Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dispatch from the Kitchen

I made a loaf of bread today! Beer bread. It was delicious and really easy because there was no waiting for it to rise or anything. You should go make some. I used Bells Oberon for my beer, but I think you can use any kind you like. We used it to make amazing grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I'll definitely be making this again!

(The recipe for the bread and the sandwiches is on this page.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Groundbreaking new obsession...

picture from here
Great Danes! If they didn't grow to be almost twice my size, I would really want one of these buggers. They're just so loopy and zany looking.

I saw an adorable dog out on a walk tonight with huge paws. I thought it was a full grown Dalmation but when I got closer, I realized it was in fact a Great Dane PUPPY.

So of course I've been looking up pictures of the dogs (and Dave has been contributing some video research). I bring you my favorite video...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birthday Week, pt. III

We're going to have to skip part II since I don't yet have the pictures. I have to get them from a few people...

On the day of my birth, April 21, I awoke to sunshine. Sunshine! (It had been, and continued to, rain all week. All. week.) I got some fun presents from my roommates, including a cast iron griddle that will take my pancakes up a notch. (I used it on Saturday and it was definitely an improvement! Not to mention I felt super official.) My parents had sent me a birthday package so I ripped it open (in 5 year old style... I can't help it! I love birthdays!) and found a gorgeous new blouse. Birthday outfit, donned.

After work I had planned to take the bus to Dave's house where we would have dinner together. As I walked out the door and started walking to the bus stop, I saw from behind a person sitting on a bench. I thought to myself, "The back of that person's head doesn't look like anyone I normally see here." And then, "That person's jacket looks a lot like Dave's jacket." And then, "Omigosh! It's Dave!" He surprised me and came to pick me up from work! (This is one of my highest luxuries. As a takes-public-transportation-everywhere person, getting a ride ranks up there with a bubble bath or a chocolate dessert. Seriously.)
Dave -- surprise in Hyde Park!

We made stir-fry for dinner (my favorite) and watched 30 Rock (my favorite!) and ate strawberry shortcake (my favorite!).
Vanilla Bean macaroons -- this one was my favorite

He gave me some fabulous gifts as well. A lovely bag from a vintage shop in Chicago (I've been on the bag hunt for a while!), macaroons (I've been itching to try them for months), an awesome ceramic travel mug (such bright colors!), and a bouquet of flowers that are brightening up a dreary last few weeks of April.

Modeling three of my birthday gifts -- blouse, bag, bouquet
It was a lovely birthday and I'm so thankful to my friends and family, near and far, for how special and loved they made me feel. I've got long thank you notes coming to all of you!

At work on Friday, feeling very colorful

Birthday Week, pt. I

Birthday week was so awesome that it's going to encompass several posts. I'm pretty lucky to get so much celebrating, no?

Tuesday evening, Paige took me to dinner to celebrate my birthday! She's currently on a week long adventure in North Dakota, so we celebrated early at Socca* in Lakeview.

It was a stormy evening and the lake looked particularly dreary and eerie. But it's okay, because we had wine and frites and Italian food to warm our bellies.

I got a goat cheese and roasted peppers pizzette and it was one of the most amazing things I've ever tasted. I am definitely going back!

We had a grand time, even running through the rain to get home. I'm so blessed to have a friend like Paige! 

(Paige, I miss you; come back from the frozen North!)

*Can I just say that I find it terribly annoying when websites play music? I do. Beware, this one blasts music at you.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My roommates abandoned me this weekend... *tear* So I had to entertain myself without them. [Love you guys! You too, Kate, even though you don't read blogs.]

Dave and I had a lazy, rainy Saturday. (Remember how I said it was 80 degrees last weekend? We're back down to 30s-40s and raining! Sigh.) I made my famous pancakes, we played cribbage (I CAME BACK FROM BEHIND AND WON! I'm attempting to rub it in, but Dave doesn't read blogs either... too bad.), took naps, made some delicious white pizza, and wished for summer by eating some neighborhood ice cream.

I also played with my iPhone. I love this photobooth app!

Thankfully my roomies all returned from near and far today and we're having a movie night.

Happy Palm Sunday!

P.S. I'm writing this from my new computer! And it's starting to look like spring!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


On Sunday, Chicago was given the gift of SUN and WARMTH and BLUE SKY. Can you tell from all those caps that we had long been awaiting a day like that? Oh we had been waiting for weeks, months maybe. And the day didn't disappoint. It was in the 80s and glorious. I didn't know Chicago was home to so many babies and dogs! The beaches and the streets were alive with people all enjoying what was the first glorious summer day -- a summer day oddly in the beginning of April?

I spent as much time outside as possible: running, antiquing, walking instead of riding the train, and grilling for dinner. It was fabulous, fabulous!

And I found a vintage Hawaii-United Airlines sign!

We're back down to the 50s now, but oh Sunday.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Today I ran 3 miles.

It's more than I've run in several years. I ran 'em outside. And I'm really proud of myself. So I took a photobooth strip to celebrate.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring! Flowers!

