Fondue in the Forest

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Hello my wonderful readers!

I’m back home in Reno (although I’m still dreaming of London), but I’ve had a wonderful summer and it’s time to get back to business.  Before I came home, I went to my parents’ cabin for the first time in two years which is where I used to spend my childhood weekends hiking, fishing, and riding quads.

It was also my getaway for watching movies and reading countless books which I did not always have time to do with all of my extracurriculars.  I cannot even tell you how many times I blew through the HP series up there.  7 books and 8 movies were no match when I had a good two weeks of lounging on the porch swing with an iced tea in my hand.

Some of my best memories from growing up were at my cabin, and I wish more than anything that I could make it up more.  Luckily, I have Tahoe just a short 30 minutes away, but there’s nothing like (vacation) home, right?

Anyways, I had a really amazing time with my family hiking, white water rafting, and of course, reading.  We also had some really great food.

Cue fondue.

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Before I share with you our delicious dipping recipes and whatnot, let me first disclose that all of the pictures posted today were taken by my baby brother (except for the fondue pic taken above, which was posted by my mom).  He’s the guy in the maroon striped sweater.  He’s only 17 and far more talented than I will ever be.  So thank you to Garrett (and mom!) for the beautiful pictures shared today.

About fondue:  Fondue is really really fun.  Like, really fun guys.  Although I did this with my family, I’m totally considering getting a fondue pot to have parties with my friends.  Especially since I learned some good tips and tricks from this experience.  We actually did an Italian version of fondue called bagna cauda which is a method of cooking the food in hot oil.

Some tips for a fondue (bagna cauda) party:

1. No more than 4 people should be at the fondue pot at any given time.  Just trust me on this.

2. Wear clothes you won’t be totally sad about ruining.  I don’t think I ended up dripping anything on myself, but there’s always a risk.

3.  Lay down a black garbage bag or old table cloth.  There will definitely be some drippage action there.

4.  Have plenty of dipping options.

5. Consider having some small appetizers or a nice side salad to munch on.  Although fondue is very fun, it’s also time consuming, so you’re waiting a few minutes between each bite.

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Are you ready for some kick-ass dipping sauce recipes and also some wonderfully safe cooking instructions?!

You bet you are, champ.

*Recipes and instructions courtesy of Pillsbury.  Some recipes adapted slightly.*

Bagna Cauda Ingredients:

4 cups peanut oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled (optional)

Cubed beef tenderloin, Cubed chicken breast, Cubed squash, Mushrooms, Cheese cubes (coat with melted butter and bread crumbs beforehand), Shrimp, Cubed pork tenderloin, etc.

Pour oil into a fondue pot.  Add garlic, if using.  Heat until 350* F.  Place setting on warm to maintain heat.  Remove garlic, if using.  To cook ingredients, place 1-2 items on fondue sticks.  Place in oil and cook until desired doneness.  Dip in favorite sauces.

Garlic Basil Aioli

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbs fresh basil, chopped

2 Tbs. olive oil

Salt, to taste

Curry Dip

3/4 c. mayonnaise

1 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. curry powder

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Salt, to taste

Horseradish Sauce

1/3 c. mayonnaise

1/3 c. sour cream

1 Tbs. prepared horseradish

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Directions for all sauces:  Whisk all ingredients in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

*We also used A-1 steak sauce as a dipping sauce*.

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In addition to bagna cauda, we enjoyed the sunset, had a lovely campfire where we looked at the stars, and I got to play with my puppy.  All in all, it was an amazing weekend.

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Song of the Day: Suicide Saturday–Hippo Campus

My Happy Things 7.14.15

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I’m back from London 😦

I’m so sad, but I also figured that I would make myself happy by posting my last “happy things” London edition.  After some very spotty wifi services, I can finally show you guys all the cool things that I did!

I had the most amazing trip, and I can’t wait to show you all more pictures as I download and edit.

I’m on to Utah to spend some time with my family at our cabin, but I will post right when I get back!

Here are my happy things for the week:

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Going to Abbey Road!  This was the coolest experience.  I almost died trying to get this picture, but luckily the cars stopped for half a second to let me get this.  It was truly magical.

Also, this group of three people randomly walked up and asked me to be their fourth Beatle which was kind of fun.  I didn’t get to be Ringo, but I think I’ll let it slide.

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The vintage teacup exhibit at the V&A Museum!  Oh my gosh guys.  This was my dream.  I’m not kidding.  There were rows and rows of teacups like this.  Six rooms full.  It was my heaven.

And yeah, that little blob on the end is me.  That’s how many teacups there were.

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The ceilings at the Courtauld Gallery.  They were so beautiful!  I was almost as excited about the ceilings and walls as I was about the art.  I saw some Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas which was amazing!  I could have spent all day in there.

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Going to the Harry Potter Studio Tours in London.

I can’t even explain this one.  It might become a whole post in itself.

I’ll just say that if you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is something you can’t not do in London.  It was one of my favorite activities I did while I was there.  I may have cried at one point (but that’s not something we need to talk about).

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It took me the whole month to find a pour over, but I did it!  The CoffeeWorks Project saved my life.  I am forever grateful.  It was the raddest little coffee shop, and I’m so glad I got to go.  You guys are the besssss.

NYC Baby by Karen O is one of my favorite songs!  I had it stuck in my head for the last few days I was in London (???), so I figured it had to be added.

Thank you to London and to the amazing people I met while I was there.

It was truly incredible.

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Song of the Day: posted above