Friday, August 31, 2012

Foodie Penpals- Reveal Day!

I've joined a lovely little group of Foodie Penpals.

The Lean Green Bean

The gist is every month you are assigned someone to send a box of foodie goods to, and someone else is assigned to you. How cool is that? I love to try new things, so I jumped at the chance and told my penpal Carrie I would love whatever she'd like to throw at me! She is from Minnesota and sent me a box full of regional treats.

The end of the month is the official reveal day of all Foodie Penpals. So happy reveal day!

Here is my loot:
From left to right:
 -Note explaining my treats. She has the best handwriting, no?
-Pop'd Kerns: The in-between of a Corn Nut and popcorn. Why don't we have these in CA?? I'm out already and craving more.
-Cameron's coffee. I failed to mention that I don't drink coffee. My bad. I bet I can find a great recipe to use it in.
-Caribou coffee treats. Carrie mentioned in her letter that is is the Northwestern Starbucks. That caramel barely made it into the picture before I popped it into my mouth. yum
-A box of Minnesota wild rice. Saving it for a rainy day, to make the chicken and wild rice soup recipe on the back.
-Pure maple syrup. 

I loved everything in my box, but the maple syrup was a special treat.
The cutest bottle and great on my multi-grain pancakes (future post on its way). But I am searching for the perfect recipe to highlight its sweetness.

This was so much fun. I loved thinking of treats to send my penpal (A lovely woman from PA, Dana, who is now one of my 19 followers! Thanks Dana :D) and checking the mail everyday waiting for my box to arrive. Who doesn't love getting mail? I've already signed up for next month, I can't wait to meet my new foodie friends.

If you'd like to join, you can get all the details here.

Carrie- Thank you so much for my care package! I truly loved everything you sent me.You were a wonderful and thoughtful penpal.

**Carrie is a blogger herself. Be sure to stop over at Season it Already! to say hello.

Have a happy Friday!

***p.s. Don't forget about Team Continuum! Help support a wonderful cause :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A little extra in love.

I've been feeling a little extra in love lately.

Maybe because my sweet Mister surprised me with flowers on our anniversary.
It was a Monday, so we went out to eat after work and promised not to get each other anything. Liar.

Or maybe it's because we're taking this Friday off to give us a four-day weekend to celebrate our anniversary. It's gonna be fun, relaxing and full of Norrey time :)

Or maybe because this is the first August of my life that I don't have to worry about buying books, liking my teachers, or studying. That is pretty awesome.

Or that I'm staying in Murrieta next week to watch my little sister while my parents take the other little sister to college. Giving me a half a week off work (yes!) and T a few days to himself. (whos gonna feed him?? haha)

Or maybe it's because we are planning our next big vacation together. One of the few things we share in common is an itch to explore the world.

Or maybe you just fall a little deeper in love with every year. Yah, that might be it.

pssst! remember Team Continuum? don't forget to support them! every bit helps!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If you really knew me.

If you really knew me you would know that I didn't pose for this picture. I was waiting for Torrey to hurry up so we could go eat. haha.
 You would know that I'm deathly afraid of bees. I was stung once at a soccer game when I was eight. Never again.

You would know that I live for the wintertime . Scarves, coats, boots, gloves, rain, hot chocolate, electric blankets..take me there please.

You would know that I am not good with words. Thank you blog that allows me an outlet for my thoughts.

If you really knew me, you would know that I'm not a touchy-feely person. Awkward. Though my husband is forcing me out of this, since he is one of those people. sigh..

 If you really knew me.

You would know that I am a horrible backseat driver with a fear of rear-ending someone. I will pump my invisible break until you slow down.

You would know that I am fully aware I have nice teeth, because I worked hard for them. Years of braces, spacers, retainers, rubber bands, pulled molars, metal bars..I think I've earned the right to be proud.

 and that I can't stand someone who is fake. It is the only real reason I ever dislike a person. I've never understood why anyone would need to put on a front. The only person I have ever known how to be is me.

If you really knew me.

You would know I am a dog person, who is slowly dying because for the first time in my life, I am living without wiener dogs greeting me at the door.
Tempted to steal one that lives a few doors down. you didn't hear it from me..

You would know that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that I love my Savior. I am thankful for every blessing he has given me. 

 You would know that I have a few friends that I keep close. I love them, and I love that we have a silent agreement to stay friends no matter how long or far we are apart. I can call any one of them anytime of day and they'll be there.

If you really knew me.

You would know not to be around me when I'm hungry. You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry. 

You would know that suburbs make me feel caged,
And that traveling makes me feel free.

You would know I'm a cheapskate,
and that I have a cynical side. 

You'd know I love food because it brings people together,
And that I love cooking for too many reasons to count.

..but only if you really knew me.

I first saw this on one of my fav blogs, Across the Pond. Join in too and let me know a little more about you.

ps: don't forget to check out Team Continuum and help support their wonderful cause!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Funfetti Cupcakes

FACT: Everyone loves funfetti. I dare you to frown when someone hands you a funfetti cupcake (or while were at it, any cupcake!) Impossible. It's such a friendly little treat.