I'm going to start buying fresh cut flowers more often.

Snow Ice

Last night Dave and I went on a date to commemorate our first date three years ago (see the post below). We went to this small Italian restaurant (since we went to an Italian restaurant on the first date) and it was tasty -- and kind of odd because we were the ONLY ones in there. It was Wednesday evening, so I guess that's not a very busy night...

For dessert we ventured to Cloud 9 in Lakeview. They specialize in Taiwanese "snow ice" which is the closest thing in Chicago to shave ice. It's fluffier than Hawaiian stuff and made with real pureed fruit rather than syrup. Imagine eating frozen cotton candy and you're probably getting the right picture. It was definitely no Island Snow, but I'll take what I can get here! I got the mango and Dave got green tea. We both got sweeetened condensed milk drizzled on top. In Hawaii we call that a snowcap. And it's delicious no matter where you are.

Snow ice. It's going to be the big summer thing.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

3 years ago...

On April 4, 2008 Dave and I went on our first date. Dinner at an Italian restaurant in one of my favorite places in the world and then a movie at a little theater near Wheaton. It's been a good three years.

A good Saturday

Yesterday was a good day. I drove out to Wheaton to visit this kid.

My one request was that we eat at Chick-fil-A. We accomplished this first. It was very important.

We also walked around campus and as a good alumnus, I got REALLY excited about it and I made sure we took pictures in front of the Kingdom sign. Also as good alumni, we reminisced on some of our favorite memories. Like freshman tea parties. And how the boys were ALWAYS late to them so we started telling them they started half an hour earlier than we wanted them to come. And how that worked 90% of the time.

It was a gorgeous spring day. The sky was crisp and blue. I got nostalgic. I wore my teal pants.

Then I drove back to the city and watched 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' with Dave. It was very good and I'm still trying to decide whether I think it was real or not. Go watch it, then we can discuss.

A great Saturday, no?

P.S. I made a new banner and switched up the look of the blog a little bit. Pop over from Google Reader and check it out. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Kristy Yamaguchi! And good views from a safe distance

Kristy Yamaguchi of Olympic fame is currently on a book tour for her new children's book "Dream Big, Little Pig" (cute, right?) and she came by Dave's work for a book-signing! Naturally I went and had my picture taken with her (promising that someday when I had a child, I'd buy her book, haha). She was really nice... and she fell when she was getting off the ice rink. It was hilarious, and she was laughing the hardest of anyone!

 While I was up there (have I mentioned I'm super afraid of heights?) I hung out at the cafe watching Dave and his coworkers do their thing. I also tried to enjoy the view... when possible. You'll notice that all of my pictures of the city and the sunset are from a safe distance. I just couldn't get myself to go close to the edge! (Or closER to the edge; there was honestly a lot of yardage between me and it.) Hey, we're all just proud of me because I rode up the elevator by myself. (Okay, maybe I'm just proud of me. Maybe everyone else expects that of an almost 24 year old.)

Dave made me a mocha. I'm really impressed by his increasing latte art skills. He's a great barista!

And the sun is setting. Crazy how those main streets just light up and go west, west, west.

I took a few creeper pictures, but I promise I was really, really subtle.

And night falls on Chicago. Not a bad view from your workplace, huh?

Ashley cooks

I have been cooking and experimenting in the kitchen a fair bit recently. Last weekend there were the salted caramel brownies, which were delicious. I overcooked them and the caramel got a little over-caramelized... if you know what I mean! But still, they were delicious. [recipe here]

Last night we made sweet potato fries. Delicious. Super simple and really tasty. I modified Paula Deen's recipe slightly and it was a group effort to prepare and eat them! [recipe here] (photos from Paige-a-rage)

And my crowning culinary achievement? I have perfected the pancake. I don't mean to brag, but these guys are delicious and roommate approved. You definitely want me waking up at your house on Saturday morning! :) I've been making and modifying them for a few weeks and this is, so far, the best they've been. I'll share my recipe simply because 1) they are delicious, and 2) I've never been able to share my own recipe before!

The Best Saturday Morning Pancakes
(original recipe from here, copied with my modifications below)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large spoonful sour cream
  • peanut butter m&ms!

Mix all the dry and wet ingredients separately (save for the m&ms), then both parts together. Cook 'em up pancake style, adding the m&ms when you pour the batter into the griddle. (the peanut butter m&ms just make it so delicious!)

[I've also heard recently that Mars chocolate is grown using slave labor in Africa, so we should probably search for a better alternative to m&ms.]

So there you have it. Happy Saturday morning!

Friday, April 1, 2011


My first thought when I woke up this morning was, "It's Friday!!" My second thought was, "IT'S BIRTHDAY MONTH!!"

I get really excited about my birthday. So much so that at the beginning of March I was excited because March is the month before my birthday month.

And what showed up in my inbox this morning on Friday, the first day of April?? A happy birthday email from DSW. They certainly know how to celebrate birthday month!