Granola

All this month at Hurley House, the featured favorite is our Granola.

A common theme with this granola seems to be its addictive qualities.  Personally, I can attest that there is some sort of magic in this granola.  One bite turns into twenty, and then before you know it, the bag is empty.  I have received feedback from buyers who tell me they can’t stop eating it.  One friend told me she ate it for breakfast and lunch.  We ship our granola to clients all over Texas, and I think it’s kind of becoming a point of connection for some people.

IMG_1381Today I want to share the recipe for Hurley House granola because I am all about enabling addictions.

Just kidding.

I want you to have this recipe because it is delicious, and granola makes a great gift.

A few helpful hints you should know.  You are going to make a mess when you make this.  Granola bits will get on your floor, so just make friends with that fact on the front end.  Also, there is a very very fine line between granola that is underdone (soggy, too chewy), perfectly done (crisp, toasty, yet still a tiny bit chewy), and over done (burnt, too crisp).  The only way to get it right is to watch it very closely at the end and perhaps even get it wrong a few times.  Once you know what perfect granola looks like, you’ll get it right forever.

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If you happen to love granola, but aren’t in the mood to make your own, Hurley House would love to supply you with bags and bags of golden crunchy granola.  Just let us know!

Click below for a printable copy!

Hurley House Granola

 

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Packing Lunches

Happy Monday!

Today I am sharing one of my favorite sanity savers with you.  It’s not complicated or ground-breaking, but it feels like a little gift I give myself every day.  Well, actually it feels like two gifts, as you’ll soon see.

I pack four lunches every day.  Three for my school-aged children, and one for my stay-at-home preschooler.  In one week I pack 20 lunches.  Over the course of a school year, I will pack 720 lunches.  With numbers like that, I have to be smart and efficient.  I can’t take 20 minutes every day to figure out what to pack, then make it, then package it, then clean up.  I’m all about working smarter, not harder.

Here’s the first gift.

Every day when the kids get home from school, the first thing I do is pack their lunches for the next day.  Sounds simple, but it’s life-changing.

They are busy getting a snack, putting back packs away, exhaling from their day.  I line up their lunch boxes on the counter and get to work.  By the time they finish a snack, I have four lunches ready and waiting in the fridge.  Why is this a gift?

Three hours later when we are finishing up dinner, doing dishes, wrapping up homework, getting the kids bathed, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, reading bedtime stories, remembering to sign papers, cleaning up rooms, making sure everything is in order for the next day, I think to myself, “Lunches.  They need lunches.”  And then I remember I did that hours ago!!! And it feels like a little gift to not have to go back in the kitchen, pull out supplies, make a mess, clean up a mess.

Now, for the second gift.

Our formula for lunch components is a beverage, a main thing (sandwich or salami with cheese and crackers), a fruit (grapes, oranges, strawberries, banana, apple), a vegetable (snap peas, carrots, sweet peppers, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes), a crunchy thing (pretzels, chips, gold fish, pita chips), and a tiny sweet thing (a life saver, a roll of smarties, a package of fruit snacks).  Every two weeks I go to Costco and buy all the supplies we need for lunches.  Then I come home and take the time to portion out enough fruit, vegetables, and crunchy things for 10 days of school lunches.  It takes about 45 minutes every two weeks.

Why is this a gift?

When I make lunches in the afternoons, those 45 minutes of work every two weeks makes it possible for me to pack four lunches in less than five minutes.  That feels like a gift to me!

lunchelementsinbaggiesThese are the pre-portioned fruits and veggies in my fridge.  40 bags of fruit, 40 bags of vegetables.

preparedcrunchythingsThese are the pre-packaged crunchy things.  40 bags of crackers or chips or pretzels.

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I literally grab something from each category, toss in a beverage, and then make a sandwich.  With a tiny bit of forethought, lunches take no time to pack.  They are fresh, homemade, cost-effective, and waiting for me in the morning when I am getting everyone out the door.

Little gifts every day!

