Ground Cherry Cake

I’ve gotten a lot of weird things in my CSA box this summer. Mostly good weird. Watermelon radishes, kolkrabi, romanesco… the list goes on. This past week’s week veggie was this thing called ground cherries.groundcherryhusk groundcherryI think of them as a cross between a tomatillio, a cherry tomato, and a berry. They taste as weird as they sound, but in a good way…I think. Ground cherry coffee cake came up in the first results of my recipe search. I haven’t done nearly enough baking with produce this summer so I figured I’d jump on it.

It’s a pretty basic coffee cake recipe, complete with crunchy topping. There aren’t any weird ingredients besides the ground cherries. Butter is cut into the flour sugar mixture as it is in scones and biscuits. The ground cherries require no prep besides washing – you just plop them on top of the cake batter and then cover them with the crunchy topping mixture.

The cake was a big hit here on Abbott Street. We had a bunch of friends stop by as it was coming out of the oven. We all proceeded to crowd in the kitchen, eating slices from pan to paper towel to mouth.

cherrycakecoffee

2014-09-21 09.59.29

Original Recipe from The Kitchn

I halved it since I didn’t have a whole lot of ground cherries. This allows the cake to fit in a 8 X 4 bread pan. I used an almond milk/ apple cider vinegar mix for the buttermilk, and replaced the chopped pecan pieces with pepitas and almonds.

Enjoy! This recipe will make your house smell like snickerdoodles!

Back to Sitting

I’m not good at sitting.

I can sort of handle it in the office. When I’m busy. But I still require at 30 minutes of walking at lunch. When I work from home I have to get up and poi or hoop for a minute every hour. Unfortunately, this last week both my back and leg have had me spending lots of time of the couch – not cool.

Let’s backtrack:

Last weekend Kyle and went to an indoor trampoline park called Sky Zone. It’s pretty much as awesome as it sounds – trampoline covered floors and walls, a foam pit to jump into, basketball nets, etc. I had been wanted to check out a place like this since before I broke my leg. And despite us going on a Saturday while the place was full and kids having birthday parties, it was awesome. I didn’t dunk a basket. I didn’t do an flips, but I got my fill of trampolines and loved every (exhausting) second of it.

skyzonesocks

But as we walked out, my leg felt funny. Not like, “F*ck it’s broken,” just kinda funny. I forgot the next day (typical) and took a 3ish mile hike with Kyle and Rascal and it felt a little funnier. So I laid off the activity (by which I mean, I worked on foot hooping because it’s non weight bearing). I was still worried as the week started so I called my ortho office. And because they rock they called me back 45 minutes later and the doc said some tendons had probably rubbed against the plate wrong as I was probably fine.

As I’m continuing this “not moving” thing, nervously hoping my leg discomfort goes the f*ck away, my back starts up. Um, what? What started as a “Wow, I slept weird” pain turned in a “Sit on the bed with the heating pad and don’t twist at all” pain.

I’m becoming a veteran of random pains and potential injuries.

And simultaneously getting (a little) better at “not overdoing it.”

The trick, of course, is keeping myself occupied and comfortable. Easier said that done. But for once I was able to go into “resting” with a game plan (unlike when I was on crutches and pretty much panicked when they said, “Crutches now!”).

How to “Take it Easy” when you really don’t wanna:

One: Take a moment to worry and work out the worst case scenario. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I know I feel better after giving myself a moment to freak out. Once it’s out of my system, I tell myself I CAN handle the worst case scenario. And move on.

Two: Get Cozy. This time around this included propping myself up with lots of pillows with my heating pad and borrowed TENS machine nearby. It also meant being patient in prepping meals for myself. The process took a little longer, but was absolutely wort it. French pressed coffee and ground cherry coffee cake:

cherrycakecoffee

Three: Get Amused. Make mental list of of things you can still do! Believe or not, there are a lot. I can blog! I can organize recipes (that’s not a weird thing to enjoy, right? :P), I can catch up on all the Boardwalk Empire I can handle.

Four: If you can, stretch! This is something I absolutely did not do when I was on crutches and I really regret it. I became so disconnected my body and just stiff overall. Since my back started hurting I’ve been keeping it simple with bow pose, child’s pose, very slow forward bends, and lots of cat/cow. I’ve also been “foam rolling” with a tennis ball.

On the hole my back is much better, though still not where it should be. And my leg is still making me hella nervous (but it always does – crutches are a real fear, folks). Hopefully I won’t be sticking to this plan much longer. But if I have to, I’ll be alright. And knowing that makes all the difference.

