Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Let There Be...TOAST!!!

      I LOVE Toast!  I love it!  It started as a kid and continues as an adult. I will eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with jelly, jam, cinnamon & sugar, honey or plain ole butter! That is key - did you catch that? Butter! Yes, I'm from Wisconsin so it has to be REAL butter! I prefer my butter salted but you can do without just make it real butter.  I'm sure to some of you this seems like a funny post but when I moved to Denver I got rid of my toaster... no reason just wanted to get a new one - but never did. I went on that 'no carb' kick, then it was the gluten free stuff, tried to toast bread with my broiler but I realized on the last trip to my sisters, I NEED A TOASTER!
     I've been traveling the past week and came home yesterday to a box at my door - I knew it was from my sister as their company sticker was plastered on the side - "what oh what did that darn Wendy send me??"...
Coming home to a box at my door is always a fun surprise! My sister is so good at this - cards, gifts, thought you would like this!

The unwrapping begins... of course I'm making you go through all of this with me! 

A TOASTER!!!! It's a toaster! I called her right away! Thank you Wendy! Thank you!

Toast does require a few things! As I stated above - REAL butter! I prefer Land-o-Lakes (salted), a nice honey wheat bread from Great Harvest Bread Co, and Cinnamon and Sugar. I use ground cinnamon and mix in sugar.

The bread pops up and we have toast!! I spread lots of butter...and a generous dose of C&S!
For those that doubted my love of toast - I think this proves it. 2 years ago my mom made Wendy and I scrapbooks - they start at birth and went to current times...this page showed how young I was when I started liking toast. (Thanks Mom!)
Let There Be....TOAST!!!

Thank you Wendy for the best surprise!! I am so happy to have toast and real butter back in my life!  xo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sprinkles for part 2

     My oh my!! How did I leave out the cupcake stop?? After our 2nd day of shopping we made a pit stop at Sprinkles (yes, the first cupcake bakery) for a midday sugar rush!! It reminds me of the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld... when you step in the front door you are overwhelmed with the sweet smell and a case of cupcakes with a sign above telling you what each one is and what the dots on top of the sugary delight mean.  When they ask you what you want, you better know, because the store is packed and people are beyond excited for their treats!
     After gazing at the case and reading all the names the 4 of us were ready to place our order, "we'll take 4 please" and so it began... "1 vanilla, 1 coconut, 1 cinnamon & sugar, wait, wait, make that 2 coconuts and leave the rest"... the packaging (see, I told you I  love packaging) is as adorable as the cakes themselves.  They come in a small brown kraft box with a wooden fork...

 All I can say is YUM!! If you don't have a Sprinkles around you - Williams-Sonoma does carry a few flavors. I made the spice - easy and just as delicious, maybe even more so since you have a whole tray for yourself and no long line to stand in! Enjoy!! xo

Eat. Drink. Shop. Repeat!

