Since I’ve been living in the UK, I’ve discovered rhubarb. I don’t recall seeing it much at home, but maybe I was just never looking. There’s something so nice about the sharp, sweet and tangy flavor that’s perfect for a summertime crumble. It’s also a very low maintenance dessert that’s sure to impress.
10 stalks of rhubarb cut into large chunks
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 orange (juice and zest)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 small piece of ginger peeled and cut
Preheat your oven to 350°F Put the rhubarb and half the sugar into a pan. Add the orange juice and zest, put a lid on top, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for around 5 more minutes, until the rhubarb has softened slightly. Spoon into an ovenproof baking dish and spread out evenly across the bottom.
To make your crumble topping, use your fingers to lightly rub together the flour and butter until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Stir in the oats, the rest of the sugar and the ginger. Sprinkle the crumble over the rhubarb and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the rhubarb is bubbling up and crumble is golden. Scoop into bowls and serve with vanilla ice cream.
I found that there was way more crumble topping than necessary (and I’m a girl who likes a lot of topping), so I only used half. It just means you have an excuse to make another one!
Summer is officially here and that means we get to relish in its greatness for 3 wonderful months of crazy heat and outdoor activities! Here is my unofficial bucket list for this summer.
10 Ideas For Summer:
Take a road trip. Being in the car isn’t exactly my favorite activity, but if it means I am exploring new places with friends I can suck it up.
Read a great book. I have my eye on a few and hope to get my hands on Harper Lee’s latest in July!
Run a 5K. I don’t necessarily want to run in a race, but I would like to increase my mileage to my old go-to. Baby steps people.
Attend a music festival. I have my eye on a few here in town…
Try new recipes. I’ve been stuck in a culinary rut lately and would like to branch out and try something new. Maybe a new grilling recipe?
Patio drinking. There is nothing better than enjoying a glass on wine (or any alcoholic beverage, really) on a patio. I would be more than happy at home or at a restaurant, but hopefully there is a lot of outdoor drinking in my near future.
See a drive-in movie. Duh.
Find the best mint chocolate chip ice cream in town. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Soak in a beautiful sunset. The west is pretty hard to beat when it comes to this, but I still need to find the perfect spot.
Be spontaneous. I know this is super general, but I need to take more risks in my life and not be so worried about the future. I need to let go and let live. (We’ll see how long this lasts)
I normally dread the onset of winter. Oftentimes so much that I forget to enjoy fall. But this year I’m learning to like the winter. While I don’t want to spend extended periods of time outside, it does have it’s benefits! I am learning to ski, I’m painting more, I’m catching up on my reading and TV shows. So, for those of you less-enthused about winter just settling in, here are 10 ideas to keep you happy and entertained this season.
10: The cold makes for a great excuse to hibernate and catch up on the latest movies and binge watch all of your beloved tv shows. Netflix just added Friends and even though I’ve seen them all 8 million times, I can’t. stop. watching.
9: Try a new recipe. I am trying to break out of my culinary rut of tacos/lettuce wraps or salads every night. I would like to try some winter soups and meals that can be prepared ahead of time and eaten later in the week when things get busy.
8: Make something. Try knitting a scarf, painting a landscape, or making jewelry. It’s a great way to keep your hands and mind active while watching all that Netflix!
7: Play in the snow. I found an igloo in my park this weekend. You don’t have to get that ambitious, but you should take advantage of the more fun alternative to rain.
6: Read a book. I joined a book club, so I don’t have a reading bucket list this year, but I will keep the book reviews coming!
5: Discover new music. This always helps me beat the winter blues. Not to worry, I’m cooking up my winter playlist to share with you soon. I know the suspense is killing you.
4: Do yoga. This is more for me than anyone, but yoga is always so soothing, but especially in the winter. If you’re crazy, you can try hot yoga, but I don’t think that’s for me.
3: Pick up a winter sport. I know it’s easy for me to say living in Colorado, but I’m learning to ski and have found that it is a great workout, beautiful, and yes, one of the most emotionally challenging sports I’ve tried.
2: Perfect your hot cocoa/coffee recipe. I go ape shit on some coffee in the winter and love finding new ways to spice it up. But a great cup of cocoa complete with marshmallows or whipped cream will do just fine too.
1: Plan a dream vacation. What better time is there to dream of crystal clear waters, sunshine, and endless beaches? Plus you can put all the money you save not going out in these frigid temps towards your vaca!
Males can be tough to buy for because mostly when asked they either want some video game I have never heard of or respond with nothing. So, I have tried to crack their code and compile a list of ten items for any man on your list this year.
