Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Perks of being a Roomie

My best friend Brigid and I have lived together (in this house) for the past year, and often times, when people learn this they make some remark about us becoming sick of one another. But truth be told, with work and significant others and family and just general life, we don't see each other nearly as often as you might think. It is for this reason that I've come to cherish the occasional weeknight or Saturday morning that we spend cooking and listening to music together in our little row home.


Some nights it's pasta and wine and Ray Charles...

...other nights it's green lentil curry, naan bread and Shakira...

...every now and then it's spinach quiche, roasted sweet potatoes and The Cranberries....

...and on some special occasions it's coffee, a dutch baby and Adele.

And it's always the best. :) 
Everyone should be able to live with their best friend for at least one year.

In case you missed it:

Select photographs by Brigid! Thank you for sharing your photos.:)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

the perfect lunch

Over the past couple weeks I have been eating the same exact lunch everyday.  It is quick, delicious and healthy.  Give it a try!

 sandwich thin, hummus, sliced baby cucumbers, sliced radish, orange pepper, heirloom tomato

I love the Tribe brand of hummus in the Everything flavor and in my personal opinion, an heirloom tomato from the local farmers market (or your own back yard if you are that lucky) is the perfect way to finish it off.

Add a side of cantaloupe and you've got the perfect lunch!

Monday, August 25, 2014

gluten-free blueberry crisp

A few weeks ago, just after my birthday, I headed over to the bookstore armed with all of my birthday money and left with five new books that I've been enjoying reading ever since.  One of them is called Bread and Wine, by Shauna Niequist, and was not only a great read, but included so many great recipes.  I've already tried three of them - the simple vinaigrette, the sweet potato fries with sriracha dipping sauce, and the blueberry crisp - and have loved all of them, but especially that crisp.  I'm a total sucker for a crisp recipe and knew immediately that I would try this one.  You should, too.

Blueberry Crisp 
from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

4 cups of blueberries (or other fruit)
1 cup gluten-free old fashioned oats
1/2 cup raw, unsalted pecans, halved or chopped
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together oats, pecans, almond meal, maple syrup, olive oil, and salt in a medium bowl.  
Put the berries into an 8x8 pan and then spread the crisp topping over it.  
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is crisp and golden.  

Notes:  I mixed blueberries and peaches together in our version of this crisp and it was a great combination.  Perfect for breakfast, as a snack, and for dessert with generous amounts of whipped cream and/or ice cream.

Fortunately for me, nobody else in my family is a huge fan of baked fruit so I got to eat the entire thing all by myself.  I was not disappointed.  Some day I hope they'll learn to love fruit crisp as much as I do, but for now, I'm happy to have it all to myself!

I know lots of kids are headed back to school today, but here in central VA we still have one more week of summer vacation left.  We're spending some time at the river, heading to the beach for a day, hanging out with our cousins as much as possible, and generally packing as much fun as we can into our last days of summer.  Good luck to all you guys heading back to school and happy last week of summer to those of you still at home!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Photo Friday!

beautiful engagement flowers!
What are you up to this weekend? On Saturday morning I'm planning to do yoga and grab a chocolate buttercup smoothie from a nearby cafe, and then Robert and I are heading to Maryland to visit with some of his family. And I'm hoping that Saturday & Sunday both take their time in passing by. :) Thanks for reading this week! Have a great weekend. xoCarrie

My sister-in-law and nephews are here visiting from Denver!  We're so excited to spend as much time with them as possible.  Hope you've had a great week!  See you Monday!

I'm looking forward to a weekend with my favorites.
Have a good one.
xo Dana

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Broiled Cinnamon & Sugar Toast

Brigid and I went walking a couple of nights ago, and I couldn't help but remark that the air, the general feeling of late August is so different from the rest of the summer. I'm not sure if it's the crickets chirping, the oh-so-slight chill in the early morning air or just the ingrained feeling of apprehension that comes with the fall season, but there is a definite shift somewhere around the fifteenth of August. 

A long time ago, when I was still in my pre-college school days, my mom used to make us a special breakfast around the start of the school year (and on some Saturdays, too). I've always said that no one makes toast the way that my mom does, and this fancified version is no exception. Simply put, this is broiled cinnamon and sugar toast. But with the right amount of butter, a healthy sprinkling of sugar & a light dusting of cinnamon, the broiler creates an almost creme brulee-ish crust that far outreaches the power of any toaster. I made it for myself yesterday morning, in a moment of nostalgia, while standing in a dimly lit kitchen at 6:30 AM. And not surprisingly, it had the same effect as it did so many years ago: I immediately wanted to march back upstairs, climb back under the covers and sleep for just a few more minutes. If only. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Maine:: Part 2

Last week Dani shared some of her vacation pictures from Maine, and I'm back to do the same today! Typically, our family spends every summer vacation hanging out in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and while I absolutely love spending time there, I was so excited to explore a new area. Bar Harbor is a beautiful little New England town with a lot of history and a lot to do. Some highlights for me were spending time at Sand Beach, a brief stint sea kayaking (story to come some other time), sampling many (many!) lobster rolls, and one memorable happy hour spent drinking blueberry beer with my favorite guy while it poured down rain outside. And oh yeah, getting engaged to him was pretty awesome, too. :) Below are a few pictures, if you'd like to see!