Summer 2014

2014-07-11 20.38.30

Well hello there folks.

I can’t believe it is September already. Though I am pretty sure I say that every year when September rolls around. Oh, well. On the bright side pumpkin spiced coffee is out and the air is beginning to smell distinctly like fall (anyone else notice that?) so things could be worse. If summer has to fade. at least it fades into fall.

OCNJ_bay

We had quite a few adventures here on Abbott Street this summer. Including, but not limited to:
-my first adventure with a weekly CSA box (many, many recipes to come)
-camping trips to Nelson’s Ledges and Summersville, WV
-countless late night flow jams (that drew quite some attention from the bar patrons next door)
2014-09-14 12.08.25
-an impressive increase in puppy training after Rascal ate a whole pack of sugarfree gum (Spoilers: xylitol is a main ingredient and crazy poisonous to dogs! Rascal was perfectly ok thanks to our resident Cam-bulence)
-traded out roommate ben for roommate rob, everyone say “hiiii rob”
-traded out kitten Chili for Godiva and Cinnamon’s brother, Shrek (surprise! he looks just like them)
-spent a weekend in Atlantic City and spent more money on food than drinks and gambling
-welcomed the beautiful baby Opal Therese to the world, daughter of roommate Ben and his lovely wife Annie

And when I started that list I was sitting here thinking that very little had happened in the last few months…

twentyonepiliots1

So what is to become of this space?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve been having trouble making up my mind with a lot of things lately so I’m going to try to keep it simple. Ideally:
-Restaurant reviews: because Kyle likes writing them and we love food probably too much
-Recipes: Because chopping veggies is my happy place
-Gratitude: Because it’s all about the little things.
-Simplicity: Because it’s something I’ve been striving for

Anything you’d like to see more of??

Restaurant Review: Chick’n Bubbly

My buddy Katz and I started playing a weekly racquetball game after work a few months back. After one of our first games, he invited me to join him for dinner at Oishii Bento, a Korean restaurant on campus which I’d never been to before. At his recommendation, I got the Galbi Bento (beef short ribs). While they were quite good, at $13 with tax I wasn’t thrilled with the value of the relatively small portion.

Still, I’ve been looking forward to the debut of their sister restaurant, a Korean fried chicken joint called Chick’n Bubbly, which just opened right next door. When I heard they were rolling out a soft opening, I suggested to Katz that we go there for dinner after our game this week. We ended up not playing (Pitt is really, really bad about advertising when the gyms are closed) but we stuck to the plan anyway.

chickn-bubbly-oakland-pittsburgh

During the soft opening – the grand opening won’t happen until the first day of fall semester, which is a smart move on their part – they’re only serving wings and bubble tea. The drumsticks, sides, and other drinks on the full menu aren’t yet available. That was fine with us, since we planned to split a medium (20 piece) order of wings. At around $20 with tax, it’s not the best value, but it’s not bad. The two sauce options offered, soy garlic and sweet and spicy, both sounded good to us, and we ultimately opted for the former.

The space is a converted nail salon, so there’s not much room for seating – only a couple of small tables. The digital menu boards are bright, colorful, and easy to read, and it’s an open kitchen, which is always nice to see. Fortunately, there wasn’t a crowd. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to quick service, as we had about a 15 minute wait. Not being in any particular hurry, this didn’t bother me too much, and in the second week of a soft opening, I don’t hold it against them. It’s something they’ll need to improve upon before the full opening, of course, but that’s ostensibly what this trial run is for.

When the food did arrive, Katz and I eagerly dug in. The wings themselves were quality – large, meaty, and moist – and the tempura batter was quite pleasant. The sauce, however, needed some work. While the menu does say that you can request added heat, we both expected the sauce to have more of a kick than it did. There were hints of garlic, but the flavor profile was overwhelmingly sweet. Ultimately, I took some of my wings home and added sriracha to them, which definitely balanced things out and made the wings tastier. I would suggest that bottles of sriracha be made available so that guests can adjust the sauces to their desired level of spice. One other minor gripe – during the bus ride home, the bottom of my box sprung a relatively large leak. The boxes themselves are attractive, but structural integrity may be an issue. I should probably have asked for a bag.

On the whole, while there are some kinks to be worked out, the experience was a positive one, and seeing as how I’ll be getting dinner on campus before my two night classes every week, I definitely plan to return in the near future to try the other sauce. I’ll make sure to ask them to kick it up a notch, just to be safe.

Rating: 7/10

Oh, hey there!

