1.20.17

Well, I’m writing this from my hotel room in Milan. The journey was long but I made it without a scratch. And with a nap that was probably a little longer than intended I was able to walk around and begin to explore this new country.  I won’t get into too much detail quite yet but I can’t wait to dedicate a little time on here about my trip.  

The week of apples and sweaters is at an end.  But I saved the best for last.  I had the idea for this dessert in my head for quite some time. Basically, I wanted to deconstruct a candy apple….and add bourbon.  What came out was what I had envisioned and though I made this a few weeks ago, I cannot wait to make it again.  It has one of those perfect bites, and the bourbon, while present, is subtle. The rich chocolate, crunch of the chopped walnuts, it’s hard to argue with such a childhood favorite.

I feel like my last outfit may be my personal favorite.  There’s a certain whimsy about it and I knew I’d want to head to my favorite location, hidden among the buildings of Hamilton Heights.  It makes me feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland. It’s like a tiny NYC version of a forest. I was so happy I was able to snap some pictures before I left town.

While there was a neck tie blouse involved in the previous outfit, this one to me is more deliberate, dandy almost.  I feel like I could be on a fox hunt in the 20s, or falling down a well to a new magical world. 

I think I saved the ultimate versions of both these items until today.  Worth the wait right?

Drunken Candied Apple Tart
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For the Crust
  1. 1/2 cup almond flour
  2. 1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp), room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  5. 1 1/4 cup flour
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
For the Filling
  1. 1/2 an apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  2. 1/4 cup bourbon
  3. 1 tsp sugar
  4. 2 tbsp brown sugar
  5. 1 tbsp flour
  6. 1 tsp cinnamon
  7. 2 tsp lemon juice
For the Caramel Layer
  1. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  2. 3 tbsp light corn syrup
  3. 1/4 tsp salt
  4. 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  5. 6 tbsp heavy cream
  6. 6 tbsp water
For the Topping
  1. 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  2. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  3. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
For the Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a circular or square tart pan with a removable bottom
  2. In a food processor pulse together butter, sugar and vanilla until it comes together and a paste almost forms
  3. Add in flour and salt and scrape the sides if needed until dough begins to form, it will be a bit crumbly
  4. Pour into tart pan and with fingers or the bottom of a glass, press dough along the bottom and sides of the pan, keeping the surface even
  5. Freeze for 30 minutes to 1 hour (or up to 3 days)
  6. Prick all along the surface with a fork before baking
For the Filling
  1. Toss the apples with the lemon juice to prevent browning
  2. Gently toss with cinnamon, sugars, bourbon and flour until evenly covered
  3. Strain apple mix to avoid pouring liquid into the crust
  4. Pour strained apples into crust and evenly cover the bottom
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, apples will slightly shrivel and edges of crust will brown
  6. Allow to cool completely
For the Caramel Layer
  1. Whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt and water in a medium sauce pan and on LOW-MED heat bring to a boil
  2. When it begins to turn an amber color immediately remove from heat
  3. Whisk in heavy cream, and butter, it will bubble up quite a bit, be careful!
  4. Whisk until smooth and pour into cooled tart crust
  5. Chill at least 1 hour, but up to overnight
For the Ganache
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl
  2. Heat cream in a small saucepan until hot and simmering around the edges
  3. Pour over chocolate and allow to stand for 1 minute
  4. Mix with spatula until smooth chocolate forms
  5. Pour over cooled tart
  6. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of tart
  7. All to chill at least two hours but overnight preferably
Adapted from Epicurious
Adapted from Epicurious
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/
 

So I did rock this outfit on Thanksgiving, but didn’t get a chance to show it. I knew I had to bring it back at some point during the winter.  Despite the fact these pants are definitely a little bit tighter than when I first bought them and was in the midst of marathon training. I just skipped breakfast and said a small prayer to the style powers that be and put them on. They still kind of fit….but immediately took them off as soon as I got back to my apartment and breathed again.

