Friday Daydreaming | Peru

February 27, 2015

I often spend my week looking through other travel blogs and thinking about far away places.

Friday Daydreaming shows what I’ve been daydreaming about this week.

Peru

This week has been a whirlwind. Between our almost snowmaggedon (no snow!) and being sick, I felt so overwhelmed. However, with yesterday’s amazing llama chase, I got inspired and started planning our Peru trip. While we don’t have any concrete dates yet, I can’t stop thinking about Machu Picchu and hiking the Inca Trail. I started looking at G Adventures for their all-inclusive tours, has anyone traveled with them before? I wouldn’t mind traveling in a group tour in Peru. I’m particularly excited about cooking classes! Maybe crossing the river via a basket? I’m definitely putting the Planetarium on my list.

The salt terraces are a must for me. They are unbelievably gorgeous. 

Coca tea! It helps with the altitude sickness and it’s delicious! I can’t wait to try the iced coca tea with lime. I’ve never had it!

And of course, Machu Picchu. The ruins have been on my mind for a while and I would love to get there early in the morning and have some quiet time before the tourists arrive. Hoping to spot a llama or two!

Check out my Peru Pinterest Board for more inspiration!

A Reuben From Scratch | Recipe Round-Up

February 19, 2015

Two food posts in a row?! I promise I’m not becoming a food blog! :) 

I mentioned earlier this week that I made a reuben from scratch over the weekend (and it was so delicious!). Well, I wrote about it for the folks over at Paste Food and I wanted to share the recipes I used as well as some tips. Read the piece here. Let’s go layer by layer, shall we?

What a beaut

What a beaut

MARBLE RYE BREAD

This was my first time making bread so I wanted to go all out. I used this recipe and this recipe to make the bread and this video was great at teaching you how to make the iconic swirl. It was fairly easy. I made it all with my kitchen aid mixer, starting with the paddle attachment and once the ingredients are combined, switching to the hook attachment for kneading. Pro tip: Feel the dough as you go along and make sure it’s not dry. Add water, about one teaspoon at a time, and continue kneading until the water is incorporated. It should be sticky, like the back of a post-it. The dark rye dough, with the cocoa, will have a drier consistency so you’ll have to add a bit more water than the white rye.

CORNED BEEF

Ah, my favorite part! We brined the meat for about 4 days in a large ziploc bag. We utilized a mix of this recipe and this recipe. We did about 4 pounds of beef brisket. Make sure to place the ziploc bag on a baking sheet to avoid any messes in your refrigerator. We liked adding veggies to the brine and then during the boiling part for the meat to retain and develop more flavor. Once the corned beef is ready, take it out of the water and let it rest on a cutting board. It tastes so much better once it has cool down a bit.

SAUERKRAUT

The Kitchn is my go-to for all things cooking. Their writing is so approachable! I did a small batch of sauerkraut in a mason jar for a quicker turnaround. It’s beginner level, for sure. I didn’t have rocks, so I just filled up a small ziploc bag with rice and shoved it in the smaller jar for weight. Also, place a cabbage leaf between the to-be sauerkraut and the jar so it’s easier to push it down. Here’s the recipe. If you’re feeling ambitious, here’s a larger batch recipe. Just remember, the secret is massaging the cabbage like your life depends on it!

SWISS CHEESE

Sorry guys, the cheese was store-bought. Apparently, swiss cheese is very labor intensive. I’m trying my hand at this recipe soon though.

THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING

I used this easy recipe from the Food Network. I did almost two cloves though (I LOVE garlic!) and relish from my canned goods. My relish already had a few habanero pieces in it so it added a bit of heat to the dressing. I love this recipe.

Happy eating! 

P.S. I also have a Reuben Pinterest board. Follow me there!

Pies: Raspberry Chocolate Chess Pie

February 17, 2015

chocolatechess chocolatepie

I miss making pies on a regular basis. I was walking around the grocery store and all of the sudden, I started picking up ingredients to make this pie. Originally, I was going to make it with cranberries, but the store was out. The raspberries worked so well, though! I used a mix of melted dark chocolate and nutella for the chocolate part to offset the sweetness of the nutella. It’s a little tangy and a little sweet. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, this is definitely the pie for you!

Chess pies are finicky, so just be patient when baking it. Check the texture, especially in the center. It needs to be slightly jiggly when you take it out of the oven. I like to call these the “trust your gut” pie, because only you know when it’s done. Now, go forth and bake!


