Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Banana Nut Roll

Yesterday, I gave in.  I couldn't stand it anymore and the issue had to be addressed.  I needed a haircut.  Bad.

Back home, I go to a woman that I trust.  I can show her a picture of what I want, she'll tell me what will and will not work with my hair/face, and she gives me something better than I had hoped for.  Every. Single. Time.
In DC, I tell them that I want a trim and my layers need some work since they've all grown out.  I give them something simple.  Something I think they can't mess up.

I sit down in the chair with high hopes.  They tell me how my hair is a giant knot (I know that already).  They yank on my hair, breaking combs (not really, but it came close).  The stylist scrunches up their face while they look at my coif.  Their breathing is labored.  They "trim" off 2-3 inches of hair.  They forget all mention of layers.  I walked out with what I like to call "girl haircut."
Girl Haircut is called that because it is the generic style of every (and I mean every) white girl in DC.  If you were wondering if there is a similar phenomenon in men's styles.  You bet there is!  "Boy Haircut" occurs under similar circumstances.  Said boy walks into salon, lays out pictures of what he wants.  Describes it in much detail.  Snip snip, a little gel, and out walks boy haircut.

But you know what?  Next time I get my hair cut, it will be different.  I won't have to look like everyone else in this city.  You know why?!  Because I won't be living in this city anymore!  Austin and I are moving to Boulder, Colorado (I hope you read that in a Portlandia-esque tone, because that's how we say it) in just 2 months!

We couldn't be more excited for the move back West - closer to our families, closer to nature and closer to getting Dingo!  If you have any recommendations for a good hair stylist in Boulder, I'm all ears :)
This deserves a celebration!  In my mind 'celebration' can mean one thing and one thing only: Cake!  And not just any cake.  Fancy (but surprisingly easy) cake!  In fact, I guarantee you this is the easiest jelly roll you'll ever make (the filling is baked into the cake)!*

BANANA NUT ROLL

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lemon Pistachio Biscotti

This past weekend, Austin and I visited our good friend who now lives on Long Island for her Ph.D. program.  She's going to be a doctor.  She'll be able to answer all of our questions then (re: Austin always saying, "I don't know, I'm not a doctor!")

She's not quite a doctor yet, so she wasn't much help with our questions.  ("What is the difference between a sound and a bay?"  "When does a brook become a creek?"  "Why do they only sell Corn Toasties in New York and New Jersey?")  She did school us on the accents of the Northeast and included a brief aside about the South though.  It was informative. 

We also learned some pretty amazing new dance moves from some cargo-short clad dudes leaving the bar after their St. Patrick's Day shenanigans. 
We learned a lot.

Most of the weekend was spent just enjoying each other's company.  Is it just me or does it sound like we got engaged?! 

Here are the save the date photos! :)
The point is: taking a 3 day weekend to enjoy the company of an amazing friend, soak in the sunshine and drink coffee slow is the best.  The absolute best!
These lemon pistachio biscotti will remind you to slow it down a little bit with your morning coffee.  It's important.

LEMON PISTACHIO BISCOTTI
1/3 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
4 tsp. lemon peel
1 1/4 c. pistachios

For the Icing/Glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. lemon peel
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1.  Beat together butter and sugar.  Add vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time. 

2.  Mix together baking powder, salt, flour and lemon peel.  Add to wet ingredients.

3.  Stir in pistachios.
4.  Divide dough into 2 equal parts.  Roll out each part into an 8" tube.  Press flat (about 1 inch thick).
5.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.  Cool 30 minutes.
6.  Using a serrated knife, cut at angles then place the cut side down on a cookie sheet.
7.  Reduce heat to 325 and bake for 8 minutes.  Flip biscotti over and bake an additional 8-10 minutes.

8.  Whisk together glaze ingredients in small bowl.  Drizzle over cooled biscotti (or dip one end in!).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Breakfast

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Apple Carrot Muffins

You know those songs that bring you back?  And why is it that you can remember every word to that Spice Girls song from when you were in elementary school but you can't remember to start the dishwasher before you go to bed?

Music is weird.  Powerful weird.

Walk This Way brings me back to making mixed tapes in Missy's room while she was supposed to be cleaning.
Build Me Up Buttercup brings me back to our long car trips up to "the farm."
Anything off of this Switchfoot album reminds me of my "angsty" teenage years.
And Indian Summer by the Doors transports me to the top of a desert mesa on a sunny day.
Every Cat Stevens song makes me stop in my tracks and appreciate the moment.

I love those little undistracted, unrushed moments.  They are often very few and way too far between, but when you have one, they are magical.  Sometimes the circumstances force you to create your own moment.  Take a break with a cup of tea and a fresh baked good.  Those are good moments too.
APPLE BRAN MUFFINS
4 c. oat bran
1 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. milk
4 T. vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten (or 2 1/2 large eggs)
2 T. honey
2 c. shredded carrot
1 c. shredded apple
1 1/2 c. raisins
1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine oat bran, flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

2.  In a stand mixer, blend together milk, vegetable oil, eggs and honey.

3.  Add in dry ingredients.

4.  Stir in carrots, apple and raisins.

5.  Bake in a lined/greased muffin pan for at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  (fill these muffins higher than you would a normal muffin because they don't rise much).

6.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan then transfer to a wire rack.
These muffins are dense and hearty with the texture of instant oatmeal.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ginger Cookies with Lemon Glaze

This past summer I had the opportunity to go on a trip of a lifetime (literally) and I saw soooo many animals.  We thought when we landed in Kenya that we were going to be really unlucky and only see pigeons and rats or something.  Luckily we were wrong.  We saw all of these animals, and then some. 

You know what though?  My favorite animal is still the moose.  I love how they look like they are going to fall over on their faces because they have big, burly chests and spindly little legs.  I love them even though I once was chased (on foot) by a moose and almost trampled to death.  I love their little turkey gobblers. 
So naturally, when I spotted these cookie cutters at Ikea, I had to come up with a recipe really quick so I could use them!

GINGER COOKIES with LEMON GLAZE
4 3/4 c. flour
2 inches fresh ginger (substitute with 4 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses

LEMON GLAZE
2 c. powdered sugar
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  In large mixing bowl, combine flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Set aside.
3.  With electric mixer, beat shortening until fluffy (about 30 seconds).  Add sugar.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add in molasses.
4.  Combine wet and dry ingredients.

5.  Press plastic wrap over the top of the dough (in the mixing bowl) and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or overnight).

6.  Roll out dough (about a third at a time and leave the rest in the fridge) about 1/4" thick. 
7.  Cut out cookies and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
8.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.

9.  Whisk together ingredients for lemon glaze and pour into a shallow dish.

10.  Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze and place on a wire rack to allow any excess to drip off.

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