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Yes. Fall Weekend 2010. A little bit later than usual, because we had to wait for someone to get home from their honeymoon… The sixth annual trip of our small group from church headed to the great Indiana farmland (aka my Mom’s house) for food, fun, field trips, and apparently – guns. Guns were new to most of us city boys, and it was fun to learn about how to (safely) use them.

In addition to shooting clay pigeons, we were the lucky recipients of a tour of a grain elevator. My awesome uncle Ron led us through the process of receiving and storing corn and grain from farmers. He patiently answered all our many questions. It was quite the fascinating tour, turns out that our food comes from farmers – who knew?!

And, as usual, we ended the night with a sing-along. Admit it – you love singing bad pop songs from the nineties…

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Yep, that’s me.

That too. I’m pretty hardcore.

How did this come about? Well, I’ll leave that to my blogging counterpart :)

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Remember Josh and Kelley, our dear friends whose engagement pics we shot this summer? Well, they’re married!  And we had the pleasure of shooting their wedding as well.

The event was absolutely beautiful – and they were the most joyous couple!

Our job was easy, having such beautiful subjects to photograph.

I mean, seriously.

Many congratulations to Kelley and Josh on the start of your new life together!  We are so excited for you both.

And the best part is…they’re our new next door neighbors!  (Yes, literally! When I found out I almost peed myself.)

Thank you to the Davises for the incredible opportunity to capture their day!  See a few more of their photos here.

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Apologies for the sparse posting this fall!  We’ve been enjoying the season, both in the kitchen and behind the camera lens. A Couple Cooks has kept us busy experimenting with fresh and seasonal recipes, especially with the recent Thanksgiving holiday!  We hope you had a wonderful day to enjoy with family and friends.

 

It’s been so much fun to try new things in the kitchen – some of our recent favorites have included:

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Green Chile Enchiladas
Roasted Broccoli with Garlic
Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Cabbage and Apples
Roasted Root Vegetables
Crisp Marinated Brussels Sprouts

We also discovered the Indy Winter Farmer’s Market, a bustling new market with a wealth of local vendors. We were excited to see the community’s support of local food, and left with delicious fresh produce that we enjoyed in a seasonal meal with friends. Make sure to check it out if you’re in town!

The holiday season has us thinking about those who don’t have the opportunity to surround themselves with delicious and nutritious food – see this post for some ideas on giving back this season!

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Time flies. It’s already been a year since we did a photoshoot with the Smileys (and 6-month old Eliza). I guess they are right, kids really do grow up fast!

Fall 2009

Fall 2010

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Loving to photograph others sometimes means you don’t end up with many of yourself. So just to document that we actually do exist, we had the camera turned on us during our photoshoot with Matt a few weeks ago.

We also used a few on our food blog – hence the apron :)

Thanks to Joe for humoring us and pressing the trigger so artfully! 

~Sonja

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Often at their house, the adjective and noun joyously collide :)

In the latest offering of back and forth dinners, we agreed beforehand that the meal would be a little more simple than usual. Apparently to Lynne and Kirk, this meant 5 courses from around the world! The simple element was incorporated in the fact that most of the recipes could be made ahead of time.

The food was fantastic, the conversation witty, and the after dinner entertainment right up my alley (taking goofy pictures with each other's cameras). Many thanks to the hosts! You can read about the dinner details on their blog.

~ Alex

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This has generally been my motto on family camping trips (mostly to get them to do all of the dirty work while I play by the fire and whine). However, a couple of weeks ago I went on a 3-day backpacking trip with some (manly and good looking) friends from church. I apparently missed the khaki cargo shorts memo.  Anyway, we spent 3 days and 3 nights just over the North Carolina border in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

It turned out to be a great time! I really enjoyed the campsites miles away from any car or trailer with a tv and refrigerator. It was fun to get a short and rain-free glimpse of what they call “backcountry”.

If you’re interested, I wrote details about the trip on my brother’s hiking blog (spoiler, there’s a bear involved!). And if you are really interested, you can read Kirk’s take on the trip on his blog. And if you are still left thirsting for more, the rest of the pics are on Flickr.

~ Alex

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Somehow Alex’s brother Matt is already a high school senior!  We did a photoshoot with him last weekend to commemorate the event. As with all of his brothers, we were impressed with his modeling skills!  If this college thing doesn’t work out, he may have an alternative career path :)

Congratulations, Matt!

~Sonja

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Although the mercury is still topping 90° this week, there is definitely feeling of change about the season…

Perhaps, it’s the wrapping up of Colts preseason. Or maybe, it’s the fact that this rainless August has caused our trees to drop their leaves.

Whatever the case, we are glad to report that August has produced a bounty of tomatoes, and bevy of basil, and a plethora of okra. I certainly can’t complain. :)

~ Alex

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There’s always wonderful looking fruit at our local food stand, and we’ve had fun this summer thinking of simple ways to use it. Here are two of our favorite desserts – both quick to prepare and the perfect way to end a summer meal!

Raspberries and Cream

Peach Brulee

~Sonja

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Green bean, cherry tomato, and corn salad (recipe)

Even though we now have a separate blog dedicated to food, we still want to report on highlights from the kitchen!  So feel free to ignore this and future food posts if you already follow us on A Couple Cooks.

In the last several weeks, we’ve had some fun with food projects, like making two types of pickles. Pickles just may be my new favorite.

Easy garlic dill pickles (recipe)

Since our zucchini plant only had flowers (and no zucchini), we fried them up Italian-style.

