Archive for September 2013

Weekend in Kansas & The Eisenhower Museum

We flew back to Kansas this past weekend to help my mom celebrate her 60th birthday. During a little downtime, I managed to share a piece of Kansas history with Keith by making the drive over to Abilene for an afternoon exploring the Eisenhower museum.

You all know of my love for presidential libraries. Despite having visited this one many times, I still enjoy walking through and learning a new tidbit or two. Unlike most other presidential libraries, the Eisenhower library and museum is more like a campus with multiple buildings, including his childhood home as well as chapel including his final resting place.

We couldn't have asked for more gorgeous weather. Can you believe the blue of the sky? And of course, what trip to Kansas would be complete without a stop at Arthur Bryant's before the airport? I might just take Keith to one of the other barbecue joints in Kansas City on the next trip...maybe.

It was good to see family and celebrate a milestone birthday with my mom, but it sure does feel good to be back in DC with Sammy. There's just something about your own bed.

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Recipe: Breakfast Cookies

After flipping through the collection of cooking magazines that I had acquired, I was reminded of a few recipes I had forgotten about. One of those was Cooking Light's recipe for Breakfast "Cookies." This is  a recipe I was using almost weekly a few years back and then it just disappeared from the rotation - or maybe I over did it.

Regardless these "cookies" are a great way to start the day especially when the chances of eating at the desk or en route to the desk are high. You'll also feel pretty good about eating them - whole wheat flour, wheat bran, dried fruit, and nuts. But don't let all that healthy stuff scare you, they are really good.

Breakfast Cookies
Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe

3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/4 c. finely chopped dried figs* 
1/4 c. dried cranberries* 
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. wheat bran
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/4 c. sliced almonds
2 t. granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in chopped figs, cranberries, and vanilla.

3. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with knife. Combine flours, bran, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring until moist. It will be really thick and sticky. Fold in almonds.

4. Drop by 1/4 cup measures 4 inches apart on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar.

5. Bake at 350 F for 12 minutes or until almost set. They will be slightly browned around the edges. Do not wait for them to look "done" or they will be dry and overdone. 

6. Cool 2 minutes on pans. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire wracks. 

7. Enjoy!

* I almost always sub in dried dates for the figs. I've also used an assortment of whatever dried fruit I have on hand, including apricots, raisins, and pineapple. You can also swap out the almonds for walnuts, pecans, or whatever nuts you like. Don't like nuts feel free to skip that.  

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Book Review: The Language of Flowers

Have you noticed that you experience an uptick in the number of books you read during certain times of the year? For me, I read a great deal during the summer. I only wish it was because I was laying poolside or on a beach. Unfortunately, I just couldn't find anything to watch on TV especially since we powered through Orange is the New Black. As an aside, wasn't that show just awesome?

I don't have plans to review every book I read. However, for the rest of September, I'd like to share my favorites with you on Wednesdays. The plan is to kick it off with a moving book that you should add to your reading list if you haven't read it already. 

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a wonderfully written story that follows what seems to be a trend of weaving between past and present. Using the meaning of flowers, Victoria is able to help bring about desired changed in the lives of those she meets and ultimately her own. I definitely recommend this read. Once you get started, you won't want to put this one down until you know Victoria's full story - from start to finish. 

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Organizing and Purging - The Cookbook Corner

Every time we would sit down to eat at the dining table, I'd look over at my collection of cookbooks and cooking magazines and grow frustrated. I knew there had to be a better system that looked better. I also knew it was on me to organize them. It wasn't like Sammy was going to take care of it.

Here's a before and after. It's very subtle and I'm probably the only one that can tell the difference. You know? I'm okay with that.

You will notice the random canning jars full of our bourbon experiments have been properly disposed of. The box of glasses have found a new home. And what started as this humongous pile of magazines...

...was condensed down to fit in the right-hand pocket of the yellow folder. I'm sure it was because I had Sammy's assistance.

My cookbooks are not at all in the order I'd like for them to be. I struggled with keeping them organized by size versus type/cuisine grouped together. As you can see, size won out.

In a dream world, I'll have shelves like this...

The cookbook corner was the first of many little projects I have on my list for organizing and just overall tidying up. Maybe the first signs of fall weather are giving me the boost I need to get things in order so we can properly nest for winter. How about you? Any little organizing projects you'd like/need to tackle?

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Summer Vacation is Over

Despite not having children heading back to school, it feels like Labor Day weekend brings the official end to summer. Although fall doesn't officially start for a few more weeks, I'm hoping to feel a renewed start when I return to the office tomorrow.

I'm ready to leave the summer behind. Summers at the office for me are filled with various deadlines while everyone else is enjoying time at the beach. I know I sound bitter. Don't worry. Keith and I have agreed that next summer we're going to escape even if it's just for a long weekend. Despite not sneaking out of the city, we managed to fit in a few moments of fun.

We caught a few Nationals games. (Thank you to the office for the great seats!) I took in the War Photography exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery; I highly recommend fitting that in before it leaves at the end of the month. We also ventured over to the northeast side of the District to check out one of the latest DC Breweries - 3 Star Brewing Company. I'm not much a of a beer fan, so I can't give you much. Keith on the other hand cannot stop raving about their IPA. Something about it being well-rounded and full of complex flavors, including apricot. Of course, there were weekends spent baking and time with bourbon. I hope your summer was good to you.


I don't know about you. I'm just eager to welcome cooler weather, spend my weekends watching football, and a break from the nonstop hustle at the office. Do you find a renewal with the change of seasons as well?

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