Everyday Inspirations

 
 

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Since I was already up and puttering around the house this morning, I decided to make some biscuits. I've been craving biscuits for a few days now, and this was the perfect recipe. I love it because it's made from basic ingredients you almost always have on hand: flour, sugar, butter, milk. Don't you hate it when you find a killer breakfast recipe, but then it has one random ingredient that no one has in the house?

{butter me up biscuits}
Makes about 8 large biscuits

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold cubed butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients together and add your cold butter to the mixture. Using a fork (or pasty masher thing, if you are fancy--which I obviously am not), mash the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is about the size of peas.
3. Mix in your milk (hands are best for this, but don't over-mix or you'll warm the butter, which does not make flaky biscuits). Start with 1/3 of a cup and add more if necessary. You want a somewhat sticky dough. (The floured surface will take away the stickiness.)
4. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times to bring everything together into a ball. Your dough shouldn't be sticky anymore. Flour a rolling pin and roll out to desired thickness (I like about 1/4").
5. Cut biscuits (I like to use the rim of a regular drinking glass). Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned. Rub a little butter on top and add some honey or your favorite preserves.
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Honey bear seal of approval.
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Well hello! I know I've been MIA for awhile now. I was out of town last week on business and pleasure (see Exhibit 1, above) and, honestly, I've had a hard time getting back into the swing of things. Even though I was only off by two hours, I have been going, going, going for days, and my body is only now bouncing back. In fact, I crashed at 7:30 the other night. I can't remember the last time I did that.

I have so many things to share with you guys: my trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (and my first time to Orlando), all about an amazing book I couldn't put down.... Plus, it's nearly Memorial Day weekend, which means the start of summer. Can you believe it's almost June?
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An oatmeal fan through and through, I tried and fell in love with muesli early last summer. I thought the dish seemed difficult, but it's really quite simple: it's basically oats and granola that are soaked in water instead of cooked on the stove. With a little help from Ina Garten (AKA The Barefoot Contessa), I learned the basic rules for this dish and then went to town. I love that muesli is so good for you -- oats, organic granola, fresh fruit, nuts... who can complain?

{easy muesli}
For 2
- 2/3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
- 2/3 cup hot tap water
- 4 tablespoons good organic granola (I used cinnamon and raisin granola, which gave the dish great flavor)
- Fruit of your choice (Ina recommends fresh, but I defrosted raspberries and blueberries and they were still excellent; we also used a crisp green apple)
- Toasted nuts (I used slivered almonds -- then threw in some toasted coconut I had on hand)
- Kosher salt
- Dash of sugar
- Greek yogurt

1. Add the oats, granola, nuts, and a pinch of kosher salt to a bowl. Pour the water over the top and let the dry ingredients start soaking in the liquid (note that the oats to water ratio is 1:1; adjust as needed). Use the hottest water you can get from your tap -- nothing crazy. Let the dry ingredients soak 12-15 minutes.

2. While the dry ingredients are soaking, place the fruit in a separte bowl and add a dash of sugar, if desired. You definitely don't have to add sugar, but it will start to draw the juices out of the fruit.

3. Combine ingredients. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt on top if that's your sorta thing (it's not mine, but Dan loves it). Enjoy.
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Dan and I took a couple days off work last week, so we enjoyed a four-day weekend stay-cation. On Thursday we were driving to a mall downtown and passed Salt Lake's famous Temple Square. The tulips on the grounds were out-of-this world beautiful, and I immediately squealed that we had to go back home and grab the camera. I'm so glad we did. How beautiful is this?
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I've spent part of this weekend preparing for an upcoming business trip to Florida. One of my most important tasks was to buy a new pair of black shoes to wear to my meetings and dinners. I would bring my current pair of black pumps, but I may or may not have worn them so often that one now has a tear running along the material that sits next to the ball of my foot.

I also may or may not have worn those heels while they looked like that. Hey, I needed black shoes for that outfit and my pants were long enough to cover the tear. Mostly.

I follow a pattern with shoes: every so often, I buy a pair that I love and wear them day in, day out for months until I inevitably tear them, wear down the heel, or scuff them beyond recognition. What can I say? I love my shoes to death. But because I can be so very hard on shoes, I follow a specific pattern for buying them: 1) I always, always, always buy great (read: not cheaply made) shoes on sale (not a difficult thing to do if you're willing to look); and 2) I always buy a pair that can go with everything. When I'm getting ready in the morning, having a go-to pair of shoes (that look perfect with any outfit) saves my sanity. Best of all, buying a versatile pair of shoes for a business trip means I don't need to cram two or three pairs of heels into my carry-on bag (something I would not be surprised to find myself doing).

I found the shoes above in the clearance section at DSW -- for 40% off. (Oh, by the way, they're MUCH blacker in person... there isn't that much contrast between the faux scales. I just became waaaay too happy with the photo edit feature and saved the changes before I realized that I had deleted the original file on my camera.) I can't wait to wear them as I meet my colleagues from around the world.
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Last weekend Dan and I had to pick up some ingredients for a Mother's Day dessert. One of those ingredients was marischino cherries, something I haven't had in my house in... I can't even remember when. I started talking about how much I loved them in Shirley Temples as a kid. When Dan told me me he had never before had a Shirley Temple, we made a beeline for the soda aisle.

The recipe is so darn simple: pour a little bit of the cherry juice into the bottom of a glass (I find a little goes a long way--it's really sweet!). Add ice, if desired. Fill the rest of the glass with a lemon-lime beverage of your choice. Drop in a few cherries and enjoy.

Sometimes there is nothing better than revisiting a childhood favorite.
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{ash and angie}

When we have conversations about strong, inspirational women, we inevitably talk about our mothers. Both of us have been blessed with beautiful, amazing role models, and we are beyond grateful for the love we have shared with them. Today, we are expressing thanks for these women and passing on some of the most valuable lessons they have taught us over the years.

Happy Mother's Day!
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{lessons from ash's mom}

Family is the most important thing in the world.
 
Pursue your passions. Happiness is what life is all about.

Fall in love with someone who challenges you to be a better person--and return the favor.
  
Life is a gift. Be humbled and grateful for all your blessings.
 
Above all else, give and receive love.
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{lessons from angie's mom}

When you're making a big decision, make yourself wait for as long as possible before you get it. 

Don't spend money you don't have. 

Always be a good friend and the best representation of you, even to those that don't reciprocate. Karma will be kind.

Working hard is just as important as playing hard. 

Don't do your best to please anyone else but yourself. 
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{ash}

My family lost our sweet dog Bud a few weeks ago. Yesterday I received a gift in the mail from my darling friend Deb: a book called Dog Heaven.

I love this sweet story. Tears streamed down my face as I turned the pages and read about the puppies who have left us and how they now run, jump, play, and sleep under the the watchful eyes of God and angels. I shared it with my mom yesterday and together we cried and laughed and missed our best friend.

Thank you, Deb, for sending this book into my life.
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I just love the pictures of puppies sleeping on the clouds.
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{ash}

We've had the documentary The Human Experience in our Netflix instant queue for a few weeks and we finally watched it on Saturday night.

Wow.

If you have not seen this film yet, watch it.

This film is beyond beautiful. It is poetic. Its story examines life -- both what is ugly and what is redeeming. It is based on one simple, undeniable fact: we are human and we are all connected.

I sat back in awe and let this message wash over me. I was so inspired, and that inner fire that is love for my own life, my own human experience, burned brightly in my heart. If I can do anything for these brave, amazing filmmakers, it is to help make sure their beautiful film is shared with our readers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

PS: Have some tissues handy.
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