A Trip Home

So remember last week when I told you that I had a MILLION things to tell you?    I kind of lied.

It’s really only a few things to tell, but they are things that have been going on in my life and I like to share them with you, my friend.

Jacob coming to visit was the 1st thing.

Onto my 2nd thing:

About a week after my photo shoot with Jacob I traveled back to Kansas City to visit my family and friends.  I hadn’t been home since my wedding and figured it was about time to visit.  Of course, I picked the hottest week to be there!  I left the 105° in NY for the 106° in KC.  The good thing about KC is that you ride in cars and not in subways, so this makes for a much cooler commute.

So let’s see, what did I do while I was there?  I ate.  Visited with people.  Ate some more.  Ate again.  Then slept and woke up and ate some more.  The only reason I like vacationing is because I get to ditch my homemade meals and get down on some greasy, grimy, fatty food!  Ok, and I like to see everyone too!

The first day, my mom picked Jon and I up at the airport and we went to Houlihan’s.  They are everywhere but for some reason I only go to them when I’m home.  For being a chain restaurant, I was really amazed at their plating.

On the third day, we celebrated my little brother’s 21st birthday.  How strange to see him with a beer in his hand.  It seems like only yesterday he was talking about yumpf-yumpf (oatmeal) and calling me Oxney (Ashley.)  Not having time to make a cake myself, nor my mom having any proper baking supplies (we seriously need to upgrade your kitchen, mom) we picked up some cleverly cute cupcakes at Target.

I must say, I am super impressed with the way grocery stores and shopping centers are stepping it up.  No more star tips and air-brushing!  I even saw this cute cake:

Then I got to have some of my favorite pizza from Minsky’s.

It’s my own concoction: whole wheat crust with alfredo sauce, monterey jack cheese, and almonds.  Don’t judge.

The next day I met up with my friend, Jeanne from ThreeWishesStudio.  She lent me some jewelry to wear during my photo shoot with Jacob and I had to return them although I desperately wanted to “misplace” them because they were just SO adorable! Below are the two pictures that Jacob took.

Don’t tell her, but I may have worn the flower one out to dinner the next night.  It was just too cute!  I did get lots of compliments though.  You should totally check out her Etsy shop.  She does some amazing things and even made my wedding jewelry for me and my bridesmaids!

On our final day there, my in-laws had a small bar-be-cue with the family; Jon and I got to cut into our wedding cake.  It hasn’t quite been a year, but I don’t think the cake would make it back to Jersey and I knew we wouldn’t be back on our anniversary.  I hope that wasn’t bad luck?

Chocolate-strawberry marbled cake with vanilla buttercream.  I was weary of eating it but it was actually really moist!

It was a great trip and so wonderful to see my friends and family but it is great to be home!  Our trips are always so jammed pack that I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.  ~Seneca

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Pineapple Date Bread

Do you ever have those days when you have so much to say but don’t even know where to start?  Yeah, this is one of those days for me.  I have a million things to tell you guys but just don’t know where to start, or if I can even fit it in one post.  Maybe I’ll just write to you in jibberish, or maybe I’ll just be straight and to the point.  I think I’m having writer’s block, or maybe my brain is just full.  Bear with me.

1st thing to tell you about:

Jacob D Cox.

He’s cool.  Actually, he’s super fantastic awesome.

We’ve known each other since high school and even though we hadn’t seen each other in over 5 years, when he asked if he could shoot some photos of my baking, I knew that we would reconnect right away.  And we did!

At first I was beyond nervous.  Does he know how unorganized I am when I bake?  Does he know that I usually forget ingredients (see this post for example)? What if he takes a picture and I look like I have no clue what I’m doing?  What if he hates what I make?

You know what?  It didn’t happen.  NONE OF IT.  Did everything happen seamlessly and perfectly?  No.  But, did we have fun?  Yes!

Here’s what I decided to make for us:

Pineapple Date Bread from The Legendary Illinois Cookbook

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 C sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 4 T butter, softened
  • 3/4 C fresh pineapple (or drained, canned, crushed pineapple)
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 C chopped dates

Preheat oven to 325° F.
If you are using fresh pineapple check out this video on how to cut it.  Once it’s been cut, throw a few slices in a food processor or blender, and pulse a few times.  Make sure you do not over pulse or you will have pineapple foam instead (which is great as an ice cream topping!).  If you are using already crushed pineapple then omit this step. Butter and flour a 9x5x2 3/4 inch loaf pan.  Sift together all your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  With a paddle attachment, add butter, pineapple and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes.  Add eggs; beat 2 minutes.  Add dates, mix.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 1 1/2 hours.  You will know it’s done when you stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean.

Voila!

Let me be honest with you.  Usually when I post a recipe it’s my first time making it.  There are a few things things that I will make over and over, but really I like to try new things.  A downside to this is that sometimes things don’t come out exactly as planned.  I’m sure you are wondering where the dates went.  They sank.  Yup, sank right to the bottom of the pan.  I looked it up and found this tip:  warm the dried fruit for a bit in the oven and then toss them lightly in flour.  I’ll be sure to try that next time!

See, nobody’s perfect, not even a culinary graduate.  So when you make mistakes, learn from them and try again.

*All photos by Jacob D Cox. Check out Jacob’s work at jacobdcox.com

 

Mistakes are the portal of discovery. -James Joyce

 

 

 

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