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Holidays Archives - Kohler Created

A peek at our Fourth of July break

By | Camping, Floating, Travel | No Comments

Neilyo

Our Fourth of July weekend was a whirlwind of travel and food. Looking back, it’s almost impossible to recount all the stuff we did! The main event was our two night trip to Table Rock Lake near the Arkansas border to stay at our friend’s lake house with a slew of our other friends.

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We arrived Saturday morning, a bit later than the rest of the crew who had arrived the night before. It was the cutest little a-frame, and with nearly twenty of us, it was PACKED! Upon arriving, we noticed immediately that Neil’s brother Ben was missing. Turns out he’d had a little “oops” the night before. He jumped off a moving golf cart and broke his wrist. Yay for urgent care!

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You know you’re having a good time when finding broken bones on your x-rays becomes a game. They also ended up as window decorations later in the weekend…

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We decided to make his arm festive too. I have no idea why I had Mardi Gras beads in my bag, but they looked good wrapped around part of a beer box. After adorning Ben’s arm, we made an awesome dinner of bbq burgers, jerky and dessert (recipe coming soon!).

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Huge yummy burgers, mixed with bread crumbs, onions and seasoning.

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Cooking with cheese and one lonely veggie burger for Kaycia…

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Yummy deer jerky from Matt and Katie. So good! Yes that’s yours truly, a rare sight on this blog. After dinner, it was time to make our way to the lake to watch the fireworks from the boats. However we were slightly delayed by the boys. Somewhere in the planning stages of the weekend, they had decided they were all going to make and wear jorts (jeans + shorts).

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It was definitely a competition to see who could have the shortest jorts. Poor Nathan (far right) cut his so short they ended up being a skirt. And after looking at tags, we realized Matt (in overalls) was wearing Rue 21 — a girls clothing brand. A total Michael Scott moment if you’re a fan of The Office. And yes — that is the start of a beer-amid on the table.

I opted not to take the camera on the boat to see the fireworks or swimming, a decision I was sad about at the time, but grateful for now, as our group did lose some valuables to the lake over the weekend. And really, it was nice to totally de-tech and enjoy not feeling the need to document everything. We had a crazy fun time, with lots of good food and relaxation. Neil took one picture that I think sums it all up:

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Kaycia on the couch-mobile Sunday morning. She’s so cute, this was the perfect picture to encompass how tired we all were at the end. I always feel that weekends like these come fewer and far between the older we get, and although I’m always happy to return to the sanity of our house and routine, it’s still fun to party and play hard when we’re able.

Speaking of getting older, in two weeks Neil is turning 30! He’s requested a float trip, and plans have been well underway for the past few months. Now I just have to figure out how to make sure there is birthday cake — any ideas?

How did you spend your holiday break?

Happy Father’s Day!

By | Family | No Comments

fathersday

Happy Father’s day to the best fathers any two “kids” could ask for! I am definitely my father’s daughter, and Neil is almost a clone of his dad. Cheers to Dad’s everywhere!

Happy Mother’s Day

By | Family | 3 Comments

Grandpa, Mom and I

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Being married is awesome because you get twice the families and twice the mom love. For all the craziness in our lives, they are always there to tell us when to slow down and  when to make the next move. Happy Mother’s Day!

Our Last Twenty-Something Easter

By | Appetizers, organic, Weekend | No Comments

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Kind of a foreboding title eh? It’s true though, we’ll both be thirty the next time Easter rolls around. And as kind of detached, non-committal, sans-religion twenty-somethings, I’m always afraid of the year we’ll finally lose the ability to slip through the cracks of these holidays undetected. With family out of town and no kids to worry about, Easter for us always seems like, well any other Sunday. Sometimes I miss all the traditions and getting to see family, but then again, it’s nice to have a relaxing Sunday of no make-up, dressing up and having to be somewhere. Truth be told, I haven’t felt like celebrating Easter since my grandma passed. It was the holiday that without fail we always celebrated at the farm. We’d do massive egg hunts, breakfasts and dinners every year and it’s still hard not to burst into tears whenever I see plastic Easter grass or big two-dimensional chocolate bunnies.

