Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December - The Month Of...


For the last month of the year, we decided to try our hands at pie making. This has always been an intimidating dessert for me because of the elusive perfect pie crust. I've heard that they are hard to make and that they hardly ever turn out well. They are either too tough, too sticky, not cooked right, or just plain awful.

Jon found a fantastic (and easy to follow!) crust recipe online. I wish I could find the link to it right now to share with you, but alas I'm not sure which website he eventually settled on. I told him we should have pinned it to my recipe board on Pinterest... haha

This recipe actually made a lot of sense! And we have a pastry cutter which made things a lot easier when it came to adding in the butter cubes. Cut up 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch cubes of butter and freeze them at least 15 minutes before preparing the pie crust dough. Freezing them overnight is even better if possible.

Although I wouldn't say that this pie crust was PERFECT, I am super happy with it for a first try. It had some flakiness, it was cooked all the way through, and it actually tasted good!

I liked learning that too much water can make your dough tough and that if there are chunks of butter viewable when you knead the dough together, that's what ends up creating the flakiness when the crust is baked. Yum!

We decided on 3 pie varieties for the month: fruit, chocolate, and savory.

The first pie that we tried was a fruit pie. Apricot/Apple (made with apples from Apple Hill) - so delicious!

making a lattice top

ready to bake!

golden perfection :)

 We tried it out on some friends that came over to view Christmas lights with us earlier in the month. Maybe they were just being nice... but it got their stamp of approval :)

Next we decided to try a chocolate Rocky Road pie. This recipe was interesting because it didn't actually have the complete list of ingredients! (as far as we could tell, anyway.) It was a little confusing, so we sort of took the idea and made the rest up.

The crust was a Fudge Stripes crumb/butter crust. Kind of like a graham cracker crust, but with cookies instead.

This pie (although tasty) was more like those "worms-in-dirt" desserts that you eat as a kid which is really pudding and oreos in a cup, rather than actual pie... You know what I'm talking about. We topped the slices with Cool Whip to serve.

I think if we were actually to try a chocolate pie again, I would want it to be more of the chocolate silk variety and possibly use egg whites for a fluffy and shape holding meringue texture instead of a pudding/chocolate chip/cool whip/fudge cookie mess.

The last pie set up for this month was a meat pie.

Unfortunately between Christmas and work we were unable to make this one happen :( Hopefully we'll still try it out this week because the little meat pies sounded delicious!

I am so grateful that Jon thought of this idea of exploring new things in 2013 and I can't wait to start our new theme for next year. I'm thankful for all the things that we learned and all the fun that we had while trying (and sometimes failing at) these new projects. The successful ones have helped me find new things that I enjoy doing, and have stretched our talents. Overall it was a super successful theme and definitely the best yet :) We hope that you'll keep following along with our adventures in 2014.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

November - The Month Of . . .


At the end of October, Jon had posted a link on my FB about this idea for playing a minimalism game. Starting on day 1, you get rid of one thing. Then day 2, you get rid of two things, etc etc.

The rules were that you could donate, trash, or sell the selected items.

Here's how it went:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3
Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7 and . . .

Day 7

Day 8 and . . .

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13 and . . .

Day 13

Day 14 and . . .

Day 14

Day 15 and . . .

Day 15
Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19 and . . .

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24 and . . .

Day 24

So we didn't quite make it all the way to the end of November... but I was still very happy with how much we got rid of. All the credit goes to Jon for making this month happen because he was really good about making sure we remembered every day. It's so nice to get in the habit of going through our things and being realistic about what we never use or wear! Hopefully we can keep it up so that we don't end up becoming hoarders someday :) Bring on December!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Loving Kate

I love it when Kate takes her spoon, dips it in her bowl and then tries to feed me with a huge smile on her face! It is cute to see her mimic the things that we do for her and be so proud of herself.

I love it when she makes goofy faces.

I love it when Kate giggles at the dogs and squeals with joy when she sees them in the morning after we've been on a long car trip.

I love it when Kate runs around in her jammies, laughing hysterically at everything in sight.

I love it when Kate rolls around on the floor and Margo tries to jump in and lick her face.

I DON'T love it when Kate throws herself back in a tantrum and screams... especially at church.

I DO love it when we are singing in primary and she waves her arms around and dances while she is sitting on my lap :)

I love it when Kate eats well. Breakfast is her favorite meal and she usually chows it down. Dinners are the hardest for her. She is always more picky and usually grumpy about having to eat dinner. She LOVES cookies.

I love it when Kate runs up to me with her arms up to be held.

I love it when she talks to herself in her crib at night and reads her books to herself or tells jokes and laughs even though nobody else understands.

I love it when Kate has hiccups and tries to talk, but it comes out with little squeaks.

I love it when she headbutts things. It usually is not so fun with it's my forehead, but she will knock her head on the floor, the walls, on Margo... I think it is her way of testing structural durability. I have no idea where she learned it from. It makes us laugh every time!

I love it that Kate wants to feed herself everything and takes huge bites of bananas and sandwiches. She is no longer content with being spoon-fed most of her meals.

I love that Kate is healthy! She currently weighs 19lbs 9oz and is 30 inches tall. She is in the 20th percentile for height, 25th percentile for weight, and 50th percentile for her head circumference!

I love it when Kate gives us hugs and kisses. I love that we are her best friends. I love that she will light up at smile at us from across a room. I love that she is part of our family.