I think it’s the combination of the color scheme and the fact that this is definitely my favorite place to take pictures around my apartment.  There are clearly roads and buildings around, but in a tiny contained picture box it looks like I’m in my own world.  

 

These boots are another pair I’ve received from a friend, and I love them. How do you beat vintage Frye?? I first wore them here.  Still wearing them. Still obsessed.

So there you have it! Take a good hard look at your winter sweaters and think about how you can change it up, and bring a fresh take to something you find mundane. Or splurge on a sweater you love and use it to to the fullest. And apples don’t always have to be thrown into a pie.  There are so many ways to play around!! 

So I’m exhausted and writing on my husbands work computer which is a little older, is tricky.  I’ll add links when I return stateside, it’s proving too hard right now.

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1.18.17

As I catch up on The Bachelor it’s hard to think of anything other than the fact that tonight I’ll be on a plane on my way to Milan! The Hubs has the opportunity, through work, to visit Italy a few times a year, but I’ve never come along.  When he goes, it’s normally very long days in an office and very little, if any, leisure time.  But this trip is different, less stress, days that have more free time, even the weekend off for us to take the train to Rome for a few nights. With cheap flights available, we figured how could we not jump at the chance to be in an amazing country, and get to explore and get lost in it, together. Our honeymoon last year was so special, it made us want to travel all the time, just live life as travel buddies.  But because we’re not rich, obviously, not a realistic possibility.  This trip is a wonderful surprise and I’m so happy we decided to just go for it. If you don’t follow me in Instagram, it’s time to start, as I feel like there will be some killer moments and scenery to capture.

Alright on to the real reason you’re here. Apples and sweaters, right? This cake wasn’t supposed to be frosted.  I made it out of a Kosher recipe book gifted to me by a coworker.  She said it was her favorite and her family makes it all the time.  So obviously that’s what I wanted to bake.  But I made a rookie mistake, I just trusted the bake time without checking at least 10-15 minutes before said time to make sure it wasn’t burnt.  All ovens are different, I know this. And when I pulled it out, I could already smell it.  While apples permeated the apartment, the slight scent of burnt also trickled in. A few apples on the bottom had a little burn on the edges, which I easily cut off. But then after a little cool down time I took the cake out, and the whole top of the cake was over baked.  I was heartbroken.  Partly, because it requires so many apples to prep.  But I wanted it to be perfect, and it wasn’t. I let it cool, and stared at it, unsure what to do.  I tried a small un-burnt piece, it was moist and flavorful and delicious. I couldn’t throw it all away!  So I put it in a container, threw it in the freezer and sat on it for a minute.  What to do…..

I mean frosting fixes everything right? Once I pulled that cake out, let it thaw, and it still tasted great, I had an idea. I cut the top inch or so of burnt cake off (and kept it). I made a caramel frosting, and then scraped the inside of the cake I cut off and threw it on top.  Not only did it work, those who tried it had no idea any of it was burnt, or that the cake wasn’t supposed to be like that to begin with.  I was so happy I didn’t trash the cake as soon as I was disappointed with it.  Not all mistakes are the end all be all. And this happy accident was quite a treat.

Frosted Apple Cake
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For the Cake
  1. 3 cups flour
  2. 2 1/2 cups sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup vegetable oil
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1/2 tsp of salt
  6. 1/3 cup orange juice
  7. 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 3 tsp baking powder
  9. 6 apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  10. 2 tbsp cinnamon
  11. 2 tbsp of lemon juice
For the Topping
  1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 2 cups confectioners sugar
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
  4. splash of vanilla
  5. 1-2 tbsp caramel sauce
  6. crumbles from removed top of cake
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour a bundt pan or angel food cake pan
  2. In the bowl of a stand up mixer with a paddle attachment on low speed at first, mix together flour, the 2 1/2 cups of sugar, oil, eggs, salt, orange juice, vanilla, and baking powder until smooth, upping the speed once everything starts to come together
  3. In a large bowl, mix together sliced apples and lemon juice to prevent browning, then toss with cinnamon and remaining sugar until evenly covered
  4. In pan, pour one layer of batter, than apples, alternating and ending with apples
  5. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes and check for doneness with a tester in middle of cake, bake for another 5 minutes at a time as needed to avoid burning
  6. Allow to cool 15 minutes in pan before carefully inverting on rack and allowing to cool completely
For the topping
  1. Slice the top 1 inch off the cake, scrape out the inside and crumble, set aside
  2. In a bowl of a stand up mixer with paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar, then add cinnamon, vanilla and slowly pour in caramel, beginning with 1 tablespoon to start. If frosting needs to be thinned more, add more sauce
  3. Frost the top of the cut cake
  4. Sprinkle crumbled cake on top of frosting and if any caramel sauce remains drizzle over top
  5. This cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days
Adapted from California Kosher
Adapted from California Kosher
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/
 