Grandma and Grandpa and I

My very first Easter

With the exception of working more on my final projects for grad school classes, we got some good movies, games and quality time in. Since there’s two of us, we didn’t prepare a huge meal, but we did partake of some fun finger food and Spring-ish type food. We were actually hoping to bbq, but the weather as of late has been either dangerous or cold and rainy, so we opted to play it safe.

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Athenos Pesto hummus with baked pita bread is to die for!

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Easter candy already on clearance. We LOVE jelly beans!

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Have you tried our Sweet and Tangy Strawberry Salad yet? So easy and perfect for all the strawberries that are just starting to come around.

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Then Neil started his pièce de résistance, his much coveted deviled eggs. You might have tried his recipe from last year, it’s definitely a good one. This year we did a bit of experimenting, as we’re known to do, and came up with the recipe you’ll see below. Try it, let us know what you think!

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Finished cooking and cooling.

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I always let Neil do the scooping, I tend to destroy hard-boiled eggs.

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Diced pickle, my favorite part!

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The filling. The yellow always seems a bit off-putting, but it is SO good!

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Even though deviled eggs are super easy to construct, getting them just so can be a bit more challenging. Here is the method that works best for us, along with our new recipe:

Deviled Eggs with Greek Yogurt

Ingredients:

6 eggs
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon paprika
1-2 teaspoons brown mustard (Neil recommends a bit extra)
1 tablespoon dill pickle, diced
1-2 teaspoons pickled jalapeno, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (optional)

Directions:

To Hard-boil Eggs:
1. Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan/pot and cover with at least an inch or two of cold water. Starting with cold water and gently bringing the eggs to a boil will help keep them from cracking. Add a little salt and vinegar to the water. Bring to a boil (allow to boil for roughly a minute), then cover and remove from heat. Let sit 12-15 minutes. Drain water and from saucepan or transfer eggs to another bowl with a slotted spoon and run cold water over eggs. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.

To Prepare Deviled Eggs:
2. Carefully peel the eggs, halve lengthwise and scoop the yolks into a medium bowl, reserving the egg whites. Mash yolks with all ingredients (except paprika) and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves and dust each with paprika.

Looking at these pictures, I definitely think I’m in need of some kind of cake frosting equipment so I can achieve perfect deviled egg filling dollops. We’re still using the Ziploc bag method, and although it keeps it neat and much cleaner than just using a spoon, it’s definitely not as pretty.

We really liked this lighter, more flavorful (read: spicy) variation of deviled eggs. I’m really off-put by mayo lately, and am just not crazy about it the way I used to be. The Greek yogurt gives the filling a lighter, fluffier texture and is definitely less tangy than if you used mayo. If you’re like Neil and like the tangy flavor, a little modification of more Greek yogurt and some added apple cider vinegar will probably put your deviled egg world right again.

St. Patrick’s Day Pizza: Asparagus and Potato Pizza with Pesto and Carmelized Onions

By | Breadmaking, Healthy, Holidays, Pizza, Recipes | 5 Comments

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So if you’ve been following us a bit, you know we started a little tradition last Thanksgiving of making pizza themed around every holiday (evidence here and here). Nothing really that deep, just good pizza with ingredients or colors we feel are representative of the upcoming holiday.

Well for St. Patrick’s Day we went a little overboard at the grocery store and bought enough toppings for TWO pizzas, so this is the first, and we’ll be making the second one tonight. We have a lot of fun with these, and it’s a great motivator to try new and sometimes strange ingredients or combinations of things we might otherwise not have considered for our weekly pizza night.

Asparagus, Red Potato and Carmelized Onion Pizza

For our first pizza we chose fresh sliced asparagus spears and sliced red potatoes with carmelized onions and pesto. Lots of green and fresh spring vegetables. Ironic because it literally snowed all day yesterday. Regardless, a super fresh, green and veggie-filled pizza on a flatbread crust. This is our first time making a flatbread crust, so we gave the much-recommended Mario Batali Flatbread a try.

