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Not Just Take Out » Inspiration

Archive for Inspiration

::little luxuries:: French Macarons


Thankfully, most of my family doesn’t even pay attention to this site. Because of this, I can admit to the following. Now that I have started working again and I am getting back into the swing of things, I am totally going to take advantage of having babysitters that are here after work twice a week to get some posting done. It might be a while before I get into crazy recipes again. Finding the time to take photos while cooking is a whole new challenge. Luckily, I have a backlog of quite a few recipes to write up. Who know, maybe this will give me an opportunity to tweak and perfect some recipes too.

In the meantime… One of my maternity leave goals (pre-baby) was to learn how to make French Macarons. It was successful! Have you had one? It is a delightful little almond flour meringue cookie sandwiched with a bit of whatever filling you can dream of. You can flavor the cookies or not. They have the perfect combination of soft & chewy and crispy & crunchy. A bit of magic in your mouth.

For Valentine’s Day I gave my husband a dozen roses  :0) I am a super cheeseball. We are suckers for flower flavors. I have a thing for lavender and he likes rose. So, my first batch of macarons was a pink cookie with either lavender or rose buttercream filling. Recipe will come soon eventually. For now, what other flavors should I try once I find the time to spend on these delightful little bites?

::adventures:: It’s Been a While…


Today I am making my first grocery list in months. This Summer had some extreme changes in eating habits, and I want to apologize to anyone who was hoping to find more recipes here, my husband, and myself. I have cooked twice since July. At the end of June/beginning of July I got a horrible cold. A cold in the middle of Summer?! It was the WORST. I struggled through, posting a few recipes I had ready to go, but in the end the cold won. A week later, it turns out I got sick because my immune system was down… because I am pregnant…

I’m not trying to make excuses for not posting. I just wanted to explain myself… and any future changes on the site that might end up being related to this. Soon enough I won’t be cooking for two quite as often.  🙂  I also started a new job in that time, so things changed in a few short weeks.

There has been A LOT of eating out in the past couple months. My first few months of pregnancy consisted of pesto pizza, Indian take-out, and buttered noodles. I am still enjoying those three things beyond reason, but today I am prepared to venture to the grocery store with a menu in hand. I went to the store almost 4 weeks ago and I was so ecstatic about wanting food again, we walked out with a $170 grocery bill. The next day I was in the hospital on an IV. Nothing to do with the food…. but it did turn me off of cooking for a while again. Today I am ready!

Welcome back! I hope I didn’t lose too many of you. Maybe it was a photo of a big bag of apples freshly picked yesterday that has me ready to go. Maybe it is the weather. Maybe it is the perfection of settling comfortably into the second trimester. Fall is my favorite time of year. Perfect weather. Wearing sweaters. Thanksgiving. Apple pie. Colorful leaves. I love it.

::summer love:: Happy Anniversary


I am taking the day off today.  I’m hoping I won’t be cooking.  Today I celebrate 5 years of being married to PTB.  That means five years of cooking more than just spaghetti with sauce from a jar.  Five years of owning more than 2 pans.  Five years of wanting to cook.  Five years of being mrs ptb.

Thank you for encouraging me to do anything I want!  It has been so much fun and I can’t wait for more 🙂

::kitschy kitchen:: Whisky Business


Holiday weekends are the best! Being sick meant I didn’t really cook much. And we stayed home the whole weekend. But it was still the best. Just getting to be lazy with PTB was all I needed. I’m still not up for cooking completely. So I’ve been quite lazy in the kitchen. I have, however, spent a lot of my sick time with the internet. There was once this tiny little silver necklace featured on Etsy that was a whisk. I adored it. So I decided to search for it again. I simply typed in “whisk”. I found a plethora of awesome stuff, so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.

There is something about the whisk that makes it one of my favorite things in a kitchen. Not necessarily the most functional. I think wooden spoon wins that award for me. I mean, seriously, what can’t you use a wooden spoon for? I think that was even one of my mom’s choice spanking devices. But the whisk. Now that would have hurt to be spanked with a whisk. Thank goodness I escaped that one. Maybe that is why it beats wooden spoon for favorite thing.

I’m going to go with it’s form as my reasoning though. I think the whisks are the prettiest things in my kitchen. I can’t wait for the space and excuse to own more. Just a huge variety of whisks. A whole utensil holder full of whisks. It will be gorgeous 🙂

Clockwise (from top left): (1)Keep Calm and Bake a Cake Print by Ruby Paper Co., (2)Wire Whisk Sterling Charm Necklace by Exo Design,(3)Whisks by Picky Photo, (4)Mini Whisk Earrings by Every Week, (5)Tasty Whisk Decal by Elephannie, (6)The Baker’s Necklace by The Bumbling Bird

::kitschy kitchen:: Not Just Plain Vanilla


Last week I finally made the lavender cupcakes I have been dying to try. I don’t know why I was so excited about the idea of cooking with lavender. I had never thought of it as something edible, but it just sounded perfect. I found the Silver Cloud Estates Lavender Extract and I was on my way. Their extract is amazing. The flavor does not cook off or freeze away. This makes it perfect for baked treats or frozen delights (I can’t wait to have an ice cream maker!) Just opening the bottle is like filling your kitchen with a little bit of heaven. My favorite part of the cupcakes was that they were a huge hit, but no one knew quite what is what that they liked about them. Since it was such a different flavor, they couldn’t pick it out. The best was that it wasn’t overly obvious either. PTB was convinced the floral flavoring was from the purple icing. My sister-in-law thought the same thing, and thought the green ones tasted different 🙂

Anyway, enough about those cupcakes! Have I said enough to make you want to try them yet?

Today, I returned to Village Spices and sought out more fun extracts. I narrowed down the choices to almond, coconut, and rosewater (the company sells cardamom extract too! but the store did not have any). Eventually I will have them all of course 🙂 I just wish I could test them more easily. These 4 oz. bottles will last forever!

So today I bought the rosewater extract. I am envisioning a summer of Rosewater Lemonades and a variety of other new experiments. I am excited to make some cookies using the rosewater extract and some cardamom (PTB’s favorite spice). Rosewater is popular in Middle-Eastern cooking and in Europe for flavoring marzipan. I’m not sure why it isn’t a huge hit here. We seem addicted to vanilla extract. I’ll admit, I use vanilla in almost all my baking, but with my discovery of Silver Cloud Estates, that may be changing. For a simple recipe, just substitute the vanilla extract with any extract you like. Be creative, be daring, and share what you come up with.

If you have used rosewater extract before, and have suggestions, I am completely open to it. I can’t wait to get started! I just need to buy some lemons first 🙂