Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sweet Cherry and Apricot Galette

I referenced this yummy dessert in my Instagram the other day. And now, I give you the official recipe post. Oh boy, is this the perfect Summer dessert! One thing I love the most about making a galette, is that it is so incredibly easy. For those who are scared of making a pie, or who don't have a pie plate, this free-form pie is an easy solution.


 I just love the colors that come from the combination of apricots and cherries. The bright orange, the deep red! People always say that you eat first with your eyes and this galette is a perfect example of that fact. Don't these pictures just make you salivate?

You must make this soon. Cherries are only in season for a short while longer and you can't miss out on the wonderful flavors to be had!



Sweet Cherry and Apricot Galette
(adapted from Natasha's Kitchen)

Ingredients:
1 lb. apricots, sliced
2 cups cherries, pitted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 pie crust (store bought or this favorite recipe)
1/4 cup milk
sugar, for sprinkling on crust

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the apricots and cherries in a bowl with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and almond extract.
  3. Roll pie crust out onto parchment paper and place on sheet pan.
  4. Pour fruit mixture into middle of pie crust, leaving about a 2 inch border on all sides.
  5. Fold pie crust over fruit and pinch to seal. Brush milk on pie crust edges and sprinkle sugar on top.
  6. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, or until crust turns golden brown and the fruit juices are syrupy. 
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5 months {Jessica}


Well, another month has come and gone. Jessica is a such a ray of sunshine for our lives.
This month's photoshoot just happened to coincide with the 4th of July, so our little girl is very festively dressed for the occasion. We took her outside and got some pictures with the "Red Jeep" that's been in Michael's family for years and that he and his Dad fixed up a few years ago. It's a bit of a tradition. Can't wait until she is old enough to take a ride in it!

Enjoy the cute pictures of our "little muggins" as we like to call her!







Exciting updates:

Jessica has started to shake her head back and forth throughout the day. She's all smiles while she does it. I guess I tend to shake my head back and forth when I play with her and make funny sounds to get her to laugh, so I'm assuming she's picked up on this and is imitating me! Just a sign that children are always watching you!

She likes to hold my finger while nursing. Some babies, I've heard, like to grab onto their mother's shirts or necklaces, but Jessica always wants to hold my finger in her little hand. If I take my hand away where she can't grab it, she will reach up for it until I put it back where she can grasp onto a finger. She loves affection, that is for sure!

Jessica is still a wonderful sleeper, babbling to herself as she goes to sleep and when she wakes up. It's the cutest thing...ever.

She gets so enthusiastic during her bath time, kicking her legs and flailing her arms around. Things are starting to get very wet as she splashes about! Her favorite thing is the blue cup we use to rinse her off with. She reaches for it and wants to hold it (and chew on it) the entire time.

Jessica has started solids! We gave her her first rice cereal and she looked at us like, "What is this stuff? You have tainted my favorite thing to eat (breastmilk)!" She would almost shiver after taking spoonfuls in her mouth. Haha. But, I think she'll get the hang of it and enjoy veggies and fruits once we get to those.

We now go on walks almost every morning, around our neighborhood. We both enjoy taking in all the sights and sounds and Jessica usually falls asleep in the stroller by the end. I guess I'm a soothing stroller pusher!

We always get so many compliments on how cute and sweet she is. Just the other Sunday, a sister in our ward must've said how cute she was at least a dozen times in our conversation. She asked me, "(With a baby that cute) How do you get anything done during the day?" I jokingly told her I don't usually get too much done, and she said, "Good!" This same lady also made the gesture of squeezing Jessica when she talked about her. It's true. We love to hug, kiss, and squeeze her all day long.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rule #6

Please be considerate of other's time when holding a meeting. It's important to keep in mind for one time meetings and doubly important for regularly occurring meetings.
You may enjoy flapping your mouth talking about everything under the sun but other people don't care what you have to say. If there's no business to be conducted, be considerate that other people would like to reclaim that time to go be productive.

Rule #5

Don't inch out.
When exiting a parking lot or anytime you're attempting to make a left turn onto any street. Stay far enough behind so anyone turning right can see around you. Sure it's tempting as you see traffic clear up and you think you may see an opportunity, don't fall into the trap of letting your foot off of the brake if you don't really intend on going. Because what happens is when you release your foot off of the brake, your automatic transmission in your car is going to inch you forward and you risk receiving the wrath of the driver turning right because you keep blocking his view with your car.

Rule #4

Don't lead out!

