Food & Cooking

I’m still here! And mango beer!

Everyone, I’m alive and well, despite the huge break on Little Snail. After Chad’s cousin visited, we got super busy with work, I had a fun trip to Kansai, and then from last week, Chad’s brother has been visiting! Hopefully you’ve been able to see a few pictures from the last month on my instagram! I apologize for my lack of updates here, and hope to fill you in on some of the adventures we’ve been having soon (in between the ones to come!).

Today Chad and his brother went to a hot spring area a ways away, so I’ve been having a bit of a girl’s day to myself. I ran, painted my toesies, went shopping in Harajuku, ate a crepe, wore hot pink lip stick, watched a romantic comedy… oh! And made a new video for Epicurean Baristas! You can watch it here, and then click on past videos, too!

I hope you enjoyed watching me try the mango beer flavoring, and that you didn’t get too bored by my rambling. But. I’ve been alone all day guys. With nobody to talk to. And omg I’mgoingcrazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, more to come soon–promise!
Lots of love!
xx Caitlyn

Autumn Bucket List · Party

Oktoberfest Party

Over the weekend we had an Oktoberfest Party at our house, and it was full of amazing food, good beer, and lots of laughter. It was a smaller sized party, but I loved how relaxed it was. We were even able to hang out outside by a fire in our new fire pit!

IMG_1267IMG_1264As always, I had a lot of fun decorating for the party. I bought the glass jars above from the dollar store, filled them with raffia, and then used glue dots to attach the ribbon and bottle caps. Then, I used the completed jars for utensils.

IMG_1269For good measure, I also tied a ribbon around my mums. Amanda came through with a few pretty pumpkins and some gold beads to add some charm, too.

IMG_1274The most memorable part of the evening was the food. Let me tell you, I could. not. stop. eating. Above you can see some homemade bread, a veggie platter, and a German Stir Fry that my coworker Jake made.

IMG_1270Next up: yummy guacamole made by Chad’s mom, potato salad made by the lovely Ariel, some chex mix, sour kraut and other condiments, and the best brats I have ever had in my life.

IMG_1273I couldn’t get enough of this Oktoberfest Stew Amanda made either!

IMG_1266For dessert I made these fun Beer Mug Pretzels (I’ll have a brief and simple tutorial on how to make them soon!).

IMG_20141011_203453_169Chad’s mom also made this yummy Black Forest Cake for dessert. (I almost forgot to take a picture, and by the time I remembered I may or may not have had a couple of beers, so I apologize for the poor photo.)

IMG_20141011_204555_682Michael was a classic photo bomber.

IMG_20141011_204538_920Amanda was good at it too… πŸ˜‰

IMG_20141011_204402_579IMG_20141011_202600_493Jake, Amanda and I toward the end of the party

I had a lot of fun preparing for and attending our Oktoberfest Party. I found out that the following day (Sunday, October 12th) was actually the anniversary of the very first ever Oktoberfest. We had great timing!

xx Caitlyn

Projects

Easy Bottle Cap Craft

Hi everyone! We’ve been saving up bottle caps for a DIY my brother and Ariel want to work on together, and having so many saved up has led me to having bottle caps on the brain! It was only a matter of time before I stumbled upon this neat little frame at the craft store and an idea came to fruition.IMG_20140720_200426_223I started my project by laying out bottle caps in my frame to make a picture that I liked. I also decided at this time that I was not going to feel guilty about stealing from the bottle cap stash that was meant for other things. After all, I did contribute to a lot of the drinking that provided the caps. (…Right?)IMG_20140720_201504_660I decided to use bottle caps from my favorite beer, Ranger IPA from New Belgium Brewing Co., to make a heart in the middle of the frame. I surrounded the heart with black caps, but still thought the heart needed a boost. It was at this point my camera crapped out on me, but I ended up lightly tracing the bottle cap-heart before removing all the bottle caps. Then I stained the wood and filled in my traced heart with red paint. Once everything was dry, I modge podged the bottle caps onto the frame. IMG_20140721_104300_269

And voila! That was it. I put an extra layer of caps on the heart to fill it in and make it stand out a bit more, and used an orange cap from a different New Belgium beer as the cap in the center. I think I might do a few things differently with future bottle cap designs, but overall, I was happy with this easy little DIY. What would you like to try making with bottle caps?

xx Caitlyn

Around Town · Food & Cooking · Seen/Heard/Tried · Summer Bucket List

Our Anniversary Weekend <3

Yesterday night marked the end of a relaxing, love-filled three and a half-day weekend spent celebrating our sixth anniversary. We had so much fun lounging, going for a 4-mile run to Grand Haven’s beautiful beach, enjoying our niece Lydia’s fifth birthday party, and even crossing some things off my summer bucket list!

