May 31, 2009

Food GlorioUS Food #2

This blog is a little delayed.. And just a little cliche I'm sure!
But SUPER SUPER tasty, I cant-get it in my belly quick enough? YES!

There is good reason why a visit to Chicago is defined by this dining experience...
Food: Deep Dish Pizza
Vendor: Giordano's

Place: Illinois
Never before has pizza deserved it's own range of clothing - lose-fitting, room-for-expansion sweat pants could corner the market in IL.

With a world-wide reputation* & 45min cook time, our expectations ran fairly high. But oh, they were met, well & truly.

Yummiest plate of pizza we have ever eaten. EVER.

*My first introduction to deep dish was from watching the reality show The Amazing Race. Eating a small deep dish pizza (4 slices) was one of the final, most daring challenges of the race. A real push-to-the-edge, crack-the-spirit, kind of challenge.

Umm, I don't know who those
Amazing Race people think they are, but I mockingly laugh in the face of their challenge. HA! Pushing through is not a drama, it's the stopping that's the hard part.

May 26, 2009

You've Got Mail

I received two pieces of mail in the post yesterday -

The first said "you're special... you deserve a little pampering.. you are worth the miniature design pattern, intricate sewing efforts & lovely colorful buttons..."

Love, Anthropologie

The second - "millions of you are celebrating a birthday this week. Whoopdy-do."

From, Southwest

Talk about two extremes of the birthday love-o-meter!

Upon further reflection, as my disappointment at the lack of a free flight dissipates, Anthro's card does perfectly explain why their clothing and furniture can require a small bank loan.

AND why Southwest flights stop as frequently as a downtown city bus & don't include catering.

Ct.

May 24, 2009

Apricot Delight

If you hadn't worked it out already - I'm home and being homey.
May I share a little culinary creation whipped-up for a recent dinner date?
Now, it must be said, there are COUNTLESS other blogs that do this 100 times better than me - The Pioneer Women, Smitten Kitchen & Pastor Ryan to name a few. I have whittled away many-an-hour salivating over what these fabulous cooks rustle-up in the kitchen.

(If you click away now to visit these pro's, so-long sweet friends, it will probably be a while before I see you again!)

Back to the baking. I was craving something light & fruity...

The Goodies:
based on a combination of Martha Stewart recipes & what I had in my pantry
4 1/2 tspns butter, 3 Tbspns brown sugar, 1/4 cup almonds, a sheet of frozen puff-pastry & apricots (or any other stoned summer fruit you fancy that you buy in bulk and can't possibly consume over the course of a week).

Give the brown sugar, almonds & butter a quick whizz till well mixed and crumbly:
Slice up the fruit:Spread the crumbles onto the puff pastry, which does have a touch of melted butter spread over it but isn't essential. And then place the fruit prettily, however you please:
Pop in the oven for 15mins @ 400 F - or until it's golden and crispy. And Voila! Like magic:
Melted, crumbly, sugary goodness & semi-tart fruit on crispy pastry

Slice into square's and serve cold, warm, with or without ice-cream - it works any and every way!

(One little post-baking change I would make is the sugar/almond/butter qty - it can mean the middle of the pastry doesn't rise so well if you slap it on too thick! But thankfully, there were no complaints)

May 23, 2009

All Patched-Up

I know you've been wondering about the healing and repair of my jeans. It's been a hot topic I'm sure.. "How DID that turn-out for poor Cassie?". Well, wonder no more.

The great crash of 2009 caused some devastation in the area of attire:

And Denim Therapy helped put it right:
Aahh.. happy to have this lovely pair of blue jeans back in my wardrobe!

And for the negative press on my choice of attire that fateful day - I send a big raspberry in your direction. :)

May 18, 2009

It's Been Quite a Month...

The last 4 weeks have been crammed full. We've traveled & played music; spent time with old & new friends; had multi-faceted hotel experiences (& multi-faceted church experiences!); heard countless stories of loss, pain, salvation & blessing; received the joyous news of new babies on the way; and the sad news of loved ones gone to be with Jesus.

In going from place to place - 5 states in 4 weeks - I've felt a little swamped, without as much time to process everything, pray as I would like & reflect with God. At it's worst, I have felt overwhelmed & lost.

But at it's best... Well, at it's best I realized God was meeting me everyday right where I was. His comfort & grace was more real in the chaos than I would have ever expected. As I stole snatches of time to clear my head, God was all I needed, all I sought for assurance & the only One to whom I could offer thanks.

Not that I'd ever choose to lose my quiet time with God. But I was overwhelmed yesterday in thinking about how closely my Heavenly Father walks through it all with me, whether I consciously seek Him out or not.

