Over Ryan's spring break week last week, we decided to take a long weekend trip over to Santa Barbara and Solvang. It was so much fun!!!
One highlite of our trip: Ostrich Land.
It's exactly what it sounds like - a land full of ostriches. You could even feed them (albeit carefully to avoid them biting you). I love the expression on Ryan's face here, it's like he's having a moment with the ostrich. Precious.
It was fun to feed them! They also had ostrich eggs you could buy and they were huge!
We stopped in Santa Ynez one morning and had this magnificent view.
This was on our way to Kalyra Winery where Ryan got to do a fun tasting and we bought a bottle that we can both partake in once the babe is born!
On the patio of Kalyra Winery:
And we of course hit up Solvang everyday for fika! We had some great treats everyday, my favorite was this almond-raspberry tart from Olson's Bakery. It was sooooo good.
And another major highlight of the trip was going to this grand place: Village Spinning & Weaving Shop in Solvang.
Guess what you guys....I bought my very first spinning wheel!!! This is my trying it out in the shop. I bought an unfinished one, so I need to stain, seal, and assemble it at home. It will be a work in progress, but such a fun one!
Last weekend I had a wonderful baby shower with family and friends - thank you, everyone! Baby Sterrenberg is so loved already and we feel incredibly blessed to be so supported by so many friends and family.
Here are a few photos from the fun day!
My super talented sister-in-law made all the adorable decorations (note the Dala horses)!
So thankful my mother-in-law was able to come all the way from Texas!
Had a delicious Swedish princess cake along with scrumptious brunch food!
My little sister, Maren, flew all the way out from Chicago! So much fun to have her!
We Skyped in Krista, my older sister in Seattle (we missed you!), and had to take a sister picture of us all together. My sisters did a bang up job hosting such a fun shower - it was the best!
It was such a fun day!
Thanks to all who came and celebrated with us from afar! We are so blessed!
I posted about this scrumptious cake just a few weeks ago and have had a few people request the recipe - so here it is in all its glory!
What I love about this cake is that it's a heartier, not overly sweet cake. I highly recommend tracking down some pearl sugar for the topping (IKEA carries it, as do specialty food stores). I'm sure normal sugar would work in a pinch, but then you miss out on the amazing texture and crunchiness the pearl sugar offers.
Swedish Cardamom Cake
1 cup butter or margarine
1 +1/4 cups sugar
3 + 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 + 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 + 1/4 cups milk
Garnish: Pearl Sugar or coarsely chopped almonds (I prefer pearl sugar)
Grease a 10" round cake pan and preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter and let it cool. Beat the eggs and sugar together until light yellow and very thick. Add all additional ingredients until combined. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with pearl sugar and/or almonds. Bake for approximately 1 hour - test to make sure it's fully baked. Let cool completely before serving.
Be sure to use freshly ground cardamom if you can - it really makes a difference!
I like to enjoy a slice of this cake with a nice cup of coffee and a friend or two.
*Update: My sisters made this for my baby shower in a bundt pan and it worked out wonderfully! Just omit the pearl sugar on top, as it will stick to the pan and not release without leaving chunks of the cake behind (learned the hard way...). This way, you can also refer to it as more of a bread instead of cake and eat it for breakfast. :)
Here are a few things I've been baking over the past month or so that have been worthy of baking again.
First up on the list are Semlor (Swedish Lenten buns) for fat Tuesday, of course. IKEA used to sell premade marzipan for a good deal, but they've stopped stocking it for some reason, so I made my own from scratch this year for the filling. That was a first for me, but I'm glad I did because it was so tasty! These turned out really great and we ate them almost everyday that week. No regrets.
Often when I get home from work, I'll watch a little PBS. Typically, Martha Bakes is on when I get home and the other month I saw her make this delicious looking French Breton butter cake. I made it later that week and was not disappointed. It was extra delicious with some Swedish vanilla sauce on top. Next time I make it, I think I'll make a berry compote to go alongside. Yum.
And last, but certainly not least, was this Swedish cardamom cake. Love, love, love this! I love the crunchy pearl sugar topping and the flavor of cardamom in this not overly sweet cake. I'm going to try to bake it in a loaf pan next time, just to try it out. Somehow when I'm slicing a piece of "bread" it seems healthier than dishing yourself up a piece of cake for breakfast.
Ryan and I took a lovely long weekend to San Diego over President's Day. We had beautiful weather the entire time and had a wonderful time relaxing, sightseeing, and eating some fun food!
