Monday, September 26, 2011

a penny saved is a penny earned. literally.

we had quite a day on saturday. you see, on thursday we learned that we had to replace all four tires on ry's car. tires are definitely not cheap, so we were not so excited for our saturday adventure to firestone. however, before our adventure, we decided to cash in our "house fund" (yes, that is a sneak peak of what's to come...). our "house fund" is a gallon maple syrup jar that ry has faithfully been funding for over three years. he works in salem, which has parking meters that people conveniently drop their extra change by. every day at lunch he goes for a walk and talks on the phone with me, his parents or just enjoys a nice day while picking up pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. 

so off to td bank we went to cash in our coins. we both guessed as to what we thought might be in there. ry guessed somewhere around $45 and i guessed $57 based on the guy who went before us on the coin counter. look at how fun this is:

so we pour in all our coins and wait patiently while it counts. we thought we might have underestimated a little bit based on how the coins kept pouring out of the jar, but we didn't know for sure. and then the total came up on the screen and our jaws dropped and we laughed while the receipt printed out...

i'd say we underestimated. needless to say, someday we will teach our children the valuable lesson of: a penny saved is a penny earned.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dumas Family Favorites: Butternut and Apple Harvest Soup

fall is such a wonderful time of year because the excitement of soup returns in full force to the dumas house. soups are delightful because they take the work out of dinner since they last for a couple of days. usually we'll throw a soup together on a sunday night and then we have it for the week and mix up our side dishes. perfect. this past sunday we had the privilege of sharing our sunday soup with the bayreuther family - hannah included! isn't baby b precious?!

anyways, we thought it best to use a tried and true recipe to share with pete and jen, so naturally we turned to butternut and apple harvest soup. we had plenty of apples on hand due to last weeks apple picking, so we served it alongside turkey sausage, apple and cheddar stuffed bread and a spinach salad. perfect! we had a lovely time with the bayreuthers chatting, oogling over hannah and filling our bellies with tasty soup...thanks pete and jen for letting us crash your sunday evening! i forgot to take a picture of the soup in bowls, so here's our big pot...whoops!

Butternut and Apple Harvest Soup
adapted from


2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 cup diced carrots
1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 quart vegetable stock
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste


1. melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. stir in onions, and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about five minutes. add potato, squash, carrots, apple, and chicken stock. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

2. carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender, or use a stick blender (BUY ONE OF THESE - THEY ARE THE BEST INVENTIONS EVER!!!) to puree the soup right in the pot. once the soup has been pureed, return it to the pot and stir in the vinegar. season with nutmeg, salt, and epper; simmer gently for five minutes. 

3. enjoy (preferably with friends and family...and baby b's!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

four seasons: fall.

one of the glorious things about new england is that we fully experience all four seasons...and fall is unleashing it's beauty on us right now. to celebrate, we attended the gordon college alumni apple picking day at russell orchards. we had never been before (we used to be slacker alumni) and didn't know what to expect. it was great! there were free cider donuts and apple cider and so many wonderful alumni and my co-workers wandering around. there are so many wonderful people within the gordon family and it's a joy to be a part of it. and, beyond the tasty treats and wonderful people, there were apples! there is nothing like a fresh apple. ry and i had a great time exploring the orchard and tasting which apples would be best to pick. we filled up our ten pound bag and pondered on the different apple-y treats we could make. here are a few pictures from the day, followed by a recipe for the most delicious cinnamon-apple cake we made last night with some of our pickings (it's totally easy and completely delicious and 100% worth making - i might even make it again next weekend...): 

cinnamon-apple cake
cooking light


1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
6 oz block style 1/3 less than fat cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups chopped peeled apples (about 3-4 apples)
cooking spray


1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed of a mixer until well blended. add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; set aside.

3. lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. add flour mixture to creamed mixture, and beat at low speeduntil blended. combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. combine 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon mixture and apple in a bowl; stir apple mixture into batter. pour batter into an 8 inch spring form pan coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

4. bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until cake pulls away from the sides of pan. cool cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dumas Family Favorites: Cinnamon-Oat Pancakes

we usually don't get through the week without using a favorite recipe and since they're favorites, I figured it's best to share them with the world. i've entitled this series of recipes: dumas family favorites. creative, I know. this will be your signal that these recipes are really good. or at least it will be your signal that we think these recipes are really good. good enough to go into the recipe binder and use over and over again.

our first dumas family favorite comes from none other than martha stewart. the grams (pictured below) signed me up for everyday food magazine a couple of years and it's always packed full of wonderful and easy recipes. one of her columns is healthy starts, breakfast ideas that are both tasty and healthy. perfect. i pulled this one over a year ago and we've made it many times since. they're filling and delicious. they're the pancakes that ry always asks for whenever i suggest we have pancakes. no more boring pancakes in the dumas household, but it's okay, because these are worth eating over and over!

the grams (and the pops):

cinnamon-oat pancakes
martha stewart


2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil


1. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and 1 cup oats. Pulse a few times to coarsely grind oats. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and oil. Add dry ingredients and 1 cup oats and whisk until just moistened.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium. Drop batter (we use a soup ladle) onto skillet and cook until bubbles burst, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on underside. 

