Sarah’s Back

June 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm (Family, Things I love)

Clearly I’ve been gone for a while. It all started with a dream that Doug had, and he asked me to change the security features on the blog. I love all the fame the blog brings me, and I didn’t want to make it private, so instead I just stopped writing. Don’t worry though, I didn’t stop living!! We’ve had broken arms, surgeries, stitches, a new baby, that’s right, another baby! Of course, if you know us, then none of this comes as a surprise. I’m now trying to decide if I should make the blog private (Doug hasn’t brought the dream up since he first had it), and also, should I chronicle what’s been going on since my oldest finished football.

If any of my loyal readers are still out there, let me know if you want the update, or if I should just start from where I am. I may start writing about our adventures far away from the kitchen!! For now, here are a few photos to tide you over!!

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The New Blog

March 29, 2010 at 7:48 am (Fun Stuff, Makes me Smile, recipes, Things I love)

I thought about calling this post, “Our new project,” but I thought some of you might get the wrong idea!

My sister Christina and I have created a new blog and we think you should check it out:

Frankly  Entertaining

That’s right, Frankly Entertaining … it’s a double entendre! I know it’s seems obvious because, frankly, we’re both so entertaining! It’s a mix of recipes, cookbook reviews, entertaining ideas, and just general kitchen happiness brought to you by the Frank sisters! We’re really excited about this new project, and we would appreciate any feedback that you might have. We’re looking forward to seeing you over at the new site.

One of Christina's delicious desserts!

Don’t worry, I’ll still be posting my random nonsense here. The other site is a more focused effort! So, hop on over and let us know what you think!

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Master Class

February 1, 2010 at 10:02 pm (Food, Makes me Smile, Things I love)

Me, Doug H. and Dixie

 

I really should have written about this whole thing on Friday. I feel my excitement has died down a little bit, but hopefully you’ll get what an amazing experience this was. 

From time to time I head down to the Central Market to take cooking classes. I’ve learned about make ahead meals, all kinds of lobster, and southern specialties. Last Thursday was all about bread. I was so excited when I saw the class description that I really didn’t even research the instructor all that much. Dixie told me that she bought the book, and that was about it. 

Well, it turns out that the instruct or was Peter Reinhart. This man is amazing. By far the best class I’ve taken at Central Market. If he’s coming to a Central Market or a Sur La Table near you, it is well worth the money. He gave some very practical advice (like keeping a bowl of water nearby to dip your hands in when working with sticky dough), and he gave some very technical insights. He went a mile a minute and never lost track of anything. At one point he had 6 loaves of bread in three different ovens, and he still managed to explain the benefit of slurries. 

sitting next to Peter Reinhart

One of the keys to this particular class was the process of delayed fermentation. I’m no expert, but it has to do with activating all the components over time. On Saturday I made a beautiful chocolate babka. Well, it was beautiful all day long … until I burned it beyond recognition! That’s okay though. I was only depressed all night Saturday and most of Sunday, but I’m over it now, and ready to try again! 

As if the experience of the class wasn’t enough we also met a local celebrity. Well, celebrity to culinary geeks like me and Dixie. There is a pizzeria in San Antonio called Dough. It’s authentic Italian. They have a special wood burning oven that cooks the pizzas in 90 seconds. We first discovered this restaurant almost two years ago. I cannot accurately describe the joy that this food brings to me. Anyway, attending the class  Thursday night was Doug, the owner of Dough. 

At the beginning of the class, the instructor told everyone that he would be going to Dough after the class, and that we were more than welcome to join them. Once the class was over Dixie and I were very excited about the idea of eating at the restaurant with Mr. Dough and Mr. Reinhart, but we weren’t really sure if the invitation at the beginning of class was sincere. So, we went up to Doug, took a picture (because we’re stalkers that way), and tried to ascertain how serious the invitation was, because, at that point, the restaurant had closed. 

No worries. Doug said that if the restaurant was going to be open for him it would be open for all of us! After all, he said, we’re part of the Dough family! I wonder if I can use that line to cut down the hour-long wait on the week-end! 

We figured there’d be a half-dozen or so students from the class, but it was just us. There was me, Dixie, Doug, his wife, Peter, Jay (a fascinating person who I hope to meet again), and two chefs from Central Market. It was an amazing evening. It was fascinating to hear Doug ask Peter about different ways to perfect his craft. I’ve worked in a lot of kitchens, and chefs have certain reputation, but these two men were very humble about their craft. 

