This Week

1. Meet Bingley, my darling cat. We have two cats in our home, Bingley and Boo. You’ll meet Boo soon.

2. John and I went out today to buy some plants for our balcony. I exclaimed over these baby cacti, I wanted them all!

3. Hello!

4. This jukebox can be found in Must Be Heaven Sandwich Shoppe, where we got chocolate malts.

5. Texan wildflowers

 

Have a good week!

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. Sometimes when I’m stressed or bored, the act of going into the kitchen and cooking something makes me feel better. I’m adjusting to a new job, so I’ve been in the kitchen a lot lately. I supposed exercise could have the same effect, but I left my beautiful green Schwinn in Mississippi. The benefit of this cooking remedy, though, is that at the end you have a treat!

Let me warn you, this cake was laborious. It took almost 40 minutes to prep. But it made a lot of cake; we were eating it for dayyyys. And with its crunchy crust and a second layer of sugar-cinnamon within the cake, it was so worth it. You can totally do it.

This recipe comes from the lovely SmittenKitchen

Ingredients:

1/2 c. butter

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar

3 eggs, separated

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 c. sour cream (I used less, about 8 oz.)

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt (**I used less because I used salted butter, about 1/4 tsp)

Filling:

2 c. chocolate chips (subject to your approval, I used slightly less)

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350. Butter/grease the sides of a 9×13″ pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper inside the pan. In a large bowl cream butter and 1 1/2 c. sugar. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl.

Alternately mix in sour cream and then dry ingredients into butter mixture until both are used up and the batter is smooth and very thick. (This is the part that takes so long!) In a medium bowl beat egg whites until stiff (I used electric beaters here) then fold into batter. Incorporate well.

In a small dish, whisk together sugar and cinnamon for filling and topping. Spread half the cake batter in the bottom of prepared pan(s). Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon-sugar and 1/2 of the chocolate chips. Dollop remaining cake batter over filling in spoonfuls. Use a spoon to spread the second layer of batter over filling and smooth the top. Sprinkle top with remaining cinnamon-sugar and remaining chips. Gently press the chips in a bit into the batter, just to make sure they adhere.

Bake 40-50 minutes, rotating halfway through.

A Balcony with a View

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Tonight John and I spent some time unwinding on our balcony. The concrete was warm on our feet, radiating the heat it absorbed during the day. We have two little chairs out there and one little potted camellia tree.

On another (good) note, I’m employed! 

Happy home.

Vanilla Crumb Pie

Y’all, anybody can make this pie. The best thing about it is that if you like baking, you probably already have all the ingredients. Flour, white sugar, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, baking soda, salt, oil, and water. That’s it!

I’d made this pie before. This picture is from then:

I used a pre-made crust the first time because I had one lying around that I needed to use up. It tastes great whether you buy the crust or make your own. This time around I made the crust and it was very easy and delicious.

The recipe comes from “The Lost Art of Pie Making, Made Easy” by Barbara Swell. My mom gave me this book for my most recent birthday. Thanks, Mom!

If you’d like to make this pie, it takes about 30 minutes hands on time. You may be able to do the prep quicker if you are an experienced pie-maker, but I’m new at this so here goes:

Pennsylvania Dutch Vanilla Crumb Pie:

Filling:

3/4 c. each of white and brown sugar
One very heaping Tbs. flour
1 1/2 c. water

Combine in saucepan. Slowly bring filling to a boil, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and add 2 tsp. vanilla. Set aside while you make the crust and crumb topping.

Crumb Topping:

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Incorporate together with a fork. Set aside while you prepare the crust.

Crust:

1 c. pastry flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Mix flour and salt, then stir in oil until evenly mixed. Add water and mix well. Put the dough into the center of a 9 inch pie-pan. Pat and spread the dough until it just covers the rim of the pie plate. **In this case I used regular all-purpose flour, and olive oil instead of vegetable oil (because we just moved and I didn’t have any on hand). It turned out lovely and didn’t taste olive-y at all.

Pour syrup into your unbaked crust. Spread crumbs evenly on top. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.

I made this pie for John, because I remembered he loved it. As it was cooking the house smelled like caramel and vanilla. We ate it while it was still warm. Delicious.

This recipe can easily be adapted for vegans by switching margarine for the butter. Its a great treat for guests! Enjoy!

Historic Downtown

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Historic Downtown Bryan. I’m so glad our town has a little area like this! It reminds me of Starkville, where John and I both went to school. Bright and sunny, with busy little shops. There’s a thrift store, several cafes, and the historic Queen movie theatre. The theatre isn’t currently operating, but the city is hard at work restoring the interior so that someday it will be functional. This area is less than ten minutes from our house! Wouldn’t it be nice to stroll along with an ice cream cone? Or enjoy a drink at an outdoor cafe? I’m looking forward to going on walks here during the different seasons.

Moving In

We’re Here! John and I moved into our new apartment on Friday and so far we’re really liking it. It’s a new apartment complex so no one has lived in here before us. Yay! Clean! We’ve arranged all the furniture and begun hanging artwork; John is being a good sport about letting me choose where things belong.

I’ve been itching to start cooking, but with pots and pans and colanders and dishware out on the counter from being unpacked the kitchen is still a little crowded. I might just have to make some sugar cookies or a tart though, since they’re easy and I have all the ingredients. A treat for a hard day’s work!

More pictures to come.

xo