Monday, July 8, 2013

Not Your Grandma's Peach Cobbler!

So, we've been buying peaches from Costco the past few weeks and they are delicious!  So juicy and perfectly ripe - yummy!  I've mostly been using them for fresh smoothies with my new Vitamix (so excited about that purchase!!) or slicing them up with a bowl of vanilla greek yogurt!  I'm going to use them to make some Peach Chiffon Pie for a pie contest at our Relief Society monthly meeting next week too!  I'll share that recipe when I've got pictures to go with it.

Last night though, I didn't just want a smoothie or peaches with yogurt.  I wanted something warm and gooey and peachy and delicious.  So, I headed to Pinterest, of course!  And there, towards the top of my feed, was exactly what I was looking for!  Butterscotch Caramel Peach Cobbler.  Yep.  I was drooling.  So, I headed over to Parsley, Sage and Sweet and  took a quick peek at the ingredients and directions and then we were off!  About an hour later, this was in my kitchen, smelling delicious and begging to be eaten.

Mmmm...I think I'll go downstairs and get some more. :)
We  had no problem obliging and dug in to bowls topped with whipped cream, or in Brent's case chocolate ice cream and whipped, love that man! :)

A few notes and then I'll get to the recipe for you.

  • This is one of those magic cake recipes.  As you assemble the layers DO NOT STIR!  Add each layer gently, not mixing at all, and as it bakes the batter will rise up to the top, creating a lovely crust.
  • I used an 8x8 glass pyrex baking dish.  It was a tad small and ended up bubbling over (hence the foil underneath the pan in the picture).  Next time, and there will be a next tiime, I'll use a 9x9 or double it and throw it in a 9x13.  If you don't have a 9x9 just put a foil lined pan underneath your baking dish to prevent a sticky mess.
  • The recipe calls for a stick of melted butter in the pan, but I thought it was too much.  Maybe it would have worked out better if my pan had been bigger, but I had about a quarter cup of melted butter puddled on the top of my cobbler when I pulled it out of the oven.  I think next time I'll just melt half a stick of butter in the pan.
  • You can use this as a base recipe for any fruit cobbler.  I think it would make an amazing apple cobbler - yumm!!  If you want to make a berry cobbler Lisa suggests, and I agree, making the simple syrup, letting it cool and then stirring the berries in right before you spoon it over the melted butter and batter, otherwise you'll end up with a jam cobbler...That's what I did here:  cooked the peaches and simple syrup, set them aside to cool while I made the batter and then stirred in the raspberries right before spooning it all on top.
Now, on to this delicious recipe!

Butterscotch Caramel Peach Cobbler

For the peach layer:
1.5 - 2lbs of fresh peaches, pealed, pitted and sliced. (about 3-4 large peaches or 3-4 cups)
3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (I think ours was light was good though!)
1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Fresh Raspberries (Optional)

For the Batter:
1 Stick or 1/2 Cup Butter, melted in baking dish
1 Cup Flour
1.5 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk (If you want a thicker crust only use 1/2 Cup)
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F
2.  Combine brown sugar, water and 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan and mix well.  Bring to a boil and simmer until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Stir in sliced peaches, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand while preparing batter.
3.  Melt the stick of butter in your baking dish.
4.  In a bowl, combine dry batter ingredients.  Slowly pour milk and vanilla in, stirring until smooth.
5.  Pour batter over melted butter, don't stir!  The butter will float to the top, but that's okay.
6.  If using berries, stir them into the syrup mixture now.  Then carefully spoon the fruit and syrup over the batter.  Again, don't stir!  Keep those three layers as separated as possible
7.  Place in the oven (I put a foil lined cookie sheet on the bottom rack in case of spillage) and bake for 40-50 minutes.  The batter rises to the top while cooking and will be golden brown when it's done.  Serve warm with whipped cream, ice cream, yogurt, whatever suits your fancy!
8.  Enjoy! :)

So, there you have it!  I hope you try this out, especially as the summer progresses and peaches become more readily available!

Keep giggling!

Once Upon a Time, I Blogged...

Like I've said before, I'm not very good at this whole blogging thing....but you can't say I didn't warn you! :D

So, what have we been up to, you ask?  Well, let me tell you!

