Monthly Archives: April 2011

this is country music.

There are a lot of people who don’t like country music; it’s too twangy, too redneck, too… country. However, I’m not one of them; in fact, I absolutely love the stuff. I’m from a small town in the Midwest, so I suppose this isn’t that surprising.

To me, country music is about a feeling, a time, a place. Country music takes me home again, no matter where I am. I love country music because it’s real. It’s honest–sometimes brutally so. Most importantly, country music is down to earth. And at the end of the day, country songs get a part of me that no other music does.

Brad Paisley’s recent song, “This Is Country Music,” hits the nail on the head of all of the reasons why I love country music.

Yeah, this is country music.
So turn it on, turn it up, and sing along
This is real; this is your life in a song
Just like a road that takes you home
Yeah, this is right where you belong

Here’s a few more of my recent favorite country songs.

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things i love thursday.

While there have been a lot of really great things about the past week (my final APO formal, Relay for Life, finishing a draft of my seminar paper, etc.), all I really want to talk about right now is the present moment. And at the present moment, I am at home in my own bed–where I will be sleeping for the next four nights in a row.

Because sometimes a girl just needs to be at home. I need to be in my car, sunglasses on, eyes on the the interstate, and country music on the radio. I need the familiar curving, country highways lined with trees and rolling hills that trace my path back to the place I know better than any other. I need evenings eating ice cream with my best friend and nights spent talking to my parents. I need curling up in my queen-sized bed and catching up on Glee before I go to sleep (without setting an alarm).

So today, I just really, really love Easter Break, and I’m so thankful for this precious time with friends and family.

photo via we heart it

buttermilk biscuits.

There’s been a lot going on in these past few weeks, including birthdays, formals, drafts of papers, meetings, and much more. In the midst of everything, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the fact that I graduate in just a few short weeks, and I’ve been (mostly) failing.

This morning, however, I dragged myself out of bed and headed straight to the oven. Something about measuring, mixing, and cutting out uniform rounds of dough is comforting. When I can control nothing else, I can control this. So, yes, these are my final days of college, and I’m choosing to talk about biscuits rather than the jumble of thoughts in my head.

Because sometimes writing about food is easier than writing about feelings–especially if I’m not sure how I feel right now.

My past attempts at making biscuits from scratch have failed miserably. Finally, thanks to this recipe, I think I’ve had a breakthrough. I mean, my biscuits still aren’t perfect, but they’re getting better. I’m getting closer…in more ways than one.

But for now, you’ll have to excuse me. I have papers to write, places to go, and biscuits to eat.

things i love thursday.

PostSecret | Especially this one.
Being healthy | I had some 24-hour stomach bug earlier in the week, and it was not pretty. Lots of eating saltines, skipping classes, and lounging on the couch watching the Food Network instead of doing something productive. Thankfully, I now feel much better, and my appreciation for my health has been renewed.
NKOTBSB | I so wish I was going to see the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys tour. In the meantime, I will compensate by listening to this song on repeat.
 

crown candy kitchen.

When I arrived at SLU to begin my freshman year, one of the first pieces of advice that I received was “Don’t go north of the Fox.” SLU is located in Midtown St. Louis, an area that has been revitalized greatly over the past 20 years or so. However, the same cannot be said of the area to the immediate north of SLU. Just a few blocks north of the Fox Theatre, the neighborhood gets decidedly… sketchy.

However, for those who are willing to venture north (preferably during the day!), there’s a lot to see. North city was once a thriving area of St. Louis; it has some some incredible history, and the now deteriorating Victorian architecture attests to it. Most of Old North St. Louis isn’t pretty anymore, but there are a few gems.

One of those gems is Crown Candy Kitchen, St. Louis’s resident soda shop since 1913 and home of the best chocolate malt I’ve ever tasted. Walking into Crown Candy is almost like stepping back into time–like a little piece of old St. Louis that has been preserved for the modern day. And did I mention that chocolate malt? Because it really is the best.

grandma’s apple pie.

Apple pie is best made with friends. Because it’s more fun that way. Because good food (and calories) should be shared. Because cutting up all of those apples by yourself is a lot of work. (Thanks for being such a great help, T.!)

Apple pie also happens to be one of my favorite desserts of all time. Baked apples with lots of cinnamon, flaky pie crust, and a crunchy sugar topping–it can’t get any better. My grandma also happens to make my favorite apple pie in the entire world. While I love pie crust, I like my apple pie with a crumble topping, and that’s exactly how she makes it.

For this particular apple pie, I combined parts of each of grandmother’s recipes. I used my maternal  Grandmother’s “never fail” pie crust recipe, and my paternal grandmother’s filling and topping recipes. The result was an absolutely delicious pie that incorporated elements of both sides of my family. My family has a lot of good cooks and bakers, and I love the recipes that they have passed down to me. I love knowing that the recipes I make today are ones that they could have made thirty years ago (or longer!). While we may be in different places and in different circumstances, something as simple as an apple pie keeps us connected.
 


Apple Pie

Crust (from Grandma K.):
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. salt
½ cup shortening (I used butter-flavored Crisco)
¼ cup cold water
2 tsp. white vinegar

Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Mix in water and vinegar until just combined. Dump dough out onto a floured counter and roll out into round shape for pie crust. Place into a deep dish pie plate (or a 9 inch cake pan if you’re me!) and crimp the edges if desired (I have yet to master this part).

Tip: keep everything cold! It makes the pie crust much flakier and easier to deal with. If the dough gets too soft and hard to handle, just cover it and place it into the fridge until it cools.

Filling (from Grandma B.):
4 cups sliced apples
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cut up apples really small; don’t just slice them! I think this makes a huge difference because it allows the pieces to break down and cook more evenly. Combine other ingredients and then mix them with the apple pieces. Place apple filling in crust.

Topping (from Grandma B.):
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 stick butter

Mix topping with pastry blender, then sprinkle on top of apple mixture. Place pie plate on a cookie sheet to catch any juices that may bubble over from the baking pie.

Bake pie in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 45-60 min. It will be done when you stick a fork in the apples and they are soft and mushy. You may have to put foil on edge of crust if its starts to get too brown (I did for the last 5-10 minutes).

Let pie cool for several minutes before eating or else your slices will turn out looking like ours! (But don’t let their appearance fool you: they were still delicious.)

things i love thursday.

 (Because I love St. Louis, too!)

Cardinals Baseball. I went to two baseball games this week. Monday night’s game was cold and the Card’s lost, but I was surrounded by my fellow SLU seniors. Tuesday night’s game was with tickets from my very generous uncle; it much warmer, and the Card’s managed to pull off a win!

Dinner with my Dad at The Good Pie. Without a doubt, that was some of the best pizza I’ve tasted since Rome.

Avoiding schoolwork. Well, senioritis has finally kicked in. With less than fifty days until graduation, it really was only a matter of time. This one might come back to haunt me, but for now, I’m having fun!

When the perfect song comes on at the perfect time. Enough said.

What do you love this week?