May 30, 2016

Mother Mary

Salutations, Hanlin family!

I am just returning from a week in Washington State (Seattle & Vashon Island) for my big bother's wedding! I video blogged the whole trip, so there is an extra-long video in production at the moment. It will be published next Monday, but here is something to hold you over.

May 23, 2016

Spiced Pear Preserves (or Jam) Recipe

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*Technically what I made here is preserves, since it is significantly chunkier than most jam or jellies. In order to turn this recipe into jam, all you need to do is chop the pears into smaller pieces than I did. Super simple.

When I still lived at home, I used to make different fruit preserves on a somewhat regular basis - only a small mason jar or two at a time - and I flew through it. Peanut or sunflower seed butter and preserve (or jam or jelly) sandwiches, or toasted and buttered English Muffins smothered in it, were fundamental childhood victuals, and remains some of my favorite snacks.

As you know if you've been here a while, I moved into an apartment last July, and since then, I haven't taken the time to mess about in the kitchen and experiment with things like I used to. So, it's been far too long since I made preserves, and I finally decided to remedy that a few weeks ago.

My usual go-to fruits are strawberries and apples, but that day I decided to try something different, and make pear preserves.

So, here we go!


May 21, 2016

BRINGING KITTENS HOME \\ Vlog ft. Finn & Portia

Hello, Hanlin family!

Y'all know I love animals. I need to have them around, and that fact has become more and more apparent to me over the past 9 months. All through my childhood, animals were everywhere, inside and out: dogs, cats, hedgehogs, horses, the occasional goat... Animals were always there to keep me company. Since I moved to my apartment last summer, I've really missed that.

So, I got a kitten. My roommate Rebecca got one too. On March 13, the day before my twenty-second birthday, our friend Anne's cat had a litter of kittens in the back of the family's old Mustang, and she sent around an email to see if anyone would be interested in adopting any of them. Rebecca and I jumped at the opportunity. We first went to visit them when they were a week old, and spent a good 45 minutes fawning over them - 8 teeny tiny chunky fur balls all piled up on top of each other.

And then again when they were 3 and 4 weeks old.
And so on, always under mama's close supervision.
We finally brought home our little bundles of love and hair on the evening of May 15.

Everyone, meet Finnegan (Finn) and Portia.

May 16, 2016

25 things that make me happy (May 2016)

1. Spring rain

2. Cool spring mornings and warm spring evenings

3. Hearing my favorite song on the radio on my way to work in the morning

4. Smoked Salmon

5. Kittens learning how to kitten.

May 9, 2016

Mini Crustless Breakfast Quiche (gluten free)

(All of my recipes are printable, and there's an option to remove the images! Look for the button at the end of the post.)
Good morning, Hanlin Family!

I am not a morning person - never have been, and let's be honest, probably never will be. True, I can compel myself to get up early if my schedule demands it, but if I don't have any pressing business to attend to in the morning... ain't no way. Often, I'll happily forego breakfast for an extra 10 or 15 minutes in bed, but over the past few months, I've become increasingly aware that breakfast is necessary for so many reasons: giving an energy boost after fasting overnight, important nutrients that keep us functioning mentally and physically, and essentially making me less of a grouch. Having lost some unneeded weight recently and wanting to keep it off, having a healthy and filling breakfast is a must to keep from nibbling or over-indulging at lunch. I could go on. But I'm not logging in to preach today.

I have a terrific recipe for y'all today. It's one of my new favorite things. Seriously. It's so good. When I came across these mini-quiche's on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I knew I just had to try them out. And my, were they a smashing success, even though I forgot the mushrooms this time around... Someone remind me not to shove them in the way way back of the fridge next time.

May 2, 2016

feel tiny

Last October, my best girlfriend Aemelia and I had the opportunity to dine in style at The Signature Room, a restaurant on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center in downtown Chicago. It was really an incredible experience, and I'm not just talking about my burger and the subsequent cheesecake.

I love places that make me feel tiny, that remind me of just how small I am in the grand scheme of things. A certain handful of places cause me to feel like this: mountains, oceans and long stretches of empty beach, window seats on airplanes, and when I'm lucky enough to have a view like the one from The Signature Room.
© Iris Hanlin