Archive for November 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We're spending today close to home as we rest up for our night out at Ford's Theatre. It's becoming a bit of a tradition for us. Only we're taking his parents as they made the trip down to spend the holiday with us this year. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Golden Arches, No More

I've been waiting for the leaves to change and create a golden arch all fall. It's one of the most beautiful sites to see. On Saturday it finally happened - the arch was a gorgeous yellow. Rather than take the photo right then and there, I decided to tackle the Thanksgiving grocery trip. What a mistake! I was heartbroken when I looked out the window Sunday to find bare trees. Instead, I was greeted with a yellow blanket on the sidewalks and streets. Regardless, still a sight to behold - and one I couldn't help but share.

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Thanksgiving Planning

Planning the Thanksgiving menu and subsequently cooking the big meal is something I truly relish. I start thinking about the menu right after Labor Day. I then agonize over the final menu for the entire month of November. This year I'm thinking it will be a pretty straight forward theme of simple comfort. I contemplated new recipes, but really when it comes down to it everyone is happiest with the basics.

Now for the big shopping trip this weekend. I know Keith looks forward to this every year. (Can you hear the hint of sarcasm?)

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Friday Cocktails: Simple Bourbon Chai

Am I the only person that's not a big fan of Starbucks' coffee? Whenever I go I bypass the burnt, bitter coffee and instead opt for a chai latte. With it's warm spicy goodness to get my day going, it's like a extending the time cuddled up in bed especially now that we're finally dipping into the 30s here. 

While conducting research wasting time on Pinterest I came across Saveur's Bourbon Chai. It sounded delicious, but once I read the steps I quickly dismissed it. Yes, I'll admit to not wanting to take the time to brew a cup of Chai tea essentially from scratch. And, no, it's not because I didn't have the necessary spices. 

Then a flash of brilliance hit...I could use chai tea concentrate to bring the warm, spicy goodness to my mug. This is something one should not skip as the nights grow longer and the temperature continues to dip. It'll warm you from the inside out. You have my word. 

Simple Bourbon Chai

4 oz. chai tea concentrate (You can find Tazo concentrate at Whole Foods and Target.)
4 oz. milk (almond or milk works)
1 oz. bourbon (I went with my good friend, Maker's Mark.)

In a microwave safe mug, combine the concentrate and milk. Stir and heat until warm in the microwave. Carefully, remove from the microwave. The mug may be warm to the touch. Add the bourbon and stir. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg before serving.


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Recipe: Bourbon, Chocolate Banana Bread

When I stumbled across Joy the Baker's recipe for the Best Banana Bread You'll Ever Have on Cup of Jo, I felt we were meant to be soul mates. Taking banana bread to the next level, Joy adds bourbon and chocolate chips. This woman is genius. Pure genius!

It takes all of my self-control to not the devour the entire loaf when I bake it on Sunday afternoons. I may even just let bananas sit a little too long just so they are perfectly ripe for this bread. I recommend you do the same.

Bourbon, Chocolate Banana Bread 
Courtesy of Joy the Baker 

2 c. all-purpose flour
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 t. lemon juice
3 T. bourbon
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. semisweet chocolate chunks

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Grease and flour an 9x5 loaf pan. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

4. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add bananas, lemon juice, and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated.

5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Add the walnuts and chocolate chunks and incorporate the last of the ingredients with a spatula.

6. The batter will be thick. Spoon the mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (It takes my oven about 55 minutes.)

7. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Enjoy!

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Fall on Capitol Hill

The calendar may have reported it was fall back in September, but it took most of the month of October to read the memo. The air finally has a crispness to it. The leaves are blazing in all those gorgeous warm colors. And the football season is well underway. It's my favorite time of the year. 

You appreciate the beauty of the historic row homes throughout the year when you live on Capitol Hill; they just look that more beautiful during the fall. I like to think of fall as the neighborhood's real time to shine. It's just stunning. The capitol dome even looks a bit more glamorous and you almost forget the trouble shaping up underneath. Almost...

The leaves are falling faster than I would like and December along with the holidays will be in full swing too soon. But yesterday, Keith and I walked around the neighborhood to soak up all the beauty and just enjoy it. Now to just live in the moment more often. 

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Living Room Refresh

After seeing various gallery walls on Pinterest, I was convinced we needed one in our home. Once I reviewed the various pins, I noticed I gravitated towards galleries in the hallway and surrounding the television. With family coming to town for Thanksgiving, I had to stop thinking about and begin putting things on the wall. 

I started by laying everything out on the floor in various positions, but ultimately I just started hanging things. I should have went the easier route from the beginning because having everything on the floor just led me to over think everything. I'm hoping to slowly add more items, but this is a good start. Since the camera was already out, I figured I would capture a few other photos of our main living space. If only I had a better eye or maybe photoshop to enhance them a bit. 

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