Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ham.

After 16 years of loyalty, companionship, and love, my family’s sweet Hammy as left this earth.

ham

His body had become too weak, and he lost the will to eat. So my parents decided it was time to say goodbye to our beloved dog.

The last time I went home I saw how deteriorated his body had become, and I knew the time for his spirit to leave us was coming close.

I still remember going to pick him out with my older sister. There were two young brindle dachshunds jumping and nipping at us. The owner suggested the one without the white spot on his chest, because he would be more beautiful for showing, but we all agreed on the ‘one with the white spot.’

I’ll remember how he became the companion to our grumpy older female wiener Ophie (Ophelia and Hamlet), and she grew to have a soft spot for him, as we all did. He brought life into her. Despite her grumpy disposition, I always loved Ophie. I’ll always be thankful for Ham’s love for her. When she passed, we soon got other wieners (Romeo, Blitz, Harley), but he was always the best. Most well-behaved, best walker, most loving.

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I’ll remember that Ham loved more than anything to cuddle. I remember my mom sitting on the stairs, with Hammy flipped on his back, getting his chest rubbed, in complete submission. He was really my mom’s dog. They had a special bond.

I’ll remember him as Lazarus. Our family believes Hammy was blessed with nine lives. He had multiple breathing problem scares, and one day his back legs just stopped working. On a walk he was severely bitten by a larger dog and was taken to the emergency vet. Each time the whole family was in tears, praying to keep our sweet dog a little longer. Each time he ended up fine. After he recovered from the dog attack, Dad nick-named him Lazarus, because of his ability to come back from the dead.

I’ll remember how my mom had a microchip put in him, but none in any of our other dogs. We love them all, but there was no way we were losing Ham.

I’ll remember the trips where we would take the wieners to a local school and let them run free. Hammy adored every second- prancing through the tall grass with his ears flopping.

I’ll remember how he always loved the sun. He would lie in the yard for hours soaking. We would joke that he was dead because of the ridiculous positions he would turn himself in. Twisted on his back, feet straight in the air, in complete paradise.  Even in his later years, we would find him tanning.

Photo Oct 01, 12 50 10 PM

I’ll remember how even as he got older, began to lose his eyesight, and spent most of the day resting, he would still always get up when I came home, give me a small lick, then trot back to bed again. A good dog till the very end.

Hammy is the best furry family member we have had. I truly believe I will never know a better dog. He was full of love for every family member.  My youngest sister is a year younger than him and has never known a life with out Hammy. There are Wright daughters all over the country with a piece of their hearts missing.

Rest in peace Hammy. I imagine you running in heavenly fields of gold with Ophie and Romeo, ears flopping. I will always love you, old friend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Fact is Tuesday.

Fact: We had a great weekend! I hope you all did too. We went on a double date with our friends Bruce and Marinda for a session in the Los Angeles temple,

and had some Diddy Reise before dinner at one of our favorite LA restaurants.

 I love LA dates. The city has so many fun things to offer.

Fact: I'm not a Halloween girl. I always stress out about finding a good costume. Life was so much easier when your mom just threw you in a princess dress.

Fact: This conversation happened-
N: Do you want to do the Trunk-or-treat (church Halloween party) this year?
T: No.
N: We can be zombies.
T: ....okay.

Fact: I'm a winner. (And winners can do what they want! Name that movie.)
I won a gift card to a cute online shop on a giveaway hosted by Nicholl at The Chiffon Diary. Completely made my Monday. Thanks Nicholl!

Fact: Yesterday was my moms birthday! She came up a couple of weeks ago with my little sister so that I could treat them to Boiling Crab. She absolutely loved it.


 My dad is allergic to shrimp so she doesn't get to eat it much. I think we made up for lost time with the 1 lb. bags we each polished off. Ha
Get in my belly little shrimps!
Bonus: Jordie decided she likes shrimp too! Now we can all eat giant bags of shrimp together. Like a real family.

Fact: I am way too excited for this weekend. Weather and time permitting, we are going apple picking! Fun adventure date with my favorite fruit and favorite husband? I'm like little kid excited.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Popovers

Some days are just not blogging days.

