Category Archives: Folk/Indie

Osh, Kosh — Mmm More Squash

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I’m going to put the playlist at the beginning because then you can listen to some music as you read along!

I love the weekends for so many reason.  For this weekend, in particular, I feel like I can finally relax.  Bret and I are in our new place (still not fully unpacked), the cable is set up, the internet is working, and Nutmeg has been left alone by herself without any issues!

That was my main concern…  In the past, Nutmeg would get stressed out when we left.  As you can see in the photo, she was not pleased when Bret left the house.  She literally sat in that same spot with her eyes glued to the door until Bret came back.  I was trying to get a photo of her staring at the door, but it’s clearly obvious she didn’t find my humor in the situation very amusing.  All in all though, she’s done a really great job going with the flow and adjusting to the new place and life in general.  Since we got her in 2009, she’s lived in three locations with us and has learned to live at both parents’ houses.  Additionally, the poor dog has so many nicknames for her:  Puppers, Pupparooski, PUPPY!! Nuh-ma-nay, Squirrel Girl, Nutmeggers, Nuttie Buddie (my mom), Nuttie (my dad), “Hey Dog” (Bret’s dad)… It’s no wonder she’s constantly having an identity crisis of some sort.  Bret and I decided that if she could be a superhero dog, she would be ADAPTADOG!

Bret and I have made dinner twice now in our new place — a true test of us “living” here.  I reheated the butternut squash ravioli I made earlier this week (recipe to follow), and Bret made his specialty — Meat Pasta.  Now, I have responsibilities when making Meat Pasta other than cooking the noodles.  It’s a pretty difficult recipe.  Here, let Bret tell you how to make it:

Brittany:  How do you make meat pasta?

Bret:  3 parts meat! 1 part pasta!  1 part sauce!

Brittany: …

Meat Pasta = Man pasta.  Bret’s specialty.

Earlier this week, I wanted to use the rest of the butternut squash, so I decided to make some butternut squash ravioli.  Now, this isn’t actual ravioli (I mean, seriously… I definitely am not making homemade pasta on a weekday night).  HOWEVER, I did this trick in the past for one of Bret’s birthday dinners — I think I made goat cheese and fig ravioli — and used won ton wrappers instead.

The hardest and most annoying part about this recipe is sealing the won ton and making sure you put just the right amount int he middle, or else the filling starts oozing out of the sides.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1 1/2 lb) butternut squash , halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large leek , white part only, halved lenghtwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I used a whole onion instead)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (definitely added more than 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • wonton wrapper (square)
  • 12 sage leaves

Refer to this post as to how to make butternut squash puree (which you need).  I sauteed the onions (added 3 cloves of garlic as well) in the pan until they were almost caramelized.  Then, I mixed the puree, onions, cheese, garlic, and parsley in the pan.

Next comes the fun (100% sarcasm here) part — putting the filling in the won ton wrappers!

They say to use a tablespoon, but I used a little over a teaspoon to fill the won tons since a tablespoon was too much.  You put a spoonful onto the wrapper, then brush the sides of the won ton wrapper with water, and fold in half.  Make sure you make a nice seam between the two sides.  I folded my won tons diagonally, but I guess most people fold them horizontally.  Meh.  I think the diagonals look prettier.

I had the water boiling while I made the won tons/ravioli.  You drop the ravioli into the boiling water, and it’ll take about 4 minutes to cook (or until they float to the top).  While the ravioli are cooking, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brown the sage leaves in the butter for 3 to 4 minutes.  This brown butter sauce is sooo good over the ravioli, and the sage gets nice and crispy on top of the ravioli (so be sure to include it!)

One thing I did before topping my ravioli with the butter sauce was pan-sear them a bit.  I wanted them to be a little “toasty” and slightly crunchy, so I tossed some into the pan to heat up and sear before plating them.

And voila!  It’s pretty easy aside from the creation of the ravioli, so grab a friend to help to make the time go by faster.

Where is the Silverware?

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Bret and I are slowly getting through unpacking our things.  The biggest hurdle to get over was unpacking all of my kitchen stuff.  I really can’t wait to get up and running with making dinners again and moving around my new kitchen.  Next, we conquered the living room and finally (hopefully) figured out a comfy layout.  However, as a result of empty boxes and piling boxes, our dining room/mud room kind of looks like a scene out of Wall-E:

There are boxes after boxes stacked on more boxes surrounded by other boxes.  While we were unloading the kitchen boxes, Bret and I began a fun game of  Where is the Silerware??  With each box we opened, we would say, “Maybe it’s in this one.”  Nope.  “It’s definitely in this one.”  Nada.  “Ok, this one looks promising.”  Wrong again.  I remember turning to Bret (as I packed it into its obscure location) and saying:  “When we finally unpack this stuff, we’re going to forget where we packed the silverware.”

