Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In need of a good cry?

If you are having one of those weeks, or you're hormonal, or you just need a good, cathartic cry, pick up this book from a bookstore or the library.  It's a wonderful story of family, love, and learning about yourself.  I started sobbing about 2/3rds of the way through and didn't stop until the end.  Sometimes you just need to let yourself go and really involve yourself into the lives of others (one of the reasons I like books so much), and this book allows you to do just that.  I promise, it's worth the read, and you'll fall in love with the characters!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Best Apple Galette Recipe!!

picture from

I tore this recipe out of the November 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine, and it's served me very well over the past two years. It's a wonderful fall dessert that showcases the best that apples have to offer. I've made it for a few occasions, and each time I've received tons of compliments. It's more rustic than a typical apple pie, and maybe not Thanksgiving centerpiece worthy, but once you taste it, you'll understand why you'll make it again and again.

Apple Galette
Serves 8

Pastry Dough
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 to 5 tbsps ice water

*Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (pea sized) butter lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
*Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.
*Turn out dough onto a work surface. Divide dough into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forwatd motion to help distribute fat. Father all dough together with pastry scraper (or sharp spatula). press into a ball, then flatten into a 5 inch disk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least one hour. (Dough can be frozen for up to 3 months)

2 tbsps Semoline (semolina flour)
2 lb Golden Delicious apples (about 4), peeled, cored, and each cut into 8 wedges
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)

*Preheat oven to 350 with rack in the middle.
*Roll out dough into a 13 in round on a lightly floured surface with a lightedly floured rolling pin. Transfer to an ungreased 17x14 inch baking sheet. Sprinkle semolina over dough, leaving a 2 inch border all around.
*Toss apples with lemon juice and zest in a large bowl, then mound on top of semolina (leaving border present) and sprinkle granulated sugar over apples. Fold in dough border over apples, pleating dough as necessary to form a 9 inch round. (When I put the apples on the dough, I start in the center and form circular rings out from the middle)
*Bake galette 30 minutes, then loosely cover with foil and bake until apples are tender and crust is golden, 25-30 minutes more. Remove galette from oven and turn on broiler.
*Dust apples with confectioners sugar and broil 5-6 inches from heat until apples are just golden, 1-3 minutes. Watch this carefully as the sugar can burn! Slide galette brom baking sheet onto a rack , then cool to warm or room temp.
Galette can be baked 5 hours ahead and cooled, uncovered. If desired, reheat in a 350 degree oven until warm, about 5 min.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Amazing Race Begins!

Woo Hoo! One of our favorite TV shows begins again tonight. We love watching the pairs country hop, try to communicate in foreign countries, and see the amazing things they get to experience. The ice wall they had to climb one year is still one of my favorite things they have done! I would definitely have a hard time with the food parts of the challenge (eating weird things grosses me out), but everything else looks like a ton of fun (except I'm not sure how often they get to shower!). B says he'll never do it with me because he knows I'd cry (a lot!!) and he wouldn't want us to fight on National TV. He's probably right. He and his cousin, A, would be great partners, and I'd love it if one day they would audition. What an amazing whirlwind experience it would be!

Is anyone else out there a watcher? Would you audition for this show? Who would you do it with? After you watch tonight, you'll have to let me know who your favorite pair is!!

God Pause- Taste and See

A quick lesson from God Pause this Sunday as I am wishing for communion and praying for thanks.

"O taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34:8)

Psalm 34: 1-9

Bread of Life, we give you thanks for all the ways you nourish us. Help us to feast on your love in community and welcome all to the table.

My husband's family shares a love of food. He is an avid follower of the Food Network. His brother is always on the lookout for "the best" restaurant, recipe or product. His mother prepares meal plans days in advance of our visits. All of this makes sharing meals with them tremendously enjoyable. They really savor their food and help me appreciate mine.

In the same way, the body of Christ can help us to savor and appreciate the feast of love that God lays out before us. We are fed and nourished by Holy Communion, the words of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit. But when we share the joy of these things with others we are much more richly blessed. The body of Christ helps us to savor God's goodness and invite others into the feast.
Amy Zalk Larson
Campus Pastor, Luther College
Master of Divinity, 2000

Psalm 34: 1-9 (NRSV)

1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.

3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.

6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.

7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.

9 O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Have you ever tried a Honeycrisp apple ? They are a midwestern apple that is a cross between a Macoun and Honeygold, developed at the University of Minnesota. AND they are the most wonderful apple you will ever sink your teeth into. Tart and crisp, yet with the perfect sweetness. I hord them all fall because unlike many other apple varieties, these are not a year round specimen. They are only available in the fall and are not grown at very many orchards (yet!). It makes them the luxury apple brand (tee hee!). They definitely cost more at the supermarket and the farmer's market, but, trust me, they are SO worth it. Even B thinks they're good, and he's not really an apple kind of guy. If you can find them in your area, definitely seek them out and try them. I just know you will love them!!

