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Reflecting

23 Jul

The news has really got me down. Unnecessary hatred, poor decisions from powerful men, death, accusations, and political bashing. This weekend, I just shut it down. I avoided the TV news, Twitter, and online news sites. It was lovely. 

In my own bubble, life is good. Pittsburgh is thriving. My family is happy. Professional life is moving. Thousands of Pittsburghers came together to throw water balloons for Haiti

Do Good

Within a time of so much sadness in the news, I’m reminding myself that there is good in the world – and I want to be a part of it.

To kick off Monday, I reminded myself of the importance of the little things. Take small steps towards good – whether that be your greater purpose, #1 goal, or a quest to find peace and happiness. I’m trying to refocus my energy away from things I can’t control towards positivity in my own world and people within it. 

Happy Monday to you. Make your world a better place today.

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Beer Swappin’ — Summer Edition

21 Jun

For nearly a year now, Dan and I have hosted what we call: “Seasonal Beer Swaps.” This is a chance for our friends – from our workplaces, colleges, family, and neighbors – to try some new, interesting, sometimes hard-to-find craft beer. We’ve begun to host these at the beginning of each season (June, Sept., Nov., March). I usually make some yummy bites, provide some beer, and have a little party. The main purpose, however, is to swap yo beer!

Each person brings over one 24-bottle case of seasonal craft beer (bonus points for uniqueness). Then we equally distribute between all the cases. For example, if 12 cases were brought, each person leaves with a mixed case with 12 types of beer (2 bottles of each). It’s proven to be a fun way to try new beers without the investment of purchasing a full case. Plus, craft beer is a common interest among a huge segment of our friends. We love bringing together so many people from several circles of friends.

Our next swap will be in September – Oktoberfests, pumpkins – all are welcome!

Here’s what we swapped in last weekend’s Summer Beer Swap:

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O’Fallon Wheach Wheat Beer

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Samuel Adams Porch Rocker

Southern Tier Hop Sun

Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

Cisco Brewers Whale’s Tale Pale Ale

Harpoon Summer

Saranac Blueberry Blonde Ale

Anchor Steam Summer Beer

The Best Pizza I’ve Ever Made.

19 Jun

I have a serious love for homemade pizza. It’s my opportunity to take care of all my savory cravings in one meal. Usually, it involves bacon. Who am I kidding – it ALWAYS involves bacon! Homemade pizza comes out of my kitchen about 2-3/month, especially on the weekends alongside a bottle of red wine. Perfection to me.

Dan and I are pretty deep into our first CSA summer. We’ve been loving the goods from Clarion River Organics but holy moly it’s hard to keep up sometimes. A bit too much food for a couple that still enjoys a few restaurant meals each week. However, the challenge of cooking with new ingredients has been really exciting.

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On Sunday, I pulled fennel, kale, garlic scapes, young red onions, and a few other things out of the bag. My first thought: WTF am I gonna do with these young red onions. My second thought: let’s make a gameplan. If you’re going to go through all these veggies, you need to map out the week’s dinners to make sure to optimize all your goods. 

Below is the menu for the week. While I’ve only crossed off two of the 4.5 items, I just have to gush about the pizza I made last night. So sorry I didn’t take a photo. It was truly restaurant-worthy.

Sunday: Penne pasta with pancetta, fontina & mozzarella, fennel bulbs, onion, and tomatoes. Result: delicious. Great leftovers for our lunches this week.

Monday: Homemade pizza with bacon, caramelized spring onions, fennel, left over fontina cheese PLUS a grilled wedge salad with romain, bacon, blue cheese, and cracked pepper. Result: Completely delicious. I actually was super proud of myself. That pizza…I’m still dreaming about the pizza. HOLY YUM. 

Tuesday: Tonight, we’re going to go with lettuce wraps. We have an abundance of lettuce and greens in the house – gotta use it up!

Wednesday: Dining out

Thursday: Gnocchi with sweet potatoes, red kale, sage, and a little cheese. Pretty excited about this!

You’ll notice garlic scapes are MIA from this menu. We also got them last week and I fell in love with garlic scape pesto. It’s tangy, little sweet, and fresh. I plan to make another batch of the pesto, but throw it in the freezer this time. It’ll be nice to enjoy a little summer treat when we’re seeing snow out the window 🙂

Happy cooking, friends!

 

“Take a swing…your bat is right in front of you”

14 Jun

“Take a swing…your bat is right in front of you”

Gary Vaynerchuk inspires me constantly. If there’s anyone I can identify as a professional role model, it has to be this guy. Think about his words, you want to succeed. You have big goals. Take a swing. Make it happen.