Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Dr. Seuss Quotes

This week as been a bit rough, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into now. There has been a lot of 'bleh' going on in my head and I am very ready for the weekend. 

However, I stumbled upon this image below, full of quotes by the ever-amazing Dr. Seuss. His stories were a big part of my childhood and his whimsical advice still has an impact. It helped me cheer up a bit, and hopefully it will put a smile on your face as well. 



Monday, November 5, 2012

Cocoa Pear Crisps




Yesterday I found myself with time on my hands, the desire to bake something and these exquisite red pears. 

If I were a painter I would paint still-life. Unfortunately, the best thing I ever drew was of a horse in my 5th grade art class. It took me forever and I was never able to replicate it. So, since I wasn't going to paint these pears, I did the next best thing - turned them into something yummy. 


A few months back, I pinned a recipe for Cocoa Pear Crisps and decided to give it a go. They literally take no time to make and have a lovely sweet and satisfying crunch that I found really, well.... satisfying. 


First, preheat your oven to 275ºF. Then start by slicing three pears into very thin slices, about 1/8 inch. 


The original recipe called for a mandolin slicer to get perfectly uniform slices, but a mandolin slicer I own not. So, I just tried my best to get the slices as thin as I could. Some were a little thicker than others, but ah well - life is too short to worry about such things. 


Now come the flavors. Mix together the following: 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I used Saigon Cinnamon, which I talked about in this post) and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. 

The nutmeg was not in the original recipe, but it seemed like it would be a nice complement to the other spices, so I added it. 

Also, uhm, can we just talk about nutmeg for a second? It is one of my favorite spices. Amazing in both sweet and savory recipes, I use it all of the time, especially in soups and meat dishes. And while you can buy it already ground in the spice aisle, I really prefer to grind my own using a microplane grater. Each little pod lasts forever and the flavor is fresher. Give it a try sometime!

Back to recipePlace the pear slices on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and sprinkle the spice/sugar mixture lightly over the pear slices. 

Bake for 30 minutes, then flip the pear slices, and bake for another 30 minutes, until the pears are browned and slightly shriveled. 

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool, which is when they will crisp up. 

**Note - if your pear slices still don't seem crispy, put back in oven and bake as long as needed, in 5 minute intervals, until desired crispness is achieved, but not burned.** 

Once they have cooled, you will have these delightful little pear crisps that are not too sweet and have the perfect amount of cocoa. 

I think these are perfect healthy-ish snacks for kids and adults alike. I don't know about you, but after dinner I like to have a little something sweet, and these do just the trick. 

I hope you enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cutest Ever

** Today's post is sponsored by cute little things. **

The other day I was at work and wanted a little snack. My company stocks fresh fruit in the kitchen, so I decided to go see what was in there. 

Approximately .0000531 seconds after I walked in there, I spotted the cutest piece of fruit I have ever seen in my life. 

Friends - let me introduce you to a mini pear. 


I took this picture with my iPhone, so it's not the best, but there is no denying the cuteness factor of this little guy. I put it next to chapstick for referenceI'm such a sucker for stuff like this - it gets me - hook, line and sinker.

And, I have to say, it was actually the perfect little snack that kept me going until lunch.

Yay for cute little things!

Happy Friday :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The English Perspective



For those who don't know, my husband is from England. There are a million reasons why I love him, and the fact that he is English, but one of the big ones is the new, fresh perspective he has introduced into my life.

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and have been steeped in the local culture for most of my life. People here love micro-brews and enjoy arguing over whether Oregon State or University of Oregon has a better football team.  They like Indie music, appreciate rainy weather, wear fleece to the office and take coffee seriously. I grew up around men who LOVE football, women who love Nordstrom and kids who adore peanut butter.

[Enter my husband into my life.]

Suddenly I found myself with a man who thinks micro-brews are disgusting, could not care less about football and is quite confused about Americans and their love of peanut butter.  Collegiate sports, and how popular they are, is still a funny concept, and which of two schools win in any competition means nothing to him. When he goes out, he likes to be dressed up and would never be caught dead wearing khakis or fleece. He loves English rock bandsdoesn’t drink coffee and swears that you can’t find “proper bacon” anywhere in this town.  His school trips growing up were to places like Paris and skiing in the Alps and he struggles with the lack of beautiful architecture here on the West Coast (which I have to say, is true – can we please rid of the ‘strip-mall’ concept before they completely take over??).

On the flip side, there are certain American things that amuse him, which I would never even consider.  Yellow school buses (“It’s just like the movies!!”), dishwasher disposals and automatic garage door openers were all exciting discoveries for him.  Portland’s brunch culture is one of his favorite things and he gets really happy when he sees huge pick-up trucks and old, classic American muscle cars.  It amazes him how strangers will just talk to you for no reason and loves how we take Halloween so seriously.  He thinks we have great steak, has just started to discover regional accents (many Brits think we all sound the same, as we tend to think about them) and finds it hilarious when Americans say things like, “God dang it” and “Awesome!”

It’s who he is, and I love it. I’ve discovered that having someone to challenge the way you think, the way you see the world and what you are used to is really satisfying and opens up your world in ways you never imagined. I look back now and past relationships feel so boring compared to the one I am in now. I’m constantly learning new things about his culture, and he with mine. Things I think are totally normal are weird and funny to him, which makes me stop for a moment and realize that MY normal is not everyone’s normal.

This is a life lesson that I will be forever grateful having learned. We all have a different ‘normal’, and that is a good thing. In fact, it is essential. Can you imagine if we all liked the same things? Boring schmoring.

So, to my husband - I say thank you. Thank you for opening up my world, introducing me to your incredible culture and for accepting mine.  Thank you for your hilarious commentary that makes me examine certain American customs with fresher eyes and a sense of humor. And mostly, thank you for being you. I hold dear the “English” things about you, and you always have my permission to be exactly as you are.
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