Raspberry Chocolate Chess Pie
Serves 8
A sweet and tangy slice of pie, especially for those who lack a sweet tooth
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Pie Crust
  1. One 9-inch all-butter pie crust (I love using Four and Twenty Blackbird's All-Butter Crust recipe)
For the filling
  1. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 3 Tbsps all purpose flour
  4. 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
  5. About 2 oz of raspberries, washed
  6. juice of one orange (about 1/3 of a cup)
  7. zest of one orange
  8. 1/4 cup of Nutella
  9. 1/4 cup of melted dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Roll out the pie crust and place in a pie baking dish.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, eggs, flour, orange juice, orange zest, and chocolate. Add cooled butter, whisk until smooth. Add the raspberries. It's okay if they break up.
  3. Pour the batter into the pie crust and bake for 50-55 minutes. Start checking around 45 minutes. The center should be jiggly and the corners browned. The pie will finish cooking on its own while it cools down.
Pies + Travel http://www.piesandtravel.com/

Weekly Goals No. 4

February 16, 2015

My Reuben from Scratch

My Reuben from Scratch

A V-day show at Paper Ghost Studio // Atlanta

A V-day show at Paper Ghost Studio // Atlanta

This weekend was relatively low key. On Friday, we had a bit of a spontaneous Galentine’s outing to a few gallery shows around town and we ended the night at a local bar with tater tots and hot dogs. It was so fun. It was one of those night when I really appreciated my lady friends.

On Sunday, we had a few friends over to celebrate Alex’s birthday a bit early. We made burgers and we had the best mac ‘n cheese. It was freezing cold outside, but the dogs didn’t seem to mind. I also finished my “Reuben from Scratch” project and it came out amazing! More on that soon.

How were your goals from last week?

Last week’s goals

  1. Try out Flywheel. FAIL. Due to scheduling conflicts with my friend, we didn’t end up going. But we are planning to soon. I really want to try it!
  2. Finish up my Valentine’s essay. DONE. You can read it here!
  3. Writing goals. DONE. I wrote more last week and even sent out a few pitches. This week is way more packed with writing. So exciting.
  4. Kick ass on a meeting I have this week. DONE. To everyone who crossed their fingers for me, THANK YOU! I did kick ass in the meeting and things are looking up!

This week’s goals

  1. Finish all of my writing deadlines. I have 6 deadlines this week so it’s going to be a busy one. (yay!)
  2. Kick ass on my follow up meeting. Keep those fingers crossed the rest of the week!
  3. Make two new blog posts. Write up my cranberry chocolate chess pie post + another travel post. Stay tuned!

How was your V-day weekend? Did you do anything fun?

Writing: A Valentine’s Day Story

February 13, 2015

Valentines-Day

“Want to get take-out?”

My words to Alex pretty much every other weekend, and this weekend won’t be the exception. Valentine’s Day has always been a dumb holiday for me. Not necessarily in the “OMG Hallmark, way to fool us all” way because hey, I’m all for a holiday surrounding candy, especially before Easter. (HELLO PEEPS) Often, we think that if we do well on this day with flowers, candy and giant heart balloons, we get a pass for the rest of the year. It almost feels fake to celebrate this particular day. Sort of like how you pretend to like your family during Thanksgiving. You love them, but don’t necessarily want to be forced to love them on this particular day. Don’t deny it, I get it.

Past boyfriends always made such a big deal out of the holiday, but I’ve always been so meh about it. People question why I’m not “Facebook official” with my partner and I have a simple answer for that, ‘I’m pretty sure Facebook doesn’t care, why do you care?’ I actually had a guy get mad at me because we weren’t Facebook official and we broke up pretty much after that. People always expect a big public gesture, but I always feel like private, lovely gestures mean so much more. (But then again, who knows)

A few years ago, pre-Alex, I spent Valentine’s Day alone for the first time in a long time. Like ever, actually. I was single for about 6 months at the time and all I did was write past midnight every night, take long road trips solo to visit my friends around the country, and cuddle with my OG Valentine, my dog Jack. I’m an only child so I’ve never had a problem being alone. However, the thought of being alone on V-day made me feel like a failure. I was happy being single, but I still got that craving for companionship. It’s hard to be happy with what we have when we could have so much more, right?  I got nothing against V-day, I’m just not inspired by it. I realized on that V-day that I should celebrate the awesome things I have every day. On that particular night, I celebrated a delicious sesame chicken with a marathon of romantic comedies and my dog snoring loudly as usual. Shortly after, my roommate showed up with booze. That was awesome. Tomorrow, I’ll celebrate the fact that Alex and I have survived some big changes in the last two months and we’re still strong as ever. We are spending the day working on our joint project, a Reuben from scratch. Food brings us together, what can I say. Stay tuned for the final product!