     The title says it all or maybe it should be that catchy tune, "We Are Family"... 4 sisters together in Phoenix for a few days of fun, laughs and maybe a little shopping! OK, I take it back - a LOT of shopping! It started last Thursday - my younger sisters are twins, yes! they do look alike - flew in from Milwaukee and I flew in from Denver.  Our sister Allison couldn't make the trip this year but we will all be together again for Christmas in just 2 months!
    Laurel and Mary Robyn are both married with 3 kids each so this really was a vacation, getaway and time to sleep in for them - although with the time difference I think we were up & ready to go at 6am.  Wendy and Darin live in Phoenix, an area called Ahwatukee, and are always so happy to open their home and let us soak up their sun, drink their wine and use a car to escape to the nearest mall!  This year we had a slight mission - skin care, Louis Vuitton handbag and Nordstrom (Wisconsin doesn't have one)!  We sipped mimosas, consumed bloody mary's and def got to know the layout of the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall!
L to R: Laurel, Mary Robyn, Kristin & Wendy
Oh, Southwest! I love you - you get me where I need to go and considering I was on the road 38 wks last year - we know each other well!
A pay phone?? Who knew? I had to capture this at the Phoenix Airport - waiting on MR and Lo to arrive! 
Mary Robyn kicked off the weekend with gifts from our niece - thank you again Kate! The note is still on my laptop (even as I type this) - can't wait to see all the kids at Christmas! Laurel and Mary Robyn have taught the kids to send 'thank you' notes after gifts, there is something about a kids handwritten note that melts my heart!
Pizza, wine and salad - good way to start off the weekend!
Wendy and Darin's backyard - they back up to South Mountain. I wish I would have captured more pics from inside the house (I'll do that on next visit) - Wendy has great style!
Let the sun shine! We started our mornings and ended our nights by the pool.
Another view of the backyard - they have these chairs in 4 bright colors.
Yes, another view of the pool - capturing the waterfall. 
An instagram I posted to share the backyard and pool... and a cactus!
Home away from home! All joking aside the 1st time I went to this place (in Scottsdale Fashion Square) the bartender greeted us with "Hi Wendy, do you want the usual?" so it's fair to say my sister and her friend Tiffany like to eat/drink here while shopping!
Pomegranate mimosa - they have the best mimosa and bloody mary bar!!! No matter what I also sneak a piece of beef stick (guess that's a Wisconsin thing)
Chorizo Pork Scramble Skillet layered with potatoes, cheddar and jack cheese, green chili and topped with a bacon gratin & tortillas - spicy and delicious!
Bloody Mary Style Eggs Benedict - poached eggs on top of cornbread with chorizo and chipolte hollandaise sauce with a side of fried spinach! Wendy definetly picked the winner!
Cheers!!! We were toasting to the universe for a fabulous day of shopping!! 
One of my favorite places! Did you know that Nordstrom doesn't decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving! I love that. Laurel and Mary Robyn don't have a Nordstrom at home and I think this is one of the best in the country - let the fun begin!
Skincare and products were on the agenda and luck for us it was the Trend Show today! I love Bobbi Brown and have fallen for her skincare line! Living in a dry climate she has a moisturizer called Extra Repair with SPF 25. The 4 of us loaded up on samples...moved on to the next station.
Laurel was first - tried out some new eye cream, under eye product and we got her to take the gel eyeliner (if you haven't tried it - do so!)
Sharing my love for the brand!!! Bobbi if you happen to read this - I use your skincare, makeup and brushes!!
I was ready for a big girl watch and I love Kate Spade so it was the perfect fit (well, literally, after she removed a few links) - the packaging is a beautiful as the watch!
Didn't I tell you?? The packaging is incredible!
Mary Robyn got best dressed for the day - J Crew cardigan, Gap sandals and jewelry by Stella and Dot
Of course we have to look! The Nordstrom at Scottsdale has THE BEST shoe department - I lived in Chicago for 6 years and it's better than the store on Michigan Ave!
Kate stikes again! Polka dots are the rage.
Wendy got a Louis for her birthday in July and I fell in love with it so after asking my sister if she's ok with it, I bought one too! (Shirt from Anthro; shorts: J Crew chino)
Why yes! I would love the monogram - and so would my sister Wendy! 
In order for Wendy to get her initials they asked her to dump out her contents into a bag... here you go, we laughed so hard at all of this - tampon, business cards, golf grip, eye drops, sunglasses.... random! What's in your purse??
A little fuzzy but had to capture the purchase in front of their latest store window! I love you Louis Vuitton!!!
Hello Anthro!!! Of course we had to get a pic of the window - great dress in person too!!  Did you check out the latest catalog?? I've circled what I want!  
My shopping: Coat from Anthro (feels like felt, big buttons and broad collar with belt in back); shoes are Stuart Weitzman - everyone needs a pair of nude heels.
Anthro sweater - ties at waste with a kick; planning on this with my skinny jeans; flats are Cole Haan, love the Nike Air in the heel.
Goodbye Phoenix!

I think you saw in the pictures what a wonderful weekend it was! Not only did we check a lot off our shopping lists but we were able to catch up in person, laugh over silly things and we created new memories to always remember our time in Phoenix! Mary Robyn walked away with the most purchased shoes award; Laurel was named "movie star" for her glamour looks in all the photos and Wendy was hostess with the mostess! I love you all and can't wait to see you in Oshkosh for Christmas but we're already talking about another weekend next year...Denver??? xo

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pie in a jar!

