12 Months of Pre-Planned Dates

I have been dying to share this!! Just dying! 12 months of pre-planned and pre-paid dates was my main Christmas gift to Kit in 2013. Our first date kinda flopped because there was some idiotic things I couldn’t control. However, we are back on schedule.

12datesimagepinI found this idea of 12 Pre-Planned Dates on Pinterest. There are tons of them all over the internet. The blogger I linked had some great tips but the blog was a touch sparse when it came to actual ideas. I believe that was on purpose. The original blogger didn’t want you to do an exact copy because she wanted her readers to get creative and make it their very own. I am will toats share all of mine, never fear. I do stand behind her in saying: Make this your own! Don’t just copy the dates, sit down and put some serious thought into things that the two of you would like to do together.

For example, some couples may hate to cook together, but that is a great togetherness time that my husband and I have. I also wanted to keep these 12 dates on a very serious low budget. I think all together I spent less than $50. Those are some legit dates if you ask me.

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What is this all about?

Come up with 12 date ideas. Write 12 letters, grab and label 12 envelopes and make sure to include anything needed to complete the date. Especially items like, printed off directions, brochures of destination, recipe cards, gift cards, or other specific things (like food coloring to go with a cookie recipe).

About a week before the new month open the envelope and pick a day to have your pre-planned date! So you would open the February date envelope sometime during the last week of January.

January

My plan for January was to get a $5 gift card for this local theatre that mostly does live performances. They promised to have several $2 movies they would show during January and the schedule of shows would be available–to include in my envelope–by mid December. Sadly, the show schedule didn’t come out until January and the shows are all scheduled for February.
To make matters worse the gift card to the theatre got lost in the mail somewhere. It might be in my PO box…silly mail. We hope to hold three dates in February, the Jan-date, Feb-date and something special for Valentine’s Date. March will feel uneventful after our crazy February ends.

February

I want each month to have its own blog post after we have the date, but since Kit has opened the February envelope I can summarize it here. 20140126_090222February’s envelope includes: A bandana, a small tub of Wilton’s rose pink coloring, a recipe for super pink chocolate chip cookies, and a letter with instructions. The instructions essentially say that our challenge is to make chocolate chip cookies will taking turns being blindfolded.
I suppose if you wanted to analyze what this does for the relationship it can be noted that this is a trust building exercise. The blindfolded person must depend on the unimpaired partner to help make measurements.
My mom has asked about 15 times already….So yes, if you’re wondering it will probably be a naked cooking date. We’re adults and we can be naked. Hahaha, it also may be more amusing this way.
One of the best parts, in addition to nudity, is that we will have awesome super bright pink cookies to nosh when we finish the date. Milk and cookies is what’s up!

March

This one is a surprise! You’ll have to wait a month!! But I promise to continually add to this list so you know what we’re up to throughout the year.

Happy Dating!

~Kat~

Pinterest Discoveries of the Week

I have been debating writing a blog like this for some time. I have come to the conclusion that since no one is paying me to write blogs I should utilize that freedom and write about things I enjoy. So, as a dutiful reader, if this blogs is boring to you then just skip over it. No one is paying you to read my blog either. However, I make a piercing internal squeal every time I get a comment on like on my blogs.

I hope to make this type of post a weekly thing. Maybe some recipes, some inographics, pretty pictures or Farm-esque how-tos that I find on Pinterest. I won’t pick more than 10 because I feel like that this post will be entirely too long if I do so.

Sweet pins from Pinterest

Homemade Siracha Sauce
I mean doesn’t that picture just beg you to make it? I don’t know when I will get a chance to make this deliciousness. The recipe is

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pretty darn easy too. I’m sure you would dice everything tiny and strain it if you didn’t have a food processor.  I think if I made it myself I would use it more often in my recipes at home. I would definitely use homemade Siracha in my Spicy Thai noodles. Yummo! As soon as I read the blog title out loud Kit started searching for Fresno pepper seeds. Looks like we’ll e ordering them from Sustainable Seed Co.

 Adorable Blue Heeler Puppypuppypix
I think I pinned this one twice by accident. My eyes just keep dancing back and forth between his little fat tummy and his round puppy face. Although Kit prefers red heelers, this is the same type of working dog that he wants on the farm. Kit’s last heeler passed away before I met him. I don’t know how I will feel having a dog that is smarter than me on the farm, but they sure are sweet looking dogs.

creamersAfter finding some CoffeeMate seasonal creamers on sale at Kroger I got inspired to make my own. I knew Pinterest would have a copycat recipe so I went on the hunt. Yes, Pinterest is my Google-search for recipes. Don’t worry, Google, you’re still my go-to for stupid meme images that I want to share. Pinterest did not disappoint. After I gather a few ingredients I hope to be refilling my legit Coffeemate bottle with my own creamer. Here’s the link to my favorite Creamer Copycat Recipes pin.

warmupIt should come as no surprise that I have been pinnning some fitness/exercise stuff and going through some of the pins I already have. I have had to delete or repin some to make then link to the correct site. So hopefully if you go through my Fitness pinboard you will have an easier time of things. I accidentally ended up at a Pilates class the other night at the Y and my core/stomach muscles are still sore. Yes, two days later. Obviously, this is something I should do. So as to not bombard you with a armsivilliagethousand fitness pins I will just share one about Great Warmup Exercises and another that has several Arm Exercises with dumbbells.

