Mexico

Two weeks ago, I was in Mexico. I was practicing my maid of honor speech, taking my wedding heels for a million practice runs, drinking icebergs (beer with a pile of frozen margarita on top), reading We Need to Talk About Kevin (so fucking good), and just generally basking in happiness.

We raced each other in the pool, snorkeled, slept in hammocks, had chicken fights, got wicked sunburns, ate ridiculous amounts of food, swam in the ocean, and on Saturday, April 5th, we all watched my brother marry the best girl ever. I cried harder than I would have liked, but it was truly perfect. The ceremony was held on the beach, and it was the easiest, most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to.

We spent the morning floating in the pool then Casey and I left to get our makeup done around noon. After we were ready, we ran down to the beach at 3:30 and that was that. It was simple, and so them. They exchanged their vows, said their  I do’s, and off we went to eat, dance, and have Don Julio poured down our throats.

Our week in photos:

Image

Image

Image

Image

On our last day, a few of us went on a life-changing snorkeling trip. It was so beautiful and such a crazy experience.

Image

Image

jumps

dad and eric

water

tik

Image

Our tour guide, Alex. He was hilarious and listened to “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” on full blast.

Image

Image

Pre-reception cocktails.

Image

jc

Image

Image

Image

Image

joel teq

limes

“Fuck limes.”

Image

 

 

 

 

Wheat Penny

A few weeks ago, I was determined to find a restaurant in Dayton that I had never been to before. I wanted to go somewhere that made me feel like I was on vacation. You know those restaurants? The ones where you forget where you are until you walk back out to your car? I love those.

Sean and I went to Wheat Penny on a whim back in March. My parents had talked about it, and so had a few of my co-workers. We made a late reservation on a Saturday night, and brought our nice camera just in case it turned out to be as great as everyone said it was. Honestly? It was amazing. Not only was the food delicious, but the people were so lovely. It was one of the best restaurant experiences I’d had in a long time.

A few days later, I reached out to Chef/Owner Elizabeth Wiley to tell her how much I enjoyed her restaurant. I wasn’t sure if I would hear back from her or if she would read my email, but she did almost immediately and was so, so kind. We got to talking and I asked if she would let me come in and take pictures for my blog and she instantly agreed. One of the best parts about Wheat Penny (in my opinion) is their bar and drink selection, so I knew I wanted to meet with one of the bartenders. Wiley told me to stop in between 11AM and 1PM the following Saturday, ask for a guy named Brock and learn more about their signature cocktails.

Image

Brock – the epitome of a good bartender. Quick, knowledgeable and patient. He walked me through two of their most famous drinks: the Wheat Penny Manhattan, and homemade ginger lemon soda.

I have to be honest and admit that I’m not the biggest fan of whiskey. It reminds me of high school and not in a good way. However, I told Brock to make me their most popular drinks and he delivered. Their version of a Manhattan is a mix or aromatic bitters, orange bitters, Bulleit rye whiskey and a “beer jam” that I wasn’t able to get the recipe for because duh, it’s a secret, but this jam adds magic to the final drink. It’s topped with a cherry and served on the rocks. I didn’t think I liked whiskey before, but I fell in love after this drink.

Image

Image

Image

The second drink Brock made was a ginger lemon soda. It included a ginger syrup that they make in house, aromatic bitters, lemon juice, lemon zest and a bit of soda water. I could have chugged 10 of these in a row. Super refreshing and totally different than your typical soda.

Image

If you’re ever in the Dayton area, I highly recommend Wheat Penny Oven & Bar. I fell in love with the food and drinks the first time I went, and fell in love with the spirit and attitudes of the people who work there on my second visit.

When I emailed Wiley to thank her for letting me come in, take photos and meet her staff, this was her response: “The restaurant really comes alive through the personalities of the people who staff it, and they keep me going too.”

Image

 

 

Here I am

So, Mexico.

I just got back from a week in Riviera Maya, celebrating my brother’s wedding with 30 of our closest friends and family. It was the best week of my life and my heart is throbbing just thinking about where we all were a week ago. I have close to 700 photos I want to share, so I’m going to hole up this weekend and get them all together.

Also, before I left, I took some pictures for a local restaurant called Wheat Penny, and I cannot wait to share those either. It was a great experience, and I’m psyched to put those up as well.

It’s been a crazy few weeks, but in the best way. I can’t wait to fill all of you in!

<3 <3

Ohio Nights: A Market Date

When Lisa and I were discussing what we wanted to do for our next date, we both instantly agreed that we wanted it to be outside, and during the day. I feel like whenever I think about me and Sean going on a date, I immediately think of dinner, movies, bowling, etc. The usual shit. I wanted us to do something that was cheap, fun, and definitely something that wasn’t on our normal date activity list.

