Blueberry Waffles

What’s your idea of an ideal Saturday? Mine totally involves two pots of coffee–one early and one a few hours later, after breakfast. There should also be waffles. Waffles are one of those things that you can do a million different ways: almond flour or buckwheat flour make hearty, earthy waffles. White flour and buttermilk make fluffy waffles that are the perfect vehicle for nuts, fruit, or even chocolate chips. This time, I went blueberry. Simple, classic, and easy.DSC_0411On this particular Saturday morning, I got up early and piddled around the house, cleaning halfheartedly and working my way through pot of coffee number one with Jason. At about seven, he left for work and I sat down to decide what to make for breakfast. I finally decided on blueberry waffles, turned on the audiobook that I’ve been listening to, and got to work.  Continue reading

Roasted Strawberry and Coconut Vanilla Cream Parfaits

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I almost can’t stand that strawberry season is on its way out. Strawberries have always, always been my favorite fruit (arguably my favorite food), so I look forward to the day that they show up and mourn their loss when they’re gone. I was the kid who ate the strawberries that everyone else was picking at the strawberry patch. Anyway, I’ve made strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry shortcakes, and strawberry ice cream. Not to mention all the times that I ate strawberries straight from the flat, standing over the sink with the water running and a paring knife in hand. Continue reading

Homemade Frosty Paws (for dogs, not humans!)

monieBefore you think I’ve gone totally batty, hear me out. Frosty Paws are a frozen treat for dogs–you can get them at the grocery store. I have honestly no idea what’s in them, but I know that Mona LOVES them. But, they’re kind of expensive, so I decided to try making a frozen treat that she would like just as much.

942569_10151983579209554_528983429_nHave you guys met Mona? She’s just the best. She’s a really old jack russell terrier (she’s 15) and she would almost certainly not make it in the real world. She knows who her people are and she’s not very excited about being nice to anyone new. She doesn’t hear or see very well anymore, but she loves to go for walks, smell everything, and snuggle. Most importantly, she’s mine, and I love her to pieces–bad breath and all. She lives with my mom most of the time, but sometimes I’ll keep her for a few weeks at a time. When she comes to our house it’s sort of like summer camp, so I figured I’d make it extra special with a homemade frozen treat.

Also, I’m a crazy dog lady, I confess.

on tableWhen deciding what to put into the mix, I chose all things that Mona already eats occasionally. I also made them into pretty small portions, but you could make them bigger for a bigger dog. I used banana, greek yogurt, a little honey, applesauce, and peanut butter.

bowlI also drizzled a little honey on top to entice her. Because she’s completely and totally spoiled. When I first made these, I froze them into ice cubes, which was a mistake. Mona immediately tried to swallow the whole cube when she couldn’t bite it and I had to carefully extract it from her mouth while she was struggling to get away from me. So, the second time around, I put the mixture into ramekins so that she would have to lick the bowl clean.
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Here’s the recipe, adapted slightly from Take A Megabite (makes 3 small ramekins, half full)

1/2 c greek yogurt
1/2 banana
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 teaspoons applesauce (unsweetened)

Mash up the banana with a fork and mix everything together. Pour the mixture into the three ramekins, evenly divided, and let freeze for several hours. Put it on the floor and watch your dog chase it around the house, trying to bite the top with their cute little front teeth!

eatingI would watch your dog closely while they eat. Mona kept getting really cold, so she had lots of breaks in between licks. Also, I don’t profess to know anything about dogs and what they should or shouldn’t eat. I do know that Mona can pretty well handle all the ingredients in these treats, but she’s well known to have a stomach of steel. (Seriously, if I named all the gross things she’s eaten in her life, you would probably throw up. And she’d eat that, too.) These don’t give her gas or anything, but be careful with your dog. I’m sure some wouldn’t do well with these ingredients.

grapefruit gin spritzer (& a new name!)

DSC_0315Did you notice that things are a little different? I haven’t mentioned it here, but I’ve been unhappy with the name of my blog for a while now. I love it–don’t get me wrong–but serenditpitousanna (dot) com isn’t exactly a memorable url, you know? As of today, I’m abushelandapeckblog (dot) com, and I’m thrilled about it! Along with the name change comes a slight change of focus as well. I’ve tried several different things here on my blog, but none of them has made me as happy as the food–the recipes, the photos, the stories that I can tell alongside a meal. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like y’all like that a lot, too.

