Sep 26, 2014

pear gruyère pie... à la pushing daisies

Life lately seems to be revolving in an endless cycle of… pie.  Terrible, right?  It all started when this adorable little shop selling mini pies opened up in Roanoke.  I caught wind of it several weeks before it opened and the anticipation was so intense that all I could think about was pie.  All of this thinking about eating pie then got me thinking about that show Pushing Daisies (Ned owns a pie shop called The Pie Hole), and all of the watching shows about pie got me thinking about eating pie… and so on and so forth.  In one episode of the show, a pear gruyère pie is mentioned, and I couldn't get the combination out of my mind.  The pie addiction didn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?  Also, the more the merrier. And so, that is how my sister and I found ourselves baking a pear gruyère pie on the first day of fall.  I smell a new tradition baking…

All I had to do was google "Pushing Daisies Pear Gruyère Pie," and all sorts of delicious goodness appeared.  Most posts seemed to all link back to one original recipe, so that's what I used for my own pie.

Now, I'm not really a pie maker, and when I am I usually cheat with Pillsbury crusts, so I think mine wound up a little too thick. Other changes I would make would be chopping the pears just a little smaller and poaching them for maybe a bit longer.  Also, we used 1/2 stick less butter in the crust, and it was till a ton! All in all, it was a really interesting combination of savory crust and sweet filling. And it definitely disappeared quickly. Personally, I found it was best served for breakfast on the patio, accompanied by a hot cup of black coffee and a cool  autumn morning breeze.

I'm thinking that an apple/cheese combination might be fun to try next.  Have you ever made any unusual pie combinations before?  What's your favorite?  (Also… any other Pushing Daisies fans out there?)

You can find the pear gruyère pie recipe I used here, and try it for yourself!

Today I'm linking up with Samantha and Christina and I highly recommend checking out their blogs for some more delicious pear recipe inspiration!

Sep 22, 2014

summer in the city

I knew that it was going to happen, but still, our (mostly likely) one year of living downtown is flying by extremely quickly.  It's led to this slight paranoia about enjoying each of the one seasons of this downtown life to the fullest.  And while I'm completely ready to welcome fall with open arms, I feel like I need to first bid a proper goodbye to the previous seasons… especially since I maybe haven't been the most attentive blogger, and it really is nice to have these life experiences documented in some fashion.

We ended our sailing trip at the tail end of winter, so spring was the first full season that we got to experience in our brand new lifestyle.  We were still a little distracted by the end of a great adventure and settling back into life on land, and I feel like our heads and hearts were in two places at once.  But still, spring was so good to us.

Some of my favorite moments:

finding a really great downtown apartment really quickly
being welcomed to the city with the St. Patricks Day parade
date nights with walks downtown and random flowers from strangers
the first glimpse of the gorgeous views from the top of The Center in the Square building
a little urban gardening on our rooftop patio
taking advantage of the proximity of local hole in the wall joints for late night cravings
enjoying our patio space in the cool spring evenings
riding bikes on the greenways (and running into a bit of flooding…)

Summer was pretty great, too.  Although, admittedly, I was a little bit of a wuss about walking around in the heat.  I think I've become even more of a fan of climate controlled environments since living on a boat, if that's even possible.  And we did miss a few of the downtown summer festivals because of traveling back and forth to the boat.  Once we said goodbye to her though, we gave the city our full attention.

The best of the summer:

celebrating our 6th anniversary with a walk downtown to a delicious dinner
weekend market days involving gorgeous weather and a festival or two
catching a token summer baseball game
treating myself to a gorgeous bouquet from the farmer's market
celebrating my 29th birthday with a breakfast date with my sister
discovering that the best, most gigantic pizza in town is just a short walk from our apartment
finding rare moments of cool enough weather to enjoy our patio again
redecorating the apartment to incorporate growing hobbies in a small living space

We're halfway through our year now, and I have to say, I've been the most excited about fall the whole time.  I can't wait to see what fun the cooler weather brings.  But mostly, I'm so grateful for this experience and for all of the fun memories we've already made so far.

What are some of your favorite memories from this summer?  And what are you looking forward to the most this fall?

Sep 15, 2014

father knows best

A phone conversation from a few weeks ago…

Dad: So, what do you want for your birthday?

Allison:  Well, I told Riley I'd really like to get a vintage, or vintage-looking road bike. Something cute that I can ride around town or on the greenway. I've been looking at Craigslist…

Dad: Let me tell you what you really need. A mountain bike.

