Day Picnic with Wyatt and Tuko/Taco/Teke.
I have had a seriously absurd addiction to couscous lately. Ever since I received that tagine for Christmas, I’ve been throwing everything over the stuff. My go to for dinner is often times roasting whatever veggies / beans / tofu I have on hand with garlic then throwing it over some type of starch. It used to be rice or pasta but lately… it’s been all about the couscous. This has actually caused a battle in our house…Wyatt is a basmati rice lover and he has not happy about all this couscous trend. It’s been a fun challenge to see who can get to the simmering water first and what gets thrown in.
I ate this salad warm and also cold the next day (which was probably even more flavorful the couscous and veggies absorbed the dressing). This salad is a ridiculously delicious lunch and super portable (cannot wait to start bringing it on picnics). Feel free to substitute whatever veggies you have on hand and experiment! Root vegetables seem to be the appropriate option this time of year but I cannot wait to try a summer version with roasted tomatoes, corn, and basil.
The carrots are roasted in olive oil and honey which helps bring out the tiniest hint of sweet in the overall salad. The chickpeas are a great addition (warm or cold) and help to keep you feeling full for longer. Feel free to experiment with other beans you have on hand as well.
For the dressing:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combines the carrots, 3 garlic cloves (whole), half the olive oil, honey, and a dash of salt in a bowl. Spread out into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until the carrots are browned and tender (I like mine with a little crunch but keep in for longer if you like them more roasted). Remove from oven and let cook slightly. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze out the garlic from the outer cloves and mix in with the carrots.
Make the dressing while carrots are roasting: In a small food processor, blend together half the cilantro (1/4 of a bunch), cumin seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic clove, and paprika. Pulse until a smooth paste has formed. Add in more olive oil if it is too think. Season to taste and set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add in the couscous and cook until toasted (about five minutes – stir frequently). Add in 1 cup of boiling water and simmer for about ten minutes or until the water is absorbed and the couscous is cooked all the way through.
Combine the couscous, carrots, chickpeas, preserved lemon, leftover cilantro and dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy warm or stick in the fridge for a refreshing snack later.
Okay, let’s try something different. So I’m a visual person and there is a good chance that you are too. I resisted using photos in my Searchable Saturday’s posts for a long time because 1. I feel uneasy about using other people’s work and like to try to keep it strictly original around VV and 2. I am very particular about all the photos being uniform and the same size, shape, etc.
But you know what? Screw it. There are some REALLY gorgeous photos from the links this week and I’m going to show them off.
1. Already prepping for the Holidays? Me too! Click here are some beautiful (and free!) printable gift tags for all your holiday gifts!
2. I call myself a baker but have never made a pie with a lattice top. Shameful? Probably. Perhaps this tutorial is just what I need to push my baking boundaries….
3. This week I have been enormously inspired by Cannelle et Vanille’s food photography. As I continue the journey to find my aesthetic and grow my photography, I’ve noticed (thanks to Pinterest) that I am drawn to “busy” food photography overloaded with colors, shapes, and textures.
4. I’ve been craving some DIY projects in my life. Adding making this geometric garland to my weekend goals!
5. Don’t know the difference between bread and pastry flour? Check out this great quick flour reference for all your flour needs!
Well, I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! I’m off to pick up my winter CSA box…
The recipe posts have dwindled to only a few a week since the summer because the lack of daylight is really cutting into my ability to photograph everything I create/munch down on. However, have no fear because we are hosting a Friendsgiving tomorrow so I plan to spend the whole day in the kitchen cooking (and hopefully photographing!).
Last weekend we had a random spell of 70 degree weather which meant we HAD to adventure out to the lake one last time before the winter consumed us. Here are a few snapshots from our lake picnic:
I know we are all super excited for Fall but it was still quite the slap in the face this morning when we woke up to it being 39 degrees out. I’m not complaining or anything but HOW DO PEOPLE GET OUT OF BED WHEN IT’S COLD OUT? I can already foresee many [many] lazy days in bed with my macbook and hot tea in my near future.
Anyhow, I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. We tried to go apple picking yesterday but the Midwestern drought that struck our entire month of July seems to have thrown off the growing season and all the apples had already fallen from the trees. Ah well, at least we got some yummy apple cider and fig jam out of the experience (and persimmon pulp…more to come on that in a future post…).