Did you miss us?

20140715-142945-52185444.jpg

We haven’t posted in quite a while, I know. It wasn’t a planned break, but obviously a needed one.

There’s been a lot of hooping. And this new thing called fire poi.

20140715-143154-52314120.jpg

Animal cuddles. Balanced out with gum eating incidents and litter box fiascos (hello being a grown up!).

20140715-143506-52506001.jpg

20140715-143505-52505651.jpg

Much time has been spent on the porch. Outside of our house >>> inside of our house

20140715-143915-52755275.jpg

Cooking cooking cooking. I am overwhelmed by produce and I’m adoring it.

20140715-144028-52828371.jpg

And adventuring of course:

20140715-144059-52859563.jpg

20140715-144058-52858316.jpg

All this being said, time and motivation to blog has been scarce. We’ll continue to pop in when we can, but for now we are soaking up every second of summer. And we hope you are too.

20140715-144220-52940868.jpg

20140715-144222-52942180.jpg

Gratitude

It’s downright dreary in the ‘burgh today. The project I’m doing at work is driving me a bit bonkers. Honesty I’ve been in a bit of a funk this week. It happens. My back aches and I’m real sick of my leg warning me every time we’re gonna get a storm.

20140625-140431-50671809.jpg

Happy Things:

Birthday Scheming I’ve been going back and forth about what to do this year for a while. I think I have finally settled on taking a hoop workshop the day before, taking the day off from work, and getting a massage. I’m going to be so blessed out.

Running Water If we’re friends on Facebook you know a water main on our street broke yesterday. All of a sudden I realized how much having running water rocks!

The Graceling Series This was the most recent YA series to totally suck me in. These books really had the effect of making me feel like I knew the characters personally.

Kyle For many reasons, but most recently for getting me razors at 10pm because I forgot and it’s been too hot for pants/ I refuse to wear them in the summer.

The Unity of the Hula Hoopers fb Group Eva introduced me to this group and I cannot thank her enough. So much hoop inspiration.

20140625-141134-51094327.jpg

CSA veggies I really can’t even describe the difference in taste. And I’m not convinced I’m paying much more. I didn’t think it was possible to consume so many veggies and I love it.

Chocolate I mean, I am a self identified chocoholic, but lately it’s been making everything better. From crappy moods to my morning oatmeal.

Having a CD player again (albeit in my car) If I’m listening to music, it’s mostly likely Pandora or WYEP. Which are both awesome! But there’s something about listening to a cd start to finish. I may need to buy an old boom box.

My goofy, sassy, crazy cat She’s been really into laying in the middle of the floor (or in rascal’s crate) on her back lately. Also this morning she knocked Chili over with her paw and I giggled so hard.

20140625-142248-51768586.jpg

What are you grateful for?

Picture it: let’s catch up, shall we?

The whirlwind that is our lives right now never seems to slow down! But I am not complaining. Let’s play catch up!

Life lesson: no matter how busy you think you are, never stop pausing to appreciate the sky.

20140620-080019-28819193.jpg

Finally got on that garden thing this month! I’m so proud of me. My basil is wilting but I haven’t killed anything yet.

20140620-080236-28956172.jpg

And I managed to grow a few things from seed! The sage and thyme are thriving.

20140620-080526-29126449.jpg

Chili was giving me moral support.

20140620-080604-29164027.jpg

I got my hairs cut. And officially haven’t shampooed my hair in 3 months. Post on that someday…

20140620-081355-29635400.jpg

We made hoops! I managed to not epoxy myself in the process which was a major victory. Also, Kyle is finally getting into poi! Kinda.

20140620-080908-29348747.jpg

20140620-081034-29434631.jpg

My farmshare started two weeks ago! I’m trying to document that for fun. I am absolutely loving it so far (even if I’m a little overwhelmed by how many greens are in my fridge right now).

20140620-081222-29542200.jpg

Pickled watermelon radishes = major win.

20140620-081336-29616738.jpg

I challenged myself to hoop everyday this month for 30+ minutes. So far it’s going beautifully. It’s probably contributing to the lack of content on the blog, but I can’t seem to stop 🙂

20140620-081849-29929662.jpg

And last but not least. Still walking like a crazy person. I found lots of fun graffiti in an ally in the strip yesterday.

20140620-082514-30314064.jpg

20140620-082513-30313178.jpg

20140620-082512-30312339.jpg

20140620-082511-30311415.jpg

Have a wonderful weekend!

And don’t forget to look up!

20140620-082904-30544131.jpg