Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Look at Last Week - Sushi and Snow

Ah so once again we return for A Look at Last Week. If you didn't catch last weeks recap you can still check it out HERE. I'm enjoying having a space to do a quick recap and share some of the things that are going on in our world.

Who doesn't love Aggie ice cream when it's snowing out?!?

First up is some serious snow I encountered going to and from work. I must say I don't find it terrible yet because it's so different than Vegas winters so I think this winter I'll enjoy it for the most part. Yes I'm sure there will be days I won't like the snow but overall I've never really hated it and it will be fun to enjoy it with Russell this year. My in-laws got him a cute little sled that we can strap him in and pull him through the snow so that will be fun this year. I can't wait for enough show for him to enjoy that. So far I've just slowed down going to work and understand that if I'm late I'm late. I tend to work late or work from home anyway so I figured better to arrive late than not at all. Hopefully others will think that way too and I won't encounter too many crazy people who think snow = roaring by at 80 MPH is a good idea. BOO! Just because you're in an SUV or 4-wheel drive doesn't make you crash proof! OY!

Snow, snow and more snow. The poor roses outside looked cold.

Next up is our adventures in sushi! I got SUPER lucky this past week and had sushi twice! Ah heaven! Nothing like enjoying some good times with good folks and family. If you're on Yelp find me and let's be friends. I don't review everything but I'm trying to be better at it. I know I often go to Yelp when we're looking for something new or non-chain so I'm adding my two cents. I know I'm really not picky about food but hey I'm adding what I know when I get a chance. Yelp is also an app you can download if you have a smartphone and I use mine all the time! Get online and find me on there!

If you love American Gladiators this is the place to go! BA HA HA!

My first sushi was our date night. We went with our great friends Tiffany and Kevin. We love hanging out with them because they have kids too and their youngest is a boy that's close to Russell's age. It's hilarious to share our war stories and realize we're not alone in the insanity that is raising kids. HA! We went to try Simply Sushi because we bought a KSL Deal which gave us $50 of food for $25. If you'd like, check out my review on YELP.

Playboy, Tokyo, Hawaiian and Rainbow Roll. Plus where my peeps at? Friends are apparently coming back to me!

My second sushi adventure for the week was with my family. It's always fun to go out with them because you never know what they're going to pick. Sometimes it's as quick as fast food and other times it's more diner style places. This time it was Fortune Cookie. It's a Japanese/Chinese restaurant in Riverton so it's close and convenient. Russell likes rice, miso soup and tofu too so it's nice that he can have some nom-noms while we're there. It was fun to hang out with my family and enjoy more sushi. YUM! You can check out my review on YELP too.

Cats, where's Russell, cheesy faces and happy Russell.

Overall the past week has been fun. Work is crazy busy but I'll be getting help soon thankfully. I can't wait until I'm not the only one in the office doing what I'm doing.

Have you been to any good places to eat lately? Are you on Yelp? If you're on Yelp let me know so we can be friends!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

November Photo a Day Challenge

Alright friends! It's time again for a new photo challenge. If you've been playing along you can check out some of my past adventures that I shared on the blog. I post all the pictures for the challenge on Instagram so if you're on request to be my friend and you'll be able to see my interpretations of the photo challenge.

Just like last month I'm not all about reinventing the wheel so I use the photo challenge from Fat Mum Slim. It's an Australian based blog and Chantelle posts a new challenge each month. If you want to get involved click HERE for the list. I hope to see your fun pics online. Remember the challenge is low key. If you miss a day just post it the next day or skip and move on to whatever day you're on. Here's some pics that didn't make it into the photo challenge but were just fun anyway.

Who's my sweet little duckie man?

I got new glasses!!! YAY! I can see again!

Sleepy cat! Silly Minx.

Are you participating in the Photo a Day challenge from FMS or do you have another challenge you prefer?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday's Supper - Simple Cream Scones

Ah yes. Not every recipe needs to be dinner! Especially when they are delightful and delicious scones. These are not your average scone. They are light and fluffy on the inside and could be made with so many different variations it makes me happy to think about making more. YUM! They're even still good the next day unlike some scones that just turn rock hard if you don't eat them right away. I have no clue if they'd hold up to day three because we finished them off on the second day. We sent some over with my Mom and everyone reported liking them too. Don't wait, don't hesitate, go to the store and buy what you need to make these. They're definitely going to become part of my breakfast and snack recipe favorites for sure. 

