Kitchen Tour + A Giveaway

DSCN0459I am so excited to share my new apartment with you guys! I am in love with this place. Like really in love. This is the first “nice” apartment I’ve lived. My previous apartments have all been old, dated and/or tiny. This apartment, on the other hand is modern, spacious and thoughtfully designed. Now I can’t take too much credit for the kitchen–it’s pretty fabulous all on it’s own. But loaded with all my kitchen supplies and a few fun accessories it’s perfect! DSCN0464And speaking of accessories–it was perfect timing when Gordmans asked me a few weeks ago if I would go check out some of their home decor. I of course agreed! And they sent me two gift cards, one of which I’m going to give away to one of you guys! (Keep reading to find out how to enter.) 2014-07-19I knew that I wanted canisters for my new kitchen. For years I used a set of really sad DIY canisters, then got rid of them when I moved into my studio. And these guys–with the fun chalkboard labels and bright red lids–were perfect. And a great price! Canisters can get so expensive, but these three puppies came in at just $20 leaving me a few more to spend. Which got me the cutest set of ceramic measuring cups. I love that they’re pretty enough to leave out. They’re always just a reach a way for quick measurements, like coffee. (Thanks Gordmans!)DSCN0482I still had a set of the 50th Anniversary Andy Warhol soup cans from a few years back. I removed the label and framed and matted them for a very kitchen-appropriate pop of color. Now seeing as custom mating is even more expensive than canisters, I matted them myself with a sheet of poster board–hence no closeup pictures displaying my excellent matting skills ;) And a few bright new kitchen linens and citrus-y soaps polished it off! DSCN0467Now. For the good stuff. As I said I have a $25 Gordmans gift card to give away to one of you! There’s two ways to enter. 

Leave a comment on this post with your email address

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You can do both and get two entries! I’ll put all the names in a hat (well actually probably a mixing bowl) and then draw one next Monday.

The winner is anotherannoyingcoupleblog!!!

**GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED**

Hearty Blueberry (or Chocolate Chip) Banana-Oatmeal Muffins

DSCN0360I love a moist, dense-but-still-fluffy, impossibly sweet, streusel topped, cream-cheese-frosting-drizzled muffin. But these are not that. Because sometimes you just want something simple and not too sweet to nibble on with your coffee.

DSCN0381Sweetened with just honey and made with oats and bananas these are a simple, hearty bite. I made half the batch with chocolate chips and half with blueberries, but you could easily do the whole batch with the same mix- ins.

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Ingredients:
½ cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Zest of half a lemon
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas
¼ skim milk
½  cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Mix together dry ingredients and make a well in center. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix just until combined, batter will be thick and lumpy. Do not over mix. Separate batter evenly into two bowls. Add blueberries to one half and chocolate chips to the other half. Gently fold in just until combined. Spoon into lined muffin tins. Bake 17-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Makes 12 muffins

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Adapted from this recipe 

 

New Apartment: Sneak Peak!

 

My days as a studio dweller will officially be over as of Sunday! I’m moving a whopping three blocks to a one bedroom in my favorite building in the neighborhood. I was sure I would never be able to secure an apartment in these adorable brownstones nestled on a tree-lined street across from a beautiful historic mansion, so I was ticked when I did just that a few weeks ago!

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I’ll be posting a new home tour (AND a giveaway—my very first!) once I’m all moved in and settled, but I just couldn’t wait so I thought I’d give you a little preview in the form of iphone photos. (The exterior photo came from the apartment site.) If you don’t follow me on Inststagram, you should probably go do that today because I have a little vote going on for what counter stools I should put at my bar.

 

Summer Brews

DSCN0261Most people who’ve had a few drinks with me could probably predict with alarming accuracy what I’m going to order. My cheap beer is Coors Light. My beer of choice is Blue Moon. And on the very rare occasion I order a mixed drink, there’s all of three I’ll pick from, but it’s almost always beer. I decided it was time I broaden my horizons a bit with my favorite adult beverage. And since I’m partial to lighter brews the summer selection is quite pleasing to my palate. I picked up a mix-and-match six pack at Hy-Vee a few weekends ago and have been working my way through it. I’ve tried a few others not listed here too–like Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat and Shock Top Belgian White–both winners.
DSCN0260Baraboo Blueberry Ale is ok. I’ve had better, I have worse. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.

Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen is fruity but still tastes like beer, much like Leinenkugel Berry Weiss. And its pink and I’m a girl who loves a pink beer.

Ciderboys Peach Country is perfect for a lazy summer afternoon in the sun with a good book–which is exactly how I enjoyed it. Sweet, crisp and refreshing.