Ingredients:

For the flatbread crust (Recipe from Mario Batali):
1/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup warm water
1 package yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil + more for garlic spread and asparagus spears
3 cups all-purpose flour

For the toppings:
2 red potatoes
1 bunch or 8 ounces asparagus spears, trimmed, each spear cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2- to 3-inch pieces (you may have some leftover)
1 1/3 cups grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces), shredded
1 small red onion sliced in rings or diced into pieces
1/2 cup pesto
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Asparagus, Red Potato and Carmelized Onion Pizza

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Directions:

To Make Crust:
Combine the wine, water, and yeast in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Add the honey, salt, and the olive oil and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt. Slowly pour in the wine mixture into the flour while stirring (either by hand or mixer). If you are using a mixer, mix for 1-2 minutes before switching to the dough hook and mixing for an additional 3 minutes (adding more water or wine if too dry). If mixing by hand, mix in bowl to combine before turning out onto a floured surface and kneading for an additional 6-8 minutes. Do this until you have a smooth, firm dough.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside to rise in the warmest part of the kitchen for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, cut the risen dough into 2 equal pieces (or 1 big one!) and knead each portion into a round. Cover again and let rise for 15 minutes. The dough is now ready to be used.

To Prepare Toppings:

Asparagus Spears:Trim ends and cut each spear in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Red Potatoes: Place potatoes in small saucepan. Add enough water to cover and add an extra inch of water. Sprinkle with salt. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Cut into thin slices.
Red Onion: Cut onions into crescent-shaped slices. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the fat shimmers, stir in the onions until coated with oil. Add a pinch of salt, then stir periodically, allowing the onions to darken. Remove from heat and set aside.

To Assemble Pizza:
1. Preheat the oven to 360 to 365 degrees F.
2. Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet or pizza stone with cornmeal. Roll and stretch dough into a long strip (1 large, or 2 smaller) and transfer to sheet/stone. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil with pressed garlic and brush garlic oil over the dough.
3. Place in oven and pre-bake empty crust for 4 minutes.
4. Brush pesto over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the crust. Spread carmelized red onions and potato slices evenly over the pizza. Add a thin layer of cheese and drizzle more pesto over the cheese. Scatter asparagus over pizza, top with parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
5. Bake pizza until lightly browned and asparagus is tender, around 10-12 minutes. Cool for 2-3 minutes before cutting pizza into pieces and serving.

Neil was really skeptical when I suggested we try asparagus and potatoes on pizza, but he loved it, especially with the addition of a little balsamic vinegar drizzled over. The crust was really good, though not as thin and flat as we had hoped. We’re going to try a different tactic tonight, we’ll let you know how it goes. It took us months to perfect our last crust, so I have a feeling this is the only the beginning in Kohler’s vs. Flatbread.

Every try a unique pizza topping that was a surprise hit?

Happy Valentine’s Day! Pig and Pineapple Pizza on Beet Crust

By | Food, Pizza, Recipes | No Comments

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

After the success of Thanksgiving Pizza, Neil and I knew it was something to make habit for all the little holidays throughout they year that we often don’t pay much attention to. We’ve been looking forward to our Valentine’s edition pizza ever since. It’s not that we ignore Valentine’s but typically we’re always a little busy and the stress of making dinner reservations or making a big deal of it really isn’t our style. Besides, ever since we started cooking at home, I find it far more romantic than going out. Remember our Valentine’s sushi date last year? Romantic AND frugal, plus we weren’t competing with everyone else for tables and service. Can’t beat it. Also, (mom stop reading now!) one can’t help but consider the convenient proximity to the bedroom.

