Friday, November 22, 2013

Echo Hill

Every year around the middle of November, we make a pilgrimage to Echo Hill for holiday baking supplies.  It's a quaint little country store in Fleetwood, PA that sells a ton of bulk foods and other wonderful stuff.  They've got all sorts of local, organic, and specialty ingredients that are difficult to find elsewhere in the area.  And the prices are great!  It used to be a quiet little place to shop, but it seems like a lot of people have discovered it in the last year or two.  It was nice to have it mostly to ourselves, but I'm glad they're getting lots of business!  Here are some photos we took while we were shopping.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sycamore Springs Holiday Open House

Last weekend we went to the Holiday Open House at Sycamore Springs in Reading, PA.  This has been a sort of unofficial start to the holiday season in our family since we were little kids.  It used to be held on Black Friday, but it's been happening a bit earlier in recent years.  This is fine because Thanksgiving weekend gets a little too busy anyway, what with Black Friday shopping, Family Dessert Night, and Small Business Saturday shopping.  Plus, it's nice to have some holiday decorating inspiration ahead of time, which I imagine is their point!

Here are some of our favorite scenes and ideas this year, as photographed by Kylie.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Make Your Own Almond Flour

Kylie and I have both been trying to eat more healthy foods lately, and a lot of the recipes I've found feature almond flour.  But they always seem to call for small amounts of the stuff, so I can never bring myself to buy a whole big expensive bag. When my friend Meghan sent me a recipe that called for a tiny bit of almond flour to make a crust, I decided it would be the perfect time to try making my own almond flour.

I went to a local farmer's market to acquire some raw almonds.  I bought a small container, since I wasn't sure how this whole thing was going to turn out, but you can certainly buy them in larger quantities.  Then I called Kylie over to help me out, because I am far too nervous about screwing things up to try new projects on my own.

First we boiled some water and dumped in all the almonds.

We let them boil for about a minute and then promptly poured them into a strainer and ran cold water over them until they cooled.

Next we peeled all the skins off the almonds.  This might sound like an annoying task, but I thought it was a lot of fun.  If you squeeze them at the bottom, the almond will usually pop right out of the skin.  I'm not gonna lie, there were a lot of rogue almonds flying around my kitchen!

I decided I wanted my almond flour to have a more smokey flavor, so next we roasted the almonds in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. 

When they were roasted to perfection, we threw them in the NuWave Twister and blended them up.  This is the tricky part, because if you blend too long you'll end up skipping almond flour and diving right into almond butter!

And that's it!  This was a really super simple project and, if you don't mind skins or want raw almond flour, it can be even simpler - you can just buy some almonds and toss them in a blender.  I'm not sure how equals out in price if you use a lot of almond flour at home, but for someone like me who only needs a little on occasion, this is definitely the way to go.  Plus, it always feels more satisfying to make something yourself than to just buy it at the store - at least for me anyway!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hello again!

As you can see, we've moved the blog to blogger.  Wordpress seems like a really great thing, but we're both better acquainted with blogger and neither of us really has the time to dedicate to learning a new system.  So we'll be living here for now, possibly forever.  Look forward to actually seeing some posts soon!