Monday, July 30, 2012

Homegrown Rhubarb Pie

My friend Erica has an absolutely amazing garden filled with every kind of vegetable, herb and fruit imaginable! I aspire to be like her some day. When we spent time with her and her husband last week, she sent me home with a bag full of rhubarb, and today I finally had the time to bake a pie!

Pies haven't always been my strong-suit, but this one turned out to be delicious. The crust was especially yummy! I used a recipe for Butter Pie Crust and Fresh Rhubarb Pie to create my pie. Here's how you can make your own!

Homemade Pie Crust
I googled a lot of different pie crust recipes and chose this one because it doesn't have any shortening in it. It makes enough for one top and bottom crust, or two bottom crusts. I also found that using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer was way easier than mixing it by hand.

1 cup cold unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water

Cut the butter into small cubes. Put flour, sugar and salt into mixer and mix briefly (use the paddle attachment) to combine. Add butter, and then run the mixer on low for several minutes until it's crumbly and the butter is pea-size or smaller. Add cold water and mix until it turns into a dough. Be sure not to over-mix!

Turn dough out onto counter or cutting board. Separate into two balls and roll each to 1/8 inch thick circles. Use one circle for the crust and the other to cover the filling. I found that if I turned my cutting board upside down over my pie plate, I could gently lower the dough into the pan without making a giant mess of things.

Once you have your bottom crust in the pie pan, you're ready to add your filling!

Homegrown Rhubarb Pie

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
That delicious pie crust you just made!

Begin by slicing up your rhubarb. I found it was easiest to make 1/2 inch chunks by cutting down the stalks two at a time. Once you've got that completed, mix together your flour and sugar. Dump about 1/3 cup of the sugar mixture into the bottom of the pie pan.

Then add your rhubarb.

Cover the rhubarb with the remaining sugar mixture and dot with the butter.

Now just add your top crust! I find it helpful to press a fork around the edges to help seal in the juices of the pie.

And so you're ready to bake! Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then another 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I also covered the edges of my pie with foil to keep from burning it.

I had a little dough and rhubarb left over, so I made a couple mini-pies as well. For those, I rolled out dough and lined a ramekin with it, dumped in about a teaspoon of sugar. I then added the rhubarb and followed with a couple tablespoons sugar and a top crust.

I baked the mini pies for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. As a final note, be sure you bake your pie on a cookie sheet or foil! I used foil, but apparently not enough as I started a small oven fire. I know, I'm just that awesome. Thankfully my pies turned out fine, but be safe!

Enjoy your pie tonight warm with vanilla ice cream, or cold tomorrow with lunch. (Or maybe breakfast if you live at our house!) As you can see from the picture above, I'd already started eating one of the mini pies. They are delicious!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Our Weekend in Pictures

Thanks to my cousin Erin for the awesome pictures! Please respect her photography and do not reproduce these for any reason.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesdays on the Homefront

So I know it's actually Thursday. Sorry for the quiet week! We've had family in town and been pretty busy enjoying time with them. Pictures coming soon!
Cooking: My mom came over yesterday and we bought cupcakes. One of them was a chocolate cinnamon cupcake that was delicious. I'm inspired to try adding a little cinnamon to my chocolate cupcakes next time!

Cleaning: Friends, my house is a disaster. I cannot seem to keep it clean for the life of me. Also, our carpet smells like mildew. Not sure what that's about. I was having a meltdown with Ben last night on the couch (don't you just love those?!) and I told him how I used to juggle so many things, but can't seem to keep my house in order now. Honestly, 15 grad credits plus an internship plus marriage- yet I can't seem to keep a clean home with a baby. This whole motherhood thing is proving to be more than I expected.

Creating: I've been making dresses and aprons for Ben's cousins this month... until my sewing machine broke last week. I'm so accident prone! But no worries- I'm on to greater things while I wait for it to be mended. I've decided it's time to make a list of projects I'd like to tackle and gifts I'd like to make. Stay tuned for the list in the next few weeks!

Loving: Sleep. I know, every new mom says that. But after a few weeks of Eli sleeping through the night, he chose to take the weekend family was in town to get up every three hours. He's back to his normal hours, plus he and I got a nap in today! It was delightful.

Living: My cousin has been in town this week! She and I haven't seen each other since my wedding and it has been too long. She stayed at our apartment this past weekend and we had a wonderful time reminiscing and catching up. I haven't stayed up that late since college!

