Little Getaways

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Tomorrow we are taking off on a little 4 day camping trip to Yosemite with both of our families.  If it seems like we go away a lot it's because we do! We really believe in the importance and power of rest- even if it means a super cheap and local getaway for just a night or two (which is usually the case).  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 

Homemade Pretzels

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Whoa.

 Have you ever considered making your own pretzels?

 If not I HIGHLY suggest you get on that because

a) not only are they super easy and hella cheap to make but
b) they are the sort of thing that when you instagram them people will assume you have your life in order (this is a joke. No one actually believes we have our lives in order) and
c) they are delicious and can be made about 10,342 ways.


To me they feel intricate because you deal with yeast.  Anything dealing with yeast makes me feel like I'm on Top Chef and Little House on the Prairie at the same time.  Naturally, I felt like we could conquer the culinary world when we had these, along with Tyler's home-brewed beer, for dinner.

Beer and pretzels for dinner.  It's like college all over again.
 



Twisting them is fun and takes practice.  But don't worry, the blobby ones taste just as good as the normal ones.


 You boil them for a few minutes in a water/ baking soda mixture.  It gives them that chewy, pretzely texture.


Then you get to go crazy with toppings! I suggest steak seasoning or truffle oil + sea salt.  Next time I want to try cinnamon + brown sugar.

Voila!



Homemade Pretzels

adapted from Joy The Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 3/4 to cups all-purpose flour + 1/4 cup set aside for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon baking soda
  •  Seasonings of your choice

Instructions
 
1.  Combine the yeast, sugar, and water in a glass measuring cup, paying close attention to the required water temperature on the yeast packet.  It's best to use a thermometer!  Let it sit about 5 minutes, or until it is foamy.

2.  Whisk together salt and flour in a large bowl.  Add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.  Knead using a stand mixture with bread hook attachment until mixture is sticky (about 5-6 minutes.)  If you do not have a stand mixture, knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes.  Place dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow it to rise for about 45 minutes, or until it has just about doubled in size.

3.  Divide dough into 8 even pieces.  Follow this video to see how to roll out and twist each piece.  If the dough is too sticky to roll, add more flour one teaspoon at a time until the dough is manageable.

4.  Place shaped pretzels on a greased cookie sheet and allow to rise uncovered for 20 minutes.

5.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add baking soda.  Add pretzels one at a time and allow to cook for about 3 minutes on each side. 

6. Transfer the boiled pretzels to a baking sheet lined with oiled parchment paper.  Brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with toppings of choice.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 35 minutes and serve warm with honey mustard or other toppings.


East Coast Adventure Part III- Bwah-sten

Monday, June 24, 2013

I gotta come clean about Boston.  It's not a place I ever had any real desire to visit.  We learned about it in history class (every. single. year.) and I knew there were churches and graveyards and British ghosts and baseball fanatics and mean people with accents, but none of that seemed reason enough to visit.  In fact, the only reason it was on our list for this trip was to see this pretty little thing:


Boy oh boy was I wrong (well, not about the mean people with accents part.)  I LOVED Boston.  Like, immediately.  From the cobblestone streets to the brick buildings to the 18th century houses to the parks... it was a perfect blend of bustling big city meets quaint Eurocentric style.  It was one of the most charming cities I've ever been to.  So Boston, I'm officially eating crow.  Please accept my sincerest apologies.


 We mostly did three things in Boston: Drank a lot of beer, played a lot of games, and spent a lot of quality time with friends; new and old.

Samuel Adams Brewery Tour







Tyler got interviewed for a new show called "beer geeks" because, well, he's just that cool.


Harpoon Brewery



The truth is, I love that Boston is so full of history.  Just about every building you walk by has a story.



  
Cemetery where Samuel Adams is buried.  




We walked by the site where the Boston Marathon bombings occurred.  Though it had been over a month since the tragedy the site was still packed with people paying their respects.  It was both moving and eerie to stand in a spot that just a month prior had shaken up the whole nation.


We spent as much time as possible outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.  I fell in love with all of the parks in Boston and am convinced if I lived there I would be sustained on picnics alone.





This is our new friend Amy! she is an awesome human and an awesome musician and you should check out her music here.
Think Ingrid Michaelson meets Sara Bareilles meets Missy Higgins... only better.    