I was looking-up bible verses yesterday for my mum who recently lost her dad, and I got stuck on Romans 8 -

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Such a love I can't comprehend or repay. Such amazing grace.
In life & death I am so thankful for this.

May 17, 2009

Food GlorioUS Food #1

Road-tripping this vast country connects us with every weird and wonderful version of food. Butter Burgers, Funnel Cakes, Pork Ribs, Deep Dish Pizza. And I figure, why should I keep all these experiences to myself when I have you to share them with! Who knows when you'll next be popping-by Arkansas and need to find yourself a bag of decent pork skins.*

It's only taken me, aww, about 2 years of traveling to follow through with this idea. I'm quick, like lightning. So here goes...

Food: Frozen Custard with caramel sauce
The Vendor: Culvers
The State: Wisconsin
It's creamy, smooth, slightly tangy, balanced perfectly with a choice of sweet sauce.

This is Nate's current Wisconsin obsession - you can keep your deep fried cheese curds and German beers, he's all about the frozen custard.

Yes, you read right, I said curds, like curdle, but minus the stomach ache.

But back to the custard... It's only been a week but Nate has found himself unnaturally attached to these little cups of love, making them his post-gig reward.

Thank you Culvers! Your name is weird but your frozen custard is wonderful!

Ct.

*for real, skins of pigs. Crispy little crackers of pork. At least I think that's what the "pork skins" packet at every gas station contains. I could be WAY off. In truth, I've only ever glimpsed them from afar. I'm hoping further research proves me wrong...

May 15, 2009

Chicago

We had a few days off during our WI trek and decided to stop-by with friends in Illinois. It was a sweet time of normal-ness. Washed clothes. Meals at a kitchen table.

And a sneaky little trip into Chicago!

Downtown view from the Navy Pier

We'd been hearing a lot about this great city, beautifully set by the water, & how similar it is to Sydney. So we set-off to walk, explore and snap some pictures.

River running through the downtown

A pretty building

The Jelly Bean

Us in the Jelly Bean

Another pretty building - the Water Tower.
One of only a few buildings that survived the devastating fires of 1871.


The famous LLoop (elevated train tracks that loop part of downtown).

By the end of the day we understood it's title as the Windy City - Lake Michigan makes sure there is a constant breeze! But the City of Shoulders - can anyone enlighten us on that nickname?

We walked, saw and loved.

Only one sleep till home... Ct.

May 11, 2009

Orange Sherrr-beerrt

Hmmm, would you look at that - a tiny ice cream cone.
And my favorite, Orange Sherrr-beerrt.
Gently does-it...

I'm just so excited about my tiny ice cream cone, full of tasty Orange Sherrrr-beerrt...

Hang-on a second.. Does this make me look a little girlie?? Perhaps I should put it back in it's tiny cup & order the gallon instead?

Noooo - it's Orange Sherrr-beerrt! And it's mini!
I'm man-enough for that...

May 9, 2009

"The gateway to the west...

...and a city of baseball, bowling & beer." That is St Louis, MO care-of my Lonely Planet. Add our friends Bobby & Charissa into the mix and there is so much more to this lovely city, not the least of which is their fabulous company.

(And may it be noted, I didn't see a single drunk person throwing a baseball while wearing bowling shoes. I was a tad disappointed!)

We started with crepes at Rooster.. Tasty tasty French delight!

Cock-a-doodle-doooo!

Then high-tailed it through the pouring rain - I had an inverted umbrella situation that was a little scary - to search through LP's at Vintage Vinyl. It's like stepping back in time, thankfully with hand sanitizer to help my dust/smell/grime phobia.

And that phobia was definitely overcome at the next stop - Rag-o-rama - where I proudly made my first purchase of 2nd-hand items. BIG step, HUGE!

$15 !

I couldn't pass-up the cheap-o purchases out of fear of foot fungus or old-people smell or unforseen other-people-isms. That's a whole bag of crazy for another blog.

Onto the next stop - Beer! A fine little local called Schlafly. Try saying that over and over again... Schlafly Schlafly Schlafly Schlafly. I think they want you to sound a little slurred before you've even begun.

(nope mum, don't worry, we weren't slurred at all, not even close :) )

And why stop there - this 24hr Tour De force had a few more stops to make. Downtown, and The Arch. The beautiful, graceful, shinning Arch. No more words required.

But really, these sweet people were our reason for the day of St Louis love. As far as "old" Nashville friends go, we go WAY back with Bobby & Charissa.. Way way back... At least to 2007. You may remember them from past posts such as It's My Party & New York City, part 2.

It was awesome to see them again.

Next stop - the State of cheese, Wisconsin. Oh, you know it's going to be fun, you can't hide your dairy-loving excitement from me.