If you want to make the traditional cake, simply get rid of the frosting part, and glaze the top if you’d like.  Or let it stand on it’s own, it’s so yummy and moist!


Look number two for my Anthro sweater may seem like a familiar formula.  But if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I love layering with mini skirts.  There’s something so charming about it.

The shirt under the sweater is sleeveless, and I wear it normally in the summer. It was actually one of my first posts on the blog.  But being able to layer it and show off the fun neck tie detail with the sweater  was something I hadn’t thought about before.


I definitely feel like I’ve taken two steps back on my self-timer journey, but with the cold weather, I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to focus correctly.  As my hands got colder, so did my tolerance to keep taking pictures.  Oops.

These shoes have been aching to be on the blog. Especially because my friend bought them second hand for me for….wait for it……$3. Amazing.  I’m in love.

I’m a big fan of the little bit of pattern play in this, and of course the pop of yellow. I even had a stranger passing with her dog tell me how much she loved my outfit! Validation from strangers is the best.  And feels a little better when you’re taking pictures of yourself like a psycho on the street. I look forward to seeing what other summer blouses I can layer up and bring back into my winter wardrobe.

Wear It:

Anthropologie Yumi Sweater (similar) / Stitch Fix Neck Tie Sleeveless Blouse (similar) / Ruche Grey Mini

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1.16.2017

Guys did you see that?! I had to type 2017!!! This is my first post of the new year and the month is already halfway over.  The past few weeks began with a trip to Florida so I could run the Disney 1/2 Marathon…..which got cancelled due to bad weather.  But I did meet my precious new nephew!! Now it’s just back to the grind, though I’m only now starting to feel like life is almost back to normal. And just when it’ll all fall back into place, I leave for Italy on Wednesday!! I cannot wait!!! I’ve never been, and haven’t even been to Europe since high school. I’m tagging along on the Hubs work trip and while we have a few days to escape to Rome together, I’ll get to explore Milan all by myself for a number of days.  Expect social media to blow up. 

There has been a serious lack of apples in the past few months on this blog. The things I wanted to bake kept getting pushed back.  But I’ve finally made a few things that I can’t wait to share. Honestly it’s been nice to not post the past two weeks.  I needed to feel inspired again, and I do!!! If you’re not in the mood to edit photos, nothing can make you do it. But I’ve turned over the editing leaf now that I’ve had a little time off.  I’ve used apples in three different recipes and decided to style the same sweater three different ways! I can’t constantly buy new things for my wardrobe, my bank account would lose its mind.  So as apples can transform, so can a bright mustard sweater!

You know what love is? Looking outside, seeing snow starting to fall and telling your husband he’s going to take pictures in it with you because it’s so pretty and he is totally cool with it.  Did he have any idea what he was getting into with me? Probably not. Too bad, you said forever!

I reward him for his patience with things like these muffins on weekend mornings when we’re off together.  The first time I made these muffins they were ok.  Not bad but I found them a little…….bland. I wanted the cinnamon to pop! I wanted the apples to be complemented with winter spices! It was time to amp it up and see what would happen.  And my crazy ideas, including using a cinnamon butter I made, paid off.  I added a little streusel topping as well. These muffins are full of flavor and wonderfully soft and perfect for breakfast on a snowy morning. 