PS- These are best when eaten fresh. They are not good baking apples!
PS #2- Speaking of apples, I have a fantastic apple tart recipe to share with you all. I'll try to get it up this weekend :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Preppy Buckeye, a newer blogger, left me this award yesterday on her blog. Head over and give her some blogger love if you aren't already!!

The Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they've been nominated.

My seven things:
1. I'm a lefty. On my dad's side of the family every single person is a lefty!! So uncommon. To ensure this continues, I married a lefty :)

2. I broke my thumb as a child (slammed it in the car door), and it was never set or casted. It is definitely weird looking now! My mom is one tough cookie and thought I'd be just fine as long as I put ice on it!

3. My favorite board game is Scattergories.

4. My favorite smells are fresh laundry out of the dryier or off the cloothes line, baking bread, and lemon verbena anything.

5. I will not eat mushrooms no matter how fresh or high quality they are. Blech.

6. One of my lifetime goals is to learn to play the stand up bass and play in a jazz trio on Sunday nights.

7. The five famous people I would like to meet in real life are Reese Witherspoon (I mean, who doesn't?), Jennifer Garner (so adorable on Leno this week), Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, and Morgan Freeman.

I'm going to tag the following people to see what they will say!

Adventures of a Sweet Carolina Bride
Be Write There
Black Labs and Lilly
Mrs Preppy
Simple Yet Classic
The Preppy Apron

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Magazine, anyone??

I just received an email from Amazon saying that InStyle is one of their $5 subscriptions until September 26th. I know many of you jumped on the Real Simple bandwagon when Hopsy posted about it being $5 (I did too!), so I thought you may want to also receive InStyle. I read it regularly at the gym, but I think for this price I may have to pick up my own subscription and then donate it to the gym (as I do with all my old magazines).

Town and Country and Country Living are also in the $5 bin, so if you need either of those, check them out there too!!

Movies and marathoning.......

On Saturday night B and I went to see Julie and Julia. I had read the book when it first came out and loved it and just haven't had a chance this summer to get to a theater. Saturday night we knew we couldn't do much as B had a HUGE run on Sunday, so I was finally able to convince him to see the movie with me. I adored it! Meryl Streep was incredible. She's seriously such an amazing actress. Amy Adams was good, but it's hard for anyone to shine while playing alongside Meryl. I also really loved Julia's husband. I adored how in love they were and definitely had a few teary-eyed moments in seeing their devotion on screen. So sweet. If you haven't seen it yet, I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

I also have to say how incredibly proud I am of my husband. He is nearing the end of his marathon training, and I am so impressed with how well he has done. He hasn't skipped a run (not even the 3 milers) during the 18 weeks, and his devotion to this goal is incredible. The 20 miler (the longest run before the marathon) was Sunday morning. He did it in a group setting through CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association). He did lose his group during the run, but he was able to finish near his goal time. He also learned a lot about what he needs to do and not do during the actual marathon. But seriously, ladies, can you believe he did 20 MILES????? I'm just so impressed with him. And this is a guy who had never run before 4 years ago and does not have a long, lean runners type body. It just proves that if your mind is set on a goal, you can complete it. Really it's just in WANTING the end result that will allow you to do anything. I can't wait until I can cheer him on on October 11th!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baking Season!

Who Hoo! Today I woke up cold and didn't want to get out of bed. I love that feeling. The crispness in the air, the few leaves that have changed, the jacket I got to pull on when I left the house- Fall is here!

I like fall for so many different reasons- one of the biggest is because it's finally cool enough to turn on the oven and bake!! Last weekend while we were home watching the Michigan game, I tried a new recipe from one of my King Arthur baking bibles and knew I had to share here. If you need a treat for work, a party, school, anything, these are super easy and the best bar cookies I've ever had! B is so impressed with them, and I know they'll be my "go tos" whenever I need something. Try them out; you won't be disappointed!

Ruth Wakefield's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

2 3/4 c all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c unsalted butter, melted
2 1/4 c brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 c chocolate chips (we used 1 c butterscotch chips and 1 c chocolate chips)
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts (we eliminated b/c we don't like nuts in our cookies)

* Preheat the oven to #50. Lightly greats a 10x15 jelly roll pan or a 9x13 pan.
* In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
* In another large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Ad the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture, then the chocolate chips and nuts. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
* Bake the bars for 24-26 min (30-35 min if using the 9x13 pan)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Are you watching? If not, set your DVRs ladies! It's funny, has great musical numbers, and uses catchy phrases like "Rock-a-fellas". It's got all the high school drama, including the seriously hilarious, often bi%&#y cheerleading coach, the lovesick social worker, the awesome glee club leader, and kids who can SING! Seriously, it's going to be my new fall favorite, for sure!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gorgeous weekend!

What a wonderful weekend we had here in Chi-town! Sunny and warm- it's like summer just began! Saturday I ended up getting called off from work, so I was able to go to the gym and run errands in the morning before the BIG game. Michigan ended up beating ND - and they're now in the top 25 baby!!! Okay, so they're top 25 in the AP and technically 26 in the Coaches' Poll, but I'll take that anyday :) Thanks to the gloriousness that is the DVR (how did we ever live before it was invented??), we were able to take Junebug out for a nice long walk during halftime and enjoy the sunshine around our neighborhood. That night we ended up going to a local pub to watch the second half of the OSU/USC game.

