The only thing that’s better than spending a day with my family, is spending a day with my family AND farm animals AND a plethora of unhealthy fair food! And to my utter delight, that is exactly what happened this past October. The weekend before my birthday, I had a work trip that brought me to the states, and I couldn’t pass up a cheeky 24 hours in Maine with my family before flying back to Amsterdam. I haven’t heard my family sing happy birthday to me in more than nine years, so it was an extra special visit as we were able to have a little birthday gathering in my honor, followed by a day at the Fryeburg Fair, which topped off a very magical Maine weekend.To be honest, the timing of my visit kind of sucked, as my parents had just sold their house and were three weeks away from their big move! At first I thought the fair might just be a sister outing, as my parents were both bogged down with moving-related tasks, but my mom somehow managed to plow through her chores on Saturday, which meant that on Sunday she was able to join us at the fair! Continue reading
Amsterdam is stunning in the fall. A light haze has set in above the city, complimenting the earthy hues that mast Amsterdam’s cobblestone streets. Golden sunlight slips through the trees, and sparkling shadows are cast along the canals. There’s a buzz in the air as people scurry a tad bit faster on bikes and scooters to avoid the city’s new, frigid state.
I truly can’t believe it’s mitten weather again already, but this past weekend, an undeniable chill arrived in Holland. While summer is my favorite season, the cold air of fall makes my lungs feel alive again. And so while the foliage slowly dies, I’m awakened by chilly fingers and crisp oxygen in my chest. On Saturday, following a leisurely brunch with my girlfriend Sophie, I decided to take a long stroll around the city to enjoy the autumnal sunshine and capture Amsterdam’s golden glow with my camera.
Here are a few photos from my walk :)
Lately, I’ve been buying bag after bag of dried apple chips, and my addiction is starting to eat up a big chunk of my paycheck! So this past weekend I decided to take matters into my own hands and try a homemade apple chip recipe. I don’t have a dehydrator, so my only choice was to cook the apple chips in the oven. This can be done, you just have to cook the apples at a very low heat for a very long time to dehydrate them as opposed to bake them.
Homemade apple chips are the perfect fall snack. They are crunchy, warm, and have a dash of cinnamon that never fails to remind me of falling leaves and crispy sunshine mornings. First, pick out a few pretty apples. As you cook your apples, they will shrink up, so while one apple might quench your hunger normally, once dried, two apples will make a more adequate snack.
To make 3 good servings of apple chips, you will need 6 apples, a sharp knife, a sturdy peeler, cinnamon, a baking sheet (or two) and an oven. Set your oven to 200F degrees, and don’t plan on doing any other baking for the next 3 hours.Use your peeler to poke out the seeds of the apples. My peeler is a cheap-o from Ikea, but it worked just fine for the job. Jab the peeler into on the stem, pressing it down the center of the apple. Then, repeat on the bottom of the apple, pushing the peeler up into the apple, towards the same hole you have just poked. Give your peeler a good push and a twist, forcing out the seeds.
Next cut your apple into thin slices. They should be about 1/5 an inch thick.Once you have sliced all of your apples, lay them out flat on your baking tray. Mine was a non-stick tray, but you could always put down some wax paper for good measure.
Take your cinnamon, and from a height, sprinkle it all over your apples. You only need to do one side to get just the right amount of cinnamon crunch. If you’re feeling extra naughty, you could add some brown sugar.Now all you have left to do is pop them in the oven and let ’em cook! After 2.5 hours they should be ready – but if they don’t feel quite crunchy yet, you can leave them in for another 30 minutes. Be sure to check every 30 minutes or so to avoid over-crisping (aka burning!) of your apples. Once done, turn off your oven and let it cool, with the apples still inside. This will finish up the drying process, and then they will be good and ready to eat!B and I snacked on apple chips all weekend – they were so good I have a feeling they will be a new staple in my household! Who says you need a dehydrator to make amazingly yummy and crispy apples?!
This past week was cloudy, rainy and cold. Every morning I woke up and immediately wanted to crawl straight back under the covers. Thankfully, my birthday fell smack in the middle of this awful, rainy spell, and added a bit of sunshine to the otherwise dreary week. A perfect excuse to celebrate, just when I needed it the most! Although I didn’t do anything big or crazy this year, I thought I would share a few insta-snaps of the festivities.
Top left to right:
1) It was the rainest week ever, and every morning I trudged to work in my wellies, umbrella in hand!
2) Mid week B treated me to an amazing seven course birthday dinner at ‘t Oude Veerhuys. It was a bit out of town, but the food was fantastic and we had glass after glass of port, leaving us glowing and warm – exactly what was needed on a cold, mucky week.
3) My birthday (pan)cake! Best and cutest surprise ever!
4) In the Netherlands, it’s tradition to supply your own birthday cake! Cupcakes seemed a bit easier to bring into the office, so I whipped up a batch of spiced pumpkin cupcakes with vanilla-walnut frosting. These babies were gone in five minutes flat.
5) Another cloudy day, but the rain stopped for long enough for me to snap these pretty autumnal colors.
Bottom left to right:
1) I treated myself to a bit of birthday indulgence, so of course I had to insta-show-off my new outfit and manicure . . .
2) One of my amazing presents from B. I’m obsessed with Jamie Oliver, and can’t wait to try some of these awesome recipes and share them with ya’ll!
3) My favorite gift from B – a rose gold and smoky quartz pendant. He picked it out all on his own, and I am SO in love with it!!
4) Some friends brought by goodies, including a big bag of fresh walnuts. Cracked this one open to find a little walnut-heart. Cute way to say I’m nuts about you?!
5) This last one is a rogue birthday cupcake that “accidentally” got left at the house. Hey, the birthday girl deserves some sweets too ;)