Here are a few pictures from a mid-week dinner picnic we went on last week. Nothing like watching the sunset over the lake to cure the mid-week blues. [warning: sorry cat lovers but there are A LOT of dog pictures to follow...Tuko was being extra photogenic that day and seems to have jumped into 90 percent of my photos from the evening]:
So yeah, last week I promised you that I would get the last bit of summer out of my system and move onto fall this week. That means that I won’t be posting that absolutely delicious bruschetta recipe I had hope to but I will be posting lots of cinnamon, apple, and pumpkin themed recipes this week. MMMMMMM.
Oh, and speaking of cinnamon…let’s start the week off with an essential: pumpkin pie spice. I grew up using pumpkin pie spice that was prepackaged from our grocery store but did you know it’s ridiculously simple to make your own? And on top of that, you can make it with spices that you more than likely have sitting in your pantry. How cool is that? So why not whip up a batch to use in all your fall baked goods, to sprinkle on top of warm oatmeal, and to spice your cider with?
Mix together and sprinkle over everything. BAM! That’s it.
Store in an airtight container with the rest of your baking spices.
Morning, Morning, Morning! Here are a few inspiring things I stumbled upon while enjoying my morning cup of chai:
1. My two favorite things have finally come together in a beautiful monthly package (and receiving surprises in the mail is up there as a favorite as well): music (more specifically- music on vinyl) and cooking. This adorably clever project sends you a monthly package filled with an exclusive 7″, recipe cards, and spices to accompany your dinner. How awesome is that?! Now if only I had come up with this idea…
2. I’m preparing for a blog facelift which means many hours spent looking at logos, fonts, and color schemes. Upon my ‘research’, I came across this font. SO cool!
3. I have such a weakness for cute typography and colorful visuals. Look at these adorable DIY birthday cards! Best part? You can print them out and give them to all those Fall birthdays you know!
4. Bon Appetit recently released an article on the science behind food pairing. Find it weird that there are some foods which seem to be absolutely irresistible together? There is probably a scientific explanation behind that!
5. Sprouting from a slight fantasy of wishing I had grown up as part of the Portland vegan food scene in the 90s, I have such a weakness for zines and hand drawn food photos. Not only does this Tea is Magical photo portray exactly how amazing tea is, it also looks like it could have been pulled from a 90′s art magazine.
7. With the weather changing, I am already starting to stock up on fun things to do inside to keep me busy during the looooooong, cold months ahead. Hop on over to DesignSponge to check out this amazing looking DIY foot soak made out of honey that will be perfect after a long day in the chilly Midwest.
8. The reasons I love fall are absolutely endless but one that I must point out is that it’s boot season. I am so. in. love. with. boots. My co-worker commented the other day that I’ve worn a different pair of boots every day this week. Guilty. I can’t help it! I need a pair in every color, ankle and over the knee, with laces and slip ons. Speaking of boots, I may already have a dozen pairs but I think these would be a perfect addition to my collection.
Okay, enough lusting over the internet for one day. I am off to pour myself another cup of coffee and get working on some pumpkin cinnamon rolls!
Well, it’s that time again! July has already flown past us and it’s time to start reflecting. Here are my favorite posts from this past month:
1. Ah yes! The Blueberry Peach Cobbler Cake that I made for our 4th of July funsies. I feel like I have never experienced a cake that was not only so packed with flavors from the fresh fruit and spices but also stayed moist for days after! Soooo. delicious!
2. The post I made about our Lake Picnic! Although this does not have a recipe included, it was fun to play around with these photos and work to really try to capture the beauty that comes along with spending an evening at Lake Monroe.
3. This was the first recipe I made with our CSA box. The summer squash was so fresh that our farmer had literally picked it earlier that day! ah! and the buttery crumble on top made for a mouth-watering mess that I could get use to indulging in!
4. Blueberry Limeade Cocktail – it was very exciting to make my own simple syrup (and so freaking easy!) and then serve it to all our guest at our House Warming Party. The blueberries made this drink the most beautiful deep purple that I have ever seen a cocktail!
