Is there anything in the world better than flaky puff pastry and melty delicious cheese?
Yes. There is. A Pinterest Party.
On Superbowl Sunday we were invited to a Pinterest party. Football for the guys and intense Pinterest conversation for the gals. It was right up my alley.
My Pinterest boards are full of delicious looking foods. I follow a number of my favorite food bloggers who pin recipes from their favorite food bloggers making my feed 99.99% full of yum. I’ve actually made several recipes from Pinterest; a couple dozen maybe, and generally I’ve found the results to be pretty good. Sometimes things need a bit of a tweak or a change in measurement or method, but all in all I’ve been pleased with most of my Pinterest attempts.
Um, yum. That’s just gorgeous.
This recipe was no different. Nothing to change, nothing to add, nothing to tweak. But, I’d expect nothing else from Joy of Joy the Baker. I’ve stumbled across her blog on several occasions, and am always impressed by her decadent photography, but I’m just not much of a baker. I prefer cooking, and generally leave the sweet treats alone.
I’d pinned these yummy little bites several months ago and they sat, unloved and unmade, on my “Party Food” board. I’d decided I was going to bring a sweet and a savory to the party, and these fit into the latter category perfectly.
Mr. Zoom stepped in to help with both recipes on Sunday afternoon which was such a treat. The kids were asleep and we had a small window of time to get the two recipes prepared and cooked before we had to leave the house. Mr. Zoom has several “signature” dishes (namely a delicious lasagna and a killer burger) but generally he stays well out of the kitchen (I’m bossy). I must say, it was SO nice having him help! We had fun figuring out how to cut the square and debating the best way to insert the sticks. I’d invite him back.
If you are looking for a sweet Valentines appetizer or something to serve when friends come over, these are a great bet. Perfect morning, noon, or night, you just can’t go wrong with melty brie and sweet jam in a flaky pastry pouch.
The calendar say October 25th. The thermometer says 75 degrees. I don’t mean to be ungrateful, but I’ve been drooling and ogling over fall recipes for MONTHS now, and I’m ready for some low and slow cooked meals.
I have a confession. I’m having a love affair…with my crockpot. I know crockpots sometimes get a bad rap. I mean, I myself have fallen victim to the grossly overdone chicken breast on a couple of occasions. But truth be told, as a busy mom of two small kids, and wife to a husband who gets really excited about leftovers; the crockpot has been my best friend for some time now.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I give you my crockpot. She’s been loved, as you can well see. Please notice my dirty oven mitt on top of the lid (new ones for Christmas, Kiki??). They rest there because one time I attempted to transfer the crockpot into the oven for a 2nd day reheat. The plastic knob on top melted. Duh. Now there is a hole and because I figure that if too much steam escapes the dish will go terribly awry, I cover the hole with an oven mitt. Of course.
As of late, our dinnertime menu has been efficient and repetitive. I’ve mentioned before that we don’t go out for dinner very often save for the weekly Papa Johns delivery and so I usually cook 2 or 3 times each week to last the entire 6-7 days. The crockpot is really great for this. Soon after we started dating, I noticed Mr. Zoom’s favorite phrase in relation to mealtime was “waste not, want not”. This is not a sentiment I had ever embraced prior our relationship. I was the girl in college who subscribed to the second “beefiest” meal plan (C), and I’d frequently fill my tray with 2 or 3 entrees, just so I could “get a little taste” of everything. Imagine my excitement at marrying such a thrifty guy and being subjected to leftovers…several times a week.
5 years later and I’m a crockpot-loving, barefoot-in-the-kitchen cooking mama who thinks leftovers are the God’s gift to the world. Go figure.
Do you realize how challenging it is to make a lumpy creamy brown sauce look appetizing? I promise, it’s warm and hearty and full bodied and deliciously Fall!
Crockpot Beef Stew-ganoff
Serves 2 adults + plus 2 toddler kids + an overweight dog…for 2 days
This is really more like a creamy stew than a stroganoff. I mean, what exactly IS a stroganoff?
1 lb beef stew meat
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 large onion, chopped
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons Worchestire sauce
2 cans golden mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
8 ounces cream cheese
This is really so easy. Dump everything but the cream cheese in the crockpot. Turn it on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Stir every once in a while. Just before serving, stir in cream cheese. EASY.
Serve over egg noodles, or rice, or mashed potatoes. Mmmm. Mashed potatoes.
4 weeks is almost a month. Feeling really good about this phone dump business! Though I’ll be honest and tell you this almost didn’t happen today. It’s just so dang hot.
And then there’s this. Which was all kinds of fun.
Happy (hot) Friday!
Yay! I’m so excited I just got to write that as a title post! And, I’m even more excited to share with you little bit about a project I’ve been working really hard on over the past month.
When I turned 16 I had my first two jobs (simultaneously) as a lifeguard and barista at a local coffee shop. That first summer I worked my tail off. Some days I’d be by the pool for 8 hours and others I’d work a double shift at the coffee shop. It was such a buzz making my own money, having my own debit card, and being a little bit grown up. Every summer thereafter, I’d work 2 or three jobs, stashing away my money for new Abercrombie & Fitch duds during high school and then for study abroad adventures and keg parties during college.
