A Look Back- Summer Livin

I’m taking a look back at summer 2012.  It was filled with travels, milestones, new adventures, new friends and lots of good food.
Come take a look!

My summer started off great with a little jaunt across the Atlantic.  I took my passport and hopped on a plane to Berlin with my BF, his brother, and his brothers GF.
We saw the Berlin Wall in a walking tour around Berlin.  In Prague we went to the beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral and sipped on coffee in the Old Town Square.  We rode the train from city to city, passing by beautiful fields of yellow.  We stayed across from and saw an Opera at the Staatsoper in Vienna.
We ate lots of food… of course!  Gelato was a great afternoon snack in Prague.  Lemon sorbet was a (very delicious) palate cleansers at a Italian influenced dinner.  Beer gardens in Prague and Munich made for a great afternoon break.  Bread and cheese from the Naschmarkt was the perfect lunch after our arrival in Vienna.  Coffee was a daily occurrence.  But the fragilite from Demel Pastry Shop in Vienna was by far my favorite treat of the trip!
I started two jobs this summer.  One at a gym.  The other at a podiatrist office.  I’ve taught people how to squat and lunge.  I’ve learned lots about natural foot health.  (Correct Toes are a miracle worker and shoes should be flat, wide, and flexible… just so you know)
I graduated from college!  So did Mirjam and Lisa.  We were all very excited in our square hats and giant gowns.
I saw the great outdoors.
I went to Mount Saint Helens.  I hiked to the top of peaks to see incredible views of Mt. Hood.  I saw the Columbia River Gorge in all its glory.  I took strolls through the park.  And I walked across suspension bridges.
I ate foods.
Pizza at Nostrana.  Salt and Straw ice cream.  Bone marrow and pretzel toast.  Kale salad from Caveman Cart.  TWO double yolk eggs (that never happens!).  A paleo picnic breakfast in the park.  S’mores deconstructed with a side of bourbon.  Shrimp and veggie skewers for dinner on the deck.
Its been a good eating summer!
I drank drinks!
Brew fest was fun and raspberry beer was my fav.  Red wine with JoJo B on NW 23rd.  Gin and tonic at the Mansion.  Purple haze with my mom.  Margaritas on the rocks.
I took another trip this summer.
I headed North to Canada with my momma.
We got on a boat to Victoria, BC.
We went whale watching on a small boat.  It was crazy cold and we were all just as excited as a kid at Disneyland when we saw the whales.
Butchart gardens was beautiful and unique.  After a stroll through the gardens we had ginger orange scones at high tea.
We stayed at Abbeymoore Manor, a beautiful bed and breakfast run by the nicest people! The mornings were enjoyed with a cup of coffee while we ate homemade breakfast.
The harbor was filled with boats and the sky filled with clouds!
I became obsessed with three things.
Chocolate popsicles.  Bing cherries.  Annie’s bunnies.
Boom Boom Pow!
I got my nails done did.
I blazed like nobodies blazeness.
I yolo’d a haircut.
I also listened to lots of JtB and Shutts
I found this old picture of my family vacation.  We were in Hawaii.  And, obviously, we were thrilled.
This picture continues to make me laugh… every time I see it.  I have got to get back into lady bugs…
 All in all, my summer was great summer.  Tell me about yours!
P.S. I am now ready for bright colored leaves, cool autumn breezes, and comfy sweaters.

Nectarine Huckleberry Tart

I often think way too much about what others think of me.  My decisions, my actions, my thoughts so quickly go toward what the person next to me is thinking.  I get taken captive, in a sense, by the possible judgement or objection of somebody else’s thinking, someone else’s moral compass, someone else’s way of doing things, someone else’s opinion.

I decide things based on what I believe other people would like.  I look for approval. I want someone else’s “okay.”  I look to someone else to validate me.

I was reminded last week that everyone has some kind of ugly baggage that they are carrying around with them.  Or even just a part of their life that they think others might label as wrong or weird or what have you.

I was reminded that those people I am so worried about are just like me.  No better.  No worse.  We are on equal ground.

I can live my life even when someone disagrees.

Sigh.

This past week I decided to make a tart.  This tart took forever to decide upon because I was worried about how it would turn out.  And I was worried about that because I was taking it to a work bbq and I wanted everyone there to like.

