Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UofA Homecoming

Last Saturday we went with our good friends Pete & Jenna' to the football game. Kurtis graduated from the UofA 5 years ago and it was fun to walk around the campus. We all went down early and got a bite to eat on University and then enjoyed the festivities. The ARIZONA Wildcats played was a close game, but we lost 10 to 17! At lease it wasn't a blowout!

Beer and food at Gentle Ben's

Wilbur & Wilma

Go Wildcats!


Kurtis, Me, Pete, and Jenna'

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Backyard Work-In-Progress

We decided to hire a landscaper to help us with the design of our backyard! Just this last weekend the mason started on the retaining wall for our planter and the border for our grass made out of pavers. The next steps include new irrigation, a custom rock fountain, exterior lighting, plants, grass, and rock! We are looking forward to entertaining in our new backyard!

The retaining wall

The wall is it needs to be painted!

The mason leveling out the pavers for the border!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Autumn and Halloween Treats & Sweets

I love trying new recipes and CookingLight is a great place to get them. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons and I love seeing the leaves change and sipping on hot apple cider. I have been sad because the weather in Arizona has been so hot. I plan to take a trip back home (Mid-West) and will hopefully see all the beautiful leaves. Here are a few recipes I am going to make for some upcoming parties. They are simple, but fun and I think you will enjoy them!

Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

These moist muffins get a burst of sweet and sour notes from the cranberries. This recipe doubles easily to feed a crowd. These are best warm, but you can make ahead to jump-start holiday cooking. Bake up to one month in advance, and place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Let the muffins thaw at room temperature, and then microwave at MEDIUM-HIGH about 30 seconds to heat through.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped (such as Crasins)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and next 5 ingredients (though cloves); stir well with a whisk.
Combine granulated sugar and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Fold in cranberries.
Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack. Makes 1 dozen!

Witches' Hats

1 (4.25-ounce) tube orange or red decorating frosting
1 (11 1/2-ounce) package fudge-striped shortbread cookies (32 cookies)
1/2 (13-ounce) package milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped (32)
Pipe a small mound of frosting in center of each chocolate-covered cookie bottom; press a chocolate kiss on frosting. Pipe a frosting band and bow around base of each kiss.

Caramel Apples

6 large Granny Smith apples
6 wooden craft sticks
1 (14-ounce) bag caramels, unwrapped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
Pecan halves (optional)
Wash and dry apples; remove stems. Insert craft sticks into stem end of each apple; set aside.
Combine caramels, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on HIGH 90 seconds or until melted, stirring twice.
Dip each apple into the caramel mixture quickly, allowing excess caramel to drip off. Roll in chopped pecans; place on lightly greased wax paper. Chill at least 15 minutes.
Microwave chocolate morsels at HIGH 90 seconds or until melted, stirring twice; cool 5 minutes. Pour chocolate where craft sticks and apple meet, allowing chocolate to drip down sides of apples. Press pecan halves onto chocolate, if desired. Chill 15 minutes or until set.