Dec 31, 2010

{homemade eggnog}

i tried something different this year.
i've always been so curious about it. but you know how when you were little, your mom talked about how they used to make eggnog, but you never should, because there were raw eggs in it? 
well, my mom said that at least.
but these eggs get cooked. so its all good :)

& this doesn't look like eggnog. i'm pretty sure it was, & it was just the bottom of the batch & all the spices made it darker.
although it could have been my cup of chai tea, also…

anyways. it was easy. i would recommend doubling the recipe. it doesn't make a whole ton.
but its soooo so rich & yummy. you can still make it for new years! its not too late. really.

you will need:
4 whole egg yolks
1/3 cup of agave nectar or 1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of milk
1 cup of heavy cream
1/8 tsp of allspice
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of cinnamon

no. 1
whip up eggs & sugar in your mixer. if you're using sugar, whip until it turns a light yellow color. if using agave nectuar…its not going to turn light yellow. so just mix it well.

no. 2
combine milk, heavy cream & spices to a small saucepan over medium heat until its just about to boil. or steaming.

no. 3
remove milk mixture from heat & very slowly begin to pour it into your egg mixture. wisking as you go.
its really important you dont do this all at once. you could cook your eggs & that would defeat the whole purpose of making eggnog.

no. 4
now pour all of your eggnog BACK into your saucepan on medium/low heat. stir often. once it begins to thicken up a bit, you can set it aside to cool. pour into a jar & place  in the fridge to cool completely.


a few little notes:
*double yolk eggs are AWESOME for this recipe. especially if you want to double it. if you are a charlottean, you can find them at the bradford store. they also make awesome boiled eggs, in case you wanted to know…

*i actually halved the spices in this recipe. they were much thick in the eggnog. especially towards the bottom of the jar. so i would start with half & you can always add more later.

*i added a bit of brandy to our eggnog too. if you want to give it a little kick, add it at step 4.

Dec 28, 2010

some {afters} of our house.

i recently realized that i haven't mentioned our little home in awhile.
we're living here! i think i've at least said that much. we moved in at the end of october. it seems like so much longer already. i actually do miss living with daniel's parents. we had fun with them.
but its nice finally being here.
here are a few pictures of the befores and the kind of afters. only kind of because we're obviously not totally done. there are still curtains & pictures to hang & cute things. but that will all come in time.
i took a lot of these pictures right before our christmas housewarming party a few weeks ago.
or you can just believe that its always that clean :)

bathroom before >>>>>>>>>>>> & after
i reaaaally wanted to use an old sewing table for our sink basin. i couldn't tell you where i got the idea. i think it was actually an original one. most of my ideas come from other blogs in some shape or form. but i was thrilled with how it turned out :)

our entry-room afters

& before

dining room after

dining room before

family room afters

family room before. & i'm really missing this beautiful view right now...

bedroom kind-of after

bedroom before

its taken a lot of lovin' to get it this far! can't wait to see what it'll be in another few months!

Dec 25, 2010

{happy christmas day}

from us & presley. our dog that really isn't ours. but basically is.

hope you all have a most wonderful day!

Dec 24, 2010

{double chocolate truffles with sea salt}

we've had these delicious truffles two years in a row in our house.
this year i got a little smarter & decided to have people over to help us eat them.
last year i think we ate about twenty truffles a piece {eeeekkk!}
made from the pioneer womans recipe.

so here is what you need:
16 ounces of dark chocolate for the inner layer of your truffle.
1 {14 ounce} can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
8 ounces of meltable milk chocolate
sea salt for sprinkling

no. 1
break your 16 ounce of dark chocolate into smaller pieces & place in your {makeshift} double boiler. heat on medium low until all chocolate is melted.
i used a dark dark cocoa {like 85%} & then just a regular dark chocolate.

no. 2
add your can of condensed milk & vanilla. stir to combine.

no. 3
remove from heat. cover & refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

no. 4
once removed from fridge, your chocolate should be cooled enough to work with & roll into small balls. you may have to leave it on the counter a bit until it softens up.

no. 5
melt your milk chocolate on your double boiler & roll chocolate balls around until coated. a fork seemed to work well for me to help prevent huge blobs of chocolate…

no. 6
place on a pan covered in wax or parchment paper & sprinkle with sea salt.

then eat :)

makes about 45 truffles.

