Mark Me Tardy
Spotted Cow Honey Bread

skipaheadOh hi.

Don’t mind me, I’m just that kid slipping quietly into class trying to pretend that I’m not tardy. Yeah, it’s been a while since we chatted. Uh, sorry ’bout that. I won’t belabor the boring day-to-day of my life, but it involved my good friend Kerin having a beautiful baby girl, me doing a crazy amount of house prep (We’re about to put our house on the market! Who wants to move to Minnesota? Anyone, anyone?), and trying to keep my head above water at work while we’re missing our leadership.

Little K is jealous of this girl's fabulous head of hair!

Little K is jealous of this girl’s fabulous head of hair!

In the last week my baby turned nine. months. He’s army crawling all over the place, waving buh-bye, and starting to mimic words. Next week he’ll be going to kindergarten, the next week he’ll be driving, and then he’ll be moving out and starting college.

He points out everything these days. He's pointing at Waldo dog in this picture. Kid loves his doggies.

He points out everything these days. He’s pointing at Waldo dog in this picture. Kid loves his doggies.

Hopefully life will calm down and let me check in with you a whole heck of a lot more often. If not, maybe it’s because our house sold the first week we put it on the market. Lets you and I hope for that, mmkay?


Spotted Cow Honey Bread

Overall: three-star

This is the quickest, easiest bread I’ve ever made. The flavor doesn’t rock your world, but it’s a good one to pair with soup or to load with butter and jam. Plus – there is beer in it… Oh, and not just any beer – New Glarus beer! Brewed just a hop and a skip from my hometown!  (Recipe here, from Conscious Kitchen.)

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Just a quick test

We’re having some trouble with email subscribers getting their emails and comment notifications working. Just testing to see if we found the bug!

(Update: Looks like we did!!)

Pretty Good Odds: Giveaway for Garlic Chopper

I mentioned last week that I’m giving away three of these hot little numbers:

Three. And so far we have two people entered. I’m not much of a numbers freak, but I think those are pretty damn good odds. If I were you, I’d enter. The giveaway ends Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 at 8am CST, so enter today. Here’s how: leave any old comment on the garlic bread post here. That’s it. Pretty complex stuff, right?

But wait, there’s more! You can get extra entries (and give yourself even better odds if that’s even possible at this point) if you:

Just make sure you leave me a separate comment for each entry (so if you’re a twitter and facebook follower, leave me a total of three separate comments) so you get the entries in the drawing!


Weeeee! Garlic Chopper Giveaway
Garlic Bread

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**This giveaway is now closed, thanks for all the follows and comments! Holly, Sherry, and Jenny each won a garlic chopper of their very own! (Ladies – check your email for more info!)***

Before I had Little K I remembered friends telling me how your vocabulary, movie catalog, and music presets change so much after you have a baby. Instead of Maroon 5 it’s the Wiggles, instead of damn it’s oh gosh!, instead of Hangover 3 it’s Baby Einstein. I always laughed at their joke, but didn’t quite understand how right they were. I guess I always thought it was a conscious effort to sensor yourself. You stub your toe and rather than swearing like a sailor you look over at that sweet smiling baby and say, “whoops a daisy!” Maybe it starts out like that, until you find yourself saying, “weeeee!” to an empty car. True story.

The other day I was rounding a particularly tight corner and suddenly I heard myself saying, “Weeeeeee!” I cut myself short in bafflement. I didn’t just say that, did I? (When I hit a big bump or round a tight corner, I always tell Little K, “Hold on!” or “Weee!,” even though I have him strapped so tight in that car seat we could probably be off-roading in the Rocky Mountains and he wouldn’t have a clue.) I have a long car ride to get to work each day and my fellow commuters know that you start to have conversations with the radio – “Oh Baloney! It’s gonna be 85 on Monday, in your dreams, punk.”  you talk out loud to yourself about your day – “Gotta get that TPS report filed!” – and you even have one-sided conversations with the cars around you – “Ok sweetie, you have plenty of room – just merge already! Mmkay?” But what you do not do is talk in baby voice about the man walking his doggie or how bumpy a ride it is, and you certainly don’t yell out weeee! when you’re coming off an exit ramp!

But I did and I sat there stewing in embarrassment for a minute before I started giggling and said “WEEEEEEEEE!” even louder. I am comfortable with the fact that I’m a Mom through and through now – even when baby isn’t in the car – and, heck, it’s fun to say weeeee! And so, because I want you to say weeee, I am giving away three rolling garlic choppers! The details to enter are at the end of this post.


Garlic Bread

Overall: five-star

You guys, how did I not know garlic bread was so easy to make?! I have to admit, I’ve always bought the pre-buttered garlic french loaf from the bakery section of my grocery store, rather than just making it myself. I thought it had to be kind of a pain to prepare and probably wouldn’t taste as good. But it’s yummy and easy. #totalpackage  (Recipe here, Simply Recipes.)