I made these for one of my primary students, Ben. You met him on my last life lately post when we put on the armor of God. Ben has a special place in my heart. He's quiet and shy, and has some difficulty expressing himself. Some days he won't say two words, other days he will relay an entire movie, scene by scene. I was a introverted kid myself (shocker, right?) so I like to think I understand him a little, and try to pull him out of his shell.

So when I made these for his birthday, I knew he'd give a suppressed smile, a quiet thank you, and run off with a handful of them.

Recipe guaranteed to make children happy. And bring you back to your childhood.

Confetti cake:

 adapted from Sprinkle Bakes 

1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. cups buttermilk
3/4  teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg plus one egg white
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp.  rainbow sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake papers In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all ingredients together except rainbow sprinkles.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally.   When thoroughly mixed, gently fold in rainbow sprinkles.  Stir only briefly, because the colors will begin to run quickly. Pour batter evenly into cupcake papers. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting cupcakes


Vanilla Buttercream 

adapted from The Baker Chick 

2 sticks of unsalted butter- room temperature.
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tsp milk or cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

Sprinkles for decorating

In a large bowl, cream the butter until it is fluffy and pale. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until it is well combined and thick. Add the vanilla paste and 1 tsp at a time of milk until the frosting is a creamy and good spreading consistency. Pipe/Spread on cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

And don't forget to check out Team Continuum and help them raise funds for the NYC marathon!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Donate to Team Continuum- NYC Marathon!

I want you to meet my sister Lacey.

She recently got her Master's degree in Biomedicine and is a yoga instructor. Lacey is currently training with Team Continuum to run the ING NYC Marathon 2012. Team Continuum provides non-medical assistance to cancer patients and their families. This can be anything from utility bills to cab fare for chemotherapy treatments. You can read more about their cause here.

I love Team Continuum's cause. Working as a pharmacy technician, I don't usually deal with the patients, but their family members. I see the toll that the prices of medications and treatments takes on worried spouses and children. Team Continuum recognizes the effects that cancer has to not only the patient, but their families and their everyday needs.

Both Lacey and I would love if you would like to donate to Team Continuum. She only has a couple of months left to reach her goal, and she is halfway there! I know Lacey is training hard to build up the endurance to compete in her first marathon, and how honored she is to run with Team Continuum.
No donation is too small! (seriously. every bit helps.) if you would like to donate click here.

Feel free to contact me or Lacey with any questions.

Thanks friends :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

One year.

One year ago, I made the biggest decision of my life.

I knelt across an alter from a man that I loved, and made a promise to be his companion for time and all eternity. And him to me.
The peace and happiness that I felt in that moment is something I will never forget.

 Every step we took to combine our lives into one- meeting with our bishop, getting temple recommends, signing the lease for our apartment, left me with a strong feeling that this was something good.

And I knew that morning that the Lord was pleased with our decision.

We were pretty happy with it too.

Every day since we have felt the same. An assurance that we are meant to be married. 

The man that I married is the flip to my flop.When I look left, he looks right. He teaches me to be strong, and I teach him to be gentle.When our powers combine, we are unstoppable (which means our kids will be even more awesome than us).

No, marriage is not perfect. or easy. It takes a lot of work. I can't count the hours we have sat together talking, trying to better understand each others wants and needs. But it is wonderful. And this has been the best year of my life.

  So here's to a happy eternity with my best friend.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars

I love me a sweet and salty bite. Like sprinkling sea salt on chocolate chip cookies. There's nothing better.
I also love me a healthy snack. I am always looking for a way to perk up our daily lunches. It  would be  so much easier to give in and throw some chips in a bag, or just buy lunch instead of taking the time to make something healthy and flavorful. But that is just not how I roll.

I wanted to find a granola bar recipe that met a few criteria. 1) No added sugar. I wanted sweet stuff in it, but not necessarily the bar itself. I lied. Unless brown sugar doesn't count as sugar. Food blogger fail.  2) Quick and easy to make. I have a theory that the garage below my apartment is in actuality an open furnace, because no matter how long I blast the a/c, it will not cool down. So quick to mix in a bowl and bake was a must. 3) It had to be customizable. This recipe allows you to add up to 2 and 1/4c of whatever mix-ins you prefer.

Hello delicious. Salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy, the perfect afternoon snack.

Homemade Granola Bars

adapted from My Baking Addiction


2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Up to 2 1/4 cup of mix-ins. I used:
     -1/2 c. chopped almonds
     -3/4 c. dark chocolate chips
     -1/2 c. chopped dried apple slices
     -1/4 c. flaxseeds
     -1/4 c. salted chopped salted pistachios


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla.
3. Mix well using your hands, add in cherries, chocolate chips and almonds. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden around the edges. Cool on wire rack for about 30 minutes before cutting. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting because they will crumble.

Don't forget to support Team Continuum in their wonderful cause! Thanks friends :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Artisan Bread- No knead

I have done nothing but sweat for the past two weeks. It's not really that hot outside. Temperatures have been in the mid 80s. But I sweat drive to work in my un-a/c'd car, sweat work in a glass room compounding medications, then sweat drive back home to sweat make dinner in my apartment that has been soaking up heat all day.