DSC_0307So this drink is a celebratory one. Here at a bushel and a peck, I’m going to be more serious about the food. I’m buzzing with ideas, and I can’t wait to try them all. I think part of that is the fact that it’s summertime, and it’s light out at 8pm, and I can shoot photos at all hours. But it’s bigger than that. I’m proud of the work that I’ve done here (not all of it, but some) and I can’t wait to do more. That means that my book posts are done for now. I’m going to keep a running list under “What I’m Reading,” so check there in the future. I really do hope that you’re all excited about the change!

DSC_0313Okay, about this cocktail. Well, first, about these glasses. A few months ago, I went out for dinner at a really great new place in Durham, called Pizzeria Toro. The pizza was great, but more importantly (not really), they served their beer in these amazingglasses. I don’t really know what it is about them, but they’re simple, light, unobtrusive handblown glass in the perfect size. It’s like your drink can just be your drink and not worry about the cup it’s in. I totally fell in love with them, and asked who made them, and gushed and gushed about them. Turns out, they’re made by a company called Luigi Bormioli, which I looked up as soon as I got home. You can order glasses from them in boxes of 6, and they’re not that expensive, but they are backordered. Indefinitely. I was bummed, but unsurprised. I moved on.

DSC_0319Then, in a stroke of pure luck, I stopped by West Elm a few weeks later, looking for a cake plate. I stopped idly by the sale section and spotted a glass that looked familiar. I realized a few seconds later that it was the same glass from Pizzeria Toro, and that they only cost $1.95. I bought the only three left. I’ve since discovered that they’re the best glasses in the world. They can do water, smoothies, beer, cocktails, and even wine! I’m totally obsessed and can’t believe I ever drank out of other glasses.

DSC_0320This cocktail is the perfect summery one to drink out of the perfect glass. It’s a balance of acid and sweetness, and I’m totally into it. I used Izzy’s grapefruit soda, but I’m sure there are other ones. It would also be good with orangeade or something similar. Very simply, it’s ice, gin, grapefruit soda, and a splash of soda water. And it will be the only thing you want to drink all summer.

1.5 ounces gin
several cubes ice
3 ounces grapefruit soda
2 ounces soda water

Pour the gin over the ice, then the sodas. Stir gently and enjoy on a warm summer evening with friends. It looks like a cute pink girly drink, but it’s not overly sweet. You’ll like it.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie & A Birthday List

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In honor of my birthday, I made a pie. While cutting up strawberries and rhubarb, rolling, cutting, pressing, and weaving the pie dough, I thought about who I am at 24. I thought about all the things I’ve learned about the world and about myself, and I wondered what I might learn in my 25th year. I spent those quiet pie-making moments, my hands happily occupied, thinking about who I might be one day, and what 24 year-old me might think of that person. In 24 years, I’ve learned a lot of things, but there are way more things that I don’t know. To celebrate being 24, I’ll share these 24 pieces of advice. These are things that I know, but things that I need to be reminded of sometimes. Maybe you’ll think some of these things are dead wrong, but then again, maybe you need to hear some of them, too.

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1. Listen when people tell you about themselves. It’s not always easy to do, but people need to be heard.

2. There is nothing more important to your daily sanity than having a clean, quiet space to retreat to. For you, that place is the kitchen, and even though you don’t always want to, it means you have to do all the dishes before you go to bed.

3. Expressing yourself eloquently is really, really hard. But it’s also really, really important. It’s necessary to find people that will bear with you while you muddle through your own feelings, listening patiently without judgement.

4. It’s also really, really important and really, really hard to bear with someone else while they muddle through their own feelings, listening patiently without judgement.

5. Trust your intuition. Even if it doesn’t make sense right away.

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6. Let yourself fall in love without embarrassment, hesitation, or fear. Whether it’s romantic love, friend love, or just the love of a new idea or thing, jump in with both feet and don’t think too much.

7. That said, be practical. If someone hurts you, puts you down, or isn’t good to you, have the courage to stand up for yourself and demand that things be different.

