Monday, November 29, 2010

A Sunny Day

Grace and I made Sun Bread today using the recipe in the book of the same title by Elisa Kleven. It is a bit gray outside but this made things a lot brighter.


    3 eggs 3 TBSP sugar 2 cups sifted flour 1 stick melted, unsalted butter 2 packages active dry yeast 3 TBSP lukewarm milk


Mix well:
3 eggs
3 TBSP sugar

2 c sifter all purpose flour
1 stick butter, melted

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat well.

in a small bowl combine
2 packages active dry yeast
3 TBSP lukewarm milk
Let stand until foamy, at least 5 min.

Add the yeast mixture to the batter and stir. Knead dough on greased, floured surface for 8-10 min. (My dough took in about another cup of flour while kneading. The nutritional info includes 3 cups of flour, because of this)

Place dough in greased bowl, cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until double (about an hour).

Punch down and knead for a few minutes. The separate in to two portions.

To form the sun's face, shape one portion of dough into a rounded, somewhat flattened ball and place on a large greased baking sheet. (you can make a face by punching eyes and drawing a mouth with your finger)

Make a corona for your sun by dividing the remaining dough in half again. Roll half into long snakes. Then curl the snakes into puffy snail shapes. For the rest of the dough in to puffy triangles. Firmly attach the snails and triangles to the sun (use a little water if your dough is to dry)

Cover your sun and let rise again for about an hour.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes testing for doneness with a toothpick!

Enjoy! Plain, or with honey or jam!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Good Morning

Satsuma skirt + Black Eyed Pea eyes + Pumpkin Seed wings + 
Pecan smile + Arborio Rice nose + Earl Gray arms = 
Avala the Breakfast Fairy

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I am so thankful for....

these two sweet little girls!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In The Redwoods :: Hermit Thrush

We are reading Flute's Journey to celebrate our sighting of a Hermit Thrush this morning. A BIG redwood branch fell down from the storm this morning and the Thrush seemed to like the seeds or bugs that came down with it. Click here to hear the beautiful flute-like song. The rain has stopped and the birds are abundant--Anna's hummingbird in what is left of the butterfly garden (the branch landed on top of it), Hermit Thrush, Chestnut Backed Chickadee, Dark Eyed Junco, and a wren (sp??) in five minutes!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Q&A :: What is your favorite holiday dish?

Emily :: 2 months

And don't say turkey! :-)
We all know that the sides are far better than the main dish on Thanksgiving Day. Ryan's favorite is roasted garlic mashed potatoes and Gracie's favorite is roasted brussel sprouts similar to Ina's recipe. She eats them like candy...well, better than candy.

MY favorite though is a recipe that I clipped out of a Williams-Sonoma catalog years ago, when they used to be big and fat and full of yummy things to cook. It reminds me of the first time Ryan and I were in New York for the holidays. There was a man roasting chestnuts on a street cart and selling them in small paper bags and I had never had a real chestnut "roasted on an open fire." There wasn't jack frost nipping at my nose but it was magical!

Wild Rice and Chestnut Dressing (so good that you will want to make it year round!)
1 lb. (2/3 loaf) ww bread toasted and 1/2" cubed
3/4 cp wild rice (cooked 45 min in 3 cups water)
15 oz chestnuts ~20 chestnuts
1 onion chopped
1 fennel bulb chopped
1 stick butter
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp sage
3 eggs
2 1/2 cup broth
cook all (sorry I didn't write down the temp) for 1 hour stirring a fews times to toast

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Q&A :: What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Leaf Jumping 2010

What is YOUR favorite holiday dessert?

Our family is celebrating Thanksgiving at Uncle Steve and Auntie Sue's house this year and we are bringing two sides (potatoes and brussels-more on this tomorrow) and a dessert. Pumpkin Pie is already taken and we will probably bring our favorite Dutch Apple Pie--a recipe from our friends Nicole, Greg and Rainey(xo) but I would also like to get some feedback on YOUR favorite holiday/party desserts. If you can share recipes in the comments section that would be fantastic!

Here is our favorite apple pie. It is so easy and a.m.a.z.i.n.g!

Dutch Apple Pie c/o Greg's Mimi:

take frozen pie crust (TJ's) out one hour before baking
preheat oven to 450
4 large tart apples
1 uncooked pie shell
1 cup (I use less) sugar
1 Tsp cinnamon
3/4 flour
1/3 cup butter (grated in a cheese grater-the BEST way to cut butter)
I also sometimes add oats and/nuts

slice apples into 16 pieces each
toss with 1/2 of the sugar and cinnamon,
pour into crust
mix flour , the remaining sugar and butter (oats and nuts if using)
pour over apples

bake at 450 for 10 minutes
lower heat to 350 and bake for 40 minutes

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DIY :: Castile Hand Soap

Anyone who has used castile soap knows that if/when you put it into a pump dispenser, it will inevitable clog in the pump, and you will inevitably get a VERY painful squirt of soap in your eye. This is why Dr. Bronner's does not have a pump. They know better. 
So you can either dilute it with water and use a foaming pump dispenser (usually unattractive and plastic) or you can thicken the regular castile soap. Dr. Bronner's sells a thick soap with a pump. It is their Shikakai line which is basically sugar and their castile soap base (I asked them at their booth at the Green Fest last year.) I now make my own at home. I started with organic sugar but it was too brown for my taste so now I use white sugar.

Warm 1 cup castile soap in a saucepan
add 1 cup sugar and cook and stir until dissolved. Let cool and pour into your favorite soap dispenser.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Naughty or Nice?

Santa Claus 2009
The Coffee Cottage sure needs a dose of nice these days! We have all been a bit naughty in these sleep deprived, caffeine addicted, high energy, work overloaded days lately. Papa, Mama, Grace, Emily....okay she is just a baby and hasn't really been naughty but you get the idea.

I never thought that I would resort to this but I keep catching myself singing to Gracie...

"You better not pout. You better not cry. You better not shout I'm telling you why.
Santa Claus is coming to town."

Our discipline regimen has declined from
1. having a patient conversation and trying to teach understanding and empathy
2. to having rewards and a star sheet
3. to having consequences and taking away privileges
4. to just saying the words "Santa's watching."

I am not sure what the future implications will be but it works in two seconds flat. :-)
I wish it worked for Papa and Mama too!
But what will I do in January? I'm thinking birthday fairy, summer solstice santa!

What have you resorted to these days?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We are already getting in the holiday spirit around here--listening to Christmas music, planning our holiday menu and the cookie collection, making lists and checking them twice, and taking photos for our holiday card. I love the fact that a portrait holiday card forces me to organize a photo session (thanks Kate!), get the girls into something cute, and put a little makeup on. Then we have a keepsake for years to come. I love looking back at previous cards to see how our family has changed and I imagine what is yet to come.
I used to make handmade cards but these days I really prefer a very simple and easy card like Shutterfly. Plus, they are having a promotion to other bloggers out there for 50 free holiday cards if you spread the news: Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, follow the arrow à 
They have the cutest selections. These are a few that I am partial to.

A simple card like this would be great for any occasion (thank you, party invite)

I love the colors on this photo card.

And if you have a great family pic, this stationary card would really hi-light a good photo

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fountain of Youth

Thanks Kate for capturing this magical moment the other day! 
This may be my favorite picture ever.

Emily :: 6 weeks 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Green Fest 2010

Taking place this weekend!!!