When Your Tree Gives you Lemons…

Yesterday morning as The Husband and I were taking the dog for a quick walk around the block he mentioned that our lemon tree was chock full of lemons and they were ripe NOW. My first reaction was excitement because yeah, we (and I mean The Husband) was able to bring the tree back from the brink and secondly lemon desserts because that’s just how my mind operates.

As images of lemon bars, lemon bread, lemon cookies and more swam through my head I got giddy and then because hello pregnancy I got tired just thinking about all that extra work after a full day of real work.

Lucky for me it’s the weekend starting tomorrow and I can’t wait to get my baking back on.

As fate would have it this morning Facebook greeted me with a lemon bread recipe so on the “To Make List”, are some of these tasty looking treats from Averie Cooks.

The Best Lemon Loaf This loaf is made even better since the recipe says you can do it all in one bowl with no mixer; my favorite kind of baking.

Photo courtesy of Averie @ Averie Cooks

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies Lemon are fruits so I can at least try and trick myself into thinking that they’re good for me.

Photo courtesy of Averie @ Averie Cooks

The Best Lemon Bars My Mom is a huge fan of lemon bars and a recipe that promises to be both sweet and citrus-y would definitely have her approval.

Photo courtesy of Averie @ Averie Cooks

Averie I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to baking; you’re recipes look so enticing!

I know what I’m up to this weekend; anyone else have any great lemon recipes they’d like to share?

Yours Truly,

Mel


Changes are A Foot: Bathroom Remodel

I mentioned before that 2015 was going to bring plenty of changes and aside from a baby this is one of the bigger ones.

When The Husband and I purchased our home 2 years ago one of the biggest things that we had on our “to do” list was a bathroom remodel. As you can see in the below BEFORE image our bathroom was original to the 1954 house and the pink and green tile needed to go.

BEFORE: 

DURING #1:

DURING #2:

AFTER:

3 weeks later our bathroom was finished and both of us couldn’t be more pleased. Our Contractor was a breeze to work with and the finished product was more than I could have hoped for.

The tile is all right off the shelf from Lowe’s, the cabinets and the sink are from Ikea, the cast iron tub is from Home Depot, the toilet we reused and the brushed finished fixtures are from a mix of Lowe’s and Home Depot. Nothing high-end but goodness, it sure feel luxurious.

I still have to pinch myself because A) Nothing went awry and B) I can’t believe that this is our new bathroom!

Let’s look at those  two images side by side.

BEFORE                                                                          AFTER

I heard so many stories of remodels that have turned into a bigger project than expected that I’m thankful ours went so well. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Yours Truly,

Mel


Fuel to Go Muffins

I’m a huge fan of breakfast on the go. In fact lately I’ve been drinking smoothies every morning because they’re easy and delicious but sometime I just want to eat my breakfast and not drink it through a straw.

Enter these Fuel to Go Muffins from Laureen of Art and the Kitchen. The other night I was feeling rather ambitious and after dinner I dug into my fruit and nut stash and tossed these together.

The recipe is easy to assemble in a couple of mixing bowls and is also great because it allowed you to tailor the ingredients to either A) what you have on hand or B) what you can or can’t eat and that’s a huge plus in my book. That’s not even taking into account the fact that these muffins are dense, packed full of all sorts of yumminess and will fend off the hunger monsters for a decent amount of time.

Now mix all your stuff together in stages (per the recipe). I think I added chia seeds, flax and wheat germ in addition to what it called for and omitted the sunflower seeds since I didn’t have any.

Stage 1:

Stage 2:

Stage 3:

Next fill your muffin cups until they’re heaping and I mean really full.

Pop them in the oven and then they should look something like this.

Big, beautiful & moist breakfast muffins. Super tasty.

FYI, this recipe makes 12 muffins so if you have a lot of people in your house you might want to double it.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Happy 2015!

This year is going to be huge in so many ways for The Husband and I. Not only is my body going to experience a bunch of new changes as I move forward in my pregnancy but we’re going to be doing a bit of re-arranging at home to make room for a nursery and of course there’s the arrival of our new little baby!

Baking and crafting are going to take a back-seat for a while and my posts my slow down to a snails pace but hang in there. I’m told that the second trimester you feel more like yourself and I’m hoping that’s the case since I have quite to backlog of posts to do. Plus once the baby is here eventually they have to nap right? Although I’m told I may be napping right along side them.

Welcome 2015 and what an amazing year it’s going to be!