Learning: My cousin and I had a lot of talks about family and personal growth. Then during my cry session last night, Ben and I talked about those issues in more detail. I am learning so much about myself right now. I realized I'm living in a dream world sometimes rather than in reality. I realized that I'm expecting perfection out of myself in every situation when that isn't possible. I also realized that relationships are hard work, and sometimes the best thing I can do is take a step back and wait for awhile.

That's all for today, friends! My little man got his 4 month shots today and he's a bit cranky. Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Joy Comes in the Morning

I'm up early this morning. Sleeplessness hit-- again. It's funny how this happens every year during wedding season. I wake up in the middle of the night, try to fall back asleep, and begin to think. I think about the weddings I've attended recently and how beautiful they were. How happy the bride and groom were, and how everything seemed to be just as they'd always dreamed it would be.

And then the familiar ache hits. I didn't like my wedding. Don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful day. People who attended will tell you how special it was, how lovely everything turned out. And they are right. I loved the order of our ceremony and the pastor we chose. The reception site really was nice. This is the part where I feel like a horrible person. People in other countries don't have enough food to eat and I'm complaining about my wedding.

I think what all the emotions funnel down to is regret. I regret so much leading up to that day. I regret not doing the things that Ben and I dreamed about, like an ice cream bar or an outdoor wedding. I regret not choosing a dress I fell in love with, but instead just picking something because I was so tired of trying them on. Most of all, I regret losing my own voice. I didn't say no. I didn't voice my opinion like I should have. I let my dreams, my vision for the day, be trampled by someone else. I chose the "modest" wedding dress because nice girls shouldn't wear strapless, even on their wedding day. I didn't tell the hairstylist I didn't like the way she did my hair, because that someone thought it looked good. I let myself be led around by guilt instead of standing up for what I knew I wanted.

I wish I could go back to myself during that time and tell me how many sleepless nights I would spend regretting that day. I wish I could explain that even the best photographer can't make you look beautiful if you don't like your dress or your hair. I wish I could tell myself that I would cry when I look at my wedding pictures.

It's been a year and a half since that day. I got out of bed this morning and decided something: it's time to move on. No, my wedding wasn't everything I hoped it would be. I certainly didn't feel my most beautiful, nor do I look back on that day with a lot of joy. Yet I married my best friend that day. That's what really matters, in the grand scheme of life. I got married to the man that I love and we have a wonderful life together. It's time for me to stop crying and keeping myself up at night and move on.

Ben promised that someday we'll do a vow renewal ceremony, and I can pick out a dress that I love. But until then, I can find other times to feel beautiful. I can dress up for other occasions. I was looking at our picture wall this morning and realized that I want to be surrounded by pictures that make me happy. So today, the wedding pictures are coming down. It's time to move on to a new phase of life. I am finally independent of the guilt and the compulsion. I am free, and I am loved. Who needs a wedding when I have a life filled with love?

This post was more for me that for you readers. Thanks for listening, though. I realized that I needed to write all this down- to make the choice to move on and have people hold me to it. So thanks for reading today. Also, anyone need a wedding dress? I've got one I'm looking to get rid of. It's time for freedom and joy in my life, not regret.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Makeup For Busy Mamas

I've never been a big makeup girl. While I'm pretty sure my sister has a lipstick for each day of the week, I get by on chapstick and a little powder. Since Eli was born, my time in the mornings has gotten so short! I've realized, though, that I really want to look presentable. I don't want to be one of those moms who looks like a hot mess every day when her husband comes home. So, here is my basic makeup routine, plus my date night extras.

Lavera Foundation: I read about this on a blog somewhere, and decided to take the plunge ordering it online. I've never really liked liquid foundation but I love this! It's an all-natural, German-made foundation that smoothes on easily and has light to medium coverage. I just squirt a little on my wrist and apply with clean fingers. There's only a few color choices but I found that it seems to blend to my skin color really well.

L'Oreal True Match ConcealerGotta love the under eye circles, blemishes and redness that comes with being a mama. I ordered this concealer when I bought my foundation and I love it! It provides a little extra coverage where I need it, and was under $10! I apply it after my foundation and under my powder.

