a few photos of . . . leko waiting patiently for us on the end of the bed, starbucks' molten chocolate frappuccino for valentine's day, free rita's on the first day of spring, the crazy types of things ryan finds in hardware stores, leko keeping ryan's lap warm, and pizza in a cast-iron skillet.
after being cooped up inside all winter, it was so very nice to get outdoors this weekend and enjoy the slightly warmer spring weather. the sun was shining on saturday, so we took advantage of the nice weather and met up with my parents for some exercise. we went walking on two different trails. first we walked around an old golf course which is now a public park, and afterwards we walked along a river trail which we had not been to before. even though it was a bit cool, it was lovely in the sun. it felt good to stretch our legs and to breathe some fresh air!
^there was an eagle nest in that tree and one of our friends had seen the eagle recently, so we were excited to look for the eagle. unfortunately, the eagle was not ready to make an appearance while we where there.^
we had a lovely time celebrating easter with our families yesterday. we started the day with our traditional easter brunch in the morning at my parents' house followed by our annual easter scavenger hunt. then in the afternoon, we headed down to ryan's parents' house for easter dinner. it was so nice to have our families gathered together to celebrate easter.
over the years, my family sure has taken a lot of photos. out of the thousands of photos we have to document our memories, a few stick out as all-time favorites. this is one of them for sure. in the spirit of easter this week, i present to you a picture that my mom took of my dad holding me dressed in a pink bunny costume. classic.
last night we sat down to watch the season premier of dancing with the stars. it's one of our favorite shows, and leko really loves it too. whenever we tell him that it is on, he starts "dancing" in place. we think he has what it takes to win the mirror ball trophy for sure! (one of these days i will have to try to capture his dancing on video.) all of that dancing must have worn him out because he passed out for a good majority of the two hour show. the crazy positions he gets in when he sleeps always make us laugh. i couldn't help but grab my phone for a picture.
saturday was ryan's mom's birthday! to celebrate, our families went out to dinner and then came back to ryan's parents' house for cake and presents. ryan and i made a chocolate cake with peppermint frosting, which is one of our favorite combinations.
it was so nice to be able to spend some quality time with our families. ryan's parents' kitties sure were happy to see everyone too. they were in the middle of everything all day and were definitely loving all of the extra attention!
^pepper sure loved ryan's lap! she spend a lot of time curled up taking a cat nap on ryan.^
spring is almost here. the first offical day of spring is sunday and we are excited to have "winter" behind us. we are also looking forward to getting together with our families this weekend to celebrate ryan's mom's birthday on saturday!
here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently . . .
since it's st. patty's day, we're dressed in green and we each had a slice of irish soda bread with breakfast this morning. we're not irish, but i think ryan has the "luck of the irish" in him because he has such a knack for finding four-leaf clovers. he has found several over the years, and i have kept most of the ones that he found (by pressing them between two pieces of wax paper and letting them dry out.)
i love this picture because ryan found this particular four-leaf clover last summer and i have it hanging on our refrigerator. every time it catches my eye as i walk through the kitchen, i am reminded how lucky we are, and how lucky i am to have ryan as my "lucky charm."
somehow we're halfway through the month of march already and st. patrick's day is tomorrow. i've mentioned before that i'm not irish, so i tend not to celebrate st. patty's day at all. however, last year i got a little bit festive and made irish soda bread scones. we enjoyed them so much that i thought i would make a loaf of irish soda bread this year.
since i'm not irish i don't have an irish grandmother, but if i did this is the type of irish soda bread i imagine she would have made "back in the day." this is classic irish soda bread at its finest made in a cast-iron skillet which gives it a very crusty outside and a tender inside. it's filled with raisins and it's not sweet at all. it's just right.
the best part about this recipe is that it is such a quick and easy bread recipe. there's no yeast, just baking soda (hence the name soda bread) so you don't have to wait around for dough to rise!
rustic cast-iron skillet irish soda bread
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 45-55 minutes
yields: one 10-inch round loaf of bread
adapted from sally's baking addiction
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons cold salted butter, divided
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup raisins
preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. in a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. cut 4 tablespoons of the cold butter into small cubes and work the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter (or a fork) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. fold in the raisins. in a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold with a wooden spoon or spatula until all ingredients are incorporated. turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently kneed for a few moments to make sure all of the flour is incorporated and the dough is not too sticky.
place the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet and place the skillet in the oven. let the butter melt for a few minutes then remove the skillet from the oven and evenly spread the melted butter around the bottom and the sides of the skillet. place the dough in the prepared skillet. use a serrated knife to score an x shape in the top of the dough. bake for 45-55 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the bread is cooked throughout. (if the top starts to brown too much, cover with aluminum foil partway though to avoid getting too dark.) once baked, remove from the oven and allow the bread to set in the skillet for 10 minutes before removing it from the skillet and transferring it to a wire cooling rack. serve warm with butter and/or jam.
we were super productive this past weekend and we got a lot done on our to-do list. being so productive called for a reward. on sunday night we had a little impromptu taco night party with my parents. we got together for dinner and enjoyed chips and salsa, refried beans, fish and beef tacos with all of the fixings, and mango/pineapple/orange/cranberry smoothies. (my camera battery was dead, but i did snap a few pictures on my phone.) after we ate, we all curled up on the couch and watched a movie. it was a great way to end the weekend!