Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tennessee pt. 2: good to be home.

^^ the real deal! at Edley's
^^ Sunday hike at Shelby Bottoms with my family and Merle, the great dane. 

^^ queen anne's lace is so beautiful
^^ more Wesley time! love these of she and her daddy. 
^^ my sister, brother-n-law and I saw Frances Ha late night at the Belcourt Theater
^^ 32 weeks!
When I am home, we spend a lot of time on my mom's screened in porch...talking, laughing and enjoying each other. I think it's my favorite thing to do, especially in the summer with a lovely adult beverage in hand. It was particularly fun this last trip, because we had little baby Wesley to pass around as we chatted. These photos are what a lot of my trips home look like-- family, food, and a touch of nature. I really like to get a hike in if possible when I'm home. Hiking in Tennessee is very different from hiking in Colorado-- more lush, less altitude. The trees are so dense and green, and everything is growing wild and almost out of control. We saw a snake this time as wandered down the 'ecology trail'! My mom was out of there pretty quickly :)

I'll be back again in Nashville early August for my sister's birth. It's hard not to look back on this past year and get a little emotional. With my sister becoming a mother, and my brother now being a father, things are really pretty special right now.

Monday, June 17, 2013

MAKE: Strawberry Shortcake with Nutella Creme {in a jar}

Strawberry shortcake is definitely one of my favorite summer desserts. It isn't too filling and is just so darn delicious, don't you think? Mmmm...especially with fresh strawberries from the farmer's market. I've been noticing this dessert in jars trend all over (especially Pinterest)-- there are even books on it. I like the idea of having an individual portion size and I also have a strange obsession with glass jars (pretty much anything that comes in one gets rinsed out and reused in my house). My friend Liz had a birthday party several weeks ago and it was the perfect time to try something new. I wanted to make the shortcake a little more special, so naturally my thoughts drifted towards chocolate and then I thought 'Nutella!'. Since the whipping cream part is probably the most versatile ingredient to play around with, I decided to make a nutella creme. I also added mascarpone cheese to thicken it up. I wasn't sure what the result would be, but nothing with Nutella in it is bad, right? When I stuck my finger in though, and gave it a taste, I think I did a little dance. This stuff is magic. You could definitely eat it on it's own-- it's got a kind of mousse type consistency. Soooo incredibly light and fluffy! The best kind of summer treat! I've made this dessert twice now and gotten tons of compliments. It's so easy, especially if you buy the angel food cake (I did end up buying mine here because of time). However, you can make your own using a recipe like this one and it will probably be even better! Happy summer you guys!
^^ strawberries from the Nashville farmer's market, nothing better.

1 quart of heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of Nutella (can add more or less according to taste)
6 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced thin
angel food cake (bought or made)

For the Nutella Creme:
Whip whipping cream with a handheld or standing mixer until stiff peaks form.  
Add vanilla and sugar and mix until combined. 
Add the marscapone and nutella and whip until all  ingredients together until smooth.
Taste. Add any adjustments .
(since we are not baking here, this recipe can be fiddled with to your liking, 
want it a little sweeter, more nutella? go for it!)
To assemble:
In a jar layer strawberries, cake, creme (repeat)-- similar to a parfait type process
Have fun with this! You could even add some chocolate sauce on top
 or a different type of fruit, like bananas!
I've made batches of 15 jars and 20 jars and after experimenting with several layering methods
 I found that the easiest way to do a lot at once is an assembly line.
Meaning do the 1st layer in all the 20 jars, 2nd, 3rd and so on.
That way you know you will not run out of ingredients. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tennessee Pt. 1: Oh, the places she'll go...

^^ mama Kali looking so stylish!

Between birthdays and baby showers, I feel like the past few months have been kinda crazy! Well my sister is now 32 weeks {woot woot!}, so my mom threw a baby shower in her honor last weekend and naturally I had to fly out to Tennessee to join. I also finally got to meet my beautiful niece, Wesley Jayne Souder! The long weekend wasn't quite long enough, but we crammed a lot of family time in and had some fantastic meals (oh how I miss Southern food). Saturday was the shower and my mom of course went above and beyond and everything was darling. She set up a DIY tent with paint and stencils and we all made onesies. It was by far my favorite baby shower activity to date-- ^^ look how cute they all turned out. Baby Wesley stole the show for a bit and let me hold her while Aunt Kate opened presents (doesn't she have the best facial expressions?). I can't tell you how good it felt to be with family for a few short days. They mean the world to me and I know it's just going to get harder and harder to leave with these beautiful babies in the picture!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wandering Wednesday: Summer Randoms...

More ladder golf, more park, more birthdays. I took these photos over the course of the last two weeks, but they didn't quite fit anywhere, so I'm putting them here. Boom. I'm in charge. One thing I love about summer is that it feels like there is always a celebration happening. The bottom photo was taken in Estes Park last weekend while celebrating my buddy Logan's birthday (he is the one holding the Crown Royal) and it makes me so happy. I keep looking at all the junk on the table and laughing. What do you see?