DSCN0264Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has a nice crisp richness about it

New Belgium Snapshot was my favorite of my non-fruity selections–a refreshing, tasty wheat brew.

Backpocket Brewery’s Gold Coin is a delightful German Blonde Lager and is brewed near my hometown in Coralville, IA <— gotta love a hometown brew! All their brews are named after things you might keep in your back pocket–how clever!

 

What’s your favorite summer beverage?

 

An Old Favorite

DSCN0286Almost everyday I immerse myself in new information on the web–most often in the form of Pinterest and  food blogs filled with the most inventive triple-chocolate-nutella-drizzled-secret-ingredient-best-ever-recipes. With all of these new and exciting dishes floating around my noggin it’s easy to lose sight of the recipes that I know and love, the recipes I can make by memory, the recipes that come from my mom, my aunt, my grandma’s recipe box.

DSCN0272I tend to get more gratification from making recipes I’ve made before than I do making new ones. It might have something to do with that fact that I know they will turn out. But there’s something else too. While a beautiful Girl Scout Cookie-inspired cheesecake is sure wow your friends with its rich, decadent deliciousness, a 40-year-old cookie recipe from your grandma’s collection feeds the soul. There’s something special about going through the same motions, mixing together the same ingredients that your mom did when you were a kid and your grandma did years before you were born.   DSCN0281Now, by no means am I abandoning the 779 recipes I have pinned to my Yummies I must try Pinterest board. I will always love trying new recipes and experimenting with creative ideas, and I encourage you all to do the same. Afterall if everyone always just made the same dessert their mom made we’d still be eating snow candies. But next time you’re craving a little treat call your mom or your best friend and ask for one her old favorites.

Recipe for Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

 

Strawberry-Peach Crumble

DSCN0248I bough a sack of peaches at the grocery store last week in hopes of enjoying impossibly sweet, chin-dripping juicy fruit all week long. But, alas no such thing happened. They never ripened and after half-hardheartedly throwing one into a smoothie I decided there was a much better use for them. Dessert. I had about a half pound of strawberries that were on their last leg too–so I threw them in to keep the peaches company. DSCN0211Now, not so long ago I posted about how I was trying to move in the opposite direction of relatively unhealthy food. And while this certainly falls into the relatively unhealthy category I tried to make it just a bit better by reducing the butter and sugar. And I didn’t have any white sugar, so I used all brown sugar (and brown sugar is totally better than white sugar. right? no? Oh well)  DSCN0216Since peaches and strawberries are already pretty juicy I didn’t miss the sugar.
DSCN0218The only difference I really noticed was in the topping. I based this recipe off of my apple crisp recipe which gives you a thick, gooey-crispy (yeah gooey-crispy is a thing) topping that you can sneak of in chunks when no one is looking. (Don’t even pretend like you don’t do that.) But with half the butter it’s more of a sweet crumbly oatmeal cookie-like topping. Still delicious, but slightly less indulgent. DSCN0219

Ingredients:
4-5 small peaches, chopped
1/2 pound strawberries, chopped
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice

3/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup butter


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Directions:

Toss peaches and strawberries with sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice. Dump into an 8 x 8 pan. Soften butter to room temperature. Mix together with oats, sugar, flour cinnamon and butter–I used a fork to start with, then finished with my hands. Sprinkle on top of fruit in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

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Honey-Balsamic Dressing

DSCN0180I whipped up my first batch of this dressing earlier this week and there was a small part of me that thought I had brilliantly created a delicious new kale-and-spinach-drenching sauce. Then I googled honey-balsamic and my dressing dreams were quashed…turns out Martha and her friends have been doing this for years, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. DSCN0161As an avid baker–used to  measuring out precise (okay, usually not all that precise in my case) cups of flour and sugar–I quite enjoyed the little-of-this-little-of-that method that this dressing calls for. So if you’re looking for an exact recipe I recommend asking Martha. But if want to join in on my crunchy veggie-eating adventure–let’s get started. First get some EVOO action going on.DSCN0162Add in some balsamic vinegar–go easy here, you can always add more, but its tough to fix once you’ve got too much.DSCN0163My favorite part–the honey! Give that little bear a good squeeze.DSCN0164Sprinkle in some pepper–be sure to be fancy here and use freshly ground.
DSCN0166Give it a good wiskDSCN0167Taste…then add some more honey (or whatever flavor its callin’ for)

DSCN0190Toss together a bowl of crunchy-fresh-goodness and drizzle this stuff on top. I’ve been taking it in my lunch this week and let me tell you–there really is something to this whole eating real food thing. (There’s also something to the being addicted to sugar thing–I’ve had my fair share of deliciously processed un-real food in the form of Smokey Row sugar cookies this week too.)