Blueberry-Lemon Drop Biscuits

Though the first day of autumn falls on Tuesday of next week, here in Texas the air is still warm and wet. I see pictures from friends scattered around the country, sipping warm beverages and baking pumpkin treats. My friends in Boston are pulling out their sweaters, while I am here in Austin wearing shorts and a tank.

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Early last week the temps reached 100, but to my great surprise, Saturday was a chilly, 66 degrees. Imagine the joy for this girl who loves fall, as I got to wear pants AND long sleeves, and snuggle on the couch with open windows, and a cool, crisp breeze. I baked pumpkin-pecan muffins and simmered a pot of French onion soup, and though it was grey and dreary outdoors, I declared the weather to be perfect, a tease of fall and a break from the heat. Though Sunday wasn’t as cool, it only reached a humid 78. It wasn’t perfect, but still a welcome change from the high temps we had experienced all week.

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While I am longing for the weather to consistently be a little more reminiscent of fall, I am accepting it for what it is and learning to make due. Instead of baking with squashes and spices and whipping up hearty comfort foods, I am celebrating a few more weeks of summer with berries, and citrus and light, refreshing bites.

These biscuits were the perfect treat earlier this week, when I longed to bake, but needed something light to eat. Though I was craving roasted squash and a creamy hot chocolate, it was 87 degrees outside, and slightly warm in our apartment. The cold flour and butter smashed between my fingertips was soothing and therapeutic. The sweet smell of lemon lingered in the air refreshing my senses, while the butter in the oven sizzled, oozing from the biscuits.

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This recipe is very similar to that of a scone, just minus the egg and a little less butter. While I love a good scone, sometimes it’s hard to get them just right. If the shape isn’t funky, the texture is all off. I like my scones to be crumbly, but some recipes make them way too dry, and then there are those recipes where you wonder if you accidentally made muffins, as your final product is much too moist. Biscuits, in my opinion, are usually much easier, and while I love a good flaky, perfectly rounded, buttery disc of dough, drop biscuits are a cinch and take very little work. They are incredibly versatile and are great both savory and sweet. I make buttered biscuits for dinner often, but sometimes like to add fruit and enjoy them as a breakfast treat. The hubs enjoys them with coffee, I like them with tea. Either way, eat them warm out of the oven, for breakfast, or in my case, as a tasty afternoon snack.

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Blueberry-Lemon Drop Biscuits 

yields 8 biscuits 

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cold butter

3/4 – 1 cup milk

1 cup blueberries

zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I like to use my fingers so that I can make sure the butter is well blended. If your butter isn’t blended well, the consistency of the biscuits will fall flat.

Mix in your lemon zest before slowly mixing in your milk. Use only 3/4 a cup for a dryer biscuit, or a full cup if you prefer a slightly moister biscuit. Gently fold in your blueberries.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons into 8 mounds on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until set and lightly brown. Sprinkle each mound with a pinch of sugar (preferably coarse or raw), and cool on a wire rack.

A Taco Recipe + A Fun Announcement

A little more than a year ago a dear friend of mine told me about a blog that she thought I might like. Always eager for new blogs to read, I clicked the link and starting navigating through the site. I read a few posts and clicked around through the archives–post after post, it was like they were all written for me. By the time I was done, I had happily clicked “follow.” I was delighted to have found a new blog to love, and grateful for the find. 

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The Graduate Wife is the name of that blog, and it is a wonderful resource for women (and sometimes men!) like myself who are supporting a husband or significant other during their academic career.  It’s full of great stories, recipes, and tips to help women through the journey. It has provided me with encouragement on some of my hardest days, and with joy on the happier ones. 

If you haven’t guessed my announcement just yet, here it is: I’ll be making an appearance on this wonderful site from time to time, offering a bit of advice that I have picked up along the way, and sharing stories from my journey thus far.  

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If you are a graduate wife, I encourage you to follow the blog, and even if you’re not, I suggest following it anyway, because really, who doesn’t love a good story? 

For the recipe and to learn more about the blog, please visit http://www.thegraduatewife.com

Hello From Texas

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It has been a busy and eventful summer and I have much to report, but for now, I wanted to drop a quick line from my new home state of Texas!