[This is the view that Robert had for essentially twelve hours. He did all of the driving, and thank goodness because honestly, I would have been terrified driving his big SUV on the highway. Luckily, the hours pass relatively quickly when you're hanging out with your favorite person.]

[Pretty handsome guy in front of the harbor :]

[Robert had booked us reservations for a really nice brunch at the Bar Harbor Inn for our first morning in Maine weeks in advance to our trip. We had the most delicious food (eggs benedict! smoked salmon! bouillabaisse! vanilla pastry cups!) and drinks while enjoying this view.]

[And right after dessert, he asked me to marry him. And I said yes! I will absolutely never forget that moment and this beautiful spot.]

[We spent one afternoon at Echo Lake with a picnic lunch. The water here was relatively warm (compared to the ocean, anyway!) and it was a beautiful spot, surrounded by lots and lot of pine trees. Here, the littles are enjoying some time playing in the sand. I love that you can see Sommie's little ghostie (sunscreen) face in this picture. So cute. :)]

[Echo Lake]

[While Chelsey, Will & Matt hiked, we spent time on the shore playing in the water.]

[While the boys played golf one morning, we had a girls day down town. We stopped at a bakery where Dani and I split this delicious blueberry and lemon whoopie pie.]

[Annabel and Sommer opted for Mickey Mouse cupcakes.]

[And after a particularly large bite....]

[...Sommie became an icing monster and chased Annabel around the park. Seriously, these girls are so funny together.]

[blueberry pie & iced coffee, just because]

[Sommie explaining how to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain.]

[We drove up to Cadillac Mountain to see the sunset/moon rise one evening, and though the viewing conditions weren't great, the sight was beautiful nonetheless.]

[We were all set to find a sasquatch, but instead we happened upon this Annabel/Uncle Will monster!]

[Robert and I walked down to check out Bar Island with the Williams family after lunch one day.]

[During low tide, the water recedes and you can walk across to Bar Island. I was really amazed at how dry everything gets in such a short amount of time! And the snails! Snails galore.]

[blueberry beer]

[My Gramma treated us all to an awesome dinner out one night. We cracked and ate our own lobsters (with a rather large side of melted butter!) and enjoyed the blueberry beer (pictured above) alongside. Soooo delicious. And look how happy this guy is with his lobster. Can you blame him?]

[I took a picture of this little bakery because I think it was my favorite place to eat. They had the most delicious bagels and pastries, and delicious sandwiches, too.]

[Veggie and house made hummus sammie. YUM!]

[Sand Beach was an incredibly beautiful spot -- essentially ocean, surrounded by mountains.]

[Such a fun day!]

[I will never forget this wonderful trip! Until next time, Bar Harbor!]

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Two Things

I recently discovered two things that make me very happy.

1)  Coconut Oil

I have continually come across something regarding coconut oil on social media over the past several months and one week about a month ago I decided to take the plunge and buy myself a jar.  It is pricey but worth it in my opinion because it lasts a while and you can use it on your face, hair, in the kitchen, with essential oils...among other things I'm sure.  I used it on my sad, sensitive skin and it is finally starting to get back to normal.

2) A Running Group

Those people who support your through the miles whether 2 or 26.2.  The ones who push you to keep going when you think you can't possibly take one more step.  The ones who meet you in the rain or sun; the blazing hot or the freezing cold.  

I have wanted to be a strong runner for quite a while now and have struggled time and time again to push myself to greater speeds and distances.  I am by no means a strong runner yet but I joined a running group about a month ago and it has changed my view on what being a runner is as well as how I feel about running.  The group that I joined are people from all walks of life who meet up over one common denominator -- running.   I know I haven't experienced the best parts of being on a running team yet but I hope I do.  One of the greatest things I have experienced in the short time I have been a part of this group is the support.  Not just support for me and the runs that I do but support of something bigger.  The team I joined does monthly challenges to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  We run dedication runs for those fighting cancer.  We collect canned goods to donate to local food pantries.  Seeing what this team has done and continues to do has amazed and inspired me and I am so proud to be a part of it!  Here's a blog post about the team if you'd like to read more!