Homemade Face Powder: Before switching to Lavera, I used the Bare Minerals line of powder foundation. I found a couple blogs that talked about creating homemade Mineral Veil, a Bare Minerals product that helps cover shine and set your makeup. I made my own by combining equal parts baby powder and corn starch, and put into an old (washed) powder jar. I apply it after my foundation to help set my makeup and remove any shine. You could also add a little colored face powder to give it a slight tint if you wish. Best perk of all? Unlike the Bare Minerals version, it's basically free!

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer: This is my lipstick alternative most days! I love that it moisturizes and adds a little color.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara: I'm told this is a cult classic, and I love it! I have it in black and it's great for day or night. I apply a little to my top eye lashes most days, or do both top and bottom for date nights.

Bare Minerals Face Color in Warmth: This is a little date night extra. I've had this bronzer for forever and I love it! A little goes a long way and looks great on cheeks or eyes.

MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam V: The lady who did my makeup for our wedding used this on me. I bought mine at Nordstrom, but couldn't find it on the website so I linked to Macy's. Another date night extra, it is that perfect natural color that adds just enough color to make you look lovely.

Note: I've linked to these items where I bought them, but I did not get any payments from the companies I linked through.

Hope I've inspired you to look beautiful for your man without taking a lot of time! What's your favorite makeup product?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Link Love: July

Lately as I've been exploring blogs, I've come across some really fantastic articles or websites I'd love to share with you all! Now that I have an incredible 8 followers (amazing, right?!) I thought it might be fun to have a monthly link up. I'll begin it by sharing a few links I've come across and enjoyed recently. Then, you'll get a chance to link up your own blog post! I'll keep the link up open until the end of each month. All I ask is that you put my button either in your post or on your sidebar. I have a couple to choose from in my left sidebar. I look forward to seeing what you link up!

Here's my list for this month:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Three Months Old

Here we are at 3 months! Eli's first year is flying by so quickly. This month, in particular, was filled with big family events and lots of happy moments.

Some favorite moments? Eli's smile. He came alive this month, with all kinds of new facial expressions and smiles that make his whole face glow. I love that he recognizes Ben and I now.

He's also becoming really talkative and some days he coos and coos!

I feel like, as a mom, this month has been easier than the first two. I'm getting more sleep (Eli is sleeping through the night now!) and I feel a lot better about life. I'm also beginning to make the transition to being a stay-at-home mom, even though I do still miss my job.

I think Ben and I are beginning to adjust to life with a baby as well. We're really enjoying taking him places with us and watching him discover the world around him.

All pictures copyright Firebird Imaging. Images may not be reproduced for any purpose.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wednesdays on the Homefront

Happy Independence Day! Hope you all enjoy a wonderful day celebrating with family and friends!

Cooking: On the docket this week is barbecue chicken for dinner and nutella banana bread for breakfasts. Delicious! On the banana bread, my only suggestion would be a little less nutella. Ours was a little much, but still delicious! For the chicken, I'm just throwing chicken and barbecue sauce in the crock pot all day on low. Then tonight I'll shred the chicken and put it on hamburger buns.
Cleaning: I get a little obsessed with organizing sometimes. After growing up in a home with way too much stuff, I have this weird paranoia about clutter. Now that we have a baby in the house, our apartment is, well, cluttered. And it's driving me crazy! 800 square feet for two adults and a baby is not much, but I know I can make it look neater than it does. Ben pointed out that if we can be clutter-free now, it will be that much easier when we get a house someday. I've checked out some organizing books from the library and I am on a mission!
Creating: I've got a couple of aprons in the works for Ben's cousins right now. They were out here for his sister's wedding and asked if I would make some for them. They chose some really cute fabric, and I am looking forward to making them! Look for a tutorial soon.

Loving: The air conditioner! It's been around 100 degrees every afternoon for the past week and I am trying to go outside as little as possible. My hubby is a bit stingy on energy (he's an engineer after all), but even he has agreed it's time for the AC. That cool air blowing on me while I sit inside is the very best!
Living: Ben's sister and her new husband leave for their new home in Canada today. We've gotten to spend the past two evenings with them, which has been wonderful! Sometimes life changes in such big ways all at once. We're so happy for them but we'll miss them so much.
Learning: To be content. I mentioned above we live in a tiny apartment. We considered moving to something a little larger, but after lots of discussion we're staying in our current apartment for at least another year and a half. I like our apartment, but there are a lot of things I've been frustrated with recently. I've been convicted recently that I need to have a better attitude about our home. I read this post last night and was really challenged to be content. I'm not there quite yet, but hope to continue to work on my attitude.