We decided to go to 2nd Street Market, which surprisingly, I’ve never been to. My friends and family have raved about it for years, but I’ve somehow never made the time to visit. Until our date, that is.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The only downside to the market? CLOWNS. :(

Image

This beautiful ring belonged to a man who sold sea salt, grains, pasta and essential oils at the market. He was so kind, and I asked if I could take a picture of his ring. He told me that it was older than I was, and he bought it 40 years ago when he was working at Yellowstone National Park.

Image

The best baklava I’ve had in forever.

My spoils:

Image

Image

Still dying over getting all this gorgeous sea salt for $1.50.

Image

My sweet date.

 

Next up: Fresh Ravioli with Egg yolk and Ricotta.

 

 

 

Basic Bread

Image

Image

Image

So I have ten classes left in culinary school. About half of those classes are baking/pastry. I’m not a strong baker by any means. I honestly avoid baking because I know it’s not something I excel in, so I just never do it. Lately I’ve been wanting to try out some bread recipes because I’m sick of buying bread every week at the grocery. We always have the ingredients on hand to make fresh bread, so why not get some extra baking practice and free bread?! Win, win, win.

I found a really simple bread recipe in my book from school, and ended up altering a few ingredients. I made 3 batches, and the third one was by far the best.

Basic Bread

makes enough dough for 6 1 lb loaves

6.5 cups of AP (all purpose) flour

1 tbsp of active yeast

3 cups lukewarm water

1.5 tbsp kosher salt

Mix water, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand up mixer. Add all the flour at once, put the bowl on the mixer and mix on medium with the dough hook until a sticky dough forms.

Transfer the dough into a food container. I just used a tall, plastic Rubbermaid container. Place the lid on top of the container, but don’t snap it shut. Let the dough rise at room temperature for at least 2 hours. The dough should almost fill the container after 2 hours.

Once the dough has risen, flour your hands and grab a piece of dough from the container. Weigh the piece of the dough on a kitchen scale, making sure each loaf weighs about 1 lb. If you’re just making one loaf and have leftover dough, snap the lip on and refrigerate up to two weeks. The dough will deflate a little when it’s refrigerated, so don’t panic. It’s still good.

Shape your loaf (flouring your hands as needed), and let it rest at room temperature on a piece of parchment paper for 50 minutes.

After 50 minutes, score the top of the loaf about 1/4 of an inch deep, then place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Once the oven is preheated, place the dough + parchment paper on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove parchment paper and let the bread bake directly on the pan for the last 10 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack, then slice and enjoy!

Ricotta Hotcakes with Lemon Curd

Image

Ricotta hotcakes. I had never tried them before last night, and wooooeeee, are they good. They’re rich, cake-y, and actually pretty different from typical pancakes. I wasn’t sure how the ricotta would affect the taste, and while it didn’t change the flavor, it definitely changed the texture. These cakes are moist from the ricotta, and the egg whites really made them puff up.

Image

I spread some lemon curd on top because lemon + ricotta = a dream, so it only made sense. The hotcakes and lemon curd together taste just like lemon bars. Ever had those?

Image

I happened to have this lemon curd on hand, but any kind will work. Actually, don’t be like me and make your own! It’s really easy. Here’s a great recipe if you’ve never made it before.

Image

Ricotta Hotcakes with Lemon Curd

makes 8-10 hotcakes

3/4 c. whole milk ricotta

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 c. flour

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

pinch of sea salt

3 egg yolks, 3 egg whites, in separate bowls

3/4 c. milk

Strain the ricotta over a bowl for at least an hour. This will get rid of all the excess liquid.

Once the ricotta is strained, mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar and set aside. Then mix egg yolks, vanilla, milk, ricotta and lemon zest in another bowl. Set aside.

Take the 3 egg whites and beat on high with an electric mixer until whites are stiff. Set aside.

Combine flour mixture with the wet ingredients and stir until everything is thoroughly mixed. Next, add the egg whites a little at a time, gently folding them into the batter. Add slowly until the egg whites are all mixed in, making sure you aren’t stirring too hard, or else you’ll deflate the egg whites.

Heat a skillet over medium- low heat and add a knob of butter. Once the butter is melted and the pan is warm, add 1/4 cup of batter at a time, flipping the cakes when bubbles form on the surface.

Finish the hotcakes with lemon curd and sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

Apple Galette

Image

 

Apple Galette

serves 6

CRUST:

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1/3 c. ice water

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick plus 2 tbsp. COLD butter, cut in small pieces

APPLE FILLING:

2 granny smith apples, peeled and cored

2 fuji apples (or whatever kind you want), peeled and cored

4 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lemon

honey

 

In a food processor, lightly pulse together flour, salt, sugar and butter and sprinkle in 1/3 cup ice water (it’s important the butter and water are both super cold), until dough barely comes together. There should still be small pieces of butter throughout.

Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, form into a ball and place in refrigerator for an hour.

While the dough chills, thinly slice your apples, and squeeze the juice of the lemon on top. Refrigerate until dough is ready.

Once the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the dough and roll out into a circle (doesn’t have to be perfect), until it’s thin and evenly rolled out. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Grab your apples from the fridge and toss them with the cinnamon, sugar, the zest of the lemon and vanilla. Place the apples in the middle of the dough and fold the edges up so there’s about an inch or so of dough folded up around the apples.

Squeeze a bit of honey on top of the apples and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and a few dabs of butter. Cook for 45 mins to an hour, or until the crust is golden and the apples are bubbly.

 

 

 

 

Night at the Museum

Has anyone ever heard of the 21c Museum Hotel? If you haven’t, look into it immediately. One of the coolest places I’ve ever been in my life….

Let me back up. I went down to Cincinnati this past weekend with my mom, Casey and my aunt Lori. We wanted to do a small bachelorette weekend before we all go to Mexico for Casey and Joel’s wedding next month, so my mom and Lori took the reins on the whole weekend. They SERIOUSLY outdid themselves and it was all perfect.

We spent the morning at a painting class, then went to lunch and shopped until around 4. We got to the hotel around 4:30 and got ready for our dinner reservation at 5:45.

Image

Burnt carrot salad. Hands down, my favorite part of dinner. So unbelievably good. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the other dishes we had because it was super dark, and I’m not about to be the douche in the restaurant flashing my camera every few minutes. My entree was braised pork with shaved kale, rutabaga, potatoes and creamy polenta.

Image

Image

This is a close up of the table in the lobby. An artist (I forget his name), glued all of these little army men together, and it ended up being the length of a football field. Pieces of it were sold, and the hotel bought a piece, sandwiched it between glass and made a table.

Image

Image

There was a museum on the 2nd floor, so after dinner we headed upstairs to check out all the photographs.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Our room…

Image

Image

Random boob on one of the bathroom tiles.

Image

Also an ear.

Image

Image

Image

Image

NEED THESE.

Image

Image

So there’s a little weekend recap! I’m really psyched to be on spring break this week, so I’ll be posting a few recipes.

How was your weekend?!

Ohio Nights: A Valentine’s Date

So, Ohio Nights.

My best blogging buddy, Lisa, and I decided to start a series. We’re both mid-twenties, living in small apartments with our boyfriends, and on tight budgets. We wanted to share cheap, fun date nights as a way to inspire each other, and hopefully you guys too! We’re not experts on anything, just two girls drunk on love and trying to be creative with their date nights.

I’m not really a huge valentine’s day person. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be loved, and I love to love, but I feel like the whole day puts tons of pressure on couples. Like, if you don’t get your girlfriend a shit ton of candy and flowers, you’re a bad boyfriend. Obviously that’s not how everyone thinks, but I catch myself feeling guilty on most valentine’s days, wondering if I got enough gifts, lit enough candles or said I love you enough times.

HOWEVER, this valentine’s was truly great. We just wanted to enjoy the day, so we kept the gifts light (flowers for me, candy and C.O. Bigelow body wash for him), made a quick dinner and just painted, listened to music, and dreamed about our future.

Our night in photos:

Image

Image

Flowers, flowers, flowers! Sean knows my heart so well. Give me flowers and I’ll be happy forever.

Image

Image

On the way to the grocery. <3

Image

I was trying to get pictures of the tomatoes on the windowsill, but Stella went ahead and parked it right next to them.

Image

…….what those tomatoes turned into! I made a really basic tomato jam to go on top of toasted baguette with fresh mozzarella and basil. All you have to do is slice 3-4 ripe tomatoes and layer them in a baking pan. Sprinkle 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar on top, along with the juice and zest of one lemon. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top of the sugar and place in a 400 degree oven for 50 minutes, or until the tomatoes are totally soft and jam-like. Also, I left the seeds and skin on my tomatoes, but if you don’t want seeds in your jam, just core the tomatoes before you slice.

Image

Image

Sean’s true love.

 

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the first Ohio Nights post! If anyone has any cool date night suggestions, email me! I would love to hear what you think.

I’m headed to Cincinnati this weekend with Casey, my mom and my aunt Lori. My brother and Casey get married in less than 5 weeks (!!!!!!!!!!!), so we’re having a mini-bachelorette party on Saturday.

 I hope you all have the best weekend ever!

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio Nights

Hello!

So, if you don’t already, you should really read my friend Lisa’s blog. She’s smart, beautiful and lives in Moscow with her boyfriend Ben. We wanted to start a series together about our twenty- something date nights, so we came up with Ohio Nights and Moscow nights, respectively.

She put up an awesome post about her valentine’s day, and my post will be up later this week.

I hope everyone’s weekend was lovely!