The past week has been a rougher one, with our family dog passing away, then I got sick, now Torrey's sick, so to be perfectly honest, I just haven't felt like blogging. Sorry faithful followers. I know you're all waiting with baited breath for my next post, refreshing your blogger feed with high hopes only to be let down (..no?).

But you can rejoice, today felt like a blogging day! And you can celebrate with a batch of positively poofy popovers!


 This is my new favorite recipe. These are the cutest little rolls and so fun to watch grow in the oven.

Not only are they an impressive treat, with their uncontrollable puffed up tops, but they are easier to make than any roll recipe I've ever seen. No yeast = no waiting to rise.


Popovers are very light and airy. I love them on their own, but I recently started stuffing their fluffy insides with fillings like crock pot BBQ chicken. All applications have resulted in successful scrumptiousness.

Popovers

from Food Wishes
makes 8-10 popovers


Ingredients

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
pinch cayenne
2 Tbsp shredded Gruyere cheese, optional

Directions

DO NOT preheat oven. That's right, you heard me.

Generously grease muffin tins with butter and oil.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, eggs, milk and cayenne until combined.

Fill greased muffin tins 1/2 to 3/4 with batter. The higher you fill them, the more they will pop.

Put in a cold oven, set to 450 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and puffy. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Buttercream

I promised myself I would not post anything pumpkin related until I could actually consider it Fall. 

And this past week Orange County broke its summer fever- there even was a breeze! Hallelujah! 

Friday I even got cocky and wore a long sleeve shirt. 

So with these whoopie pies I officially declare it the season of Fall. woo!

Is is whoopie or whoopee? What do you think?


I made these for my sweet friend Neremiah as a late birthday gift.  I love her. to death. She is the sweetest person on this planet. She's a foodie, her name starts with an N (think about it, there are not that many N names!)--a match made in Heaven.

I didn't plan on making these. I actually had my heart set on these gorgeous brownie sandwich cookies that I found, but the results were less than pleasing.


You win some you lose some right? I was able to laugh it off, and Torrey will eat all of my failed creations, but I have to admit my heart sank a little every time he asked for a "brownie cookie gone wrong." haha. And I seem to lose more when it comes to chocolate recipes... 

So it was onto plan B. This was my first attempt at whoopie pies, and I was experimenting a little with the maple buttercream, but I knew Neremiah would appreciate a foodie experiment no matter the outcome. 

I was surprised with how wonderful these were. The pumpkin cookies are soft and pillowy, almost cupcake-like, and the maple buttercream is just the perfect complement.

You know how I know when a recipe is good? When I find Torrey sneaking into the kitchen, to steal one or two, or five. He said they "taste like Fall" and that they are his favorite of goodies I've made yet! (and i make a lot of goodies)

When I caught him eating the last few, and I gave him the "I think you've had enough look, " he said "I cant help it if they taste so good!"


Add pumpkin whoopie pies to the favorites list.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Buttercream Filling

 

Ingredients

Maple Buttercream
adapted from Bakingdom

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
from Dessert For Two
 
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
1½ cups canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1½ teaspoons ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 325°P. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

Make the cookies: In a large bowl, blend together brown sugar and oil with a spoon until well combined. Add pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla and continue to stir until smooth.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices, and then add to the wet ingredients, stirring only until combined (be careful not to overmix).

For best results, spoon batter into a piping bag with a large tip and pipe mounds of batter (about 1 tablespoon each) of batter onto the lined sheet tray, about 3 inches apart. (If you don’t have a piping bag, use two large spoons and space the batter in the same way.)

Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes, until they begin to turn golden. Let cool completely before sandwiching cookies together with the filling.

Make the Filling: Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and syrup. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for 4 minutes.

Cookie sandwiches will keep in a sealed plastic container at room temperature for a few days.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Fact is Tuesday.


Fact: I handle all of the accounts receivable for my work and pass them out to all of the offices. I handed one guy his and he exclaimed "An invitation to the ball???" Haha.