Last time I blogged I shared a delicious recipe with you - did anyone make that ice cream?  It was seriously to die for!  The best ice cream of my life!  I can't wait until next Easter so I can buy more of those mini creme eggs and make it again! :)

Before that post though, there was a recap post leaving you hanging with what happened to our lives after our trip to Utah in October and our adventures in Seattle to see Wicked!  A lot has happened since October, and I'm not very good at blogging so nobody knows!  Okay, so chances are that if you read our blog you are family or we know you in real life and we're probably Facebook friends so you really are privy to what's going on in our lives (I really just wanted to use the word "privy"...).  And our lives are so exciting...let me tell you...*cue crickets chirping*...Okay, so yeah...we're actually kind of boring.  Anyways, enough of this rambling paragraph.  Here's what we've been up to since October (yikes!  That was forever ago...)

So, the holiday season was lovely.  We did Thanksgiving out in Port Townsend with family on my mom's side.  Delicious food and good times were had by all. :)  Christmas we stayed pretty local.  Brent's family, except for his oldest sister and her family, came over for a few days leading up to Christmas and a day or two after.  We had a full house!  People were sleeping in every room, including the laundry room/pantry!  It was crazy and fun and wonderful!  We did Christmas Eve and morning here and then we all went to go see Les Mis - which was amazing!  After Les Mis, Brent and I made the rounds to go see my family and finally came home and passed out - it was a busy day!  New Year's Eve was just a quiet night at home, watching the Space Needle Fireworks on Komo and toasting with Martinelli's Sparkling Cider. :)

I continued to work at Eddie Bauer through the holiday season and into the new year.  I quit at the beginning of February after 2.5 years back from school and almost a year before going to school.  I originally put in my 2 weeks because I thought I had another job lined up, but that fell through.  I probably could have stayed on at EB, but you know how it is when you've already mentally said goodbye to a place - I was done and a little burnt out on retail.  Since then, I haven't really been looking for a new job.  We only have one car and live almost 3 miles from the nearest bus stop, so I've just been staying home and trying to be all Suzy home-maker. ;)

On Valentine's Day, Brent interviewed for a new job in downtown Bellevue and then we headed down to Sumner for a Valentine's tea at The Secret Garden Tea Room.  I've been there several times with family and friends, but this was Brent's first time there - and I'm so glad he enjoyed it! :)  It's an old Victorian mansion turned into a tea room and gift shop and it's just lovely!  They serve full English High Tea  services, along with light teas and a lunch menu.  I highly recommend checking it out! : )

My husband is kind of a ham...and I love him, a lot. :)
About a week after Valentine's Day, we took a weekend trip down to our honeymoon spot in Gig Harbor.  It was so nice to just get away and celebrate us for a few days!  We stayed at the same place that we went to on our honeymoon, The Waterfront Inn and in the same room even (they only have a few rooms).  It's a cute little place, right on the water and down the street from Anthony's.  The only bummer was that since our honeymoon they've stopped serving breakfast. :(  We are so glad that we chose to go somewhere close and affordable on our honeymoon - it's so nice to be able to go back and not break the bank doing so!
This is the view from the door of our room - isn't it wonderful!

Night time view of the harbor.  Gig Harbor is such a cute place!
This is the back of the inn.  Our room is the bottom left of the picture.
They have kayaks available for the use of the guests, so Brent took one out for a bit.  I stayed firmly on solid ground, although he did manage to coax me out on the scary, unstable floating dock to help him get the kayak in and out of the water.
He went pretty far out into the harbor.  He had a good time out there. :)
I promise he wore a life jacket - you can see it on the dock in the lower right corner of the picture!  He took it off to make it easier to get out of the kayak.
Brent got the job that he interviewed for and started work as a valet for the Hyatt at the beginning of March.  So far, he's doing great there!  His good work ethic and responsible nature are being recognized and he may end up with a promotion soon, but nothing is for certain yet.  It's not the easiest job and the environment is definitely not as wholesome as his last job (which was working in the cafeteria at the LDS temple in Bellevue), but we have definitely felt like he was lead to this job for a reason!  What a blessing to be able to rely on the Lord to help us in all aspects of our lives! :)

Brent is still doing school through Brigham Young University Idaho's online program.  Things are going well there and and he is working so hard!  I'm so proud (in a righteous way! ;) ) of him and all his hard work as he balances almost full time work with online classes!  He's such a wonderful example to me! <3