Dec 20, 2010

{make your own: toothsoap}

i have some goals.
things i want to do before my next birthday. i'll share the list when i finish it, but switching over to a mostly-natural beauty regimen is one of them. & toothsoap is my most recent switch-over.

the only thing you may not like about it is that you have to dip your finger into the jar & put it on your toothbrush. so i get that that's not super appealing to some people. it doesn't bother me a bit.
daniel is still squeezing out every drop of his colgate to avoid it for that very reason. until i get a toothpaste dispenser that is. its his only complaint.

so that is what i have to say to you…if you don't want to get your fingers messy - get a dispenser!
this is super easy to make. there are all kinds of recipes for toothsoap. but this particular one made the most sense to me. & had the most ingredients that i had at home.

i tweaked it juuust a bit as you'll see below. this is my first batch of it & i think you really should try it. just for a week. the first day it tasted just a little funny to me. partially because i used too much dr. bronner's & also because our toothpaste is SO SWEET!! 
i love that i know what is in this & how it makes my teeth feel so so clean :)

i'm pretty positive you'll love it too if you give it half a chance!

you will need:
1 teaspoon of dr. bronner's castile soap - the original recipe told me 1 tablespoon but it was WAY TOO SOAPY!!! you can add more if you want once everything is all mixed together. trust me. {i got the peppermint one at target. its by all of the natural makeup & burt's bee's things. it took me FOREVER to figure that out…}
5 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
10 drops of peppermint essential oil
10 drops of sweet orange essential oil {optional}

mix all together & put in a small, shallow jar.

here is a link i found that is similar that i'm going to try next time around & i'll let you know which one i like better!

{quick & speedy mulligatawny}

we have been devouring soups the past few months. 
i have never felt north carolina SO COLD before!!! 
i am nearly positive all of the arizona has been sucked from me for good for two reasons:
1.) i'm actually beginning to think having pale legs for the rest of my life isn't a bad thing
2.) today as i was driving, the radio told me it was 28 degrees & i said 'thank GOODNESS it's warming up today!' before i even really thought about it. & last time i checked, 28 is still below freezing!!!

so we are making progress. & i think i'm going to survive this winter after all, thanks :)

SO. in other news, daniel & i love indian food. 
& i haven't had an enormous amount of success making it, personally. but we love it all the same.
& this soup, by the way, was easy peasy to make & it turned out gooood. 
it is called mulligatawy. don't ask me to say it out loud. it will sound like i'm sneezing on you. or casting made-up spells. 
but however you say it, it is perfectly delicious for wintery days. we will definitely have it a few times more before winter is over, & its a good introduction to indian food if you've never had it before...

for the chicken:
1 whole chicken breast {boneless + skinless & cut into small, bit sized pieces}
*a pince of salt & pepper

for the soup:
*3 tablespoons of butter
*1 medium onion {diced}
3 cloves of garlic {minced}
*1/4 cup of flour
*1 tablespoon of curry powder
*16 oz. of chicken or veggie broth
*2 cups of coconut milk
*1 granny smith apple {peeled + diced}
*1 tablespoon of honey or sugar
*1 teaspoon of sea salt, black pepper & cayenne pepper to taste {optional}

no. 1
heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium/high heat, add salt, pepper & chicken. stir occasionally until cooked. & set chicken to side in a bowl

no. 2
using your same pot, reduce heat to medium & add remaining butter, onion & garlic. stir occasionally until your onions are beginning to brown.

no. 3
sprinkle flour over the onions. add curry powder & combine. then add chicken broth & cook for about 5 minutes.

no. 4
add coconut milk, sugar & any additional spices & cook for another 5 minutes.

no. 5
add chicken & apple & cook for 10 minutes. let sit for 5 or so minutes before serving.

& voila! yummy soup.

serve with basmati rice. either on the side or in your soup is reaaally yummy, too :)

{adapted from the pioneer womans recipe here}

Dec 15, 2010

vegetarian chili from heaven.

okay. heres the thing...
i'm a southern gal. really i am. 
eleven years on the west coast can't take that away from you. the redneck really does run deep deep in my veins.

& one southern tradition in my family has always been chili & rice. beans & cornbread is another. yes. just beans & cornbread. but i've never been a fan of that one. ANYHOW. i had chili 1-2 times a month for 20 years. i've been to chili cook-off's many a times. i know good chili, dear folks. although if i'm being perfectly honest, i've never loved the stuff for the simple reason that i'm just not a big fan of beans. except this year i found my exception. black beans. oh yuuum they are good :)

but i'm getting of track here again. my point is, that the other day i realized that i haven't made chili ONE TIME since we've been married. in 15 months. nada.

so i decided to go out on a limb & try a new recipe for chili. & ohmygosh. it is probably the VERY BEST i've had in my 22 years. my dad loved this chili. & he is a snob about these things. let me tell you…

{i'm sorry this isn't an awesome picture AT ALL. this is what my cold leftovers look like. we just ate it WAY to fast…}

so here is the recipe. you are so very welcome.

