Getaway: Iceland escape

It’s that time of year again where the Mr. and I start to throw ideas around of places we want to go on vacation this year. Of course this always ends up with the same default answers which I have to remind myself we don’t have the time or budget for. Half heartily I throw myself into believing that some other random place is where I wanted to be all along and try to move on with my vacation planning. Well folks, not this year. The Mr. and I have both agreed that Hawaii is the place we are going, and further more Maui is the island we are going to.

No the details are not ironed out, and nothing is booked BUT I am pretty close to having nailed down a PERFECT vacation for us with sand, snorkeling and miles of ocean front blue water. I’m a sucker for anything ocean and I am confident this will fill my need.

However, I did title this post Iceland Escape for a reason. While I was on the hunt for places to go I came across this brilliant post on A Cup of Jo featuring non other than a quaint house perched on a cliff on Elliðaey, a southern island in Iceland. Now my own personal experiences with Iceland has only been from a window high in a plane watching it float by. But even so, from these photos I find myself simply captivated.

It’s overwhelming lovely.

31st, 2010 / Danielle

Recipe: Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze

(Images: Faith Durand)

Sometimes everyone needs a little something. And this week I need a little something called Sticky Lemon Rolls. I am always day dreaming of making something sweet and mouth watering in my kitchen, and after seeing these little darling I am planning on making this fantasy a reality. Special thanks to Apartment Therapy & Faith Durand for this Monday delight.

Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
Makes 12 large breakfast rolls

Lemon Roll Dough
1 envelope (0.25 ounces, or 2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast
3/4 cup milk, warmed to about 100°F or warm but not hot on your wrist
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 lemons, zested
2 eggs

Sticky Lemon Filling
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 lemons, zested and juiced *
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup powdered sugar
1 lemon, zested

In the bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a couple minutes. With the mixer paddle, stir in the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and one cup of the flour. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable.

(If you do not have a stand mixer, stir together the ingredients by hand, then turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Knead the dough by hand (see this video for explicit instructions) for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, pliable, and stretchy.)

Spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled – about an hour.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the nutmeg and ginger, then work in the lemon zest with the tips of your fingers until the sugar resembles wet, soft sand. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon. (Reserve the juice of the second lemon for the glaze.)

Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface pat the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10×15 inches. Spread evenly with the softened butter, then pour and spread the lemon-sugar mixture over top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls, and place them, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.

Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour or until puffy and nearly doubled. (You can also refrigerate the rolls at this point. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge, and let them rise for an hour.)

Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190°F.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small food processor (or with a mixer, or a sturdy whisk), whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and blend until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.

When the rolls are done, smear them with the cream cheese glaze, and sprinkle the zest of 1 additional lemon over top to garnish. Serve while warm.

* On lemon zest and naked lemons: This recipe calls for quite a few lemons, and while you use the juice of some of them, you will still be left with at least a couple naked lemons. Take a look at this post for some ideas on using the juice of naked lemons!

(Images: Faith Durand)

29th, 2010 / Danielle

Reading, Audio style.

I spent a vast majority of my day with headphones on. Sometimes this is or isn’t listening to a darn thing, but as of late I have found myself craving some good books, audio book that is. One of my favorite things is to get wrapped up in a great book while at work. I admit I am a hard egg to crack when picking a book for and I have no rhyme or reason to books I do or do not like. However, with all the noise around this The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I figured why not give it a try. I admit, this isn’t the first time I will try to start this book – and can honesty say I wasn’t entertained by any means at all. BUT I am willing to stick it out for the sake of saying I did at this point, and am going to give it another try. I am already planning what is next up on the audio book reading plate and am fairly confident that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will be next. Cheers to all you book worms out there, hope this week was a thrill in your worlds.

26th, 2010 / Danielle /

So you want to get married?

There once was a girl. This girl was in love, so in love that naturally she wanted to take her relationship to the the next step and get married. Of course, anyone who is married knows this is a two way street and that for the most part both parties pretty much need to be on the same page about getting married.

Time went on, and this said girl started to get anxious. She wanted to get married and thought why not start planning this wedding that was  going to have to happen at some point.

Said girl starting browsing the internet looking for reception halls.

Said boyfriend found out about this alleged browsing and was furious.

Boyfriends states: Each time you bring up marriage I am pushing back the date another year!

Lesson learned? Pretty sure this said girl might not be browsing for wedding sites anymore & will just wait for said boyfriend to ask her first.

The end.

