Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Our Halloween treat was that Willow's kidney function tests where in the normal range today. We were delighted! Our pup is not quite herself 100% but she has made some great progress and we are so thankful!

Halloween was put on the backburner this year. It is one of my favorite holidays. I love pumpkins and fall. We didn't carve pumpkins - ran out of time, but I did have some ceramic pumpkins that are carved that I was able to put out. A couple people asked if I was baking, but no I just put peach cobbler candles in the pumpkins.


Earlier I made a little table runner that was autumn colors and reversible, the other side has deep purple corduroy. The pumpkins on the table are ones that I grew in our backyard. I was pretty excited about them. I had a few more that I gave to my sister, or my sister's cat who is in love with them as play toys.

Other fall things I've been up to lately include making a pumpkin spice syrup for hot drinks. I love it in coffee. And with all the pears that have been ripening faster than I can use them, I've been making pear galettes. This last time I added some fresh ginger to the pear. 

Friday, October 28, 2011


A little over a year ago Erik and I adopted Willow, our yellow lab mixed with (fill in the blank with your own idea - maybe pointer?). She has been challenging at times (mostly in the beginning couple of months) and a delight. Willow has added greatly to our lives and it a member of our family. One of my favorite things that Willow does when we get home is weave herself through our legs and does figure eights rubbing on our legs. I think it is her way of saying she missed us and is glad we are home.

This week Willow went in for a little surgery to have a tooth removed (she bonked it on something, it broke in half). She got sick from an allergy to a drug and was hospitalized. Today I'm happy to say she is home and snoring away next to me. We still have some time to wait to find out if she will be back to herself one hundred percent, but it sure is great to have her home.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Office

Back in July I took on painting the new office room. Most rooms in our house were white when we moved in and color scared me (except the pumpkin colored walls in the family room), and we are slowly adapting to more color. I guess I may have had the new office on a very slow migration, as I painted the walls, but never quite finished the room - I needed to paint the yellow bi-fold doors of the closet and the closet trim as well as fix and paint the small doors on top of the closet. This weekend I finally finished the closet, just not the small doors on top. That spurred the office move. We moved the furniture, plugged in all the cables and wiring for the computer, and then found out that the internet didn't work there - darn. A little futzing and we find out no where else in our house does the router work except in the room I'd like to remove the title office from. In a few days and a technical visit hopefully we'll be back to sitting at a desk soon. For the time being we make do. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quintessential Fall Night

Last night was a beautiful night with pizza and the inaugural fire in our wood burning stove. Tonight was a beautiful night as well. We had both of our chimneys inspected last month so that we knew everything was good for the winter. Tonight it is toasty both downstairs where the stove is and upstairs.

I made my first pumpkin pie today. I read up on it and still made some mistakes... sloshing pumpkin mixture into the oven followed by 15 minutes of smoke coming from the oven. I only had a hint of smoke lingering around when Erik came home about an hour later. The pie turned out fairly good for the first one, but I think I need some more practice. It wasn't the prettiest but it did taste great. For dinner I made braised pork chops in red wine with walla walla onions and pears with mushroom thyme mashed potatoes. I was pretty proud of myself then to follow that up with a decent pie.

I didn't quite get everything done today that I had wished, but I did have a great day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I had to share my culinary exploration tonight. I had picked up some different types of squash at the farmers market, from Peter of Peter's Pumpkins. The one I used tonight was a carnival, similar to acorn squash, but a really cool variegated shell. I also picked up butternut and ambercup squash to be used soon as well.  I think I'm going to make soup with the butternut, but not quite sure what I'm going to do with the ambercup yet.

I found my recipe that I used tonight from TasteSpotting, of which I'm often perusing for ideas. It is delightful site although it often makes me hungry and wishing to bake sweet things. Recently I came across a link for CalabacĂ­n relleno de cebollas moradas (Pumpkin with red onion and ricotta) and it looked like something I needed to try. (I was a little nervous about the Spanish, but the recipe was also in English.) I was all ready to make it tonight, got the ricotta from the fridge and found that my ricotta had become quite the colorful science experiment (decided not to show a picture of it - hope that's okay with you). I do like experiments but this had me disappointed. I had already begun prepping the squash, so it was either run to the store for ricotta or adapt the recipe - I chose the latter. Also during the time of deciding what to do about the lack of ricotta, I had a little accident with boiling water all down the front of my sweater, but all was good. My sweater thankfully repelled most of it so no burns here. So my substitutions included goat cheese rather than feta, grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese rather than ricotta. I also put maybe a little more than a pinch of nutmeg, another accident, although a happy accident and then I also used dried thyme instead of fresh, again, I didn't want to go to the store. All in all, I was quite pleased that  tasted so good. I can add another type of squash to the 'I will eat' category, as many foods have made the switch. Things I might change... I might try ricotta, or maybe something to make it a little creamier.

Speaking of eating things, but completely unrelated. My dog, Willow, who has been so good in the house while we aren't home, must have accidentally chewed on the corner of a book I was borrowing from a friend. I was in shock when I found it where I left it but the top corner was slightly gnawed on.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Tonight it finally RAINED! I am so very thankful for some rain. We could use a lot more, but I am thankful for  the little bit we got tonight. It even puddled in the driveway. We have been so dry for the past month, maybe two.

Willow liked the rain too. She likes being a wet dog I think. Tonight she wanted to be outside even after our long walk in the rain and it was a good thing because we watched the sunset with beautiful pinks and purples.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Walks with Willow

I was up early this morning and I'm thankful for how these early morning walks with the dog lighten the minds load for the day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Break

Paddling on the Mississippi River
I had a fall break this past week. It was quite enjoyable. I was wishing for a little bit more fall colors, but I still greatly enjoyed my time.
A couple of highlights:
  • Canning adventures with friends and Erik. We made Apple Cider Jelly and Erik's Grandma Lois' Pickled Beets.
  • Paddling with my neighbor on the windy Mississippi River, in his beautiful handcrafted cedar strip kayaks. 
  • Father Hennepin State Park. I wanted to see some albino deer and we didn't but we did see some cool caterpillars.
  • 5th Anniversary - we had crab legs for dinner and then had desert from Pardon My French by the bonfire with some port. It was lovely. 
  • Enjoying Sunday around Minneapolis and St. Paul with my parents, cheering on my sister, Katie, who completed her first marathon! So completely impressed!
Willow was in the water within minutes of pulling up to the cabin
    Katie in the Twin Cities Marathon (photo by: Dad)