Friday, July 30, 2010

a few days over in monterey...

s said before for Martin's birthday we went on a small kayaking excursion in Monterey at the Elkhorn Slough, and also over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was a wonderful weekend. Here's a few pictures. Of course we brought no real camera, but camera phones can capture the memories as well.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Husband

Martin had a birthday this weekend! We have had such a great week and it is only going to get better. We spent a day in Santa Cruz at the beach and downtown with Jen for day one of his birthday celebration. Then we spent a day and a night in Monterey, which was one of the best days I think either of us have ever had. We drove up early in the morning and kayaked the Elkhorn Slough which starts at the mouth of the bay, but you kayak up and around marshlands were seals, otters, jellyfish, birds and lots of wildlife is all around. It was amazing, I'll say that. Then we went to the aquarium, which I haven't done since I was little, and spent the evening in the honeymoon suite at the Colton Inn (an adorable bed and breakfast). Today we leave for the Russian river and will not be back until next Sunday, we can't wait!
For the cake, which I forgot the night of the Santa Cruz day, I had a little surprise party planned for Martin at my parents house just so I could have the opportunity to make him a cake, which was a Reese's peanut butter cake! I haven't done too much with peanut butter so this was an experiment for me. I found a similar cake to the one I made so I visually based the cake on that, and then I looked around for a peanut butter buttercream, and decided to whip up my own. It was delicious! I recommend it!


peanut butter reese's cake

peanut butter reese's cake

Peanut Butter Buttercream
(this is for one basic cake mix)

3/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter (1 cube)
3 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 T. vanilla
1/2 c. cream

Cream the peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until the powdered sugar is completely combined and there are no lumps. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time while mixing until all milk is in. Mix in vanilla. You can just add milk until the desired texture is reached if you prefer to not use cream, or if you don't have any on hand. But the cream gives it more rich and cohesive consistency. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sifted powdered sugar to thicken the frosting or add more milk to thin.

Chocolate Ganache

1 bag of semi sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of cream

You can mix the two ingredients of a double boiler, until chocolate is completely combined and then for about 2 more minutes over the heat with a whisk, or use a microwave. In a glass bowl add both ingredients. Heat for about 1 minute, and whisk. Heat for another 30 seconds and mix. Keep heating and mixing until chocolate has melted completely. Make sure to whisk thoroughly at every break.
If the ganache is for a filling, which I did use for one layer, you will want to refrigerate it before use. If the ganache is to pour over the top, you will want it at about room temperature.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Green Beans

Our garden is doing amazing! We have been getting more green beans and zucchini than we even know what to do with and it's wonderful. It's like a dream come true for me to have it right in my back yard; we are so lucky to live somewhere that has the space, sun, and weather for a garden. The green beans have been my favorite. They're the easiest plant to keep maintained and they don't get very big (if you do bush beans) and they're delicious! We have really been trying to change our eating habits around here and having fresh produce at hand really helps. So at dinner, no matter what we're having (even if it's burger night) I put together a little vege number. Martin's favorite is anything with grilled onions, which my dad has in high supply over at his garden so I try to grab one every now and then, just the onion of course, they don't come pre grilled :) I love to saute my vegetables. It's easy and fast and it keeps the texture and snap of the green beans. My suggestion of the week; throw a few more vegetables into the eating regimen, your body will thank you for it.
The green bean photo shoot.. oh, and I have yellow green beans too :)




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Summer Fun

I thought I would give a brief run down on what we have been up to this summer; pretty much, just having fun. We are both in school in the fall and we are taking advantage of the great weather and all the family we have near by. One of our favorite pass times of the summer has been S'mores night (which we've had a few of). We bulked the campfire and s'mores night with the campout one of the nights, which was a lot of fun. The point of this, other than the fun, was to try out the brand new tent! Another night we had a campfire and then played hide and go seek in the dark out in the park, and when you're with 3 year olds, that is just a whole lot of fun. Martin, Jen, and I have made a few trips out to the beach and the boardwalk. And the pool is of course a favorite stop this summer.
Week after next we will be going on vacation with Martin's family to the Russian river. Martin's grandparents rent out two lovely and large houses right on the river and all the aunts uncles and cousins make it out for the week; where we kayak, canoe, swim, lounge, eat, lounge, eat some more, golf, miniature golf, rock jump, read, watch movies, and occasionally sing :) It is a week we look forward to all year round, we just love it.
This weekend, for Martin's birthday we will be kayaking in the monterey bay (lets hope the sharks all went south for the summer, yikes).
Just a few photos from this summer's fun..

the campout/S'mores night (one of them)

the new tent :) we love deals at R.E.I.

yes, we believe there were complications with Todd at birth

beautiful Heidi and Liz
Ry and Mels family were unfortunately only involved on the non picture night, but we love them just the same:)

yes Jennifer still cannot keep from doing bunny ears in every 1st shot

my favorite little man to lounge by the pool with

the awesome Boardwalk

some of us love rollercoasters :)

My suggestions to have fun with your family this summer...
  • Buy a fire pit, they sell them at walmart and target, and I think they are fabulous! It allows you to have a small contained fire in your own backyard. Make S'mores! Have a campout!

