Sunday, January 31

Bonus Recipe!

I am posting this because I just finished eating a sandwich made using this bread and it was DELICIOUS!! I know I have been pretty excited about the no-knead bread making methods from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book and I have gotten one recipe from the book down pat (although I've never gotten their technique for storing dough in the fridge to work) I have still been wanting to eat more wheat bread. Adding wheat flour the the recipe I've been using made it not rise as well, so when I saw this recipe in a Taste of Home cooking magazine I was excited to try it.

The Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons molasses
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
Additional melted butter, optional

Directions

Generously coat an 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, combine water, orange juice, melted butter, molasses, flour, dry milk, yeast and salt; beat on high for 3 minutes (dough will be sticky). Spoon dough into prepared pan.

Cover pan with lightly greased plastic wrap; let rise 60-90 minutes or until dough rises to the top of the pan.

Remove plastic wrap. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Brush with additional melted butter if desired. Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices).

Andrea's Kitchen
I skipped the salt and the brushing with melted butter.

The Results

Moist and delicious! You gotta try this one!

Saturday, January 30

Overheard

Kelsey: Stacy, come here. We need to talk about this. (Kelsey drags rocking chair into the hallway and positions Stacy so she's facing Kelsey between Kelsey's knees)

Stacy: OK

Kelsey: How do you think that makes me feel when you pull my hair like that?

Stacy: I think it hurts.

Kelsey: You're right! And I don't like it at all! Please don't do that anymore! Next time you pull my hair I'm going to tell mom.

Stacy: I'm dorry Kewsey! I won't puw it anymore.

Now...if only she hadn't pulled it anymore! :-)

Friday, January 29

This Week's Recipe--Breakfast Burritos

With Gwen's request for 'kid approved' recipes in mind, I'm sharing something new that my kids are really enjoying right now--Breakfast Burritos. Scott created this one weekend for dinner and it's quickly becoming a regular staple around here!

The challenge here is that since he made it up, there's no real recipe! So I'll share what we usually do and you can make the adjustments or substitutions as you see fit. We like it as leftovers too, so we tend to make lots.

Ingredients
1/2 lb breakfast sausage (we like Jimmy Dean)
4-6 potatoes, diced
4ish tablespoons butter or margarine
grated cheddar
8 0r 10 eggs
tortillas

Directions
Brown sausage. Remove sausage from the skillet, drain on paper towels. Add diced potatoes to the drippings from the sausage and fry them--it will take 20-30 minutes. Add the butter or margarine as needed to keep potatoes browning. Stir spuds every 5 or so minutes to keep them browning, not burning. While potatoes are cooking, crack eggs and do whatever you do to get them ready to scramble--I add milk, Scott doesn't. When potatoes are done, remove them from the skillet and then scramble eggs. Before serving, brown tortillas in a skillet. We've found this somehow makes them more flexible, making the burritos much easier for little hands to handle.

Serve it all...add what you want to the tortilla, top with cheese, roll and enjoy!

Scott likes to add sour cream to the top of his--I like ketchup on mine. Scott has also been sneaking in some peppers into the eggs.

Our kids are much more willing to eat and like food if they help, so when we make these we've been letting the girls dice some of the spuds with plastic knives. We also let them crack the eggs for the scrambled eggs.

If you give it a try and find something else yummy to add, please leave a comment! We'd love to try it, too!

Wednesday, January 27

Andrea's Alaskan Dictionary

Since moving here I've become familiar with a number of terms that are Alaska-specific. I'll add to this post as I learn or remember more!

  • XtraTuf--(aka Alaskan tennis shoes) rubber boots that are warm, durable, and comfortable. Scott has some and loves them, the kids and I are planning to acquire some before spring break up!
  • snow removal--not just the plowing of snow, but moving that plowed snow to a 'snow storage' area
  • snow storage--various vacant lots/areas that are used to store snow removed during 'snow removal'
  • snow shuffling--(I invented this phrase!)the moving of snow from one smaller short-term 'snow storage' area to a larger long-term 'snow storage' area

Tuesday, January 26

Cuteness of the Day

Oh goodness--my kids can be so cute! And nothing like a few days of sickies and crabbies to make the cuteness so much sweeter!

This afternoon Kelsey dictated a list to me of things I need to do when I'm taking care of her stuffed dog (named Phoebe today). Luckily I jotted it down on a scrap of paper for your enjoyment and to jog my memory as I'm sure she'll ask me for it tomorrow! Here's the list:

1. feed her lunch
2. give her a nap
3. give her a small bone to chew on
4. play with her
1. play fetch with her
2. leave her sit
3. give her a bath
4. go out and run with her

No, the numbering is not a typo...that was how it was dictated to me! :-)

Stacy had a terrific day today. She clearly was feeling much better and was much happier as a result. She chose today to complete all of the 'big girl' puzzles we own; one 9 piece puzzle and three 25 piece puzzles all by herself!! She was very proud and so was I! Her handiwork:

Monday, January 25

Why I Love Whittier

People always ask me if we're liking life here in Whittier. Without hesitation my answer is always yes. Of course there are things I miss about Washington--being away from our family is the biggest drawback hands-down. The following list however, highlights the things I love about Whittier, AK.