Here's another creeper photo with an adorable explanation.  If you look closely you can see that the man in this picture has a newborn baby girl.  Their dog is carrying her hat.  I can't deal.



I'd bet that Boston has many great restaurants with a diverse array of cuisines, but I am absolutely certain of two things Boston does right: Chowdah and Italian food.  We took a trip to the North End to get cannolis (again) and road tripped out to Cape Cod for some lobster bisque and clam chowder.  


 
We are currently accepting suggestions on decent tall-boy-short-girl poses.  We have yet to master it.


We spent one of our last days in Boston hanging out by the Charles River and getting caught in a rainstorm.  For me, it doesn't get much more fun than that.



This picture is blurry but it's probably on purpose because Kira got an "A" in photography.


Thank you Boston for being amazing! Thank you 39 Pratt for being so awesome and fun.  And thanks bes fren for being so hospitable.  Missing you already!

Let me tell you about my dad...

Sunday, June 16, 2013



Ten years ago in the blink of an eye he became a widowed single father left to raise a 13 year old girl all on his own.  Over the course of the past ten years he has worn many hats: not just that of a father, but of a mother, cheerleader, breadwinner, business owner, teacher, counselor, hair-doer, tear-wiper, and friend.



The cards didn't always fall in his favor but he always accepted the hands he was dealt with grace and optimism.  He has been the biggest supporter of everything I've done in my life (he even became the booster president of my dance team- now that's dedication.)  He has provided a place to celebrate my successes, as well as a safe place to accept my failures.  He was the shoulder I cried on when my heart was broken and the first person I called to inform that I had a crush on a boy named Tyler.



He lives life with an open mind and open heart and has shared his life- flaws included- with authenticity.  He has taught me to live my own life viewing each situation, be it good or bad, through the lens of hope and opportunity.



 Happy Father's Day to my best friend! 

East Coast Adventures Part II- New York

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I apologize for how long it's taken me to get these pictures up.  I know you've all been waiting with bated breath (that's sarcasm, for the record) and the boring story is that when I uploaded these pictures the formatting was all wonky (that's the technical term for it) and it's been such a pain in the arse to resize and reposition every. single. picture. that I've just been putting it off.

With that said, our time in New York was fantastic.  We were SO lucky to be hosted by some wonderfully hospitable friends in Brooklyn and had a great time exploring the city.  We woke up to our first day on my birthday, which I tend to have a love/hate relationship with.  That's a story for another time.  Anyway, this birthday was made incredibly special by my doting husband and the energy of New York.  Obviously the day started out with my favorite food on the planet.


This was my attempt at a secret picture because I had a feeling they would shoot me terribly mean looks if we came off too touristy

Next stop was the Highline: definitely my favorite spot in NY




...followed by coffee and cribbage at the Starbucks inside 30 Rockefeller




After I was adequately caffeinated we headed to Central Park.  It's no secret that I love parks, especially on my birthday.  I easily could have sat on a bench all day long and people watched. (That's actually on my bucket list.)





Speaking of people creeping watching, can we talk about this adorable child?? She was so stoked on these ducks.  I pretended she was French which just made her even cuter.  I want to live my life like she's living in this moment.  I considered asking the mom for her email so I could send her this gem, but that would mean  admitting I had shamelessly creeped on her kid which is probably borderline illegal.








Next stop was the fulfillment of another dream: macarons from La Duree.  In case you haven't noticed, most of my dreams revolve around food.



























     


For dinner Ty took me to a rooftop restaurant/ beer garden where I stuffed my face to my heart's content because it was my birthday and no one is allowed to tell you you're eating too much on your birthday.

      

The pinnacle of the night was yet another bucket list item: the Empire State Building. (side note- I first typed "eiffel tower." Guess I have France on the brain.) I'm sure anyone who is from New York and may be reading this is rolling their eyes (I see you Rob) but you know what? I love Sleepless in Seattle. So sue me.  It was totally worth the overpriced ticked and ridiculously long security line because it's the freakin' eiffel tower  Empire State Building!!










The night appropriately ended with more Italian food.


Oh yeah, we were there for a few more days and did other neat things aside from celebrating my birth.






feeling particularly sassy in Chinatown


Thank you to all of our friends in New York for taking the time to host us and show us around.  It was a blast!!