Since about March I have been helping out Brent's older brother and his wife by watching their little girl, Edie.  I watched her for a few weeks when they were between nannies, but now I just look forward to spending most of my Fridays with our adorable niece.  She is almost 18 months and when she says "Aunt Chelle!" my heart kind of melts. :)
How adorable is she?! :)
On March 26th, Brent's sister, Julie, had a lovely baby girl!  A few weeks later their son Henry, who is 4.5, came to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house for his spring break!!  It was so fun to have him here with us and to get to play with him.  Grandma was able to be home from work Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I got some one-on-one Henry time on Tuesday and Thursday. :)  We watched Star Wars III and went and saw The Croods.  We ate at McDonald's and played in the Play Place and we bought sidewalk chalk and played Hopscotch!  Edie joined us on Friday and we all had so much fun playing together!  I just love all of our nieces and nephews so much - I'm so glad that I became an aunt when I married Brent - it is so much fun!  It kind of blows my mind though when I think about how I can love our nieces and nephews SO much....I have no idea how my heart is going to avoid exploding when we have our first child...the amount of love parents have for their children is beyond me!
My sweet Henry!  This was our Star Wars night, complete with popcorn and ice cream! :)
"Letterscotch!  I love letterscotch!" 
He told me to draw Snow White's castle.  I think it looks more like Rapunzel's castle, but it was acceptable. :)
We went and saw The Croods, which was actually a pretty good movie!  Henry had lots of fun eating popcorn and playing the race car game in the lobby. :)
On Friday, Grandma made a small fort for Henry and Edie to play in - they had so much playing together and later Henry got to eat his pizza in the fort! :)
So, that pretty much brings us up to speed!  I do have a few recipes I want to share with you, but that will have to wait until another post, because this one is getting pretty long For now, we're just hanging out at home (well, that's mostly me) and working and schooling (and that's all Brent). We do have some fun things coming up in the next couple of weeks.  My Grandma's birthday tea party that my sisters and I are putting together is this coming weekend.  Brent's oldest sister and her family fly in from Boston in about a week and a  half and they'll be here for a few weeks.  Brent finishes another semester of school at the end of this month and then we'll be moving!  Not very many people know about that though, so...SURPRISE!!! :D  We're going to try not to make a habit out of moving ever summer, but so far we're 2 for 2.  This next move should last us a while though.  Brent's parents have bought a second house about a mile away as an investment property - and they want us to be their first renters!  It has been absolutely wonderful living here with them (we all get along great!), but it will be so nice to have our own space again!  We plan on being there for the next 3-5 years and it definitely gives us some room to expand our family (this is NOT an announcement, just so you know!) since it has 4 bedrooms.  It also gives some extra rooms for when all of Brent's family comes for sleepovers - yeah!!  Party at Uncle Brent and Aunt Chelle's house!!!  Haha!  We'll post more pictures once we get the keys, which should be in a few weeks!! :)  Until then, here's a picture of the front of the house. :)
Soon to be Home Sweet Home! :)
Well, my dears, I think that's about all for this post!  I'll try and blog again soon!  Until then...

Keep giggling!
 <3 Michelle

Saturday, March 30, 2013

An Egg-stra Special Treat! :)

Oh my goodness!  Thanks to Culinary Concoctions by Peabody (who just happens to be a fellow Western Washingtonian!), and courtesty of Pinterest, I have found the most amazing ice cream recipe!  Ever!

Cadbury Creme Egg Ice Cream!

Yep.  You read that right.  Cadbury Creme Egg Ice Cream!  Can I get an amen?!

You have to try this stuff!  It's Easter candy based, so you kind of have to make it now.  I totally understand though if you're done with the stores for today, but go Monday and buy some discount Cadbury Creme Eggs and then plan this baby into your life! :)

I made this today.  It's in the freezer right now setting up (or "ripening" as the ice cream maker manual says...weird...).  I can't wait until Brent gets home from work tonight so we can scoop some up and snuggle on the couch!  Of course, I did have to test it before I put it in the freezer.  I mean, what kind of cook would I be if I just tossed it in there, right?  Let me tell you, even in runny soft serve form, this stuff is amazing!  It is probably the smoothest ice cream I have ever tasted, especially as far as home-made ice creams go.  I really hope that carries through to the finished product!

Just a heads up, you will need an ice cream maker for this recipe. :)

So, with out further gushing from me, here's the recipe! :)

Cadbury Creme Egg Ice Cream
From Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

3 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Cocoa (I used Dutch Process, but I'm sure just plain old Hershey's would work too)
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 Tbsp Corn Syrup
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp Corn Starch
4 oz. Milk Chocolate, chopped or broken up (preferably Cadbury Dairy Milk to keep all the chocolate in the same family - you should be able to find it in the candy aisle)
8 oz. Mini Cadbury Creme Eggs (they come in the little 12 pack, clear egg cartons.  You need two packs), unwrapped, chopped, and divided..  (They chop better if you freeze them first.)
1 tsp Pure Vanilla

