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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

memorial day weekend, part one

It may not be official, but I feel like summer has arrived!!
I am wearing shorts and sitting outside, as I type this. Flowers are everywhere. I watch baseball almost everyday. Summer plans are being made. Yay Vacation!!! And, this morning I hung my sheets on the clothes line to dry in the fresh air and sunshine... There are so many things to love about summer time! 
I had a full and lovely Memorial Day weekend. Lots of  sweet memories were made! On Sunday afternoon, I went to a wedding shower for a friend of mine. It was a perfect backyard bridal shower celebrating a beautiful bride-to-be. 
I am really happy for her and so excited for her wedding in September! 
So, here are a few photos from my friend's shower (part one of my holiday weekend)...
For the shower, I used some of my vintage doilies & hankies to decorate the tables. It is simple, but I thought it gave the tables a little something special, in addition to the flowers. 
And there was a candy bar (!!!!!) which the maid-of-honor put together! I loved how she decorated it with lights and bandannas. It was such a fun and cute wedding shower! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

recipe | focaccia bread

I love baking bread!!! And this basic Focaccia recipe is my new favorite!! It is very simple to make (with a KitchenAid mixer) and the taste/texture is amazing! For some reason I really like to eat it with Cheddar Broccoli & Ham soup. 
I topped my Focaccia simply with coarse sea salt and a little bit of basil. But I have seen many with different "toppings" 
like rosemary, garlic, tomatoes, olives, caramelized onions, etc... So this is a great basic recipe that could be flavored
in a variety of ways. Also, I know this dough would make a really good pizza crust!

Recipe : Basic Focaccia Bread

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour + additional for kneading
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil + additional for bowl and pan
1 tablespoon salt + coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top

Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl fitted for a KitchenAid mixer. Set bowl aside for 10-15 minutes to allow the yeast to start dissolving.

Attach the dough hook to your KitchenAid mixer. Add the flour, salt and olive oil to the bowl with the yeast mixture. Begin the mixer on low speed until the dough comes together. Then turn the mixer to medium speed and continue to knead the dough in the mixer for 5 minutes, until it is smooth.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface and knead it by hand a few times. If the dough is still sticky give it a little bit more flour.

Brush the inside of a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow the dough to raise for at least 1 hour.

Brush a 9x13 pan generously with olive oil. Put the dough in the pan and press it out to the edges and corners of the pan. Then, use your fingers to make several indentations all over the top of the dough, which will give it the uneven texture that is characteristic of Focaccia. Brush the top with a little bit more olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt & the herbs or "toppings" of your choice.

Allow the dough to raise again, for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Allow Focaccia Bread to cool before cutting and serving.

It looks so yummy!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

photography | lilacs with lensbaby + more

I just wanted to share some of the last photos I took of the lilacs in my backyard. I always take way too many photos of them, but they are my most favorite flower and they are very short lived, so I snap photos to my heart's content with no shame! 
I suppose this is my way of making their beauty last. These first shots were taken with my lensbaby. I especially love the way they turned out! Of course, I had to cut some and bring them inside too!
Oh how I will miss these beauties until next May... 
I am convinced there will be lilacs forever in heaven!  :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

photography | lilacs in golden hour

Have I mentioned how much I love lilacs?!?!
I could photograph them and smell them forever!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

photography | may lilacs are my favorite

Happy first day of May!!!
It is a little chilly today, but the weather is warming up. The sky is the brightest blue. 
AND... The lilacs are blooming!!!! I am in love with May!!
The bush in my backyard is going to be so full of blooms!
I am incredibly thankful we have not had a frost come and ruin them!! (Which happen last year.)
I cannot wait for them all to open up and smell amazing.
Lilacs are my most favorite flower ever, so *warning* many more lilac photos to come...