Thursday, June 27

Crafty Excitement

The June Whimseybox arrived today and I can't wait to make it!

But first, I have a lot of packing to do and pastries to make. So the box will have to wait for now :(

Sunday, June 23


My dad opened the pool over two weeks ago when my parents came to visit, but today was the first day I was actually able to enjoy it. And enjoy it I did. There's no better way to cool down in 85+ degree weather.

Friday, June 21

Farmer's Market Friday

No fun finds post this week, instead I bring you today's farmer's market buys. Since we are moving in two weeks, I realized this may be the last time I visit this particular farmer's market. Not that there aren't awesome markets in the Philadelphia area, but there's just something nice about going to an actual farm for your fruits and vegetables... it's the closest you can get to local without growing your own. One day I'd love to have my very own garden (or greenhouse!), but until then, farmer's markets are the next best thing.

The donuts are 99cents a piece or $3.99 for six... how many do you think I got? :) And the bread was a splurge in the gastronomic sense as well; I LOVE BREAD. Artisan bread, I should say. Bring me a loaf and I will eat it.... probably mostly in one sitting. And this is why we don't keep things like that around the house very often. But with my strawberry rhubarb jam in the refrigerator, I just had to splurge on a little handcrafted bread. And oh man, I so cannot wait to grill that corn up!

Wednesday, June 19

I can't believe this is work

I now have less than two weeks left at my current job at the bakery, and I thought it would be fun to show you a few of the tarts I've been making recently. It's funny to me that I can make all of these now because I remember growing up and eating fancy tarts for birthdays (my family has never been a cake family) and it never occurred to me that one day I might be the person making them. In fact, I still can't believe I get to make tasty things all day that puts smiles on peoples' faces, and I get paid for it too!

fruit tarts: raspberry and blueberry, all strawberry

apple almond and pear frangipane

strawberry, blueberry, raspberry fruit tart and key lime meringue

So, you know, if you ever want a fruit tart made you know who to call!
(hint: it's not the Ghostbusters...)

Saturday, June 15

Jammin' on Between Three Kitchens

I posted my super simple recipe for strawberry rhubarb refrigerator jam over at Between Three Kitchens; you should definitely check it out if you're into that kinda thing.

Have I ever mentioned Between Three Kitchens on here before? It's a food blog that some friends and I share. I wanted a place where I could post recipes without people needing to see all the intimate details of my life too. But I knew I wouldn't have content frequently enough to post on my own, so I invited some friends to join in on the action, and Between Three Kitchens was born. We've been terrible about updating since our 'launch' over a year ago, but I'm hoping to flip that around this year and be more diligent in posting over there. My ultimate goal is to move all my recipes from here over to there, but first I'd like to make them all again to get some new photos and to see if anything needs tweaking. Well, that sounds like quite the project!

Friday, June 14

Fun Finds Friday #26

Thursday, June 13

So, in other news....

A few weeks ago I mentioned that we had some big news on the way... and no, it's not an engagement (ha!), and it's certainly not a baby! (Oh man, could you imagine? No thank you!) Nope, this news is really nothing new around these parts...

In case you're unfamiliar with US city skylines, that's a photo of Philadelphia. We're moving back to Philly! This is all very exciting indeed. We put a deposit down on an apartment last week, and now we can't wait to move in. The first week of July is our official move in 'date'. I'd say July 1st but I'm in someone's wedding on July 2nd so we're waiting until the following weekend to move. And as far as work goes, I'll be going back to the coffee shop I was working at when we lived there prior. Except that this time I'll be baking for two shops, and I'll be in charge of pretty much everything having to do with food. I'm really looking forward to being able to make my own schedule and come up with my own creations again, and of course seeing a lot of familiar faces is a perk too!

