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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

I found this recipe for a Starbuck's copycat 
pumpkin spice latte on pintrest.
Since the closest Starbucks is over 100 miles away, I had to try it.
And of course, it was delicious!  Eric said it tasted just like Starbucks' :)
I've already made this 5 or 6 times. It's quick and a nice treat to get the morning started.

 I used the pie mix because our grocery store was out of the pumpkin puree. Gotta love small town grocery stores!
 I didn't use whipped cream on mine, but I think it would make it that much more delicious!
I'll try it next time

Pumpkin Spice Latte (Starbuck’s Copycat)
2 cups half and half, whole milk reduced fat or skim milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1 – 2 tablespoons sugar, stevia or splenda
2 tablespoons vanilla extract, yes tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-4 shots espresso or very strong coffee (I double the amount of grounds I use per cup to get my strong coffee)

1. Brew your espresso or strong coffee. If brewing strong coffee, use double the amount of grounds you would in your regular coffee.
2. Combine half and half or milk, pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin pie spices in a small saucepan. Heat until very hot, but do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a blender or a milk frother and blend until frothy.
3. Pour 1 cup warm pumpkin milk mixture into coffee mug and add 1-4 coffee shots. Dust with more pumpkin pie spice if desired.
Makes about 1 – 2 servings.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Garden Love


Annaheim Peppers
Lots of buds! That's a good thing...but hopefully not too late in the year.

Due to the three hail storms we had this spring, we haven't been able to pick many red tomatoes yet
The garden currently

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Homemade Mac and Cheese

I have never made homemade macaroni and cheese, so when I saw this I thought..ok, I think I can do that. It's all made in one pot (aside from the bacon) and doesn't need to be baked. This is an excellent summer/hot weather recipe so you don't heat up the kitchen!

I wanted to top mine with bacon.
Because everything is better with bacon.
The key to this recipe is STIR STIR STIR!
I doubled the recipe, and used three kinds of cheeses (Mexican blend, sharp cheddar and provolone)

And this is the recipe that I followed!

2 cups large elbow Macaroni, uncooked (about 1/2 lb)
2 cups low fat Milk (about 16 oz)
if needed, additional 1/4 cup milk or water for final cooking
1 tablespoon Butter, for flavor ( I tried this recipe once without the butter and I didn’t notice any difference with the recipe. More heart healthy!)
1/2 teaspoon Mustard powder
1 teaspoon Salt, plus additional for final season later
generous dash of Nutmeg
1 cup Grated Cheese, any one or combination of  ( jack, cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, gouda, parmesan*, asiago*, pecorino*) *Hard cheeses are best combined with a secondary,  softer, better melting cheese.
additional toppings: bacon bits, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, diced tomatoes (optional)
black pepper to taste (optional)

1. Place raw elbow macaroni in colander and quickly rinse under water. Let drain.
2. In medium sauce pan (about 3.5 qt), add milk, raw elbow macaroni, salt, butter, mustard powder and nutmeg.
3. On medium heat, slowly bring milk/macaroni mixture to a simmer, stirring the macaroni frequently as it comes up to a simmer. This will separate macaroni and keep them from sticking together. DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE! The milk mixture will come to a boil very quickly and leaving it unattended will leave a big mess on your stove stop.
4. Once mixture comes to a simmer, immediately turn down heat to LOW. Macaroni will slowly cook in the milk. Having your heat too high will evaporate the milk too quickly!
5. Continue to stir the mixture frequently so that macaroni will cook evenly and absorb milk evenly. If you don’t stir your mixture frequently, you will get a big clump of macaroni in the end! Stir, stir stir!

6. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until milk has been fully absorbed. If macaroni is not cooked fully, add a little more milk or water  to mixture ( in small amounts) until macaroni is fully cooked. This will take about another 5 minutes.
7. When milk has evaporated, stir in grated cheese of your choice. Stir the  cheese evenly into the macaroni.
8. Turn off heat. Place lid on top of pan and cover for about 5 minutes. This rest period will allow macaroni to plump up and absorb any excess milk.
9. Take a final taste and add additional salt to taste. Before serving, stir one final time to mix everything together.
Serve immediately. Feeds about 3-4 people.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Garden Makeover

I have a confession.
This is about a month overdue.