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Kitchen staples: Plates and Paperclips
Spring Pinterest Challenge

Update: Ruh roh. Turns out you guy were right, the hot glue didn’t hold up. The first plate to fall was the metal one, the second one to fall was the fire king turquoise plate. Who’s a sad panda? Me. Oh well, I found another really nice plate and replaced it lickety split. This time I hung some of the plates with wire hangers and the other ones I either used this felt/glue method or I just added super glue/krazy glue around the hot glue area for a little more permanent hold.

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! Yep, it’s time for the Spring Pinterest Challenge. For this go-round Emily from Sparkle Meets Pop, Katie from Bower Power, Sherry from Young House Love, and Renee (another Minnesota lady!) from Red Bird Blue threw down the challenge. For those of you that don’t know, this challenge was thought up by the lovely Ms. Katie Bower to stop us from just pinning and actually start doing.

For the Winter Challenge I tackled some new flour and sugar canisters for the kitchen. I brought in a little pop of color to my brown kitchen and tied in the teal color that shows up in different ways in my kitchen and living room. For this Spring challenge, I’m bringing in some color to my kitchen/dining room again. And, if you didn’t get the hint from the title, I’m doing it with office supplies and a kitchen staple: PLATES! (Are you shocked that I’m doing something kitchen related?) I mentioned before how our kitchen opens into our dining area, which flows right into our living room. The walls, furniture, and appliances are pretty much all varying shades of brown in those areas.
The wall in question.

The wall in question.

I had been toying around with the idea of creating a collage of plates on a wall somewhere in my house for a while now, but when Katie Bower posted her wall of plates just two days after throwing down the Pinterest Challenge, I realized this needed to be my challenge project. My original plan was to do something like this:
Not necessarily using milk glass, but all one color of unique plates with delicate scalloped borders and shapes. Then I saw Katie’s post with a variety of plates and colors and was reminded of this post from way back in 2011 on Today is going to be awesome:

Good Riddance: The Best of April

I’m hoping for a sunburn. Yep, I think summer is finally here. I’ve gotten myself in trouble for saying that last month; I even put the snow blower and shovels away only to have one of the worst snow storms dump on us the next day. But, I’m going all in this time. I’m blogging from the middle of my backyard, basking in the sunshine, and planning on a nice pink glow. 

Little K is smartly dressed though. Sun bonnet, shade, long sleeves.

April wasn’t all bad though. In between the unseasonably cold temps and miserable snow storms, we had some pretty awesome best of moments here at Krystalcooks.com

Best of the best: Asparagus with Parmesan. Flying solo as the one and only total package last month!

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Dinner Parties are Dangerous
Vegan Fruit Tart

skipaheadI mentioned that we went to a dinner party a couple weekends ago and hung out with Jenny and Cait, two of E’s friends from his home town. And I think I told you that Jenny is vegan, but what I didn’t mention is that Cait’s husband Steve is allergic to peanuts. Last time we had the group over to our house I was a proud hostess, offering up all sorts of nuts to my vegan friend. Only to find out later that poor Steve was sitting on the other side of the room, not because I smelled, but because of all the nuts! This time I decided I could do better and find a dish that the lovely vegan could enjoy, and the anti-peanut man wouldn’t die from. Reasonable, right?

E had a brilliant idea of looking up Jenny’s Pinterest dessert board and raiding one of the good recipes from it. Unfortunately most of the recipes involved peanuts, or Nutella, or almond milk – or any other variety of nut-related item. I didn’t know Steve’s exact allergy and decided to just avoid the whole nut thing all together. I almost gave up on the idea though, until I came to a pin at the very bottom of her board: fruit tart!


Vegan Fruit Tart

Overall: three-star

Awesome flavor, though it does take a little effort and patience to prepare. Best prepared, immediately baked, and served warm.  (Recipe here, original from A, B, C, Vegan.)

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Green French Fries and Why I Blog
Baked Asparagus with Parmesan

skipaheadHave you noticed all the goings on around Krystal cooks.? New follow tools, recent posts information at the end of a post, and fancy schmancy recipe pages for the handful of recipes I have to post here on my site.

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You may have also noticed the slower load times, random error messages, and down time. Well the good and the bad is because of a move I decided to make to WordPress.org. Instead of having WordPress host my site, I’m hosting it now. It means I can have more control over my layout and install some pretty awesome widgets (like the Recipe Card plugin I’m using for my recipes. Love it!!) And I suppose it’s unreasonable to expect a completely hiccup-free transition, so we’re grappling with some error messages and load time issues. I sincerely hope you’ll tell me what you like, what’s frustrating you, what you wish the site could do, or if you see anything wonky. I appreciate all your feedback!

