Saturday, June 23, 2012

Make this, asap.

Don't be jealous but I'm off galavanting in Sattle with my very best friends. We were the TEAS in college and they were all in my wedding. I saw T in Denver on our road trip a few weeks back but haven't seen ES since my wedding. A YEAR AGO. unacceptable. Anyways, you'll get an update when I get back, but until then, enjoy this!

Chocolate bourbon-spiked banana bread
(another great one from Joy the Baker Cookbook)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (i.e. you need to be prepared and take it out that morning)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 + 1/2 cups mashed bananas (I used 3, which I had to label "let us die" to keep them from getting eaten!)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
To make: preheat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray (OR how cute would it be to make mini ones??). 

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes says Joy). Add one egg at a time and beat for 1 minute in between. Then add bananas, lemon juice and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated. 

In medium bowl stir together flour, powder and salt. Add this all at once to the wet mixture and stir just until mixed. Next, fold in walnuts and chocolate chips with a spatula. 

Put into loaf pan and stick it in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick/knife/fork/skewer comes out clean. After it's done cool it for 20 minutes then take it out of the pan. If you're lucky your family will eat most of it so you don't gain 5 pounds, but you'll get 2 slices and be so glad you did. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I'm late, I'm late

My fantastic husband and I just celebrated our one year anniversary (5 days ago, hence the title...). I can hardly believe it. Honestly it feels like way more than a year ago that we were driving overnight from Lubbock to Mesa for our wedding week, then flying to Cancun, then driving home. We've crammed a lot into a year. Now we're in a completely different place, employed in part time jobs and our belongings are in a box in Seattle. Life is just bonkers sometimes.

Anyways, I wanted to share that for part of our date we went KAYAKING! I wish I could have taken my camera out on the lake with us but bottom line it rained on us. My pants were soaked and it was awesome.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not quite Sebasitan Joe's

Our family has a collective favorite ice cream store called Sebastian Joe's. This little gem, located in Minneapolis, has the absolute best ice cream flavor in the world: raspberry chocolate chip. I've never found it anywhere else either. The last time I was there, in December, I went up to the counter and stated "I'd like the biggest size you have" and the girl just looked me strangely.

Since this past Sunday was father's day and I've been making ice cream lately (like this honey walnut) I decided to surprise him with a homemade version of our favorite ice cream! I adapted it from the Dark Raspberry Chocolate Chunk recipe from Phoo-d. 

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream!

  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 2 cups of whipping cream
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 cups of raspberries (I used frozen and thawed them slightly in the freezer)
  • 8 oz of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I chopped up 2 Ghiradelli bars)
Now to begin: place milk, whipping cream sugar, salt and raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm.

Now, let the mixture steep for about 20 minutes (lets hope you're not making it at 11 at night and can really stay awake for this).  After it's steeped, strain through a fine metal strainer into a clean bowl. (I didn't have a fine metal strainer as I'm not in my own kitchen and it was okay but would be better if strained more effectively(. 

Now cool this mixture for 4 hours or overnight. The next morning (after your dad has left for work), or whenever its ready, place in ice cream maker. 

At the end of when it's churning stir in the chocolate chips (I simply fold them in while I'm pouring it into the container). Freeze until solid then serve! I garnished it with a few fresh raspberries and a square of chocolate to make it extra fancy. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy day, Dad!

I love you and I hope you have a great day digging rocks! You're the best

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Book reviews: Willberforce, Little Tree and Running

Sheesh, I've been slacking on the reading! But never fear, I'm reading lots here at the cabin, especially considering I work two days a week! Here are the reviews for the last three books that I've finished.

Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron

Read this book. That is my recommendation. I picked this book up randomly at the library and saw that Kingsolver (my fav author) had written glowing reviews of this book so I figured I would read it. I finished the last 150 pages in one morning laying on the couch. 
Nkuba Jean Patrick is a boy/man growing up in Rwanda. He becomes a runner with Olympic potential and faces the challenges of being a Tutsi during the time of political challenges leading up to the genocide. It was really interesting to read about the genocide as historical fiction. Of course there is a love story as well, making it all the more compelling. 

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter

This is the fictionalized memoir about Carter living with his Cherokee grandparents after his parents die. He writes from the perspective of a child getting to know the mountain home of his grandparents. He helps his grandfather with his moonshine operation during prohibition, learns to read from his Granma and runs around the area. I did some research on the book after I read it and apparently the book is shrouded in controversy. Forrest Carter is a pseudoym for Asa Earl Carter and although it was claimed to be a nonfiction memoir it was actually fiction and others had issues with the stereotyping. You can read more about that on Wikipedia if you feel like it but the book is still good.

Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxas

This is the story about William Wilberforce, a member of the British Parliment, who championed abolition in England and their colonies. He is truly inspirational. He grew up in a well-to-do family and ended up sort of wasting his college years but he got into politics early after finishing. After a conversion experience he become a leader and advocate for the social reform and leads the cause for abolishing slavery. The book is a little slow at the end but I would recommend it. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Just one more

This time it's my Joy the Baker recipe for Whole Wheat and Honey Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits.


