October 27, 2013

Tree to Table

When I was younger my mom and I used to make a three hour drive south every fall to gather apples for the holiday baking season. When the Mister and I moved back to NY last summer I was disappointed to learn that due to the early thaw followed by a cold spell, there were fewer apples available and no local orchards were letting people pick their own. Luckily, this summer was better for apples and all the orchards were back open for picking! So, off we went.

We came home with an entire bushel of apples, close to 30 pounds, which looks like a lot more in my pantry than it did when we were standing in the middle of the orchard.

For my first apple dish I went with the ever popular apple pie. I love making it and the Mister loves eating it!

Next up is a nod to my German heritage with some apfelpfannkuchen, followed eventually by some baked apple oatmeal, and then probably another pie. Not to mention the apple a day that each of us are eating. I'm thinking that 30 pounds may have been too many apples for two people...anyone interested in some delicious baked goods?

As an aside, I'll share this photo to hopefully put a smile on your face. A while back someone that lives in this house and is not me got in a small fight with the container and then put it back in the drawer like nothing happened. Each time I grab for the cling wrap I have to giggle just a little as I imagine how the box came to look this way. Enjoy =)

October 24, 2013

Game Night

Some of my fondest memories are of friends and family gathered around a table playing games. From huddling at the neighbor's during the ice storm of 1998 for warmth and what felt like hundreds of games of Phase 10, to the first Thanksgiving I spent with the Mister's family. When we played SNL Trivial Pursuit and I learned that his sister cheats at Uno. I also learned that she likes to confess to cheating several turns past when any consequences can be doled out. Let's not forget winning Gestures and stunning my host family when I guessed modelleisenbahn correctly, or visiting friends from my hometown and playing Creationary while enjoying margaritas.

For a while the Mister and I had a regular game night scheduled. We had amassed quite the collection of games during our decade together branching out beyond your run of the mill Milton Bradley or Parker Brother's games (not that we don't enjoy these as well). We discovered Euro games and fell instantly in love. These games are often much more complicated than traditional board games, but they are always worth the effort. (I suggest you look into Dominion or Pandemic if you're interested). We kept our game night up for nearly a year, but then life seemed to place itself squarely in the way and we ended up making excuses and finding reasons for why we didn't have the time.

Recently we decided to reenact our game night. We did some rearranging of the rooms after the purchase of our new couch and we took this opportunity to create a game room. As we added a little bit of normalcy to our home with new living room furniture, we balanced it out with a reminder of the geekery that our relationship is built upon. 

Game nights got away from us in the past, so we have renewed our efforts to make the space for them this time around. Finding a couple hours on a Sunday night not only allows us to meet the new week with our energies refueled, but it also lets us reconnect with each other at the end of every week.

Plus, the Mister just bought a Pound-o-dice, so we are looking for any and every reason to use them!

October 8, 2013

Black Bean Dip

I recently remembered that once upon a time I loved black bean dip. I haven't had any in ages and I am pretty sure the kind I used to eat doesn't exist anymore. I currently eat much cleaner than I used to so I decided to try my hand at homemade bean dip.

There are tons of recipes for this dip online, in varying levels of difficulty. You can pretty much toss some black beans in a food processor with whatever other vegetables and spices that you like.

Most recipes suggest adding salsa, but I decided to add fresh vegetables instead. Along with the black beans, I added tomatoes, hot peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice. I kept the spices simple with salt, black pepper, and some cayenne. I put everything in the food processor and blended with a touch of olive oil to smooth it out. For a smoother dip you can use canned beans, but I am really opposed to eating things out of a can, so I opted to rehydrate the dried version.