One of the highlights was going to the San Diego Maritime Museum on the water. It consists of 6 different historic ships you can tour, each with their own exhibits. If you've already toured the Midway in San Diego (and enjoyed it), then I'd definitely recommend the Maritime Museum.
Other highlights included eating fresh seafood, going to the outlet mall, seeing the San Diego Museum of Art, and walking and relaxing at the beach. It was glorious! We're considering this our babymoon, part 1. Over Ryan's spring break at the end of March, we're planning on taking the 2nd part to our babymoon over in Santa Barbara and Solvang. I can't wait!
It's hard to believe little baby Sterrenberg will be here in just 3 short months. This pregnancy has flown by! We still have a lot to do to get ready for Baby Sterrenberg (or SterrenSpawn as Ryan likes to refer to him/her), but next weekend we have plans to start tackling the baby room. If my memory allows it, I'll try to post some before and after shots of the nursery. I can't wait to meet our little nugget!
I feel like Ryan and I have had some really good food lately and I just wanted to make a list of things so I don't forget them. Sorry this post will be boring and sans pictures.
This past weekend we ate at the Pie Hole and wow. Such good sweet pies. The maple custard is a must get. I am drooling a little bit just thinking about it. The savory pie I had (curried veggie) was ok. But then again, I'm not much of a savory pie girl unless it's quiche. Ryan loved the chicken cornbread pie he had for lunch. I want to go back!
We also walked to this Italian restaurant in our neighborhood called Spumante. We've walked by it many times in the almost 4 years we've lived in our neighborhood, but always forgot to go back to it. I'm so glad we tried it out because it is so good! I had the cheese ravioli and it was the best cheese ravioli I've ever had. The marinara sauce was soooo good.
Recipes we've been eating lately:
-This vegan queso is quite tasty. Even Ryan loves it - he even said if I hadn't told him it was vegan, he would have assumed it was cheese-based. Win! We liked it enough that I've made it a second time.
- These pumpkin chocolate chip bars are delicious. I had a can of leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving and decided to make these before Fall treats stop sounding good. They were a hit for sure.
-Real Simple's chicken paella was so good. I used frozen chicken breast tenderloins (didn't even thaw them beforehand) in place of the chicken thighs, used a bit more smoked paprika, and upped the chicken stock to almost 3 cups. I love one pot meals and will definitely be making this again.
I think that's it for now. What are your favorite recipes or things you've been trying lately?
Happy New Year, everyone! 2015 is going to be great.
I can't believe my pregnancy is already over halfway done. What. How did that happen so fast? We've been slowly cleaning out our guest room and turning it into our baby room, and it's starting to come together. And by starting to come together, I basically just mean it's become a baby storage room. Definitely have a ways to go with all that, but we have time.
Maybe it's nesting, or maybe I'm just finally getting my act together, but I've been spending my weekends on all of the various apartment projects that have been on my list forever. Among them include this amazing, life-changing, rolling kitchen storage shelf:
[Apologies in advance for the poorly lit iPhone photos that follow]
I'm obsessed with this thing. We don't have a pantry in our kitchen, so many of our cupboards have become a pseudo pantry which just ends up taking away the cupboard space we actually need. This shelf is the best at maximizing the small space. It was pretty easy to assemble - I used this tutorial loosely. We made our version shorter, didn't use the dowels (they would have greatly limited what could fit on the shelves + we haven't had any problems with things falling out without them), and only used two casters on the bottom instead of 4. Now more things fit in our kitchen - it's amazing! It came together surprisingly fast, too. We put it together in a day, including painting and drying time. Ryan was the spray painting master of this project and he did a bang up job.
Another project Ryan and I tackled was installing these shelves above our couch. I think I've mentioned it before, but I have a hard time to committing when it comes to decorating/hanging art. These picture ledges are perfect. They let us change up the decor without having to leave gaping holes in our walls. Win.
And last, but certainly not least, I spent a good chunk of my day off on Monday repotting plants, propagating some succulents, and cleaning our patios. We have two small balcony/patio areas in our apartment but we haven't done much with them other than storing our plants out there. We finally bought a cute plant stand and I salvaged what plants were left. Plus I bought a hummingbird feeder! I've been wanting one for a while, but decided to bite the bullet. I'm so glad I did. I love watching it in the morning while I drink my coffee - it makes the morning a tad more enjoyable [for me, a non-morning person].
Well, I think that's all for now! Thanks for reading the book I just wrote. Hope your 2015 is off to a great start!