Friday, June 29, 2012

Peach Muffin Recipe, a note on Lady Gaga, an Orange Manicure & Touchup, & A Ballet Recital.


 I've made peach muffins before (last summer), but this time around, they were delicious- irresistable, really. Before they were out of the oven, I was already visualizing one of them crumbled over vanilla ice cream. As soon as they were cooling on the rack, I hopped in the car (in the middle of the night), drove to the local grocer, and bought that ice cream. Rick and I thoroughly savoured every bite of our peach cobbler-like dessert! I imPLORE you to try these. They're worth the effort. Keep in mind that I used can peaches and was very generous about my estimation. I cut up more than what looked like a single large peach. And I doused the tops of the muffins with sugar crystals before sliding them into the oven!
I posted them on Facebook with my little story and had people drooling for them. In fact, I'm baking a double batch tomorrow to sell at the farm, as well as to share with friends on Saturday. (RECIPE at end of post)

An Orange Manicure
 My favorite manicures are the plain, simple ones with a decoration or two to accent my fingers. I chose this Pure Ice Hot Tamale because it screamed SUMMER! to me, and I added a couple 'decals' to my thumbs and middle fingers for accents.

A quick peek at the growing belly (36.5 weeks)
Nobody was around to take my weekly photo, and I didn't brush my hair or put on makeup that day, so NO one was going to see a full picture. LOL


 A friend in New Jersey inadvertently inspired me to allow my daughter to wash my car. No, it didn't get cleaned and yes, there were serious smudges and marks and lines and LOTS of dirt still left behind. But she had a blast playing in the water and rubbing my car with hand soap. :o)

1st Ballet Recital (getting ready)
 Her first ballet recital was this month, and she was so excited to put on mommy's makeup and dress in her costume. During dress rehearsal the night before, she enjoyed the whole process and wanted to leave the makeup on "all night and day". So when it came time to get ready for the real thing, she was exuberant and amped to go! First, we put her hair back with gel and water, bobby pins and hairspray.
 Next, we put light powder, blush, brown eye shadow, a highlighter eye color and mascara (as instructed by the handout).
 Then we took pictures with Papa and put on our full costume.

 No cameras were allowed during the actual recital, so these are all taken during dress rehearsal. Here she is starting the routine to the song, "On the Good Ship Lollipop".
 At the actual performance, Tori was very well composed, until our three greek friends from NJ (who were sitting on the front row with us) waved frantically and excitedly at her until she noticed them. At that point, the routine went out the window, and Tori showed her true colors- she improvised and performed her own little monkey show in between choreographed steps, making faces and gestures with her arms and hands.
 I considered getting her attention to tell her to follow the routine when I realized that she's just being herself. We told her to finish out her ballet year with a good attitude, do a good job in her recital performance; after the recital, she could choose a different activity for the next year. I'm actually glad shegirl showed her  true personality (that of a Lazo, my family, really). And I'm glad no one corrected her for her performance. It just proved to us that she truly is making the right decision in looking elsewhere to develop her talents. Let her find an activity that isn't so disciplined, structured, and.. uh, let's say.. girly. :o) I'm proud of my girl. She enjoyed the spotlight on her terms, obeyed her parents instructions to follow through, and she had fun at the same time!
 And the exit...
 The whole class performing...
 Three of the girls caught in a priceless pose.
 Four of the girls taking a group photo.

My Hot Tamale manicure didn't even last a day, what with all the baking I've been doing for the farm. I wash 3-5 loads of dishes when I bake daily. It really tears up a cheap polish. So...
 I (unwisely) chose Pure Ice Best Friend for the tips and...
 Sephora by O.P.I Traffic Stopper Copper to add a glitter to the tips
 My Sally Hansen Diamond Strength top coat was old and thickened, so I bought and used Nutra Nail Speed Dry Top Coat (with green tea and antioxidants).
 Sad to say that this one didn't even last an hour because I sold an unexpected amount of muffins that morning and had to bake yet again. I sit and type this blog with nasty, shameful looking nails and cannot wait until my five batches, four salads, and dishes are done tomorrow so that I can FIX them!


Lady Gaga's new perfume created using blend of human blood, semen, and poisonous extractLearn more:

Is US government setting stage to outlaw Vitamin D like raw milk? Mainstream media attacks nutritionLearn more:

Supreme Court's Obamacare decision hands federal government unlimited power to force you to spend 100% of your paycheck on things you don't even wantLearn more:


2 C flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 C firmly packed sugar
1 C milk
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 peach (pitted, peeled, chopped)
[or the equivalent in canned peach-about 8-10 oz]
1/2 C pecans
sugar crystals

preheat oven to 400F. Combine milk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. STIRE DRY INGREDIENTS INTO WET MIXTURE just until moistened. Fold peaches and pecans into batter. Fill muffin cups 2/3-3/4 full. Top with sugar crystals and pecans for presentation. Bake 20 minutes. Let stand in pan 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Fruit Muffins, Another Zoya Manicure, A Room Upgrade, and My Family Outdoors!