Allison:  I don't think I actually want to go mountain biking, though. I don't think I'd get enough use out of one.

Guess who was the owner of a brand new mountain bike just a few days later?

The thing about my Dad is that he's a very generous guy. He likes to buy gifts. Whether they're for himself or other people, he's often guilty of "over-gifting." The catch is, sometimes you don't always know that you want the gifts he's giving.

I had to re-imagine the mental image I had of myself putting around town on a cute little bike, mint green, maybe, with a basket and perhaps a bell, into one of myself huffing and puffing up mountains, racing down steep inclines, splashing through deep mud puddles and jumping fallen trees. Well, that's what I imagine Riley doing during his mountain bike races anyway.

After my initial two "mountain bike rides" (quotation marks are necessary for beginners), I'd say I have my work cut out for me. It is an enjoyable way to get in a good workout, though, and we live in such a beautiful and convenient place for mountain biking. I do believe I'll leave the competitive racing to Riley, but I'd still huff and puff up my way up a mountain just for the views alone.

Do you enjoy biking?  Are you a fan of the leisurely variety or the mountain variety?

Sep 9, 2014

one dress… two ways

Ever since we returned from our sailing trip, I've been getting rid of clothes left and right.  We brought so few with us for those five months that I got used to wearing the same thing over and over.  When I returned and unpacked those boxes of clothes that I had kept in storage, it just felt like so much.  I got rid of about half of it right away, and I've been slowly culling through the rest of it ever since.  I've found that I really don't need a lot of clothes, but I do need a few that I really love.  Because, I honestly do like clothes, getting dressed, and pretty things in general.  And I don't think that's a bad thing, as long as I keep it in check.  This red dress is once of those things that I really, truly love.  However, in the past few years that I've had it, I had only worn it a handful of times.  I realized that if it was going to be taking up precious space in my tiny closet, I needed to find a way to make it a little more casual for everyday wear.  The perfect opportunity arrived on my birthday.  I mean, if a fun, red dress doesn't say "Birthday Dress," I don't know what does.  (This is probably due to my love of Wee Sing videos as a child and my infatuation with Sally's flouncy red birthday dress.  Please tell me you know what I'm talking about!)

dress: Anthropologie vest: Levi's purse: J.Crew shoes: Converse necklace: The Bauble Dept.

During the day I needed something comfortable, appropriate for walking around the city and meeting my sister for breakfast.  So I layered the dress with my trusty denim vest (still getting a ton of wear out of this thing!), threw on a brown leather cross body purse, and laced up my chucks.  A pony tail and one of my favorite necklaces finished it off.  All in all, it wound up being a little patriotic, but I felt comfortable and cute all day long.

shoes: Cole Haan clutch: Anthropologie necklace: The Bauble Dept.

In the evening, Riley and I planned to try out a new (to us) restaurant for a nice dinner.  All I had to do was smooth out the ponytail wrinkles in my hair, ditch the vest, swap my chucks for heels and my cross body for a clutch (and change necklaces just for the fun of it) and I was ready in a flash.  For the record, I highly recommend Blue Apron Restaurant if you live in the area.  The entire meal was delicious, the presentation was beautiful, and the atmosphere was just what I was looking for.

I had so much fun with this little experiment and am excited to try to find new ways to wear some of my other favorites in my closet.  Are you good at mixing and matching your clothes and dressing them up and down?  I'm not the best at accessorizing, so I could use some tips if you have any to share!

Sep 5, 2014

hello twenty-nine

Today I'm celebrating my twenty-nineth birthday. Just a few years ago I was dreading any number that was anywhere near the big 3-0. But oddly enough, the older I get, the younger (and less scary) those big numbers seem. Does this happen to you, too?

For most of my life I've suffered from Peter Pan syndrome. I've never actually wanted to be older than I already was. But looking back now, each year of my life seems to have been even better than the year before. I mean, just look at twenty-eight! I'd have to say it was hands down the most exciting year of my life. Just one month into it my husband and I moved out of our first home together in the country and onto a sailboat. After sailing down the coast for several months, we returned to land and fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine to live in a dowtown loft apartment. And I've been having the time of my life since. I almost hate to see twenty-eight go, it was just that good to me. Twenty-nine is going to have some pretty big shoes to fill.

But then again, if every year just keeps getting better, I can hardly wait to see what twenty-nine has in store.
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