8. You don’t have to have expensive things to create something beautiful.

9. Skip the gossip. Really. It hurts you the most.

10. Make time to spend alone, and don’t feel bad about it.

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11. Remember that you can always say no–and that you don’t have to explain why.

12. Never underestimate the power of a simple smile. And not a shy, no-teeth-showing smile. Use the biggest, toothiest, happiest smile you can muster. Even if you have to fake it.

13. Try not to worry too much about what other people think. Be yourself, and that is good enough.

14. Be open to other people’s opinions. You’re incredibly hardheaded, so try your damnedest to stay out of your own way.

15. That said, when it really matters, stick to your guns to the bitter end.

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16.Put the sarcasm away when it’s masking another feeling. Express that feeling instead. It’s kinder to the people who love you.

17. When someone gives you a complement, don’t argue with them. Say “thank you” and leave it at that.

18. Always admit when you are wrong. To your coworkers, your friends, your family, and even to the person you accidentally cut off in traffic.

19. Never be with someone who doesn’t love you at your very worst. Your partner should be happy to give you a big hug when you’re being mean, your hair is dirty, you forgot to take the trash out, and your legs haven’t been shaven.

20. Choose to be with someone who will call you on your bullshit.

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21. Do something outside of your comfort zone every once in a while. I know you hate looking stupid, but it might be worth it.

22. Go outside and exercise.

23. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ll always be more critical than anyone else. Give yourself some leeway to make mistakes without stressing out about it.

24. Don’t forget that you’re only 24 years old. Go easy on yourself, and allow yourself to make mistakes. You’re going to get sunburns even though you know you shouldn’t. You’ll probably drink too much sometime this year and wish that you hadn’t. You’ll totally screw up a recipe, yell about it, and throw it in the trash even thought it was probably fine the whole time. That’s okay because you’re a human, and humans can be kind of stupid.

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Here’s to being 24, eating birthday pie, and admitting that you don’t know everything.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Lattice Top:

For the crust: (from Ashley English’s book, A Year of Pies)
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 c vegetable shortening
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 c ice water

Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, break the butter and shortening up in the flour and salt. Work with it until there are no pieces of butter larger than peas. The dough should hold together if squeezed at this point. Pour the ice water in all at once and use a fork to incorporate the dough as best you can. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times to make the dough come together into a smooth disc. Cut the disc in half and round off both pieces, wrap them in saran wrap and chill them in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

For the filling:
1 pound of strawberries, halved (quartered if they are big)
1 pound of rhubarb, roughly chopped
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c white sugar
pinch salt
zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Put all those things together, stir and let sit at room temperature for a while. To assemble the pie, roll out one of the discs of dough until it’s about 10 inches all the way around. Put it into a greased pie pan, trim the edges so that there’s about an inch hanging over the sides, then fold the extra dough under and use your fingers to make a nice crimpy edge. Then, fill the pie with the fruit mixture. Roll out the second dough disc, also to about 10 inches. This time, measure 1-inch intervals across the dough. Using a ruler for a straight edge, cut the dough into strips. (You can use a fluted pie cutter tool or just a knife.) Use those strips to make a lattice pattern on the pie. When you’re done, trim the strips, and tuck the edges in beside the crust. Does that make sense? If not, I know there are plenty of videos on youtube!

Bake the whole pie at 425 degrees F for about an hour. Let it cool for 4-6 hours before you go for it–it needs time to cool and set up. Serve with ice cream!

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Book #31: A Girl Walks Into A Bar by Rachel Dratch

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This book comes from my obsession with Tina Fey. I love Tina Fey. She’s so incredibly funny. She’s smart, sassy, and above all, unapologetic. I found this book, Rachel Dratch’s, on audible.com as a recommendation because I downloaded Bossypants. Dratch writes about her experience as a female comedian, actor, and writer on Saturday Night Live.  Continue reading

Book #30: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The-Art-of-FieldingThere have been a few books that I’ve read in the last year that I’ve had a hard time writing about. Some because I disliked them, but more because I adored them completely and totally. I loved The Night Circus so much that I read it in two days. And The Solace of Leaving Early left me feeling totally inadequate to describe how lovely it was. The Art of Fielding belongs on that short list. It’s truly a remarkable book, and I picked it up at the store completely by accident. Continue reading