     My friend Katie C had posted a pic of Apple Pie in mason jars and I knew I had to try and make them! After visiting Happy Apple Farms yesterday and making a quick stop at the grocery store I thought I would make my own.  The temperature in Denver dropped from 82 to 43 this week and with a hint of snow in the air it felt like the perfect weekend to make apple pie.   I started 'googling' pies in mason jars and was amazed at the amount of blogs, posts and recipes I that I've tried this recipe I'm excited to make more pies with blueberries, peaches and cherries! Watch out Hostess Pies, you've got a new baker in town!
     I found a recipe that seemed to be rather easy - just a few ingredients and I admit I cheated and used store bought pie crusts (Pillsbury - in the refrigeration section).  I did tweak the recipe a tad, added a little more brown sugar and cinnamon...and before I put the 'pastry lids' on the pie I had sprinkled a little more brown sugar.  The fact that we are above 5000 ft I wasn't sure if this recipe would need anything else but it seems to have turned out well. I want to thank the blog that I got the recipe from - - she used a heart shape cookie cutter to make the top even more attractive.

For the Crust:
  • 2 and a half packages of ready-made crust
For the Apple Filling:
  • 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut up
  • 2 Red Delicious apples, peeled and cut up
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice to keep apples from browning
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
For the Crust:
  1. Clean your mason jars.
  2. Spray the heck out of your mason jars with non stick spray.
  3. Roll out the dough a little thinner than it is in the package. Use a pizza wheel to cut into pieces. Now place the pieces in your jars and press them so you have very little gaps. Just keep working it till you get the groove going.
  4. Set aside.
For the Apple Pie Filling:
  1. Peel and cut up your apples. You want small cubes for jars. Sprinkle the lemon juice over them to keep them from browning while you measure out everything else.
  2. Combine brown sugar, flour and spices in another bowl and mix. Then pour over your apples and mix it all together.
  3. Spoon the apples into the 12 jars. Fill about ¾ of the way.
  4. Put a pat of butter on each one.
  5. Top with more crust.
  6. Pinch or use a fork to seal them up.
Cooking them:
  1. Place all the jars on a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully place that in your preheated oven. Cook for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Remove and let cool or eat right away.

I mixed the dry ingredients and folded into the apples...this is where I added some extra brown sugar and cinnamon (whatever your taste preference)

I rolled out the Pillsbury crust and used the ring from the Ball jar as my 'pastry lid' cutter 
You can do the same thing for the bottom of the jar but I used the inside of the metal ring for the bottom and the outside for the top (hope that made sense)
Make sure to spray the inside of jar so the crusts don't stick.  For the 'walls' on the inside of the jar I  used the side of the jar to make a pattern and cut the dough with a pizza cutter. 

Fill the pastry lined jar with the apple mixture (make sure to stir a few times as the brown sugar mixture will settle on the bottom of the bowl) I sprinkled a little more sugar and a 1/2 tsp of butter before putting the pastry lid on top. I pinched the sides and used a paring knife to mark the top. 
I put the 12 jars on a cookie sheet (no water needed in bottom of pan) just place in the preheated oven and wait for smell of apple pie to fill the kitchen. I did bake for about 40 - 45. You need to check on the sides to make sure it looks like the pastry cooked through. 
Just pulled from the oven! Easy and delicious.

I waited for the jars to cool a little and put the metal lids on them... makes for a great gift or a treat later on!  You can freeze them before cooking (just need to a cook a little longer) To heat them later - I put it in the microwave (remove the lid) for 45-60 sec.
Enjoy this tasty treat! Thank you again Katie C for the idea, thanks Jacqui for going apple picking with me and thank you to for the recipe!!
Can't wait to hear what everyone thinks! Enjoy this tasty treat and let me know if you make it using another fruit! I love the Fall and I love it more with APPLE PIE in a JAR!

P.S. I used the Ball quilted jelly jar - 8oz.