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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Apple Pie

I made this pie a few weeks ago. This is my second attempt at an apple pie, the recipe is from my favorite, the Hummingbird Cook Book:

You will need 2 quantities of pie crust:
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 15 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons of ice water
Mix together, roll into a ball and cover with saran wrap. Let chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

After chilling the crust, cut into two even balls and roll one out to the size of your pie pan. Once you have your bottom crust in place, you can add your pie filling:
  • 3 1/2 pounds green apples, peeled, cored, and cut into medium slices (I used Granny Smiths as directed by my cook book - they hold their shape and prevent the filling from becoming too sweet)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick of butter (yea I know... not the healthiest thing but... it's PIE!)
The most time consuming part of this recipe is definitely the peeling/coring/slicing of the apples. Put the butter and cinnamon in a large pot and stir until the butter has melted (this will smell amazing). Add apples and stir until well coated in butter. Finally, add the sugar and stir again.

The other challenging part is when to stop cooking the apples. You want them soft but not soggy. So I think the best way to test is to taste them every few minutes :)

Fill the bottom crust with the pie filling, then roll out and place your top crust. You will need to cut a few slits in the top to let the steam out. I also like to add a few cut outs (birds here) to make it pretty. Cover with an egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little milk).

Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until the pasty is golden brown.

Let cool and enjoy! This is my fiance's favorite, next time I would like to try a different variation, perhaps a dutch apple pie or a lattice top.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. I am having a lazy Sunday and enjoying every minute!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bon Voyage

I was lucky enough to squeeze in one last FANTASTIC night on the town with my sister before she left for Chicago this weekend.

The first stop was dinner at the Bistro where we had some mouth watering eats and a dash of wine.

Ignore our demon-like red eyes, I didn't feel like fussing with photoshop...

Brent and Nic both ordered the Bistro Burger: "local maple candied back and aged Grafton farms white cheddar" and duck-fat fries, apparently it was the best burger either of them had ever eaten. They were feeling a bit full after dinner but were very happy with their "burger baby" protuding bellies.

If you live in the Cincinnati area and haven't tried The Bistro yet, I would highly recommend it. I have been there 3 times and each dining experience is just phenomenal!

Later we made our way to Japps, a bar that opened (or reopened?) relatively recently. The bartenders are very skilled and a mixed drink is the thing to order here!

From left to right:

Pre-prohibition old fashioned (Brent), French 75 (moi), gin martini (Kelly), Compari on the rocks (Nic)

Factoid (and yes I always push imaginary glasses back into their place on my nose when I say that) about old fashioned's: apparently a "pre-prohibition" old fashioned doesn't have any of the fruit. They became popular again in the late 50's/early 60's and cherries with an orange slice was added to the cocktail.

Next up was a stop at MOTR and it was SO HOT inside... ughhh. There was good music and good friends however so it was worth it.After lots of packing and moving in the HEAT, Kelly was on her way to Chicago on Sunday. I miss her so much but couldn't be happier for my sister.

Well as usual, it's only Wednesday and I'm already daydreaming about the upcoming weekend. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists will be playing at Fountain Square on Friday and I am just hoping it isn't unbearably hot.

I've also wanted to catch up on some DVD's... MadMen and Dr. Who to be specific. Let's hope Netflix is ready for me! I also wanted to catch up on some sewing projects and attempt to knit (though it's just not as fun in the summer time...)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Inspirations

I just love this sunny season and wanted to share some of my summer time inspirations/goals!

I received a lovely water color set for Christmas this year and have only used it a few times. I would love to complete a few pieces in the upcoming months.

Fruit Smoothies
This is my staple to survive the hot summer weather. I usually have one every day in place of a meal. They are healthy, delicious, and cold!
If you're interested, here's the recipe (serves 1-2 depending on how much you want!)
- 2-3 large ice cubes
- 2/3 cup frozen berries
- 1 teaspoon almond butter (I like crunchy unsalted)
- 2 tablespoons yogurt of your choice (I like vanilla non-fat)
- 1/2 banana or 1 small banana
- about 1/2 -3/4 cup of milk (I like fat free)

Blend it up until smooth and enjoy!

Tropical/Tiki Clothing

Hawaiian inspired clothing really brings me back to my time living on Oahu (oh how I miss it). Personally, I think the perfect time to pull out your tropical prints is when the weather starts to get REALLY hot. Then, instead of being frustrated with the heat you can just enjoy it. Lay down on a lawn chair with a Mai Tai in your light and flowy aloha gear and read a good book!