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

In retrospect we probably didn’t scheme the toppings as much as we could have. We could have gone all out with something overly red and pink, but we both love Canadian bacon and pineapple, and as many of you in relationships know, agreeing on pizza toppings is sometimes like negotiating a peace settlement in a war-torn country. Additionally If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you might remember me falling in love with this pig and pineapple pizza a year or so back. We had to make it, and last night was the night.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
1 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
1/2 cup canned or fresh beets puree
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used an herbed variety)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour (I used ½ bread flour, ½ whole wheat flour)
½ cup white or yellow cornmeal

Our toppings (you can obviously do whatever you like):
2 cups shredded cheese (we used Monty Jack)
¾ cup tomato sauce
¾ cup chopped pineapple
12 large slices of Sopressata (or any thinly sliced sausage)
Kosher salt
Pepper
Basil
Oregano
Garlic Powder
Cinnamon (for the Sopressata, it tastes amazing as it cooks)

Directions:

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

1. To make beet puree: Wash beets and place in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 15-20 minutes or until forkable. Remove from heat and drain into a colander. Skins should peel off, and then beets can be cut into 1-inch pieces. Puree in a food processor for 1-2 minutes or until large pieces have been obliterated. My advice: Save yourself the horrendous mess and just use canned beets.

2. Pour warm water into a medium bowl and slowly whisk in yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes, then add honey, olive oil and mashed sweet potato. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Note: if you used canned beets in water, feel free to use the very red water in place of new tap water. It will add more color to your dough.

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

3. In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt. Slowly stir in wet ingredients and continue to mix until it becomes impossible. If you are using a mixer, this would be the time to switch to the dough hook attachment, otherwise use your hands to continue mixing and slowly kneading your dough, adding more flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking.

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

4. Once you’ve created your nice dough ball, add olive oil to the bottom of a bowl and roll the dough ball in the oil until it is coated. Cover with saran wrap or damp towel and store in a dry place (I use my microwave) for one hour.

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

Tickled Pink Pig and Pineapple on Beet Crust

5. Around the last 15 minute mark, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Flour your hands and roll dough onto a pizza stone or pizza dish. Fold over edge to create a raised outer edge around the crust. Brush crust lightly with olive oil and place in heated oven, baking for 5-8 minutes alone (without toppings).

6. Remove and cover crust with a layer of tomato sauce and the rest of your toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for an additional 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool, then slice and enjoy!

Yes, we cut the Sopressata into heart shapes to be festive. We had fun with this, and as nervous as I was wondering how beets would taste in the crust, I was surprised at how sweet it ended up being. I’d even venture to say it was sweeter than the Sweet Potato Garlic Knots we made last fall. It definitely got less pink with rising and baking (as you can see in the photos above), but it was still very colorful and fun.

So you know what comes after Valentines Day right? St. Patrick’s Day! The perfect green crust is already in the works…

How are you going to celebrate Valentine’s this year? Low-key? Fancy? What’s your favorite Valentine’s candy/treat?

New Year’s Eve Party 2011

By | Jessica, Neil | No Comments

New Years 2011

New Years 2011

It’s pretty much tradition now that we spend New Year’s with Anja and Steve and their fam. We scrutinize the menu for the weeks leading up to New Year’s and like the food-obsessed people we are, can’t help but overeat and take pictures.

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Man things are changing fast…

New Years 2011

But if all change is this cute, then I guess we’ll live…

New Years 2011

New Years 2011

Best photo of 2011 so far you think?

New Years 2011

Popping the champagne, ready to count down!

New Years 2011

Happy New Year everyone! Wait…why am I the only one drinking?

We’re Back! But First, a Little Holiday Recap…

By | Christmas, Family, Holiday, Travel | 2 Comments

Christmas Eve 2010

We are back after a whirlwind trip to Minnesota for the holidays. If you remember, the weather ruined our plans to travel last year, so we were eager and past due for a good visit with family. It was so weird exchanging brown and rainy Missouri for buried and snowy Minnesota. It was the most snow Neil had ever seen, and they even got more while we were there:

Christmas Eve 2010

So after a workout at the local YMCA, Neil offered to shovel the driveway Missouri-style, with borrowed boots and all!