I really get ridiculous sometimes.  I mean who doesn’t like a buttery crust topped with fruit?  Someone, I am sure of it.

The crust for this tart is super simple.  Flour, almond, and butter get weighed and measured.  Then lemon zest is mixed into the sugar.  This helps release the oils in the zest which means a more pronounce lemon flavor in the final product.

All of these ingredients are worked together until the flour is completely incorporated and the dough is crumbly. The dough is then pressed into a tart pan.

Just use your fingers thats definitely the best way to do it.

Huckleberries, which I proudly picked myself, are rinsed and dried off a bit.

Deliciously fragrant nectarines are split open and cut into small wedges.

Take a minute to admire the gorgeous fruit!  Such brilliant colors…

Huckleberries go in first.  Nectarines are layered on top.  I start around the outside edge first and move toward the center.  It doesn’t have to be perfect… quit caring about what other people will think. (I’m talking to myself here)

Now, bake that beauty!

I absolutely love the colors of this tart after its been baked.  Deep purple, mauve, and taupe.  Perfect.

I have to say this tart was a success.  There is a thick layer of lemony crust, which I greatly appreciate.  A touch of cinnamon adds a warmth to the sweet nectarines and tart huckleberries.  A scoop of gelato is a nice touch… just a suggestion.

And yes, the co-workers thought it was delicious.

Nectarine Huckleberry Tart

Recipe from Pease Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, crushed or use almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • zest of one lemon
  • 4 nectarines, pitted and quartered
  • 1/2 cup huckleberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter or spray a 9 1/2 inch removable bottom tart pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix the lemon zest into the sugar until its incorporated well.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix in the almonds and sugar.
  4. Add the butter to the dry ingredients.  Using your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture and continue to mix just until flour is incorporated.  Dough should be clumpy not one solid ball.
  5. Dump the dough into the prepared tart pan and press dough into pan using your fingers or the flat bottom of a cup.  The dough should be flush with the top of the pan.  Place tart crust in freezer while you prepare the fruit.
  6. In a medium bowl, gently mix together the nectarines, cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Let sit for a few minutes to release some of the juices of the fruit.
  7. Remove crust from freezer and sprinkle the huckleberries on top of the crust so that they lie in one single layer.
  8. Beginning with the outer edge place the nectarines along the whole outside edge of the tart pan.  Continue this process until the crust in filled with nectarines.
  9. Bake tart for about 40 minutes or until the edge of the crust is browned slightly.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack or at least 10 minutes.  Serve warm or cooled… both are delicious!

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits {and Gravy}


Sometimes you just need a little comfort.  A hug, a hold, a good word, and high five.

Sometimes comfort is in order because you just aren’t feeling optimal.

Sometimes comfort is needed because your heart is breaking… which definitely means its aching.

Sometimes you need a little comfort because you messed up at work and sent the wrong product to a dude in France.

Sometimes comfort comes in handy when you have to say goodbye… to a loved one, a pet, or your favorite t-shirt that has a big gaping hole in the arm pit (thats real life).

Sometimes you need comfort because the world seems so big and you seem quite insignificant in its core.

Sometimes comfort calms you down after being stuck in traffic for an hour (or 2)

And sometimes you just need a little comfort because its a Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning comfort is the best!  Especially when accompanied by homemade biscuits and gravy.

Whole wheat honey biscuits al a Joy the Baker are a cinch to make.

Flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Irish butter.  Buttermilk and raw honey.

Butter gets cut into the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers!  The end result will be pieces about the size of nickels and peas.

Stir the honey into the buttermilk.  Pour over your butter/flour.  Then…

Mix!  But only until ingredients are just combined.  Over-mixing will make the biscuits tough… and no one wants a tough biscuit.

A little butter gets melted in a skillet.

Drop 1/4 cup of dough into your pan.  Joy used a cast iron skillet, I just used a nonstick pan.  Use what you’ve got!

You know what comes next.  Bake until the biscuits are golden brown on top and buttery in the middle.

These biscuits are true comfort.  Warm and buttery they lend themselves well to all sorts of biscuit situations.  Topped with grape jam? (yes please!).  Sandwiching a fried egg and a slice of bacon?  (why not?).  Stuffed with goat cheese (that’s Joy’s version..also yummy).  But what about topped with sausage gravy?

