Friday, November 30, 2012

Smells like Christmas

A week or two ago I ordered a Yankee Candle samplers set called Christmas Memories. They showed up today and smell fabulous.

They're damn near impossible to find so I ended up getting this set off of Ebay from England, but worth every Euro. December is going to smell pretty fantastic at the Hartman house!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Last day of food debauchery

Today is the last day of my 3 week gluten (and other allergen) challenge - woo hoo!! To celebrate, I had my first and last doughnut of the entire experience.
An apple fritter, which did emotionally fulfill me, along with a fresh mug of coconut mocha coffee (flavored k-cups from Kohls). After today I can go back to my little meat and veggie world where I will hopefully quickly shake this never ending stomach ache and face rash I've had for the last three weeks. Amen.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tis the season

The Thanksgiving leftovers weren't even cold and I was already putting up the Christmas tree. I had presents waiting and no where to put them until now...
I shouldn't get too attached to all their prettiness though, most are getting shipped north soon. Even the post office is already selling their holiday finest.
And what better way to commemorate a day of gift wrapping and grocery shopping (and by the way, there's nobody at the grocery store the day or two after Thanksgiving) than a fresh batch of vanilla ice cream.
It's a simple as whipping cream, whole milk (or half & half), sugar and vanilla. I haven't run it through the machine yet, but the mix already tastes mighty fine.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Instant Thanksgiving

Since nobody was coming here and we didn't need to be anywhere, we went cheap and easy for our Thanksgiving meal.
I bought a rotisserie chicken yesterday and picked off all the meat for us to reheat today, baked some premade rolls, microwaved some frozen mashed sweet potatoes (delicious), made a green bean casserole, and heated up a container of gravy from TJ's. 35 minutes from start to finish. I didn't buy anything special for dessert, but do have a  chocolate ice cream mix chilling in the fridge for later.

We have spent our day being thankful for football while watching our second of three games playing today stopping only long enough for an occasional walk around the block. Living the dream, living the dream.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Can I have some more, please

We've been burning our ice cream maker up with more and more flavors since our first batch of ice cream. First it was pumpkin pie, then espresso, followed by creamsicle (50/50 bars), and then today I whipped up a batch of peanut butter cup ice cream.
It was an ice cream made with a mix of peanut butter and sunflower butter with chopped up mini peanut butter cups in it. Definitely my favorite so far and I have plenty of  leftover ingredients to make more. Next up? Maybe a plain vanilla or chocolate. My sister, Wilson, had better start making her ice cream wish list for when she's here at Christmas because we'll have two full weeks to make all our frozen dairy dreams come true!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Crazy for helado!

That's ice cream to you gringos (helado is one of the few Spanish words the Canadian knows along with the word for candy). Last night we made our first batch of frozen yogurt in my new Christmas toy. The process was really simple; mix the ingredients together, turn on the ice cream machine (after chilling the mixing bowl in the freezer for 24 hours), pour the ingredients in through the open top of the machine and let churn for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes you can eat it in a soft serve consistency or put it in a freezer safe container and let it harden to more of an ice cream texture. Last night we made pumpkin pie frozen yogurt and I was not impressed with it. It was too tart and too pumpkiny. Thankfully it was a small batch (about 3 servings) so it wasn't a total waste. Undeterred, I threw the mixing bowl back in the freezer with the plan to make another batch this afternoon of coffee ice cream. After mixing together coconut milk, whipping cream, sugar, espresso, and vanilla we had tremendously delicious bowls of coffee soft serve.

The machine came with a small recipe book with lots of other delicious sounding recipes to try like peppermint and chocolate peanut butter because nothing screams winter time like a chilly bowl of fresh ice cream!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas came early

Yesterday I had a delivery of Christmas gifts, one of which was for me that apparently Santa didn't want to wait until Christmas to give me.