1. A great read/reference guide for the whiskey lover.
2. Some awesome beer glasses.
3. A beautiful and practical gift for the culinary enthusiast.
4. A masculine way to display your favorite photographs.
5. Easy streaming and entertainment at your fingertips, duh.
6. To improve your music listening experience.
7. A classic read.
8. A leather case to protect your technology.
9. For the meat/grilling enthusiast.
10. A streamlined biking guide for major cities.
As a child, I never understood the hype around Thanksgiving. Sure we got a few extra days off of school and we had a family dinner…just like every other night. What I did not understand at the time is that becoming an adult has a few advantages, and one of them is Thanksgiving. Traditions, routine, and delicious food are things all adults crave and Thanksgiving rolls all of these into one glorious day.
Our family of six has inevitably evolved in the last ten years and so have our holiday traditions. With all four children scattered across the country and the even across the pond (ahem, Kelly) it has been tough to get us all in the same time zone let alone room to celebrate Thanksgiving. Despite our distance we all have subtle ways of making wherever we are feel like home. We typically binge watch the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends (season 8 guest starring Brad Pitt is the best, go watch it again and you can thank me later) and then eat and drink wine until we can’t anymore. There is usuallysome good hearted banter making fun of everyone in the family, namely our poor mom who goes all out for Thanksgiving. (I’m talking wakes up at 6 am to start the turkey and has the table set with 8 million sets of Pilgrim, Native American, and turkey figurines). Once the dishes are clean and everyone has rested up we typically end the night by going to see a movie — the perfect amount of time for your stomach to create just enough room for dessert — and then eating more and enjoying each other’s company.
Even though I won’t be going home for Thanksgiving and I will be making my very first meal for my friends (pray for them), I plan on making this a memorable year. And if all doesn’t go as planned, I can always go see The Hunger Games to ease my troubles!
One of my favorite fall recipes is Apple Pie. It always hits the spot and I can’t think of a better way of to use delicious apples after a day of apple picking. (Not that I get to do that in London, but I’ll pretend I’m back in the Southeast specifically for that reason.)
I am a firm believer in homemade pastry. It’s really not very difficult and the flaky, buttery goodness is so much better than the pre-made stuff. My go-to pastry recipe is the smitten kitchen’s all butter, really flaky pie dough. The recipe is aptly named and the results never disappoint.
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and put in freezer. Dice the butter into 1/2-inch pieces. (I like to put mine in the freezer for 10 minutes while I gather the rest of my ingredients.) Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with the pastry blender, using it to scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas stop. The dough may look uneven, but don’t worry about it, as this helps with the flake.
Drizzle 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the ice-cold water over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there. Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together into a round disk.
Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap and let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, or in the freezer for half an hour before rolling it out. This isn’t entirely necessary, but it will make your life easier when you roll it out.
While your dough is chilling you can prepare the ingredients for the pie.
For the pie filling:
4-6 medium apples (something tart like Granny Smith or Macintosh)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp lemon juice
Peel and thinly slice the apples. Place in a bowl and add the lemon juice. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the apples and mix well.
On a floured surface roll out half your dough and line the base of your pie dish. Pour filling into the pie dish. Roll out the second half of the dough and place over the filling. Make sure both pastry layers have an inch overhang on the dish. Trim and crimp sides. Use any excess dough to decorate the top of your pie. Be sure to add at least two slits in the top pastry layer to allow the steam to escape.
Bake pie at 375F for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
It’s inevitable, fall is here. I’m only slightly bitter about it. While I can’t muster up any happiness for the onset of winter, I can get slightly excited about fall. It is a pretty awesome time full of crunchy leaves that make the most satisfying sound when you go out of your way to step on them. Don’t pretend like you don’t do it.
All kidding aside, here’s a list of 10 awesome ways to celebrate this season!
Try a seasonal beer. Pumpkin is everywhere this time of year including beer, get it while it’s hot (not literally, hot beer is for college).
Spend a chilly morning curled up with a blanket and a good book. Need a suggestion? Try these!
Go apple picking. Apparently this isn’t really a thing here in Colorado so to my east coasters, eat some apple cider donuts for me!
Take a hike. It’s the perfect opportunity to crunch some leaves.
Carve a pumpkin. Invite your friends and make a party out of it!
Try a new recipe, bonus points if it is with seasonal ingredients.
Make a seasonal craft. I’ve had my eye on this for quite a while now.
Plan (and make!) a homemade halloween costume. From the easy (cat) to the clever (insert some clever cultural reference here, I’m way behind the times).
Watch a scary(ish) movie. I had reoccurring nightmares after I saw Hook as a child, so I’m not the best judge.
Summer brings many great things, but my favorite would have to be watermelon. Yes, the delicious summer treat. I could probably eat a whole one in one sitting, no exaggeration. I think I’m the only person in this world who chooses to binge eat watermelon all summer to keep their watermelon cravings at bay from September-May. (Lord help my husband if I ever get married and decide to have a baby…watermelon all day everyday)
My obsession has intensified from just the fruit to watermelon everything, both literal and figural. I’ve handpicked some of my favorite interpretations below.