It has been six days since we rolled into Austin, but we’ve yet to explore much of this great city besides taking multiple trips to IKEA and Target. We’ve spent days rummaging through boxes, building furniture, and trying to add some flare to our cute new home. We are 70% there I would say, but it still feels like we have weeks of work to go.

Our apartment complex sits right on the Colorado River, or Ladybird Lake as it’s called around here, staring straight at the downtown skyline and offering us a river view that can’t be beat.  We are walking distance to some great restaurants and bars, and are just a short car or bike ride away from the city’s best parks and grocery stores. There are a couple of great food trucks parked right next door, one that even sells kale chips and local kombucha. I am grateful for the find as our pantry is pretty desolate and I am always in search for a good snack…

The hubs heads to campus today to nail down school logisitcs before classes start later this month. He’s excited and ready, though I know he is enjoying a few weeks off before his program begins.  Meanwhile, I’m decorating, writing, and actively looking for work. I’m browsing the web and flipping through photos in search for the perfect pictures and artwork to hang on our walls, and reading up on Texas crops learning the dos and don’ts of planting in this incredibly hot state.

We are eager to get out and explore, but I am proud with the amount of work we’ve accomplished thus far. It’s hot here, like 107 degrees at 7:00 at night hot, so I currently don’t have a lot of motivation to head outside. For now, I am enjoying the sunshine through our windows, staying cool with the breeze of a fan, decorating our new space, and making #101 feel more like home.

Until next time!

A Weekend in Naples, Florida

As we count down the days until we move to Austin, every moment spent with family is especially important. Summer is flying by and before we know it, the air will turn crisp and the leaves will start to fall. The hubs will start his Ph.D, and our next chapter of life will begin.

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We moved out of #408 two weeks ago and settled back into the little nook that we first called home. Like this time last year, we are back to living out of backpacks and embracing a nomadic lifestyle. After just few short days of moving out of our humble abode, we packed our bags and boarded a plane for Florida, where we met 90% of the Terminella clan for a few days of R&R.  

We arrived in Naples late last Saturday afternoon, happily greeted by my parents, and eager for a beverage that was frosty and tropical. After checking into our sweet little cottage, we set out to explore the property grounds, mango infusion in hand. We enjoyed dinner overlooking the harbor and chit chat with my sun kissed cousins. We were glad to be on vacation, and even happier to be there with the ones that we love.

Sunday greeted us with a boat ride and breakfast on a private island, a morning that was easily the highlight of our trip. We weaved through the streams carved into the tropical forest, and awed over the structure of the tangled trees and shrubs of the lush mangroves. We sipped our mimosas and watched dolphins swim by as we breathed in the salty sea air and journeyed to our final destination.

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The hubs and I were thrilled to be alone on an island, eager to get lost and nap in a hammock under the sun. Developed and equipped to host large parties, I don’t think we could have gotten lost even if we tried, but nonetheless, it was gorgeous and quiet and the perfect place for our vacation to begin.

We ate sea salt bagels and just picked pineapple and mangos. They tasted like candy and were out of this world. I kicked fallen coconuts that sat by my feet, and dipped my toes in the calm warm waters as they gently rolled onto the shore.

The rest of the day was spent at the pool with my two favorite little boys in the whole entire world. My nephew Ethan is like a little firecracker, with his huge personality and his nonstop energy. Luca, the newest member of the Terminella family, is cuddly and sweet and a little bundle of love. This auntie’s heart was happy as she played with her boys, glad for the moments that I soon won’t easily have.

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Our second full day was nearly as exciting as the first as I headed out to sea to wet and hook and line. The hubs, pops, brother and I enjoyed a rainy morning on the ocean, casting a line and reeling in fish. The sea was rough and the conditions weren’t ideal, but we reeled in a few winners as well as a small shark. Though a tad bit sea sick, I enjoyed those moments on the ocean, surrounded by the men that I love the most.

On our third and last full day there, we said goodbye to some of our family, and enjoyed the rest of the day just husband and wife. We read for hours by the pool and even took a trip to the spa. We ate oysters and crabs for dinner and watched the sunset from the pier. We sipped some bubbly before we went to bed, grateful for the one on one time that lately we’ve seemed not to have.

