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On our trip to Decatur, my Mom arranged for our group to visit Adams County’s apicultural hotspot: Rekeweg Honey Company. The Rekeweg family was gracious enough to give us a lengthy tour of their facility, and it turns out that bees are absolutely fascinating!
We barraged the experts with questions about everything from pollinating, breeding, buying, selling, stinging, buzzing, queens, drones, pH, royal jelly, honey bears, and more!

    
We were so enthralled that Kirk and I later consulted the Indianapolis city code to see if we could start our own colony (no). Instead, we settled with purchases of every honey product we could carry… We only have about 3/4 gallon of honey left :)
Many thanks to the Rekeweg’s for sharing their wonderful business and life with us – we loved every moment!

~ Alex
p.s. I think we tried honey comb, honey stix, creamed honey, raw honey, flavored honey, natural honey, honey in a bear, and honey in a jar – but my personal product of choice was the lip balm… I’ve been using it all week!

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What started as a simple desire to celebrate the coming of fall has become something of an institution. It’s now a tradition to visit Alex’s family in Decatur, Indiana each October with a group of friends.
Last weekend marked the fifth annual “Fall Weekend”. We lucked out with perfect weather to enjoy the season.

Each Fall Weekend seems to top the previous year. I thought last year’s apple picking and cider pressing adventures would be hard to beat, but this year’s visit to a local beekeeper was absolutely fascinating!
We stocked up on enough honey products to keep us going until at least 2015.
And no Fall Weekend is complete without rousing renditions of Stayin Alive and I Want It That Way.

We’re already looking forward to next year.  Or maybe we’ll have to start a Spring Weekend.
~Sonja

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It was one year ago today that we brought home this tiny two-pound puppy. Since then, she’s gained a massive five pounds, learned a battery of tricks (from playing dead to her newest touchdown high-five), and begrudgingly adapted to the rules of our household (though she has been known to leave us special presents now and then).

Yes, our clothes now layered with a light film of dog hair, and the ring of our door bell can never be followed by silence again, but we’ve loved every minute of our lives with Luna!
Click here for a photo essay of Luna’s first year
~Sonja
 

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When you do crazy things like make your own mozzarella, you’re left with the task of finding ways to use it. Fortunately, the Italians devised the perfect method.
We’ve been experimenting with pizza since our honeymoon to Rome and the Amalfi Coast a few years ago. Somehow it is not quite as easy as you would think. Especially once you’ve tasted Italian pizza.

We’ve had more disasters than we can count. Crusts uncooked, too thick, too thin, sauces too sweet, too spicy, broken pizza stones, warped pans… Our anniversary dinner this year was an unsuccessful pizza resuscitation effort that resulted in piles of pesto covered dough. (It probably should have been comical, but ruined any semblance of a celebratory mood. Oh well.)
However, somehow we have emerged with our very own perfect pizza margarita. Check it.

Oven temperature, cooking method, dough recipe, sauce recipe, and ingredient combinations have all been optimized to our liking (and what our taste buds remembered as “authentic”).

Intrigued? Check out our original recipe below. I promise it’s not as complex as it sounds, once you get the hang of it.
We’re not alone in our pursuit of pizza - apparently it is the new in-thing in the gourmet world. We’re also excited about this and this, new local ventures that are scheduled to open soon.
~Sonja
Pizza Margarita
Making the Dough
1. Combine 4 cups flour, 2 pinches of salt, 1/2 tbs olive oil, and 1 package active dry yeast in a food processor and pulse to combine.
2. With the food processor running, slowly add 1.5 cups warm water.
3. Turn off food processor 10 seconds after the dough forms a ball.
4. Place the dough in greased bowl. Place bowl in warm, humid place covered with a dish towel for at least 45 minutes.
Makes two pizza crusts.
Assembling the Pizza
1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat the oven to 425°F (very important for the correct crust consistency!).
2. Divide the dough into two pieces. (If making one pizza, you can store it in the refrigerator or freezer for later.)
3. Knead the dough a bit, then roll it out to the desired size and thickness.
4. When the pizza stone is pre-heated, remove it from the oven and transfer the crust to the pizza stone. You can do this using a pizza peel (if you’re fancy) or just throw it on (like we do).
5. Top the pizza with (in the following order and the quantity of your choice);
-Crushed San Marzano tomatoes (VERY important – these tomatoes are grown in Italy and provide just the right flavor!)
-Olive oil
-Salt
-Chopped garlic (optional, but adds great flavor!)
-Fresh mozzarella cheese
-Pecorino romano cheese (again optional, but we loved the flavor when we tried it)
-Freshly grated parmesan cheese
6. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned.
7. Remove from oven and top with fresh basil.
Wait a few minutes for it to cool and enjoy!

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Our family photoshoot last weekend wasn’t all work. We also got to enjoy the beauty of the IMA in early fall. Here are some shots we snuck in between takes.



We had some help with this one :)
~Sonja

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OK, I couldn’t resist this title. Blogging somehow brings out an uncharacteristic affinity for corny puns. (I suppose I should have titled the last post “Smiley-ing for the Camera”. But that might have been out of control.)
A few weeks ago our friends the Kings cooked us an incredibly scrumptious meal. We enjoyed these lasagna rolls (a great idea that we can’t wait to experiment with), red pepper dip, and roasted green beans, as well as the excellent company of the Kings. We forgot our camera, but check out Megan’s beautiful photos of the night here (she is a wonderfully talented professional photographer!).
The roasted green beans were so tasty that we had to replicate them ourselves a couple days later. This is one of the easiest and most satisfying “recipes” we’ve made!  The key is the lemon juice, which provides a wonderfully zesty taste. This could also work as an appetizer or tapa, in addition to a tasty side dish.
In the spirit of focusing less on “recipes” and more on “concepts” (our new cooking philosophy), here is the basic idea:
1. Toss fresh green beans with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Place on baking sheet and roast at 425°F for 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Douse with lemon juice (to taste) and enjoy!
~Sonja

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We had a great time this past weekend taking photos of our friends Lynne and Kirk and their beautiful daughter, Eliza!  It was a challenge to keep a 6-month old smiling for two hours on a semi-chilly fall day, but we managed to get a few good shots!


We found the IMA grounds to be a great backdrop (as did many other photographers that day).


The whole family were naturals in front of the camera. And they even managed to snap a few photos of us while they were at it!
~Sonja