Apricot Walnut and Lavender Cake

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It’s Sunday, and I am here to tell you something: apricots are one of those fruits I neglect. I admit it–I take them for granted, and don’t realize how that special peach-like consistency with an extra sour punch goes a long, long way. I’ve always loved the taste of apricots. Childhood memories revolve around apricot cream cheese danishes from the favorite local bakery, paired alongside a tall glass of orange juice. It was the perfect sugar rush kickstart for a 7-year-old on a Sunday morning.

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Rosemary Bourbon Peach Pie

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Pie is just one of those things that I feel I’ve never been that good at making. I’m never really able to get the dough quite right, and my high-hope dough expectations are always let down. I like the crust to be a little under-done, a little chewy, thick, soft, and not too burnt or dry. A moment of truth here: my favorite pie of all time is the lattice apple pie from Costco (it’s seriously the best). That is an example of what I always want to achieve in a pie crust. Yep, Costco bakery… who knew I’d strive for that status someday? No shame in that. Those blueberry and chocolate muffins are pretty righteous, too…

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Friday Favorites // Week Two: June 2015

Yes, I am a day late. It’s not technically Friday anymore, but in keeping with the spirit of my attempts to post regularly every Friday about what’s been going on around the web and recap Instagram photos of the week, I am here anyhow. This previous week just seemed to escape from me too dang quickly. But it was a great one–full of hikes to waterfalls, beer, cocktails, my favorite pizza on the planet, wandering around Portland and discovering new spots, getting up super early before work to go for a run (because it was 90-ish degrees at the beginning of the week and there’s no way in hell I have the energy to run in the heat after work), drinking lots of coffee (never in a million years did I think I’d become a coffee drinker but I totally am now), making progress in this book (it is really a victory and a luxury as a working class adult to be able to get through a book beginning to end, isn’t it?), eating waffles out of windows, finally understanding how to do a proper fishtail braid (my new favorite hairstyle, BTW), and smothering my kitties with love. Always.

One other thing: I was featured on a podcast this week! I was contacted back at the end of last year to be featured on The Dinner Special, based out of Vancouver, BC and the episode aired last Wednesday. If you’re interested to hear a bit more about my blog and baking history, plus a few other random anecdotes, listen along to episode 47! I was also put through the “pressure cooker”… so you can see just what a dork I am in real life. You can subscribe to all of The Dinner Special podcast episodes here!

A few links and fun stuff around the web from this past week:

+ Congrats to all of the Saveur food blogger nominees and winners! Here is Food52’s roundup of their favorite recipes from them all.

+ 30 simple things you don’t realize you do that impress everyone around you.

+ How to fall asleep in under a minute. Wait, really?! Where has this life hack been all my life? Additionally, the most important question: is it better to sleep in or get up earlier and workout? Such a conundrum.

+ 20 foodie books to dive into this summer.

+ 13 cities where millennials cannot afford to buy a home.

+ I’m baking you all a pie today, and these 8 great pie tips are helping me out along the way.

+ You guys know I love elderflower anything more than anything. Here is elderflower cheesecake! Mind blown.

+ This blueberry buttermilk pie with chamomile cream is stunning.

+ The hottest chocolate chip cookie on the internet this week.

+ This light is at the top of my wish list right now. I’ll take two, please.

+ Making this sea salt hair spray is in my near future.

+ One of my favorite bands, Future Islands, just released a new single. DL loves it, of course. And it’s super catchy, as usual.

Happy weekend, all!

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Saffron Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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For many years as an adolescent, I thought my ethnicity was pretty 50/50 straight-forward. Who doesn’t? What other information are we supposed to go off of other than what our family members tell us? My fathers side of the family is German-Italian, and my mothers side is Irish, so it was easy to conclude that this was the reason my skin burns within twenty minutes of sun exposure, as well as my unconditional love for bread, pasta and Italian cuisine in general. I took their word for it. My Italian ancestors are from the Northern Lake Como region (George Clooney has great taste–as if we didn’t already know) and I’ve been dying to visit for as long as I can remember. I cry whenever I stare at photos of Italy long enough, or watch a documentary about traveling in Italy (thanks Rick Steves). The bright colors, the fresh pesto, the rugged cobblestone streets, the overgrown ivy, the people, the philosophy of life. This is how badly my heart longs to breathe and experience the magical place that Italy is.

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Friday Favorites // Week One: June 2015

Ok, who else is feeling this mercury in retrograde craziness? Thank goodness this should all subside in about a week. I don’t wholeheartedly believe in the entire theory or astrology in general, but there are times like this when I do. I really, really do. Read this. The full moon this last Tuesday was supposedly the the most “dangerous” full moon of the entire year: “this is one of the handful of times of the year when Mercury rotates slower than usual and this creates the illusion that the planet is moving backwards”. I’ve been feeling a bit of a nut job lately. I haven’t been able to keep up with the days. I feel like it’s still the month of April. I put objects back in random places they shouldn’t go. I’m sleeping very soundly (which is super rare–take it from a professional insomniac) but am still fatigued during the day. Every night after work I’ve exhaustedly plopped down on the bed and napped with my cats. I had a random outburst of anger yesterday when the fridge wouldn’t shut properly and I broke a shelving bracket and a mason jar full of some unrecognizable red sauce I had no idea existed (it literally seemed to fall out of nowhere) and glass shattered everywhere. I dislike (mostly) everyone. Important papers are not getting to where they need to go. People are canceling their appointments left and right. The weather has been extremely bipolar–hot then rainy then back up to the 90s this weekend. Everyone seems to be in my way at the grocery store or stopping me from where I need to go. My nervous nilly boy cat Swayze barfed 3 times today. Big life changes for everyone around, it seems. I don’t care what anyone says–Mercury is definitely in freaking retrograde.

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