Wednesday, March 22, 2017

betty's cherry pie with homemade crust

I have been dying for a cherry pie for weeks now! luckily, we had dinner plans with friends and I offered to bring dessert - which of course, meant cherry pie. our sweet friends could have told me they hated cherries, and I probably still would have brought it. I couldn't wait for cherry pie any longer and we know I can't bake a whole pie for myself. I have zero self control, not to mention #weddingdiet. 

since I had never made a homemade pie crust by myself, I went over to my mom's house and we made two cherry pies together - one for my dinner with friends and then one for family dinner the following night, which meant I got to devour cherry pie two nights in a row, hellooo multiple servings of fruit ;)

years and years ago, my family lived in minneapolis, minnesota - 4th through 7th grade for me. boy, was that an experience. during the summer, we would drive to lake superior and pass through duluth, minnesota. betty's pies is a mom and pop pie shop and breakfast/lunch stop in duluth. we stopped there quite a few times and my mom bought their cookbook. 

betty's pie c/o food network

it turns out that making a homemade pie crust really isn't that difficult, as long as you have a large surface to roll the dough out on. I'll be attempting another homemade pie crust in a few months for stephen's favorite birthday pie.


pie crust (double):
2 1/4 c. flour
3 T. sugar
2 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter, chilled, sliced into 18 pieces
3 T. ice water

1 1/3 c. sugar
3 drops almond extract
1/3 c. flour
1/8 t. salt
4 c. pitted tart fresh cherries (frozen is ok)
2 T. butter


for the crust:

1. process the flour and sugar in a food processor for 20 seconds. 

2. with the food processor running, drop the slices of butter through the feeder tube. process until integrated, but not too long. with the food processor still running, pour the ice water in a slow stream through the feeder tube. process just until the dough forms, maybe 15 seconds.

3. separate the dough into two balls. knead the first half of the dough on a cutting board on a floured surface. fit the dough into a 9 or 10-inch pie plate and trim the edges. 

4. knead the second half of the dough for the lattice. cut into strips and fill the pie with filling before doing the lattice work.

for the pie:

5. combine the sugar, flour, salt, and mix well. add the cherries and almond extract. pour into the crust-lined pie plate.

6. cover the pie with your second crust, the lattice in this case. pinch edges to seal and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.

7. bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. let cool slightly, slice, and top with ice cream.

note: make sure your butter is cold when you make the pie crust. if the dough is too soft, refrigerate for one hour before rolling out.

Friday, March 17, 2017

mixed china easter tablescape

I love using my mix and match vintage china that my mom gave me for my birthday, inspired by our trip to cuba. whether it's casual burgers or easter lunch, using this china makes me very happy. 

last year, I bought these adorable nests and blue speckled eggs to set out for spring. let's just say the eggs became my cat's favorite plaything and I never found them all again after she continuously batted them out of the nests and on to the floor. then they became cat-sized soccer balls. so when I went to super glue the eggs to the nests this year, I couldn't find enough of the eggs to make it work. I wised up this time and bought nests with the eggs already glued in. lauren 1, cat 0. for now, at least...

I love going to the fresh market for flowers. it was so hard to choose, I really wanted the daffodils but I couldn't pass up these massive hydrangea blooms and pretty pink tulips.

I initially put the flowers in two separate vases, but after taking all these photos, I put them into one large vase and liked it better. the tulips are so haphazard looking with the symmetric hydrangeas and it makes for a really full arrangement.

do you guys have easter plans yet? I can't believe we are already half-way through the month of march. this year is flying by... which also means my wedding is right around the corner. happy spring and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

what I read in february

you guys {jana, steph, all the regulars, and new visitors} seriously keep me so motivated to read, even if it is only one book a month. this monthly link-up totally holds me accountable and thank you for that! 

I read sweetbitter in february, and let me just say that I couldn't wait to read this book. luckily, I got it for christmas and was all too excited to read it. I moved it up to the top of my long list of books to be read. to sum it up, it was interesting.

sweetbitter by stephanie dauler
twenty-two, and knowing no one, tess leaves home to begin her adult life in new york city. thus begins a year that is both enchanting and punishing, in a low-level job at “the best restaurant in new york city.” grueling hours and a steep culinary learning curve awaken her to the beauty of oysters, the finest champagnes, the appellations of burgundy. at the same time, she opens herself to friendships—and love—set against the backdrop of dive bars and late nights.  as her appetites sharpen—for food and wine, but also for knowledge, experience, and belonging—tess is drawn into a darkly alluring love triangle that will prove to be her most exhilarating and painful lesson of all. {}

my take: B+
I feel like there are two proving grounds for youth in this life: retail and restaurants. people are mean, the stakes are high, and you learn lessons every day. I worked retail and although I never waited tables - I distinctly remember asking a customer in the fitting room if she wanted a larger size, only to be corrected by "yes, I would like a different size." she had a point. those years after college are so interesting and this book totally hits the nail on the head with the main character. I could totally relate to the themes of finding yourself, developing a palate, and getting hurt. this book could have been so endearing and so nostalgic. I also think there was something off for me about the drug use, I get the desire to make it realistic but the ending could have been so much more, in my opinion. it could have really tugged at the heartstrings, but in typical twenty-something detached ambiguity and deflection to avoid vulnerability, it ended flatly. I'm not saying it wasn't good, I'm just saying I would've done things differently.

have you read sweetbitter yet? what did you think? can't wait to see what you read this month!