  • Go to your neighborhood pool! Make friends with a family that has a pool!

  • Go to the beach! If you have a beach. (California is just so wonderful, Santa Cruz is our favorite place).

  • BBQ more often. Everyone has one, so get outside and make some hot dogs and hamburgers.

  • Have movie nights! Make popcorn!

  • Go to the drive ins!

  • Have picnics, eat outside!

All in all, I just hope you're having such a great summer.


Kristin Ann :)

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas with a Cilantro Green Chili Sauce


1 large onion minced (very fine)
2 packages of cream cheese (16 ounces)
1 lb. container of sour cream
3 cups grated cheese
1 can of olives
10 flour tortillas (medium, about 8 inches)
4 cups of chicken cooked and chopped
3 T. milk

Cilantro Green Chili Sauce:
2 cans of green chilies
1 bunch of cilantro
1 lime
½ c. olive oil

The chicken can be chicken breasts of chicken off the bone whichever you prefer. Sometimes I use leftover baked chicken or you can grill, boil, or bake chicken breasts.

In a large sauce pan heat up a little bit of olive oil, or butter, to sauté the minced onion; cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Take off heat and add cream cheese. Add sour cream and whisk until there are no more lumps, or close to none. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove about 1/3 of the mixture and set aside (it will be poured on top later). To the large amount of the cream mixture add the olives, chopped, the cut up chicken, and 1 ½ cups of the shredded cheese.

In a 9x13 pan start to assemble the enchiladas. I use a 1 cup measuring cup to spoon the chicken mixture into each tortilla (each tortillas will need about 1 cup of the mixture). Spread it lengthwise on the tortilla and roll up, place fold side down in the pan. If on your last 2 it looks as though you’ll have less or more than 1 cup of the filling for each just try to split it evenly among the two.

Add a few tablespoons of milk to the 1/3 of the cream mixture that you set aside. Pour that mixture over the top of the enchiladas and spread evenly. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. The edges should all begin to bubble when it is done. When this happens, add the other 1 ½ cups of shredded cheese to the top of the enchiladas and bake another 5 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

While the enchiladas are baking puree the chilies, cilantro, olive oil, and juice from 1 lime, in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. This will be the sauce to go over the enchiladas, just a small amount. I usually save some cilantro to sprinkle on each serving as well.
P.S. This recipe is only about a quarter mine. My Mom has been making enchiladas similar to these for years. She uses cream of chicken soup usually, and it is a very common recipe, I just switched a few things around :)

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

my breakfast, arugula and feta omelette

Lately I've been trying to think of recipes that incorporate the produce I've got growing right in my backyard. This morning I went out and picked a handful of arugula, cherry tomatoes, a pablono pepper, a zucchini the size of my arm (no joke) and a handful of green beans. Well this is what I decided to go with.



4 eggs

3 T. milk

salt and pepper

2 T. butter (or olive oil)

5 large arugula leaves

a handful of cherry tomatoes or diced tomatoes

crumbled feta (however much you would like)

Whisk the eggs, milk, dash of salt and pepper in a bowl till slightly fluffy. Place 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saute pan on medium heat. Once butter has melted and you have covered the bottom of the pan add the egg mixture. Keep on heat for 3-5 minutes. If the bottom begins to brown too much, turn down heat. When the eggs are close to cooked I like to flip it over (if you can keep it in tact) so that it is cooked all the way through. After a minute take omelet of pan and place on serving place brown side down. Sprinkle feta on half of the omelet. In the same saute pan add the last tablespoon of butter and add tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes and add arugula. You can lightly salt and pepper the vegetables. After a minute (you don't want the arugula to completely loose shape) take off heat and add to the half of the omelet with the feta and fold the top half over. A 4 egg omelet is usually shared between martin and I; if you're making it for 1, use a smaller pan and cut back to 3 eggs. Enjoy!




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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Bee-Day Cake :)

Lizzie had a honey bee themed birthday party!
The cake was a vanilla cake with apricot filling and my vanilla buttercream frosting with a touch of honey and coloring added to the mix.

For the cake I use a basic white cake mix and add a little bit of vanilla flavoring. Make sure not to over cook the cake!
For the frosting I used my vanilla buttercream frosting, added a few tablespoons of honey, and a little bit of food coloring to give it the pastel yellow that I was looking for.








As little party favors we bottled our homegrown honey. Cute Heidi had some great ideas :) And isn't Lizzie the cutest birthday girl ever!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Little Lizzie turns 3!


Everyone's favorite 3 year old had a birthday this week, and was lucky enough to get to celebrate with her! I love my family and I love that we're all so close.
The adorable cake is a yellow cake with chocolate ganache frosting, delish. This Friday Liz is having a for reals birthday party that we're all excited for!

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