Everybody Vamanos!

Posted by Suburbanette on July 7th, 2014

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Last week I went to Mexico and fell hopelessly, deeply in love with a little brown boy named Ronin. You may remember that I mentioned Ronin a few weeks ago and that although he was cute, he was still a baby blob. Well, now at two months old he is a baby blob that can smile and coo and keep eye contact with you. He also loves belly rubs.

We were in Mexico to celebrate our friend Erica’s wedding (Erica also happens to be the sister of Rob’s brother’s wife which is why Ronin was on this trip). This trip was vastly different than my Cancun vacay of years past, but in a good way. Playa Del Carmen is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen….miles and miles of powder soft white sand and gentle turquoise water. You could see straight through the bottom of the ocean and it was not uncommon to see schools of fish swim by.

We stayed at an eco resort so there were tons of animals that roamed around the grounds. Everything from lizards, iguanas, donkeys, cats, trained birds, and even monkeys were in plain sight at all times. How cool is that?

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While most of our time was spent lounging on the beach (or dancing at la discoteca) we went EXTREME for one of our excursions through Edventure Tours. Our full day tour included an ATV ride and zip line through the jungle, snorkeling in an underground cave (Holy Xanax Batman! I’m not going to lie, I barely saw any fish in here because I was too busy having a panic attack in the dark), swimming in a cenote (beautiful, serene and refreshing) rock climbing, repelling and snorkeling with the sea turtles and a carol reef in Akumal (Rob got nervous because I swam over a sting ray, but luckily I survived).

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The trip was amazing and was a great reminder that I need to go on more vacations.

Let Freedom Ring!

Posted by Suburbanette on July 5th, 2014

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“Mommy! I want to live in an apartment building!” – Kassie

This little one had a blast at Kimi and Uncle Rob’s apartment building this past Fourth of July. She oohed and ahhed over the balloons and red, white, and blue sprinkled cookies at the front desk, got tons of attention from the other residents in the building who probably have not seen a child in years, she explored the spray ground across the street, and even got to watch three fireworks shows (Capitol, National Harbor and Alexandria) right from our rooftop.

There was a buy one, get two free sale at the fireworks stand across the street which also allowed us to expand our nighttime amusement. Luckily, my sister and I were able to get over our childhood fear of holding sparklers just in time to join in on the backyard fun!

 

 

Produce Power: Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Posted by Suburbanette on May 27th, 2014

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Many people are surprised to find out that in my toddler years I had a brief stint in the Philippines. It was through this stay that I developed a love for: canned meat, dried fish, and corn (also called mais) ice cream.

This farm fresh treat makes use of the sweet flavor of summertime corn and turns it into a refreshingly, cold, rich, and not-too-sugary desert. Whenever I want to get a fix, I usually head down to my local Filipino mart and grab a gallon of Magnolia brand ice cream but like many commercially bought items it is full of preservatives and artificial coloring.

My sister Kat had recently gifted me with a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker so I decided in addition to becoming an artisan bread maker, I would also try my hand at artisan ice cream making!

And not to toot my own horn or anything but the result was delectable! I think the key to this recipe was using fresh, organic ingredients as much as possible. You can really taste the difference when using high quality dairy, freshly picked corn, and the sweet molasses taste of turbinado cane sugar. Warning! This recipe uses a French style custard base so it is extremely rich! Next time I will try a Philadelphia style base which has no eggs in it.

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Recipe
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of powdered milk (this helps stabilize the base)
8 egg yolks
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of fresh corn kernels

Directions
1. Add sugar and powdered milk into a food processor and pulse until fine
2. In a saucepan, heat whole milk, sugar, powdered milk, and corn kernels and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Beat egg yolks in separate bowl until thickened
4. Slowly add one cup of hot milk into egg yolks and whisk until blended.
5. Slowly pour egg yolk and milk mixture into saucepan. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly until the base has the consistency of gravy.
6. Add cream, vanilla and let cool to room temperature.7. Refrigerate overnight.
8. The next day add the mixture into ice cream maker as directed.
9. Once churned, put in a pyrex bowl with saran wrap beneath the cover (this helps prevent freezer burn) and freeze for an additional three hours.

Enjoy!

 

A Night Out in Centreville

Posted by Suburbanette on May 27th, 2014

I grew up in the town of Centreville, Virginia. When I moved there at five years old, it was pretty much a one horse  town. We didn’t even have a Burger King until I was a junior in high school. I lived on five acres of land and one time when I was walking my dog I saw two emu running in the woods. It turns out they had escaped from the emu farm down the street.

A lot of things have changed since my family moved out of the area several years ago, now it is known as Little Korea with attractions such as Spa World (a 24 hour Korean bathhouse) and Bon Chon (Korean Fried Chicken) running the show.

Our friends Timmy and Samantha recently moved out there so when they invited us for a night out it involved three of my favorite Korean things: soju, karaoke and late night barbeque!

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My Family

Posted by Suburbanette on May 26th, 2014

This holiday weekend meant that I got to spend the week playing with my new camera and photographing the people I love most in the world, my family!