After a long six month wait, I finally tried this recipe. It seems like a spring/summer flavor, which is why I didn't try it when I found the recipe last fall. I call it Mandarin Coconut Muffins, and it's one of my favorite, because of the use of whole grain flour and wheat germ.

Mixing the sour cream, eggs, and mandarin oranges is the first step. This always helps bring refrigerated items to room temperature. At the same time, you can toast your wheat germ in the oven. Don't burn it like I have every time I make these. LOL.

Combine your dry ingredients next, including that toasted wheat germ.
Have a sweet four year old help you if you have too many irons in the fire. :o)

Pour and mix wet into dry until JUST moistened.

Remember, I like to add the nuts in before the wet and dry are completely blended. It makes for a moister muffin.

Do you recall that I mentioned too many irons in the fire? Today, I decided to bake 3 kinds of muffins. So while the Mandarin Coconut are in the oven, let's look briefly at the Lemon Muffin that my daughter loves so much.

The Mandarin Coconut will come out a bit more brown than most, because of the whole wheat flour and wheat germ that we use. It also requires a bit less cook time, especially if you want to avoid dry muffins.

Here are the lemon muffins before we iced them. Just a note, these are a poundcake muffin, not a spongy muffin. I basically converted a lemon poundcake recipe into a muffin, because I love the density of the poundcake so much. (Mandarin recipe at the end of this post. Lemon Muffin recipe in previous posts)

My nails finally started growing... I must have finally found the right combination of herbs and supplements for this pregnancy. As long as I keep them covered in color, they do fine. Once the color starts to chip away, my nails seem to go brittle and break off.

Zoya Penny and Zoya Jem: alternate patterns on each hand.

I'm not  sure why I only took baked photos of the Pear Muffin. Perhaps I've shared this recipe before? It's one of my favorites. I say that a lot. LOL. This year, I switched to canned fruit (pear, peach, mandarin) in my fruit muffins because of shelf life and the heat of summer. But using fresh pear is so tasty! I recommend it! (Pear Muffin recipe at bottom of post)

We've lived here in this 600 square foot house for over a year now. When we discovered I was pregnant last fall, we thought certainly we would have to move. Where would we fit a crib, much less any other baby paraphenalia? But over the months, we have looked at other rentals in the area, and we've decided we don't want to trade our huge outdoor grassy area for a larger house. Nor do we want to leave the township we are in. So... I've been sprucing things up around here without adding too much. I turned our bed around to make space for the old dresser that our daughter used. It also allows for the bassinet when necessary.

Then, I added some inexpensive light-blocking curtains and cafe rods with a bit of ribbon for tiebacks. Actually, I bought them to keep the 5 am sun out. It works very well, but at the same time, having curtains in the room really gave the finishing touches to our room and made it feel like a new place!

Yesterday, we took a much needed 'day off' and stayed home all day. At the end of our rest, Rick and Tori took advantage of our grass. "Come on Papa. Don't you want to Shabbat with me on the grass?"

I thrill to know that my oldest child will grow up with memories like this photo portrays: spacious, grassy outdoors behind a cozy house where she ran and played outside with her dad and chased Robins and caught lightning bugs almost daily.

In our town, there is a house on a very busy corner where you can always find a yard sale. Usually, it's furniture and other odd items that they have found at other sales and are reselling at a marked up price. This yard sale is almost daily. I stopped by yesterday to peek at a wall cabinet, but in my perusing, I found these handmade purses for $12 (got mine for $10). The woman that lives there sews them herself. It was such a great find, because I've been shopping for sling purses that fit my quirky needs in a purse for four months now. Most purses are either too floppy, don't have enough pockets for easy access to my essentials (keys, sunglasses, cell phone), or are just plain not my style or color. I wanted something spring colored, not my typical black, brown, or red. This was the perfect match with it's 3 inner pockets and caribiner hook at the top for my keys. And I didn't mind trying a new color and style. Of course, Rick wanted to know where she got the strap, because he'd love that for a belt. LOL. Too bad! It's MINE. LOL.

Mandarin Coconut Muffins

3/4 C all purpose flour
3/4 C whole wheat flour
2/3 C wheat germ (toasted or not)
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C coconut
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C sour cream
2 eggs
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 C chopped nuts (I used pecans or walnuts)

In small bowl, blend sour cream, eggs, and oranges. In large bowl, combine flours, wheat germ, sugar, coconut, baking soda and salt. Stir wet mixture into dry ingredients until almost moistened, then add nuts. Stir only til just moistened. Spoon into muffin tins (lined) 3/4 full. Bake at 400F for 17-20 minutes. Cool immediately on wire rack.

Pear Muffin

2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 T baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg (for added flavor, add a bit of cardamom and mace)
1/2 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 C apple juice
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 large pear or 1 can (11-14 oz) drained pears
1/2 C walnut pieces
1/2 C sugar crystals

Slightly beat eggs and combine with juice and oil. Stir flour, powder, salt, and spice(s). Stir in brown sugar. Make a well in center and add wet mixture, together w/ chopped pear. Stir til just moistened. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with walnuts and sugar crystals. Bake @400F 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack.