365 days later: anniversary

lan-devin-eng-00762
photo courtesy of luke eshleman & used with permission

365 days ago
you hit it
and thank gawd,
you didn’t quit it.

i was a notoriously shitty student
who never reached full academic potential,
especially in the subject of math.
you join the legions of teachers
and tutors
and professors
who make me realize
what a mockery i am with numbers,
because i cannot begin to count
the infinite sum of reasons
as to why i love you so.

to further my grievance,
i cannot even fall back on
the one thing i usually can rely on:
Words.
because you always get me tongued tied,
and because you started reading way before i did,
and your vocabulary is worth more than $5.

instead,
i will feed you cake.
because you are my heart,
you who by some grace
not only loves me,
but acts loving towards me,
you who i dreamed of for so long,
but my limited imagination
never could fathom
just how fucking awesome you are.

i love you dw,
i will always be your
Ride Or Die Bitch.

Chocolate Tahini Cake + Rosemary infused buttercream

chocolate tahini cake + rosemary frosting
makes one 2 layered 8″ cake, entirely too big for two people, and yet, dw & i totally ate the entire thing. together.

*note: this is a riff on my sure-thing chocolate cake that i always fall back on because it’s amazing. the frosting has the heady essence of rosemary, dw calls it a mature flavor. if i make this again, i’d infuse it for a shorter period and make a bigger batch of frosting.

2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 cup 2% lactose free milk, i used organic valley
3/4 + 1 TBL cup Cocoa
2 TBL canola + coconut oil, i used Spectrum blended oil
6 TBL tahini
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup boiling water

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

grease 2 round 8″ cake pans

in a large mixer bowl combine dry ingredients.

gradually add eggs, milk, oil + tahini. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.

remove from mixer; stir in boiling water. (batter will be thin).

pour into prepared pans.

bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans,or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

cool cake in rounds 10 minutes; remove from pans.

cool completely.

Chocolate Tahini Cake + Rosemary infused buttercream

rosemary infused buttercream
makes enough to just crumb coat the two layers. i had high plans to decorate the cake, as i like to collect pretty attired cakes, but when i finished crumb coating i realized that i didn’t have enough frosting, and i was over it. as dw said: “it’s like you finished crumb coating the cake and you went FUCK IT & started putting dishes away.” he knows me so well and yet he stays.

2 sticks of vegan butter, divided, i used earth balance
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 lb powdered sugar
splash of liquid, water or lactose free milk

the night before, melt down 1 stick of vegan butter and add in the sprig of rosemary. don’t let it go too long, just enough to warm through. allow to steep overnight.

next morning, warm up just enough to fish the sprig out. allow to cool to room temp.

add to mixing bowl along with other stick of vegan butter.

whip up with powdered sugar, until reach desired consistency. add more or less liquid to loosen up.

BAM!

Chocolate Tahini Cake + Rosemary infused buttercream

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holidays & birthdays | gift guide

december is the busiest month for me
holidays
but more importantly:
birthdays

the items i am listing
are not set in stone
they’re things i own
and can endorse
or they’re items i covet

this post is not sponsored
by anyone
and of course,
all opinions are my own

gift guide 2

||moroccanoil treatment, $43: since chopping my locks the time spent at my vanity in the morning has been cut in half. i still do have to style my mop and i use this prior to turning on the dryer, it leaves my hair feeling really soft and silky
||trumpets for crumpets ring, $9.99: when dw proposed to me, there were two rings in the tiny box. this was the other
||citrus trees, $85: i gifted a key lime tree to nuria for being my bridewench and it is thriving. in the winter months it will be kept indoors and when spring and summer come it will be housed outside on their porch
||wordsmith leather chair, $1049: i know. it’s a hefty price but this chair is so pretty in person
||svpply coat racks, $29-200: discovered by dw, these are so practical and simple
||ashwood cutting board, $20-56: beautiful as a place setting too
||agustav book rack in walnut, €160: a unique way to display your books
||king arthur dough whisk, $12.95 – 16.95: when i don’t feel like lugging out the kitchen aid mixer, i use this to mix my bread dough
||the hobbit: an unexpected journey (extended edition) blue-ray, $24.99: do i really need to explain this one?
||Takeya Double Wall Glass Tea/Coffee Tumbler, $19.99: i kinda baby this, for fear of smashing it. i gets lots of compliments for it, it keeps my coffee hot
||C9 by Champion® Women’s Active at Target, $7-14, as the bff says: j’adore. when i cross the finish line my bum is dry.
||tieks, $175-295: apparently they’re super comfortable. i’d like to find out for sure
||ProEdge, $1-25: knife sharpening. this is a local company to us, but i’m sure there are services like this around elsewhere

the best gift guide. i hit up her lists, during non-holidays even, when i need inspiration.

knit | sparkly wedding shawl

Wedding Shawl

when the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. -Japanese Proverb

which basically tells you that
i’m batshit crazy
i’m incredibly blessed
and undeserving
from where i am sitting as i type this,
in the fading light of october,
a nostalgia has stirred in me
that must be indulged

Wedding Shawl

you know,
i have four much younger sisters
three on one side
one on the other
sisters who i did not pick
but are indelibly part of me
like an arm i could not cut off
even if i wanted to
but to have a heart sister of my choosing
well
it can be easier said than done
nuria makes it super easy though
she will bully her way into your life
she will watch really bad medical dramas with you
she will make you bawl when she hands you a kindle for xmas,
(a toy you’ve been coveting)
she will drive your car like a maniac
during her driver’s test
(which she failed)
she will have poop talks with you
she will pick meat off chicken wings for you
cus you have braces on
she will braid your hair like the
bohemian gypsy you want to be
she will run the zombie race with you
while your beloved runs ahead
she will take you home to her motherland
and basically feed you stupid
she will also drive you crazy
she will make you question if metallica really
is the greatest band ever
and she will take 5 weeks off of playing video games
to knit you not one, not two,
but three shawls for your wedding

Wedding Shawl

she is indelibly part of me,
of my choosing,
and i would never want to cut
that piece of me off

me+nuria

this is the pattern she used
wedding photo courtesy of Jonas Wilson, used with permission. my edit.
me+nuria pic courtesy of nuria gonzalez montelban mcintyre, used with permission. my edit.

november | remember

november

know that feeling
where you have to much to do
the to-do list is long,
you’re not crossing things out,
instead you keep adding
and what you end up doing is
taking a 3 hour nap?

felt … the crunch of leaves underfoot. autumn is on her way out, leaving behind a fading trail of yellows, reds and oranges
smelled … paint. we’re working on a craft project that i am excited to share with you, eventually
touched … yarn. i’ve been busy busy crocheting my fingers off
heard … a reading. do not go gentle into that good night!
saw … an overturned vehicle on the way to work this week. be careful out there people, get there in one piece, the turkey will hold till you arrive

wedding cake - NC

a few pinterest & internet discoveries:
|| organization is not my forte but if i could just get my shit together, i’d make this
|| you guys. tutu + sweater tights? mind exploded
|| this pumpkin soup + coconut panna cotta: yes please
|| this rosemary laced buttercream piques my interest
|| i am so in love with this vintage campaign desk
|| my high school, in thailand, aerial view
|| last, if you’re not already tired of hearing about our wedding, our photographer posted a few more pix

wedding cake - KY

photo captions:
on a very quick trip to NC to visit the bff and this guy, she made a tiny replica of our wedding cake, this time sans the dairy doom. it’s now safe in our freezer
then a few weeks later we visited with dw’s family in Louisville and i made the same cake for the family gathering, this is the recipe that i always use for for sure results. picture taken by my brother in law Jonas Wilson, used with permission, but with my edit
finally, pulled pork tacos. so good. recipe: 2 lb pork shoulder + 1 bottle ginger ale + salt & pepper + 1 onion sliced + a few cloves of garlic in crockpot for 12 hours on low = sweet tender pork. thanks erin w.

pulled pork taco

meanwhile: hello december!

blueberry jam danishes

Blueberry Jam Danishes

i don’t read the paper much anymore
in this day & age
i get my news from the internet
the occasional radio or tv in the background
facebook
twitter
and from dw, who gets it from reddit
of all the outlets
newspapers are my favorite
the way the paper stains your
forefinger and thumb black
the way it is light but bulky
the sound it makes when you flip the page
you can’t get your news any other way

the thing is, though,
i don’t read the news from newspapers
invariably i turn to the advice columns
(i adored Dr. Abby as a kid)
and the birth & wedding announcements,
and then the obits
morbid i know
there is just something to reading
about beginning of life,
the beginning of a life together,
and then the ending of it
i like it

when dw & i made the decision to have a wedding
i knew i wanted to make our favors
it had to be something completely us,
that when people took it home
they would be reminded of us
blueberries are dw’s absolute favorite fruits
berry picking is something we enjoy doing together
and jamming was something i had always wanted to do

Blueberry Jam Danishes

on july 4th,
with dear friends nuria & jesse, her husband
we picked 22lbs of blueberries
and then spent the next day jamming the entire batch
it took 6 hours
on september 28th
we handed out 4 oz jars
to every guest to take home
we have a few jars leftover
and they are obsessively hoarded
we’ve slathered them on vegan biscuits
eaten them by the spoonful
and on sunday, november 3rd
with our 2nd to last jar
i made jam danishes
we needed breakfast for the week
the jam had to be blogged,
in part to finally bring closure to the whole wedding thing,
and mainly because it’s so good
and i’m so proud of the work i did nuria did

i would imagine the birth,
life
and end of this jam to be quite successful
yes?

Blueberry Jam Danishes

bluberry jam danishes ~ vegan
adapted from oh, ladycakes
*note: while i realize i went on & on about the jam, the recipe i’m posting is for the danishes. jam is jam, we didn’t really deviate from the recipe, which is linked below, but these pastries that highlight said jam. well. let’s just say that they are not hard to make, do not be intimidated by the steps/process, and for the record, i only did 2 turns and it came out just fine. boom.

Danish pastry dough
3/4 cup warm almond milk, warmed in microwave for 1 minute (admittedly, my microwave is weak, just don’t let it scald, but make it warmer than lukewarm)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 TBL sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 TBL vegan butter, cold (this will be used to form the dough)
1 cup vegan butter, room temp (this will be used to spread on dough)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup AP flour

Filling
1 cup good quality blueberry jam, in my case, it was homemade! recipe found here.

Icing
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lime juice

add the yeast and almond milk to a small bowl; stir to combine then let sit for 10-15 minutes, until foamy

in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flours, sugar, and salt; mix until combined

add two tablespoons of the butter, cut in small pieces, and continue mixing until the mixture resembles coarse meal, pour in the yeast mixture and mix on medium speed

add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour one tablespoon at a time (you may or may not need the entire 1/4 cup), and mix just until everything is combined. wrap the dough tightly with plastic and refrigerate for 90 minutes. (note: it will rise in the fridge, mine busted out through the plastic.)

sprinkle counter with flour and roll dough out into an 12X24″ rectangle . cover 2/3 of the dough with the remaining cup of butter. i took the butter out for an hour to bring to room temp, made for much easier spreading. fold the unbuttered third of dough over the buttered center, then over again. pinch the edges of the dough to seal and roll it out into another 12X24″ rectangle. repeat the folding process by folding the dough into thirds again, but without the butter.

cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

do the rolling and folding and chilling thing 2 more times (technically, i only did it once more. i got lazy, went to bed early. whatever.)

refrigerate overnight.

the next morning, line baking sheet with parchment paper. dush counter with flour and roll out the dough into 9X18″ rectangle. (truth be told, i think i ended up with 10X18″ rectangle)

cut into 3″ squares, or whatever shape you want. i used my square biscuit cutters to maximize dough and not waste anything. transfer squares to baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.

preheat oven to 375F.

once squares are chilled, use bottom of a 1/8 measuring cup to press into center. you want it slightly indented and there to be a small pit area for the jam. spread jam into pit, about 1 tsp or so.

bake for 15 minutes, until golden. cool on wire rack

make icing by stirring powdered sugar and lime juice. drizzle over pastries

will keep for up to 2 days in container, doesn’t have to be airtight

i baked 6 at a time, the rest i froze. to bake those, thaw overnight and then do the remaining steps the next day

makes about 18 danishes – calories: 218 | total fat: 12.4g | saturated fat: 1.1g | sodium: 138.3mg | total carbs: 25.6g | dietary fiber: 1.2g | sugars: 11.7g | protein: 1.9g

Blueberry Jam Danishes