The after party

I learned so much. I felt like a celebrity. Sitting at a table after the restaurant closes with the owner and a world-renowned baker. This post in no way does this experience justice! I am so glad that I went to the class, and that we went to the dinner after the class. I stepped a little bit out of my comfort zone and because of that I wasn’t saying, “what if” on Friday morning. 

It was so perfect before it went into the oven!

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Helping Hands: Part III

August 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm (Family, Things I love) ()

Part of the banner Christina made

Part of the banner Christina made

At this point you’re probably asking yourself, how much help did these people get? Well, let me tell you, a lot! This one will be out of order, but that’s okay.

 

After Christina's hard work!

After Christina's hard work!

While my dad was here, he flew my sister and her kids to Texas from Washington. This is how I know my sister loves me. She flew across the country with her three kids, and left her husband at home for almost a week. The only thing that maks me sad is that the timing didn’t work out for her to be here when the baby was born. She was my own personal doula when I had Samuel!

Working hard in the 100 degree heat!

Working hard in the 100 degree heat!

If you don’t know my sister, you should check out her blog here. The girl has got crazy energy. She did not want her trip to be a waste in any way. She and my dad were always going. I’m pretty sure that Christina and my dad did all my nesting for me.

Cousins!

Cousins!

There were trips to Goodwill and the fabric store. There were cupcakes made for a visit from her sister-in-law. There were stories, and not very much t.v. to distract the children. There was Dancing with the Stars on the Wii in the hopes of inducing labor! There was a wonderful visit with Grandma Ellen. Then there were the projects…

The dresser and the doll that Christina made

The dresser and the doll that Christina made

My sister likes projects, and I have benefitted greatly from that. We learned to love the spray paint (thanks for the idea, Anna!), and used it on many, many things! Christina refinished the rocking chair (which I have been talking about doing for 6 years), made curtains for the nursery, refinished the dresser/ changing table (this a joint project with my father), we framed fun stuff, then there was the magnet board, and she made bread, and green smoothies. She also went shopping for Doug’s birthday present with me. There was even a trip to the pool with 6 kids under 6!

A fabric covered magnet board with homemade magnets

A fabric covered magnet board with homemade magnets

It was a jam packed week, and I was sad when she had to leave. She called from the airport becaue her flights got a little out of joint, and I almost drove right back to get her. Would her husband really mind if she never came home?! When Doug and I were first married, we lived in Salt Lake and Christina and Jason were in Provo. We would hang out once a week and get lunch, or get out hair cut. Now, we see each other a couple of times a year, and it’s kind of sad. Unfortunately, I don’t see us moving to an island any time soon, and I don’t know that she loves all the Texas heat!

The curtains she made

The curtains she made

After she got home, she made us even more stuff. There was a banner a homemade doll, and two of the most adorable onesies you’ve ever seen. The nursery exists because of my sister! One day I might even move Benjamin out and Afton in! Everyone should be as blessed to have a little sister like I have.

Christina and Eliza

Christina and Eliza

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2 New Citizens in 2 Days

August 17, 2009 at 12:07 am (Things I love)

The All American Family!

The All American Family!

On May 22 we welcomed Miss Afton Rose into the world. The day before, on May 21, I became a United States citizen. The timing was a little scary for me because you cannot mess around with the immigration people. The last thing I wanted was to go into labor on the 20th and have to miss my swearing in ceremony! Thankfully, Afton cooperated, and all went well (unless you don’t like waiting around an auditorium for hours on end!).

I was very lucky to have my father there and also some very patriotic friends who wanted to show their support. We even had a little barbeque after so that we could celebrate. If you’ve never been to one of these ceremonies before, there are many, many people. On the day of my swearing in I think there were over 400 new citizens from over 80 countries. They call each country and have everyone from that country stand. I;m pretty sure that I was the only one from Canada, but my cheering section was very large!

My cheering section!

My cheering section!

So, just in case you’re wondering, here’s why I became a citizen:

I am Canadian by birth, and I love Canada. It is where I came from and what shaped me. I liked growing up in Canada. I liked the education, and I really liked the food. I was pretty certain that I was going to marry a Canadian and spend all my days in Canada.

I had no idea that I would marry an American, and not just any American, a southerner. It was one of the things that worried me a little bit when we were dating. Would my northern sensibilities mesh well with his southern charm?! It didn’t really occur to me right away to get citizenship. The process of getting a work permit and traveling papers and a green card is somewhat arduous,  and I didn’t really relish the idea of more paper work and more cashiers checks made out to the USCIS. 