The last day of our trip came far too fast, but we enjoyed every hour that we had before we boarded our plane. We rested on the beach with dear family members, sipping pina coladas and playing in the ocean with my aunts and cousins. We headed to the airport late that afternoon, sad to leave, but happy to have had a few days away.

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We headed back to work early the next day, eager to complete projects and tie up loose ends before we leave. On Wednesday, we will depart for Wyoming to enjoy a week in the Rockies, exploring the magic of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. We will return at the end of the month, just a few days before leaving for Austin, happy and sad, and likely somewhere in between. Though we are not eager to say goodbye, we are anxious and excited for what’s next to come.

Until next time!

It was nearly four years ago that my mister asked me to become a misses, and just over three when I finally said I do. While most days feel like our wedding could have been just last weekend, reality tells us something different and the calendar shows us three years.

We celebrated our third wedding anniversary on May 26th, memorial day weekend. The perfect weekend for a wedding anniversary,  but also not so much. It’s great having your anniversary fall on a long weekend, but traveling  around a holiday can sometimes be nuts. I think that the pros certainly outweigh the cons though, especially if it means getting away for a few days with the one that you love the most.

To celebrate our special occasion, we unplugged from our busy schedules  and headed south for a weekend of us. We spent day one of our trip in the middle of nowhere Arkansas, trying our luck digging for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.  Murfreesboro is an eclectic little town, and there’s really not much there to do,  besides digging in the dirt for diamonds, of course.

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digging

While digging in the dirt might not sound like much fun, the history of the park is actually pretty interesting.  For many years, Arkansas was the only place where diamonds had naturally been discovered in the United States. After two sizable stones were found on the now park grounds in 1906, Murfreesboro quickly became the home of America’s first diamond rush.

While Arkansas is no longer the only state where diamonds have been discovered, it is still the only state that allows visitors to search for a diamond of their own. We didn’t leave with a diamond that day, but we did walk away with a few other fun looking stones. I was so hopeful as a park worker studied our loot. I crossed my fingers tight hoping that maybe we had found ourselves a fancy little anniversary gift, or maybe another trip to Europe. Supposedly, it’s almost daily that someone takes a diamond home, and occasionally, there are those lucky few who find something really worth writing home about. There was a 40.23 carat diamond found there once, a just a few weeks ago, a local found himself a 6.19 carat gem worth keeping. If only we could have been that lucky…

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camp

We found ourselves bored after just one hour (some diamond hunters we are, huh?), and headed back to our quirky little camp sight. As everything within an hour’s drive was already full, we settled in at a strange little place, spending our night hanging out with geese and peacocks, sleeping inside of a giant, air conditioned teepee. While the peacock roosting next to our teepee seriously creeped me out, our night was comfortable, and there wasn’t much to complain about. We were right on a river and were able to fish, and enjoyed the peace and quiet that camping tends to bring.

As the second day of our trip rolled around, we checked out of our teepee and headed up north.We spent our Memorial Day wandering around Hot Springs, enjoying the beautiful Garvan Gardens, and the quirky downtown. We relaxed at our lovely bed and breakfast, sipping on wine and munching on cheese, and enjoyed a late dinner on the patio, celebrating three awesome years of marriage.

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downtown

Our trip was simple and quick, but it was just what we needed. Our days before and after were busy, and we really needed that time alone. Anniversaries don’t have to be extravagant affairs, but I do think it’s important to stop and recognize what accomplishments that they are. I look forward to what our fourth year of marriage will bring, and to the memories we will add to this great chapter of life.

 

 

Cider is one of those things that I can drink during any time of the year. I love it on a brisk, autumn day when the sun is shining but the air is cold. Some of my sweetest memories  drinking cider take place bundled around a campfire surrounded by those that I love. Jacob and I tried many local ciders during our time in Boston as we traveled and explored the quaint and picturesque New England countryside. We tried dry ones, sweet ones, and ones somewhere in between. We tried making our own once with a gallon of juice that we picked up at Whole Foods, and while it tasted more like champagne than cider, it was equally as delicious and perfect on those cold Boston nights.

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While drinking cider during the fall might just be my favorite, I really can’t complain about a cold and tart brew in the middle of a warm summer. I like them dry, and not overly sweet, just the right blend to cool me down on a hot summer day.

