One of my favorite things about spring is that it is asparagus season! Even though it’s almost summer and the season is coming to a close, I am still enjoying encorporating aspargus into every meal possible. One of my favorite ways to eat asparagus is also one of the most simple – roasted and topped with balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese. This recipe is also very similar to the dish that was served at our wedding!
Confession time – I love asparagus so much that I ate almost 2/3 of the asparagus before Pat even had a chance to have one bite! Good thing it’s a healthy and delicious addiction! I’m definitely going to be buying more at the local farmer’s market while it’s still available.
Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan
2 pounds of asparagus, ends trimmed
2 T. olive oil
3 T. balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1. Place asparagus on a shallow baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
2. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
3. Bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Such a beautiful and photogenic vegetable! As a science nerd, I also find it fascinating that some people have stinky pee after eating it! This is due to a genetic mutation. I definitely have the mutation, but Pat doesn’t. What about you?
It’s so exciting to be moved in and all unpacked in our San Francisco apartment! We are in the Outer Sunset neighborhood, which is right next to Golden Gate Park, but definitely off of the tourist beaten path. For us, it’s the perfect location – close to the hospital for me, access to the best trail running in the city just a few blocks away, less than a mile from the ocean (squee!), and quiet at night with tons of street parking!
This cherry and almond granola recipe is the first official recipe that I have made in our new kitchen – which is huge and filled with amazing modern appliances and lots of counter space, by the way! I love making my own granola – it’s so versatile and you can tweak any granola recipe easily based on what is in your pantry. I used cherries and almonds, but you could just as easily do blueberries, or raisins, or apricots, or pecans….
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned making granola recipes is to not layer it too thick on your baking sheet. This causes the edges to burn and the center to stay soft. When I make granola I will triple or quadruple the recipe (Pat eats mountains of granola with yogurt every day) and it’s always so tempting to try to pile it on a single sheet. Resist the temptation, I tell you!
Cherry and Almond Granola Recipe
Adopted from A Beautiful Mess
Makes about 4 small servings.
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
2. Spread in a thin layer (to ensure even cooking) over a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
The third in my myth busting series has been published on the Brooks Running Blog today! I wrote an article about stretching properly in order to increase your workout performance and minimize injury risks. I also shared one of my favorite running recipes – homemade granola bars!
Did you know that sometimes not stretching at all can be better than stretching? Find out more by reading my post here!
What are your stretching strategies? Let me know in the comments below!
To accompany the gilded plates featured in this post, Pat and I created these unique gilded cups from disposable plastic cups using the same technique. I’m very happy with the result. We were able to have beautiful and unique place settings at our wedding without having dirty dishes at the end!
Disposable Gilded Plastic Cups
Clear plastic cups
Protective gloves and mask
Gold spray paint - I tried numerous types and the Krylon Short Cuts are my favorite
Painter’s Tape - A thicker size, like 2 inches, will make your life easier. I reused the tape from my gilded plates post to save money and the earth!
A large sheet of stiff paper or tagboard
1. In order to get a tight fit, cut your painter’s tape into several 1 1/2 to 2 inch sections and press around your cup near the lip. You can vary the thickness of the painter’s tape you use to spray paint more or less of the cup.
2. Cut circles out of the tagboard like this:
The key is to make them large enough so the cups sit with tape above and below, but not so large spray paint can get through. You don’t actually need gloves for this part, I just had them on from making the plates.
3. Wearing gloves and a mask (unlike my husband), spray exposed part of plate with an even coat of spray paint.
4. Let dry
5. Gently remove painters tape.
As a part of our roadtrip West, we spent one day and one night driving through Yellowstone National Park. It’s my first time, but Pat has spent time in the past there, so he was really excited to show me around. Yellowstone is huge and stunning and has such varied landscape from mountains to hot springs to wide plains. My mind was blown.
One of the biggest highlights of our time in the park was the wildlife.
Oh wait, you thought I meant the fox family? I actually thought these nature-dwellers were much more entertaining:
The amount of multi-thousand dollar lenses following the foxes was borderline absurd. Everyone is a professional photographer these days! Naturally, Pat had to get in on the action, borrowing someone’s fancy binoculars.
Our other major encounter with wildlife was a bison jam – a heard of about 50 bison decided to turn the main park road into a crosswalk. They help up traffic for two hours while they wandered aimlessly back and forth!
There is a church in the park, but it seems the only attendees when we were there were some deer.
This rock formation caught my eye, as from afar it reminded me of a row of ladyfingers! It’s so cool how there was only one row in the whole mountain. I’m sure there is a real geological explanation for this, but I think it’s kind of magical.
Because our camp stove was tucked away in the trailer, we didn’t have the means to make hot water for coffee in the morning. We find a cafe on the outskirts of the park to get our fix. Not a bad view from the cafe window!
Yellowstone is also full of hot springs and thermophilic bacteria that make the rocks beautiful vibrant colors. My favorite was Midway Geyser Basin. It’s proof that nature is the best artist. Breathtaking!
My sexy hubby! What about Yellowstone’s most famous sight, Old Faithful? We stopped by to see and caught it at the tail end of an eruption. It was pretty cool, but didn’t hold a candle to Midway Geyser!
I’ve mentioned before that I was selected by Stef from The Cupcake Project as one of the blogger/baker recipe testers for her search for the ultimate chocolate cupcake! It has taken seven rounds of baking, of which I participated in 7 out of 7! The majority of testers agreed that the most recent recipe was indeed the ultimate chocolate cupcake.
My friends, many of whom have tasted all seven rounds of cupcakes, were absolutely blown away by the most recent recipe. It is truly ultimate – perfectly sweet and chocolatey and moist with just the right amount of crumble.
Without further ado, here is the recipe!
The Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
Test Baked by 50 Bakers and Counting
Yield: 16 cupcakes
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
- 2 ounces of your favorite chocolate (You can use any plain chocolate that you like except white chocolate or candy melts. The chocolate doesn’t have to be one typically earmarked for baking – any chocolate bar that isn’t flavored and doesn’t contain mix-ins like nuts, Rice Krispies, nougat, etc. will work.)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 fluid ounces) vegetable or canola oil, measured in a liquid measuring cup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (2 3/4 ounce) full-fat sour cream
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) cocoa powder (natural or dutched will both work with this recipe)
- 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) room temperature water, measured in a liquid measuring cup
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until fully combined. The end result should look like wet sand.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler.
- Once the melted chocolate is cool enough to touch, add it to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until just combined.
- Mix in eggs and egg yolks one at a time until just combined.
- Mix in oil, vanilla, and sour cream until just combined.
- Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder into a separate medium-sized bowl. Use a fork or a whisk to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well after sifting.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three additions, mixing until just combined after each addition.
- Mix in water until just combined.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and put in the oven.
- Check for doneness at 18 minutes – a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean. If they are not done, check again every three minutes until they are done.
- Immediately remove cupcakes from the cupcake tin and place on a cooling rack or on the counter to cool to room temperature. Although they are really good when they are hot, be sure to wait until they are room temperature to give your evaluation.
If you would like to add coffee to the recipe, either add 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee granules along with the sifted dry ingredients, or replace the water with room temperature brewed coffee.
Thanks so much for letting me participate, Stef!