Archive for November, 2013

2013, November 25

My Cozy List for Sweater Weather

The thing is, I am a true home body during sweater weather. Any time I can get away with it, actually, but especially during Winter.

One way that makes me feel a little better about the cooler (and upcoming bitterly cold!) months is getting the chance to transform my cave house into a cozy place. Where I can chose to hibernate the winter months away (not joking.) ;)

In doing so, for today’s post, I decided to make a list of it and name a few cozy home items I love. 

  • snowflake jammies

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  • hand warmers while crafting

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  • a cup of delicious, hot tea

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  • warm bed as a reading corner propped with a comfy array of pillows and blankie

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  • night time reading

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  • “sweater candles” and scented teacup candles

 page sweater candle and teacup candle 

  • furry friends to snuggle up with

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  • fluffy socks to keep my feet nice and warm

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  • fresh-out-of-the-oven Cinnamon Rolls

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Hand me any of these on a cold evening and I’m a happy cave-dweller lady ;)

What home items do you like best, what’s on Your Cozy List this season?

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2013, November 18

Recipe of the Month: Cinnamon Rolls

The scenery outside has drastically changed. Leaves are turning, while many of the trees have already lost them along with the happily chirping families that have flown to warmer climates.

A week ago the ice rink downtown, on the square I work near started getting built. It is nearly finished.
My fall coat is in the hamper by now, and I am heading to work in my winter coat, hat and a new (eternity) scarf starting today.

In no time, it’ll be minus 10 degrees Celsius and people will give up walking to work in favor of the bus, riding bikes will turn into weekly ice skating meetings.

That said, especially this time of year during chilly seasons, I crave fresh-out-of-the-oven yummy-ness. Be that in the form of cookies, pumpkin sheet cake, éclairs, apricot tarts or muffins – I want them!

Although, when I think of sweater weather, Cinnamon Rolls are what most often come to mind.
So why don’t I always make cinnamon rolls? They’re a bit more complicated and time consuming than what I’m usually into. That’s why.

However! When I do set my mind to it (read as: ask mom to bake’em), they’re the perfect treat <3

page cinnamon rollspage cinnamon rolls 2

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Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 kg flour
3 egg yolks
3 dg yeast
4 dl milk (will be used in three parts)
18 dg sugar
15 dg butter or margarine
1/4 vanilla stick
2-3 tbsp cinnamon

From the 1/2 flour, the 3 egg yolks, the yeast dissolved in 1/2 dl milk, the 3 dg sugar, 2 dl milk and a pinch of salt knead a strudel thickness type dough and leave it rest in a warm place for half an hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll thin using a rolling pin. Mix together the 15 dg butter with 15 dg sugar and the 2-3 tbsp cinnamon and spread onto the dough. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then cut the dough into 1.5 – 2 inch sections and position into a baking sheet-lined pan. Leave it rest for 1 1/2 hours until it rises nicely.

Once risen, bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

Take the pan out, pour the 2 dl milk and vanilla mixture onto rolls, and bake for an extra 5-10 minutes.

Note: they are perfect even if you skip the cinnamon part, so in case you’re not too fond of cinnamon, don’t feel compelled to add that in!

For a truly authentic sweater weather touch, serve the cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven with mulled wine or a hot cup of tea while making yourself nice and cozy in your reading corner.

Bon appétit! ;)

This week, I’ll try out something I saw on my friend Janel’s blog, and link my recipe up as part of the Weekend Cooking meme.

2013, November 11

The Queen of Bad Decisions

Who, me? Well, yes. Sometimes. But not today!

Today, I’m joining forces with Janel Gradowski, bringing you a lovely e-book recommendation, and a yummy recipe.

QueenCover-640x1024 I’ve signed up to review Janel’s newly published novelette, “The Queen of Bad Decisions”, because to be completely honest, I really wanted to know more about Janel’s characters from “Must Love Sandwiches”. In her own words, The Bartonville series is women’s fiction with recipes. Each volume will contain stories of various lengths, all set in Michigan.

Janel’s newest book, the second book in the Bartonville series, “The Queen of Bad Decisions” gives the reader a more detailed view into Daisy’s life. The world Janel paints so well in the novelette and two bonus flash fiction pieces she has included in the e-book comes to life from the very first paragraphs. The quirky best friend of the first book’s main character, Daisy, seems to be the queen of bad decisions.

