.
 Now that it's melted, you need to keep stirring it as it cooks. You do NOT want it to burn!
 It will start to bubble up. Just keep stirring!
 You should notice it starting to turn a light tan/brownish color. It will also give off a nutty smell. Once the bubbles start to subside, turn off your burner and remove the skillet from the heat.
Your butter should look like this now. Those little browned bits in the bottom of the pan? Those are the toasted milk solids.
Now pour the butter into a bowl or dish or whatever. You don't want to leave it in the pan because it will continue cooking and you don't want it to burn! 

Let the butter cool before adding to your recipe. 
Next week I will be posting a recipe using browned butter!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Snowy weekend

Thursday morning I woke up to find it had started snowing! They had been saying on the news we were supposed to get some snow, but, let's be honest, the weather people here are almost always wrong. So I wasn't expecting any snow at all. Thankfully they were right! My family all like the snow, so we were quite excited. The forecast said to expect only about 1-4 inches, but we ended up with 8!
I'm hoping the snow will stick around for a while! It's been pretty chilly here, it was 0*F Sunday morning! And the high has only been about 21*F. I don't know if this is a sign of a more snow to come, or if this will be it, but I am going to enjoy the snow while it lasts!

Friday, November 14, 2014

San Francisco Part 3

This was (sadly) our last day in San Francisco and also the day we would be driving ourselves into the city. 

We were a little excited to drive across the Oakland Bay Bridge, although we weren't quite sure how the toll was going to work. We were surprised that they still had toll booths. The fee was $10 as we were waiting, and then the time changed  and the fee dropped to $8. Quite an expensive trip across the bridge! But anyways, we drove through the city toward the Golden Gate Bridge. We were both pretty excited to see it. Michael and I really liked driving through San Francisco and checking out the pretty scenery. We parked at the Presidio and headed over to the bridge! It was overcast and foggy (which was fine, I think the fog added some character!). 

It was so neat to finally see the Golden Gate bridge in person! 
We walked around for a while and took tons of pictures. Once we had visited the gift shop, we drove down to the Palace of Fine Arts. (Which in the above picture is that gold dome in the middle right side of the frame.)
The Palace of Fine Arts was really pretty. Michael and I wished we would have had more time to walk around there. Definitely somewhere I would recommend going if you are ever in San Francisco!

Overall, Michael and I had a great time while in San Francisco. We both really liked the city and want to visit again someday. There are still SO many things we want to do there! There were a couple of things we wanted to do but didn't have time to (like go by the Full House house, the mission district, and Alcatraz.) I don't think you could ever run out of things to do. So, if you ever get the chance, definitely visit San Francisco!