Uhhhh, I think Tuesday comfort requires gravy.  Right?

Yes, yes it does.

It also requires that I eat off of my grandma’s southwestern plate and scramble up an egg.

High five, hug it out, say something nice.  Comfort yourself… B&G style!

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

Recipe slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

Makes 8-10 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 11/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Place non-stick skillet or cast iron pan in the oven while it is preheating.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the flour resembles a course meal.  Butter will be in pea size and nickle size pieces.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the butter/flour mixture.  Mix together the buttermilk and honey.  The honey will not completely mix into the buttermilk but thats okay.
  5. Pour buttermilk and honey into the flour mixture.  Using a fork, stir together ingredients until just combined.
  6. Remove skillet from oven and melt about a tablespoon of butter in the pan.
  7. Scoop about 1/4 cup of dough into the pan.  Position biscuits about 1 inch apart from each other.
  8. Bake for about 14-16 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and serve warm.

*Biscuits will keep for up to 3 days well wrapped and in an airtight container at room temperature.

Chocolate Popsicles

We’re thick in the middle of summer livin, summer lovin.

The sun is out.  The sandals are on.  And my legs are still a nice shade of pale white.  What can say?  I blame Oregon.

Its play-outside-eat-on-the-patio-have-a-breakfast-picnic weather.

Its float-the-river-drink-a-gin-cocktail-on-the-porch weather.

Its wear-a-maxi-dress-let-your-hair-air-dry weather.

And its definitely make-lots-and-lots-of popsicles weather.

I’ve never been a huge fan of popsicles, preferring ice cream, or a Flinstones push-pop, when I craved a cold treat.  I think part of it is that they are just so sweet and I hate the fake fruit/sugar taste of most popsicles.

However, this summer popsicles have been all the rage in the blogosphere so I decided to try my own… chocolate style, of course.

I’m not sure these could get any simpler.  Dark chocolate chips and chunks get tossed in a bowl.  Coconut milk is heated up and poured over chocolate.  Then we wait.

Bananas get mashed.  Coconut nectar gets measured.

All ingredients are whisked together.  The chocolate deliciousness is poured into cups that remind me of the dentist.  They always brought the dreaded fluoride to me in those cups.

After being placed in the freezer for about 30 minutes the cups are removed and a wooden popsicle stick is placed in the middle.

Back to the freezer for another hour and half… at least!

The result is a creamy, cold treat that I’ve been guiltlessly indulging in every night the past two weeks, except the night I went to Salt and Straw… but thats a whole other scoop of ice cream.  See what I did there?

I’m not gonna lie, these choco pops are rich.  If you don’t enjoy dark chocolate you are very welcome to use a lower percentage of chocolate chip/bar.  You can also use honey or maple syrup instead of coconut nectar.  Maybe you’d like to add peanut butter?  And maybe slash I definitely will give you a high five if you do.

Add salted caramel, try a different fruit, make 12 batches, and share them with a friend.  Why not?

After all it is feel-like-a-kid-again-eat-popsicles-for-breakfast-let-your-imagination-go-wild weather.

Chocolate Popsicles

Makes about 6

Ingredients

  • 2.5 ounces 99% dark chocolate
  • 2.5 ounces 67% dark chocolate
  • 1 banana, ripened and mashed or pureed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut nectar
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions

  1. Heat milk and coconut nectar in a small sauce pan until simmering around the edges.
  2. Place chocolate in a small bowl.  Pour coconut milk over chocolate.  Set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk coconut milk and chocolate together until mixture is smooth.  If your chocolate did not melt all the way place bowl over a pot of simmer water to completely melt chocolate.
  4. Whisk in banana until combined
  5. Pour mixture into small cups or popsicle mold.  Place in freezer for about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from freezer and place popsicle sticks in the center of each pop.  Return to freezer for at least 1 1/2 hours.
  7. When you are ready to enjoy, cut a slit in the side of the cup and remove the cup from the popsicle.  Now, see how many licks it takes to finish!
  8. Store popsicles in an airtight container in the freezer.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Marionberry Crisp

Do you ever just feel kind of stuck?

Not necessarily in a bad way but just in a blah way.  Not feeling like you’re moving forward.  Or rather unsure of what direction to actually be moving in?

I’ve been been feeling that way lately.  And I’ve felt a little off.