Simple Cream Scones
by The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Resist the urge to eat the scones hot out of the oven, as letting them cool for at least 10 minutes firms them up and improves their texture.

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) currants (optional)
1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a food processor to combine, about 3 pulses. Scatter the butter evenly over the top and continue to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few slightly larger butter lumps, about 12 more pulses, Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the currants (if using). Stir in the cream with a rubber spatula until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
3. Turn the dough and any floury bits out onto a floured counter and knead until it forms a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Following the photos, press the dough into a 9-inch cake pan. Unmold the dough and cut into 8 wedges.
4. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the scone tops are lightly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through baking. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* I used 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour and it worked great!
* I added chocolate chips instead of currants.
* I used 3/4 cup heavy cream + 1/4 cup whole milk because I didn't have enough cream. I don't think I would go any less cream than that though because I think that makes a big difference in the final texture.
* I totally skipped putting the dough into the cake pan. I just shaped it into a round in the same way the picture show I just didn't put it in the cake pan and it worked fine. Why dirty another dish for that. Meh! Oh and a butter knife worked fine to cut the dough.
* At least in my oven, I didn't need the full 12 minutes at 450. I think doing 6 min at 450 then rotating and cooking for less time or dropping the temp would have helped. Mine were just at the point they were about to burn and I had them on a Silpat mat too. If they weren't on that I think they would have burned for sure. 
* Joe requested a glaze so I made half the recipe for a cookie glaze in the same cookbook and it worked great. You could also consider a chocolate drizzle or some other type of topping like sprinkling a coarse sugar on top before baking.

Easy All-Purpose Glaze
by The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
Food coloring, as needed (optional)

Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth. Spread the glaze onto completely cooled cookies using the back of a spoon or pipe the glaze onto cookies to form a pattern or design. Let the glaze dry completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.

* As I mentioned I only made half the recipe because I knew I didn't need a ton of glaze.
* I think I may have put the full 2 tablespoons of cream cheese in anyway.
* I whisked the cream cheese and milk first to make that smooth and then added the sugar. I didn't have any issues with lumps doing that.
* I added maybe a little more than 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the final mix. You could definitely add other extracts or flavors depending on what you prefer.

Do you have a favorite breakfast recipe? Is there a type of food you've wanted to make but were afraid to try?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Heart My Body 2012

Ladies, and maybe gents too, tell me the last time you thought something negative about your body? Too fat here, to skinny there, too much this, or not enough that... Bad hair day, bad makeup, bad looking skin, too much cellulite, dang stretch marks, BAH! Then don't get me started on all the ads that look at ladies and say if you're around a 12 or 14 you're suddenly plus sized and must be singled out into your own category of shame. Heaven forbid you be any bigger than an 18 because then where will you be? It feels like the media and ad execs have gotten together to send one giant message of "if you're not a size 2 you obviously don't care about yourself and aren't pretty".

Well dang it all you crazy ad execs out there some of us can't be a size 2 or even a size 7 without practically starving or living at the gym. Seriously. I get that there is an obesity epidemic and some people choose to live unhealthy lifestyles full of processed and fattening foods and little to no exercise. That's not everyone though. Some of us, myself included, just don't seem destined to wear that size 0 and I'm ok with that.

If you ask what brings all this up I'm participating in the We Heart Life: I Heart My Body 2012 campaign. I posted about it here and now it's time to get down and do my part. Imagine if, even just for one day, women (and men) out there loved their bodies. Or even just parts of their bodies. It would raise our spirits and help us see it's not all that bad.

So the campaign goes like this. Post a picture of yourself loving your body. Here's mine:

In Hawaii at the Haleakala Crater.

I'm definitely not about to dare to pose in my undies or anything crazy like that. Sure that works for some but not for me. I'm also rather clothed in this pic but hey it was cold. What do you do.

The campaign also asks you to "share your story about your body, and how you came to love it or if you are still working on loving your body".

I chose this picture because at this time I can say I was pretty happy with my body. I'd worked hard to lose weight for our wedding and to keep it off for our honeymoon. At that time I wasn't "perfect" but that's what happens when you get older and I knew that. I wasn't as thin as I used to be back in high school but I was pretty comfortable in my skin.

