Thursday, December 30, 2010

treat note

This is the note I came home to yesterday, after ice fishing overnight with some friends. My wife simply wanted to make me aware that she had made some peanut butter cookies, and that they were in the fridge. In most cases her cookies are the most awesome things she makes, but in this instance the hand-crafted note topped the cookies. (although the cookies were superb too of course)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

just can't wait

My wife wasted no time in using the presents she received this year. Christmas Eve morning she and I opened each other's gifts. I gave her the instant camera she's been wanting forever, and by noon we were already on a walk so that she could take some shots with it.

Christmas day she received a nice bread knife from her mother, and by that evening she was even baking bread just to try it out (and eat the delicious bread of course). By the way, smearing some soft bree cheese and jam on fresh baked bread is very very good.

Friday, December 24, 2010

beautiful wrapping

When I was a kid I tore into my presents, discarding the wrapping paper to the side, anxiously trying to find what might be inside. And I recall grandma opening her presents ever so carefully, always saying "Oh, the wrapping paper is just so pretty I don't want to rip it." I always thought she was crazy.

But now I find myself thinking the same thing as grandma as I open my wife's gifts. Everyone loves opening her presents because they're so wonderfully wrapped with bows made from paper, flowers made from felt, buttons tangled in red wire, and tagged with thoughtfulness and special attention.

I could say that maybe I'm just getting older and appreciating gift wrapping more, but I think it really has to do with the fact that my wife's wrapping shows more care and detail than any I've ever seen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

twice baked

My wife wasn't too hungry tonight, and neither was I thanks to a $5 foot-long sub I had for lunch (there's a lot of meatballs in a 12" meatball sub let me tell ya). So for dinner she randomly made biscotti to have with some hot chocolate instead. I'm psyched because I get to have the baked treat with my coffee tomorrow morning too! And of course the ingredients of this recipe comprise my favorite combination- peanut butter and chocolate.

It looked good the first time it was baked, but my wife informed me that the word biscotti is Italian for "twice baked" so I had to wait for the second ring of the timer to enjoy this subtly sweet late evening treat.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Crack

Who knew saltines could be this good? This aptly named treat is indeed my drug of choice for the holiday season. The ingredients seem simple enough, though I cannot vouch for how simple it is to put together personally. My wife always makes it look so easy, so what do I know. She used the recipe from Smitten Kitchen as a reference, but she tells me she actually took ideas from three different recipes to make this version. So, if you make this on your own, experiment!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

the little things

It's the little things that my wife does at random that make her who she is. We purchased a couple of her favorite candles from Bath & Body Works, and the first thing she did after we brought the candles back home was pull out the crafting paper and tools, and decorate them. So, instead of a run of the mill candle from the store sitting around, we have something that I smile at every time I see it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas village

I was told to save my cereal boxes after I was done with them, so that my wife could use them for a craft idea she saw at A Field Journal. In no time she made her very own Christmas village on our window sill.

I'm very impressed by the detail of the tiny windows and doors in the little paper houses and the ornaments in the trees. You would never have guessed that the houses started out as the container for my delicious Lucky Charms. Now I feel bad for the rest of my cereal boxes that just end up in the recycling- they probably wish they could be holiday decorations too. Sad.

Monday, November 29, 2010

loving daughter

For my wife's mom's birthday party on Sunday she not only made a delicious cake decorated like I've never seen, but also a batch of fleur de sel caramels (from the baked cookbook) as part of her birthday present. If anyone is more impressed with my wife's creations and baking ability than I am, it's her mother. She was so excited and had a wonderful birthday thanks to the time and energy my wife put into it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

All the tastes

For dinner this evening we came up with a smörgåsbord of bite-sized eats to sample. Prosciutto and melon, baguette with brie cheese and an orange/cranberry/vodka fruit spread, Triscuits with Nutella and sea salt. A taste sensation.

My wife tells me she's glad I'm not a steak and potatoes kind of guy. I definitely enjoy a good steak and potato, but to limit my taste buds to just that would be a shame.

