Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Southern Tier Birthday Weekend

Sunday was my 27th birthday (!) and this year I really wanted our annual trip to Southern Tier Brewery to coincide with a birthday weekend away with our closest Pittsburgh friends! Friday night 10 of us packed up our cars and headed north to Bemus Point, NY for a weekend in a cabin near Lake Chautauqua.

Our cabin, affectionately named the Lilly Pad, had it's own pond, boats, treehouse, woods, and a fluffy kitty named Tiger. We used Airbib to find it and I think we all really enjoyed our stay, despite our joking references to Cabin in the Woods and guessing who would be the first to go... (no worries, we all made it home safe!) By the way, if you're new to Airbib, you can use our referral link for $35 off your first stay!

Our main objective was to visit Southern Tier, the brewery that Nick and I visit every fall to get our fill of Pumking and Warlock. We spent much of the day at the brewery, took a quick trip to the new Southern Tier Distillery, and then returned to the cabin and went to sleep after one too many birthday beers.

Hope you enjoyed some photos from our weekend getaway. Thank you to my wonderful group of friends that spent the weekend with me as I celebrated getting one year older - love you all!

Sarah & Nick

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bourbon Root Beer Float

It's no secret at all that Sarah and I are fall and winter people through and through. Summer is fun and all. It's just that it lasts so long (and that's pathetic considering we live in Pittsburgh where summers are considerably shorter than most places!) This summer has been so hot, and even the start of September so far has been way too hot (mid 90s) and I just can't take it.

Nothing quenches your late summer thirst like an icy cold root beer float. And nothing helps me get through a summer that is lasting way too long than a little bourbon and hard root beer to make things a little more interesting. 

Here's what you need:
- 1 bottle root beer (we used hard root beer, but you can use hard or soft)
- 3-4 scoops vanilla ice cream (we used Trader Joe's dairy-free vanilla)
- 1 shot bourbon (we used Wild Turkey 101 because why not?)

Here's what you do:
- Just combine it all into a glass the way you like it! That's it! Add a pretty paper straw if you're feelin' fancy.

I personally like it low on ice cream and heavy on root beer. I like when the ice cream all melts and the drink becomes like a cloudy, creamy, mixed drink. I usually stir it and wait to drink it until I get it all melted. Maybe that's just me? ... Probably. Sarah thinks I'm weird.

Whether you're loving the late summer heat or you're ready for football and pumpkin flavored things, this fizzy frozen treat is an absolute must! Comment below to let us know how you're dealing with the heat!


Sarah & Nick

Friday, September 9, 2016

DIY Pizza & Donut Serving Trays

Our house is the first home Nick and I have shared that has more than one floor. While we eat most of our meals at our kitchen/dining room table, on the weekends we like to hunker down in our basement and enjoy a Netflix binge alongside our pizza (I mean, who doesn't, right?)

It's gotten a little tricky trying to maneuver downstairs with plates of food and drinks, plus scurrying kittens under our feet. We were in desperate need of some serving trays to help us carry everything more easily. When I saw these plain wooden trays from Target for only $7, I thought they were the perfect solution and screaming for an awesome makeover!

We painted the insides of our trays with some of our favorite foods - pizza and donuts! We also got to try out a food-safe resin we've been anxious to use and are super pleased with the results. Want to make your own?

Here's what you need!
- Wooden serving trays
- Acrylic craft paint
- Spray paint (optional)
- Paintbrushes
- Alumilite Clear Cast

Here's what you do!
- Paint your trays with your base colors. We used brown acrylic craft paint on our pizza tray and white spray paint on our donut tray (we had white spray paint on hand and it was easier than brushing!)
- Next, paint your interior tray designs. On our pizza tray we used yellow paint for the cheese, red for the sauce and pepperoni, and then added some peppers, mushrooms, and detailing to the pepperoni with green, brown, white, and black paint. On our donut tray, we used a container lid to lightly trace six donut shapes. We painted the outside donut edges brown and then added pink, purple, blue, and green icing. Once that was dry we added the best part (sprinkles!) in various colors.
- After your paint has completely dried, it's time to seal it with food-safe resin! Follow the instructions in the Alumilite Clear Cast package to prepare your resin (It comes with two bottles that you mix together. One package was the perfect amount for both of our trays.)
- On a flat surface, pour the resin mix in each of your trays. Carefully tilt the trays so the resin reaches all sides and corners. Allow to solidify and cure in a safe, flat space for 3-5 days (dry time varies depending on size and depth.)

Once our resin was fully dried, it was time tray time! Aren't they just so dang cute? Not to mention they are going to be super helpful when Nick serves me breakfast in bed for my birthday next week...

Be sure to let us know what you think! Have you used resin before? How would you paint/decorate your trays?

Sarah & Nick

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Buffalo Tofu Bites with Vegan Ranch

Almost every Friday this summer we went to our favorite local bar for happy hour with friends. With a 1/2 price appetizer special that couldn't be beat, we became addicted to their buffalo tofu bites. Addicted, like several times a week I could eat those bites (but can't necessarily go to happy hour whenever I want.)

We decided to try and create a version at home that would hopefully stack up to our bite size favorites - and I think we nailed it! These buffalo tofu bites are packed with buffalo flavor (but are not too hot) and not full-on deep-fried so they're a bit healthier than the alternative. We paired with them a super simple and delicious homemade vegan ranch. Seriously, I am going to keep this ranch stocked in our fridge from now on - it's so good. Ready to prepare for happy hour at home?!

Here's what you need!
For the Buffalo Tofu Bites:
- 1 16 oz. block extra firm tofu
- 1 cup buffalo sauce (more if necessary)
- 1.5 tbsp. corn starch
- Bowl of flour
- Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
- Vegetable oil

For the Vegan Ranch (Adapted from
- 1 cup vegan mayonnaise (we used Vegenaise but we love Just Mayo)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. dried parsley
- 1/8 tsp. dill
- 2 tbsp. almond milk (more or less depending on your desired consistency)

Here's what you do to make the ranch!
- Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and whisk together.
- Chill in refrigerator in a resealable container. We used a mason jar.

Here's what you do to make the tofu bites!
- Press your tofu, removing as much liquid as possible. We wrap our tofu in paper towels and put something heavy on top of it. Change out the paper towels as many times as necessary.
- Preheat your oven to 350° and wipe your baking sheet with vegetable oil.
- Cut your pressed tofu into small, bite-size pieces. We had 30 pieces total.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. In another small bowl, combine buffalo sauce and corn starch.
- Roll a tofu piece in flour mixture, coating all sides. Then transfer to buffalo sauce mixture, coating all sides. Let the liquid drip off and carefully transfer to your oiled baking sheet. Save excess buffalo sauce and cornstarch mixture for later.
- Once all pieces are evenly coated, place in oven and bake about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and transfer to a large frying pan with about 1/8-1/4 inch hot oil. Pan sear/fry the tofu pieces on each side for about 2 minutes, to crisp the breading/sides.
- Remove tofu pieces from the pan and set on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the extra oil. Remove excess oil from pan and wipe clean with a paper towel.
- Return the tofu pieces to the pan on low heat, tossing with the excess buffalo sauce and corn starch mixture from earlier.

Use your ranch to top your tofu bites, or eat them plain. Either way, these little nuggets pack a super flavorful punch, and are surprisingly similar to our happy hour favorites! Considering that was the point, I'd call this recipe super successful. I hope you get to try these at your house too, they'll be a huge money saver - be sure to let us know if you do!

Sarah & Nick