Off to Paradise

I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving- ate lots of turkey, pie, and mashed potatoes!

I'm extending my Thanksgiving break and going on vacation.  R and I are off on our honeymoon to a beach paradise for the week. Looking forward to lots of rest, relaxation, sunshine and no work! I'll be taking a little blog break this week. Have a wonderful week!

I'm somewhere that looks like this!


Making whoopie!

I have an open invitation for bringing desserts to family dinners and Thanksgiving is no exception.
I was given this whoopie pie cook book and a whoopie pan at my bridal shower in the spring and Thanksgiving seems like the perfect time to experiment with some flavor combinations. I had only made these once before, so I went on a limb doing something somewhat new to me and luckily it worked out in my favor. I made pumpkin whoopie pies with maple vanilla bean filling rolled in graham cracker crumbs and a chocolate cake with salted peanut butter filling. The pumpkin cake batter was pretty thick and made for a very fluffy and thick cake. The chocolate batter was thinner and really nice to work with.  I'm looking forward to baking more whoopie pies from this book- the flavors are sound so good and despite being slightly time consuming, they aren't too complicated.

Setting up for the pumpkin whoopies

Pumpkin batter

Scraping a vanilla bean for the filling
Maple vanilla bean filling getting fluffy

Pumpkin whoopies out of the oven

butter and sugar getting creamy

Dry Ingredients ready to combine with wet creamed butter and sugar

Chocolate batter

chocolate whoopies with their buddies

Peanut butter filling

A sea of whoopie pies

Finished whoopie pies rolled in graham cracker crumbs

boxed and ready for travel

Chocolate whoopie pie with double cream

What did you make for Thanksgiving this year??


Get Sticky!

Happy Thanksgiving friends!!!

Growing up my mom would always make what we called "rollie pollies" for a breakfast treat on Thanksgiving morning. They looked like mini cinnamon rolls and she made them with pie dough and spread some butter and cinnamon sugar on them before rolling them up and baking in the oven. I would look forward to these every year as we only had them on Thanksgiving. It's important to create your own traditions as we get older and have families of our own and I think I have something for you to consider as your new Thanksgiving morning treat- Pumpkin Sticky Buns with Brown Sugar Glaze! If you are hosting guests this weekend or going to visit your families, this recipe will make you a hero. Let's talk about stick buns- no one can resist them! The intoxicating smell while they puff up in the oven, their gooey centers, the buttery swirls...they are something really special.. Nothing screams fall and Thanksgiving quite like pumpkin and these pumpkin sticky buns with brown sugar glaze will surely take you straight to sticky bun heaven.
Slicing up the rolled sticky bun log
Fresh out of the oven, pre-drizzle

I actually made these awhile ago and I had one straight out of the oven after pouring on the glaze and I think I died three times on the first bite. I froze most of the batch so that we nothing would go to waste and we wouldn't devour them all at once...wishing there were more of these stashed away in the freezer.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family, friends, warmth, and good eats!

Please tell- do you have a Thanksgiving weekend breakfast tradition? 


Gift Guide: Giving to a Guy- Ideas from a Guy, Part 1

It's Wednesday and that means it's time for another gift guide! Next in the series, we have guide from a dude- and it's chock full of clever ideas. Enjoy!

Muhle R41 Razor Every guy shaves, so why not learn to enjoy it?  Seriously, this is what our grandfathers used, and if they were willful enough to avoid the temptation to “upgrade” to cartridge and electric razors through the years, we would have inherited their Gillette razors.  This Muhle ($55 - $60) is both functional and beautiful.  There are cheaper double edge razors out there, but I think this one is an heirloom; it will outlast you.  The knurled handle prevents slipping in the wet/soapy shaving environment, an important design element when there are two exposed razor blade edges.  Simple to use, very effective, and great for the skin as it doesn’t lift hairs above the skin level to cut them like modern cartridge or electric razors.  That causes ingrow whiskers, the bane of good skin everywhere.  Be sure to pick up some double-edge blades, as well (I prefer Derby).

Wallet – Two choices here:  one by Hartmann ($35!) and one by Jack Spade ($85).  Don’t want anything too big as it will spoil the line of your rear (very important) and cause too much discomfort when driving.  These are slim but offer enough space to get you through your day with the necessaries.  Either will last for years without worry and is stylish without being trendy.
 DR Harris – ($10 - $75)  One of the English greats, and a genuine value in skin and body care for men.  Environmentally-conscious, but very traditional.  Classy packaging, tons of great product lines in very traditional male scents.  Personally, I use their shaving soaps and aftershaves (Pink in the summer and Aftershave Milk in the winter).  Look amazing in old-school glass bottles on the bathroom counter.

Watch – Citizen EcoDrive ($96) Never needs batteries, classic black band, with day/date.  White-face Timex watches are big with the Hipster crowd right now, but I think black is a more mature look.  Save the Timex for the weekends and wear this to work.

Homebrewing Kit – If you drink, you should try your hand at making it.  I got started brewing about five years ago and have had a ton of fun messing with it every couple of months since then.  Totally manageable in an apartment, too.  Two big names in homebrewing gear are Northern Brewer ($79)  and Williams Brewing ($115) either of which will yield quality results.  You’ll need a big stainless stock pot (24qts or better), but that is multipurpose, so it’s not a single-use investment to buy a good one.  Making beer is as easy and boiling water and waiting, and these will come with specific instructions.