After I graduated, I had a string of unfulfilling jobs in multiple industries. That buzz I’d had for working was totally lost when I began working at a real-life grown up job. In fact, it was so lost at one point that I started moonlighting at a local coffee shop just for kicks. And then I up and sold my life on Craigslist one month and moved to Ireland. Talk about needing a change.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I’ve got the “job” I’ve always wanted and hoped to have. I feel so lucky that our little family has been able to make this work. Staying at home with the Zoom’s is the most challenging but fulfilling job I’ve ever had. That said, there are some days I dream of waking up, taking a shower, going to work, taking a lunch break, socializing by the water cooler, meeting for drinks, and commuting home. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous (but mostly insanely proud!!!) of my little sister who’s successfully climbing the corporate ladder and taking business trips to New York, Chicago, and Santa Barbara. That life…it calls me sometimes.
I don’t know what the future is going to hold for me. I don’t know if I’ll continue to stay home with the munchkins or if I’ll attempt to reenter the workforce (though I have no idea what industry or job I’d even apply for at this point). I do know that I am completely and utterly obsessed with the idea of having my own small business. I have been for years. Mr. Zoom can attest to the fact that in my mind I’ve started several businesses already: Irish soda bread baker, fitness instructor, private swim coach, burp cloth seamstress, at home dinner chef. The list goes on and on, and gets more absurdly laughable as it progresses. When I get together with friends or relatives who are business owners I ask them a million questions, desperate to soak up their knowledge and glean some inspiration.
All that being said, I’ve decided to start a series called Inspired: Be Your Own Boss. The series will run weekly and will feature one small business owner in each post. The response I’ve had so far has been incredible and overwhelming. I have 12 weeks lined up for you and I hope I’ll be able to continue indefinitely. We’ll meet all types of business owners from photographers, to DIY bloggers, foodies, and shop owners. I can’t wait to share my new friends with you. I hope you’ll read their interviews, visit their shops and media pages, get to know them, and be inspired.
If you or someone you know is interested in being featured in this series please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
It was a great week. Even if half of us were laid up with sickness for most it, we managed to do some fun stuff this week. An impromptu birthday party, a firetruck parade, southern fried chicken, fun at the pool, and whoopie pies with friends.
Have a great weekend!
On this, Mr. Zoom’s birthday, we’ve had a doosie of a day. Up since 4am, two kids down with fevers, and cancelled dinner reservations have been our story today. And even with all the drama, he’s still smiling.
Happiest of birthdays my dear. Though our plans have changed I hope these sweets make you smile. You are my very best friend, the backbone of this family, a whale of a father, and a super handsome dude. We love you dearly and are so thankful for you.
All your (sick and sniffling) Zooms
I was so excited to have the opportunity to take some pictures of our sweet friend Rachel in her Easter dress yesterday. I love my boys to bits, but there is something about little girls in their Easter dresses that’s just so sweet. Even before we had kids of our own, Mr. Zoom and I loved to watch all the kids at mass on Easter Sunday in their fancy clothes.
Rachel was the perfect subject. At 4 and half years old she’s just old enough to pose for the camera and sit still long enough to get several shots in one position! So different than my little Zoom’s.
And, she looks at the camera! Imagine!
Rachel pranced around in her high heels and was totally enamored with her polka dotted tights. I’m so lucky to have such a girly girl living across the street. I love all her sweet outfits and accessories.
The Easter hat; so cute!
A few days ago we got together with a few neighborhood friends for an Easter Egg hunt. I’m not sure who had more fun: me with my camera, or the Zoom’s with the eggs. Here are a few snapshots of our afternoon. My little Zoom is getting so big!
He looks so old in his big boy clothes.
And, he thouroughly enjoyed watching the older boys searching for the eggs.
Big Zoom was on the hunt. I must say, he was quite the gatherer. No time for munching on sweets; his sole mission was to fill his basket.
Mr. Zoom recently gave Big Zoom a haircut and everyone who has seen him says he looks an entire year older. I can’t believe he’ll be 2 in two weeks. This last year has gone by entirely too quickly.
Happy Easter everyone! I hope you had a great weekend with family and friends. Be sure to check back this week. Where’s the Zoom is getting a BIG makeover!
For the past couple of weeks I have been fooling around with Photoshop Elements. Even though I’ve taken several classes in Photoshop, the program is so expansive that it can be really intimidating. I’ve been reading a lot, playing a lot, and asking questions a lot. I finally feel like I’m starting to grasp a few things which I’ve been able to use.
Here is a shot of Big Zoom’s sweet friend straight out of the camera.
One thing I’ve been playing with is actions. Many people write and develop their own actions which are basically effects to change the look of whatever you are working on. The Pioneer Woman has some neat ones as do many, many, other bloggers. As of late, I’ve been using actions and storyboards created by the Coffee Shop Blog. She’s also got digital papers, frames, and lots of other neat things.
Here is the image processed using 6 different actions.
If you are interested, be sure to check out her tutorials for downloading and installing them into Photoshop. It can be tricky! Any favorites? I tend to lean towards Velvet Peach when I’m working on pictures of kids. I think it’s nice and soft.
Be sure to check out the rest of my P52 friends!