So tomorrow, celebrate all the good things in your life, whether it’s finally having the time to marathon your favorite show on Netflix or going out to a fancy dinner with your significant other to a restaurant you’ve been waiting to try. There’s no wrong way to celebrate it and whether you’re single, in a relationship or let’s be real, in a complicated “who knows what the hell we are” pairing, you will always have take-out.


This is a V-day writing prompt via Robin Reetz’s June Letters Writing Column.

A few fun V-day-themed links for the weekend: maybe have a balloon party tomorrow; I love Soppy and the couple behind it; and a fun column by my friend Beca on Tinder + researching your date.

Weekly Goals No. 3

February 9, 2015

My writing corner

My writing corner

Despite the beautiful weather we had this weekend (65 degrees!), we mostly stayed inside. Alex had to finish building a video game for school so I joined him on the couch with some Netflix. We had a few friends over for an awesome spaghetti dinner on Saturday. Alex made pasta from scratch and we put together a veggie-friendly tomato sauce to go with it. I made a pie (more on that later this week) and we drank so much wine. It was perfect. On Sunday, we headed to the ‘burbs to visit one of Alex’s friends, who offered to smoke us some ribs. Because who says no to ribs?! They were top notch.

Speaking of top notch, these photos of Cuzco, Peru from Julia Manchik are so beautiful, my friend Sarah Lawrence has mastered the art of pasta making, and a little encouragement to do your thing this week. My friend Davy just redesigned his music/book/art/everything cool in ATL site, DeerBearWolf, so check it out. And one exciting announcement, microchip birth control?! I’m intrigued.

This week’s spirit animal? It’s Kanye, of course.

So, here’s the progress report on last week’s goals and what’s coming up.

Last week’s goals

  1. Get my tax documents together. DONE. All printed, ready for my tax person.
  2. Go to yoga once. FAIL. Last week was so busy, I had to skip yoga. :(
  3. Bake a pie! DONE. I made a pie! Chocolate Raspberry Pie. I’m planning to post the recipe this week.
  4. Make another blog post this week. DONE. Yup. You can read all about Where to Eat + Drink in Reykjavik.

This week’s goals

  1. Try out Flywheel. A friend invited me to a free indoor cycling class at Flywheel and while I am terrified I’m going to throw up everywhere, I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while. Wish me luck!
  2. Finish up my Valentine’s essay. I’ve been following Robin Reetz‘s awesome Writer’s Workshop at June Letters. The last post was on getting personal and a writing prompt about Valentine’s Day. I’m looking forward to finishing it.
  3. Writing goals. As my 9-5 job slows down, I’m restarting my freelance work (yay!). I have a few pieces to write this week. What I wrote last week:  A piece on a fun exhibition at the ACAC in Atlanta + A few date ideas for Atlantans on V-day.
  4. Kick ass on a meeting I have this week. I’m really excited about this meeting, but I can’t talk about it just yet. Cross your fingers everything works out.

How was your weekend? Can you believe we are almost done with February?

Travel: Where to Eat + Drink in Reykjavik

February 8, 2015

Wheretoeatdrinkiceland

 

Reykjavik took me by surprise. What a beautiful, warm city. Everyone is incredibly nice. Seriously. Case in point: We woke up around 7 a.m. to meet with our excursion group and we wanted a cup of coffee, but nothing was open. Everything opens around 10 a.m. or later in Iceland. As we walked around, a lady outside of a small market said hi to us and asked if we needed help as we looked lost, but we just said we were okay that we just needed coffee. She said to come into her market and she would make us coffee even though she wasn’t open. And she did! That’s Iceland in a nutshell.

We stayed in an Airbnb right next to Hallgrímskirkja and walking distance to the city center. Let’s just say, we ate and drank a lot since it was just a 10-minute walk. Food is not very expensive, if you know where to go. Drinking is a lot more expensive (like, exorbitantly expensive) so we just drank a few times. If you do want to drink, I suggest buying beer and liquor at the airport duty-free before you exit so you don’t get hit with that crazy Scandinavian alcohol tax. Here are a few recommendations on where to eat and drink when you’re in the city.