Her story is one many people can relate to, I’m sure, even if not many of us like to admit to it. Living with the choices and decisions we make isn’t easy, nor is raising the courage to finally leave that life and exercise self love enough to keep us going further than our parent’s couches. Daisy has a tough decision to make, and it made me so glad to get a full behind the scenes kind of look into her reasoning and how she became part of the artist’s colony, where I’m sure she’s not the only one who thinks they’re not “real” artists.

All in all, a must-read novelette, which even though might hit home for many readers, has a unique character and unfolding of events.

Both of Janel Gradowski’s books can be read as stand-alone works, but I have to say: with “The Queen of Bad Decisions” being a prequel to the first published book of the series, one should read it, then immediately go read “Must Love Sandwiches” as well. You won’t be sorry!

~~~

Janel and I have discussed food quite a few times. She’s the one who introduced to me the idea of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. I know I can count on her for different foodie adventures, and she was happy to provide me with the below recipe to go with my short review.

Please give her a warm welcome, as I’m sure this can easily become one of your favorites to make during the upcoming chilly seasons :)

As I write this post I am keeping one eye on my laptop screen and the other on my living room window. Across the road, flock after flock of geese are landing in a freshly harvested corn field. They congregate in mottled gray groups and roam over the furrows and stalks, searching for corn kernels. They’re looking for sustenance to fuel them for the long flight south. Or if they are from some of the many flocks that stay in the area over winter, they’re looking for some rich food to fatten themselves up. A thick layer of fat is nicely insulating when the temperature drops below freezing and stays there for months.

The sky is gray, streaked with darker gray clouds. While there are still trees sporting their colorful, autumn plumage the hues have become muddied like Mother Nature washed everything with brown stain. It’s autumn – a time when I get serious about writing and comfort food. My kids are back in school. While I enjoy the peace and quiet I also have a list of writing projects that is growing at a sometimes alarming rate. When I sit at my computer I am surrounded by sticky notes and index cards, all scribbled with thoughts and tasks. Often I start working early in the morning accompanied only by my huge mug of coffee. I have never been much of a breakfast person, so a nicely caffeinated beverage is all I need in the early morning hours. BUT around mid-morning, brunch time as I like to call it, I often realize I’m hungry. Not just hungry…starving to the point where my brain is threatening to go on strike if I don’t eat.

In the summer, a bowl of cold cereal would do to satiate the hunger monster, but cold weather makes me crave warm and homey foods.
This recipe for rice pudding really satisfies that craving. It is made with common ingredients most people have in their pantries.
Brown sugar can be used to give the pudding a caramel flavor. A dusting of ground cinnamon or nutmeg is also fabulous.

p simple rice pudding

Simple Rice Pudding

1 cup long grain white rice

1 ¼ cups water

Pinch of salt

2 cups milk

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan bring rice, water and salt to a boil. Continue to boil for 3 minutes then add the milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed. Add a bit more milk or water if the pudding gets too dry before the rice is cooked completely. Stir in sugar and vanilla extract. Serve warm or chilled.

~ Janel

More about the author:

  Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten-shaped state of Michigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life.
Her work has appeared in many publications, both online and in print.

 

*Linking up my short review and the bonus recipe as part of the Weekend Cooking meme.

2013, November 4

Capturing an image of “joy”

This past week has been a handful as I tried to properly balance work, writing a few letters, chores, more work and playing with friends.

Small things have given me the desired feelings of joy, but I haven’t particularly thought about this until catching up with my blog reading.

Danielle LaPorte prompted me to take a minute and look through my phone camera pics more attentively. I have quite a few shots of joy. Here’s the one that stands out most.

Walks (and nature, and colors, and details, and…) :)

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What does joy look like for You?

 

*Blog post inspired by this question from Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map for Life column.

2013, November 1

Small Stones of Mindful Writing Day 2013

Today I am taking part in Mindful Writing Day. My day consisted of some errands, then work. Taking a few minutes to stop and think, I paid  proper attention to the world around me at work especially.

Below is my fully-formed thought, while tailoring the panels which will soon make up someone’s drapes.

Scissor meets fabric.

Over-sized handle and thumb ring allow comfortable hold and high control. Classic handle grip assures clean, even cuts along the working table’s surface.

Sharp blade cuts through layers with high-pitch squeaks – a different sound effect for each of the fabrics.

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