Yesterday we decided to take Junie to a place we are now calling "Doggie Disneyworld". It's part of the Lake County Forest Preserve. It is 44 acres of off leash are with trails, open fields, training pens, a pond, etc. We walked along all the trails, played fetch in the field, went swimming in the pond twice, and wore her out completely!!! She was exhausted by the time we left. There were tons of other dogs that she could play with all who had great owners. I just love being in an area where I don't have to be concerned about weather or not people are going to be scared of her, as there are quite a few people in the city who are (in their defense, she is a HUGE dog- she doesn't look nearly as sweet as she is!). After we left, we drove to downtown Highland Park and ate lunch outside, drove back into the city along the lake, watched some golf, went to the supermarket, gave the pup a bath, made chicken picatta for dinner, caught up on some tv, etc, etc. It was a wonderful weekend with my husband and my dog. Exactly what we needed.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and I hope your weather was as lovely as ours was. This week it's supposed to be in the high 70s every day!! I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts and save my Pumpkin Spice Latte craving for October!! Have a great Monday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

BIG games this weekend!!

Saturday at 2:30 Michigan and Notre Dame kick off in what should be a HUGE game for both teams. ND is ranked, UM isn't. Michigan had a HORRID season last year (B and I are still recovering), a win this week would be, not only a huge ego boost for the team, but something that could possible earn them a spot in the top 25 next week. While I'm not going to venture into top 10 territory this fall, I can hope for a winning season (and beating OSU would rock my world if they could possibly pull that off!)!! So, LET'S GO BLUE!!! Get em boys! Since I will be at work until 3 p.m., my darling B will be DVRing the game for us to watch together as soon as I get home!!

Also, if you are a Big 10 fan (or a USC fan, I suppose), Saturday night's game of the week is going to be another big game. Are you ready? I usually chose not to root for OSU, but will be a strong supporter on Saturday night. You have to root for the conference, right??

I hope all of your teams do well this weekend! Last week I was resenting fall, but this week have decided to embrace it, so bring on the football, the jeans, the boots, and the pumpkin flavored anything!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My friend texted me today with a bible verse she thought may encourage me right now. She knows that I have something going on, and she wanted me to read it. However, she does not know two of the other major things that B and I have been dealing with in the past two weeks, and this verse speaks to all of them. I teared up reading the verse and know that she was lead to this verse this morning in order to share it with me. I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who have worries that are hanging heavy upon your lives, and I hope in sharing this like my friend did, it will help you in some way today.

Matthew 6: 25-34

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what your will wear. Is not life more than food and the body, more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothes like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'what are we to drink' or 'what are we to wear.' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

After reading that does your mind immediately go to the hymn, "Seek Ye First"? Mine does!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Long weekend!!

I'm so excited for the last weekend of summer. While I am not ready for it to get cold (it simply hasn't been warm enough this year), this weekend is going to be super fun!

I'm at work today until 8 p.m. (normal hours), and B will be home around 5- 5:30. After that, he has to go out and do his 18 miler. I am SO nervous for this! I feel like he really needs some kind of running tag/id tag in case he is out running and something happens. He'll be gone for around 3 hours (can you even imagine?) and then it'll practically be bedtime. He has to run tonight because tomorrow morning we are leaving bright and early for a wedding in Philly!!

My cousin and her darling fiancee are getting married Sunday night in downtown Philly. Everyone is invited to the rehearsal dinner on Saturday as well. A lot of my extended family will be in town for the weekend, and I cannot wait to spend time with them!! We missed seeing a lot of them this summer up north, so it will be great to have a few days together! Plus, the bride's older brother and his wife just had twins, and we will all get to meet them this weekend. They're about 6 weeks old- precious!!! I will be scooping one up asap! Blair's only boy cousin also lives in Philladelphia, so we'll be seeing quite a bit of him too. The weather is supposed to be great, so I have to imagine this will be a wonderful weekend all around.

Hopefully all of you will have a great time on this holiday weekend seeing friends, seeing family, soaking up the sunshine, relaxing, working out, or whatever it is that your heart desires! I'll be back with pictures next week!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fabulous Fall Accessory

I walked into Anthropologie yesterday afternoon to check out a few of the sweaters I've seen flying around the blogosphere and ended up with the CUTEST new scarf!

It's ruffley, feminine, fluffy, and so soft! It'll be a perfect accent to a gray, black, navy, or white shirts, and it'll also add a little touch of feminity to my tan trench coat. Since I'm not ready yet to give up on summer, I've been holding off on any fall purchases, but this I could totally justify!

I think many of you would love this, so head in and check it out. It comes in 6 colors on the website, though my store also had it in a very pale yellow. The $28 price tag makes it all the more worth it!!