  1. Family time--Our family has never spent so much time together! The girls get to see Scott morning, noon, and night. He's a part of their lives in a way that he never was able to be when he was working 60+ hours per week and commuting. I also enjoy more time with my hubby!
  2. Being able to stay home with the girls--it's always been a priority for me and I am blessed to be able to live my dream again.
  3. My friends here--I have made some GREAT friends since moving here! It's a very small community, so having a group of like-minded gals to hang out with from time to time is really fun. It's also nice to have someone to trade kiddo care with.
  4. Scenery--seriously! Have you seen the pictures?? I grew up in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and the beauty there literally brings me to tears, but Alaska is beautiful on a much larger scale. It's like looking out my window at a landscape calendar--every day!
  5. Living in town--it's fun to be able to walk every where in town. Heck--Whittier is small enough that even my 2 year old can walk everywhere! My kids now ride in the car so infrequently that it's a treat!
  6. A smaller living space--although it's been a big adjustment, there are some really great things about a smaller space. Mainly the limits of toys--we have just the right number that we can clean them all up in a reasonable amount of time. It was also freeing to go through and get rid of so much stuff when we moved.
  7. Snow--I'm not tired of it yet!
  8. Salmon Spread at the Lazy Otter--I'm now addicted to this delicious combination of smoked salmon, green onions and cream cheese on my bagels. I'll never be the same!

Thursday, January 21

Recipe Thursday

The Idea
One of the things I really like to do is to try new recipes. Scott is always willing to try new things. The girls, well they're not so excited but so far they play along. Since we're frequent guinea pigs, I thought I'd share our experiences here in a (hopefully!) regular feature here on Thursdays.

The Recipe
This week's new recipe was Creamy Tomato Soup from the current issue of Simple and Delicious.

Ingredients
1 can (29 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1.5 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
dash hot pepper sauce
croutons, shredded cheddar cheese, quartered grape tomatoes and/or thinly sliced
green onions

Directions
In large saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through (do not boil). Garnish with croutons, cheese, tomatoes and/or onions. Yield: 4 servings

Andrea's Kitchen
One of the things I'm picky about is ingredients. I have a basic pantry and I like new recipes to not require me to buy a bunch of special stuff. It's cheaper and easier for me. With that in mind I used plain old black pepper in this recipe and I substituted 3/4 cup milk and 1/3 cup melted butter (I Googled it!) for the heavy cream.

The Verdict
Well *I* really liked it! Despite me letting the girls sprinkle grated cheese on it (one of my secret Mommy mealtime weapons!) they didn't eat it. Scott was gone for lunch on the day we tried it, but I gave him a spoonful and he appeared to not have deep feelings one way or the other. I'll make it again for myself for sure, although I might try a tad less brown sugar.

Wednesday, January 20

Beep, Beep, Beep!

Presently I am being serenaded by the back-up beepers of the City's loader outside my window as the morning's snow removal efforts are underway. Before moving to Alaska I was only familiar with "plowing snow". Now I also understand and can differentiate "plowing snow" from "snow removal" and "snow storage". Today our building staff is plowing the parking strip in front of the building again so if we should need to get in the car, it won't be such a dicey trek. No big deal for me, but it was challenging for the girls on Sunday!

It's turning out to be a gorgeous day in Whittier! Clear, cool, a fresh blanket of snow from last night and sunny across the way...postcard material!

Saturday, January 16

Every Girl for Herself!

It used to be common for Scott and I to "divide and conquer" the girls on weekends. He'd take one and I'd take the other and we'd go and do what we needed to do. Since we've moved however, we haven't done it much. We both feel like it's good for them to have some one on one time as well as the time apart from each other.

With that in mind, Scott and Kelsey headed out to Anchorage this morning. Of course there was some drama surrounding the whole thing, but in the end everyone separated happy. Kelsey and Scott had errands to run, friends to visit, and a hot lunch date at McDonald's. Stacy and I headed down to the Lazy Otter for snacks and coffee and hot chocolate.

Now Kelsey's home again (Scott's plowing snow) and the girls are playing with their babies. They're playing "beach". Apparently at the beach you have your baby in a stroller, then give her a piggy back ride, then have a race, get stung by a bumblebee and then repeat that sequence of events another two or three times!

I was just informed by Kelsey that I am her baby's grandma. Sheesh...I wasn't expecting that for a while!

Projects of Late

Like any other crafter, my list of future projects is long. Right now I have *most* of the materials to make a wallhanging for my kitchen and stick ponies for the girls. Since we've been home, I have managed to turn out a few things, though!

1. The Doorway Puppet Theatre

If I was making it again, I'd do it a little differently but I still think it's pretty cute and the girls love it.