 

 

 

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Friday Favorite

friday favorite logo

I am in love with Paper Source. They have the perfect mix of crafting supplies, gifts, and walls and walls of paper perfection. I eagerly look forward to the day when a location opens in Fort Worth but, for now, maintain my love via their website.

If you have never taken a tour of all they have to offer, I highly recommend it. Besides being my go-to choice for most all paper-related projects, my favorite Paper Source offerings usually come from their “new & seasonal” page. They always choose a great theme with just the right touch of whimsy, and it never fails to make me anticipate the season to come in the best way.

I am excited to be working on a project with some friends, and our motif of choice happens to be inspired by one of Paper Source’s Fall themes. Can you guess which one? Things are going to get pretty foxy! Stay tuned for more details later on the blog!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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The Official Hurley House Apron

There are a lot of little things I love about my job.  One of my recent favorite delights is how aprons are a mandatory part of my daily wardrobe.  I need to wear them to protect my clothes, but I also love having a reason to don one every morning.

I have several aprons in my collection, and they fall into two categories.  There are what I call “Work Aprons” and then there are “Party Aprons.”

Work Aprons are what I wear everyday, and regardless of how cute they are, their main function is to get dirty so that my clothes aren’t covered in chocolate or blackberry juice or bacon grease.

Party Aprons, on the other hand, are a completely different article of clothing.  They are a part of my professional attire when I am in a client’s home.  They are starched, clean, and coordinate with what I am wearing.

My favorite Party Apron is this one.

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It’s called the Julep Petal Pocket Apron from Anthropologie (currently on sale and available only in stores).

HurleyHouse (143 of 424)

photo by Lion Heart Image

This is the apron that Rachel and I lovingly refer to as the “official” Hurley House apron.  Partly because it’s two lovely shades of green (the Hurley House signature color), and partly because it’s a perfect blend of fun and whimsy without being cliche or garish.  But mostly, I just love it.  It’s practically elegant.

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This apron always looks pretty in photos, especially as a backdrop for a Sparkle Sandwich Cookie!

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I’ve been busy!

Hello!  I’ve been busy!  Summer was full of all sorts of fun Hurley House events – weddings, parties, and birthdays galore! Want to see some snippets of where I’ve been?

Throwing an intimate backyard garden dinner party…

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Celebrating at a fabulous 60th birthday party complete with ombre layer cake…

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Creating an appetizer spread for a beautiful ranch wedding…

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Engineering a cupcake train for our favorite two year old’s train party…

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Shipping out packages with the best surprise of all – it’s a boy!

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Hurley House has been busier that I ever could have imagined, and I have loved every moment. It is fun to take a moment to look back at all I’ve gotten to do, see, and make. Now, it is time to switch gears for Fall, and I am looking forward to another full season!  Did you know that Hurley House now offers prepared foods during the week?

To keep up with all things Hurley House, don’t forget to watch our website, Facebook page and Instagram!

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I’m Back!

Well, well, well. I post a big announcement, promise to be back with more details to share, and then fall off the face of the blogosphere for two months. Looks like I have a bit of explaining to do, no?

Two months ago today I announced the launch of my new venture, and without warning, the business exploded, leaving my head spinning and my days (and nights!) full. Hurley House has been an incredibly fun and exciting adventure, and I have loved every second! But, life has definitely changed. And now I am finally catching my breath and catching up.

But now, I am back and can’t wait to share posts with snippets and fun behind-the-scenes glimpses of all the goings on, and some candid looks at life in the context of Hurley House. Plus, all the usual practically elegant fare. And, as we go forward, there may just be some new developments and exciting offerings…so many things in the works! I think this is going to be fun!  

Thanks for being patient.  It’s good to be back!

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Drum Roll Please

The official day has arrived!  As I mentioned several times over the past couple of weeks, I have very big news to share with you today.  Are you ready?  Are you sure?  Here we go….

(Drum roll please.)

Today I am announcing my new business venture…HURLEY HOUSE!!!

hhheader

(Shouts of glee.  Popping corks.  Raucous noisemakers.  Confetti and balloon drop.)

