Friday, February 19, 2010

I Can't Wait To Travel

My husband and I have these grand dreams of traveling the world when our kids get a bit older (they are 4.5 and almost 3).  First off, I really want to see the countries and cities that our families came from when they came to America.   My family has been in America for a looooong time.  We think my dads family came here from England in the early 1600's and my moms family came from Germany in either the the 1720's or 1740's.  Since then, we have also had family come from Scotland, Ireland and my mom thinks France too.  As for my husbands family, his Great Grandparents on his fathers side came from Italy and his Mothers family came from Germany sometime in the late 1800's I believe.

I would love to see all of those countries and hopefully see the cities that our families came from.  I can't wait to explore our roots!!

Until then, we want to travel the US and Canada.  There is so much of these countries to see and explore and I can't wait to see it all (or a lot of it!!).  I would love to see the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Canadian Rockies and much more!

I'll be sure to bring my camera along on our adventures!!  :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Yummies!

My husband and I love homemade soup.  One of our favorite soups is French Onion Soup, but never tried to make it even though we always heard it was really easy to made.  Several months ago, we tried our hand at a recipe we saw on America's Test Kitchen.  Oh boy, was it GOOD!!!  Its a really rich soup and is one of those soups that tastes better the next day!!  We now like to make it a day ahead so it can sit overnight in the fridge and become even better!!!

I thought I would share this wonderful French Onion Soup recipe with you all!!!

French Onion Soup
Serves 6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces

6 large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see illustration below)

Table salt

2 cups water , plus extra for deglazing

1/2 cup dry sherry

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (see note)

2 cups beef broth (see note)

6 sprigs fresh thyme , tied with kitchen twine

1 bay leaf

Ground black pepper

Cheese Croutons

1 small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices

8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)  **We like Mozzarella cheese!**

1. For the soup: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray inside of heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Place butter in pot and add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.

2. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until liquid evaporates and onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until pot bottom is coated with dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.) Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.

4. For the croutons: While soup simmers, arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

5. To serve: Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Etsy Voter

This past Friday, I was in the Etsy finds E-mail for the print above!  It was an Etsy dream come true so to speak!  :)   This same group of about 45 times from various Etsy shops is now in the Etsy voter section.   So, this blog post is my plea for votes!  I'm currently in second place!

Would love any votes!!  :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Other Loves Of My Life!

There are many loves of my life besides photography.  I am also a stay at home mom to two wonderful little kids, so that is a huge (and important) part of my life!  But, I also love to cook and I love to do anything outdoors - for the most part!  HA! 

The family and I can't wait for spring to roll around so we can go camping and hiking again!  We took our kids on their first camping trip this past summer to a place South West of Denver in the Colorado Mountains.  We all had a blast.  My kids loved playing in all the dirt and mud all day long.  LOL  They loved the camp fire and of course, they loved the Smores!!  They have been asking all winter long if we can go camping again. 

In the photograph above, one of my favorite campsites sits just to the right of the open field of that amazing mountain range.  Its called Moraine Park (I could be wrong, but I think this open field is also called Moraine Park).  The camp ground has the view of all of these mountains and of one of Colorado's many 14ers called Longs Peak (its to the left of this photograph - can't see it here).  This campground is one of the places I hope to take this kids this summer!!  If you go to this open field in the fall, there are tons and tons of Elk out for the mating season.  They are all along this open field and along the road that took this photograph on.  The Elk are HUGE and a pretty big attraction that time of year.  

The view in this photograph is one of my favorite places in Colorado!  We go up there a few times a year for camping and hiking and we always drive along this road that takes us past this spot.  I can never  get enough of it!  Usually you can see a lot more mountains where the clouds are at, but this time, the snow clouds were starting to roll in! 

I plan to add more of our hiking and camping adventures to the blog as the summer rolls around.  I love the share all the beauty and fun that Colorado has to offer!!  Maybe I will throw in some cooking posts too!!  :)


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