The Basil Gimlet

Let me start by saying that this was one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite cocktails.  That list is not short, but it does come from a man who was well acquainted with all forms of alcohol.  The basil adds a peppery, sweet flavor, which is balanced by the tartness of the lime juice of a traditional gimlet.  And it has gin, helping make it a perfect summer drink.  I’ve played around with a lot of recipes, but have settled on this one.

Drinking to Heminway

Basil Gimlet

  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • ¾ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp basil simple syrup (see below)
  • Basil leaves for garnish
  • Cucumber slice for garnish (optional)

Put gin, lime juice and basil simply syrup in cocktail shaker.  Shake gently.  Pour into chilled cocktail glass and garnish.  Enjoy.  Repeat 3-4 times for best results.

Basil, sugar, lime, and gin

Basil Simply Syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 3-4 sprigs basil

Heat water and sugar until completely mixed.  Remove from heat and steep basil in simple syrup for 20-30 minutes.  Remove basil and set in fridge to cool.  This syrup can stay good for up to a week in the fridge.

Wedding Recap-Rehearsal Dinner/Welcome Party

We haven’t really shared too much about our wedding yet, so we decided to fill you in. First: rehearsal dinner and the welcome party that followed.

We decided to go with a bar-b-que theme because we wanted it to be pretty laid back and tons of fun. We found great themed invites at this Etsy shop. We worked with the shop to customize the invites and they were super easy to work with. We’d use them again!

 

Next for location, entertainment, etc. We had decided to have a blue grass band for the wedding, but realized that a lot of our guests would need to learn how to western swing dance. Thankfully, we have a few friend who are excellent instructors so they offered to help lead a lesson at the researsal dinner. Seriously, we have the best friends! Dance lessons meant that for the location we needed something equally laid back with space for dancing. Arch Park in Gardiner got extra points for the Yellowstone theme, since the famous Roosevelt Arch stands overlooking the park, framing the mountains and the entrance to Yellowstone.

Photo curtesy of Stacie at http://www.starsforstreetlights.com. Another friend we’re so thankful for!

For food, we, yet again, enlisted the help of our friends. Two of our friends from The Flying Pig helped grill the burgers & brauts while we were at the church for rehearsal. Paul’s parents made baked beans, got some potato chips, and sliced the watermelon. Another good friend in town, (I know! They just keep pulling though) ordered us some of our very favorite ice cream made just north Gardiner: Wilcoxson’s Grand Slam. Yummmm. : )

Good friends cooking. Photo by Stacie at http://www.starsforstreetlights.com

After dinner, we had toasts and dancing lessons. All of our friends who were invited to the wedding we also invited to this “welcome party.” Basically, dinner was for the wedding party, but dancing and drinks were for everyone to join in on. For this, we inclosed an invite along with our wedding invites so that everyone knew and we saved on the extra postage. It was a great way to welcome all 150 or so guests to Montana without the extra expense of feeding them all. As you can see, my note on gratitude was far from adequate. Our friends helped in any way they could. They made this possible:

Paul’s brother’s toast

 

Paul’s mom’s toast.

 

Family in their western best. : )

 

The famous Arch

 

Beautiful friends and family.

 

Cousins!

 

And of course, dancing.

 

For an awesome post, and the brilliant photog to took most of these check out Stars for Streetlights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemonade Stand

Lemonade stand

 

So, I not so begrudgingly went back into the laboratory to do more research.  For some reason, this summer I’ve gotten slightly obsessed with lemons (Paul wrote this over the course of the summer. Sorry, we’re just sharing it now).  Maybe its the record breaking heat and drought, but I’ve found myself trying to find a way to sneak them into everything.  Its a good thing my most recent flavor obsession is very well suited for cocktails.  I’ve made a few classics, like the Frisco, but I got ambitious and tried to come up with a completely new recipe.  As disastrous as that could have been, it actually turned out to be one of the better cocktails I’ve ever made.  It has the rare quality that you actaully look forward to the ice melting.  Its cool, refreshing and the perfect drink on a hot summer day, just like the lemonade the kid down the street is selling.  This ones a lot more fun.

Lemonade Stand

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz St. Germaine
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • Small scoop of lemon sorbet

Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Serve over lemon sorbet in a cocktail glass.

Beartooth Highway and Back to Gardiner

The week before our wedding, we were pretty busy. Between getting ready for the wedding festivities, visiting with our friends and family, and enjoying Gardiner, our home when we worked at a rafting company in Montana. We had tons for fun, but there wasn’t much time to tell you about it. How about a little recap?

When we were planning our road trip from Indiana to Montana, I threw out the idea of driving the Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone, through to Gardiner. Paul said he had never driven that highway, so I was even more determined to share it with him. We had driven to Red Lodge, Montana late the night before and set up camp. Ok, I was exhausted, like sleeping in the car, can’t make complete sentences exhausted, so really it was Paul who set up camp. (Reason #387 why I think I’ll keep him.)

Camp ground.