I also got to show off my new muffin pan which I grabbed on sale from Anthropologie……isn’t it the cutest???

 

Apple Streusel Muffins
Yields 12
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For the Muffins
  1. 1/2 cup cinnamon butter, room temperature (see recipe in notes)
  2. 1/4 cup white sugar
  3. 1/2 light brown sugar
  4. 1 cup flour
  5. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  6. 1 tsp baking soda
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  10. 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  11. 1/2 tsp cardamom
  12. 1/4 tsp ginger
  13. 1 tsp cinnamon
  14. 1 tsp vanilla
  15. 1 egg
  16. 1 cup ricotta
  17. 2 cups apple, peeled, cored, and small diced
For the Topping
  1. 4 tbsp flour
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 3 tbsp butter, melted
For the Muffins
  1. Grease a muffins pan and preheat oven to 375
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices
  3. In the bowl of a stand up mixer with a paddle attachment, cream cinnamon butter and sugar together, about 1-2 minutes
  4. Add in egg, ricotta, and vanilla, one at a time, allowing each to fully mix in before adding the next
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add in dry ingredients and on low speed mix in until combined
  6. Pour in apples and mix until just combined
  7. Scoop batter evenly into muffin pan
  8. In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients until crumbly
  9. Sprinkle topping over muffins and bake for 20-30 minutes, making sure toothpick comes out of the middle of muffins clean
  10. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan before transferring to wire rack, enjoy warm or room temperature
Notes
  1. *For cinnamon butter, allow 1/2 cup unsalted butter to soften, then pour in about 1 tbsp cinnamon and mix together, roll into wax or parchment paper in fridge until ready to use
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Domestic B(i)atch http://domesticbatch.com/

A little butter on these and you’ll want breakfast all day long. The original recipe called for yogurt, but honestly all I had was ricotta in the fridge and it worked out great!!! I add a little vanilla as well. I don’t know if making cinnamon butter for the recipe was a huge role in the improvement but I keep telling myself it was. The second time I tested these muffins they were so much closer to what I wanted them to be. 

Muffins are pretty comforting, they make me think of cozying up with coffee in a sweater and looking forward to having a relaxing day. I snagged this sweater from Anthropologie in early winter. It was not on sale. And I never buy things there not on sale there….because then I’d be broke (but I’d look great!). However, I loved the color and pattern so much I splurged. Then I felt regret. And then I moved forward. Into the next sweater-filled chapter of this winter season.  

I love this sweater, but truth be told, it’s short.  It hits belly button level and I have the shortest torso ever created, so I can’t even imagine this on taller people. But that’s where the beauty of a white cami underneath can add a little brightness, and subtract a little midriff.  Because let’s be honest, it’s winter and also not 1997.

I didn’t make the Hubs suffer too long in the snow, but when it’s just starting to fall, and it’s actually not painfully cold, there’s something magical about that moment.  Before all the gross slush and the temperature dropping and all your layers cover your outfit up. I decided this would be the most casual outfit for this sweater. It’ll get a little fancy later this week.

Please excuse the odd shape of my butt, I had my keys in the back pocket and wasn’t thinking about it til we got inside. Just trust I have a nice, very normal-shaped butt.

And I got to show off my new boots!! Have I put these on the blog yet?  I don’t think so…… Even thought I have worn them almost everyday for a while now. A great winter investment. Super comfy, easy to throw on with almost anything.  Get ready to see these all over Italy.

Snow is magical! Just stay magical!! Don’t be gross, snow!

I’ve been keeping it pretty neutral and comfy outfit wise this winter.  A lot of sweaters and jeans, a lot of navy and grey.  But adding a pop of color is easy and it felt pretty nice to put it on.

Is your new year not sucking? I hope so. It’s only January so I guess verdict is still out. 

 

Wear It:

Anthropologie Yumi Sweater (sold out, similar) / H&M black skinny jeans / H&M white camisole / Latigo Black Ankle Booties 

 

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