1. Combine 2 cups of the cream, cocoa, sugar, salt and corn syrup in a non reactive saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk together until smooth.
2. In a small bowl whisk corn starch and 1/4 cup of cream to make a slurry.  Set aside.
3. Add milk chocolate and 4 oz of the Cadbury eggs to your saucepan.  Whisk until smooth (if you froze or refrigerated your Cadbury eggs it may take a bit for the fondant to melt.).  Remove from heat.
4. Add the remaining cream, corn starch mixture and vanilla, whisking to combine.
5. Make an ice bath in a large bowl and set the pot or bowl with your ice cream mixture over it, stirring frequently to cool.  Add more ice when needed and keep stirring until it's chilled (about 30 minutes).  You could also put the mixture in the fridge for a few hours to chill it, but I didn't want to wait that long. :)
6. Once the mixture is chilled through, pour it in your ice cream maker and process it following the manufacture's instructions. (we have a cuisinart and it recommends 20-30 minutes for processing before freezing).
7. Pack the ice cream into an air-tight container and sprinkle with the remaining 4 oz of chopped Cadbury eggs.  Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Chilling over the ice bath
Starting to thicken up in the ice cream maker!
Headed to the freezer!
The waiting is the hardest part!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Recap...In Parts...Part II

This is another photo heavy post...consider yourself warned. :)

Back in October we decided to take a combined birthdays/anniversary trip down to Utah for General Conference weekend.  We stayed Friday and Saturday night at the The Plaza in downtown Salt Lake - we were right across from temple square which was fantastic!

We met up with my Aunt Linda and a friend of hers for soup at Kneader's on Friday night.  It was great to see her!  After that the four of us wandered over to Deseret Book where I bought a new Conference Journal and a copy of Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, which is an adorable book!  It's a proper romance of the Jane Austen type.  If Jane Austen type books are your thing you should definitely check it out!

Saturday morning we were actually able to attend Conference in the Conference Center!  That's right, we were at the session where President Monson announced the change in the missionary age!  It was so exciting to be there in person, especially since Brent and I are both returned missionaries! :)  After he made the announcement and the choir started singing they actually had to dim the lights to remind us all that we needed to be quiet - everyone was just so excited by this news!  After the session was over we hung back a little so we didn't have to be part of the crush of people trying to leave at the same time.  It was so fun to hear all the people around us talking about missions.  We overheard this pretty awesome conversation where this girl was saying that she could leave in a year or so for her mission and her mom asked if she was thinking about going.  The girl replied that she wasn't before, but now she really was!  It was so neat! :)

Saturday afternoon and evening we spent down in Provo with Brent's brother and his wife.  We watched the afternoon session at their apartment while Brent and Daniel assembled Ikea furniture.  Then we went and grabbed some Cafe Rio before the boys headed out to Priesthood Session.  While they were gone, Sarah introduced me to Downton Abbey - which I love!  It was fun to spend time with them and share in their tradition of Conference Ice Cream Cake.  :)

Sunday morning we listened to Conference on Temple Square before we headed north to Pleasant View to visit my Aunt and Uncle.  We watched the afternoon session with them and spent the night there in my old bedroom (I lived with them for about a year before my mission.).  It's always so much fun to visit my Utah family and to get to spend time with them!

Before we headed out to the airport on Monday, we stopped at Brent's great aunt and uncle's house so that Brent could meet them!  They live just a few blocks away from my family in Pleasant View and used to be in the same ward as them.  It turns out I had actually met them before my mission, when they had just gotten home from theirs!  Small world!

It was a wonderful trip!  A great way to celebrate our birthdays and our one year anniversary! :)

Also as an anniversary/birthday celebration, we went with my Aunt Sue to go see Wicked at the Paramount in Seattle!  This was my second time seeing it (and it was just as amazing!!), but Brent had never seen it!  We went to the matinee and then went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner where we consumed a whole day's worth of calories in one glorious was a wonderful day! :D

While we were waiting to check into our hotel we ate lunch at Cafe Zupas!  It's a delicious soup, salad and sandwich place that a former mission companion introduced me to.  They have the best Summer Strawberry Salad!  You also get a chocolate covered strawberry with every meal - yummm!  Unfortunately, the nearest one is in Riverdale, UT... :(  If you're ever in Utah, check it out - you won't be sorry! :)
Waiting in line for the Saturday morning session of Conference!
Look how cute we are waiting for Conference to start! :)
Up in the nosebleeds, but hey!  There's really not a bad seat at the Conference Center. :)
That opening in the crowd towards the center of the photo is where all the sister missionaries are waiting to talk to people after Conference. :)
This is the view from the window at the end of our hallway.  I love Temple Square!
This is the view from our window.
Same view, night time.
Brent is helping Daniel (his brother) conquer the Ikea furniture.
Sunday morning session on the Square.
Let's try that w/o the shades.
I think this is probably one of THE BEST pictures I have EVER taken. :)
The Conference Center as seen from Temple Square.
The Salt Lake Temple is so pretty!
Assembly Hall
I could take pictures of the temple all day...
Thank you, kind stranger, for taking this picture for us!
More us in front of the temple. :)
The stage for Wicked!!!!