On Friday, we started the weekend by driving to Battle Creek and going to Binder Park Zoo. It was a nice, sunny day, so the ride was really enjoyable.IMG_0781 IMG_0782I really appreciated how much space the animals had at Binder Park. For the most part, none of the exhibits really surprised me (perhaps because we saw a lot of the animals abroad, sometimes even in the wild), but I was still really impressed with the giraffes. I got to touch one for the first time, and it just blew my mind how big it was. I also really liked all of the peacocks roaming around (though I failed to get a pretty picture!).

IMG_0785This llama was actually kind of terrifying. You can’t see it in this picture, but it had really huge bottom teeth and could swing its head around at an alarming speed. I suppose I do that sometimes at the prospect of chocolate or good beer, but that’s beside the point.

IMG_0801Mugs at Dark Horse Brewing Company hanging from the ceiling

Speaking of good beer, the next place we headed was Dark Horse Brewing Company. We enjoyed a beer in the beer garden.

IMG_0802This table looked nice from a distance, but it was really awkward to sit in because the top came up above our chests. We felt like little kids trying to reach above for our beverage, and so we moved to another spot.

IMG_0804 IMG_0805 The next place we were headed was Arcadia Ales, but we ran intoΒ Sweetwater’s Donuts on the way and (obviously) had to stop.

IMG_0806So many choices! IMG_0807They have a coffee club with mugs!

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Chad helped me eat a New York cheese cake donut that tasted exactly how it looks: like SUGAR. (I’m not complaining…)

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Nom, nom, nom

Finally, we made it to Arcadia Ales, where Chad tried a reuben:

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I tried the Garden and Goat Quesadilla, which was fabulous. Pesto, tomato, red onion, spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese in a flour tortilla with a jalapeno salsa and sour cream on the side. *drools*

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The next morning, we went to Starbucks and finished off a Turtle donut (above) from Sweetwaters that was delightful. We read and talked in the sunshine before heading around town to do some shopping.

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Next up was lunch at a restaurant called Taste of India. We were a little worried at first because the diner was completely empty, but it was nearly 2:00 in the afternoon. We tried the buffet, and enjoyed the curry and other options. I had a yummy mango lassi, and particularly enjoyed the rice pudding offered.

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After lunch, we headed out to see Godzilla at a Cheap Flix theater. I was glad the film only cost $3 to see as I wasn’t too impressed, but I was still filled with a longing for Japan (minus the crazy creatures, obviously).

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Next up, we drove home, and biked around town (Chad ran) before getting some groceries for a picnic dinner.

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We chose proscuitto, fresh mozarella, tomatoes, a warm baguette and fabulous Santiago Olive Oil.

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We also prepared sliced pear, apple and plum.

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It started thunder storming outside, so we decided to have our picnic inside on our living room floor. I reminded me of when we first bought our house and sat on the floor in the dining room with champagne.

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Cheers! Happy Anniversary ❀

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The next morning we lounged around the house, enjoying coffee and nutella croissants (which you know I love!)

These are just a few of the fun things we did over the weekend. I was so happy to have days devoted exclusively to hanging out with my sweetheart, who I am grateful for every day. Looking forward to so many more years with him ahead.

xx

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Good news! My long-time friend and sister-in-law Ariel will be joining me on Little Snail with occasional blog posts! She’s always up to creative and clever things, so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us πŸ™‚

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Projects · Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Summer Bucket List: Make/Decorate Pottery

I’ve been telling Chad forever now that I really want to paint some pottery at Your Plate or Mine in Muskegon,. Leave it to beer to be the answer to my plea: when we finally joined the Mug Club at Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven we got to paint our own mugs! (Yay for crossing off an item on my bucket list!)IMG_0688We arrived at Your Plate or Mine feeling a bit nervous about making our mugs, but full of inspiration. I decided to go with my favorite character in the whole world, Rilakkuma, and Chad went with the creepy Kobito Dukan (pronounced “dzoo-kahn”).IMG_0691The staff member at Your Plate or Mine was extremely helpful; she explained everything very clearly and was available the entire time we were there to answer all of our littlest questions. She even provided us with carbon paper so we could trace our designs if we wished (and as this mug would be getting a lot of use, we did wish to trace our designs–just in case!). Β  IMG_0692I was really impressed with Chad’s artwork, as there was a lot of shading involved. I think there are two things that are really difficult about painting ceramics: ensuring your colors are the actual colors you want (since they look totally different once fired), and getting smooth lines.IMG_0693It was super relaxing, and time just flew by. At the same time, after a particularly tricky section, you could hear both of us let out an audible sigh. Phew!Β  IMG_0695Above you can see my mug before firing. At first I was a bit frustrated with the difficulty of getting my lines exactly the way I wanted, but I realized that this is an art in which you have to just “give it up,” so to speak. You have to go into it knowing you’ll make mistakes, and decide you don’t care. And, when it comes down to it, it’s pretty impossible for Rilakkuma to turn out as anything except kawaii. IMG_0696I painted a little suitcase on the inside of my cup, and on the bottom I wrote out “Nomichatta!,” which means, “I accidentally drank all of it!” (Story of my life.) **Edit: Apparently I need to start studying Japanese again! It should say “Nonjyatta,”Β but hey, perhaps by the time I drink it all I won’t remember my mistake…Β πŸ˜‰ IMG_0694On the bottom I wrote “Kanpai,” which means “Cheers,” though that Japanese has a translation right next to it on the cup πŸ˜‰ In this picture you can also see the yellow birdy before firing. IMG_20140628_125951_907 (2)We could hardly wait to see how our cups turned out, but we had to wait a week for them to be fired. I am so in love with them! Chad’s turned out as creepy as we imagined, and I just want to squeal at the cuteness of my Rilakkuma.