Then I started having children … American children. There’s somehing nice about everyone in the family having passports from the same country. There’s something very nice about not being grilled by the customs agent every time I cross the border. There will also be something very nice about voting in my first election.

I like to consider myself pretty well versed in what’s going on around the world, and it was extremely frustrating not being able to have more than an opinion. I wanted a say. Now I have it. There is also a responsibilibty, though. For those of you who haven’t ever looked at the oath, you should check it out here.

My Welcome to America Gift Basket

My Welcome to America Gift Basket

The ceremony was fairly emotional for me. I’m sure part of it was the hormones associated with being nine months pregnant, but part of me felt like I was leaving a part of who I am behind. At the same time though, I have felt very welcomed here. I am loving being American and being able to say what I think and having it count for something. It was very nice to be able to accompany my little sister into the back customs office at the airport and not be afraid of having the guy not let me into the country!

So, although I still say, “zed” and “chesterfield,” I am feeling very at home here. I love this country, and I love what it stands for.

But, if you want to know where I came from, check this out:

 

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Just that kind of day

March 12, 2009 at 4:19 pm (Food, recipes, Things I love)

Last week it was in the 90’s here. In fact, I’m still suffering the effects of my first sunburn since since high school!Today, however is a different story. It’s about fifty degrees and rainy. I love this kind of weather, and because it’s rare to have this kind of day where we live, I’m trying my best to live it up. So, I thought I’d share a couple of things that this kind of weather puts me in the mood for:

1. Hot Chocolate

Best invention ever!!

Best invention ever!!

I know what you’re thinking, that is the most ridiculous thing ever. Who in their right mind would pay good money for something that you can get by just boiling water in the microwave? Trust me, I know where you’re coming from. I thought the same thing the first time I saw this in the Bed Bath and Beyond circular, but then we tried it out at Doug’s sister’s house.  So, before you get all judgemental, hear me out. The Cocoa Latte works not only with water, but also with milk. This makes a much better hot chocolate, in my opinion. Also, there’s no pesky stirring involved. You put in the milk and cocoa and you turn it on. That’s it. The thing starts spinning and heating. It turns off when it gets to the rght temperature, and if it starts to get too cool, it turns right back on. There’s also a froth feature so you can feel like you paid $3.00 for that cocoa at Starbucks!

Many people mocked my attachment to the Cocoa Latte, but a lot of those same people went on to purchase their own after sampling the joy at our house!

#2. The Homemade Marshmallow:

Nothing beats homemade!

Nothing beats homemade!

The hot shocolate is just fine on its own, but if you’re looking for a little something extra, go ahead and try making your own marshmallows. It’s not difficult, and the results are very rewarding. I usually just google for a recipe, but I really like this site. Feel free to embellish your marshmallows with different colors and different flavors. You may not want to make them every time, but if you’re looking for something special, I’d give it a try.

* In the interest of full disclosure, we took these pictures a couple of months ago. This is what I’m in the mood for today, but I didn’t actually get around to it today!

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31 Things for Ingrid

September 7, 2008 at 9:38 pm (Family, Things I love)

Always Smiling!

Always Smiling!

Today is Ingrid’s birthday, and if you could visit her blog, you would see that she devoted today’s post to her husband, so I thought I should devote my day’s post to her. So, here it is, 31 things that are great about Ingrid:

1. She’s an amazing sister-in-law!

2. I’ve never seen her not smile.

3. She will stay up all night to play Trivial Pursuit.

4. She thinks she’s married to the smartest man in the world.

5. She has a crazy game closet.

6. She is a wealth of information when it comes to nut-free recipes.

7. She can play a mean violin.

8. She can play a mean piano (This much talent isn’t right).

9. She has perfect pitch!!

10. She worked at Disney.

11. She wanted her family to room with us at the family reunion.

12. She’s learning Italian with her kids.

13. She was born a Gator, but she completely roots for the Tigers.

14. She has an amazing knack for matchmaking.

15. She takes her kids to McDonald’s.

16. She goes on regular dates with her husband, even though she has 4 young children.

17. She can trash talk.

18. She never get offended by Doug!

19. She has the most organized play room ever.

20. She calls me to talk about what’s going on with Brad and Angelina.

21. She reads US Weekly.

22. She facilitates romantic walks on the beach!

23. She has kids right before me just so that my kids will have cousins the same age!

24. She is an amazingly detailed blogger.

25. She gave Doug her ticket to the SEC championship game last year.

26. She called to serenade me on my birthday.

27. She understands the life of the Tiger widow!

28. She took William to Wal-Mart so that I could sleep in.

29. She’s very impressive with the Karaoke!

30. She truly loves being a wife and mother.

31. Even though she’s clearly the favorite, she makes it impossible to resent her!

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Start the bidding

August 28, 2008 at 7:34 am (Things I love)