Friday, March 10, 2017

stephen's spicy snack mix

I really wish that stephen had more of a sweet tooth. whenever I make cookies or brownies, or anything sweet, he is rarely tempted to eat it. meanwhile, I've had spoonfuls of batter, plus like 10 servings of the cookies once they've baked and a couple more after they cooled down. ugh. I definitely have a sweet tooth, while stephen is into the savory.

his absolute favorite snack is spicy chex mix. I personally don't get it, but I figured if I'm going to marry the guy {!!!}, I should probably get around to making his favorite snack. don't worry, I've already mastered his favorite dessert {no surprise, it's based on a fruit}. this spicy snack mix is so very easy and chances are you already have all the ingredients you need to make it! next time you are having a game night, or watching the big game, or really just feel like making something to munch on for the week - this spicy snack mix is a crowd pleaser.

Monday, March 6, 2017

parting wisdom: top five lessons from nordstrom

lately, I find myself thinking about lessons I learned from my very first job out of college often. I'm not sure if this is normal, or if I just had the most spectacular AND terrible first job out of college ever. one of the things that I love about blogging is that it's a creative outlet for me to walk down memory lane while telling the story at the same time. I decided that I had to write a post about my nordy days - like I did when I left spanx, which is one of my favorite posts.

my first job post-undergrad was a series of roles at nordstrom in different stores in the dallas fort worth area of texas. I just loved the company {still do!} and everything it stood for and I couldn't wait to get back to my roots full-time. my very first job when I was 15 had also been part-time at nordstrom; however, working as a manager full-time was an entirely different experience. I ended up spending about three years, including two and a half promotions, with the company when I knew it was time to make a life change and move to atlanta to earn my MBA. the lessons I learned at nordstrom have stayed with me ever since those early days.

nordstrom northpark, where I started and ended my post-grad nordy career in dallas, texas. I later traveled to this mall to watch the spanx store opening about five years later!

Friday, March 3, 2017

banana chocolate chip pancakes

a couple fridays ago, as the weekday was winding down, stephen and I were texting about what we wanted to eat for dinner. he suggested breakfast for dinner, for which I am always a proponent. he actually had a specific request, banana pancakes. I'd never made banana pancakes before, but luckily, my coworker had a favorite recipe that she sent me. I think I've talked about this before, but I can't explain the amount of happiness I get when I find a recipe and realize that I already have all of the ingredients required. it's so satisfying to not have to go to the grocery store. for the banana pancakes, all I needed was bananas. luckily, my other coworker reminded me that our office has a healthy snack kiosk with healthy (and complimentary) snacks for employees. I rarely make a visit to the "healthy snack" area, but I was so happy that I could grab two bananas that were a) free b) convenient c) efficient, because who wants fresh fruit to go to waste over the weekend.

ok, the best part of this story is that I came home from work with my two bananas, all ready to make pancakes. stephen and I looked at each other and said, "wanna pop in a pizza?" basically, we wanted wine and decided that wine didn't go with banana pancakes, so we opted for a pizza. however.... when we skipped spin class that sunday morning to make these banana chocolate chip pancakes, it was SO worth it.

Monday, February 27, 2017

wedding invitation tips and tricks

I am really excited about this post because I have scoured the depths of the internet every step of the way in wedding planning, and have put everything I learned about invitations all in one place - this post! I love paper goods and invitations so I spent a lot of time picking them out and assembling them throughout the planning process, hopefully these tips and tricks will help you too.

Friday, February 24, 2017

grilled glazed carrots

there have been a couple times that a perfectly-cooked carrot has totally rocked my world. if you haven't experienced this before, you should just trust me. the first time, was a five course meal at the altitude restaurant in shangri-la hotel in sydney, australia. one of the courses was carrots and I remember thinking "hmmmm." then, of course, they were absolutely the best thing I had ever eaten. recently, on our valentine's dinner date, I ordered salmon with a side of roasted vegetables. there were only two carrots in the mix, but again, the flavorful carrot romanced me.

does anyone else find carrots to be beautiful? when I pass them in the grocery store, with their huge green leaves and bright orange stalks - I always have an urge to buy them. I finally found a reason, or a recipe rather, to buy them! stephen was firing up the grill for a filet mignon and I decided to have carrots and broccoli, which turned out to be the perfect "spring is coming" dinner.

Monday, February 20, 2017

a word on vintage postage

somehow during wedding planning, I stumbled upon the most beautiful images of themed vintage stamps for invitations. I was obsessed and honestly, the first thing I did when we got engaged, was buy vintage stamps on etsy. I told myself that if the usps had ever released seashell stamps, it was a sign and I had to do it. sure enough, seashell postage was released in 1985 and then next thing I knew - I had to have the white crane, the alligator, and a floral love stamp for good measure.

Friday, February 17, 2017

a rare friday five

I haven't done a weekly reading in ages and I wanted to bring you guys up to speed with what I've been up to lately - so here I am doing a friday five, which I've never done before. happy friday everyone, here's what I've been up to these days!

image via cyclebar