You all know Rob, my husband, who begrudgingly became the subject of many images this weekend while I tested all of the settings out.

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Kat and Kristina are my two sisters and they have been my built in best friends since birth. Kat is a year younger than me so people always confused us twins growing up. Kat is married to Paul and she has a four year old named Kassie who is the spitting image of her. Kristina is my youngest sister. She just graduated from college and just got a job as a nurse at the same hospital where my mom works at (which also happens to be the same hospital Rob’s mom worked at and before we even dated she was a nurse for Rob’s grandma when she was in the hospital….and apparently my dad played tennis with Rob’s dad but that is another story).

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Kevin and Kristopher are my fourteen year old twin brothers and they are the absolute loves of my life. Growing up they were extremely silly, outgoing kids but as they are nearing their teens they have mellowed out to thoughtful and artistic kids. Growing up they had three older sisters so they were conned into doing a lot of girly activities. I think they are thankful to have Rob in their life. Ever since they were six years old they would try to call me in advance of hanging out to see what Rob was wearing so they could dress like him. Now they are schooling him in basketball!

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Kassie is my four year old niece and she is the smartest, sassiest, funniest kid I have ever met. The things that come out of her mouth have us rolling on the floor for hours on end.

Scene: Imaginary Tea Party
Kassie: Here’s some tea Uncle Rob!
Rob: Mmm, what kind of tea is this?
Kassie: It’s a surprise!
Rob: No seriously, what type of tea is this?
Kassie: I told you Uncle Rob’s its a surprise! ::whispers to her bear Rafi:: It’s actually jasmine tea.

Scene: On the Couch after a BBQ
Kat: Kassie, we have to go! Your Dad is getting tired!
Kassie: He wants to leave so he is pretending to be tired!

Scene: One Year Old Birthday Party
Me: Nice hair Paul!|
Kassie: ::loud sigh:: He spends HOURS on his hair!

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Alina and Ronin are the newest additions from Rob’s brother’s side. Alina loves to twerk and vogue.  She loves to eat, and when you feed her she will jump from side and do a little dance. Kassie has nicknamed her Alins. Ronin is only a month old so he is still developing his personality! So far he seems really chill and quiet though!

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Making Love Out Of Nothing At All: Hot Crusty Bread

Posted by Suburbanette on May 23rd, 2014

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I’m not going to lie folks, after making this loaf of bread this afternoon, I have decided to moonlight as an artisan bread baker on the side. This bread is perfect: crusty on the outside and light on the inside with tons of air pockets and cragulations. Rob was the ultimate taste tester because he tries to avoid carbs as much as possible. As he buttered his fifth slice of bread, dreams of my new side hustle filled my head. It’s seriously that good y’all. The best part? It’s so easy that even a Suburbanette can make this bread!

If you have ever purchased a loaf of bread from the supermarket and looked at the ingredient list you will be shocked to see all of the unpronounceable additives that are used to make the item shelf-stable. Not so farm fresh at all! This bread is super simple: add yeast, flour, water, and salt and bam! It’s so rustic, I could picture Jesus breaking bread with something like this back in the day.

I jacked this recipe from Simply So Good, a Grandma from Utah with four kids owns this blog so you KNOW it’s got to be good. Check out her site for more tips…she and her blog following have been perfecting this for years!

Also in between mixing together my ingredients and letting my bread rise I got my very first DSLR camera. So halfway through this post you will have a few lovely photos to accompany this blog post.

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 3 cups of all-purpose flour (I use organic, unbleached because I’m high falootin’ like that), 1/2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast, 1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.

2. Add 1.5 cup of cold water and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is incorporated.

3. Set aside and put plastic saran wrap over the bowl. Leave out for 12 – 18 hours.

4. Come back to your bowl and gawk at how high the dough has risen! Mine doubled in size. Woop!!!

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8. Put bread on a floured surface and gently form it into a round mound. Add saran wrap and let sit for another thirty minutes.

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9. Heat oven to 450 degrees and add cast iron pot or other oven safe covered dish to oven to pre-heat.

10. When thirty minutes is up, put bread mound on a piece of parchment paper (to prevent sticking) and into the pot it goes.

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11. Cover with lid and bake in oven for 30 minutes. This was my first time using my sunshiney cast iron pot that my aunt got me for the wedding. Look how happy it looks!

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12. It’s time for the big unveiling! Open the pot lid and check out all of your handiwork. The bread should have puffed up as well. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes to brown the crust.

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13. Ta-da! Your bread is done! Remove from oven and let cool. Or if you are like me burn your fingers while you are cutting into it because you just can’t wait! What’s the point of eating homemade bread if it’s not poppin’ fresh and hot out of the oven?

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14. Share the fruits of your labor with a loved one and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations, you are officially an artisan bread maker!

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Pantry Aloo Tikki

Posted by Suburbanette on May 21st, 2014

 

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Who could forget the summer of 1996? Madeline Albright was appointed the first secretary of state, Clinton and Gore won the national election, and Tupac Shakur was shot in Vegas and later succumbed to his injuries. It also marks the year that I first tried Indian food.