IMG_20140628_130017_676IMG_20140628_130134_746Chad’s (left) says “Nonde,” the command for “Drink.”

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IMG_20140628_130413_421Yay for fun mugs! We spent a few hours on them, and I had so much fun that I went back with my mom yesterday to paint some more. We spent over five hours working on our creations, and I am going CRAZY wanting to see how they look once they’re fired!!

IMG_20140628_201021_048In the meantime, I’ve got this precious mug to drink delicious beer in! πŸ™‚

Have a good day darlings!
xx

Food & Cooking · Seen · Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Week in Pictures

This week was one filled with lovely nature, marketplace excursions, culinary delights (such as that jambalaya we tried for Fat Tuesday!), and a pattern search in and around our house. (Anything to keep us busy and keep our spirits up πŸ˜‰ )

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Rosy Mound #1

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Rosy Mound #2

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Rosy Mound #3

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Goodies from our Asian Market trip (some of which were used for our Hina Matsuri dinner)

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Bubble Tea at a restaurant next door to the Asian marketplace

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We tried pho for the first time!

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Pretty flowers sent to us

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My favorite beer

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Nutella French Toast #1

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Nutella French Toast #2

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Patterns #1 (Don’t the knots in the tree look like eyes?)

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Patterns #2

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Patterns #3

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Patterns #4

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Patterns #5

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Patterns #6

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Patterns #7

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Patterns #8 (Okay, so maybe I just wanted to take a picture of our kitties because I love them…)

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Goodies from a trip to The Cheese Lady in Muskegon (We tried the Vanilla Balsamic drizzled over fresh strawberries!)

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I made homemade Crab Rangoons and Gyoza…

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And Chad made amazing homemade ramen!

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Dinner party dishes #1

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Dinner Party Dishes #2

I wonder what the weekend has in store for us! What have you been up to this week?

Food & Cooking

Fondue!

Captain America: Well, what about you and Stark? How do I know you two haven’t been fondue-ing?

Agent Carter: You still don’t know a bloody thing about women.

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I’ve been meaning to try fondue for a while now, and this weekend, we finally gave it a go! I borrowed a cute little fondue pot I brought my mom for Christmas from Japan a few years ago, and set to work making a cheese recipe I found on this fondue website.

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We dipped bread, steamed broccoli, red & yellow bell peppers, grilled zucchini and gnocchi into our cheese. I got the idea to use gnocchi from my sister-in-law, who said she had it at a recent fondue dinner party she attended. The meal was SO good, but we ate way too much!

I used the recipe below for the cheese:

Beer Cheddar Fondue: Welsh Rarebit Fondue Recipe

30 ml (2 Tbsp) Butter
250 ml (1 cup) Beer (Ale)
550 g (1 lb) Aged cheddar cheese, shredded
30 ml (2 Tbsp) Flour
2 ml (1/2 tsp) Cayenne pepper
5 ml (1 tsp) Dry mustard
Salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter in the cheese fondue pot.

2. Add beer and warm it up without bringing it to a boil. (We used Honey Badger from Short’s Brewing Company.)

3. Reduce heat. Mix the shredded cheese with flour, and gradually add the cheese/flour mixture.

4. Mix with wooden spoon and let it melt. Keep adding more cheese until all of it is melted.

5. Add remaining ingredients.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. If the mixture is too hard, add beer. If the mixture is too soft, add cheese.

8. Dip toast into the melted cheese.

9. Let the toast cool off for a few seconds, then enjoy and repeat but no double-dipping!

(Recipe taken from bestfondue.com)

 

What kinds of fondue have you tried, and what kinds of food did you dip in it?