Monday, April 14

planting fields arboretum

Saturday morning I sat in bed, a cup of coffee in hand, computer on my lap and scrolled through the list of nearby New York State Parks. It was such a beautiful spring day it would have been a shame to stay inside. We decided on the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay. I don't see how you could go wrong with a 1920s Gold Coast estate. It's not possible. 

We walked just about the entire grounds and but didn't make it inside the main house. It closed at 3:30pm and we had spent too much time sitting in the Italian garden. It was all so beautiful. It was almost like a small village, all of the old buildings. I couldn't imagine living in such a place. Well, I could, but it looks a lot like a lot like scene out of a Jane Austen novel in my mind. 

I'd like to go back when everything outdoors is in bloom, I'm sure the gardens look just lovely then. 

Some photos from our visit.

Friday, April 11

nectarine and ricotta pizza


My mouth started watering the minute I laid eyes on this photo of a nectarine, ricotta, basil, and balsamic pizza on pinterest. I knew I had to make it, and so I did. It came out so much better than I thought, though less colorful than the original photo thanks to the nectarines. They could have been a bit more ripe, but baking them sweetened them up just fine. 

I used my own recipe for the dough, which I will write out below but can also be found here

Toppings:
Ricotta (we used a lot, maybe a whole cup?)
Mozzerella, shredded (a very small amount)
Parmesan, grated or shaved
1 Nectarine, thinly sliced
Fresh basil

Balsamic reduction:
Place a 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small sauté pan and turn heat to medium high. 
Let simmer until reduced and noticeably thick. Remove from heat. 

For the dough:

What you'll need...
3 1/2 to 4 cups of all purpose flour (bread flour is recommended if you have it).
1 envelope of dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 1/2 cup of warm water
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons olive oil

To make it:
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and two tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Add the yeast to the warm water and let it sit for a minute or two, then add to the mixture. Mix until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball. Grease the bowl with the remaining two teaspoons of olive oil and place the dough back in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let it sit for an hour or until the dough doubles in size. 

Spread ricotta on dough and arrange nectarine slices. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake pizza at 450 degrees until the edges are golden brown. Once out of the oven top with fresh basil and balsamic reduction. 

I cannot wait to make this pizza again. It was just as good hot out of the oven as it was cold the next day. One thing I might change would be to substitute the basil for arugula, but that is purely a personal preference. 

Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, April 9

light and airy


It may be a little difficult to see, but I really love the tiny detailed print on this tunic dress. Though this style isn't the most flattering on my shape (they have this awful tendency of making me look too wide) it would be prefect for an outdoor music festival or day at the beach. It looks so light, airy, and comfortable, something that could make an easy transition from day to night with the right accessories. For a casual daytime look, I would pair it with neutral wedges, bright lipstick, and a simple handbag. Sunglasses and colorful bobby pins optional. 

I hope you're all enjoying your week thus far. Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, April 8

whiskey smash

"I just realized this is like a whiskey mojito." - JD

What you'll need:
1 1/2 oz of whiskey (we used Bulliet rye)
3/4 oz of simple syrup
1 oz of water (or soda water)
2 slices of lemon
2 - 3 mint leaves

To make:
Muddle lemon, mint, simple syrup, and water. 
Add whiskey, shake, and strain into a glass over ice.
Garnish with mint, serve, and enjoy!

It really is that simple and it's delicious. As JD said, we may never leave the house for cocktails again. Over the course of the evening we tried a few different variations, substituting honey for simple syrup and alternating flat and fizzy water. All worked well and I highly recommend giving this one a try. 

weekend snapshots


So much has been going on lately, for JD, at least that we decided to take the weekend easy. Saturday we brunched at Market Table, a favorite spot that we hadn't been to in a while. We always try to go ahead of the crowd but by noon the normally uncrowded restaurant was nearly full. That's springtime in New York. Everyone comes to visit. Speaking of, it really is a great place to go with a group since they have the space to accommodate larger parties. As usual it was just the two of us. We sat in the front window and I snapped a picture of my delicious crispy flounder sandwich so quickly, as not to be seen, I was worried it would come out blurry. After brunch we hopped on a train uptown to the Museum of Natural History. It's one of my favorites and we hadn't been in a couple of years. Later that evening JD discovered that you can make a whiskey smash in less than a minute. My mistake. We may never leave the apartment for drinks again. On Sunday we took a picnic down to the river and spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather. 

Thursday, April 3

thoughts | nail polish

Sometimes I sit here, trying to think of what to write, how I want to sound, what this blog should be, and wonder why I even bother with it. It's by no means a great blog, I do not get a ton of views, and comments are few and far between. I don't know what I'm doing. There is so much I just don't get about this world, about social media. It seems mind boggling to me to see so much sub-par content get a wild amount of attention. Take the "popular page" on instagram for example. A gorgeous photograph of breaking waves is understandable, but a poorly lit ploy for attention or bottle of nail polish? It makes so little sense. 

I blog because for some weird reason, I like it. Though most of the time it seems that no one is reading, I like sharing some of the things I love, little weekend trips, favorite recipes, etc. It also allows me to remember things I might otherwise forget. It's a creative outlet, though there hasn't been much of that as of late. Maybe one day I'll hit that magic stride, maybe not. 

Speaking of nail polish, I have been on the search for a shade that apparently does not exist. From the names of the almost, not quite there shades, it would be called dusty bubblegum barbie pink. It sounds disgusting. 

It's somewhere between these two...

Essie's "Lovie Dovie" and Zoya's "Barbie".

If you know the shade I'm looking for, please share!

Wednesday, April 2

currently loving


So it's Wednesday already, is it? This week has been both incredibly long and slow at the same time. How is that possible? Anyway. Though it looks nothing like it, this outfit reminds me of a currently loving post I put together before our trip to New Orleans last summer. Maybe it's because I'm thinking of things I'd like to wear on a warm weather trip. I love the color and design of this top from Madewell. It's something you could dress up or down and wear straight through summer, paired with jeans in cooler days and shorts in warmer. I'm also loving the sweet lace details on these wedges. Add a simple clutch, a few bracelets, and bright pink lip gloss and you're ready to go!

Tuesday, April 1

spent grain cheddar biscuits

JD and I have been brewing our own beer for over a year now and each time, I feel so guilty tossing all of those delicious smelling grains away when we're finished with them. I had heard early on that you can use them to make just about anything, bread, pizza dough, pretzels... You get it. 

On Sunday we began our first lager, which we are both very excited about, and since there isn't much to do while waiting for the water to boil, I decided to make us a quick snack using the spent grains. I found a recipe for cheddar biscuits and decided to give it a try. 
Ingredients:

1 cup spent grain
1 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt*
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup cheddar, shredded
1 cup buttermilk, shaken

* The recipe had called for 1 teaspoon of salt and that is what I used but I feel that with the cheese, the biscuits came out a bit too salty. Next time, I would use a half teaspoon or less. It's all personal preference though, and I suppose it depends on the cheese you're using as well. 

To make:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a bowl, combine spent grain, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend in butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. The recipe I used called for cold, cubed butter, but I think it works a bit better if it's softened and they came out just fine. Stir in cheese. Add buttermilk and stir until combined. 

Grease a baking sheet or muffin pan, I ended up using both, and drop the dough into mounds. I used an ice cream scoop so they would all be about the same size. 

Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!