Limes Are Better Than Lemons

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Camelback Mountain Photos, Part II. Pic #5 is of the PHX Fire Dept practicing rappelling.

Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, AZ. Gorgeous place to hike and photograph.

Malta Marshmallows

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Yesterday I posted photos of the beverage malta and how I like to serve it. It’s got this taste that’s kinda like a sweet stout beer with molasses notes. It’s probably an acquired taste, but once you add evaporated or sweetened condensed milk or ice cream, it’s a thing of beauty that just about everyone can enjoy (see yesterday’s pics). The other fun thing about malta is that it’s excellent to cook with.

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I made marshmallows with it. They’re like vanilla marshmallows, but with a hint of molasses and a hint of something you can’t put your finger on but want more of.

I love making marshmallows. For one, homemade marshmallows taste exceedingly superior to store bought ones. For two, as long as you have a candy thermometer and a stand mixer, it’s not that hard. For three, cleanup is fun. You’re going to get sticky marshmallow on your hands. You’re going to have to lick it off. Such is life.

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My New Favorite Drink - A Photo Essay

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Two ingredients: Malta and sweetened condensed milk. Malta is a drink made with similar ingredients as beer—barley, malt syrup, hops—but it’s non-alcoholic and tastes more like a soda than beer. Especially with all the sugar. And you can add even more sugar with sweetened condensed milk! It’s a million and three calories, but oh so worth it.

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First you pour Malta into a glass. Fun fact: Malta is also known as Kinderbier (children’s beer) in Germany. I like the idea that Germans know that a brew of barley and hops is an acquired taste, so they’re letting their kids start acquiring it already.

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Then you take a nice big spoonful (about 1 tablespoon) of sweetened condensed milk.

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Stir it in.

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This is also known as a Malta Shake or Malta Punch.

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Top off with lots of ice.

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*ahhhhh*

It’s like Whole Foods tapped into my subconscious and found the folder marked “Guilty Pleasures—Food” because their “Burger of the Month” is exactly that. It’s a glorious, well-seasoned, nicely cooked cheeseburger. And a mac and cheese patty to go with it, fried of course. And then ranch dressing, the condiment I most want to fill a swimming pool with. Also sun-dried tomatoes for those salty-sweet chewy bits that I feel are under-appreciated just because it’s not possible to over-appreciate them. And then bacon, because bacon. Obviously. And arugula, not because I think about arugula during REM sleep. But because even in my deepest food fantasies, I would need to put something green and healthy on all that to pretend it’s not the worst thing ever for me.

IT. WAS. AWESOME. I could live in that burger. Sigh. I know I have an obsessive personality. But why can’t I be half as obsessed with jogging as I am with cheeseburgers?

My Favorite Sourdough Bread Recipe

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Good news everyone! I named my sourdough starter! Husband and I were talking about how a sourdough starter is like a pet, because it’s a (buncha) living organism(s) you have to feed, so I said, “What’s a good name for some innocuous, hive-minded creature that grows in your fridge?” And he said “Clyde.” And I said, “Perfect.” So without further ado, meet Clyde!

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The bubbles means that it’s working.

But in “good news everyone” that pertains to you, I found a sourdough bread recipe that I absolutely love and want to share with you.

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Also, shout out to my sis for buying me this mug with an infuser so I can make gunpowder tea and then strain out the tea leaves. It rocks.

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No-Bake Speculoos Cheesecake with Chocolate Hazelnut Glaze

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This cheesecake includes two things that are oh-so-right in the food world right now. Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, (i.e. Nutella, but personally I prefer the Jif Mocha Cappuccino one) and Speculoos Cookie Butter. Can you believe they sell us those magical jars full of deliciousness that you can eat with a spoon? How lucky are we? Super lucky sheep, that’s us.

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If you haven’t had Speculoos before, do it! Do it now! Right now! Are all of you buying it now? Good. We can proceed. It’s ground up cookies so that they’re nice and spreadable like peanut butter. It’s perhaps the single greatest and worst for me item in my pantry. I regret nothing. It’s mostly smooth and creamy, but there’s little crunchy cookie bits that explode in your mouth as you bite down on them. The cookie butter tastes of vanilla, nutmeg, brown sugar, and it’s mildly toasty.

Trader Joe’s makes a version, if you’re wondering where to find it. So naturally I had to add Speculoos Cookie Butter to a cheesecake. Because cheesecake.

Did you know you can make your own graham crackers? Why am I just now finding out about this? I thought crackers were some special, hard to bake item that was just best to buy it at the store. Crackers are actually easier to make than cookies! So I made these chocolate graham crackers for the cheesecake, and as a bonus I have extra for snacking. They’re so good. So good.

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If you’re not up to making your own graham crackers this time around, you can use any kind of graham crackers you wish for the crust, or other cookies, like biscoff. It’s supposed to be an easy no-bake recipe, so I won’t fault you for buying your grahams. That would be foolish and insensitive of me, and have you ever known me to be foolish and insensitive, Jim?

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This is my favorite time of year. All the signs of new life and yet the spring allergies haven’t kicked in yet. Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah.

We started gardening this week. Planted some tomatoes indoors in a mini-muffin pan. They’re doing well. Also we’re trying to get a few vegetable plants started a couple weeks early because they’re “under glass”. Literally. Just under one old window pane, propped up by the sides of a cardboard box. A make-shift miniature greenhouse. I hope it works.

But the most exciting thing was finding a nest of baby bunnies when I went to plant the basil. They are so completely precious! They made these little squeaky grunts after I removed some bramble, revealing their closed-eye fuzzy faces. So covered the nest back up (after taking a couple pictures, of course) and made plans to plant the basil somewhere else. Baby bunnies in the backyard! I’m so thrilled to think I might see them grow up.

Chickens in the snow. I know I said I was over the cold weather, but it’s lightly snowing and it’s gorgeous and it’s making me as giddy as a schoolgirl forming a run-on sentence. View high resolution

Chickens in the snow. I know I said I was over the cold weather, but it’s lightly snowing and it’s gorgeous and it’s making me as giddy as a schoolgirl forming a run-on sentence.

Photos from a single day in Arizona in February:

1. Macro of a prickly pear

2. Prickly pear

3. Cholla cactus macro

4. Golden swaying branches

5. Dandelion picking

6. A new cute friend

7. Rural walk

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