As far as my summer goals, I think the only thing I crossed off in July was ‘Take Time To Do A Little Yoga Everyday’ and ‘Try New Cocktails’. I really need to get on the ball here because August is what I consider to be the last month of summer. Sadly, my puppy torn up the part of the garden with cucumbers so there will be no pickling of my own cucumbers this year. With that being said, I think it’s time to tweak my summer list a bit…
3. Pickle my own grown cucumbers
3. Learn to can
And I think I will be holding off on making cheese until the weather cools down…that is actually going to be a great recipe to play around with when it’s cold and I need to amuse myself for the afternoon.
So…goals I plan to tackle in August:
1. Start working on my recipe zine
2. Learn to can
3. Learn to like mushrooms // start cooking with mushrooms more
4. Go camping (if the weather cools..)
5. DIY projects: macrame planters // homemade rings // Billy Buds (see here)
So I went into this weekend basically having no plans (outside of Friday night) and was almost kind of nervous about it. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a long list of things to do on the weekend. I mean…don’t get me wrong- there are dozens of awesome things to do in Bloomington in the summer (farmer’s market, quarries, drive in, canoeing, wine tasting, brewery tours, etc) but I just was not feeling any of the usual spots that I like to spend my free time. So, instead, I approached Bloomington as if I was an outsiders looking to visit it (a well-known practice for anyone who has been ‘taking’ those trendy Staycations this summer).
What I found through my research was that there are DOZENS of trails, lakes, and nature preserves all within 30 minutes from Bloomington that I have never heard of. WOAH! How awesome is that? I picked out the closest one with waterfalls (I have the biggest weakness for waterfall picnics) and planned my whole Saturday around it.
And it was the perfect day adventure! The trail was only a little over a mile but we crossed paths with waterfalls, evergreens, caves, and swamps. So beautiful and only ten minutes from my house! It blows my mind that I’ve lived here for 5 years and I am still discovering new beautiful spots all the time.
In other weekend news, my Ma stopped by on her way back from a business trip. It was nice to finally show her the house that we had put so much work/time into. I am hoping they can come down for a longer visit in the coming weeks. Oh! And Wyatt played his first show with his new band which went perfectly!
Two of the pictures above are from our little day adventure on Saturday (bottom left and top right). The top left one is from some cacti shopping I did at my favorite nursery a couple of days ago and the bottom of is Tuko and I sleeping in on Sunday (much-needed!).
Well, these “moody” posts are seeming less and less moody and more just little, nice peaks into my life. Perhaps I am not as cranky as I always had told myself I was! And perhaps I need to consider renaming this column…hmm…
As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, we went on a lovely dinner picnic last Thursday. It was nice because we have been so busy with moving and getting our house organized that we haven’t been taking that much time to just chill out and enjoy summer. Plus, this heat wave has been making it awfully hard to want to hike to the lake when just standing in it makes you sweat and uncomfortable. That’s okay though because it’s made us get creative with our usual summer activities (like go at sunset instead of at midday). Anyhow, it was wonderful to just sit on the rocks and watch Tuko/Taco play in the water as the sun went down.
This was an impulse picnic so we just packed up a few things that we had around the kitchen. I whipped up some deviled eggs (so simple yet such a perfect summer staple), backed an array of sliced strawberries, brie, and sliced baguette, and then had Wyatt whip up some Nutella and Strawberry sandwiches. I was a little stressed that I didn’t have more time to plan our a menu but it ended up being perfect finger food for an impromptu adventure!
I am not even sure what we did for entertainment before we had Tuko. I really enjoy watching him love on the lake and get excited about being free to run and explore.
Hope everyone is making the most out of their summer and taking a little time to enjoy their food outside and stick their feet in the water!
Here are two preview pictures of a dinner picnic that Wyatt, Taco (/Tuko), and I went on last night. We found a new spot on the lake that is absolutely gorgeous and super secluded (don’t get me wrong- I love our usual spot where we know we will run into dozens of friends to swim with but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and find a peaceful place that is your own). I hope to post a full spread about the picnic once I get around to editing all the pictures (hopefully early next week).
Anyhow. Let’s talk about cocktails.
And here is my SECOND cocktail recipe for the week! I think that means I can officially put a line through my summer goal of experimenting with new drinks (don’t worry- that doesn’t mean I am done with cocktails for the summer..just makes me feel good about knocking something off my list).