The last few months I just haven’t felt completely in-sync with myself.  I’ve been plugged in a lot… reading blogs like a mad woman, taking/scrolling through pictures on instagram, dabbling on twitter,  and basically just filling my attention with whatever I can find.  My iphone is very good at keeping my attention occupied.

I think its a bad coping mechanism for feeling like I don’t have a clear direction at the moment.  I’ve got some good things going on and God has provided for me in out-of-the-blue type of ways, but I still feel like the picture is a little fuzzy.  And so,  I’ve been living vicariously through other people either on facebook, instagram, or blogs because I feel like “those” people have it together a little bit.  There pictures seem to be in focus, and engaging with theirs means I can avoid the headache of wrestling with my own.

Its only for so long that I can avoid things though.  I guess its only as long as I can stand to have that “off” feeling inside of me.  That feeling that some part of me is not being fulfilled, or utilized, or attended to.  The quiet/ introspective/contemplative part of myself has been shoved to side so that I can look at instagram one more time.  And I miss her.

I’ve noticed that she’s been gone but I haven’t been able to put my finger on it.  I just thought it was an ebb and flow situation and she’d be back soon.  I think I was wrong.  Because as true as it is that we ebb and flow through life we also must attend to and nurture as well.  Those require thought, intention, and action.

Just like this crisp.  A little bit of thought, a touch of attention, and some action make this crisp a delightful after dinner (breakfast or lunch) treat.

I was trying to make this dessert paleo because this boy that I love is eating like a caveman these days.  I, of course, will not let him go without dessert so this was my first attempt.

I combined butter, flaxseed meal, sliced almonds, raw honey, and coconut flour to make the topping.  The best way to do that is just use your hands.  Like a caveman.

Fresh blueberries and marionberries get washed and set in a bowl.  A spoonful of honey and a couple teaspoons of cornstarch are added to the berries.  After mixing together, the berries sit for about 5 minutes to get their juices flowing.

Fill your baking dishes (they totally don’t have to match) with blueberries and top with the crisp.

Drips of berry juice are sure to get on your counter… its part of the process…

Also part of the process is a scoop or two of ice cream.  Vanilla is always fantastic, but I had pistachio on hand… such a good coincidence!

This crisp was full of blueberry and marionberry flavor.  I didn’t add a lot of honey to the berries so the crisp was less sweet than most that I’ve had, which I prefer.  The topping has a slight coconut flavor from the flour and adds great crunch and texture.

To be totally honest, I was kind of just adding as I went.  The following recipe is more of a guideline.  I approximated most of the measurements but it turned out great.  If you like your crisp on the sweeter side feel free to use regular sugar or add more honey.  The topping can be made with wheat flour if you don’t have coconut on hand.  A little cinnamon or ginger would create another layer of flavor.  Crisps are forgiving so don’t be afraid to take a bit of chance!

Blueberry Marionberry Crisp

Recipe from my crazy brain

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup marionberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, cold

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place berries in a medium sized bowl.  Add cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons honey.  Mix until incorporated and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine coconut flour, almonds, flaxseed meal, butter and honey.  Cut butter into other ingredients with your fingers or two forks until they are about the size of a pea.
  4. Pour berries into oven safe baking dish.  Top berries with crisp topping.  Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream!

Yogurt Lemon Cake

Hi friends!

Its been a few days (slash weeks)… again.  And I’ve been missing you!… (again).

I’ve been out of the kitchen and in the workplace lately.  I’ve been entertaining family and wearing a graduation cap.  Life has had me busy and time has passed by leaving my measuring cups empty and my oven cold.

There are a lot of things I could tell you about from the last several weeks.  I could talk about my new job and how I work with feet.  I could tell you about the older man who couldn’t reach his foot leading me to put toe socks on his feet for him.  I could tell you that his feet were kind of gross and the toe sock definitely did not slide on easily.  Awkward.

I could also tell you about the running group that I agreed to lead since my boss was on vacation.  The one in which all the participants smoked me in the run… who knew pick ups would be so dang hard?  They all ran six.  I stopped at four.  Total fail.  I decided then that I am not a runner.  And I don’t think I want to be… I was debating for a few months.