Eric should really be blogging, because this is purely his work. I can't take any credit for it whatsoever....except maybe sharing my ideas. He is truly a handy man and I'm convinced, can make literally anything he wants to. Everyone should have an "Eric" around the house.

So, the first addition is this handy dandy workbench! 
I've been complaining that I don't like potting plants on the ground and would rather have a hard surface. So he just whipped this baby up. It's the most organized, compact workbench I've seen. And it took him a couple of hours. Unbelievable.

After we created the raised bed garden, Barkley thought it was his playground.
So, a barrier around the garden was necessary.
Therefore, this is what we used for a couple of weeks.
Can you say ghetto?

Well, we weren't going to settle for ghetto.
Eric went to town on creating the coolest-ever fence around the garden.
OK, the idea was mine for the fence, but he is the creative genius behind making it happen.
Here's how it went down...

 He decided to make a terrace as the grand entrance to the garden.
Genius I tell ya, genius.
 It's nearly impossible to tell here, but between each 2x4 is chickenwire....very thin wire netting
I'll try to get a closer shot of it at some point

And then came the a-ma-zing terrace of an entrance

Can you believe this?
I can't believe it.
When I was in Greeley for a conference, Eric created this masterpiece.
I can't get over it.

So now, every day when we walk out to the garden to check out the STILL green tomatoes, we walk into a garden oasis that my hubby created. Sigh.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Anniversary Breakfast

An anniversary breakfast has to be something just a little more special than normal.

So, I made french toast with with strawberry butter.
It was heavenly.

The berry butter

 Texas Toast

Maybe we should start eating on big kid plates.
I've realized in nearly every post, we are eating off of our oh-so-fancy paper plates!
But let's be honest, they're so much less fuss!
Go forth and make a delicious breakfast for your special someone

How to:
First, use texas toast for the bread. It is thicker and absorbs more of the egg mixture. Yum.
For the butter, use softened butter and smash in the amount of strawberries you want. I used a lot because we looove strawberries.
The egg mixture is two eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, lemon zest, and a dash of nutmeg.
Then, of course dip the ol' texas toast in the egg mixture and cook away on a skillet.
Dig in!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

As of late....

It's been a while since I've posted. A lot has been going on in the Rinehart household and blogging took the back seat. But I'm baaaack!
I am officially a contract therapist at a private practice! I'm am so excited to start this new professional journey. I've realized how important it is to be happy at your job, and since I've left my "old" job it feels like a weight has been lifted.  There is definitely some fear involved in going into private practice, but I'm hopeful that everything will work out wonderfully. 
In the time it takes to get a consistent caseload, I am helping out at the jewelry store downtown. Our friends own the store, so I think it'll be fun a way to make a little extra money in the meantime.
Eric is a couple of weeks into his new position at Cabela's and is really enjoying it :)
The newest addition is that my friend Jennifer and I are the new high school dance team coaches!! We accepted the position yesterday and can't wait to hit the ground running! We are so excited and honored to take on this job. 
And we celebrated our first wedding anniversary last weekend! I can't believe it's already been a year. There have been so many changes in our lives in the year we've been married, but we've adapted well and love enjoying the journey we're on together :) Ok, enough of the mooshy stuff.
It's FALL in Sidney! So that means decorating the house! 


 Gotta switch out the flower arrangements

Our anniversary weekend was just perfect.
We spent two nights in Boulder, CO....which we fell in love with.
And you can see why.
 We spent the first night on Pearl street, eating sushi and enjoying people-watching

 For dinner the second night, we celebrated our first anniversary at the Melting Pot in Louisville, CO.
It was sooo delicious and quite an experience.
 We walked around the CU campus on Saturday afternoon. 
It was so beautiful! And for about an hour, we got to pretend like we were back in college.
Those were the days...

 (so true)

And when we got home on Sunday, we had the final celebration. Eating a piece of our wedding cake!

It was not delicious. Ha ha.

This just captures how much of a freak for picture-taking I am. Or maybe just a freak in general :)
I will roll down my window in Denver rush hour traffic in attempt to get the perfect skyline shot. 
It didn't happen.
But I can't say that I didn't try!

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