The Trip of “First’s”

My heart was racing, hardcore. The Dramamine clearly had not kicked in yet. The people were swarming all over the place, some looking very antsy, some tuned out listening to who knows what kind of music, all the while the kids in the background threw out a “MOM! DAD!” here and there. I was boarding a big jet plane and I couldn’t have been more excited or scared at the same time. The day I had waited several terribly long months for was finally here.

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Eight days in beautiful CO were absolutely the most perfect eight days I could have ever imagined. From the first moment off that plane waiting for half an hour for my lovely friend, Ryan, to a small walk up the mountains in sandals, terribly bad idea, and to the mini freak out session due to a 1% battery life all the while being SO lost I literally thought my life was over, nothing was able to put a damper on my trip.

Breakfast. Pizza. Beer. By far, the top three things consumed. Not mad about any of my food decisions. My trainer, probably has other thoughts…sorry, not sorry.

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People in CO are genuinely rather happy. (I feel that the obvious probably doesn’t have to be stated) Everywhere you go people are active, out to grab a drink or a bite with friends and the conversations are nothing like the boring old news you hear on the radio. People say “Hiiiii, have a nice run” to you as you are running on down the neighborhood street looking far from your best. The Colorado flag is flown with pride, everywhere. People are there because they want to be there.

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I can’t even begin to tell one how many new things I did on this trip. Being on my own during the day I had many hours to explore, talk to people but most of all I was able to enjoy brunch. I could eat brunch food ALL DAY LONG (and pizza…I’ve got a fully belly of it as I type. Whoops.).

The major day of “first’s” happened Saturday. Beginning bright and early, Ryan and I hit the road at 7:30. Two dozen donuts. Iced Coffee. Beer. Gatorade. Water. Protein Bars. The essentials, obviously. First stop, Boulder to tailgate. First time doing so. We just happened to demolish the rest of the clan in beer pong despite the fact that it was so early. Amazing. Next stop, New Belgium Brewery up in Fort Collins. This is basically all I ever wanted to do when planning this trip, really. 90 minute tour and a tasting session. Gahhhh, I could go on all day about it. Best part, besides the slide ride at the end, was the 15 min old Fat Tire that I tasted. I was in heaven. On the road again we went. By this point we are a wee bit exhausted given that it is now mid afternoon. Next stop, the Color Run back in Denver. Not exactly our brightest moment to attend this event, yet so much fun it was. We hated ourselves at the end. Let me rephrase that, our bodies hated us. It was the most perfect day in the whole entire world in the end.

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Traveling to Denver twice in the last five months has made me one happy gal. I could go on and on and on about how much this trip meant to me. But I’ll spare you all my excitement, happiness and love for Denver, the people, the food, the hot spots, its beauty and so much more. One day I will call it home, very soon.

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xoxx,
Nessa

The Trip of “First’s”

“What’s Happening…?!”

I thought my life was going to come to a screeching halt the other night when I was told, by someone who is not even 21 or in college for that matter, if I wanted abs I needed to stop drinking that perfect, crisp & refreshing glass of Riesling after work each night. That night, of course without thinking, I had THAT glass of wine. The next evening, I was given THAT same glass. This time something didn’t feel quite right about it. I took one sip and realized I didn’t even want it. It didn’t have that refreshing taste like always. It didn’t give me that feeling of ease. It did absolutely nothing except make me feel terrible. In the back of my head all I could think was, “well here is one more day of not getting abs!”.

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Such a personal story to be told but let’s be real here, wine is just SO good but a pair of abs is even better. At least that is what I am telling myself at this point in my life. As in, that is how I am feeling this week. It might be a bit embarrassing to tell you that it has (only) been five whole days without wine and quite frankly, I am rather proud. (The six bottles of wine that I bought last week will just have to sit on the shelf for a while and look pretty I suppose)

I’ve always been a rather big fan of drinking your nutrients. Much, much more lately. Defense Up! Literally, I get the biggest bursts of energy after drinking my daily juice. Try. It. Out.

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Having two days off in a row, major bonus, I’ve been spending time with me Mum shopping, drinking smoothies, discussing how to get that perfect eyebrow & catching up on the latest reality scandals. Day trips with my sis have resulted in chilly adventures to the beach to see the ice shelves, lunch in a Mediterranean cafĂ©, frozen yogurt for the first time in over a year, followed by an endless amount of laughs as she preceded to take far too long to think about which direction she would be turning when driving…”what’s happening?!”

Sweet Cheeks & Babes…
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Now, I am going to carry on with my night, sipping on sparkling water while watching romance movies, searching the latest food and fashion trends on Instagram and ending it all with some boy band videos on YouTube…I couldn’t make this stuff up even if I wanted to.

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“What’s Happening…?!”

Pear + Cranberry Almond Creme Tart

Raindrops cover the window obstructing my view into the backyard of a scene that is far from summertime. Rich, deep hues of orange and red have taken over. Fall in the Midwest is absolutely gorgeous. As much as I miss the sunny, hot, pool-side filled days, this has got to be my favorite time of year. For many reasons but one more than the other, it’s baking season people!

Everyone knows my undying love for the art of baking. The ingredients. The flavors. The outcome. The experiments. Oiy Vey! I live for the days where someone asks me to bring a dessert to the party, create cupcakes for their special event, whip up a fancy dessert bar for their special day and much more. Words that I really like to hear are, “We know you do really well, do whatever you want”. Usually it happens something like that or maybe I just like to pretend that is what I hear every time…

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This recipe most definitely falls into the experiment category that just so happened to turn out pretty well if I do say so myself. Side note here, my photo for this recipe got accepted onto http://www.tastespotting.com, (a site filled with food blog photos) I jumped for joy!

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2 cups Almond Flour
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
9 tbls Cold Butter, cut
1 Egg Yolk, beat

6 tbls Butter, Room Temp
2/3 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Roasted, Finely Ground Almonds
2 tsp All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Cornstarch
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cloves

1-2 Pears
1 1/2 cups Fresh Cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a food processor, process the almond flour, powdered sugar and salt. Add in the butter and pulse. Add the yolk and pulse until all is incorporated. The mixture will be somewhat wet. Place in a tart pan or pan of the like and freeze for 30 minutes. After the allotted time cover with a piece of buttered/greased foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Cut up pears into somewhat thin slices. Set aside.

While the crust is par baking. Begin to roast the almonds, on the stove top or oven, just until an aroma begins to fill the kitchen. Careful not to burn them, it happens fast. Using a food chopper or a knife, chop up the almonds until the are small pieces almost to a medium grind. With beaters, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Continue to add in the rest of the ingredients, almonds, flour, cornstarch, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves until all is combined. When the crust comes out of the oven, remove foil, pour in mixture. Turn oven down to 350 degrees F at this moment. Place sliced pears into a design of your choice, sprinkle cranberries around as well. Not all 1 1/2 cups maybe used or all pears. Place back in oven for roughly 50-60 more minutes until a tester is inserted and comes out clean. Cool. Can sit on the counter for 3-4 days or in the fridge for up to a week.

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Using all Almond Flour makes it gluten free! All Purpose flour can easily be switched out if you desire to. The Almond Flour crust will lead to a crisper more well done crust. It’s not burnt! Unless of course you do burn it in which point I always look for a positive in the situation. You will find one, one way or another.

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Thanks so much to all who have been around reading this blog! So thankful to be able to share these recipes and a little bit about my life with you all. I can’t wait for what is to come.

Much love
Nessa

Pear + Cranberry Almond Creme Tart