Obviously, the silver needed to go into a box containing a Christmas tree spire, two Pittsburgh Pirates Snuggies, a computer printer, golf balls, card games and a hanging shoe rack (just to name a few….)

“I’m assuming you packed this box, Brittany…”

Guilty.

Next hunt, where is the shower curtain? (We both are pretty certain it was left behind).

A month or so ago, I saw on my Facebook feed my old Business Communications teaching assistant (wow, that’s a mouthful) post a link to his sister’s YouTube page.  His little sister happens to be an AMAZING musician.  When I hear someone sing like this, I’m completely blown away.  I could listen to singers like her for hours.  Songs like these spark images of:

Bluebirds

(Bret says I like any songs that a bird could hop-dance to… and I agree)

Swaying in a hammock

And of course — romance

I guess if Jake (my old TA) ever ran across this post, it might seem a little creepy since I’m featuring his sister on here due to me seeing one of his Facebook statuses…….. but whatever.

His sister kicks butt.  She deserves to get a ton of recognition for her talent and voice, and I’m more than happy to share her music with all of you 🙂

Comfy and Cozy – Butternut Squash Bread

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I love listening to music when I cook or bake.  Aside from listening to music while I work, it’s the time where I listen to music the most.  I feel most at ease when 1.) music is playing 2.) the stove/stovetop is on and 3.) a recipe is in front of me at the same time.

Gotye’s song “Somebody That I Used to Know” has been making it’s rounds for awhile now in the blogosphere.  It’s one of those songs I still haven’t downloaded, but everytime I get on Hypem and it comes up, I listen to the whole song, then I click on repeat.

Sorry, Gotye.  You’re great and all — but I just ran across Walk Off the Earth’s cover of your song, and immediately fell in love.  When I see videos like this, all I can think about is how much I want to be in that room watching that performance.  Everything from the first guy playing percussion on the guitar, the spot-on vocals from everyone (especially Sarah), to the last guy treating the guitar almost like a harp/sitar…  Awesome.  I can’t get enough of this video:

They also did a cover of The Pogues “Fairytale in New York” which I always include in every Christmas playlist…  Watch it here 🙂

I didn’t take a photo of the recipe below, but I’ll include the photo from where I got the recipe and can promise you that it is yummy!  First off, don’t judge me that I pulled the recipe from an online blog.  Right now, every single one of my cookbooks are boxed up, waiting to be removed in our NEW HOUSE!  Yes, Bret and I finally moved, and all of our things are no longer sitting in a storage shed.  They are currently sitting comfortably in our new home, waiting to be taken out of their boxes.  So like I said — don’t judge me for already breaking one of my New Year’s resolutions because I had no control over it.

Bret’s mom had given me two butternut squashes before I left during Christmas.  I absolutely love anything butternut squash, and it will be served somehow at our wedding.  There is something so velvety and sweet and comforting about the taste of it, and I didn’t want to make just your ol’ typical roasted butternut squash, and I’ve gone the soup route plenty of times.  We ran out of desserts now that the holiday season has passed, and Bret and I like to have something sweet at night.  So I thought…  Pumpkin is a squash and I can make muffins/bread/cookies out of that… I bet I can make bread out of butternut squash.

After a little searching, I found a recipe that I thought would be great.  And it was.

Courtesy of mybakingaddiction.com

Butternut Squash Bread

First, I had to puree the squash.  In the past, I’ve always roasted the squash and hate trying to scoop out all of the yummy squash goodness without completely burning my hands.  Instead, I peeled the whole squash, then cut it up into cubes.  I put it in a microwave-safe casserole dish covered with a lid, and microwaved it for 10 minutes.  SO EASY.  When I took the dish out, all I had to do was mash the squash with a fork and it was perfect, squash puree. Mmmmm…

To Make the Bread:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butternut squash puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (I didn’t have cardamom, so I used 1/4 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp ground cloves)

* I added about a 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips and about a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans as well… YUM!

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour one 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 in loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the butternut squash puree, eggs, oil, water and sugars until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.
3. Stir the dry ingredients into the butternut squash mixture.  Add any additional items here (chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, etc.) Combine just until incorporated; do not over mix. Pour into the prepared pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes (it’ll depend on your oven, so keep an eye on it) or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Bret and I have been slicing it up and putting a little butter on it.  The taste of the butternut squash does not get lost at all.  Like I mentioned above, I added mini chocolate chips and chopped pecan halves which gave a little extra sweetness and crunch.  Bret said that the next time I make it, he would like me to add golden raisins.  YES!  BRET WANTS IT AGAIN!