Friday, November 26, 2010

White Friday

Post-Thanksgiving, instead of crazy Black Friday shopping shenanigans, we typically stay in our warm apartment and decorate for Christmas- something I'm thankful for. We have a white tree that we've put up the last few years. We're ready for a change, but at the same time this might be our last Christmas in our apartment (we plan to build a house next year) so we decorated it with love. After assembling it, my wife takes to adding lights, lots of lights. What we do change up each year is the variety of ornaments on the tree. This year, a simple mixture of colorful new and antique balls. Tis the season once again.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Heading out the door to ma and pa's house for Turkey Day, I told my wife I needed to snap a quick picture of her with her baked good. Too bad the saran wrap was already covering it- the pie was delicious looking. And delicious it was of course. I'm not sure if I've ever tried pecan pie before, but as long as my wife makes them I'll be eating them from now on. Everyone at dinner said it was the best pecan pie they'd ever had. Of course my wife responded with "anyone could do it, you just have to follow the recipe." This one came from The Pioneer Woman, and it's a good one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

breakfast for dinner

We both love breakfast food, even if it's dinnertime. My wife prepared for us this elegant meal of waffles (her favorite), bacon and eggs last night. It reminds me of our favorite place to get a good hearty breakfast in our old college town- a hole-in-the-wall cafe called Uncle Louis.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

another perfect homemade pizza

She keeps making'm. I keep eating'm.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

pb and chocolate pillows

So I thought I'd try and impress my wife by baking a treat for us myself. I knew that Joy the Baker was a good option, as my wife had made deliciousness from her recipes in the past.

I happened across these little guys, and thought I'd give them a whirl. (I LOVE peanut butter and chocolate) They looked simple enough, how could I go wrong?

Well they turned out OK. (but if you compare my pictures to hers you'll just laugh at me) I dolloped too much peanut butter on the squares, thus preventing me from making a clean crimp around the edges. And it also limited the amount of chocolate I could put in the pillow as well. More chocolate and less peanut butter next time would be better (if I had read the recipe more closely, it would've been a non-issue)

Upon pulling them out of the oven and taking a bite, my wife said "mmm, these are so good." However, the next day she truthfully told me "yeah, maybe a bit too much pb. kinda tasted like I was eating a big wad of peanut butter."

She always gives it to me straight, even if it's delayed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

die hard football fan

My wife's youngest brother is a senior on our old high school's football team this year. They're a great team, and even made it to the state tournament! For their first playoff game, the wind was so strong, the air so cold, and the rain so harsh, that we could barely keep our eyes open to watch the game. But it was playoffs and any game might've been his last, so we bundled up and braved the elements. Check out my wife's garb! Her mom was there as well, and equally impressed with her outfit.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I suppose I could save this post for next Valentine's Day, but I'm sure my wife will have done something amazing for me to post about that day as well. Cleaning the closet this week, I pulled out the present my wife gave to me last Valentine's Day (her favorite holiday). "light of my life" is inscribed on the side, with little red wire hearts within the light bulb. Pretty dang adorable. She followed the directions from design sponge. If it looks like there's a bit too much glue around the base of the bulb, it's because I bumped it loose once and tried using the hot glue gun myself, but not nearly as elegantly as my wife did originally.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Paris photos

As I've mentioned, my wife enjoys tweaking her photos in Photoshop. She finished our photos of Paris just this week. They look amazing, and as usual there are so many that I'm sure we'll fill an entire album. Here's a few, including several of the Eiffel of course. It's impossible not to photograph.

Friday, October 29, 2010

the pumpkin doesn't stray far from the patch

My mother-in-law made this little pumpkin craft and gave it to my wife to add to our Fall decorations. It has a real pumpkin stem, but the body consists of fabric around some type of heavy stuffing. My wife loves it, and I have to give my mother-in-law credit (yes, you heard it) for instilling the creativity and pride that my wife values in everything that she creates herself.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anthropolgie kitchen timer

While I was away hunting last weekend, my wife went shopping. (I need to stop going away) She picked up this little item from her favorite store, Anthropologie. It's about time she bought a timer- previously she was constantly eyeballing the minutes on our wall clock when baking her creations. But like most things, she doesn't settle for just any run-of-the-mill timer, she waited until she saw the perfect one for her. I found the link to it on Anthropologie's website too.

Monday, October 25, 2010

that didn't take long

This weekend my wife bought her 8" cake pans and didn't waste any time making a delicious and petite cake that she could keep in the cake stand she picked up last weekend. And we didn't waste any time eating it. The recipe came from another of her recent exciting purchases, Baked Explorations, and the Caramel Apple Cake was a perfect Fall-time dessert. I believe my quote last night after taking my first bite was that "I feel like my whole body is tasting this right now." It was so good.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lord almighty

This is often times what I look forward to during my lunch break when I walk home from work- washing the dishes. We don't have a dishwasher in our apartment, which would be fine, except that my wife bakes so much that there is a never ending stream of dishes to clean. We aren't messy people, mind you. The pile of dishes you see here amassed literally over only a day and a half due to my wife making tomato soup, granola bars, homemade caramel, with a couple of bowls from breakfast to round it out. The sink contained every measuring cup and spoon we own.