I’ve been having so much fun finding new plugins for the site and trying to figure out why Publicize isn’t working anymore, and this post over on Blonde Ambition got me to thinking about why I’m blogging in the first place. Honestly, the blog was conceived and born in a matter of hours. I was making dinner one night – a particularly irritating cookbook recipe – and telling E how much it frustrated me that on paper the recipe looked fast and easy and manageable. Hours later and loads of dishes, we were eating a mediocre meal of spaghetti and meat balls. I said I wished there was a resource that you could go to that would give you a full review of the recipe, done by a real person, so you could trust that the recipe was as true to form as the cookbook and pictures let on. E and I both decided it was an idea worth pursuing and later that night E and I had the site set-up and the concept mapped out. 

Fast forward a few months and we’re still here plugging along. The blog is turning out to be a lot more than a place to share quality recipes. It’s a hobby. It’s a diary. It’s a letter to friends. It’s a way to make friends. It’s a place to connect. I’m so glad you’re here and you’re reading along. I hope you’ll help me out by sharing a page, offering up a comment, trying out a recipe, submitting a recipe for me to review, or letting me know how my site could be more useful. In the meantime, I’ll be here working away at a never-ending list of recipes to try.


Baked Asparagus with Parmesan

Overall: five-star

Ooo, I love asparagus. I didn’t think I did as a kid, but it was mostly because my family liked to cook the hell out of it. Mmm, smooshy. Asparagus is delicious and full of flavor. You can eat it fresh, steam it just enough to cut the crisp, or give it a quick bake to roast and bring out the flavor even more. This recipe is fast and easy, and so delicious. It’s a total package (maybe the first of the month? Yikes!).  (Recipe here, from Simply Recipes.)

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Quality Time with My DVR
Dry Manhattan with Drambuie

skipaheadA couple of weeks ago my Dad showed me how to make a Dry Manhattan using two of his favorite drink ingredients: Drambuie and bitters. Given my current fascination with Scotland and the Outlander Series, I was excited to find that Drambuie is a Scottish liqueur. Apparently Drambuie originated from one of the most important historical figures in Scotland. When Bonnie Prince Charlie came to Scotland in 1745 to make his gallant, but unsuccessful, attempt to regain the throne of his ancestors, he presented the recipe to a MacKinnon of Skye as a reward for his services. The Drambuie Bottle New Design 2009 Imagesecret of its preparation has remained with the MacKinnon family, and the family has manufactured it to this day. It is the only traditional liqueur to use a base of 100% aged Scotch Whiskies, many of which are 15 to 17-year-old malts, blended with the finest herbs and honey. The word Drambuie comes from the Gaelic: “An Dram Buidheach,” meaning the drink that satisfies. [source]

So, that having solidified Drambuie as my new favorite drink, I decided to make myself one of my Dad’s Manhattan’s to go with the Mad Men episodes I’m currently catching up on. I had planned on watching the two most recent episodes and catching myself up on the season (no spoilers!!), but I only got through one before I stumbled across a show called “Call the Midwife” on Netflix. My new fave. Pretty much anything the BBC is whipping up is my new fave. I’m about halfway through the 6 episodes (watching them in 20 minute increments when Little K lets me have a break), and I’m either on the edge of my seat or holding back tears. Sometimes both. Check it out and let me know what you think!

In the meantime, lets keep this adult beverage train going and whip up a Manhattan and watch a Mad Men. I will be caught up with the season in time for this Sunday’s latest episode!


Dry Manhattan with Drambuie

Overall: three-star

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Very easy recipe to make, but not really the best drink I’ve ever had. I’ll bust one out in honor of Mad Men every once and again, but for the most part it’s just too strong for me.  (Recipe here.)

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Good friends, good drinks
Honey Lime Margarita

skipaheadOver the weekend we hung out with a couple of long-time friends of E’s and somewhat more recent friends of mine. Cait and Jenny grew up with E. They’re both married – to great guys by the way – and Jenny is expecting a little boy in July. I’m so happy to call them friends and be a part of their lives as we each take on each milestone. Although I’ve only known then for a handful of years, I treasure their friendship and I love that the three Marshall-ites and their spouses all work so well together. I hope to count them as dear friends for years to come.

Jenny and Jon had us all over to their place to catch up and eat super yummy summer food (even though the weather has been pretty anti-summer these days). E and I brought margaritas to share, although the hostess wasn’t allowed to imbibe. (Don’t worry, we made something special for her too – review coming soon!)


Honey Lime Margaritas

Overall: four-star

This was a fairly easy recipe to make if you’re making it for just a couple of people, a little too much trouble if you’re trying to feed the masses. It turned out really tasty and was all too easy to drink!  (Recipe here, from Simply Scratch.)

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