2. The Retro Apron Birthday Gift

I love aprons, and I fell in love with the book Retro Aprons by Cindy Taylor Oates. I am already plotting the acquisition of more of her books! I don't have a picture of the one I made, but it was cute! I wrapped it and delivered it immediately, since I waited until the absolute last minute to make it!

3. The Puzzle Bag

I came up with this idea before Christmas, but we ran out of iron on transfer paper so I couldn't do it until we got back. I did these last weekend and the girls love them. I don't have to tape the cardboard puzzle boxes back together any more!!

Friday, January 15

Snow Play

We've gotten about about 2 1/2 or 3 feet of snow this week, so we've been out in it lots. It's warming up now, so it's pretty wet now but Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday it was light and fluffy.

Here's my favorite snow picture from the last few days.


Wednesday, January 13

Top 3 Imaginative Moments of the Week So Far

I love imagination! I also love that the girls are both old enough to play pretend together. For a long time they've liked playing with dolls, dress up, and various toys while pretending, but now they're able to take imagination to a whole new level. With that in mind, here are the my "Top 3" moments of the week so far.

1. First, a little background. Whittier Community School has an 'artist in residence' this week. It's Stephen from the nationally acclaimed Alaskan group Pumyah. We've been going over to school for the half hour each day that he works with the preschool. He's Yupik, and has been singing for the kids and teaching them the relationship between story, song, and dance. We've learned some dances and heard amazing songs in Yupik. On Monday the story was about a seal hunt he'd been on and the song and accompanying dance that goes with it. (Note: The story would make school administrators in the Lower 48 run screaming into their offices as guns played a major role in the seal hunt. Today's story was a squirrel hunt...more guns!) The girls were so impressed by the experience that later that evening in the bath they created a game where they used their bath visors as lifejackets and took turns being in the front of the boat and rowing...so cute!

2. While I was checking email yesterday morning the girls were playing in their bedroom. Next thing I hear is "I want a watte. A weal big one, pwease!". Apparently Kelsey had set up a coffee shop of sorts on the top bunk and Stacy was her willing (and knowledgeable!) customer.

3. Last night while I was cooking dinner there was lots of talk in the living room between the girls on the subject of camping. They soon hatched plans to take their babies camping in Farewell Bend and thanks to our recent trip home Kelsey told Stacy they'd need to "Fly to Seattle and then drive a long, long way!". This naturally led into a game of airport where their play kitchen became the baggage check station and the recliner became airport security. They both carefully selected footwear that could be put into an empty dishpan and put through the "thingie" on the seat of the recliner while they walked barefoot between the back of the recliner and the wall through their imaginary metal detector. Brilliant!

Hope at least one of those scenes brought you a smile!

Sunday, January 10

Merry Alaskan Christmas!

It sounds late I know, but really it's right on time! Since the four of us were apart on Christmas Day we celebrated our Christmas yesterday. The girls got to open their gifts from Mom and Dad and from their Alaskan friends. We all had a nice morning of opening, playing, opening, and playing.

I finished sewing the girls' doorway puppet theater Friday night and they had lots of fun with it. If I was to make another one I'd do it a bit differently though. The stick ponies went unfinished...those will just be a fun thing to get some day. Or maybe a pony Valentine??

Pictures on Fotki--this new template may have to go...it took away my 'add photo' function!

Friday, January 8

And We're Home!

We made it! It was a long day of traveling, but we're all glad to be back together in one place.

We arrived early at Sea-Tac, so after bidding Moo Grandpa goodbye we trekked through security and visited the airport play area. What fun! The girls played for at least an hour before it got so crowded that Mommy called it quits. From there we meanadered to what we thought was our gate. We got to ride two trains on the way to our gate (yup, we were WAY out there!!) and that was a big hit with the girls. One hiccup arose when I realized the wrong gate was printed on our boarding passes...we were in the last dozen or people to board the plane! People seemed to forgive us, though--I am sure it had to do with how cute the girls are in their PJs! On our way south we hadn't flown in our PJs, but another family was and Kelsey and Stacy both thought it was an excellent idea. Unfortunately, all of our PJs were in our checked baggage. I didn't think about it again until we got to Sea-Tac and immediately Kelsey remembered--so there they were, flying at 6pm in jammies! It did make bedtime at the hotel easier, though.

Now were home, and all of the old toys are new again and the new toys are fun, too! The girls didn't take long to cover the floor with fun!!

Thursday, January 7

More Visiting

Well, here's the famous 'catch up' post!

We spent the second half of our visit at Fishie Grandma and Grandpa's house. We were joined by Auntie and we all had lots of fun together. While we were there we also got to spend some time with Curtis, Gwen, Maggie, and Evie. Holding Evie (5 months old) was a highlight of our trip. We were also able to catch up with some of our friends and playmates while we were down. Fishie Grandma's sandbox was again a huge hit, as was playing outside at her house in the sun in just a sweatshirt!

We headed back over to the Moo's on Sunday, then left yesterday at noon to journey north.