 

 

So, here’s the deal: up for auction is a red Kate Spade Messenger Diaper Bag. I originally bought this for my sister and her upcoming baby, but I don’t think she’ll mind me using this for the greater good. It’s an adorable bag with lots of room and a changing pad. If you don’t have any babies in diapers, I think the bag might also be big enough to hold a laptop, but I won’t swear to that.

lots of room!

lots of room!

 

Anyway, this is a wonderful cause for some really deserving people. If you want to get the whole story click here. If you want to know what other people are auctioning off, click here. I know for a fact that my sister is doing something adorable as is my cousin Anne. And Danielle, who I don’t really know, but who I stalk a little bit, is also doing something, and trust me when I tell you, this girl is super crafty. Spread the word, and buy something that you don’t really need. It will make you feel good. Perhaps that’s not the most altruistic reason for doing this, but it is a nice fringe benefit.

 

I am posting the rules below (thanks Anne!).

 

1. Each item up for auction will be posted separately. The bidding will be done in the comments section. So, for example, I will start by leaving a comment saying “I bid $2.” Then someone can comment with a higher bid and so on.

 

2. Bidding will go through the weekend, ending at 9 p.m. (CDT) Sunday.

 

3. Please keep bids to whole dollar amounts.

 

4. Monday morning I will post a list of the highest bidder, at which time you will have 2 jobs. #1 Send your money directly to the Nielson paypal fund (I will provide the link). #2 Email me with your mailing address (I will provide my email address. Oh, and I will cover the shipping.)

 
If you’re a new commenter, it will take a little bit for your first bid to show, but every subsequent bid will show immediately. I promise I will be checking frequently to update the comments.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

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My New Obsession

July 14, 2008 at 10:33 pm (Things I love)

 

This is my Uncle Gary and his family. His daughter, Jacq, is on the right, and she is perhaps the most stylish girl ever. She’s right up there with my cousin Anne, but she’s the international version. I don’t know how pathetic I am that I want to steal everything she owns. She showed up at my grandpa’s viewing in the cutest sweater ever, and I was pretty much prepared to tackle her for it (but then I decided it would be in bad taste to throw down at the funeral home). It is the Pulse II sweater from LuluLemon. What is LuluLemon? It’s some kind of crazy yoga store. It started in BC, but apparently they’re branching out. They’re actually opening a store here in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, this sweater is sold out all across the country. My sister actualy called their warehouse, and I went to the test store here, but so far, no luck. We checked on ebay, but it’s going for twice the retail price. I have to ask myself if it’s realistic to spend that much on a sweater … in the middle of Summer …. in Texas … anyone ???

Anyway, here’s the sweater:

The picture doesn’t really do it justice. It is so cute. I will make it my mission, at least until the store opens in August, to find this sweater. If it’s not in stock I may just have to purchase the amazing running shorts! After all, I need some reward for getting myself out of bed at five o’clock tomorrow morning!

 

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Baby Bling

February 27, 2008 at 3:53 pm (Things I love)

I think that there must be something in the water because I know at least 4 ladies about to deliver babies. I am always on the hunt for fun baby presents. Sometimes I’m feeling creative, and I’ll make stuff, but right now I’m in a rut, and I’m buying stuff that I think is super fun.

Last when I was in Fredericksburg I went to a little shop called Beulah’s.It’s a great little baby store with some fun maternity clothes mixed in. Anyway, Beulah’s sells a product called Baby Bling. They are baby teethers designed like fun jewellery. You can read all about them here. I think they’re the best idea that I’ve seen in quite a while, but that’s probably because I have a baby who does nothing but drool!

I originally bought this as one of my baby gifts, but when I got home I realised that it was perfect for me. Really, I should have just bought all the store had, then it could have been my generic 2008 baby gift (somehow, I don’t think the baby boom is stopping at 4!).  Ahhh… hindsight!

I bought the teether pictured above. I think it’s the perfect mix of style and functionality, and it keeps the baby from chewing my  sleeve and watch!

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