this and that.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hi! What a week! I've been pulling 12+ hour days every day save for today (with a 14-hour slog thrown in for good measure!) and I am SO happy that Friday is finally here! I'm currently deep conditioning my hair (this is basically me right now) while I type because I am the Queen of the Multitask today...and I am determined not to be late for my dinner date!

So let's get to some links!

Shameless Self-Promotion

+ I've been monstrously bad at showing off new on Ready to Blog's Facebook page, but! I got my life together today to show off this little number! Isn't she pretty?
+ If you missed my Notes to My Younger Self post, make sure you check it out! You can also check out more posts in the series here.
+ And, if you missed yesterday's post on Vale House Kitchen, do yourself a favor and go check it out! I had such a good time and I basically want to tell the entire world about it!

A bunch of food that I'm going to make and eat and love

+ Yum.
+ Double yum, and fancy!
+ And now that I know that we can handle making pasta without burning down the kitchen, I'm going to try lasagne!
+ Just got turned on to Shipton Mill and I'm really looking forward to getting some of their flour. Now that I fancy myself an expert. ;)
+ I've been forcing Ryan to watch cooking videos with me all week and I was totally charmed by this one.

Totally Random

+ In case you need a hug and nobody is around to give you one!
+ Really interested in seeing how all this turns out. What do you think of ads in your Instagram feeds?
+ There's no such thing as risk-free travel.
+ I have not totally positive thoughts to towards both the site discussed and the site publishing this...but...I'm on board with this.
+ :::Heart eyes emoji:::
+ Related.

Long (but fantastic) reads

+ The Witness.
+ The side-eye is strong with this one. I'm keeping my comments to myself because they're all curse words and this is a family-friendly place...sort of.
+ Amazing.
+ Dig in. (That's actually quite a few articles. All worth reading.)
+ I thought this was really interesting. I have issues with a bit of it and I think that there's room for a deeper discussion that isn't explored here...but there you go!

Blog Love

+ On protecting your boundaries.
+ Kristen shares 10 things she'd rather be doing than waiting in car line.
+ Why Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Breaks My Heart.
+ A round-up of some great calligraphy fonts!
+ Some great advice on chasing clients.
+ Kate! Marry me! You're hilarious!
+ Two of my favorite ladies have buns cooking in their ovens! Lindsay is GLOWING and Megan (also glowing!) shares a really powerful post on anxiety and pregnancy.
+ I lol'ed and then lol'd some more at this. Honestly, some people!

OK! That's it! Well,'s a little note from a friend of mine!

Blogwarts is an 8-week course and lifetime community for heroines in training who tire of living vicariously through fiction and want to burst their dreams into reality. It is hosted by Xandra from Heroine Training.

You found a Blogwarts pointed black hat! Tweet a link to this page to @missxandrabee, and find the other 7 objects to receive a 20% discount on admission. Apply now to reserve your place, and the discount can be applied at any time.

And finally finally, my favorite Instagram of the week via @pocketfork.

Happy Friday!

vale house kitchen.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm not even going to apologize for the number of photos in this post (25!) because it's worth it, and hopefully by the end you'll be so impressed with the deliciousness that's about to radiate from your screen that you'll forgive me!

Because I am the luckiest of ducks, I was invited to attend a Chef Skills course at Vale House Kitchen, just outside of Bath. Now, I know my way around the kitchen (Exhibit A | Exhibit B), but there are quite a few things that make me nervous. Particularly anything to do with intense dicing and...well...flour. (There was a bread incident a few months ago that ended in tragedy, and I vowed never to attempt any such thing again.) When I got the invite I became so excited at the prospect of tackling some new skills and I was particularly drawn in by the promise that I'd be able plan and execute recipes for a dinner party without ending up sobbing in a corner with chicken bits in my hair (paraphrasing, here).

48 hours in bath.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I suffer from a serious inability to edit myself when it comes to photos! I want to share them all! So...I will. (It is my blog, yes?)

A few weeks ago I was approached with a few very cool opportunities to explore one of my favorite cities, Bath. Luckily, the timing worked out perfectly and I was able to squeeze some great stuff into a fantastic 48 hours! I'll have more on my time with Vale House Kitchen, The Francis Hotel, and The Roman Baths coming up, but first I'll share a few photos from our time walking around the city!

I warn you, this post has a lot of photos (26! I'm sorry!!) but I'll break them up so that your computers don't crash (hopefully)!

More after the break!

eat well | seeded banana loaf

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Today, we have a guest post from my sister! She's an absolute wizard in the kitchen and is the first person I call when I embark on a new baking journey only to end up with a flour-coated kitchen and dough in my hair!

When trying to wrest this recipe from our Dad, I couldn't believe that he has ever baked this bread the same way twice. Forget about precision measuring of ingredients. This is baking gone rogue. The original bread calls for a coffee grinder (yes) and measurements in soup spoons. Aside from serving a coffee addiction to rival Bobbi's, it serves as a mill for finely processing seeds and grains! For those who don't have a coffee grinder, a mill, or assorted jars of seeds at home, I found a perfect shortcut in my local supermarket called Linwoods that is a mix of flax, sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds plus goji berries already finely milled. Works for me!

Dry Ingredients

4tbps quinoa (ground in a coffee mill or with a mortar and pestle)
2tbsp oatmeal (ground in a coffee mill or with a mortar and pestle)l
1.5tbsp milled seed mixture (equal parts flaxseed, sunflower and chia but the packaged mix is great)
1tsp baking soda
2 heaping tablespoons flour

Wet Ingredients

2 large eggs
2 large overripe bananas
2tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350F/175C. I use an oven thermometer which tells me that my electric oven just gets up to 350F when the dial reads 190-200C.

Combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Beat the eggs, add in the banana and mash well, add the vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients. Pour into an ungreased loaf pan lined with thick baking paper.

Bake for 10 minutes in the middle of the oven then move to the lowest shelf, turn the heat down about 25F to 325F and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until a toothpick (or handy stick of spaghetti) comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

My loaf pan is petite 1lb loaf pan, or normal for my petite oven. For a 2lb loaf pan, double the recipe and keep in mind that the time needed for baking on the lower shelf will be more like 50 minutes.

I hope you enjoy it! If you have any transatlantic baking questions feel free to pop me a question on Instagram while we work on my website re-launch!


Thanks for stopping by, Shelly! Happy Tuesday!
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