Next up is a pin I just had to have after tasting it. It seems I do this a lot after just having visited my SiL’s house. We pick something online and I bug the crap out of her until she shares greekdressingthe recipe with me. This Greek Salad dressing is divine! I am hoping to switch over to all homemade dressing as soon as we run out of our store bought ones. Kit hasn’t tried this and is skeptical of many vinaigrettes, but I could also make him some ranch or blue cheese sometime.

Another pin I added to my Beautiful Things board was a pendant with a Shakespeare Quote on it. It comes from one of my favorite

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plays–Much Ado About Nothing. Sadly, this pin links to a website where you have to be a member to view the products. Ain’t NOBODY got time for dat!! Perhaps instead this could be an embroidery project. I would love, love, love to have this in a pendant though. sigh.

carrrots roasted

Another thing Beffers made for me during our last visit were carrots roasted in amazing. I believe it was honey and balsamic vinegar? I love carrots and generally cooked carrots scare me. People tend to want to overcook them and drown the in purse sweet stuff. Not how I like my carrots. These were cooked just right and the honey wasn’t the main player. Delish!

The final recipe was one Beffers and I decided would be our next trial drink when we get together. We love Angry Orchard cider and mojitos. This might just blend those two things together nicely. Theangry mojito  The Angry Crisp Mojito. During my last visit we made Angry Aliens for my brother’s Alien Invasion themed birthday party. They went quite well with our screening of Mars Attacks. Oh yeah….I forgot to tell you all about my brother’s Alien Birthday. I should really work on that.

What cool pins have you discovered recently?

Would you like me to share more pins in the future??
About Cooking
Farm Stuff
Cute Pictures
Embroidery                       ?? Tell me, tell me.

**All photos belong to the original bloggers that I have linked.**

Cold: Workouts, Car Troubles, and Dogs

I have been trying to work out daily or every other day. This week has been a trial, however, because my car has been going super gimp mode. Trouble starting mostly and I am getting to the point where jumping is part of my normal routine.

Thankfully we found out the issue. The Cold Cranking Amps or CCA on a battery really matters when your temps get down into freezing or single digits. The CCA was 500 for my bug and my mechanic informed me it simply isn’t enough power to start my diesel in this cold weather. I was so thankful to find out it wasn’t the alternator or something else worse and unimaginable.

My husband and I went on the hunt last night and bought a battery we were told would fit my car. Once we got it home, Kit found it was too tall. The fusebox lid and also the hood would not close.
So the saga continues. I fully plan to pick up my regular workout routine once my car stops being silly.

Because of the cold weather, we have had a house full of dogs most nights. In addition to my beagle we have two big dogs that dominate the couch.
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They are the most thankful dogs in the world. They have behaved beautifully and adored their warm indoor time. The first night was rough because they aren’t used to crates—lots of whining–but since then they have understood and go right to sleep.

The rest of my winter has been insulated bibs, hot tea, blankets, socks and snuggling up.
Come on Spring……

Playing with Scents

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Over Christmas, my SiL pulled out an awesomely smelifurous crafty thing.
Wadgie had been hanging on to tons of glass bottles with eyedroppers for just such an occasion. She also gathered all her essential oils and grape seed oil.
Then the smelling commenced. We got to smell the different oils and my other sister brought some tiny vials of fancy perfume that we got to whuffle.
Whuffle–To smell vigorously. As a dog looking for a treat hidden in bed covers.

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I would share some recipe, but it really depends on your individual likes. Put a desired amount of grape seed oil in a bottle. Add an essential oil you like drop by drop. It is easier to make the scent a little stronger by adding a few more drops.
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I mixed a bottle of lavender and infused it with leaves from a lavender bush in the front yard. My second bottle used one of the perfumes called Snapdragonfly. It has almost a vanilla and cotton candy sweetness to it. For my final bottle I used the grapefruit essential oil. That will be lovely to use once the fruit trees start blooming.
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Because we had so many smells flying around we had to make sure each one was perfect. We ran out of “clean” spots on our hands and wrists. We had to start using elbows for smell tests.