 This is so exciting!  Are you excited?  I am so excited!

Oh wait.  What is Hurley House?  Great question.

To quote from my vision, “Hurley House is a purveyor of hospitality, currently specializing in baked goods, yet offering much more.”

What can Hurley House offer you?  Tons!

Cakes or cupcakes for a birthday party, pies or tarts for your next dinner party, corporate referral gifts, party favors, banners, decorations, teacher appreciation gifts, baby showers, wedding showers, graduation parties, holiday gifts, holiday meals, and on, and on, and on.  Granted, we do operate out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but some of our products can be shipped!  And, heck, if you want to hire Hurley House to travel and cater your party in Vail, we will gladly oblige!

Hurley House has been operating “unofficially” for about six weeks, baking up a storm and executing some really fun events.  And all sans social media.  But that all officially changes today!

Hurley House is on Facebook.

Hurley House is on Twitter (@thehurleyhouse).

Hurley House is on Instagram (@hurleyhouse).

Hurley House is on Pinterest.

The official website is www.hurley-house.com.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what spinning plates looks like!  Whew.

A few other things worth mentioning. (Actually, I have several hundred bits of information racing through my head that I really want to share with you, but I’m trying to casually mention only a couple.  Is it working?)

First, one of my favorite features of the Hurley House website is the Leftover Line.  It is exactly what it sounds like.  Sometimes we have leftover product from a job for one reason or another, and my family can only eat so many cupcakes.  Instead of throwing away perfectly good products, I would rather have the opportunity to pass it along to interested customers!  If you live in the Fort Worth area and would like to know when extras are available for purchase, sign up for the Leftover Line.  Isn’t that fun?

Second, not much is going to change here on the blog as a result of Hurley House.  I still plan to blog about the same things I always blog about:  Writing, Cooking, Singing, Living, and Family.  I will keep you updated from time to time on how things are going over at HH (that’s what her friends call her), and I will be sharing some DIY projects from different events, but for the most part everything here will stay the same.

Third, the Hurley House website isn’t a blog.  It’s a website, meant to inform and attract clients.  So don’t be disappointed when nothing much changes over there.  It’s a static sort of thing.  The one feature that will rotate will be the monthly Festive Favorites page.  Every month we highlight different products with a particular season or event in mind.  For example, May’s Festive Favorites are all about Mother’s Day, Teacher Appreciation, and Graduation Events.  (Need our services for any of those big days?)

Lastly (I think), if you follow me on Instagram (@katherinesasser) all those photos of crumb cake and cupcakes are going to be posted from the Hurley House account from now on.  So go ahead and do yourself a favor and follow both accounts.  @katherinesasser to see photos of my cute kids.  @hurleyhouse to see photos of my cute cakes.  Same for Twitter.  @katherinesasser to hear Norah’s off-color comment of the day.  @thehurleyhouse to find out what’s cooking, good looking.

Look at me.  I’ve rambled on and on.  But there’s still so much to say!  I have an idea.  Today is all about the information.  How about tomorrow I share a little bit about my heart behind all of this?

Please please please let me know your thoughts about the new site, and feel free to pass all this news along to anyone who you think might be interested in quality handmade baked goods or especially special events.  And I am open and ready for business…so put me to work!

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Weeknight Wonder {French Onion Soup}

Weeknight Wonders Logo

Hello!  Good morning!  Happy Monday!  I’ve only had one cup of coffee, but with all the adrenaline in my system, I’m buzzing like I drank the entire pot!  Wooooo-hoooooo!  Who’s with me?

I have so many things to mention this morning…let’s just jump right in, shall we?

First, the plate spinning.  All is going very well, and I made a ton of progress on my secret project this weekend.  Thank you to those of you who have a clue about what is going on and have offered support and excited words of encouragement.

Second, TWO DAYS LEFT until the big announcement.  Wednesday is the day.  Don’t miss it!

