Stella meets the beach

Ever since I adopted Stella I’ve been on a mission to make her love the water.  It started with me taking her to a small beach in St. Mary’s county and her biting at / being weirded out by the waves, and ended with me pulling her into the water at my aunt and uncle’s lake house.  That last one didn’t go over too well.

When we went to the Outer Banks for my friend’s wedding I was bound and determined to finally have Stella embrace the water.  Mission Accomplished:

All pictures were taken with my mom’s Olympus OM-1, no editing.

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Winter Salad

I’ve officially decided that the health kick needs to start….like yesterday.

The second it drops below 60˚ I become an instant wimp.  I never want to run outside so I start bringing my workouts indoors and quickly lose interest on the treadmill.  Instead of running 4 miles I’ll barely make it through 2.  Treadmills suck.

Sandy brought in the winter weather here in PA and I finally forced myself to run outside yesterday.  It was 45˚, and it wasn’t too bad.  Honest.

I made this dish from Green Kitchen Stories over the weekend to help the healthy eating process before the holidays and to balance out my lack of exercise.

Slam dunk.

There’s millet, there’s pomegranate seeds [and a great method for getting the seeds out!]. There’s avocado and butternut squash.  I’m in heaven.  I chose to chop up almonds over each serving instead of macadamia nuts but that’s mainly because I’m way too obsessed with the tamarind almonds in the bulk bin at Whole Foods.  Truth.

Guilty.

Braised Beans and Leeks

I love soup.  I make one massive pot of soup/week once Fall hits and never turn back until the Spring flowers start to show their faces.

Soup is comforting.  It’s warm when the weather outside is cold.  It’s perfect.

I had been on a bit of a chili kick when I decided to switch it up and made this soup from Good Things Grow.

I changed the recipe slightly by adding in a few chopped slices of bacon.  What can I say?  I love bacon.  You can, obviously, keep the meal vegetarian and skip the bacon, but I think it added a great smoky flavor.  Pancetta would also be a delicious addition.

The dish is time consuming between soaking the beans overnight and braising the soup in the oven for 3 hours, but its worth the wait!  You could also buy canned beans, but I think the beauty in these types of dishes is the actual time it takes to make them.  The flavor you get after simmering for 3 hours is going to be much more complex than a quick 30 minute simmer.  But, as always, do your thing.  Not everyone has 3 hours to set aside on a Sunday….it was a lazy weekend OK!?

Apple pie season

It’s official.  It’s apple pie time.  AKA- my favorite time.

Strawberry-rhubarb pie time is a close second, but this one, ultimately, trumps that because its coupled with my birthday and fall colored leaves.  Truth.

Fun fact: the apples I used in this pie were hand picked by yours truly.  Oh yeah, I went apple picking.  And it was awesome.  I went with a few friends to Linvilla Orchards and picked enough apples for a solid two weeks of lunchtime snacks.

Did I mention it was awesome?

I saved three massive Mutsu apples for the sole purpose of pie making, and kind of wished I had picked another one because the filling : crust ratio was slightly off.  Still tasty.

I used my go-to source for all things awesome: Southern Living. I was having trouble finding the recipe online [I have a ripped sheet from the magazine, sorry mom…], but I did manage to find the crust recipe here.

For the filling:

4.5 lbs apples peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup sugar [originally 1 cup]

2 Tbsp flour [originally 1/4 cup]

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

[adding a dash of nutmeg? do it]

Pre-heat oven to 375˚. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat the apples.  Set aside to sit ~15 minutes.  Roll out one of the pie dough disks and fit into a 9-inch round pan.  Mound apple mixture into pan.  Roll out second pie dough disk and fit over the pie, pinching the edges to seal and being sure to cut a few slits to vent.  I chose to do a lattice crust mainly because I thought the bottom crust might be too thick [it was] and wanted a more sparse top crust.  Do your thing.

Bake 50 minutes.   Top pie loosely with aluminum foil and bake another 40 minutes.  Allow pie to cool 1-2 hours [if you can manage] then dig in!  Ice cream is recommended.