Fact: I like to eat lunch in my car. It's quiet, I take of my shoes, let the breeze blow through the windows and no one can bother me. When I told Torrey he said something to the affect of "Well I married a social butterfly." You knew this going in buddy. Don't act like you're all surprised.

And the view's not bad.

Fact: We had a super productive weekend revamping the apt. I pranced around quite proud of the bookshelf I built by myself, then had handy husband mount it to the wall. Itching to decorate.
Reward.

Fact: This weekend was General Conference. How I love listening to the leaders of our church give direct counsel to the world. There is always one talk that resonates with me personally. You can listen to any of the speakers of our church here.

Fact: When I grow up I want to be Cesar Milan and have a bajillion dogs. I am jealous of his life.

Fact: I had a dream that I had tons of exotic baby animals to take care of. I got to keep the baby otter, but my husband made me get rid of the baby polar bear. Jerk.

Fact: Sometimes you've just got to treat yo self. I have a hard time buying myself stuff. I always feel like it should go to something else. This week I gave in and treated myself to a little kitchen love.

I am obsessed. So cute!

You know, like Tommy and Donna do on Parks and Rec.




So make sure you treat. yo. self. sometime this week!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Fact is Tuesday.

Fact: I'm glad Octobers here. Maybe California will start feeling like Fall. Maybe.

Fall? :/

Fact: Bananas, when left in a hot apartment during the week, will not turn brown. Rather, they will rot internally and leak juice onto your kitchen counter. ick.

Fact: I am having some Disney withdrawals. Why can't we skip a work day for Adventureland every week?? Oh yah, cuz we're grownups now. Bummer.


Fact: Pumpkin whoopie pies with maple buttercream are delicious and quote "taste like Fall." Post in the works.


Fact: Helping the primary kids practice for the primary program has dashed any wants for children right now. Don't get me wrong, I love them, but in a "okay, now let's go find your mom" sort of way. 

Fact: I've been feeling a little complacent lately. Same job, same apartment, same husband (kidding on the last one!) Dreaming of packing up everything and running away to a big (COLD) city. And contemplating the pros and cons of chopping off all of my hair.

Fact: According to my records, Torrey only has one shirt!

 It's his "weekend shirt" and is hindering my ability to wear anything baby blue.

Linking with Nicholl at The Chiffon Diary. Have a happy rest of the week!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Homemade Thin Mints




I'm sorry to say that I didn't give Thin Mints a chance until recently.

I hated Peppermint Patties, Junior Mints, mint chocolate chip ice cream- why would I want to eat something that tastes like my toothpaste?

But Thin mints are a different story, because they are subtle. They have such a great crumbly texture and just a hint of peppermint, and anything chocolate-covered is a friend of mine.I just didn't know we were going to be such good friends because I judged them too early. You see what happens when you judge others? Think of all of the good times we could have had ;)



Thin mints happen to be Torrey's favorite Girl Scout cookies, so I couldn't pass up a copycat recipe for the two of us to happily munch on (though to be perfectly honest, samoas are still number one in my heart). The recipe that I found is the spitting image of the original. Same texture, flavor, If I could get my chocolate-covering skills perfected you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.



Homemade Thin Mints:

adapted from The view from Great Island

Ingredients

Cookies
 8 ounces butter
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups all purpose flour

Coating
10 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 teaspoon peppermint extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter until light and fluffy, then add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the salt, vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter resembles a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the flour is combined, making sure to not over mix.

Form dough into a ball. Knead a few times to bring together, then flatten into a disk between half an inch and one inch thick, cover in plastic wrap then place in freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove dough from the freezer and roll it out really thin on a floured surface, about 1/8-inch. Cut cookies using 1 1/2-inch cutter 

Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack. While the cookies bake, make the peppermint coating.

 Chop the baking chocolate into very small, thin pieces. Place in a glass measuring cup or similar container and microwave in short 15-20 second bursts. Stir in the peppermint extract. Feel free to add more peppermint as you see fit.

Gently drop the cookies, one at a time, into the coating. Turn to coat entirely, then lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and bang the fork on the side of the pan until the extra coating drips off. Place on a parchment or plastic wrap-lined baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set.
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