I actually made a virgin version of this the first time and was so in love with it that I made it again (this time with champagne) the next evening! We have been having people over almost every other night to show friends our new house which means non-stop cocktail parties! Wooohooo!
Blend together the peaches, sugar, vanilla, and nectar in a blender. Mix in the champagne and serve with your cutest vintage pitch and loads of ice!
I bet these would be even cuter with a small vanilla bean garnish! I took the pictures in a hurry since I whipped these up for guests but feel free to add your own character to them!
Well Mondays are when I usually post about being moody …but let’s be real: I have a TWO day week since my company is giving us Wednesday through Friday off for the 4th of July… so do I really have that much to complain about? I think not.
Instead, since July snuck up on us over the weekend let’s have a June Wrap up instead!
My favorite posts from this past month:
1. I am a picnic fanatic and had soooo much fun enjoying these Southwestern Veggie Sliders with Avocado Mayo while soaking up some fresh air on a lovely dinner picnic with my puppy and boyfriend
2.I am not sure where you live but this 100 degree weather refuses to let up over here in Bloomington, Indiana. Popsicles like these Berry Mango Yogurt Pops are the only things keeping me cool when I attempt to adventure outdoors.
3. Oh! My adventure with this Summer Potato Salad was pure bliss! Potato salad just screams summer and this was a great way to kick off our first grill out of the season!
4. Pizza Pizza Pizza. I cannot escape it no matter how bad I tell myself it is! I’ve come to accept this and have at least turned to making my own pizza so that I know exactly what goes into it. This Savory Breakfast Pizza was part of a two segment post that also included yummy Blueberry Lime Pizza.
In other news, June was ridiculously busy with us moving into our new house (which we are still not completely settled into) and being out of town for almost every weekend.
Also, I managed to learn a lot from my Blogging 2.0 class (which ends this week!) and can’t wait to start applying what I learned to VV.
And onto July! What to expect? Well I am hoping to spend July settling into our new place; this means starting to make lots of new memories at our new home in the form of cocktail parties, movie nights, and creative time in our new studio. I am very excited for things to calm down around here so we can enjoy the simple pleasures of summer (now if only this 100 degree weather would calm down a bit…).
Continuing on with our discussion from Dinner Picnic Part 1, let’s chat about the main course! I don’t know about you guys but for me summer means sangria, grill outs, picnics, and veggie burgers. I love Morningstar’s Black Bean Burgers when I am in a hurry but I find too much processed food to be a big no-no for my diet. This has led me to experimenting loads with veggie burgers and often times ending up with negative outcomes. I mean, I understand what kind of veggie combination I enjoy but getting the correct consistency with a veggie patty is wayyyy harder than you’d think! I’ve made sweet potato burgers which where so mushy that I should have served them as mashed potatoes and I’ve made really damn good chickpea burgers (but I had to have them sit in the fridge overnight to firm up – very time consuming). After many discouraging endeavors, I discovered the perfect ratio between vegetables, beans, and the ingredients that mend everything together (with a bit of help from this recipe).
These sliders are going to be my new go-to burgers when it comes to grilling. Not only is the patty absolutely delicious and stays together firmly, but the avocado mayo is amazing lathered on it them (and on pretty much everything else you happen to be serving!).
For the avocado mayo:
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 or so minutes or until they start to soften. Add the bell pepper and saute for another two or so minutes.
Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the corn, carrot, black beans, bread crumbs, and cornmeal. Fold in salsa until everything is combined.
Divide the mixture into 12 equal parts and form patties. Heat another 2 Tablespoons of olive over medium heat and cook each side of the patty for about (depending on how hot your skillet gets) 2 minutes on each side.
To make the sauce: mash together the avocado, mayo, garlic, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
To assemble: Slice each roll in half. Lather the avocado mayo on the bottom with a slice of cheese and then stick the patty on. Feel free to top with tomatoes, lettuce, or whatever else you’d like. Enjoy warm and on a beautiful porch or blanket outside!
PS Or feel free to cook these on the grill outside as well!
Well Memorial weekend has come and gone which means summer is officially in full swing. To me, this means fresh produce and delicious salads! I am not a big fan of having just a salad as a meal but I do love them as a side and to compliment my main entrees. I am particularly fond of grain salads (wheat berry, quinoa, polenta, oh my!) so please let me know if I begin to get carried away in the coming months!
