Green Bluff 2014

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

I cannot begin to explain how excited I am to have my hometown traditions back, including one of my all-time favorites for Autumn…Green Bluff farms! Maybe you remember last year’s search for a pumpkin patch while living in Denver. It didn’t go so well, and I was left without a pumpkin or caramel apple and really without any kind of experience at all. Since moving back, I have been looking forward to this day to revisit my favorite farms on the bluff, Siemer’s and Harvest House. How I missed the expansive rolling hills that look out to the mountains and over the valleys, the live music and people-watching, the sweet smells of warm pumpkin donuts and caramel apples. Autumn never feels complete without a trip to Green Bluff with out family. In fact, I feel like our family photos taken there each year show our growth the best from little kids to adults.

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

Soon we will be carving our pumpkins and this year we will be trying to use the pumpkin seeds to bake and eat as a snack! It seems crazy that we have never tried that, but it will be a new and fun experience to actually use all of those pumpkin guts. :)

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

Green Bluff 2014 | The Urban Pig

 

Happy Easter!

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Photo via Joy Ever After

Hope you all had a happy Easter! It was honestly a bit difficult for Connor and I to get into the celebration, being away from family and all. I remember one of our nephew’s first Easter egg hunts, right after the lawn had been aerated. He ran around picking up the little dirt clumps and putting them in his basket, rather than the plastic eggs full of candy. It was pretty cute. Easter is one of those holidays that only seems enjoyable with little ones around or lots of family. But then again, most of the holidays have felt that way for us.

Despite this, we still tried to do something special. Connor and I made a big yummy breakfast of cream cheese Apple French toast, a food tradition that his mom makes each year. It is so delicious. It was our first time making it, and it turned out pretty great! And with just the two of us, we had plenty to fill up our tummies. Of course, we also had to boil some eggs, and although we didn’t dye them, we kept another tradition going, one that has been passed down through my family, “egg fights.” It is a German tradition, where two players hit their hard boiled eggs together to see which one cracks. I won each time :)

Our neighbors were kind enough to invite us over for a late lunch and some chatting time. They have two little ones, and they only had their family of four plus an aunt and uncle, so it was nice to not feel like we were intruding on a large family get together. We munched on some cupcakes, and us girls talked it up while the boys played games.

We didn’t want to stay too long since everyone was getting sleepy from all the food. Thankfully, the weather was super nice so after a little bit, Connor and I went on a walk in the sun. We spent the rest of the day and evening relaxing, realizing we were pretty happy to get this week started!

The Cookbook: An Introduction

The Cookbook: An Introduction | The Urban Pig

How The Book Started:
When I was little, my mom and I decided to make a cookbook. We took all of the handwritten recipes she had acquired over the years, typed them and formatted them on the computer, printed the pages and slipped them into plastic covers, secured together in a small yellow binder.

When Connor and I left home for my last year of college, this binder was all I had. It was my first time cooking on a regular basis. Eventually, we grew tired of the recipes we constantly used, so we began to really dig in to the book, pulling out recipes we didn’t like, setting others aside we had yet to try, and looking for new additions. We gathered plenty of meals from the internet, Connor’s family, and my family. Our little yellow binder became a hodge-podge of ideas and chicken scratch. We realized it was time to reformat our book — add the new recipes, adjust the old ones, and compile them together into a book of our own. Today, just a year and a half later, we are still working hard to try and re-try our recipes, edit them for consistency, and we are also learning to photograph our process and the end result. It is taking a long time, but it has been fun to take the baby steps and continue to learn along the way.

The Cookbook: An Introduction | The Urban Pig

The Cookbook: An Introduction | The Urban Pig

Combining Family Recipes:
It is a common thing both in the past and present for family recipes, sometimes even “secret” recipes to be passed down through generations. Connor and I are fortunate to have recipes given to us from our families. They are special in that they are memories of the person it was received from, or memories of the occasion it was often prepared for. When Connor and I began dating, we shared these family gatherings and it was probably the first experiences we had cooking and eating together. With marriage, we merged our families, and these days we find ourselves merging recipes as well. It has been exciting to learn these recipes and incorporate them into our daily lives.