MeTV (Memorable Entertainment Television):
Thanks to our lovely "digital converter box", we now get a few channels on our little tv. To my delight, I turned it on last week to find a new channel!! They play nothing but classic sitcoms, how fun is that?! Two of my favorites:

I grew up watching Mary Tyler Moore as "Laura" on The Dick Van Dyke show (on Nick at Night). I loved the early 1960s style so much, it was probably one of my first experiences with vintage fashion.

The Twilight Zone was another favorite of mine, I have always been a bit of a sci-fi nerd at heart (MST3k!!!) Also, it reminds me of the Tower of Terror at Disney World :)

(Fonteyn and Nureyev in rehearsal)
I have always kept up with my dancing but have gotten a bit lazy about it the past two years. Recently, I've been trying my best to make it to 2 classes a week. It's been just wonderful getting back in shape again. Taking sporadic classes here and there is fun and a always good workout but I really felt that my strength and technique were going down hill. Now that I am making an effort to regularly get to class I can really feel a difference.

Straw Hats and Gingham
I adore the look of straw hats, it gives me the feeling of being seaside or at the beach. Gingham is a favorite of mine as well (though I can't seem to help myself and generally wear it all year). My absolute favorite dress is a cotton knee length button up with red and white gingham and whenever I put it on I want to host a picnic!

Peach Pie

Peach Pie.... Ginger peach pie to be specific. This is a request from Brent and I'm excited to try a new recipe. I've actually never really baked with peaches before - be sure to keep a look out for the finished product!

As for now, the agenda for this weekend includes helping my sister with the move up to Chicago.
For her last night in Cincinnati, we are dressing up and going down town to The Bistro. It should be a lot of fun and delicious!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Quick Update..

I have had a lot fun visitors and events going on for the past few weeks but things are slowing down now, here's a quick recap on some things!

My lovely, smart, and talented sister is leaving us for Chicago (tears...) We had a going away party for her last weekend and it gave us the opportunity to see lots family and friends.

We decided on the Grande Finale restaurant for the occasion and it was like eye candy all afternoon long! There were wonderful antiques everywhere, art nouveau paintings hanging on the wall, and the chairs/tables were all mixed and matched dark grain wood. Just lovely!

My parents were in from New Mexico for a few days, it was such a treat to have them here!

Here is the clan plus our (extremely tall) significant others.

As far as the food goes, it was delicious! The only choice was brunch buffet but I really enjoyed all of the selections. Plenty of fruits, vegetarian options, and mimosas:)

We had another tasting party last week for Brandy and Cognac. This is my personal favorite so I really enjoyed the event. I brought the Landy Cognac and it was #2 on my blind taste-testing list!

Pierre has had such a fun time with all of the visitors and excitement but now he's just trying to beat the heat and stay cool during these terribly humid days we've been having.

In other news, I've really been enjoying The Nerdist podcast lately! The hosts are hilarious and they have such a wonderful guest line up. So far my favorites have been interviews with Zooey Deschanel, Joel McHale, Rob Zombie, Rain Wilson, Andy Samberg, OK GO, and my ultimate favorite.... THE MUPPETS!!!! I highly suggest taking a listen, the podcasts are always entertaining.

Also, I'm trying to get creative/crafty/adventurous to really enjoy the last half of my summer.
What are you doing to enjoy the lazy hazy days of summer?

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Whew, it's been busy! I started a new job about one month ago and I just LOVE it! Besides that, I have had almost three full weeks of visitors (more posts on that later). It's been a blast but now things are finally winding down again.

Today I got to have a lovely girls outing with my sister and Beth. We enjoyed a delicious brunch at Melt and were on our way to Metamora, Indiana, an antique village.

The town is just adorable and reminded me of an old western village. There was a canal that runs right through the middle.

The lovely Miss Beth and myself, beating the heat in the shade.

We took a much deserved brake and found a darling little ice cream parlor/fudge shop and I couldn't resist my favorite treat... Rootbeer Float! Yummm

Kelly perusing through the old books.

And pretty horses!

The town was really fun and I did see a few fun items but really I was just browsing. I couldn't help thinking how sweet this village would be during Christmas!

What are you doing to beat the heat and enjoy the summertime? I have really been enjoying tropical prints and want to have another Tiki Party!!