So how do you use it?
I mostly I put a few drops on both elbows and hands. My hands especially get super dry and cracked in the winter.  Rubbing it in takes just a second and the grape seed oil soaks in faster than many greasy lotions.
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My SiL also uses it for a nice relaxing soak in the bath tub. Just put enough drops in to satisfy your nose and hop in!

This was an awesome activity to get our noses working around Christmas. I tried to drag Kit into the mix, but as you can see it turned into a girls only smellathon. I can’t believe how much fun we had! May have to buy some more essential oils and do this again or at our next get together!

~Kat

Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding {Recipe Revealed!!}

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This is a fantastic recipe that I am definitely adding to my regular rotation. Huge thanks to the recipe I worked from Five Heart Home. This gal has amazing ideas and a humorous way of describing her OCD process of baking.
This would be an awesome Valentine’s day treat to make for your lover or with your lover. You could also make it and not tell anyone–more for you! It may look like a lot of steps but it is really pretty easy to throw together. I might just make it again in a few weeks…heh heh.

As always I made a few changes:

Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding
6-8 cups of cubed stale bread
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
4 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups half and half (*see tips below)
6 oz or one small box of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (optional—do it!)

Reminder: if milk and eggs are room temperature they tend to blend better with the melted chocolate. Lay all your ingredients out.
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Step one
If you are using an old stale loaf lying around the house then first cut it into 1″ cubes and put them into your preferred baking dish. Eight cups is around right for a 9×13. I wanted to give part of my dessert as a gift so I split my bread into an oval glass baking dish (9×9?) and a glass loaf pan. Note, you may want to grease your pan, bt I noticed no issues using my glass pans.
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Step two
Melt 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips on medium low in a saucepan with 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee. Keep an eye on the chocolate and stir periodically. When it becomes smooth (no chip lumps) turn it off and allow to cool.
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Step three
In a large bowl beat 4 room temp eggs. Add vanilla, brown sugar and half and half. Combine well and then stare down your chocolate until it cools down. Mix chocolate into large bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Step four
Pour prepared mixture over stale bread in pan. Pour evenly if possible. If you used a white bread it will be easy to tell if you haven’t soaked a corner piece.
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Step five
Reserve a few raspberries from the carton for the topping if you wish. I think the flavor is better baked in though. Place berries evenly around pan and mash into pudding with fingers or a fork.
Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup chocolate chips evenly on top.

Step six
Bake 30-45 minutes in the oven. You can do the knife test to make sure the pudding is baked through. Mine was perfect at 30 minutes but the original recipe said to bake up to an hour.

Step seven (optional)
Warm seedless raspberry jam in a saucepan (I don’t own a microwave) until you get a nice smooth sauce. Drizzle over top of your hot bread pudding and if you wish, throw the reserved fresh raspberries on top for presentation.
Best served warm.

Now go eat it!!!
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Tips

• If you’re worried about the pudding drying out when you reheat it cover the pan with tinfoil.

• *As the original blogger noted, you can use a heavy whipping cream of lighter milks if you’re worried about the caloric overload.

• This is not a sweet overload, but there is plenty in there to make it sweet. If you would rather a less sugary dessert you could reduce the brown sugar to 1/2 cup and be just fine.

• I used strong brewed coffee because I don’t keep instant coffee granules around the house. When I know I want to bake something chocolatey soon, I brew a few extra cups in my coffee pot. Best way to use old coffee ever.

• Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, don’t spazz, do add it. Coffee enhances the chocolate. Hubbster hates coffee but couldn’t taste it in the pudding and loved the whole thing.

• If you plan on baking all the raspberries you could save a little cash and go with frozen berries. Or if the seeds bug you, put small dollops of seedless jam in the pudding prior to baking.

Enjoy!
~Kat

Last Night’s Dinner: Broccoli Alfredo

I sorta followed this recipe I found on Pinterest: Fettuccine alfredo.
By sorta you can probably guess that I kinda fudged some measurements.

alfredo sauce with broccoli

Here’s my version–Mostly eyeballed

Cut 6 tablespoons butter into a soup pot on medium low heat. Saute a diced onion and 3-4 tablespoons of minced garlic in the butter. I added salt and pepper periodically through the cooking stages–To the onion stage and after the cream had thickened a bit. Grate 1 1/2 or 2 cups parmesan and set aside. 

While you’re waiting for the onions to go translucent, start boiling a large pot of water with an eyeballed amount of salt in it. Once the water began to warm I threw in a bag of frozen, chopped broccoli pieces. When the water comes to a boil add a whole box of fettuccine or whatever pasta your darn well feel like eating! Screw the rules of a specific pasta to a specific sauce. I almost made it with bow ties. Set a timer for al dente recommended on the box. Otherwise you’ll forget about it and overcook it….Not that I would ever do that.