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

We stayed with my aunt, and her house truly could be the official location of Christmas. She doesn’t even know how many trees she has! Each is carefully themed and ornamented and Christmas music plays 24/7. For a pretty newly married couple, Neil and I love being around so many traditions and history. A few of our favorite decorations:

Christmas Eve 2010

My grandmother’s memorial ornament, a must-have for the grown-up hopefully we’ll someday have, not that I don’t love our little Holiday Shrub.

Christmas Eve 2010

Homemade noodle ornaments that were made as a family when I was little. They were so much fun to make!

Christmas Eve 2010

Homemade wooden ornaments from my Grandpa’s workshop. He used to make us each ornaments every year.

Christmas Eve 2010

Cute little dutch shoes!

Christmas Eve 2010

All the aunts have the same nativity set with various pieces missing or “altered” in some way, innocent victims of generations of children. Baby Jesus has endured many kidnappings.

We started our Christmas Eve by taking a few portraits of my cousin, her son and their new pup Apple. Apple is one of the most gorgeous labs I have ever seen!

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

We then set to work preparing the feast! Christmas Eve is always a smaller gathering with Appetizers, many of them vegetarian!

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Yummy French Bread Pizzas with homemade hummus, olives, and spinach. They were so good, I’m definitely going to be making these soon. Genius!

We also had loads of fun playing with Jacob, my second-newest second cousin who was in town to celebrate his very first Christmas. He is so adorable!

Christmas Eve 2010

And being so cute and at his first Christmas, we made sure to spoil him rotten!

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

We also opened gifts ourselves:

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Neil excited about his new candy and gum stock. Seriously you guys, if you’ve never met him, this face happens whenever he’s excited…

Christmas Eve 2010

My aunt received some SERIOUS gardening tools. They are very big and VERY sharp. Don’t mess with her!

Christmas Eve 2010

Sarah and Andrew with their newest Christmas ornament.

Christmas Eve 2010

My cousin Adam with the pint glass his my aunt lifted from the restaurant we ate at the previous night. He had stolen a glass, but she had thought to steal one first. Keeping it classy…

Christmas Eve 2010

My aunt received a HUGE mailbox and while trying to convince her kids how much she loved it, realized the real one was inside and the big one was a gag. It was hilarious watching her back pedal out of that one.

Afterwards we took a few portraits:

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Our Christmas Eve celebration lasted well into the night and we did it all again with the rest of the family Christmas Day. We also celebrated with some of Neil’s family and my parents. So much travel, but that’s seemingly the life of the newly married twenty-something isn’t it? You go to where the people are.

As far as gifts, we really kept it simple this year. We have lots of great chocolate to bake with, and new ornaments to add to our collection. My dad gave me some great books, and my mom bought me some amazing mineral make-up I can’t wait to use. Neil’s mom wove me a rug and gave me some beautiful holiday serving dishes and Neil’s dad gave bought us our favorite organic, all-natural detergent. I got Neil a great new running skull cap and he got me a dutch oven (the kind that doesn’t involve farts). I can’t wait to use it. In fact, Neil’s making me dinner in it right now!

With 2011 being totally dedicated to relocating (more on that when we debut our New Years Resolutions!), it’s crazy to think that it might be our last Christmas as residents of Missouri. Figuring out holidays will take on new and more complicated challenges, and hopefully a chance to form a few of our own traditions along the way. It’s all very exciting, but scary and nerve-wracking at the same time. So goes change when you’re living a bit outside the norm!

Do you feel like you need a holiday to recover from the holiday?

And the Winner of our Holiday Sparkle Swag Bag Giveaway is….

By | Giveaway | One Comment

#MoBubbles Event

Giveaway results!

MarytheGoodNeighbor! Mary actually is my neighbor and you might remember her from our Project Food Blog days when she graciously lent her time to teach me how to make Tikvenik, a recipe passed down in her family. She’ll enjoy the Holiday Sparkle Swag Bag and all the goodies inside! Here is what she had to say:

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Thank you to everyone who entered our very first giveaway! We hope to do many more in 2011 because they really are a lot of fun to do and we were completely blown away by the response and all of your thoughtful ideas and traditions to make the holidays truly sparkle. We wish you the best of holidays and safe travel!