Butternut Squash Bread = Success.

Time to Unwind 11.8.11

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What a busy week/weekend.

The family is coming into town this weekend for the Nebraska/PSU game…  That game should be interesting considering everything going on.  I’d offer my two cents here about it, but I think I’ve exhausted all of my thoughts about the situation.   Such a terrible, terrible situation…

On the happy side, it’s been a gorgeous week for weather (I think it’s supposed to get up to 60 degrees today).

I know I’ve been sucking at giving good posts, but I legitimately don’t have the time.  Meeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Time to Chill 8.30.11

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Better late than never, hm?

Now, I have some really great news to announce but am not ready to announce it quite yet.  You might be thinking, “What great news could she possibly announce?  She went to Michigan for her birthday on a surprise trip.  Her boyfriend of almost 6 years JUST proposed to her.  Seriously.. what could be better than that?”

Now, I’m not saying this is better than those things.  Really — Bret proposing to me is probably the greatest thing in the entire world. However, this is the first time in my life where I feel like a I have a clearer picture of my future.  I’m SO EXCITED for what things are waiting for me and Bret just around the corner.  We are so excited about this next step and are ready to take it together.

I’m going to call this post greener pastures.

August — you have been quite the month.

2011 — you have been quite the year.

I am so thankful for everything and everyone right now.  More now than ever before do I believe that everything happens for a reason.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.  

-Walt Disney

Time to SERIOUSLY Unwind

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So back a little over a month ago, I made a pretty long post dedicated to my twin sister since it was our birthday.  As you know for my birthday, my boyfriend surprised me by taking me on a trip to Lake Michigan.  Well, apparently, a large majority of our friends and family thought that Bret was going to propose during that week.

If Bret had proposed during that week, I would definitely let all of you know.

So no.  Bret did not propose to me during my trip to Lake Michigan.

However… HE DID PROPOSE LAST WEEK!!

I’m still kind of reeling from everything that has been going on this past month:

  1. Birthday Celebrations
  2. Birthday trip to Lake Michigan
  3. Visit Bret’s family to see his sisters
  4. Visit the Jersey Shore to see family members
  5. Get ENGAGED
  6. Drive home to tell family members
  7. Take a moment to breathe

PHEW!

I know it probably isn’t going to get “easier” — technically speaking — but I’m going to give myself two years until we get married.  Everyone seems to be freaking out a little bit about this date.

“You guys have been dating for almost 6 years and you want to wait an additional 2 years until you get married??!!”

Bret and I like the idea of being fiancé/fiancée for a little bit.  I mean, really… We know we’re going to be together for the rest of our lives, and there are still some other things I’d like to focus on right now instead of planning a wedding.  If you all have waited for us to get married this long, I think you can handle the rest of the ride, hm?

It will be worth the wait.  Trust me.

Now… This is the part when I’m going to get cheesy/sappy/lovey dovey because – c’mon…  I’M ENGAAAAAGED!!

Bret.  You are the best.  You are my rock.  You have supported me in so many ways that I simply don’t even know where to start.  You tell me all the time how proud you are of me no matter what the situation is.  You tell me that I’m beautiful.  You have taught me how to enjoy the little things in life without missing out on the big ones.  You give me a reason to smile every single day and find ways to constantly make me laugh.  You are the glue — You are everything that makes me complete.  Where I am successful, you are right there beside me.  Where I fail, you are there to pick me up.  Thank you for giving me so many memories.  Words cannot express everything you have done for me these past (ALMOST!) six years.  I am so happy that I will be able to continue riding this roller coaster called Life with you until the day I die.

You are my best friend.  You are my soul mate. You are my fiancé (AHHH!!! 🙂 )

You are the love of my life.

As always, I’ve included a playlist.  Now, because I wanted to add some extra cheese to this special occasion, I’ve also created a “slideshow” of all the lyrics to the songs.  Honestly, half the reason these songs were chosen were because of the lyrics.  They’re very pertinent to our relationship and this wonderful engagement… so yeah.  If you want to read the lyrics along with the songs, check out the link below 🙂

LINK TO LYRIC SLIDE SHOW: http://280slides.com/Viewer/?user=100630&name=Engaged!&fullscreen

Time to Unwind 8.16.11

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Ah.  Can you guys feel it?  That cool breeze in the air… The crickets chirping loud at night… All the windows and doors are left open…

Fall.  Is.  COMING.