Since then I've had a baby and passed 30. I feel those are two easy ways for your body to start to get the best of you. I wasn't working out much if at all but I was eating pretty well. Unfortunately that still included desserts and the occasional meal that was a big out of control. HA! I can honestly say at times I have completely and totally hated my body. There have been days I could find nothing at all that I liked. Post pregnancy hair that is broken and falling out, pain in my feet, ankles and joints from who knows what, stretch marks and cellulite that seemed would be there forever and fat deposits that changed how even my clothes fit. BOO! The hatred I felt for my body was real and was intense.

Most days I still feel my body is a horrible mistake and that somehow if I wish hard enough it will all go away. I mean after all there are those ladies out there that have multiple kids and still have flat stomachs and no thighs within the first month after giving birth. Maybe they have a better lotion or potion or diet plan that makes it all possible. Or maybe genetics were just a little kinder to them. Either way I'm definitely not happy with my body most days.

In the spirit of the challenge though, and in my efforts to stop hating my body, I'm listing the three things I love about my body. *Sigh... So here goes...
1. I love that, for the most part, my body still works and caries me through the day. I work with someone who has limited mobility and have seen just a fraction of the challenges he endures at work. I know that's just a tiny fraction of what he deals with and for that I know I should be truly grateful for what I have because it would be so different if I couldn't walk or use my hands or something else.

2. I love my hands. Yes they hurt at times and even they have gotten bigger since having Russell but I can still type, play the piano, pick up my baby and help others with my hands. It's a blessing to be able to touch and feel and use all my fingers and thumbs.

3. I love my feet. They are my foundation and carry me from place to place. They aren't the most beautiful and often I wake up with them hurting so bad I can barely walk until I get warmed up and going but they work and keep me grounded.

It's a start. I don't suddenly love my body and everything about it but maybe one day I will. I am taking steps to get to that space where my body isn't my enemy. I'm starting some lifestyle changes with Joe that will hopefully lead to some weight loss, toning of things that aren't toned anymore and an energy boost that could definitely help how I feel overall. So, it's really not that bad. If you are participating be sure to leave the link to your post in the comments so I can read your story. Don't be afraid to share and please, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

What do you love about your body? What do you do to keep your body happy and in a shape that you love? Do you struggle with body image issues or have you always loved your body?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Look at Last Week - Ducks, Gardens and Geese OH MY!

I've decided that sometimes there are some fun pictures I've taken that I would like to share that maybe don't need a whole blog post. Should that happen you'll see my A Look at Last Week post that will include pictures from some of our adventures or the random things I've taken pictures of. With the Photo a Day Challenge going on that also sometimes produced some fun photos to share.

Hanging out at Oquirrh Lake checking out the ducks.
The ducks and geese were chasing Joe once they realized he had food.
Something spooked the ducks, geese and seagulls that were sitting on the lake.
The gardens at Thanksgiving Point are beautiful and the weather was perfect!
There were still fun and pretty things to see and enjoy.

Do you participate in any photo challenges? What are your favorite things to take pictures of?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Adventures

Last week my Mom and Brother went with us to the pumpkin patch. It was Russell's first time picking his own little pumpkin and he had a good time. I think he liked seeing all the people, tractors and trucks that were around. Plus it was a gloriously clear day so he could see the airplanes fly by. Russell loves trucks and airplanes. My Mom says he points to them then tries to chase after them when he sees them.

Our pumpkin patch adventures were pretty low key. It was beautiful out and since it was UEA weekend there were tons of other families and their kids there. We took lots of pictures though getting Russell to look at the camera when there were so many other things to look at was hard. We did snap a few cute pictures so I wanted to share those here.

Does your family have any Halloween or fall traditions? Do you like to go out and pick a pumpkin to carve or decorate or do you prefer the plastic ones that light up and can be used every year?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Make Your Own: Halloween Wreath

If you're new to my blog you may not know that I'm one of those uber crafty people. I've always loved arts and crafts type stuff since I was a kid and even took sewing classes back in school. Oh yes! Foods and sewing were some of my favorite classes. Those were good times. My Mom even has some of my crafty creations from back then and I still love them to this day.

Lately though with working and Russell I don't have as much time to be crafty as I'd like so when I see a good idea that's simple and easy I jump on it. That's where this project came in. I follow the blog Her Sunday. If you don't follow it yet, you should. It's all things crafty, fashion, food and more. The amazing woman behind the blog is Kim and we've shared lots of fun memories since we both first went to college at Weber State. But enough about us... On to the project.