This past year has been an amazing learning experience, both at work and at home. I've learned some new tricks of the trade when it comes to baking, and it's been great working in an actual bakery that pumps out way more than I ever did when I worked at the coffee shop before. (Hey, a one-woman team can only do so much!) And as far as taking care of my parents' house goes, well, Shawn and I now have a much better idea of what we're looking for in a home, along with the amount of effort it takes to maintain everything. For now, we're happy to leave the maintenance to the people who are trained and paid to do it - so apartment living, here we come again! It was nice entertaining the idea of having a small yard or patio, but unfortunately places like that are still far out of our price range. We'll get there though- isn't that what your late 20s and early 30s are for? Saving up for the 'real' thing; the American dream? We can't even fathom where we might be ten years from now anyway, so in the mean time we'll just enjoy taking these little steps towards building our own dream.

Philadelphia, here we come (again).

Tuesday, June 11

Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

I've recently been reading Michael Pollan's book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto; in it he talks about the perils of the Western Diet and how we really need to make the shift back to eating real food, not the processed stuff that lines the majority of the shelves in our supermarkets. The book details the various processes that our 'food' goes through, from the way companies focus on supposed "nutrients" in products instead of the food item as a whole, to all the hormones and pesticides used in almost everything that we ingest. He also breaks down all the labels that are used on packaging (organic, grass-fed, free range, etc) and what they really mean. The second part of the book then focuses more on the shift back to eating real food. (His motto is eat food, not too much, mostly plants.) Because even things at the supermarket that are labeled organic could still be traveling all the way from China, you are much better off visiting farmer's markets or investing in a local CSA. Even if the farmers near you aren't necessarily growing organically, it's still better to buy and support local establishments; at least at a farm you can have a conversation with the people that are growing your food!

Most of this information isn't new to me; I've been buying from farmer's markets for the last three years (Philadelphia has an abundance of them, and here in NJ there are small farms all over the place.) and Shawn and I eat really well most of the time. Although we do eat a lot of grains (rice & pasta) and we indulge in various snacks from time to time (mostly chips and ice cream), when I'm shopping for food I've always focused more on the ingredients than the nutritional value. My motto is "If I can't pronounce it, it can't possibly be good for me." I've certainly never been one to count calories. And when it comes to things like labels on meat and eggs, I do my best to buy the least processed/most ethical options I can find. Michael Pollan's book has definitely helped confirm a lot of my suspicions about what's going on behind the scenes, and it has also opened my eyes to other sources and realities. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy if you have any interest at all in what you're feeding your body.

I also came across this TedX Talk, which pretty much sums up everything I just wrote. This kid is inspiring, and well educated. I only wish more people would take such an interest in changing the way we think about food! Especially kids! They really are our future.

I understand that not everyone has such easy access to farms, or even education about such things. That's the real default of the current food system; no one realizes that what they're eating is harming them, because no one is telling them what's really going on. Understandably, the people selling the processed food aren't going to be honest about what they're doing and what it's doing to you. The best we can do is count on each other to spread the word about reality; people like Michael Pollan and Birke Baehr are just telling others what they know, and hoping that most of us will choose to listen, and hopefully change our ways. It's only by changing our individual eating habits that we can succeed in making a national change.

Thursday, June 6

Instagram Photo Dump

I haven't done one of these in a while; here's a peek at what I've been up to the last month or so:

Our first official day of spring grilling // Spotted a fox in the backyard
The family grows each year // Oh, I just make these things at work...
Perfectly grilled salmon and asparagus // Shawn and I collaborate on the refrigerator
Kittens!! Got to spend an evening cat-sitting for a friend's mom's kittens
Hit up Gimme! Coffee in Brooklyn // Used some rhubarb in hamantaschen cookies

This week I got to go to Brooklyn for my friend Christine's wedding dress fitting, where I also picked up my bridesmaid dress. There are no photos of either dress, but she's having both bridesmaids wear black knee-length infinity dresses, and I am so pumped to play around with all the possibilities! The fabric is a thick jersey that drapes really well, and she's letting us pick how we want to wear it. The wedding is in early July and I'm looking forward to seeing how all this turns out. I've never been a bridesmaid before, so I'm not sure what to expect, but she has been a super cool bride this entire time!
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