23rd, 2010 / Danielle

Miz Mooz – Making Utah’s Moody Weather Wearable.

It’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. It’s even harder to believe that when one day you are frantically running around trying to get fertilizer on your yard while the next day you are pulling out your snow boots again because Utah decided to dump what it thought was some much needed snow on the ground. Personally I think this Utah place is having some sort of identity crisis and I hope she gets it under control soon.

Life on my side has been a handful of ups and downs. Work on the house has been going great. Lately it seems like any work we do on the house is more noticeable, making each item we complete feel like more of a accomplishment. I was sitting thinking about just what I was going to do with all my time once the house was done and I hit a blank wall. Hmm… that is a great point, what AM I going to do?

Until then, I can sit and enjoy the wishy washy temperament that is Utah’s weather and stock up on some much needed fall boots that are on sale. I have fallen head over heels for these little darlings via Miz Mooz and plan on at least getting a black and brown pair. Come on it’s Monday, I deserve these!

22nd, 2010 / Danielle

Spring 2010 Shade Clothing

After months of whining about wanting a new look and hair style I am finally going to do it. This Saturday is the major transformation. I’m not quite sure completely what I am going to do, but just know it’s going to happen. Hopefully, if I like it enough I’ll share some photos but until then enjoy some fresh spring looks from Shade Clothing.

{ Images via Shade Clothing

3rd, 2010 / Danielle

The 8 Most Heroic Dogs in History

I’m a dog lover at heart. They are my soft spot. They always make me smile, laugh and tickle me to death when they do silly things. I’m pretty sure I would rescue and keep anyone I can find and my husband will second that I am constantly bugging him as to when we can get another companion for Poe. Not that Poe needs a companion, he gets into enough trouble without the help of a counterpart.

With that being said today we honor dogs in history, as friends in our lives that do so much to lift our spirits.

8 {Guinefort, the Saint of Infants

A select few people have been given the designation of “Saint,” but only one dog has also received that distinction. The story goes that a 13th century French knight left his infant son in the care of his greyhound, Guinefort, for the day (you’ll notice the knight in this tale is not the patron saint of parenting). Upon returning home, the knight found the home torn apart, blood on the dog’s face, and his son nowhere in sight. Thinking his dog had eaten the child, the knight instantly shot him with an arrow, only to find his son moments later, alive and well, next to the mutilated remains of a snake. The knight was so upset by his mistake that he buried Guinefort in a well and erected a shrine on top of it. Local villagers prayed to the brave dog even after a visiting inquisitor had the shrine destroyed and labeled the dog a heretic.

7 {Owney, the Maildog

Some dogs fetch the paper, but Owney helped fetch buckets of mail all over the country. When
postal workers in Albany, New York found a stray mutt in their office, they decided to let him sleep on a pile of mailbags. Apparently, the dog was attracted to the scent of the bags, since he followed them right onto a train and rode with them all over the state and eventually the country. By now, the workers at the Albany office had named him “Owney,” and became worried that he would be lost during his travels. So they gave him a collar with a tag that read “Owney, Post Office, Albany, New York.” Owney became the unofficial mascot of the railway mail service, and postal clerks saw him as a good luck charm, since none of the trains he rode on ever crashed.

Other post offices began to give him tags for each place he visited, until the Postmaster General even gave him a jacket to hold them all. Owney even made an around the world trip through Asia
and Europe before arriving back in Albany. Unfortunately, Owney’s life ended after a postal worker in Toledo, Ohio mistreated him and was bitten. Fearing the dog was rabid, a local police officer shot him. Owney’s preserved body and medals are now on display at the US Postal Museum in
Washington, DC.

6 { Stubby (or “Sergeant Stubby” to you)

It’s not often that a dog gets promoted to the rank of sergeant for combat duty. In fact, it’s only happened once in history. A young stray was found on the Yale campus by John Robert Conroy,
who named him “Stubby.” Conroy was undergoing military training, and when it came time for him to ship out for World War I, he smuggled Stubby along with him. For the next 18 months, Stubby became one of many war dogs living in the trenches of France, but he soon distinguished himself enough to earn the official rank of sergeant. How? By doing things most humans soldiers never even get a chance to do. Stubby’s acute sense of smell and hearing allowed him to warn his unit of poison gas attacks and incoming artillery. He managed to locate and rescue wounded soldiers on the battlefield and even single-handedly captured a German spy. Overall, he participated in 17 battles, and was even awarded several patches and medals — which he wore on a coat for him by the women of a liberated French town. After the war, Conroy smuggled Stubby back home, where he went on to meet several presidents and act as Georgetown’s football mascot before passing away in Conroy’s arms.