Found these little lovelies back in the tiny space with Halloween stuff at Michael's. Nothing like knowing they've already moved on to the next holiday, Christmas. Oh yes, Thanksgiving stuff is already on the back burner too!

So, if her blog is not your cup of tea you should at least check out this easy Halloween Wreath. I think this idea is so great because you could personalize the project in so many ways. Change up the colors for different seasons. Add different embellishments for things like a baby shower or a birthday. You can definitely get whatever is on sale or use those coupons you get if you sign up for the mailing list of most any craft store.

If Oreo could talk she would say "what the deuce is this crazy thing?!?"

I put my wreath together in a couple of hours while sitting and watching TV. It's a good way to get something like this done because you can catch up on your favorite shows and not feel guilty that you're just vegging out. HA! I totally love how it turned out and can't wait to display it for all to see. It was rather windy out the other day and is in the forecast to rain this week so the wreath may move in and out of the house. If you don't want to put it on your door I think this could easily be hung in a window because it's not really thick like some wreaths can get. Joe even got involved helping me cut the pieces of tulle for the wreath so this could be the most low key date ever. HA HA!

Ok so I need to trim up the bottom. It's obviously lopsided but nothing a pair of scissors can't fix. :)

Are you a crafty person? Do you like to DIY your own holiday decor or are you the type who prefers to just buy something from the store? Share your favorite crafty memories! I love to hear your stories.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday's Supper - Orange Curry Couscous

Today's meal is brought to you by the United Way of Salt Lake Staff Cookbook! Folks from work could submit their favorite recipes to be included and this was one of the favorites for sure. Elizabeth actually entered this into our potluck contest and won first place with this dish. Yeah it's that good! It's light and healthy and oh so delish. It's a perfect summer dish but it will be great for a light and bright pick me up even in winter. There's nothing crazy you need to buy that you can't get year round. You could totally keep most of the ingredients on hand to make this anytime the craving strikes.

Orange Curry Couscous
by Elizabeth Garbe

2 cups water
1 1/2 cups raw couscous
1 cup minced Italian parsley
1 cup raisins
1 cup or more edamame
1 1/2 cups orange curry dressing (recipe follows)

In a small saucepan boil the water, add couscous, cover and turn off the heat; let stand covered for 10 minutes.
Toss all ingredients and serve.

1 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
2 Tbsp minced orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar or honey
2 cups canola oil

Blend all ingredients except the oil in a blender for 1 minute.
Add oil in a stream while the blender is running; keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge.

*We didn't have raisins so I put in a can of mandarin oranges and it was tasty. I think I dumped the juice from the mandarin oranges in the dressing.
*We used the extra dressing to marinade some chicken in. We cooked the chicken the next day just in a frying pan and it was tasty. You could totally have the two together for a tasty meal.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Love Your Body

As some of you may know I'm doing another month of the Photo a Day Challenge. It's been a lot of fun so one day I thought I'd look a little more at some of the other things going on at Fat Mum Slim, the blog that provides the prompts for the Challenge. While I was reading some of the articles I noticed an ad on the side that said I Heart My Body 2012.

Well being a Mom and seeing that my body is not all that it used to be I thought I'd check it out and see if it was anything worthwhile. I was pleased to see it wasn't just some bogus ad for diet pills or a get skinny quick thing. It's actually an annual campaign where regular bloggers from all over the world post a picture of their body and what they love about their body.

Now I must say the campaign wasn't immediately obvious for me when I was checking out there site. I saw a link to their Facebook page and actually went there and commented on a post to ask for more details. I was pleased to see that they responded quickly and I was able to learn more.

I LOVE when you find someone's page or blog where they actually respond to you. Nothing, at least to me, sucks more than when you try to interact with someone's online presence and you get no response or the response sounds completely corporate or canned. I don't have much time to spend online so for me if there's nothing worth my time to read and no response I'm deleting it and moving on.

So... Because I have had a good impression of this and it has made me a bit curious I think I'll get in on this action and, at least for one day, not completely hate my body. Bah. It's difficult when it seems nothing is the same and nothing looks the same any more. Not to scare all you svelte young things who think babies are all rainbows and glitter... I've seen some moms out there who look completely unscathed from the whole pregnancy/birth process. Good for them... I was not one of them...

Anyway, I am recommending you check out their website and join in the challenge. You can get more info HERE. Be brave, be bold and link up on October 25th! Let's show them the ladies here in the US can represent! (That's right, their blog is based out of Australia!)