Bret and I already made a vow this year to not consume anything pumpkin-related until September.  Last year, we got so excited about fall arriving and enjoyed as much pumpkin-flavored/scented items as possible (e.g. muffins, bread, candles, soap, drinks, etc.) that by the time October rolled around, we wanted nothing to do with pumpkin.

This year, we’re going to wait a month before we enjoy pumpkin in all its glory.

I’m ready for football games, hoodies, jeans, flannel shirts, and the changing colors of the leaves.

Until then, let’s enjoy a playlist.

Time to Unwind 8.9.11

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Now that the “case of the Mondays” are over, I have a wonderful playlist to give to you today.

Bret and I are going to need some chill/relaxing songs when we travel to and from New Jersey, so I’ve been on a mission to find some songs that’ll keep our minds distracted from traveling.

Just to remind you all, I’m going to try to post a “Time to Unwind” playlist every Tuesday moving forward.  These playlists include songs that are:

  1. Good for relaxing during your day
  2. Perfect for road trips
  3. Meant to snuggle with someone to
  4. Going to make you smile somehow
Hope you all had a fun weekend.  Just because I also love music videos, I’m going to include some that I enjoy watching/listening to:
Young the Giant – I Got

The Cults – Go Outside

Dan Mangan – Basket

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My first job in high school was at Hollister Co. in the mall.  I remember Kylie and I went in an interviewed together and both hired.  While working at Hollister didn’t necessarily provide me any insights to what my path would be in the future, it was my first job, and it was actually pretty fun.

One of the best things while working at Hollister was a community “jukebox” music player that you could select certain music to listen that played through the store.  My absolute favorite album to listen to was Josh Kelley’s For the Ride Home.  I honestly can’t tell you how many times I listened to almost every single one of those songs on that album during my 4-8 hour shifts.  It was perfect, cheesy, lovey-dovey, pop perfection.  I’m probably going to listen to the entire album after this post since it’s been awhile since I’ve listened (or even heard about) Josh Kelley.  All I know is that he’s now married to Katherine Heigl and both adopted a super cute girl named Naleigh:

Now,  to Dan Mangan!  Dan reminds me of Josh Kelley in some ways.  His songs definitely aren’t as poppy and have a lot more depth to them (so maybe in retrospect he isn’t like Josh at all…)  When I initially heard “Sold” for the first time, I thought it was Josh and then was pleasantly surprised to have found a new musician to add to my collection.

Dan has a little bit of Marcus Mumford in him with the passion and emotion in his voice.  “Sold” is fun for summer and great to play with the windows rolled down in your car.  Another song, “Robots,” has a little eerie feeling to it, but I love it.  “Basket’ is by far my favorite that I’ve listened to so far.  Parts of the song remind  me of Josh Ritter with the scratchiness in his voice and how low he can go with the range of his voice.  His new album is due out in September.

Dan Mangan – Basket

Dan Mangan – Sold

Dan Mangan – Robots

Fruit Bats – Slipping Through The Sensors

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I am so sore today.  I won my match singles match on Saturday afternoon.  Then, Bret and I had to play a mixed doubles match an hour later which ended up lasting almost 3 hours.    Even though we put up a good fight, we ended up losing.  I played my second singles match yesterday morning at 8 (… I can’t remember the last time I got up at 7:00 AM on a Sunday), and I ended up losing.  Even though Bret and I lost our matches, the tournament has motivated us to really practice and get back to being good at tennis.  However, this weekend reminded me that I will be 25 and am no longer 15-18 years old.

I’ve been listening to Fruit Bats since freshman year of college.  Sometimes their songs are hit or miss…  but I always end up finding a select few that I thoroughly enjoy.  Recently, I’ve been listening to “Slipping Through the Sensors.”  The entire song only has 30 words in its lyrics which I find impressive since it’s nearly a five minute long song.

Every time their name pops up on my shuffle playlist, I get a nice happy feeling inside.  I remember thinking that fruit bats were soooo adorable when I was a kid.  I mean, c’mon… How many of you wouldn’t want to own one of these cute little guys?

Plus, fruit bats remind me of Batty from the movie Ferngully.  I take serious pride in the fact that I can sing all the lyrics to this song:

Back to the REAL Fruit Bats… I’ve included some of my past favorite Fruit Bats songs along with “Slipping Through the Sensors”.  If you haven’t heard them before, check them out.

Fruit Bats – Slipping Through The Sensors

Fruit Bats – Primitive Man

Fruit Bats – When U Love Somebody

Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band