I could tell you about the ridiculously boring speech given at my graduation ceremony.  You know its bad when she starts recounting life stories starting in 1950.  Don’t they screen these speeches beforehand?  Probably not.  No, definitely not.  What I want to tell you about is this cake

This cake tastes like summer! (even when its still raining in Portland)

Lemons are zested, sugar is measured.   Combined together and you get lemon sugar!  The zest permeates the sugar which helps with more even distribution in the cake. Sugar also helps release the oils in the zest.  Oil equals flavor.

Greek yogurt makes things tender and moist.  A lot of people hate the word moist.  I really don’t mind it.  Just so you know… fun, useless fact.

The recipe called for whole-milk Greek yogurt but I had 0% on hand.  You’ve got choices!

After the eggs, oil, and vanilla are added the dry ingredients get folded in.  Then into the loaf pan it goes.

Stray batter gets eaten with your fingers.  Taste test!

Real talk:  By the time this cake came out of the oven it was too dark to take pictures.  The next day was packed with events so I didn’t have time for a photo op then either.  Sooo, I ended up leaving the cake in the loaf pan for a few days, wrapped with a bunch of plastic wrap to ensure it didn’t get dried out.

The result?  Faaaantastic.  Really, I love this cake.  It tender and lemony… even after sitting a few days.  Fresh strawberries make it extra special!

You deserve good cake this summer.  Get into it!

Yogurt Lemon Cake

Recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine (called French yogurt cake in the magazine)

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8.5 x 4.25 inch loaf pan.  Dust pan with flour, tap out excess flour.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, using your fingers rub together lemon zest and sugar until zest is completely incorporated and sugar is moist.  Whisk in yogurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract.  Fold in dry ingredients.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place pan in oven and bake until cake is golden and skewer inserted comes out clean; about 50 minutes.
  5. Let cake cool for about 15 minutes in pan.  Invert cake onto cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Enjoy with summer berries, ice cream, whipped cream, or wherever your imagination takes you!

Cranberry Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread

I have been out of the loop for what seems like quite some time.  Life has been full of transitions, travels, and… I’m trying to think of another “t” word that would describe my life as of late but I can’t… maybe tasty?  Yes, we’ll go with that.

I’ve acquired a new job, taken a little jaunt around Europe, and eaten lots of delicious food over the past month or so but I have also been missing this space.  A place to come and share a thought, a story, or a weird habit.  A time to speak to no one.  A page for anyone to read.

I also missed the kitchen.  I missed beating butter and cracking eggs.  I missed the smell of ingredients blending together and wafting through the house when all was said and done.  And I missed telling you about what’s in my oven baking.  So lets just jump right into this…

Shortbread cookies remind me of girl scouts and my mom.  My mom always loved the girl scout shortbread cookies when I was little and I could never figure that out.  Did she know there were thin mints and tag-a-longs?  My little brain was baffled at the thought of a cookie involving chocolate being trumped by one that was just stamped with the girl scout symbol.

As with most cookies, these shortbreads start by beating butter and sugar together.  Lots of butter inhibits the formation of gluten and gives shortbread its crumbly texture.  Egg is added to act as a binder and vanilla for a touch of flavor!

This is really where things get good.  Cranberries, orange zest, and poppy seeds are mixed in to the dough.  The smell of orange and cranberry is quite refreshing and strangely alluring.  It took everything in me to not eat all of the dough right from the bowl.  Siren song!

After all the goodies are added the dough gets shaped into a log, wrapped in waxed paper, and chilled.  Then we’re on to slicing!  My favorite part.  A serrated knife slides easily through the dough making the process sort of relaxing.

The finished product is beautifully dotted with ruby, orange, and black.  The texture is crumbly and buttery and the fragrance alone will be leave you desiring a second (or third).

They even almost made me forget about the chocolate cookies I was going to bake next!  Almost.

Cranberry Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread

Recipe from Joy the Baker Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberry
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Directions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together flour and salt.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until well incorporated, about another 2 minutes.  Scrape the sides of the bowl down when necessary.
  3. Add the flour mixture, orange zest, poppy seeds, and cranberries all at once.  Mix until just combined.
  4. Removed dough from bowl and divide in half.  Place each half on a sheet of waxed paper.  Shape into a log about 1 inch in diameter.  Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into 1/3 inch thick rounds.  Place on baking sheet about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.  Remove from oven.  After 10 minutes transfer cookies to cool rack to cool completely.  Store well wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.

~Makes about 3 dozen cookies.