What do you love most about your body? Do you think this will be an easy campaign to participate in or are you going to have to think about what you love most? If you participate let me know!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Look at Last Week

I wanted to share a few pictures from last weeks fun. Joe's parents came to visit us and that was a blast. I think they enjoyed having a vacation just the two of them. Every other time they've traveled it's usually with Joe's sister, aunt or niece. These trips are all good and fun too but I'm sure it's sometimes nice to just get away and have some fun.

This trip was great because they got to see Russell again. The last time they saw him was before we moved to Utah in May so he's much more mobile and active now. They took Russell to see the new Scheels store which was fun for them because Joe and his Dad love all that hunting/fishing/camping stuff. Russell likes to see the animals on all the walls and this time he enjoyed getting pushed around in this fun little cart.

Russell also found he likes this show called Jungle Junction. It's a silly show and I think Russell likes the colorful creatures. One night he was having the best time just pointing and laughing at the screen. It was so funny. He makes me laugh.

We also went to lunch with my family to try the Black Bear Diner up in Sandy. It's actually a restaurant I've been to in Vegas and didn't realize they had one here in Utah. We wanted to give it a try and see if this location was any good. I had the open faced turkey sandwich that came with mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of cranberry sauce. I liked what I had though it wasn't anything particularly special. I can say it's pretty well like most of the places like Village Inn or Jim's Family Restaurant. They're all pretty affordable, reasonably good and your service will probably vary depending on who your server is. A good place to hit up if you're looking for something easy and family friendly for sure. There are always kids at these places when I've gone so I don't feel bad to have Russell there. The Black Bear does have a lot more of a cabin in the woods type feel with all its bear decor which is cute. They do have some massive desserts though so if you're looking for your own personal pie go there.

Finally I wanted to share this pic of Russell. He LOVES to stand by the window and look outside. He loves to watch the trucks when they go by. We usually pull up the blinds once the sun is on the other side of the house and let him look out as much as he wants. He loves to be outside so I'm sure he'll grow up to love going camping and fishing with his Dad and Grandpa Cameron.

How was your week? Did you do anything fun or noteworthy? Have you gone out and got anything special for fall or Halloween yet?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hawaii Here We Come!!!

This past week we went out to dinner with my family to celebrate my brother's birthday. While we were there my Mom surprised us with the news that they had got Joe, Russell and I tickets to go with them to Hawaii in May!

So we won't be cruising but it will still be as awesome as this picture.

My Mom's side of the family is having a family reunion and we wanted to go from the first time we heard about it. Russell hasn't met most of the family and we know he'd get the chance to meet a lot of folks all in one shot at the reunion. We went back and forth before deciding we probably wouldn't be able to afford it since we also have his sisters wedding the month before. We were going to just wait and see if we ended up finding some cheap tickets at some point which we knew would be a long shot.

Oh shave ice how I miss you so! I must eat shave ice as much as possible when we're out there.

Luckily for us my family had a boat load of sky miles and paid for everyone's tickets with miles. We only have to buy the inter-island flight which isn't that expensive. We'll be able to stay at my Aunt's house which will be fun and Russell and Joe will get to meet more of the family. We also heard there will be lots of yummy food, horseback riding and going out on the boat to go fishing. It's going to be such a good time!

My mom's brother and sister making sushi for our wedding. Maybe we'll get some yummy sushi in Hawaii!

We're so excited that we are going to be able to go out and be with everyone during the reunion. I love Hawaii and would go there any chance I could get if it weren't so expensive. It will also be nice to fly with my Mom so she can help us with Russell. I'm praying he does well on the flight.

This was taken at my aunt's house where we'll be staying. That's my Uncle and their daughter.

Now it's time to save some money to spend while we're there, get in shape for the wedding and the beach, and make sure our car seat is airline approved. HA! Oh it's so exciting. This was the BEST news we've had in a long time. Hooray!!!

We'll be staying in Kona where this picture was taken. You can see the Captain Cook monument in the background.

Are you looking forward to any fun vacations or trips in 2013? Do you have to travel to visit family or is your family mostly close by?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

Last week I posted my 200th post which included a little giveaway. Though it looked like quite a few folks saw or read the post only ONE lucky person left a comment.


The winner of the Mary Kay products worth over $56 including the TimeWise Firming Eye Cream, TimeWise Age-Fighting Eye Cream, set of 6 mini-lip glosses and eye finishing set which includes tweezers and mini tube of Indulge Soothing Eye Gel is Tiffany! Congratulations!