Fried zucchini blossoms (recipe)

I’ve officially converted into a tomato lover, so we’ve been utilizing them to their fullest. (This pasta was to die for.)

Linguine with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs (recipe)

We tried our hand at veggie burgers, but had several flops. Though it looked good, we had to compromise taste and texture. We’ll keep trying!

Veggie burger

We’ve been enjoying the fruits of a productive basil plant, which is like gold in our household. Stay tuned for a refresh of an old favorite!

Pesto and roma tomato pizza (pesto recipe – pizza recipe to come!)

~Sonja

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When I get a little free time, I enjoy bouncing around the city – just seeing what people are up to. Last weekend, I went from the somewhat lonely (like the roof of Fresh Market), to the somewhat mobby (like walking towards the stadium 30 minutes before kickoff), and back to the somewhat lonely (like downtown 30 minutes after kickoff). It’s always nice to get a little QT with the camera :)

Somehow, it’s football season again… Go Colts!

~ Alex

Rest of album here…

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Last weekend we bumped into the lovely gentleman who sold us our house. We knew that he had bought and ‘flipped’ it after a couple had lived here for 50 years. After we asked a few questions about the history of the house, he offered up a few ‘before’ pictures from when he acquired the house.

We always knew that he did a great job with the updates, but the pictures really speak for themselves.

We really appreciate the fact that he refreshed an old house and didn’t just make some easy ‘surface’ fixes. Instead he paid attention to the details and did a great job maintaining the character of the house! The only problem we’ve found is that he didn’t fit larger closets into our 1925 bungalow…

~ Alex

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Growing up, my dog was never allowed on the bed. Looks like I’m a push-over :)

~Sonja

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We’ve been toying with the idea of a dedicated food blog for a while. We love sharing what we’re doing in the kitchen, but we wanted a separate space to do it.

So, we decided to take the plunge. We present A Couple Cooks, our new blog for the recipes that we like to share. If you’re interested in following us, please add www.acouplecooks.com to your blogroll, favorites, or feed reader.

We’ll plan to periodically update this blog with our favorite food posts from A Couple Cooks, as well as provide a permanent link on the sidebar.

We’re excited about our new endeavor and hope you’ll enjoy it along with us!

~Sonja

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Luna celebrated her birthday on Thursday by acting like a dog. She is officially 2 years old already!

Check out this oldie but goodie of her just 3 weeks after we got her!

Maybe she’ll stop acting like a puppy now and quit chewing up our living room blinds!

~ Alex

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We rarely use our microwave. So we thought we’d put it to use in an interesting experiment – making potato chips.

These turned out great, and were incredibly tasty without the use of oil. We had to refine the original recipe quite a bit, and we’ll probably look into trying the oven in the future since the microwave doesn’t allow for very large batches.

We added vinegar since we like a little kick, as well as some salt and pepper. But you could add any flavoring you like!

~Sonja

 

Microwave Potato Chips

Notes: It’s pretty helpful to have a mandoline to cut the potatoes into thin uniform slices, but you could always see how your knife skills hold up! Also, this recipe highly depends on the power of your microwave, so you’ll have to do some experimenting.

1. Cut some potatoes in very thin slices, preferably using a mandoline.

2. If desired, place them in a bowl and soak in some vinegar for a few minutes.

3. Place some parchment paper on a plate. Place the chips on the paper, making sure they are not touching.

4. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (or the flavorings of your choice).

5. Microwave until brown. The time and power level depend on your microwave -- our microwave took 10 minutes on high, but you may have to try alternating between high and low settings for a few minutes at a time. Watch carefully the first time to avoid burning!

6. Remove from plate and let cool for 5 minutes.

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Not eating meat doesn’t mean you automatically love things like Tofurky. Actually, we have a bit of a moral dilemma about foods that pretend to be meat.

However, somehow some soy sausage found its way into our fridge. It started with soy chorizo that we used in a paella, which, while it didn’t exactly replicate the real thing, added great flavor and texture.

So it seemed only natural to try some Italian soy sausage as a pizza topping. How was it? It may have been one of the best pizza’s we’ve made. Ever.

Maybe it’s because we’ve gotten better at our pizza technique in general. But the flavor and textures were the perfect combination (made even better with some chopped garlic and black olives).

So, it doesn’t really fit into our rule of avoiding processed foods. And it definitely is pretending to be meat. But, it’s sure tasty – and healthy!

How do you feel about “meat”?

~Sonja

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The tomatoes are just starting to ripen, the swiss chard and okra are tough to keep up with, and the beans remain steady. The square foot garden project is officially successful. We’ve been enjoying all of the veggies and herbs that we’ve been able to grow in the limited sun-lit parts of our property.

The carrots did their best to grow tall in their six inches of soil, curving sideways once they hit the bottom. We are still looking forward to our first taste of leeks, red onions, bell peppers, and cucumbers that have yet to produce.

But perhaps the best part of all has been the near unlimited quantities of basil that are growing. Nothing makes a recipe taste fresh like some good home-grown herbs. Mel’s method of gardening is just as simple, fun, and rewarding as he promised it would be!

~ Alex

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Whilst visiting Chicago last winter, I fell in love with George Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It’s just very cool. You should go see it. I was determined to try to capture a photograph in Paris as a homage to this masterpiece. It took a volcano to give me a second Sunday in town, but I found the shot I was looking for: the people of Paris enjoying the sun on a Sunday afternoon.

We just had the photo printed on canvas and it now adorns our dining room wall, where it shall happily remind us of how lovely Paris is in the spring…

~ Alex