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  1. Books Lately

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    I love seeing other blogger book reports because it inspires me to try new books and really read more. Elise has some great book reports, and we have similar interests in books so I like taking her book advice. :)

    So here are books that I've been reading lately:

    The Divergent trilogy - Divergent, Insurgent, & Allegiant are the books in this series. I actually started reading them because I saw the movie and wanted to know what happened next! I really enjoyed books 1 & 2, but have mixed feelings about the third. The writer changes her style slightly for the third, writing from two points of view instead of one which I think is part of the reason I like it less. I also felt like the characters changed personalities a bit, although that would be natural considering what they go through, it felt off to me for some reason. I was not a fan of the ending, but it was written well.

    Sharp Objects - This is by the same author who wrote Gone Girl (another fantastic book) and this one was just as good. I read/watch a lot of mystery/crime stuff, so this was right up my alley. I love trying to figure out whodunnit before the author reveals it. With this one I figured it out partially, but was still surprised at the end! Great read! Couldn't put it down!

    Bringing up Bebe - Another great read. I went through this one more slowly since it's partly a story and partly parenting advice. But it totally made me want to move to France. I like a lot of the ways the French raise their kids (according to the book) and I do it similarly in a couple ways. She does compare the middle class French to more wealthy Americans, so that's not super relatable but I understood the references nonetheless.

    I've also been reading a lot of gardening books and cookbooks, some recent favorites : The Quarter-Acre Farm and The Edible Front Yard.

  2. Worst blogger ever

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    So...I'm pretty much the worst blogger ever. I have some good excuses and some not so good ones. I took a break from blogging because my little family moved in with my in-laws and we were internet-less for awhile. Then once we got the internet back, it just took me way too long to get back in the swing of things. I blame the new baby (who is now 8 months!)

    I stayed active on Instagram, so if you check me out there (@uncagedfreedom620) you can go through all my photos of food and babies that I didn't blog.

    I'm probably still not going to be very good at posting regularly, but I'm going to try my best! Yell at me on Instagram if I take too long!

    Below are some snipits from Instagram.

  3. Happy 3rd Birthday Aria!

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

    Aria's 3rd birthday was February 7th! I can't believe she's three years already!
    For breakfast we had Birthday Pancakes, Aria loves helping me out in the kitchen so I let her help me mix the batter - I used this recipe. The pancakes themselves aren't actually that sweet, I didn't want to have "icing" on them though. I diced up some strawberries with a couple tablespoons of sugar and set it aside in a bowl so it could start releasing its juice.

    Aria ate all the strawberries first, then ate her pancakes. No shocker there. She would happily survive on nothing but strawberries and cheese if she could.

    For dinner we had homemade pizza! I made a double batch of homemade dough which came out to 3 large pizzas and 2 small. Above is a feta/goat cheese pizza, half with pesto sauce and half with marinara. We also had pepperoni pizzas and a meatlover's pizza (below).

    For Aria's cake I made a chocolate layer cake with a fresh strawberry filling and pink buttercream frosting. The cake is ad odd rectangle shape because my round cake pans are in storage at the moment, so I used a 9x13 pan and then cut it in half to create the layers.

    I was excited to try out the rose piping design on the outside of the cake and I'm glad it turned out as good as it did. I had some troubles with the buttercream breaking because the kitchen was too hot - so I had to keep re-beating the frosting on high and chilling the cake in the fridge every few minutes.

    Aria was super proud of herself for blowing out all the candles and kept talking about it for several days afterwards.

     ^^After eating Aria played with some of her new toys with her cousin Josie.
    They were making soup. :)

    Happy Birthday Aria!

  4. Swedish Kringle

    Saturday, December 28, 2013


    It's a tradition in my family to have Swedish Kringle for breakfast on Christmas morning. My grandma is Swedish, so my mom got the tradition/recipe from her and this is the first Christmas I've made the same recipe. Not being able to be with family on Christmas is hard, but continuing family traditions definitely  makes it easier. 

    Swedish Kringle
    serves 4-6

    Bottom layer, crust
    - 1 cup flour
    - 1 stick butter, room temp.
    - 2 TB water

    Top layer, choux pastry
    - 1 stick butter
    - 1 cup water
    - 1 tsp almond extract
    - 1 cup flour
    - 3 eggs

    - 1 cup powdered sugar
    - 1/4 tsp almond extract
    - small amount of milk until desired consistency is reached
    - sliced almonds for topping

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Begin by preparing the choux pastry (top layer) of the Kringle. 
    Bring the water and butter to boil - in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat once boil is achieved and butter has melted completely. Add in almond extract. Whisk the flour in until it becomes a cohesive dough. Set it aside to cool.

    While the choux dough is cooling, prepare the crust (bottom layer). 
    Mix together the flour, butter and water like you would a pie crust, do not over-mix. Divide into two equal portions and pat into long strips next to each other on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Should be about 1/4 inch thick.

    Return to the choux dough and add in the eggs one at a time - taking care to mix in thoroughly and carefully so as not to scramble the eggs. Spread the choux dough evenly over the crust.
    Bake for at least 50 minutes, or until the pastry is a deep golden brown.

    Remove the Kringle from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the pan while you prepare the glaze. (The pastry will be puffy when taken out of the oven, but will deflate as it cools, this is normal.)

    Mix together the powdered sugar, almond extract and milk, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Spread/Drizzle on pastry while it is still slightly warm. Top with sliced almonds.

    Swedish Kringle is best eaten fresh, but it can keep in an airtight container for at least a week - although it won't stay as crisp as when it is fresh and warm.