Tiffany has a lovely blog called I am Rena's Daughter. She takes the most AMAZING pictures so hop on over and follow her blog too. Her posts are heartfelt, real and so warm and inviting.

Tiffany took this pic during our engagement photo shoot at Spring Mountain Ranch.

Tiffany thanks for leaving the comment so I could give away the awesome gifts. You'll LOVE the lip gloss set. I carry the whole thing in my purse so I have a variety of colors to chose from. HE HE HE. I'll be in touch with you to get you your prize.

Tiffany took this great pic of us too in front of the famous Las Vegas sign.
 Thanks again to everyone who has supported my blog through the years. It's really just my little piece of the web where I can share about the things that are important to me. 

Another amazing picture Tiffany took at Spring Mountain Ranch.
Do you blog? What are your favorite things to see on a blog? Are there certain topics you love to follow or do you mostly follow friends and family?  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday's Supper - Northern Cornbread

This week's Saturday's Supper is something different. I know I've done a lot of crock pot goodness lately but this week I made a great cornbread so I wanted to share the recipe. Enjoy!

Northern Cornbread
by The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Don't use stone-ground whole grain cornmeal here; it will yield a drier and less tender cornbread. When corn is in season, fresh cooked kernels can be substituted for the frozen corn.

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 cup packed (1 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Adjusted an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan.

2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl until combined. Process the buttermilk, thawed corn kernels, and brown sugar in a food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the eggs and continue to process until well combined (some corn lumps will remain), about 5 seconds longer.

3. Fold the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula. Fold in the melted butter until just incorporated (do not overmix).

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5. Let the cornbread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Test Kitchen Tip: Double Corn Flavor
In order to get serious corn flavor into our Northern cornbread without making the texture crumbly and more like a rustic Southern-style cornbread, we found we needed to add real corn kernels to the batter (for flavor). To prevent the corn kernels from tasting overly gummy and tough in the bread, it is important to puree them in a food processor with the liquid ingredients.


* I don't own a food processor so I used my immersion blender and it worked just fine.
* I actually like the bits of corn in my cornbread so I blended the amount noted in the recipe then just dumped the rest of the can in when I was folding in the butter. I think using canned corn was a good choice because I totally know what they mean by gummy and tough kernels in the Test Kitchen Tip. Using canned corn turned out just fine.
* I baked mine at 375 instead of 400. Seriously I'm paranoid about baking anything at that high of heat. It just seems like an inferno in my oven. I cooked at 375 for 12 minutes, rotated it half way and cooked another 12 minutes. At that point it was actually almost done. Another 5 minutes and it came out perfect.
* This recipe could be great with green chili's, jalapenos, cheddar cheese or other fun mix ins. I liked that the texture wasn't too cakey or crumbly. It turned out nice and moist.
* I almost never have buttermilk on hand so I use the substitution for 1 cup of milk and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice mixed in. You just mix the two together and let sit for 10 minutes. It doesn't have that strong buttermilk flavor but it works in a pinch. You can also use 1 Tbsp of vinegar too.

Test Kitchen Note: Southern vs. Northern Cornbreads
A typical Southern cornbread contains more cornmeal than flour and no sweetener at all, and it is cooked in a skillet to make sure the exterior is browned and crisp. The texture is crumbly, making this thin cornbread an ideal partner to saucy dishes. In contrast, a typical Northern cornbread is made with more flour than cornmeal and a fair amount of sweetener. Because it is cooked in a baking pan, the exterior is very pale. The texture is cakey, making this thick cornbread ideal for breakfast or a snack.

Do you prefer one type of cornbread over another? I enjoy one like this recipe so I must like Northern cornbread. Do you like stuff mixed in your cornbread or do you prefer a more plain style.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Random Photo Recap

I just wanted to share some random pics I've taken this past week. The in-laws are in town for a couple days too which is a lot of fun. They enjoy seeing Russell and I think Russell enjoys the company.

Ah fall = pumpkin spice awesomeness!

Russell loves his new toy!

Workin' hard = need coffee!!!

Russell loves to read books.

Another fall favorite. Apple/peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream!

Panda cat enjoying the sunshine.

Panda, Oreo and Russell.

Bright light and Russell man.
What fun things have you been up to? Have you done anything special for fall?