3. Serve with real vermont maple syrup. (okay, you caught me, this step isn't 100% necessary, but it will ensure tasty pancakes!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

about that bread pudding.

i feel like bread pudding is one of those things that you either love or you hate. i don't know why anyone would be so silly to be grouped in the latter, though. i mean, let's be serious, it's one of life's greatest treats. and this particular bread pudding, well, let's just say if i could eat it every day of my life i'd be happy. i really don't think i could get sick of it. we even believed that this recipe was worthy of sharing with my father.

i cannot claim that we found this recipe on our own, though. it all started one cold day in february after church. at pigeon cove chapel we always have a wonderful time of fellowship following the service. what makes this so great is that everyone stays because we all thoroughly enjoy spending time with each other. fellowship time is enhanced by food (not that we need it to enjoy ourselves), and anyone at church will tell you that the josephson's are masters of fellowship time. the spread they put out is unreal. you never think it can get better, but then it does. and this cold day they completely outdid themselves. they introduced me to nutella banana bread pudding. my life hasn't been the same since.

nutella banana bread pudding


Cooking Spray
1 Container Nutella
1 Baguette, sliced
8 Eggs
2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Cups Milk
2 Cups Sugar
1 TBS Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
3 Ripe Bananas


1. Spray 13 x 9 Baking Pan

2. Spread nutella on all bread slices. Then put together slices to make sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into one inch cubes and toss into a large bowl. 

3. Crack eggs into another bowl and whisk in cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Pour mixture over sandwich cubes.

4. Mash bananas and stir into bread cube mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish and refrigerate for at least two hours, pressing the bread down occasionally.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until set in the middle, about 45-50 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm.   

Saturday, September 10, 2011

a visit with family.

ry and i just recently reevaluated our life. we do this often. one of the "to do's" we put on the list was to see family at least once a month, if possible. we realize this will be difficult come winter time, but hey, we can dream big. anyways, my dad and pat came to visit last weekend (thank you for starting off our quest to see family more often a bit easier, father and pat-ricia) for two days and it was delightful. i snapped a few shots and you'll notice they're mostly of food. whoops. well, we know how to make my dad happy when he comes to visit: feed his belly with tasty treats. 

grilled pizza with prosciutto, nectarines and mozzarella. 

nutella banana bread pudding (recipe coming soon - it's a winner).

scategories and over dessert.

cinnamon oatmeal pancakes on the porch (recipe also coming soon - it's a winner too!).

and Beans got extra lovin' from grandma and grandpa and a trip to his favorite spot: gordon college.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

a $7 (or so) project.

last week found us running around like crazy trying to keep our heads on straight. somewhere amidst the crazy we realized that in order to function without losing our sanity in our one bedroom apartment, we needed to organize and do so quickly. so our fabulous friday night plans included a trip to target to pick up some necessities for the major organization project. while at target we found some cork board panels that we thought would be nice to hang over our "office" area. the "office" is located in our bedroom since it's the only room that every square inch wasn't being used when ry started grad school. we returned home with our purchases and quickly hung the cork boards:


so they were boring looking. BUMMER. don't worry, for some reason ry thought it would be a fantastic idea to paint the cork. i said, why not? so he threw up a coat of white paint on them. while the paint dried he thought it'd be a great idea to paint stripes onto the boards (well, he wanted to go with a plaid pattern, but we'll get to that). So we got to work taping off the stripes:

all that tape took about two hours since my wonderful husband precisely measured the distance between each piece of tape so that the angles of the stripes were correct. we ry picked our colors with inspiration from a cooler we got from his parents for our birthdays - red, blue and brown. we have brown curtains in the bedroom, so this works nicely. off to painting we went:

we finished painting, let it dry for about 15 minutes (we were not very patient), and then it was time to pull the tape off:


we're leaving these with just stripes. we think that if we try to do the plaid pattern it will just end in disaster. thoughts?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

bye bye class #2.

ry finished up his second class of grad school last weekend (with a score of 100 to continue his 4.0 run at SNHU), which means we have more time to enjoy each other. one of the things we enjoy doing together is cooking (obvi). this combined with the abundance of nectarines and plums lying on our counter led to a search for a delicious way to use said items. we ended up with a recipe for plum-nectarine buckle. yum!

plum-nectarine buckle
martha stewart
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 pound plums, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (2 cups)
  • 3/4 pound nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • crumb topping*
    1. *we used the topping found here since i had made the muffins a while back and had an abundance of the topping left over...perfect!

    1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9-inch square cake pan or 10-inch cast iron skillet with 2 tablesppons butter; set aside. Whisk together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, allspice, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside. 

      2. Whisk together egg, milk, vanilla, and remaining 4 tablesppons butter in another medium bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir to combine. Spread batter evenly into buttered pan.

      3. Toss plums, nectarines, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Spread fruit mixture evenly over batter. Sprinkle with topping. Bake until a cake tester instereted into center comes out with moist crumbs, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour before serving.