My two best friends were Katie Snow and Shruti Bargoti and we did absolutely everything together. To celebrate Shruti’s 12th birthday, we listened to “Gangsta’s Paradise” on repeat, stayed up late to watch “Now and Then” on video fast-forwarding the part where they showed Devon Sawa’s naked butt which was way too scandalous for our group, and ordered a large Papa John’s pizza with extra garlic sauce on the side. Life was good.

However, life was about to get better because after being friends for three years, Shruti’s mom had finally decided it was about time that our ragtag group of friends try Indian food for the first time. I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical (even the ethnic food my dad made at home was too ethnic for me!) but one bite of her spicy fried potato patties and I was hooked! A life long addiction to Indian lunch buffets has followed me ever since.

Only recently did I learn the name of the dish Shruti’s mom served me: aloo tikki. Apparently it is a popular street food dish from Northern India.

I had a big bag of potatoes that were about to sprout so I decided that today would be the day that I would make this beloved dish my bish. This recipe is in NO WAY authentic but my adaption can easily be made with ingredients that can be found in a well-stocked pantry.

Rob was hesitant to try it so I only fried him one patty at first. He ate three more immediately afterwards!

Suburbanette’s Pantry Aloo Tikki

1. Boil seven small or medium well scrubbed organic potatoes with skin on until soft on the inside
2. Remove from water and add handful of frozen peas to water and quickly cook
3. Add peas and potatoes to large bowl and sprinkle liberally with garam masala, curry powder, tumeric, garlic powder, salt, paprika, ginger powder, dried onion…and basically whatever you think will taste good together. Mash until all ingredients are incorporated.
4. Add some panko bread crumbs to bind mixture.
5. Form mixture into patties with hands and roll the outside in bread crumbs.6. Lightly oil a hot skillet
7. Brown patties in skillet until crispy on the outside
8. Eat and enjoy! This would be amazing with a yogurt or mango chutney on top.

 

Tea Time with Suburbanette: Black Cherry Chocolate Scones

Posted by Suburbanette on May 20th, 2014

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Ahh, spring time. It’s that time of year when I crawl out of my down bed with the down comforters and down pillows and start a new. I literally can feel the sunlight rejuvenate my body and thoughts of becoming an artisan food purveyor start running through my head.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my latest addiction has been checking out all of the amazing tea shops in DC (more on that later!). There is nothing more comforting than cupping a warm mug of tea and catching up with an old friend. However, my tea time habit was starting to eat away at my wallet and as a true child of my mother I started to think …. I can make it at home at better and for much cheaper!

And not to toot my own horn or anything…but I did! These scones are wonderfully dreamy, light, and soft (even a few days later!) and filled with tons of dark chocolate and black cherry chunks. And with my Vitamix, I was able to make them between two commercial breaks of Arrow.

And to quote the ever eloquent Seaweed J. Stubbs: Run and tell that!

Suburbanette’s Vitamix Black Cherry Chocolate Cream Scones

2 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup dried black cherries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.

2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in Vitamix and pulse six times.

3. Slowly incorporate cold butter chunks into flour mixture (cold butter is key as it gives you air pockets for a lighter dough) and pulse 12 times.  Transfer dough to large bowl.

4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. F

6. Form scones by patting the dough into a lightly floured work surface and cut cut pieces with a biscuit cutter (or the edge of a wine glass because who has biscuit cutters these days?).

7. Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Looking Forward to 2014

Posted by Suburbanette on January 8th, 2014

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In 2014, I resolve to:
* Live in the moment and enjoy the simple things in life
* Keep my succulents alive
* Find one new friend
* Finish my craft projects: embroidery, calligraphy, sewing, stamping
* Start a small family business
* Put shelves up in my kitchen

New Year, New Deodorant

Posted by Suburbanette on January 2nd, 2014

This is kind of embarrassing to admit to the interwebs but I’ve always been a clinical strength deodorant kind of girl. I am aware of the health risks associated with anti-antiperspirants and deodorants but I’d much rather have breast cancer and lots of friends than be that weird stinky kid that everyone ignores (PS: This is coming from a girl who already has had cancer, so I can say that).

I’ve tried all types of natural deodorants and all of them left me smelling like a gym mat in the men’s wrestling room, but I am proud to say that I have finally found a contender that is awesome enough to bring me out of Suburbanette retirement.

I introduce to you Truly’s Natural Deodorant! Made with organic coconut oil, powdered sugar,  baking soda and beeswax it is not harmful to your body’s natural chemistry, is non-staining, fragrance free and does not show up white on your clothing. Oh and the cost? Only a cool, $7.95. It’s pretty much too good to be true! I have worn this through several awkward holiday dinners, Kazaxe and yoga class and have went home smelling as fresh as a bee who found herself in a sugar and coconut oil factory.

The only thing you have to remember is that this is a deodorant NOT an anti-antiperspirant so if you are an excessive sweat monster, this might not be your Holy Grail (although sweating is your body’s way of releasing toxins and cooling your body so perhaps you should try it anyways).

*I was not paid to write this post. All thoughts are my own*

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