Monday, June 20, 2011


We hosted our first overnight house guests last week.  My best friend, Sarah, and her almost 9 month-old daughter stayed for 3 nights.  I had a wonderful time with them!  I haven't seen her sweet baby girl since she was only a few weeks old.  She's obviously much more fun and interactive now.  We did lots of shopping, eating and trying to stay out of the heat.  We also took a trip to the aquarium which was a good way to stay cool! 

Lacey learned quickly how to get treats from her

 One of the best parts of the visit (besides seeing my best friend) was watching Corey interact with Harper.  He's changed so much over the years when it comes to kids.  He used to leave the room when a child started crying.  Now he loves making babies laugh and tries to soothe them when they're upset.  It really warmed my heart to see him bond with her.  Spending that time with her has definitely made us think more about when we'll be ready for our own. 

Isn't that a great smile?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Step Into My Kitchen

Since I was younger I loved cooking, especially baking.  It started off as helping around the kitchen to baking cookies for friends in high school.  But it wasn't until I lived in my first apartment with my college roommate that I really started cooking for myself.  At that point it was a lot of quick meals and things I grew up eating, like ground beef with jarred spaghetti sauce and frozen garlic bread, chicken in cream of mushroom soup over rice or noodles, tacos with packaged seasoning and even hamburger helper.  I developed some new favorites thanks to my roommate including chicken enchilada pie and taco ring (yummm).  But when I moved out on my own and then got married I started branching out.

Over the previous year I've really gotten more and more adventurous.  I now make my own taco seasoning, use only homemade spaghetti sauce and make cookies, cakes, muffins, pancakes, waffles, etc from scratch - no boxed mixes here!  I'm trying to use less packaged foods and lots more fresh ingredients (and lots of canned tomatoes).  Most of my inspiration comes from various food blogs.  In fact, there are 20 food blogs are on my google reader - yikes! I'm also completely obsessed with the website Tastespotting.  Almost every night I'm not working, I'll curl up with my laptop and look through the gorgeous pictures of delicious looking food.

I definitely have had some flops, but I'm getting more and more confident with my skills.  Now, if only I could manage to stop burning, cutting or injuring myself in other ways in the kitchen, things would be great.  Here's some of what I've been cooking up lately:

Blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries

Pizza with homemade dough - my 1st time working with yeast

Yellow cake, chocolate frosting (all from scratch) with some decorative touches

Cranberry-orange-walnut bread

Yeasty dough - smells so yummy

Chocolate cookies

Banana-strawberry-spinach smoothie

Banana cake + cream cheese frosting = delicious
Blackberry muffins (forgot to flour the blackberries)

Waffles from scratch - soo much better than Aunt Jemima!

Chocolate cupcakes, oreo whipped cream frosting

Steak nachos using leftover homemade carne asada

This doesn't even scratch the surface of what I've been making.  I just usually don't photograph things - especially dinner because I'm too busy eating it ;o)  Did I make you hungry?  Go get creative in your kitchen, its so much fun and so rewarding!!