Lastly, a Weeknight Wonder for you.  Because, even with a full week, people still need to eat.

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This is one of those weeks where I need very low-maintenance dinners.  And, as a matter of fact, I will be preparing French Onion Soup for my family this week because of how low-maintenance and delicious it is.  Yes, I know we are well out of soup season, but I am considering this our farewell homage to all things warm and cozy as we move forward ready to embrace warmer weather.

It is easy to succeed with French Onion Soup.

It is even easier to fail.

The base of French Onion Soup is well-caramelized onions.  There is only one way to obtain well-caramelized onions.  Patience.  You can not hurry the caramelization process.  The onions need to cook over medium-low heat with minimal stirring (just enough to keep them from sticking, which means maybe every 15 minutes) for at least an hour.  Depending on the size of your pan, your onions may be ready in an hour.  Mine take longer.

How do you know when the onions are ready?

They will be the color of caramel.  Deep brown, melting soft, not a hint of raw onion color or flavor (taste them!).  If you have to ask, “Are they ready?” they probably need more time.  Don’t stand and watch them.  Turn them on, and then walk away to do something else.  Help your kids with homework, walk the dog, fold laundry.  Peek in at them every fifteen to twenty minutes, but don’t babysit them.  And don’t stir them.  Every time you stir them, the parts of the onion that were getting close to the caramelization point, lose ground and have to start over.  LEAVE THEM ALONE.  Towards the end, they will need a stir or two to keep from sticking, but the rest of the time what they need is for you to leave them alone.

Once you have obtained well-caramalized onions, the rest is easy-peesy.

The recipe calls for sherry, and if you are like me, sherry isn’t something I normally have on hand.  Don’t worry.  You can buy “cooking sherry” at your local grocery store next to the cooking wine and vinegars.  It’s not the kind of thing you want to sip at a cocktail party, but it will work in this soup.  Whatever you do, don’t leave it out.

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Of course, the best part of French Onion Soup is the crusty slice of bread with melted Swiss cheese on top.  You can float it on top, or serve it on the side.  Either way, it is delicious!

Click below for the recipe.

{French Onion Soup}

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Spinning Plates

Good Morning!

Have you ever seen an actual plate spinner?  I have, but only on television.  It was impressive.  The guy literally ran up and down a row of rods, each with a plate balanced on top, pausing to give the slower plates a quick reboot in order to keep them from falling and crashing.  I don’t recall how long he kept them all going, but it was exhausting to watch.

I am spinning a few plates as we speak.  And not the ones you might expect.  There’s a “usual” set of plates I spin every day as a mother of four, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.  I have some new and very exciting plates that I have begun to spin, and there is a very big announcement on the horizon!

Are you eager with curiosity?  Tantalized by suspense?  Giddy with anticipation?

I really can’t wait to tell you!  But not today, dear friend.

In 8 short days I will reveal it all to you.  Look for big news on May 1!

Until then, I ask for grace if it seems I am coasting here.  I may have to step away from this nicely spinning plate to run down the line and give some attention to the new plate that is gaining momentum.  Not to worry, though.  I won’t let you crash!

EIGHT DAYS!

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Friday Favorite {week 3}

friday favorite logoMy best friend gave me a sleeve of printed styrofoam cups for Christmas that said, “I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”  When I opened them, she made sure I understood one very important theological distinction.  She told me that if she had custom-designed the cups instead of buying them pre-printed, she would have made sure they said, “I love Jesus, AND I drink a little.”  Such a tiny word.  Such a major difference.

I do love Jesus.  AND I drink a little.

My cocktail of choice is a gin and tonic.  St. Germain is my favorite specialty liqueor.  So when a very special someone {who knows me very well and shares my love for a well-made drink} sent me a link featuring a cocktail that combines two things I enjoy very much, the gold star contest was over.

This post from the Sweetest Occasion wins this week’s Friday Favorite!  The beautiful photographs of a St. Germain Gin and Tonic are enough to make anyone thirsty…

Cheers!

 

 

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