Once the onions are ready, add 2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Bring to a super soft boil. Make sure you get tiny bubbles but that can be calmed by stirring, which I did almost constantly. I was terrified that I would burn it. All the recipes and cooks will tell you that the cream will reduce.  Folks, unless I had dumped it back into a measuring cup, I would not have been able to tell at all. And who dumps cream into a measuring cup to check? I  had my on a soft boil for about five minutes and the cream did seem thicker.

pasta in bowl

I turned the heat off but left the pot on the electric stove top–It was getting some residual heat. Slowly stir in the grated parmesan little handfuls at a time. When each little handful melts down, add another until your 1 1/2 cups are in the sauce. If you don’t think it will be too thick go ahead and add the extra half cup. I reserved mine as a topping for when I served my pasta.

Next, I used a smallish sieve to scoop the broccoli out of the pasta pot. Mostly the broccoli floated to the top and the pasta to the bottom so it worked out nicely. You may want to test a piece of broccoli for tenderness. Mine was done about four minutes before my pasta timer went off. I threw the broccoli straight into the sauce because it was ready just a couple minutes before my broccoli.

When the pasta timer buzzes, drain it and add it to the alfredo. Stir it around and serve as you like. I didn’t even notice any troubles reheating this on the stove later. There are so many fats in the sauce that I didn’t need to add anything extra. Heat on low with a lid to keep from scorching the pasta.

A quick tip on the parm. I bought a block and grated it myself. Typically store bought pre-grated cheese has added flour (or probably some evil chemicals) to keep it from sticking back together. This also means it can be harder to melt into a sauce. Use pre-grated at your own risk. I’m sure it would work in a pinch. Don’t use the foot-cheese AKA powdered parm tho. For real, just don’t.Pasta close

Okay, I realize how irritating it is to read a recipe in the middle of shitty narrative. So, for those who are simply skimming for a recipe:

Broccoli alfredo

6 tablespoons butter
1 diced onion
3-4 tablespoons of minced garlic
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups parmesan, grated (Grate it yourself!)
bag of chopped, frozen broccoli
1 box of fettuccine/pasta 


-Saute onions and garlic in butter.
-Cook broccoli and pasta (al dente) in a pasta pot together.
-Soft boil and keep stirring cream until slightly thickened approx 5 min.
-Turn off heat and add 1 1/2 cups parm at a time. Stir in until melted.
-When tender, add broccoli to sauce.
-Drain al dente pasta and add to sauce.
-Scarf it down!

It is ridonkulous that that is all it takes to make this amazing pasta.

Finger Knitting

Just before Christmas I discovered this craft called finger knitting. Okay, I might be stretching the truth. I had a pin for finger knitting, but had never tried it and found out the Instructables video (linked below) that Beffers found was much simpler. Beffers (my SiL) learned it and showed me how cool it was. As soon as she showed me what she was doing I demanded she send me the pin and help me along. Yes, demanded is the right word. I lacked the gumption ever try it. And yet, it didn’t need gumption to learn! Just about 10 minutes and then I replayed the video to make sure it sank into my brain. It makes me wonder what other gems are hiding in the depths of my pin boards. Are you a cool pin hoarder too?fingerknitting1

Here is the link to the sweet tutorial video. Before you click I want you to know that the video is a little odd as it is shot upside down and the maker of the vid at one point misidentifies her fingers. Just keep watching what her hands do and don’t worry about silly little things like a mix up in words. Instructables wins again!

Sorry for the fuzzy-vision

Sorry for the fuzzy-vision

There are many different things you can do with your finger knit projects depending on your level of creativity. Bracelets, scarves, and (my favorite) Christmas tree garland. 20131213_212018
Beffers followed the tips on this website, the blogger made several different strands of different colors and then laced them together to make a beautiful rainbow scarf. It helps that Marlena has phenomenal hair to go with her lovely rainbow scarf. Instead of making a rainbow scarf, Beffers knitted orange and gray together then laced the strands to make a huge fluffy scarf to match the handmade hat her hubbster had received as a gift the previous year. You gotta love handmade matching fashion!

Isn't he adorable?

Isn’t he adorable?

A couple of quick tips to add to the awesome bloggers and instructors there already are out in the world. To take a break and save your work put your finger loops onto a chopstick. I was going for marathon knitting and couldn’t avoid a potty break any longer so that tip really helped me. If you are teaching a younger person or it is your first time trying finger knitting, avoid the fru-fru fancy yarns and just pick a no frills yarn to learn. Later on you can do the fancy stuff but it is important to learn it at first.