I really can't complain because washing the dishes is really quite a small price to pay for eating delicious foods all my life. I just wish somehow they weren't caked with flour, butter, chocolate, and everything else that she bakes with that doesn't exactly come off easily with a wash rag.

C'est la vie.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

homemade granola bars

These are the most delicious granola bars I've ever had, easily. And that's saying alot because my wife has made some excellent homemade granola bars before this as well. She used a recipe this time that didn't require baking anything in the oven. I watched her mix some solid stuff (granola, cranberries, etc) with some liquid stuff (which kinda looked like caramel on the stove) and then just let it sit and firm up in the pan. They go great with my coffee in the morning at work.

Monday, October 18, 2010

cart before the horse

My wife likes cake stands. I mean, she really likes them. She's been on the lookout for a small one for small cakes. I came home last night after a weekend-long pheasant hunting trip to find that she had finally found one she loved at a vintage store she frequents. Now, she just needs to buy a pan to bake a cake this size. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

post-vacation post

We just returned from a great trip to San Francisco! We checked out all the sites, including Fisherman's Wharf, Little Italy, China Town, the "crooked street" on Lombard, The Painted Ladies (or 'Postcard Row'), the Castro, Mission (where we had the best burrito of our lives), Union Square shopping, Ferry Building- all by foot! This caused my wife to strain something (tendons maybe?) in her feet and cause quite a bit of pain the last half of the trip, but she wouldn't let that stop her from seeing everything there is to see in the bay area.

We of course snapped a few photos of Alcatraz from the peninsula, took in the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Park, and jumped on a trolley car for a few blocks. San Francisco was ripe with cliche's for us to take part in! My brother-in-law and his girlfriend (who live in Oakland, where we stayed) drove us to Napa Valley for an afternoon of wine tasting as well.

One of our favorite parts of the trip was spending a simple day in Oakland, eating Soul Food (chicken and waffles) downtown for brunch, hanging out by the marina, and eating and drinking in the restaurants all afternoon up on Piedmont. We also paid the Pacific a visit at Ocean Beach in San Fran with a nice afternoon nap in the sand.

All in all it was a fun trip. The bay area has a little bit of everything, that's for sure. My wife finally now has a chance to rest her feet, although she'd want me to write that she NEVER has trouble walking miles and miles on our travels, and she doesn't know how it happened (she made sure I was aware of this fact multiple times during the trip).

Friday, October 1, 2010

baked oatmeal

We can now add "baked oatmeal" to the list of foods my wife has made perfectly. I didn't know you could bake your own oatmeal. Leave it to her to find out that you can though. I found the recipe she used on I came home last night to the scent of cinnamon and baked goods, and I instantly knew that goods things had happened in the apartment while I was gone. Sure enough, a loaf of baked oatmeal sat cooling on the oven. At the time I didn't know what it was or what do even do with it. My wife instructed me the next morning to scoop some out of the bread pan into a bowl, heat it up just a bit, pour in a little milk and add some raspberries. It was a great change of pace for breakfast instead of the kids' cereal my wife teases me about eating.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

pizza and smoke

Tonight my wife made a homemade pizza from crust she prepared the night before. She was very excited about this pizza, as the crust was very similar to that of a Punch pizza. However, it required that the oven be set at a very hot temperature, and since she didn't have a "pizza slip" she used parchment paper instead which, as you can tell, didn't fare as well as the pizza. Our smoke detector was constantly warning us of this dangerous task loudly and obnoxiously, but it was well worth it in the end, as it was most delicious.

Monday, September 27, 2010

almost autumn

My wife had the great idea today to climb to the top of the nearby observation deck to view the Fall colors. It was a beautiful day, but unfortunately the trees aren't quite in full transition yet. A little splash of color tried to peek through here and there, but for the most part we just enjoyed the sunshine and the Fall smells instead.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

waffles and tarts

After serving up some homemade waffles this morning for a delicious breakfast, my wife got busy working on her next creation only minutes later. A dark chocolate and made-from-scratch-caramel tart made for a sinful mid-day dessert. Sprinkle some French sea salt on a slice of this, and you're in for a treat lemme tell ya. She used a recipe in Saveur magazine, and I was able to find it on their site!

Friday, September 24, 2010

drowning in nyc photos

I've failed to highlight another of my wife's hobbies, one that she is very diligent at and also very good at. She enjoys taking pictures, and loves Photoshop-ing them. She even asked me only to get her a set of Actions for her birthday last year.

This last Spring she took a trip with her mom and her good friend to NYC to see Oprah at the Live Your Best Life weekend event. They stayed for a week, and my wife took hundreds of photos. Here are a few of my favorites I grabbed from our Snapfish account.