The Cookbook: An Introduction | The Urban Pig

The Cookbook: An Introduction | The Urban Pig

Cooking Together as a Couple:
For many, cooking can be a chore, and some days, it is for us too. But once in a while, we use it as a way to spend time together after work, completing an essential task, but doing it for fun, and doing it together. We have always cooked here and there, but when you know you have mouths to feed, there is more incentive to cook and to learn new recipes to keep things fresh. I realized pretty quickly that you can’t live off cereal forever.

The biggest thing we have learned is to not get frustrated. When something turns out bad, it is a part of the process. You learn from it that way, and maybe even learn faster when you realize what you did wrong.

We are enjoying the process more than anything, but I am most excited for the end result, to have a compilation of recipes from our family and recipes we have gathered  to eat each day. I hope to share more of our experiences with you in posts to come!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays | The Urban Pig

Merry Christmas! This picture was from last night, during our tradition of driving to look at lights on Christmas eve. I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday spent with friends and family! My parents are scheduled to arrive in Colorado tomorrow evening, so today, Connor and I mostly spent with just the two of us, but we did have dinner with some friends. Considering most holidays we spend with so much family, it was just nice to get out and see some faces.

This Christmas has been very different from those in the previous years in many ways. Like this last thanksgiving, it was our first Christmas away from our families. Even though my parents will be here tomorrow, it still seems strange to wake up Christmas morning to just the two of us. We made a yummy breakfast and watched a movie, and opened a few gifts. This year was also different in the gift-giving category, as well. Of course I love gifts, but this year Connor and I decided we would not get anything for each other, since we have been spending so much on the house. It was definitely weird to have Christmas very much unfocused on the gifts, but it was also sort of refreshing. Although we spent much of the day cleaning and preparing our house for my parents’ visit, we also had a slow, relaxing morning where we simply enjoyed our time with each other. I began to just think about how appreciative I am for all that I have, both in the “material world” and more importantly, the loving husband I have. I am very blessed.

It’s crazy to think this is the last blog post I will have for the year of 2013. I feel that Connor and I are ending this year well, and although time seems to be flying by, I am so excited for 2014 and the changes I hope for it to bring.

Happy holidays, see you in 2014!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Black Friday Shopping

Happy belated Thanksgiving and Black Friday! It was our first year being away from family for the holiday, which made it a little tough, but Connor and I still had a good time. We cooked our favorite classics and as we waited, we looked through Black Friday ads. I am normally not big on the Black Friday thing, but as we are totally house poor and in desperate need of some basic essentials (i.e. sheets…we have been sleeping on blankets), we decided to check if there was anything worth braving the crowds for. There was! So, we had a delicious candle-lit dinner on the floor (no table, yet) and we were stuffed after one serving. Looks like we will be having leftovers for the rest of the year. Then, we watched the Pursuit of Happyness, and it was a movie that we realized was perfect for Thanksgiving. Maybe a new tradition?

After getting all relaxed, it was time for the craziness to begin. We only wanted to go to Target, which is less than five minutes from our house, and as we pulled into the parking lot about 30 minutes before it opened, we caught a glimpse of the crowd – lined up through the entire parking lot. My little hometown can’t even compare to the shopping madness here, even in the suburbs! The ONE time I went Black Friday shopping in Spokane, we thought the 50-100 foot lines were long and ridiculous. I am so glad we weren’t planning an all-nighter here.

But, we got inside pretty quickly and found the great deals we were looking for. King-size flannel sheets for $16, king-size 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets for $40, and a gorgeous king-size duvet cover by Kenneth Cole for $90 (I was planning on spending $150). I can now mark all those off our home-needs list!

We have still been busy unpacking and organizing, but I can’t wait to start on some projects, especially getting some paint on the walls! We have already started tinkering around with little fixes and changes…patching the walls, turning the kitchen island into a bookshelf, arranging furniture, and throwing LOTS of stuff away. We currently have a room dedicated to garbage and cardboard boxes, since we were left with an overflowing trash can and then we missed garbage day. But, it will slowly but surely all come together. I hope to start sharing projects and pictures soon. Anyway, I am thankful for our beautiful home and the time I was able to spend with my husband for the holidays.

We are getting internet today, so hopefully this blogging thing will be a bit easier from now on. Hope everyone enjoyed your weekend, and maybe start pulling out those Christmas decorations!

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