So I've had quite a few bun days recently.

And don't ask me why I decided to bake bread one night, because I don't know. There was absolutely no logic in that decision, and my house hasn't cooled down since.

All you need to know is this recipe is beautifully simple, and doesn't require kneading or a bread machine. The crust is crusty, and the inside is soft and has a great crumb.

maybe just wait til the winter to try it out.  to avoid sweat dripping in your dough.

Artisan Bread

adapted from Baking Glory


3 cups Lukewarm Water
1½ tbsp Yeast, active dry
 1½ tbsp Salt
6½ cups Flour, all purpose

1. In a medium bowl add the warm water, salt and yeast and stir together.

2. In the bowl of your mixer add all the flour, then pour the yeast mixture over and mix using the dough hook, until it’s all well incorporated.

3. Place the dough in a large plastic container, it needs room to rise, and put the lid on it, but do not close completely, there needs to be one corner left open to let the gas escape. Alternatively, you can use a large bowl, covered well with plastic wrap and poke a couple small holes in it's top using toothpicks.

4. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.

5. The dough will be very sticky and elastic. It is recommended to bake this on a stone, however a regular baking sheet will work just fine. Cover the baking sheet, or stone with parchment paper.

6. Put some flour on your hands, and divide the dough in two pieces. Shape the dough into the desired form for your bread and place it seam down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the loaves and let them rest for another 30 minutes so that they can rise a bit.

7. Preheat oven to 450° F / 232° C. Before placing the bread in the oven, add a pan with a cup of water and put it on the bottom rack. Slash the top of your bread, to allow gases to escape.

8. Bake it for 30 to 35 minutes. The water will allow for the bread to form a nice crusty top.
Cool it on a rack before serving.

Friday, August 10, 2012

life lately via instagram.

Officially a smarty-pants.
Married to the manliest of all men..
who is also my pedicure buddy :)
Still teaching my Valiant Eights. We put on the armor of God. 

  Newport clouds.
We saw it on a Tuesday night because he couldn't wait another millisecond longer. We saw it again at the end of the week.
Favorite sandwich place gave me a discount because I was wearing scrubs. No argument here.
Lunch by the fountain.

Another perfect temple date with my sweet Mister.
Mister proving how sweet he is.
Thursday almost Friday hair.

Non-instagrammed life:
-both working our 9 to 5s. Hate Mondays, Love Fridays.
-I get to wear pajamas scrubs to work on the days that I compound. Two thumbs up for comfort. Plus I get to pretend I save lives.
-In the middle of an argument, he shouted "and you look so cute with those bows in your ears!"  too adorable to argue with.
 -Upgrading the apt Giving Ikea more money.
-No good summer TV has resulted in lots of Law & Order SVU reruns. bomm-bomm.
-Space heater husband is producing too much heat. No more cuddling till Christmas.
Well, maybe a little on the 20th ;)

Have a good weekend!

You can find me on instagram @noellepp

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Yesterday morning I slept in, checked instagram, then slept in again until 11.
 Then the Mister let me borrow his car to run my errands--which is the sweetest thing he could do.

You see, my car doesn’t have a/c. or a parking spot. So I usually come home sweating buckets, dragging armfuls of lukewarm groceries from down the street.

I was one happy wife prancing from store to store.

then Torrey’s best bud Chris came over.
and I baked them these cookies.
Photo Jul 29, 10 56 48 AM

I was ready to try a new chocolate chip recipe. I sent Torrey with a few of these to work, he came back with raving reviews. So this is a keeper.

They come out soft and chewy, with slightly crisp edges. My favorite part was the addition of sea salt sprinkled on top.  The perfect chocolate chip cookie in my eyes.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
From The Baker Chick
 Makes about 2 dozen cookies

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
*optional- sea salt for sprinkling 

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions.  Preheat oven 325°.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.  With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.  Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball.  Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves.  Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. Sprinkle with sea salt. (optional) 

Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes).  Do not overbake.

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Photo Jul 29, 10 57 42 AM

I Heart Nap Time

Lovely Crafty Home>Photobucket
Too Much Time On My Hands

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blooper reel.

I use my iPhone for 99.9% of all pictures I take (is there such thing as a camera anymore?). For all of the great pictures I get out of it, it takes a few   bad ones . I thought I’d give you a good laugh and share best of the worst.

Here’s me at graduation,

Photo May 19, 9 27 47 AM

At my parent’s house,

Photo May 30, 3 30 26 PM

And us on the road to San Francisco.

Photo Jun 21, 9 38 14 AM

Here are the gorgeous views of Zion National Park,

Photo Jun 09, 10 15 44 AM

and us at the top of Coit Tower.

Photo Jun 23, 1 50 51 PM

A lovely view of a fountain,

Photo Jul 11, 12 18 33 PM

a great grill shot, plus my finger,

Photo Jul 04, 6 34 57 PM

And my personal favorite, the Torrey headshot.

Photo Jul 27, 7 29 00 PM

“Torreyyy! I’m takin a picture!”

Great photography skills am I right? Sorry future grandchildren, Grandma Noelle’s already having a hard time with technology these days. Good luck explaining the iPhone 11.

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