I love my Monday off (especially the one that comes with the normal 2 day weekend).

Today the kitchen was turned into a cookie factory.  Honestly, I am seriously considering quitting my day job to open a bakery.  (Calm down Mom and Dad, when I said seriously above, it was more a figure of speech than true, honest, seriousness). 

My new love:  Royal Icing.

My love affair started last month in my quest to make Valentine’s Day cookies to send to my friends.  Now, don’t get upset that you didn’t get them.  No, it does not mean you are not my friend.  It simply means that they are packaged up really cute and still sitting on the kitchen table.  I’m gonna refrain from sending them out at this point.

Today I decided to give the cookie making another whirl!  It turned out pretty well and my love for royal icing is confirmed.  I’ll probably try to find more and more reasons to use it.  It’s simple.  It’s cheap.  It is durable enough to send. 

Here’s the recipe:

1 egg white + 1 cup of confectioners sugar + 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

(If you want to make more, it’s the same ratio – 1 to 1 to 1)

Beat the egg white until it is foamy.  Slowly add the confectioners sugar and beat at a high speed until thick.  Mix in the vanilla.

The icing should be fairly runny, but stiff enough to hold itself in a ribbon for about 5 seconds before dissolving back into itself.

(I told you it was easy.)


Yeah, I’m pretty much glued to the TV…so, that’s my excuse for not blogging.  Here’s a general update:

A few weekends ago I went hiking.  And came across this guy and his buddy.


The Garden:

It’s pretty ridiculous. 

If you simply bury chunks of potato in the ground, you’ll actually grow potatoes.  Hmmmm.

The new plant in the foreground is the new blueberry bush.  And the bottles in the background are the aphid killing machines (organic), that are not so much working…ladybugs are being ordered tomorrow.  Hmmmm.

Tiny red pepper!!

I made a huge batch of really cute valentine’s day cookies to send to my family and friends.  Unfortunately, I suck at actually mailing things.  Two packages of what I imagine are pretty stale cookies are still on the counter.  As for the rest, well, at least I have two roommates that were more than willing to eat them.  Maybe we’ll try again for St. Patti’s Day or something.

Today I am making angel food chocolate cupcakes with the coconut frosting for German Chocolate Cake.  I’ll post the recipe tomorrow (ok, sometime this week).  But for now here’s a picture of the untopped cupcakes.

I am traveling to Seattle and Portland in two weeks for a conference and I couldn’t be more excited!!  And my brother got engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Erin over Valentine’s weekend.  They set a date for summer 2011 in MONTANA!!  I am already super excited to check another state off my list!


And finally, gratuitously cute pictures of my nieces:

It’s snowing…

…a lot.

Hopefully that means I’ll get some time tomorrow to blog about my adventures this past weekend.  Think feathers.  And check back tomorrow!

We got bugs: Update

Yesterday I came home from a very long meeting at work about Farmer’s Markets to find Nathan giving the tomato plant a bath.  Seriously, huge tomato plant in the bathtub with him washing the leaves, stems, etc. down with soapy water. 

Let’s just say we don’t have any bugs anymore.

And much to my surprise, the plant is still alive this morning.

We got bugs

…on our tomatoes.  This is a call for tips. 

We recently noticed the little green bugs that hang out on tomato plants all over one of ours.  I read a little about them, and apparently they drink the milky juice from the stem and leaves of the plant.  Which, I can only assume means that they are harmful to the plants.  Plus, well, they are bugs…not a big deal outside, but now they are inside.  On my turf…er…tomato plants.

Does anyone know how to get rid of these little guys?  We’re not really going for a totally organic garden, so if you have a non-organic solution, feel free to pass it along.  We tried the dishsoap mixed with water in the spray bottle approach, which sorta worked.  But it is tedious and a temporary solution.

Nathan doing an experiment with the dish soap and bugs.  It was only slightly less torturous than frying ants with a magnifying glass.


Check out the Gardening page for updated pictures of the tomato plants!!!

A New Hobby

I’ve fallen into a pretty boring routine lately.  Morning stuff, commute to work, work, commute home, work out, make dinner (if it’s my night), eat dinner, and then lounge around the house.  I’ve not been doing much knitting (though I am trying to inspire myself to knit premie hats or something like that); the garden, well, I don’t need to watch it grow every second; I also haven’t been inspired to do much baking lately either; I am planning a trip to Portland (for a work conference), so occasionally I look up something for that…but other than that, I have been pretty bored.  And well, if you’re bored, then you’re boring.  And I don’t want to be boring.

I was told that I need to get a hobby.  So…

Crossword puzzles.  Every night I do the crossword puzzle from the Redeye newspaper.  Yeah, I may be lame, but if you need to know the four letter word for Dial or Ivory, I’ve got your answer!

Jack Frost

At my cushy forest preserve job, I have to work every third weekend (or as it sometimes happens, 3 weekends a month – as it happened in January).  I really don’t enjoy the weekend shift, as well, it’s the weekend.  Especially in the winter, we’re not that busy on weekends.  It is a good chance to get work done with no-one else in the office, but it also gets very boring.  Thankfully, my boss is pretty cool and only requires us to be at work during the hours the museum is open.  So on Saturdays, that’s 6 hours and on Sunday, 4. 

I really don’t like the 4 hour Sunday shift.  It’s right in the middle of the day…and it’s only 4 hours.  That’s a lot of effort for just a few hours, and probably less than 10 visitors (if any). 

Yesterday was my third weekend on this month, and I was really loathing going to work.  It was sunny in the city and the temperature was almost 40.  Nathan and I got breakfast at one of our favorite diners (best skillet ever)…and when 11:00 rolled around, there wasn’t much motivation.  There were so many other things I could think to spend my time on.  But, well, if I don’t show up to work, I’m pretty sure they’ll stop paying me.

As I headed out of the city, the cloud cover moved in and the temp dropped about 10 degrees.  The further out I went, the more white it became.  The suburbs got a dusting of frost.  Thankfully I packed my camera (with my awesome new lens!).  I had been really uninspired when it came to taking winter photos…until I got to work.

There was a sprinkle of frost and little crystals on all the prairie plants!

It was absolutely gorgeous.

And it gave me a chance to use my new lens.

So, it wasn’t a total bust.  And when I was leaving, a bunch of deer were snacking on our shrubs.

Also…check out the B&C tab for a delicious recipe!