A Fall Treat

This past week my grandma came into town for a visit. On Tuesday night we all got together at mom and dad’s for a family dinner. I love family dinners. There is just something so relaxing about sitting around a table with people you love and chatting about life. Plus the exciting fast-approaching holidays. Commence with the Christmas list making! :)

I guess I should start the post with a picture of grandma and our cutie pie.

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Here’s Sarah just before bedtime

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She loves chomping on those fingers. Oh, you probably haven’t heard, Sarah got her first tooth last Friday! I know, our little girl is growing up so insanely fast! When I saw this picture I couldn’t help but wonder how she used to fit in my belly?!? She has gotten so big!

Before heading to bed she helped me make some yummy muffins and I’m going to share the recipe with you.

Alright, now onto the yummy reason for this post.

Super Easy Pumpkin Muffins

1 box cake mix
1 can of pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Add all the ingredients together, blend, place in muffin wrappers, bake on 350 for 18-22 minutes and then enjoy :)

This is what they look like when you finish

 

Lesson #1: Fill the muffin cups to the top. The dough is pretty heavy and doesn’t rise like your standard fluffy muffins. However, next time I’m gonna try it with white cake mix so it may turn out a little different… (funfetti was all that we had on hand). Try ’em out and let me know what you think.

Personally I think pumpkin based foods and scents should be in our life year-round. It tastes and smells soooo good! Then again if we did that I would probably get tired of it… Pssh, not!.

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A Day in the Life of Lady Ringl

I thought today would be a good day to share a ‘Day in the Life’ post with you. I decided to call myself Lady Ringl in the title because it sounds less teacher’ish than Mrs. Ringl. That, and I’ve been watching a lot of medieval movies and tv shows lately and when you say Lady in front of a woman’s name I think it sounds elegant and pretty.

The day I am sharing with you is this past Tuesday, September 20th.

My day started around 6am. Our days start with getting Sarah fed and then I usually bring her into our bed to wake up Stephen. She loves to sit next to him and laugh and play. It’s pretty much the best way to wake up, ever!

After Stephen got out the door Sarah and I went to the play room and started our day together. I put ‘Elf’ on the tv because I like to have ‘white noise’ in the house. Don’t know why, but it’s something I’ve always preferred. After we played for a little while we moved to the kitchen so I could have a late breakfast. I decided that we would try some bread making. It had been a while since I’d done any. While pregnant I baked all the time. My favorite was the sourdough bread I could expect to enjoy every 5 days with a starter I fed and kept in the fridge.

I was really excited at how accomplished the day was going to be. I got my glass jar out and we quickly whipped up the sourdough starter. After that I got out all the ingredients to make some homemade french bread. I had gone to Publix on Monday and their bakery makes me crave fresh bread every time I visit.

It wasn’t quite noon and we were on a roll. Sarah was down for a nap so I combined all the ingredients for 2 loafs of french bread. It took about an hour (20 minutes of which was watching and then re-watching a video on youtube on how to properly knead dough). Sarah woke up right about the time I had the bread sitting in a bowl so it could begin rising. It had been a really successful day. I hadn’t even had lunch yet and I had made a starter and learned how to knead dough. To top it all off, I also had chicken thawing and getting prepped for dinner.

Sarah was having a little bit of a fussy day, my guess is from teething, so she was a bit more needy than usual. Needy isn’t a bad thing of course, it just means she wanted to be held more than usual.

An hour and a half later I came to check on my bread so I could knead it again, and then roll it out and let it rise one more time before baking. Well, when I checked it it didn’t look like it had grown much. I figured my eyes were just wrong and got the bread ready and laid out on the baking sheet so it could rise 1 last time. Sarah and I went and played for a while and when I came back to turn on the oven I noticed the bread looked the same. I knew something wasn’t right. I questioned my yeast when I first started the recipe because it didn’t bubble the way I thought it should. I even did it twice just to be sure I did it correctly.

Out of curiosity (and a heavy dose of frustration) I went ahead and baked the bread anyway. After it finished baking the top looked nice and browned and made the house smell like fresh bread. I cut into the loaf and turns out only the crust cooked. The inside was still dough. Talk about aggravating. I spent my morning and afternoon getting this ready and the whole thing was a flop.

I did some checking and apparently my yeast had died. Did you know you are supposed to refrigerate the container after opening it? Yep, it even says so right on the top. That would have been helpful, if I’d read the top. Lesson learned: always read labels!

After realizing that the yeast had killed over I trashed the bread and then dumped my sourdough starter. Watching all that flour go to waste was such a bummer. Between the french bread and starter I had used over 8 cups of flour. It felt like I was throwing money down the drain. Actually I suppose I did, since that’s where the starter was dumped.