Brent and Me in front of the poster!
My Aunt Sue and I! Love her!!! :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Coconut Chewies!

As many of you may know, I like to play in the kitchen.  I love to bake cookies and muffins, make casseroles and soups and try new recipes.  I often post about these kitchen adventures on facebook and get requests for recipes, which made me think "Hey!  I should post recipes on the blog!"  I repin stuff on Pinterest, I even have a Food I've Actually Made board, but you can't really go into a lot of detail when you make changes and tweak things.  So, hopefully nobody minds if a few of our blog updates are me posting recipes...maybe it'll help me update more often?

First though, can we take a minute to admire my buttercup yellow kitchenaid mixer? :)  My brother-in-law (who wasn't yet married to my sister at the time) and his sisters went in together to get me us me my dream kitchen aid as a wedding gift!  Aren't they great!? :)
It's so pretty!!!
Anyways, moving on...

So I found these delicious cookies on Pinterest.  They originally come from Tina over at The Dough Will Rise Again so be sure you head over there and check out their blog. :)

These are really easy cookies...and they're delicious!  My cookies somehow ended up a little bit poofier than hers did, but no harm done!  I made most of them plain, but I added mini chocolate chips to a few, butterscotch chips to some others and white chocolate chips to a couple more.  All four ways are delicious!  I hope you'll take the time to try these out! :)

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Coconut Chewies

1 Cup slightly softened Butter
1 1/4 Cup packed Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Sugar (I used Splenda and they tasted just fine!)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Quick Oats
1 1/2 Cups Shredded, Sweetened Coconut
I forgot to include the Splenda in the picture, but there are your ingredients.
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars together.
2.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.  Add vanilla and mix completely.
3.  Add Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Salt to wet ingredients.  Mix until fully incorporated.
4.  Add about half of the flour and mix until it's just combined.  Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl and repeat with the rest of the flour.  Don't over-mix the dough or you won't get the chewy cookies!
5.  Add Oats and Coconut, mixing until just combined.
There's the finished dough and the spoon I used to scoop dough balls. 
6.  Roll the dough into balls, or use a cookie scoop to ensure that they're all the same size.  I just used a regular spoon (like the kind you eat cereal with) and made little dough balls.  She makes them about a little over an inch in diameter, but my dough balls were definitely smaller.  The recipe makes roughly 6 dozen cookies when you stick in this size range - I got 68, but I was eyeballing size...
7.  Place the dough balls on a lined cookie sheet (I used one with foil and one with a silpat liner, both worked fine.) about 1 - 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are light brown.  I baked mine closer to the 10 minute mark, but that's because I have a problem with taking cookies out of the oven when they're really light in the middle.
First batch, fresh out of the oven!  They smell so good!
8.  Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes.  Then transfer to a cooling rack (or a paper plate).  You can store them in an airtight container or zippy bag for up to a week, though I don't think ours will make it that long! :)
So good!

So there you have it! :)  Some delicious cookies just waiting to be made in your kitchen!

Enjoy, and keep on giggling!


A Parts...

So, I'm obviously not very good at this whole blog updating thing...ah well.  I guess we'll do a couple of recap posts to catch us up. Just a warning though...the next couple of posts (this one included) will probably be pretty photo heavy. :)

So, to start of the recap, here's a few pictures from our afternoon in Seattle and the one picture we took at LDS night at the Mariner's back in July.

Quick picture before we get on our way! Isn't he sweet? :)
Gotta love that skyline!
Our usual parking spot at the C-Link garage. :)
This would have worked better if you could see the whole wheel...oh well.
I know it's not 9 3/4 but the Harry Potter nerd in me still got excited...
I thought this wall was pretty cool with the broken dishes in it.   It kind of reminds me of the story about the early LDS women who smashed their china so the walls of the temple would sparkle...kind of...
Pike Place! Love going there! :)
I know it's not as big as London's but it's a heck of a lot closer. :)
It was a beautiful day to be out and about in Seattle.
Also a beautiful day for being out on the water and in the sky.
On the wheel!!  Here we go! :)
These are some shots from our ride on the wheel.

We were pretty high up!

And here's the only picture we actually took at the game that night...woops!
So, there's that update for you!  Next post will be our weekend in Utah for General Conference! :)