When we woke up, we drove into Red Lodge to grab breakfast, intending to hit the road pretty soon. But the town was so cute that we ended up just wanting to wander around awhile. There was an antique car show going one and music playing all along the main street. It was so quaint and adorable that we had to take it all in. The town was a little touristy, but that’s part of the reason it had so much going on. We’re already hoping to visit again sometime.

On the Beartooth Highway

When we finally hit the road, the sun was out and the weather was perfect. The view along the Beartooth are nothing short of awe-inspiring. No wonder National Geographic listed it as one of the top 100 scenic drives of all time. If you have the opportunity to drive it, do it!

View from the Beartooth Highway

The road lead straight into Cooke City, the northeast entrance to Yellowstone. Its one of the least used entrances to the park so its rustic charm is easy to maintain. Its even less touristy than Gardiner, with only a few restaurants, one that cooked meat on an outdoor pit and one whose bathroom was wallpapered with cardboard from beer cartons. That rustic. We grabbed lunch there along with the first huckleberry milkshake of the trip before heading into the park.

Cooke City

Our first moose sighting came early and then we remembered why we get annoyed by the park in high tourist season: traffic. Its really exciting to see wildlife, but keep driving, people! After being stuck in a bear jam (for a black bear over 300 yards away) for awhile, we were pretty anxious to get out.

Moose

We finally made it to Gardiner at about 2:25 and decided to stop by The Flying Pig, our rafting company, to see who was there. We immediately ran into our friend, Molly, who was about to take out the 3:00 raft. In typical Paul fashion, he immediately took her up on an off for us to ride along. So we dug swimsuits out of the overpacked car and hopped on the river. Ahhh….so much fun.

Yellowstone

By the time we were done, it was time to meet my family for dinner. It couldn’t have been a better first day back in our Montana home.

The Mighty Yellowstone River

Bon Iver- Holocene

I promise we’ll stop writing about Iceland eventually. But today is not the day. Sorry I’m not sorry.

A lot of people ask how we decided to go to Iceland for our honeymoon. Really, it was a matter of narrowing down places that neither of us had been and where we wanted to go that could still be romantic. The video for Bon Iver’s “Holocene” also served as significant inspiration. Paul got a little obsessed with the video, which was filmed in Iceland, and insisted on recreating it throughout Iceland.

Now for Paul’s recreation a few photos inspired by the video:

 

 

 

I’m sure we could’ve taken more had the weather been better a few days and had Paul uncovered a staff to use as a prop. : )

 

We’re grateful for this video for inspiring us. I hope you are able to live out something that has inspired you.

Climbing Date Day

Being married to a med student, I’m learning to appreciate even the little amounts of time we can spend together with the books closed. Thankfully, Paul and I have committed to at least daily dinners together and he usually puts the books away a little before he hits the sack to watch a tv show on Netflix or read with me for awhile. Before we got married, we committed to doing a weekly date night; lately that has meant 2 episodes of Breaking Bad instead of one and a drink during dinner. Lame.

But last week, we decided it was time to start making date night a bigger deal (PLEASE!). There was really nowhere to go but up. So when we came across a Groupon for Climb Time Indy, we decided to buy it. For one, Paul loves to climb so I knew it would be a sure fire way to get him out. For two, it was a fun way to have a little adventure in an otherwise ordinary life. You have to find the fun where you can.

So, on Friday afternoon, Paul, crazy Kora dog, and I headed to Indy for the date, in route to Paul’s parents’ house afterward. Climb Time was great. There were walls of all levels of difficulty and routes of varying difficulty within each wall. The also had a weight lifting gym, hang boards, and an awesome bouldering wall. The staff gave us a brief belay lesson on their equipment, which was top of the line. Then we got to climbing and had so much fun. Paul, of course, tried to work on his “skills” when he had the chance, but I just had fun trying some of the easier climbs since I’m really new to the sport.

As far as dates got, it was a great choice. Maybe not the traditional date, but Paul got to teach me about something he loved and we got to work through the routes together. So fun! Highly recommended. :)

We headed to Paul’s parents’ house after climbing to deal with some wedding gifts and have dinner with them. But not before getting our first pumpkin spice lattes of the season. The barista asked to give Kora her first Starbucks experience: whipped cream. She is officially spoiled rotten.

Happy weekend all around!

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Texas has two seasons: Warm and Hot. We may hit the occasional freeze in the south, and there are occasionally days that require a light jacket, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a full season. Therefore, this is my first real fall, so I decided I should welcome it in properly. Sitting in front of an open window, a chill in the air, and a hot cup of coffee in my hand, all I wanted was pumpkin. After a very little browsing, I didn’t come across a pumpkin oatmeal recipe I was really excited about. So I decided to make my own, and to share it with you.

Bonus: Its chock full of healthy stuff like omega 3s, fiber, and protein. Double bonus: It doesn’t taste healthy.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tblsp chia seeds
  • Cinnamon for topping
  • scoop of almond butter for topping

In a small pot over medium heat, heat oats, almond milk, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin puree. When heated to a boil, add chia feeds, and maple syrup. Cook for about 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed. The oatmeal will be particularly thick because of the chia seeds.

When fully cooked, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with a spoonful of almond butter. Enjoy hot and with a perfect cup of coffee…or pumpkin spice latte. : )