When making a left turn don't lead out into the intersection. Stay behind the solid white line until the intersection is clear for you to make your turn. By staying behind the line you gain greater visibility down the road to know when it's clear for you to make your turn. If you lead out then it blocks the vision of the person across from you who is turning left. Also you never know when emergency vehicles will come through an intersection and by not leading out, you're keeping the intersection clear and keeping you safe from any speeding vehicle.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chicken Schnitzel

Remember that one time that I had a baby and people brought lots of food to the house in the first couple weeks of parenthood? Yeah, that was amazing. And this recipe is a result of that time. Our sweet next door neighbors are an elderly couple and the wife (Krista) is from Germany. She's been in the states for decades, but she still has the accent and the fiery personality to boot! She cracks me up.

When it was their night to make us dinner, Krista made us Chicken Schnitzel. Now, I'd never had it before and had always wanted to try it. Oh. my. goodness. 

It was the best thing I believe I've ever eaten. Moist chicken coated in homemade breadcrumbs and fried in a pan. Served with yummy mashed potatoes which most certainly had plenty of butter and pepper in them (a must). Definitely comfort food at its finest. Michael and I wanted to eat the entire pan, but stopped ourselves because we knew leftovers would taste even better. We wanted to continue the yummy-ness for one more day.

After our gracious introduction to the German staple, I decided I was going to learn how to make it, and make it so it tasted just as good (or even better) than our sweet neighbor's recipe. Besides, she didn't have a recipe to share anyway. When I asked her, she said, "Oh, I just put a little of this and a little of that". Typical "good cook" language. You never really measure anything, it's all by feel.

Luckily, schnitzel is a very basic breaded chicken, so as long as you have the ingredients to accomplish a breading and do things in the right order, you're set! It took me a couple tries to get this recipe where I wanted it, and Michael and I both agree...it rivals Krista's very own authentic recipe! Mission accomplished.

Now all we have to do is stop ourselves from wanting to make it every week. It's not the healthiest of meals (nothing fried is), and it does take a good hour once everything is said and done. So, I'd save this for a Sunday meal when you have more time to devote to it and you're not running around with the kids during the weekdays. 

All that said, you won't regret it. I can promise you that.

Chicken Schnitzel
(adapted from Serious Eats)

Ingredients:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half, about 8 ounces each
6 slices sandwich bread
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon parsley, for garnish

Directions:
  1. In an oven pre-heated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, place bread on sheet pan and toast until golden brown. Tear toasted bread into large pieces, transfer to a food processor, and pulse until bread is broken down into medium-fine crumbs. Transfer breadcrumbs to a large shallow dish.
  2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place one chicken breast half in a resealable plastic bag. Using a meat pounder or rolling pin, pound chicken breast into an even thickness about 1/4-inch in height. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
  3. Set wire rack on a sheet pan. Place flour in a large shallow dish. Place egg in another large shallow dish and beat until well mixed. Coat one chicken cutlet in flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer chicken cutlet to egg wash and coat evenly, letting any excess run off. Transfer to bread crumbs and coat evenly, pressing lightly to ensure bread crumbs stick.
  4. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet on medium-high heat until it is hot, but not smoking. Place one chicken cutlet in oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, flipping as needed if bread crumbs begin to darken too much. 
  5. Transfer schnitzel to wire rack and repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with mashed potatoes.
Notes
- You can use sandwich bread from the shelf for the breadcrumbs, or I like to get bread from the "day old" section at our grocery store, as sometimes you can find really good stuff there and it's already a bit dry.
- This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, depending on how much you need to make. With 2 chicken breasts, we make enough for 4 full servings (or 2 servings and leftovers for the both of us the next day).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our First Mother's and Father's Day

We both really enjoyed our first holidays to celebrate being parents! How full and rich our lives are now that we have little Jessica in our lives. She brings so much happiness and a very sweet spirit into our home. Mother's Day weekend was filled going to buy plants and flowers for our garden and flower beds and getting them planted into the ground (my favorite part of Spring/Summer). Our yard is really starting to look beautiful after all the hard work we've put in since last year! Soon I'll have to do a post about the yard and new veggies we are experimenting with growing.



Father's Day weekend was an adventure as we took Jessica on her very first hike! I can say that she has started hiking way younger than I ever did. I think I was a teenager at Girls' Camp by the time that happened for me, so she's definitely ahead of the curve! She was such a trooper as she looked around and made funny "ooh" and "ahh" sounds along with blowing some pretty cute raspberries when she was really excited. Then, she fell asleep for a good portion of the hike back out of the canyon. 

Michael was also able to get a bike ride in AND Jessica and I got him some much loved and needed presents. They included a 12 inch cast iron skillet and a BBQ/Camping tool set for all his outdoor cooking, plus a little device from ThinkGeek that makes creepy sounds so he can play pranks on his coworkers while at the office. He's already used that little "EvilTron" (as it's called) to joke around with some of his friends at work!






What wonderful weekends they were and we cherish the memories we've made :)