On Monday we piled 5 people, a dog, and a grill into my roommate’s tiny civic and off we went to spend the afternoon at the lake. It was 90 and sunny here in Bloomington so the water could have never felt better! I whipped this salad up to go with our grilled goods; what made me think to make this one was that I didn’t want a mayo based salad sitting in the heat all day! So I turned to my flavorful quinoa salad that doesn’t’ need to be lathered in thick dressing to be flavorful. This salad is lime juice based which means a little sun won’t hurt anything!
Also, I made a double recipe so that we would have leftovers for the week. Since I was just not into getting back to routine, I made Wyatt (and Tuko!) have a dinner picnic with me last night in our favorite garden. The main course recipe is coming in a post later this week (stay tuned!) but we had this salad again as a side. Such perfect picnic fare!
Cook quinoa according to package directions (if no directions- wash thoroughly with cold water and then boil the quinoa for about 15 minutes or until soft).
Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Once the quinoa has cooled completely, combine the quinoa, bell pepper, black beans, corn, jalapeno, and onions in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the whisked dressing.
Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving so that all the flavors can mend together deliciously. Serve cool and while at a picnic/grill out!
I had my last final yesterday afternoon which meant I was going to study all day…or at least that was my plan until it decided to be 80 and sunny outside. So, to compromise, we had a picnic in my backyard to take a break from my studies (which eventually turned into my just studying outside the rest of the day).
We were, surprisingly, able to enjoy our sloppy joes in peace because Tuko was too distracted by all the squirrel action going on in the trees around us.
Wyatt was so into his Joe that he managed to scarf down 3 in a row (hungry boy).
In a skillet, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute for about five minutes or until they start to soften. Then add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until it has reached a desired consistency.
Lather in between a bun and top the mixture with cheese.
Serve with chips or corn on the cob or coleslaw. And enjoy on a fun colored blanket outside with your favorite people (and animals)!
Why hello Monday, is that you…AGAIN? Okay, well I least I just had a beautiful weekend to hold me over. This weekend was filled with picnics, the farmer’s market, and live music so I can’t complain too much.
Today’s Moody Monday is about picnics (and how much I freaking love them). But to be more exact, it’s about the picnic I had yesterday. As you probably know if you’ve ever read my blog previously, I have a really really cute boxer puppy that has more energy in a day than I have in an year. Luckily, Bloomington has an amazing dog park that backs up to a lake with lots of dog friendly trails.
Anyways, so yesterday I made up a few yummy veggie sandwiches stocked full of farmer’s market produce and carrot slaw and we headed to the park. We took our puppy for a hike and had a beautiful picnic out in the woods. It was a perfect ending to an eventful weekend.
And so continues my desire for summer food! This recipe is great though because it’s like a fake summer recipe…you use frozen berries so that they hold their shape and color while you fold them into the batter. It’s great because you can go into this recipe knowing that it will turn out fantastic regardless of what season it is.
I had to race out of bed this morning in order to get a picture of these fluffy muffins before my roommates gobbled all of them up. These muffins are “bakery style” so they puff up way past the top of the tin and stay super moist and flavorful because of the yogurt in them (and smell up the whole kitchen with berry baking goodness!)
This recipe is adapted from Isa’s Vegan Brunch; it’s one of the first recipes I discovered when diving into vegan baking and it really hooked me. I believe strongly in the idea that vegan baked goods stay moist longer and manage to pack more flavor with their slightly dense texture. I suggest this recipe (and Isa!) for anyone who does not have much vegan baking experience but is ready to learn!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yogurt, milk, and oil. Use a spatula to mix everything together until a smooth batter forms. Fold in the berries.
Scoop the batter into the muffin tins (just the 12- it should fill most of each tin so that they will rise to be big, bakery style muffins). Bake for 23 to 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Serve with butter or eat them by themselves for the rest of the weeks breakfast!
Some days you have to just let yourself sit out on the porch all day and not feel guilty about it. To be honest, I’ve been doing this a lot lately but I am hoping that the charm of this weather will wear off within the next few weeks and I won’t be a total waste of life all summer (but if it doesn’t then so what? I’ll survive!)