1 large onion. chopped.
4 cloves of garlic. minced.
1 tablespoon of coconut oil {you can use olive oil, too}
1 cup of celery. chopped.
1 cup of carrots. chopped.
1 cup of green pepper. also chopped.
1 tsp. of ground cumin.
1 tsp. of dried basil
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 1/2 cups of water + 1/2 cup of vegetable broth {the original recipe called for 2 cups of tomato juice, but i substituted it with this & there was still PLENTY of flavor in the chili}
2 cups of black beans. cooked.
1 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes {with liquid}
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/3-1/2 cup of dry, red wine {you can't skip this step. its what really makes the chili delicious}
1 tablespoon of sweetener {honey, agave nectar, sugar}

1 lb. of ground beef {thats right. that would make this no longer a vegetarian chili, but we did it anyways}
a few slices of jalapeno, if you want it to have a little kick.

put all ingredients in a crock pot & cook on high for about 3 hours or low for about 6. there is a little more prep work in this one with all of the veggies. i just got a food processor & that made it all go SO much faster. 

serves 6-8

Dec 10, 2010

{things i love today}

happy friday you all! hope you all have fun & festive things planned for the weekend.
we are going to a white christmas party tonite. i am SO excited :) its at my dear friend charlotte's house. they've done it every year for as long as i can remember. &&& its going to be so fun :)

so i've found a few super cute things while browsing online, & catching up on my google reader to share with you all.

maybe they could make some fun {last minute} christmas gifts?
this adorable wooden tea set.  this website has a lot of really fun kids toys. i really have no reason to be looking at them. honestly. 

GLASS straws. okay. these are kickin. they have all kind of fancy fun ones, but i kind of just like this one. its not really that boring, is it? i can just see myself in {much warmer weather} drinking smoothies by the gallon through these. & they're guaranteed not to break. sooooo there goes that excuse.

the recipe for these ginger bread men. i have NEVER made them. can you believe it? i think this is definitely the year, though.
this beautiful green holga from uo. oh my word.

these beautiful wool blankets. you know they're gonna be warm, guys. & the part that i love the very best - they are hand woven on prince edward island. pei for all you anne folks. & for someone that has so recently finished the series, that was just totally the icing on the cake for me :)

& i'm MOST excited about this bird cage lamp from uo!!!!! its the SAME one i posted a few months ago that i wanted to make!!! i saw it in a magazine & couldn't find the source for it. just no one go buying them all until i get one, okay?

Dec 8, 2010

hello again!

ahhhh. guys. i am the worst at blogging.
but for good reason.
well you see…we haven't had internet for the past two weeks.

i know what you're thinking.


but its actually been kind of nice.
its probably just the purist in me that secretly loathes technology. but then also not at the same time. its such a complicated relationship.
i have noticed though, that i have more free time in the day to read & things because of it.
& my beloved google - of which i am completely, whole-heartedly addicted to, has been the hardest to go without! but with that, i actually have to THINK about things & be more creative whereas before i would just immediately hop onto google & have it tell me.

for instance: i made up my own recipe for hummus. out of desperation, but it is my best batch yet (!!!) so take that google.

its also forced me to use my cookbooks more. & thus actually organize my cookbooks so good has come out of the whole thing.

okay. so now onto christmas things :)
on our way home from our coleman christ-giving celebration, we saw a sign on the side of the freeway very similar to this one below.
we had been planning on getting our tree up in boone like last year. we adore boone, but our month had already nearly filled up! so we were wracking our brains trying to find a date that would work to go.
this was a wonderful solution.

so meet our lovely christmas tree.
her name is gigi. named after the tropic smoothie stand we drove by on our way out of town.

& so after we picked her up, we decided to make a spontaneous stop into asheville to eat at tod's tasties & drive by our honeymoon inn. the most darling little bed & breakfast. maybe someday we'll go again?

oh. you may be asking how i am even posting now?
god must have just given me this one day of internet for my sanity.
i think maybe i'm ready to go a few more, now :)
ha. not.