I figured I would just forget the failure and move on to dinner. I knew Stephen was gonna be happy to come home and find a home-cooked meal. I saw a recipe for chicken fried chicken breasts with gravy. Personally, I’m not a fried chicken kinda girl. I saw this recipe and thought it was worth a shot. I knew I’d be using olive oil for the ‘fried’ part, and I wasn’t drenching the chicken, just putting it in the skillet and flipping it. I got to work on dinner and was excited about how yummy it would taste. It was definitely an out of the ordinary meal for me to cook, especially since I was putting myself in the line of fire by making something that involved the possibility of popping oil (which is the reason I don’t make bacon!)

I followed the recipe and it smelled great. I even made the gravy correctly. After putting the food onto our plates I cut into the chicken because we were 1/2’ing it. That’s when I discovered that apparently it hadn’t cooked all the way through. The chicken was still raw in the center. Gross! I couldn’t believe it. I tried making bread and failed. Made a bread starter and failed. Now I made dinner and had failed at that too. This was the worst “productive” day I’d ever had. All I had actually done was accumulate a butt load of messy dishes.

To try and save the chicken I popped it in the microwave to let it finish cooking. I snacked on some potatoes and gravy and then went to put Sarah in bed for the night. A little while later I smelled something funny. The smell went from funny to horrible in a matter of seconds. I rushed into the kitchen and opened the microwave. As soon as I opened it a horrible smelling smoke filled the kitchen. I quickly turned on the exhaust fan, worried that the smoke alarm would go off and wake up Sarah. I did everything I could to get the smoke and smell out of the house. Stephen came into the kitchen and mentioned the smoke was burning his eyes. Ya, it was that bad.

After things calmed down I took the plate out of the microwave and saw the damage. I don’t know how it happened but that chicken was now majorly disfigured. It actually had a hole in the middle and some black ooze’ish stuff dripping to the side. I’d never seen anything like that before. To top it all off the microwave now looked like a chicken bomb had exploded inside it. It was around this time I was spent. I felt emotionally and domestically defeated. I added one more nasty dish to the sink and decided to call it a night and just go to bed.

That, ladies and gentlemen, was how I spent my Tuesday.

 

 

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A New Accomplishment

I accomplished something new today. I, Cassie Ringl, baked bread from scratch. Not only did I bake bread, but it actually tasted better than it smelled!

I have to admit this wasn’t my first try. This was my 3rd go-around with a bread recipe, the only difference is this one worked. It took 5 days for the starter to prepare itself and become bake-ready. I’ve discovered that one of the reasons Sourdough Bread is so amazing is because of the patience you have to practice while waiting for it. Then again, I’ve never made it before and still thought it was amazing, so… I guess it’s delicious either way.

Here’s my ‘baking station’ with the laptop open for step-by-step instructions:

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That’s the dough after I let it rise overnight:

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Knead the dough for a few minutes:

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Split the dough in half and place in bread pans:

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Let the dough double in size
(mine took about 3 hours)

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Then bake & drool as you smell the aroma of fresh bread wafting through your home

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Here’s the link to the website for the starter and recipe. You should check it out and try it. Trust me!

Makes me wish I lived in a small town where bread was baked fresh everyday and you could smell it when you walked to work in the morning, or visited the market. Wait a second, I don’t have to wish that… I can make it come true in my own home! I am so excited, feeling like a real ‘homemaker’ right now :)

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Holiday Baking

I had my very first Christmas Baking day this year. My Monday was anything but a dull way to start this week. With only 12 days until Christmas my kitchen is now full of some delicious goodies (and smelled amazing alllll day)!!!

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t get you drooling, so here you go:

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A bit of this…

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QUITE a bit of this…

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topped with these…

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then admire your work
(and eat a few while they’re still warm!!)

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I don’t know why I’ve never done holiday baking in the past, but that is something that will definitely change! Not only was it nice to see Stephen light up when I offered him a cookie after he came home from a long day at work, but I can’t help but look forward to holiday baking with our children. I know it’ll still be a few years, but I already know it will be one of the memories I cherish most in the future. I can’t wait :)

Also, I know my sister and parents really enjoyed my baking when they were over last night. I think I put my dad into a sugar coma after dinner.  Good thing we have a comfy couch for napping  ;)

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Edible Gaming

Stephen and I are huge board game fans. Whether playing Balderdash with my family, Apples to Apples with his, or if at home it’s a toss up between Scrabble and Chess. Yes, I know how to play chess. Yes, I’m sure you are surprised. And yes, I only learned because we got a Lord of the Rings set and it’s fun that way.

Recently we have been playing a lot of tech-scrabble. I call it that because it isn’t on an actual scrabble board but instead we play on our phones. Phone scrabble is wonderful because that way the game can be played from anywhere at anytime of the day!

If you know me at all you know I am also a huge food fan. Try to imagine my overwhelming joy when I found a combination of board game & food. Not just any food either, but dessert!!

I was browsing a new website I found: The Pioneer Woman, and found the most awesome cookie recipe I’ve ever seen.

Check these out…

Best cookie idea, EVER!

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( recipe found here )

Now I’ve got games on the brain… don’t even get me started about puzzles!

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