Tie – Face it, we all eventually get a tie for a holiday, so why not make it a classic worth owning?  Sam Hober makes a grenadine tie that is an excellent value at $80.  Grenadine is not the color, but instead a type of weave used with either thin (fina) or thicker (grossa) silk used for the tie which gives it a spectacular depth.  It offers a point of interest in an otherwise conservative look, like with a light gray or navy suit.

Lytro Light Field Camera ($399) – The most expensive and gadget-y thing on my Christmas list.  They’re calling it Camera 3.0, and it works like this:  it captures an image of all the rays of light in a given field, and then saves that information in the image file.  This allows you to manipulate the digital image focus and zoom by simply clicking on it.  Try it out on their website – it is amazing.  Not so great for printing images, but just fine for digital use and sharing.  Only works with Apple hardware right now, but a Windows version is coming.

Cooks Illustrated – ($25/yr) This is a very guy-oriented cooking magazine.  Featuring gadget reviews, historical cooking utensils, head-to-head comparisons, and in-depth experimentation with explanations about the results that don’t insult your intelligence, it’s a classic gift that keeps giving all year long.  I cook at least two dishes out of each new magazine that comes and have yet to miss a beat.  It’s a gift for him AND you!

Global Chef Knife – ($115 - $225 online)  A good chef’s knife makes all the difference in food prep.  Sharp, accurate, well-balanced, and stylish, I prefer the Global line of knives.  Amazon usually has the best prices, but they’re carried in store by Williams-Sonoma, so you can go try them out.  Hand feel is important, so if you’re thinking of getting him a knife, take him to the store so he can try some out.  An 8- or 10-inch knife is perfect for everyday use.

AirSwimmers ($40) And now for something completely different:  a remote-controlled shark that swims in the air.  Who says all gifts need to be practical to be awesome?  I want one because, well, let me repeat:  a remote-controlled shark that swims in the air.
Today's Gift Guide was written by Dave Brewer. For more information or suggestions for Dave, contact him: dave.brewer@ua.edu


Cozy Fall Dinner

Nothing is more comforting when it's chilly outside than soup. With a Costco size container of cube butternut squash on hand, I was dreaming of soup. R makes really tasty soups and got to work making butternut squash soup and blended it up with our immersion blender. I added a little chili oil to give it just a little kick and served this with a plate of prosciutto.This is perfect pre-Thanksgiving- it's light enough to save up for the turkey and root veggies are often overlooked, but so wonderful this time of year.

Butternut squash with chili oil drizzle

Prosciutto di Parma with balsamic glaze

We made our soup based off this recipe and omitted cream to lighten it up a little. Do you have any go to soup recipes? I'd love to hear about them!


Short Order

Saturday night before going to see The Civil Wars (who were absolutely amazing and if you haven't heard them, please check them out. If you like good music, you should like them- they are an attractive duo as well which never hurts) we made our way to Short Order with good friends, K&L. We were expecting crazy lines and waits, but considering it was opening weekend, it wasn't too bad. Short Order offers seating downstairs if you order at the counter and there was really no wait for this. We weren't in  a rush so we decided to put our names in to sit upstairs which has waiter service, a full bar, and a few dishes that aren't offered at the downstairs menu. After about a half hour wait we made our way upstairs to a communal table with a fire pit. R and I shared the signature Short Order burger, the spuds, and the wedge salad. K and L shared spuds and had the Ida's Old School burger and Amy's turkey burger respectively. The spuds are salt baked potatoes, hand torn and deep fried and very delicious. be sure to order the dipping sauce which I think is sour cream, chives, and fried onions. The salad was really good, but the burgers are the stars here. The buns did not disappoint, the meat is literally oozing with flavor, was cooked medium rare which was perfection, and the toppings all came together to make a pretty phenomenal burger. Our friends all seemed to enjoy their burgers as well and we left a happy group. I would definitely come back and can't wait to try the lamb burger and pretzel pups. Cocktails sounded great, but I passed on the booze for the night. There a few kinks to work out, but that's to be expected on night 2. Brunch starts January 1st. I almost always gravitate to Loteria when at Farmer's Market, but this S.O. is going to be a nice change of pace from time to time.

yumm custard shakes sound sooo good!

Spud Dipping Sauce and ketchup
The Spuds

Wedge Salad
Short Order Burger
 Did you go this weekend? What did you think?


Collecting Eames at J.F. Chen

We recently went to California Design at LACMA, as one of the Pacific Standard Time exhibits. After leaving we heard about Collecting Eames at J.F. Chen on a KCRW commercial. As soon as we heard about it, we knew we had to check it out.  We entered the exhibit from a very intimidating closed door in an alley off Highland. We were pleasantly surprised when we opened the door. We were almost the only people there, the exhibit was free, and we were greeted by the curator. J.F. Chen features their Eames collection as well as other modern pieces. Being surrounded by so many iconic Eames pieces was so exciting and depressing at the same time- I want that collection! This exhibit was well worth the visit and I'd highly recommend stopping by.

Early Eames Organic Chair

Eames Chair Timeline, beginning in 1939

Eames Molded Plastic Chairs and Table

Vitra Eames Elephants

Chandelier Closed

Chandelier Open

Stone Carved Table and Chairs

Stainless Steel Beanbag Chair

Funny Bathroom Sign

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...