Friday, December 21

Christmas Tarts

Harper thinks garlic should be added to the tarts this year.
 This Saturday is the Swift Cookie Party, so it's time to make my mom's pecan tarts!  There isn't much to these delicious little wonders, but they do take a bit of time to fill the crust dough into the pan.

The filling is eggs, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt.  The dough can be any pie crust dough, but mom's is cream cheese, flour, and butter.

I didn't have enough cream cheese on hand, so I supplemented with shortening. 

 I had some extra so I made a small pie for Dan and I to share for dessert.

Are you sure you don't want to add garlic, Mom?

Heart crock was a gift from Sarah for our wedding!  It is adorable!  It isn't really meant for this purpose, but still worked great.

 They are little, perfect, pecan pies!    Love them!

Wednesday, December 19

Spicy Pecans

 Dan and I would like to give out some small gift at our Cousin Christmas night, but there are now too many people to give individual gifts.  I've been looking into ways to use the Pecans my dad sent me (6 pounds!) besides my usual pie and tarts. 

I found a recipe in County Living Magazine for spicy cocktail Pecans and thought I'd give it a try.  I halved the call for amount, as I didn't want to waste my delicious pecans if I didn't like how they turned out.

The recipe I followed was:

3 Cups Pecan halves
1/2 stick of butter (unsalted ) Melted
2 Teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Teaspoon of sea salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (it should have been just 1/2 teaspoon, but I love garlic)

Oven on 325 degrees.  Combine ingredients, then poor over Pecans.  Toss to mix then put on baking sheet in a flat layer.  Bake for 7-8 minutes, stir, the bake for 7-8 more until nuts are toasted.

Pre-baked nuts.  I store my nuts in the freezer, so when I poured the melted mixture on them, it congealed again. 

After being toasted!  Bonus: the house smells delish.


I'm storing them in a tin lined with wax paper.  

Tasting thoughts:

They taste very similar to the chex mix Dan's mom makes.  They aren't as spicy as I would have imaged them to be (since they were called spicy cocktail pecans).  I don't know if we'll make this for the fam, but we'll certainly eat the 3 cups I made of it.  Perhaps I'll try batch adding some other seasonings (thinking red pepper flake, cumin, more Tabasco as options).

Wednesday, December 5


I tried my hand at making caramels (Thanks Martha Stewart for the info!).  It went alright.  I learned some things about what not to do after the caramels were made, but the making and eating all went off without a hitch. 

Ingredients and my Nook with recipe

Starting off.  It takes a while to get it up to the right temperature.  The recipe said about 15 minutes.  I didn't have my heat up for that, as it took about 35 for mine to reach the necessary 248 degrees.

Still cookin.

It was great to watch the bubbles as the consistency changed.

Getting more carmel-y

Almost there! 

As soon as it gets to temp, the recipe says to hall ass though the last steps (ie: add vanilla and salt, then pour into cookie sheet with greased paper)

Yummmm...Caramel.  Well, soon.  You let it sit for 8 HOURS, then you can cut it. 

Inspired by my sister's love of salted caramels, I thought to try it.  It was a win.

And then they got wrapped. 

It doesn't look like 120 caramels, does it?

One of the boxes for a friend

The ingredients list on the inside.

The boxes for Dan's workish party.

The got all dolled up for the holidays! 

Wednesday, November 21


  I can bake a few things fairly well.  I'm happy to be providing dessert for thanksgiving, and also happy to use the heart shaped pie dish from my favorite Sarah Rupke.  Although the shape of the pan means I have to piece-meal the dough to cover its shape, it is just so darn pretty that it's worth the extra time.  I'm so excited to share it.  

It has been a whirlwind-super-awesome year.  I'm so happy to have wonderful friends and family to be thankful for. 

Monday, September 17

Behind the brother!

My brother has one of those job when you tell someone about it, they ooh and ahh and wish they could do something so adventurous.  He has been working with traveling shows around the world for the last, oh, 4 plus years, - sometimes living on tour buses, sometimes short stays in hotels.  He lives out of a suitcase.  He wears all black clothes.  He knows some serious skills both in carpentry and in rigging, and he's so good, he was just hired at a show in Las Vegas called La Reve.

That's right. He will work on keeping all those crazy-good acrobats airborne and safe. How great does this show look?!  So yay for my Bro and his new gig, and yay for not having to live out of a suitcase any longer :)

Sunday, September 2

A Comic for Comma

Dan and I have been caring for my sister's cat for the past two years while she teaches abroad in Turkey.  Comma came with all sorts of new things that took a bit of getting used to: a climbing tree, bath wash, 6 or 7 different types of brushes, a snazzy collar, and lady cat smells.  My boys, Baxter and Kodak, didn't really know what to make of her. 

Comma is a bit of a loner.  While my boys are more likely to be found on the back of the couch or in the middle of the bed sleeping, Comma would squeeze on to a bit of shelf above the washer and dryer, or scamper to the top of my pile of fabric.  She doesn't rough house or chase the ball around her track/scratch mat, but she was an ace with the lazer pointer, and will shed her shy disposition when ever it made an appearance.

Some changes have happened over this last year.  My sister and her husband are thinking ahead for what will be best for their combined futures abroad.  They made the hard decision to be apart for the next 18 months so Adam can equip himself with a teaching certificate, allowing more placement options and less boredom.

When Ciara flew back to Turkey this past August, instead of flying with her husband, she took her furry family instead.  Comma is back with her human, and we are back to a two cat household. 

I forget where I came across these post cards, but in cleaning out a pile today, I found one that make me think Comma.  
By: Jeffrey Brown
Comma loves to sit on the highest furniture possible, which is the kitchen counter in my house.  The above illustration is her idea of playing. 

We miss Comma, but if you'll recall from previous posts, I'm a huge proponent of feline adventures.  I'm sure she is happily soaking up some Turkish sunshine. 

Monday, August 27

Wedding photos

I'm starting to go through wedding photos.  It's a long and slow process.  There are hundreds to sort and pick through.  I just posted some at Swiftly Wed.  Take a look!

Tuesday, August 14

Engagement Photos?

A few weeks before our wedding ceremony, Dan and I met with our photographer to get to know one another.  I hesitate to call them engagement photos.  It was casual, and I think it helped our wedding photos having had this little session under our belt. 

We were at The Navy Pier on a cold, rainy day, but we didn't let it damped our spirits (he he.)

This is us, back in the beginning of May.  Oh and our photographer was Yvette Marie Dostani.  She was GREAT to work with.

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