That's right - a frozen yogurt and ice cream maker! We've already got the freezer bowl chilling in the freezer so that tomorrow night we can whip up a batch of  homemade deliciousness. I'm eyeballing a small batch of pumpkin pie frozen yogurt. Prepare to be jealous!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday is for shopping

After a big family breakfast we loaded up our clown car with the whole lot of us and motored off to Corning to go to the Lucero Olive Oil tasting and show room where we could sample the newest offerings of flavored white vinegars in lemon, strawberry and pineapple. The boy zeroed in on the mustards and tapenades (which go good with football according to Peyton Manning) while I stocked up on vinegar samples. Our favorite was the pineapple vinegar, though I thought the white lemon was a close second.
We decided we couldn't leave without some of the tapenades and basil olive oil and Mum was kind enough to treat us to a bottle of the pineapple white vinegar. Yum! On the way home Jeeves took us on the back roads so that we could enjoy some actual scenery (like big horn bulls) instead of boring Hwy 99.

After lunch we split up into boys and girls teams. The boys headed out to the garage to work on bikes while Mum and I headed out to go to shopping downtown. We stopped at the winter wonderland that is Christian & Johnson where we both found decorative Christmas trees.
Downtown I found some Christmas gifts for my nephew, Kyle, at the kiddie store The Kat's Meow and found some Chai tea for me at Made in Chico. We also stocked up on some freshly ground coffee at Peet's where we scored a free cup of coffee that fueled our travels through numerous other stores downtown. A stop at S&S for New Clairvaux wine from the Vina monks was our last stop before heading home just in time to meet up with the boys who were just finishing up in the garage. Now we're just enjoying a little TV and wine while our crockpot lasagna dinner simmers away because nothing beats a hard day of shopping like a warm, gooey lasagna dinner!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Drinking our dinner

The 'rents are down this weekend enjoying a short getaway to Hotel Hartman. For dinner we took them to a  wine tasting and small plate eatery over by our old house that I'd been to previously with some work gals.
Peek a boo

There were plates of meat & cheese, baked brie, a Greek antipasto platter, jerk chicken flatbread, and plenty o' wine. Just enough to tide the 'rents over until they attend their evening dance without weighing their fancy feet down. We know how to show our guests a drunken good time!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I have chosen poorly

It only took one day before my body completely rejected this silly idea of a gluten challenge. After Friday's pizza and sourdough bread fest I spent all of Saturday with a horribly painful tummy. So, today I'm changing up my plan a little bit and only eating gluten with dinner which has already helped me have a much better morning and afternoon. This is going to be a really long three weeks....

We went to Kmart today and stocked up some new bedding that was on sale. Last winter I bought a set of fleece sheets from QVC and we totally love them. Better than our usual wintertime flannel. When I saw that Kmart had fleece sheets on sale we jumped at the chance to get another set. We also scored on a replacement blanket for the bed as well as new pillows. Soon we shall be sleeping in the cozy lap of fleecy luxury.

And, since it's never too early to thinking about Christmas, I already bought my first Christmas gift and got it wrapped so that it can be sent home with it's intended recipient next weekend when she's home visiting.
I guess that means if you're expecting a Christmas gift you'd better start getting your lists put together and submitted to Susie Shopper.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gluten gone wild

Today was the first day of my much anticipated/feared 3 week "gluten challenge". For the next three weeks, assuming I live through it, I'll be eating all the main allergen food groups - wheat, dairy, soy, corn and nuts. Then the week after Thanksgiving I'll be going in for my blood work tests to see how my body is responding to my new Thyroid hormones and to do a full food allergy workup. But since I've been off of gluten for over a year, I have to do the gluten challenge long enough to register on the testing. Ideally I'd be doing this for 6-8 weeks, but testing has gotten better and it seems that 2-3 weeks is sufficient in most cases to detect an allergy. My big splurges on my first day? A slice of toasted sourdough bread and a dinner date out to Mountain Mikes. The Canadian said the only thing he absolutely wanted during these 3 weeks was real pizza - nothing with a gluten free or cauliflower crust! So around 4:00 pm we rolled down Mangrove to Mountain Mikes for a little early bird dinner.
After heaping plates of salad, we dug into the Manager's Special which was a large pepperoni and olive pizza. We each only had 2 slices which paled in comparison to the stoutly gentleman eating a whole pizza by himself, but it was a good start into our new dirty gluten lifestyle.