5 {Barry, the Superdog dog of Switzerland

If a dog ends up stuffed and mounted in a Swiss natural history museum almost immediately following his death, odds are he’s either in an exhibit about different dog breeds, or he’s Barry the St. Bernard. Barry worked as a rescue dog in the mountains of Switzerland near a monastary in Great St. Bernard pass, where he also lived. During the 12 years that Barry lived there (1800-1812), he is credited with rescuing at least 40 people who got lost in the Alps during heavy snow. One famous tale says Barry discovered a small child on top of an icy ledge and began licking his face to keep him warm and awake, while barking loudly for the monks to find them (which he was trained to do). When the snow began to fall even harder and the monks couldn’t climb the steep cliff the two were on, the young boy wrapped his arms around Barry’s neck and the dog carried him all the way down the mountain (which he was not trained to do. Barry was eventually retired in 1812, and lived out the rest of his days under the care of a monk.

4 & 3 {Balto and Togo, the sled dogs that helped stop an epidemic

In the world of sled dog heroics, Togo and Balto are kind of like Nikolai Tesla and Thomas Edison: one arguably accomplished more, but the other got all the credit. Both were sled dogs assigned to lead a team through Alaska carrying serum for the town of Nome. In January of 1925, doctors in the area feared that a diptheria epidemic could hit the whole town, but the only available serum was in Anchorage, almost 1000 miles away. With their only aircraft’s engines frozen, officials in Anchorage decided the serum would be relayed by several teams of sled dogs.

Togo’s team was chosen to carry the serum through the most treacherous part of the route, and ended up traveling almost twice the distance of any of the other teams. Balto’s team took the cargo for the last leg of the journey, and ultimately delivered the serum ahead of schedule. Because he was the one who finished the run, Balto received almost all of the glory for it — even having some of Togo’s achievements attributed to him and a statue erected in New York’s Central Park. Both dogs however now have their remains on display in separate museums.

2 {Hachiko, man’s most loyal friend

You should probably prepare yourself for a sad dog story, because this one’s a doozy. In 1924, a
professor Hidesaburo Ueno from the University of Tokyo brought his dog, Hachiko, to live with him. The two developed a routine, where the dog would see the professor off at his home and then meet him at the Shibuya train station later. Then one day, the professor didn’t show up at the train station. He’d had a stroke at the university and died. Hachiko was given away to another owner, but he would often escape and turn up at his old home. The dog must have eventually realized that Ueno wasn’t coming home, and so he went to look for him at the train station. For ten years, Hachiko would arrive at the train station exactly when the evening train showed up and would wait for his former owner. Other commuters noticed the loyal pooch and began to bring him food and snacks. He even gained national attention when a former student of Ueno’s published several articles about him. One artist even built and erected a bronze statue of the dog while he was still alive. Hachiko died in 1935, but his legend continues to live on in Japan. His story was even recently made into a film, with Richard Gere playing Professor Ueno.

1 {Chips, the War Dog

There are many other dogs that could be called “The War Dog,” but how many of those have a Disney movie by that name chronicling their exploits? Chips sure does, and with good reason. During World War II, the shepherd mix was donated to the war effort and was soon on the front lines acting as a tank guard dog in Africa, Italy, France, and Germany. At one point, he dragged a phone cable across a raging battlefield, so that his platoon could call for backup. The one event Chips is most known for though happened on a beach in Sicily. When he and his handler came under fire from a hidden pillbox, Chips sprang from his handler and dove straight into the enemy emplacement. The soldiers inside came out moments later and surrendered, with Chips behind them.

That would be impressive enough, but later that night he also alerted his squad to some approaching Italians, who were promptly captured as well. Chips received a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for his adventures, but had them stripped away when dogs were reclassified in the military as “equipment,” making him the last canine to be officially decorated.

{ This article provided to Brainz by the Pet Insurance Center.

2nd, 2010 / Danielle

Fresh Find {Kelly Sweet

My absence from the web for the past week was well deserved and well owed. Now that the dust has somewhat settled I am hoping that my husband will find a new exciting job, I will be able to re-group my life and together we can continue marching forward.

I am always on the hunt for new music and just when I needed a soothing touch of purity, I landed on Kelly Sweet. She is going to be my getaway today… on a day when I very much need one.

1st, 2010 / Danielle /