Monthly Archives: November 2013

Oliver’s Adoption Day Party

This post is over a month late, but I still really wanted to write about it. On October 13th, we celebrated Oliver’s One Year Adoption Day. Can’t believe we’ve had our sweet boy for a year! I have no idea how we ever lived without him. Since we will never know his actual birthday, we also celebrate his “birthday” on this day too. We may have gone a bit overboard, but we had fun and he did too! He really could tell something was different and he was being loved on. He was very happy!

Our presents for him: elevated food and water bowls (before this his bowls had been on a cardboard box… so this was probably more for us than him!), a new tennis ball (he doesn’t really play fetch, but we keep buying him tennis balls anyway…), a new rope (ropes are his favorites and he tends to go through them quite quickly), a stuffed owl, and a card.

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His special treats included cheese cut into bone shapes (he LOVES cheese) and Starbucks whipped cream (did you know you can ask them for a “puppy whip” when you go through the drive-thru?).

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We sang “Happy Birthday” to him and his face just lit up!

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We attempted to take a family picture… but this is the best we could do:

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So we opted for individual pics

IMG_3241 IMG_3250 IMG_3304Happy Birthday, our sweet Oliver! Your mommy and daddy love you very much!

We are so grateful God led us to him (seriously, God’s hand was all over our adoption story) and look forward to our second year of fun adventures with our buddy!

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Cheddar Soup and Beer Bread

I made this soup and bread one day in mid-October when a cold front hit Texas. A much, much needed cold front. And it stayed cold for about a day. I took full advantage of that chill in the air to make some “fall” recipes I’d been storing away for that very moment- the first chill of fall. It also worked out really nicely that my best friend happened to be coming over for dinner that night. So she got to be a guinea pig for my new recipes 🙂 We got to have a lovely, candlelit dinner on the patio.

This cheddar ale soup pairs perfectly with the beer bread. The soup was a somewhat challenging and involved recipe, but definitely worth it. We later decided it would be great with some potatoes added in. I didn’t take the best pictures of this because I was focused on hanging out with my friend, but you’ll just have to make it for yourself and see how yummy it looks and tastes!

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Ale and Cheddar SoupCloset Cooking

  • 1/2 pound bacon (preferably smoked or double smoked), cut into 1 inch slices
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2+ jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 (~12 ounce) bottle/can ale
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • cayenne to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat and set aside on paper towels to drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the grease in the pan.
  2. Add the onion, celery and jalapeno and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the butter and let it melt and get all bubbly then sprinkle on the flour and let it cook until it starts to turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the ale and broth and deglaze the pan before adding the bacon and then let cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the cream, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and cheese and cook until the cheese has melted without bringing it back to a boil.
  7. Season with cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.

Buttery Honey Beer BreadCookie Monster Cooking

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup bread flour (but all-purpose can be substituted)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) beer
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 in loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add in the honey and beer and mix until just combined.
  3. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Evenly pour the melted butter over the top of the batter.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
  5. Cookie Monster Cooking also has a recipe for honey butter to go with the bread. I didn’t make it, but you can check that out here.

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What I’ve Been Reading- October 2013

This month I only read two books, which is low for me. I tend to average one per week, or more. But this month I decided to start watching Scandal. I know, I’m a little late to the party on that one, and I’m a big Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice fan so it would have made sense for me to watch Shondaland’s newest addition. But I was scared. It seemed really intense. So I put it off, and off, and off… Until one day in October I was bored and Netflix was there taunting me, luring me away from all the productive things I should be doing. I will admit, I’m a binge-watcher. Once I find a show on Netflix to watch, I watch until done. So far I’ve done this with The Office, 24, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, Parks & Recreation, Undercover Boss, Arrested Development, and some others that I don’t care to admit to. But Scandal drew me in more than any of those other shows. I COULD NOT stop watching. If you haven’t watched it, do. But I have warned you. You won’t be able to stop.

So, the two books I read this month….

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Seating Arrangements– Maggie Shipstead (Fiction, 2012): It took me awhile to get through this one. The entire book covers a span of only three days, so each section is a very long and detailed account of each day. It wasn’t a bad book, I did enjoy it somewhat, just kind of boring, And once I was finished I wasn’t sure what the point was, though I think the theme may have been centered on this quote that stood out to me from page 91, “When does youth end?”. It really seemed like a book that you would read in English class and analyze.

 9780312997199Summer People– Elin Hilderbrand (Fiction, 2003): I discovered Hilderbrand through Bachelor “star” Ashley Spivey who tweets about books she has been reading (and usually has some really good recommendations!). This book was such a fun, light read with some interesting plot twists. It was perfect for bedtime reading. I really enjoyed it and have already checked out a couple more of her books from the library.

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

One morning a couple weeks ago, the Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. That combines like three of my most favorite things: Pioneer Woman, pumpkin, and cinnamon rolls. I HAD to make them. And I did, that very night. Well that night and into the next morning since it took me four hours to make them. But maybe that was just me. And they were WELL WORTH THE TIME. Lots of cinnamony, pumpkiny, cream cheesy goodness.

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It may have also taken me four hours because around 11:30, in the middle of making them, I discovered A SNAKE on our living room floor. Michael was already asleep and so I screamed and screamed until he woke up and came into the living room very confused. It was a harmless snake… BUT STILL. NOT OK to be in the house. I was freaking out, but did get close enough for a picture (because who was going to believe me without proof??). Michael did pick it up and take it outside unharmed (but I think maybe slightly traumatized by my screaming). (Side note: Our house is really nice and in a nice area, it is not normal for creatures to come in!).

Proof.

Proof.

So back to the cinnamon rolls… they took a long time to make, but it was a fun challenge. I had never made any kind of “sweet rolls” before and it’s about time to learn! I definitely need to perfect my rolling technique, but I’m sure I will be making these a lot more, and also plan on trying her regular cinnamon rolls around Christmas.

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Ready to be rolled up!

This recipe made four pans of rolls, so I sent some to work with Michael. One of his co-workers loved them so much that he paid me to bake him some for a Halloween party! My first baked good sale. Very exciting.

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The recipe is pretty detailed and Ree gives such excellent directions and pictures on her web site so I am going to direct you there for the recipe. Her pictures are very necessary the first time you make these.

I hope you make them and let me know what you think!

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