Several weeks ago when the farmer’s market had just opened for the season, I found hundreds of pounds of beautiful local apples- all marked down to half price. They weren’t really good for eating, but were begging to be used in some way or another. I thought about buying some for pies or some other form of dessert, or maybe to make batches of juice or applesauce. I purchased 25, 25 pounds that is, and awkwardly made my way home. With a large bundle of lemongrass crammed in purse, and 25 pounds of apples filling my market bag, my half mile walk home was much more difficult than my leisurely walk there.

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The hubs came home from fishing and could only laugh at my haul. “What will you do with all of those apples?,” he asked, “Maybe I will make some cider,” I replied. One week later on a cold and dreary Sunday afternoon, we juiced every one of those suckers and threw them in a jug with some yeast. On went the plug and there went our cider, hidden away in a cupboard, alone to do its magic.

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Though we should have bottled over a week ago, it wasn’t until this week that we finally had the chance. Though flat and warm, we tasted our blend, and were pleasantly surprised by the results. Sour and sharp, just the way I like my summer ciders to taste. It’ll only improve with carbonation, and served up cold can only help its case. Now we sit, for two more weeks, waiting for a second taste.

About the time our cider finishes brewing, it’ll be time for us to start packing our bags. We have just over one month left in our sweet little home, and maybe only two left in this great little town. We will head to Austin in a few weeks to search for jobs and a new building to call home. I’m constantly surprised how quickly this journery has been. It feels just like last month that I was talking about visits to the market and the concoctions I was coming up with back then.There are still boxes in our apartment that have yet to be unpacked, but I can’t complain about that now as that’s one last thing to worry about when it’s time for our move. While our days have been incredibly busy, we are taking the time to enjoy the things in Arkansas that we both love to do. Fishing, canoeing, hiking and rock climbing; cookouts, camping, and in just two more weeks…cider with friends.

 

 

Heading West to Texas

You can live in a place forever and never fully appreciate its beauty. Even when we lived in Boston, coming home for  visits to Arkansas never felt like much. It was the same place that I knew as a child, as a college student, and as a young adult. It was nostalgic, yes, but never really an exciting place to be. Now that our time in Arkansas is quickly coming to an end, I find myself taking the time to notice how sweet of a place that my hometown actually is. It’s funky and creative, and sometimes just flat out weird. The surrounding area is beautiful, and one of my favorite places to be. It’s a fun little state, and I am a little sad that it’ll soon no longer be my home.

I woke up Saturday morning excited for a sunny Spring day. I sipped my smoothie on the back porch and took some time to flip through a couple of magazines. I organized my grocery list and figured out what errands had to be taken care of that day. I slowly got ready and ventured out of the house, ready to walk the three quaint blocks to the downtown square for the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. On my way out the door I received a text from the hubs, letting me know about a dog parade taking place just a short stroll away. I altered my route and took a walk down Dickson, watching dogs parade by, and browsing the eclectic booths that lined the street. It slipped my mind that it was the weekend of Spring Fest, a funky little festival that has been taking place in my hometown since before I was even born.

Once the folk band stopped playing and I grew tired of watching interesting people walk by, I  made my way up the road and over to the to the downtown square. I took one lap around, just like I always do, scoping out what each vendor had to offer, comparing prices along the way. I  picked up a watermelon-lemon popsicle from the man who sells them off of the back of his bike before making my way home.  I walked home slowly, taking in the beautiful scene around me. The trees are in full bloom here, and new flowers make an appearance every day. First the daffodils, then the tulips. Now there are radiant irises popping up everywhere. Spring is my favorite, and Spring in Northwest Arkansas is a fabulous thing to see.

While we prepare our hearts and minds for Austin, I find myself nostalgic and thankful for the last days that we will call Arkansas home. It’ll always be our home, of course, but soon a new adventure will begin. Before we know it, it’ll be time to pack up our fun little apartment and  head out West. We are excited for Austin, and look forward to the memories that we will create there. Moving to Boston was scary as we had never before lived so far away, but what a beautiful adventure that turned out to be. I’ll miss the quaintness of New England, and the Southern charm of Arkansas, but am excited to experience the sights and flavors of the Southwest. I look forward to creating adventures in Texas and blogging about it along the way!

For now, we’ve still got two months left of Arkansas exploring to do! Until next time!