There’s nothing like lying around on a warm day and drinking some lemonade. I, personally, am a little addict when it comes to Andre (or any cheap champagne) so I used that to give this drink some fizz but feel free to keep it alcohol free for the kiddies or what not.
Make lemonade according to the package directions. Then mix everything together in a cute vintage pitcher and enjoy with all your friends (PS- I suggest smashing the blackberries a little because they release more color that way!)
My roommate thought she would be able to write her thesis paper over Spring Break. Yeah, don’t worry, I didn’t let that happen.
It’s hard to believe with this 80 degree weather that I was craving soup just two days ago. But, putting myself in those shoes, it was a beautiful 60 degree day last Saturday and we enjoyed sandwiches and big coffee mug fulls of wild rice soup during a lovely picnic on the porch.
The chowder was delicious. I honestly have never hard wild rice soup before. This whole thing came about because I was at the store awhile back and saw the wild rice gleaming at me from the bulk section. It’s so colorful and vibrant and I’ve never tackled a recipe with it so I decided purchasing some would be a good challenge. Unfortunately, it sat on my shelf for the next three months before I decided that this avoidance had to come to an end. I looked up recipes with wild rice in them and came across dozens of patties, salads, thanksgiving sides, and soups.
I was sold on the idea of soups but most of them used meats and the “vegetarian” ones were just blander versions of the original. I decided to take one of the meat recipes and completely revamp it for all your vegetarian needs!
I was nervous that I’d end up with a flavorless soup myself but this was not the case. It was so delicious! And thank goodness at that because it made enough leftovers for me to eat it three times a day for the next two weeks (AKA I may suggest cutting this recipe in half if you aren’t looking for a large amount of yummy leftovers).
Bring the two cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove from heat and set aside (do not drain so the rice can absorb up the excess water!)
In a large cooking pot, heat the olive oil up over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about five minutes. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute.
Next, add in the flour and stir constantly for a minute. Then add the broth and whisk until a milk mixture is created. Add in the potatoes, carrots, thyme, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Next, add in the corn and meatless crumbles and simmer for another 20 minutes (or until the vegetables are tender). Then add the half and half and cooked rice and stir until everything is warmed up and creamy.
Serve warm in cute animal mugs with yummy sandwiches!
We also made these simple and delicious sandwiches to go with the soup! Enjoy!
Turn your broiler on low (if you have two options). Combine the olive oil, basil, oregano, and salt/pepper in a small bowl. Lather the bread pieces evenly with the mixture.
Top with the tomatoes, swiss, and then garnish with a few a bit more dried basil.
Broil for only a few minutes (I don’t want to give exact times because everyone’s broiler is so touchy and different). I would just turn the light on and watch it until the top gets brown. No more than 2 or 3 minutes.
Enjoy with yummy soup and your favorite porch spot!
Tuko being so cute and good while we enjoy our picnic on the porch!
Monday, again? Thankfully I have a semi-easy week with it being Spring Break…although I remember when spring break meant having a week off…now I only manage to have Tuesday and Thursday off and have to work the other days. Oh well, I like my job…alot..so no complaining.
Anyways, my Moody Monday post is about my huuuuuuuge brick porch that could be a house in itself. It’s absolutely amazing and I love spending all of my free time on it. It was so nice this weekend that I was able to not have one but TWO picnics on it!
On Saturday, Ella (my wonderful roommate), Tuco (pictured below), and I had a coffee date with biscotti and Turkish tea! Mmmm
And then last night, Wyatt and I had a dinner picnic full of yummy soup (post about this adventure to happen ASAP) and open faced sandwiches.
And my porch has the best view for me to lean against the brick and watch my boys play!
This recipe evokes fond memories of when I first started learning how to cook. When I was 19, I moved down to Nashville, TN for the summer to try to pursue my music business career. It was the first time I had ever lived on my own and I had a tiny apartment all to myself. It wasn’t much but it was all mine and that was what mattered. I had a lot of goals that summer (perhaps to help with the fear of moving to a city where I knew practically no one) and one of them was to learn how to cook.