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (I question if this even matters but I'm a follower)
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 4 tbsp crumbled goat cheese (mmmm)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (cold) (I made buttermilk with 1 cup milk + some lemon juice and let it sit for 10 minutes)
  • 2 tbsp honey
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and put a 10-inch cast iron skillet into the oven while it preheats.

2) Stir together flour, powder, soda and salt. Now incorporate butter and goat cheese into this mixture using your hands. It will be quite crumbly. obvi. Whisk together the milk and honey then add into the flour mixture. Stir until no dry flour remains. 

3) Take out skillet, put some butter into the bottom of the pain and swirl around to coat. Using large spoonfuls (about 1/4 cup of batter) drop the dough into the skillet, leaving about an inch of space between them. About 6 biscuits will fix in at once. Bake for 16 minutes until tops of golden, dry and slightly firm. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

4) Enjoy with some coffee or jam or both. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Guns and Maces

 While looking through pictures from the road trip/just prior I found these gems from the last time we went shooting at the farm. I decided these were the most American pictures I have ever taken as they include 1) guns, 2) open spaces and 3) a Ford tractor.

The most exciting part of that day was when Seth said, "I could get a mace, there is one upstairs." We don't know where it came from but I decided that macing things is way more fun than shooting them. (Hence my enthusiasm)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

More JTB

Yes, there is more Joy the Baker coming atcha today. This is a doosey. I have more for you after this one too! But I promise to not make my blog 100% Joy the Baker this summer because that would be fattening for all of us...or maybe just me.

Whiskey Banana Bread Pudding
(the original is bourbon, but my husband got whiskey because the men at the store told him it was the same, so we went with it)

  • 1 stale baguette
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 and 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp whiskey 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • optional: cinnamon sugar or other toppings (she suggested sliced bananas...but I used mine)
1) Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 8 x 11 pan (originally she calls for an 8x8 but ours was being used to I increased the size and increased a few ingredients as well)

2) Tear your baguette into chunks and place in dish. Add the mashed bananas and incorporate with your hands (if we're being honest I just put whole bananas into the pan and I just went to town). Set aside for just a minute. 

3) In a saucepan heat the brown sugar and whole milk until warm and sugar is dissolved. In separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add milk mixture to the eggs until well incorporated. Now stir in the whiskey and vanilla extract. Dump this over the bread/banana goodness.

4) Bake for 25-35 minutes until bread is browned and there is minimal jiggling of the liquid (is jiggling a word?). Let this cool for 15-20 minutes.

5) Spoon into serving dishes and top with cinnamon sugar and bananas if you happened to have some extra (which we never do in a house of 6 people...). It is seriously delicious. I also enjoyed it cold out of the fridge the next day. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Honey Walnut Ice Cream

My bff got me the Joy the Baker cookbook for Christmas/when it was released. This week I made my first official JTB cookbook recipe. Bottom line: it was really good. 

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp veggie oil (I actually used olive oil and it was fine)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • pinch o' salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream

1) Roast walnuts by preheating oven to 400 degrees. Toss walnuts with olive oil and salt, roast in oven for about 8 minutes. Let cool in a separate bowl. You may need to label these so your family doesn't eat them. 

2) In a heavy saucepan, mix milk and honey and heat until just boiling. Let it cool slightly while you whisk the egg yolks, salt and sugar. Do this until it is pale yellow. It took me about 6 minutes and I counted it as my arm workout for the day.

3) After this you need to slowly drizzle about half the milk mixture into the yolk mixture (this is apparently getting the eggs ready to be cooked). Transfer this back into the saucepan and place over medium heat. 

4) Make the custard by stirring constantly with a spatula until it coast the back of a wooden spoon (about 8-10 minutes). 

5) Now remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and cream. Pour this through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Refrigerate for about 2 hours (or while you drive to the nearest national Park). Finally you can now mix it in your ice cream maker according to your manufacturer's instructions. At the end add the walnuts. 

I found that I needed to put it in the freezer for a little bit to get it solid enough to eat like ice cream. We then ate it on a peach-blueberry crisp and it was delish. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Road Trippin'

As you probably know, my husband and I drove cross country from Lubbock, TX to Coram, MT. Our route took us through the panhandle of Oklahoma, to Denver, CO, along the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, camping in the Tetons, stopping/napping in Yellowstone National Park and finally to Coram. We had some lovely picnic places, ate a lot of pb & js, and listened to some new music. I also did some crosswords and slept. Fantastic. Enjoy these pictures. 

OKLAHOMA where the wind blows free! 

 Memorial Park in Colorado

Wash Park in Denver with one of my BFFs, T Hack

Orange Italian Soda, Iced Soy Late, Iced Lavender Mashmallow Mate 
(and a hot one, which sounds gross but is quite tasty) at Wash Perk in Denver.  

Along the Trail Ridge Road

My soy latte from Old Town Coffee in Lander, WY.
I definitely recommend it if you're in the area :)

 Our campsite at Colter Bay in the Tetons. 

The view from our campsite 

One of our very few self-portraits 

In Yellowstone (with Timothy)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Nature walk

I have a confession: I really don't like napping. So while everyone else was napping I cleaned the bathrooms, read a chapter of my book and went for a nature walk. Here are my nature walk photos