Yours Truly,

Mel


Christmas Recap

Hopefully you’re still on Holiday leave but if you’re like me and you’re back at work welcome back!

Our Christmas relatively low-key (for us) and for that I was very thankful. Now that my pregnancy is out in the open I’ve got to say that it’s a lot harder to get done all of the things I want to do in a day; I just seem to get so tired!

Even though we had four different celebrations to go to I did a relatively low amount of cooking and a lot of showing up and eating. Which was just fine by me.

Doesn’t that all look fantastic? My Mother-in-Law always puts quite the spread together for the holidays. Her pies are always homemade & quite delicious and don’t even get me started on her bread, I look forward to that stuff all year long.

I hope your holiday was both relaxing and enjoyable and spent just how you wanted it.

Yours Truly,

Mel


BIG News!

As the Holidays are only a few days away it’s crazy for me to think that 2015 is also on the horizon and for our little family that means lots of new changes are on the way.

Speaking of which, I’m quite excited to announce that The Husband and I are expecting and we’ll be welcoming our first child in May 2015!

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’m almost at the half-way mark it’s still crazy to believe that we’re going to be parents and this time next year we’ll be celebrating the Holidays with a little one.

More updates coming soon.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Holiday Cookie Exchange

I’ve got to apologize for my terrible radio silence this past week. With Christmas in full swing I’ve been so tied up with planning my Company Holiday Party and now my own Holiday Party that I’ve pretty much ignored Fox And A Parasol.

I have however been busy baking some cookies and other tasty treats (as well as re-visiting a few favorites) and I should have some new posts pretty soon.

Speaking of cookies, this year I’m hosting my first ever cookie exchange! I don’t know how I’ve managed to go so long without ever taking part in one of these and while I’m pretty stoked, I’m also a little stumped on what to make.

I’ve got a few ideas but if anyone has a tried and true holiday cookie recipe I’m all ears.

Idea #1: Almond SnowballsMy Recipes

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Idea #2: Chocolate CrinklesSimply Recipes

Photo Courtesy of Simply Recipes & Garrett McCord

Idea #3: Candy Cane BlossomsBaked Perfection

Photo Courtesy of Risa of Baked Perfection

Yours Truly,

Mel


A Beautiful Morning

In the midst of all the holiday craziness it’s really easy for me to get caught up in presents, decorations, parties and just the general holiday stuff.

That’s why when Mother Nature greeted me with this beautiful sight I took it as a little reminder. The holidays are the perfect time to spend with friends and family but it’s also important to just take a minute and breathe in the wonder of the season.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Yours Truly,

Mel


After Thanksgiving Check-in

I don’t know about you but my Thanksgiving Holidays are rarely relaxing and there always seems to be someplace to go and people to see.

The First Thanksgiving with my family

With Fourteen different desserts

My contribution to the count

A much smaller, more intimate Thanksgiving with The Husband’s family

Don’t get me wrong, that’s just how it is in our family but with Thanksgiving over we can finally move on to my most favorite holiday of the year; Christmas!

Now that it’s officially December 1st Christmas music will be playing in my car 24/7 and I can’t wait to start decorating. As an added bonus I’m almost done with my shopping and that just means it’ll be all about wrapping (which I really love too).

Yours Truly,

Mel


SF Cooking School: Day 4

This class on Salads and Emulsified Sauces was probably the one in which I’ve learned the most to date. I has no idea what an emulsified sauce was (hint: mayo and vinaigrette are two really big ones) and I had fun making homemade mayo although I think I prefer the stuff in a jar and a tangy, peppery vinaigrette.

We also had the chance to experiment with different oils and I got the opportunity to work with ones that I’d never even heard of; avocado, hazelnut or grapeseed anyone?

The menu for today’s class started with these items:

Appetizer: Zucchini Fritters

Salads: Chinese Chicken Salad, Clementine Jicama Salad, Harvest Salad with Gorgonzola, Bacon and Concord Grapes & Fall Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash, Kale Chips and Persimmons

Entree: Seared Flank Steak with Romesco Sauce

Dessert: Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake (totally simple and crazy delicious when served with sour cream, it sounds odd but it compliments the sweetness of the cake really well)

And then since we polished everything off in about an hour (give or take) our Instructor for the day, Kirsten gave us a few more items to make:

Appetizer: Petit Gougeres with Gruyere

Dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Browned Butter

I had no idea there could be so many possibilities when it comes to vinaigrettes and Kirsten was right; I’m probably never going to buy store bought dressings again.

Yours Truly,

Mel