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Personal: Weekly Goals No. 2

February 3, 2015

IMG_5433

This weekend was fun. We finally headed to Buckhead to check out the new-ish Shake Shack and the Warby Parker store. I got myself a new pair of glasses and we had a feast of burgers, cheese fries and shakes. It was a nice, relaxing Saturday. On Sunday, we had work to do so we stayed home and skipped the Super Bowl parties (but not the snacks!). Also, MISSY ELLIOTT on the Super Bowl Half-time?! What a dream.

Speaking of awesome, this fake friendship essay by Rachel Vorona Cote on Daria and Jane’s friendship touched my soul. Kate Arends on being authentic and dealing with our daily contradictions, a really good read. And finally, these badass teenage girls built a video game to normalize periods among teenagers and use code for social change. So neat.

I think these weekly posts are helping me stay accountable. I actually did everything on my list. I have one BIG goal for February, but I think I’m going to stick to smaller weekly goals for this.

Last Week’s Goals

  1. Clean my closet.  DONE. I finally cleaned my entire closet and gave away 4 (gasp) bags of clothes. I even made Alex do it too. I feel much better about it.
  2. Make one post about Iceland. DONE. A Blue Lagoon post!
  3. Finish my two website projects. DONE. I turned in both web projects and I’m only waiting for feedback from one of them, but they are both done.
  4. Go to yoga onceDONE. I went to hot yoga last Thursday and it was so awesome/painful/oh my god I was so sore. But I loved it.

This Week’s Goals

For the first time, since the beginning of the year, I finally feel like I’m on top of things. So I’m not going to pile up many things this week.

  1. Get my tax documents together. Print out all of the necessary documents and put them all in a folder for my tax person. Believe me, there’s a lot.
  2. Go to yoga once. Again, I have about 7 yoga classes to use up and exercising during the week makes me feel better about my stress.
  3. Bake a pie! I miss making pies now that my challenge is over. I have this Cranberry Chocolate Chess Pie recipe I’ve been wanting to try.
  4. Make another blog post this week. Sometimes, this blog isn’t a priority, but I want to change that. I want to make sure I document all of our trips before we start taking more.

Travel: Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

February 1, 2015

Bluelagoontitle

While most people complain about touristy attractions, I’m a big believer that you should try everything once. You never know, you just might love it. Case in point: The Blue Lagoon. Blog post after blog post during my planning sessions told us to skip it. Reasons? Well, it’s too overpriced, too boring, too crowded, the list goes on. But there’s something iconic about the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Whether it was the gorgeous pictures on Pinterest or just the word of mouth about how beautiful the water was, we just knew we wanted to go and soak in its expensive, man-made waters at least once.

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Personal: My Weekly Goals

January 27, 2015

Illustration by Becky Murphy

Illustration via Becky Murphy

Hello! It’s been a while. January has been kicking my ass in the worst way. I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up and never quite finishing my to-do list. Work hasn’t been favorable as of late, but I’m trying to make the best of it and do what I can to stay on top of it. I’ve also not written as much as I set out to in the new year, and, well, that’s okay. I finally started understanding this whole “be kind to yourself” thing people keep talking about. It’s so important! Since this is the last week of January (and hopefully things will start looking up in February), I’ve decided to make a couple of weekly goals (Inspired by The Nectar Collective!). It’s a slow week so I’m hoping to catch up on the remainder of my to-do list and start February from scratch. Wish me luck!

One cool thing did happen today though! SaportaReport interviewed me about my PIE zine and my pie challenge. Check it out! Also, I booked tickets to Seattle! So I get to check off one of my 2015 destinations.

MY GOALS FOR THIS WEEK

  1. Clean my closet. This one has been on my to-do list since January 1. I even have the clothes divided into piles! I’m hoping to donate/sell everything by Thursday.
  2. Make one post about Iceland. I finally went through all of my Iceland pictures over the Christmas break. Look for a post on Reykjavik later this week!
  3. Finish my two website projects. I have two ongoing freelance website projects right now and I’m so close to being finished. Hoping to knock those out by the end of the week as well.
  4. Go to yoga once. I made a monthly goal to take a yoga class once a week during January. I failed so hard! So maybe I can at least make it during the last week of the month.

P.S. The image above is Becky Murphy’s amazing work. I have one of her prints over my desk and I love it.

What are you looking forward to this week? Are you wishing for snow too?