Don’t get me wrong, my mother is an amazing person but she didn’t appreciate when I would bake and get half the ingredients in the bowl and the other half on the floor. In my kitchen, I was free to create whatever I wanted without anyone being able to judge me. If I failed (which I did, too many times to want to admit) I could chuck it and start fresh without any criticism. And if I succeeded, I had yummy baked goods to offer to the neighbors in my apartment complex and try to make friends (the people below me smoked far too much and were always more than happier to try out my concoctions).
Anyways, this is one of the recipes from that summer; I remember being blown away by the fact that I was capable of making something so delicious. It’s funny to look back on it because I was so strict about following recipes word for word back then and I’ve managed to play around with so many times since.
Today was a beautiful sunny Saturday so I whipped these up while my roommate made some Turkish coffee that she acquired abroad in Jordan last year. We had a cute little tea [coffee] picnic on the porch this afternoon with these delicious treats!
Also, can’t wait to spend my lazy spring break mornings laying around and munching down on these with coffee.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep two baking sheets by buttering them and then brushing flour on top.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, cayenne, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
In another mixing bowl, cream the sugar, vanilla extract, and butter with a hand mixer. Once smooth, add the eggs and beat until well blended.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until stiff. Then add in the chocolate chips and almonds and (preferably with your hands because the dough will be stiff) knead until everything is well incorporated. Slit the dough in half and make two long logs on each making sheet. Dust both with powdered sugar and then use a knife to pierce slices about an inch from each other.
Cook for 35 minutes or until firm. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Use a knife to slip the pieces fully and turn them their sides. Put back in the oven for ten minutes.
Let cool completely and serve with warm, yummy coffee. Or have a tea party with your favorite pooch (like mine shown below).
Valentine’s day is kind of a flop around here. I have class from 10 AM to 9:30 PM every Tuesday so making time to do something special on this holiday was kind of out of the question for me this year. Plus, I don’t really enjoy the whole cheesy make dinner for your special someone (I make fabulous dinner for my boyfriend ALL THE TIME) or go out to eat (we do this all the time too!). Although alot of this holiday is boogus, I do appreciate the idea of taking time out of your usual schedule to celebrate having someone important in your life. SO, instead of celebrating VDay on February 14th, I made Wyatt go on a winter picnic with me few days back when we both had the time for it so sit down and enjoy ourselves without the pressure of squeezing extra time into an already packed day.
Beautiful Waterfall spot in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Indiana
I promise he’s not peeing into the water
Oh, and he thinks hes funny.
Today’s Moody Monday theme is ‘eating outdoors’. I am in love with being outside (when it’s nice out. I am the biggest wimp when it comes to snow). Anyways, nothing makes me happier than to spend a free afternoon lounging around on a blanket while eating some grub and hanging out with friends.
Top left: This picture was from my birthday last year when I had a bunch of friends over to grill n’ chill (arg, isn’t that a Dairy Queen slogan?). I have an amazing porch that is perfect for grilling, eating, and beer pong. I am sooooo excited to be hanging out on this porch and am looking forward to spring!
Top Right: Winter picnic with my boy. My favorite type of picnics are waterfall picnics (I don’t know anyone else who makes subgenres for picnics but I love them so much that we must categorize and theme them). Anyways, I got an awesome thermal set that just had to be christened with a picnic. This waterfall is amazing because it’s beautiful, you can get right up next to it, and it’s so far in the podunks of Indiana that it’s never crowded.
Bottom Left: Lake Monroe is one of my favorite parts about Bloomington. Growing up next to Lake Michigan, I felt alittle landlocked when I moved down here because I couldn’t go to the beach after school. Luckily, Lake Monroe filled any longing I may have had for the water. There is this awesome place that all the college kids hang out at called ‘Flat Rock’ which is super secluded and you never have to worry about being bothered. In this picture we are having a ‘Whiskey Cider’ picnic to keep us all warm!
Bottom Right: Campfires! AHHHHH, I love camping so much! This is me in Acadia National Park in Maine which was one of the best trips I have ever taken. Maine is absolutely gorgeous and I am a little bit in love with it (luckily, I’ve heard about their winters so I’m not going to be running away to there anytime soon).
yup. So these are a few memories/favorite things that I am hoping will carry me through the gloomy Monday. Oh also, sneak peak action- I made homemade pasta with my roommate yesterday and am hoping to post about it later tonight! So so so yummmmy.
PSS Oh and this