Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toasted pumpkin seeds and a new blog!

We were given several big pumpkins last Sabbath.  As I cooked them down for pulp, I saved the seeds to make toasted pumpkin seeds.

There are plenty of recipes out there for toasted pumpkin seeds.  I just combined a few of them.  Basically I cleaned the pumpkin seeds, then tossed them in a bit of olive oil, salt, sugar, and spices (curry powder, coriander, and black pepper).  Then I toasted them in the oven for about 10 minutes. They are yummy!

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I also wanted to announce a new blog to you: Barry and I have started a blog on living a simple, uncomplicated life that avoids getting caught up in the rat race for money and stuff.  We want this blog to be a venue for sharing thoughts, ideas, projects, and more.  It's still in its infant stage but we hope to post more thoughts and projects soon.

You can find it here or at http://www.barryandchristy.blogspot.com

(In case you are wondering, we changed from our wordpress blog for customizability reasons.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Walnut Hazelnut Peanut Butter Fudge!

I've always wanted to make fudge. I just love the texture; creamy, yet dense and thick.  I've never made any before but the other day, I was at the grocery store.  One thing led to another, and I ended up walking out with the necessary ingredients to combine these three fudge recipes I had recently looked at.

It turned out great!  And don't worry, Barry and I did NOT ingest all that sugar!  We gave some of it away and we're bringing home the rest!

Walnut Hazelnut Peanut Butter Fudge
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chocolate chips
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup walnuts
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup nutella

Directions: Heat water in a small pot and then place a heat proof bowl over the lightly simmering water.  Add first four ingredients and mix while melting.  Add all other ingredients and combine well.  Take off heat and pour in parchment lined pan.  Place aside to cool and harden.  (The fridge or freezer quickens the process!)  EAT!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chai-spiced Persimmon Cookies with a Lemon Glaze!

We're still making and using up persimmon puree' and it's been a lot of fun learning what flavors it goes well with.  The one I keep coming back to is combining it with a chai spice mix that I got to put in the prizewinning persimmon pecan pie!

On Wednesday, I made these cookies to take to Bible study.  Everyone really liked them so I decided to post the recipe on my blog.  I based it off of this recipe but (of course) put my own twist on things.

Chai-spiced Persimmon Cookies with a Lemon Glaze
1/3 cup butter (I used SmartBalance)
1 cup sugar
1 egg replacement (I used a tablespoon of flax seed in 3 tablespoons of water)
2 cups persimmon pulp (ours was made from fuyu persimmons)
1 tsp baking soda
2-3 cups flour (I used almost 3 because I thought the batter was too runny)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp Chinese 5 Spice mix
1 cup craisins or fresh/frozen cranberries (I used craisins because I'm loathe to use up my hoard of frozen cranberries!)
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chai spice mix (Note: if you're just using chai spice flavoring, not the mix, you probably need only a few teaspoons) + 1-2 Tablespoons butter

Lemon Glaze
Powdered sugar
Lemon juice
Soymilk (optional)
(Use whatever proportions you want to create a thin or thick consistency.  I made mine pretty thin by adding a little soymilk.)

Grated lemon zest for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:  On stove, heat 2 tablespoons butter and add cranberries, pecans, and chai mix.  Only leave on long enough for butter to melt and the cranberries and pecans are thoroughly coated.  In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add the "egg", persimmon pulp, and baking soda.  Mix well.  Sift together all other dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture.  Finally, add the stovetop cranberry and pecan mixture to the batter.  Shape into cookies on a parchment covered cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.  After baked and cooled slightly, dip tops into glaze or drizzle glaze on with a spoon.  Sprinkle on lemon zest for an added festive touch!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Wedding Dress/My Mom is INCREDIBLE!!!!

It's been just over 6 months since I got married.  And I realized, much to my dismay, that I never blogged about my dress.  For all you men out there who read my blog and who could care less, this is not the post for you!  BUT, for all you girls out there who DO care, read on!

First, my mom made my dress.  Did you hear that??  My Mom MADE my DRESS!!!!!  She is super talented and super gutsy and she did the impossible!  Why was it so impossible?  Well, I'll tell you why:

Barry once told me that I was a cross between an elfin maiden and a nordic warrior princess.  So when we got engaged, I started looking for a dress that fit that picture in my mind.  Here are several that inspired me: (sorry in advance, I don't have all the links for sources.  If you have the source, let me know and I'll give credit.)

This Saja dress that, at the time, was no longer being sold.  They have since revived it and it is now in their 2011 collection.  To me, this looked like an elfin maiden dress.  But I wanted mine long.

This nordic warrior looking dress.  I liked the sharp edges of the neck line and sleeves.

I also liked the whimsicalness of this dress:
 And the elegance of this one... (originally found on Once Wed)

So you see - - my mom had a tall order!  Besides that, I'm a P (perceptive, briggs-meyer) and I couldn't make up my mind.  Even up to the final seams we were adjusting and re-evaluating.

Bottom line?  My mom is a trooper!  She is seriously incredible.  We ended up taking elements that we especially liked from the dresses that I liked and making our own dress out of each element.  We took the sleeves and fabric choice from the first dress.  (Saja makes all their wedding dresses out of silk chiffon).  We took our neck line (sort-of; it ended up being less stark) from the 2nd.  And the 3rd and 4th were just inspiration.  We didnt' really take any one element from them.

We found several different patterns that had the required elements and then my mom began the painstaking process of trial and error.  She bought some cheap white fabric and began making practice dresses for me to try on.  Note: she wasn't just using ONE pattern!  She was using MULTIPLE patterns and PIECING them together!!  She is just incredible!  And all this time, I was away at school!  She would send me a practice dress and then I would try it on and tell her over the phone how it fit.  Too big here, not quite right there.  And then my mom would change the pattern and try again!  All in all, I think she made about 3 practice dresses before actually cutting into the real (and expensive!) fabric.  Speaking of expensive though, we saved a TON of money by making our own.  A dress with as quality of fabric and custom work as mine would be VERY pricey!

For those who are wondering, there were three layers.  A China silk lining layer, the off-white main silk layer, and a covering see-through silk chiffon layer with tiny crinkles.  It was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l and oh so soft!

Last week I took my dress out into the early morning California sunlight and did a photo shoot of it.  So here it is, minus me in it!  For those, you can look back at our wedding pictures.



Thank you, Mom!

Monday, December 06, 2010

For Family (picture update)

Oatmeal bread

Apple Cranberry Pie 

Bow tie (we realized later that it was upside down!)

Just finished

With Uncle Ted :)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Pine Springs Ranch

At the beginning of the school year (ahem - yes, that was a while ago), the school of medicine hosted a retreat up at Pine Springs Ranch.  Early Sabbath morning Barry and I went for a walk and I took the following flower shots.  I've been trying to experiment with bokeh, even though I have a small camera without a nice hefty lens that usually promotes the nice blurry effect.  I think a few of these worked out quite nicely :)

Happy Sabbath!