I’ve moved….

Hello Everyone,

For those that followed Getting By, Dreaming Big for the many years I was writing, thank you thank you thank you!  My life has changed A LOT since writing on here and so I have switched gears and started a more family centric blog, Everyday Beth. It is reminiscent of my “Tuesday Travel” posts but just geared more to how I’m spending time with my two little ones!

Feel free to follow me over there at Everyday Beth.

Look forward to reconnecting!

xoxo

Beth

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Tuesday Travels: The Norman Rockwell Museum

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(Photo Source)

Writing the post about the Rockwell exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum got me to thinking about The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this museum twice in my life.  Once at a young age with my family as we were probably returning from a vacation in Cape Cod (I think I was probably 11 or 12) and the second time during Jon and mine’s one year wedding anniversary trip to Cranwell Resort & Spa in the Berkshires.

I have a deep appreciation for Rockwell’s art and work, it probably stems from being introduced to him at a young age by my parents, but it is also is because his work is so human and so relatable – it’s everyday life.  Everyone can look at at least one of his works and say that reminds me of…in their own life.  The Norman Rockwell Museum houses, no surprise, the largest collection of Rockwell’s works

Admission into the museum is $15 for adults and the audio guide tour is $5. 

I love this museum, it’s easily visited in two hours, which is a must in my museum liking criteria, and it’s beautiful.  Both times I was here I enjoyed myself immensely, even as a kid, I think there are pieces you’re drawn to and can appreciate it.  It is a museum I most definitely will visit again in my lifetime.

Here are some of my favorite pieces:

Rockwell 1

(Photo Source 1)

Rockwell 2

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Rockwell 3

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Rockwell 4

(Photo Source 4)

And that’s just a sampling.  It’s rare that there is one that I don’t like.  If you find yourself in the Berkshires, this is one museum not to be missed, especially if you enjoy Rockwell!

Post in Comments:
Have you been to the Norman Rockwell Museum?  If so, did you like it?

Tuesday Travels: The Brooklyn Art Museum

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Recently my mom and sister invited me to join them at the Brooklyn Art Museum to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit.  I love Rockwell so I gladly joined along.  I had never been to the Brooklyn Art Museum so this was also new NYC exploring territory – wahoo!

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The museum itself is a modern, light and airy building with some great characteristics such as this exposed brick greeting us at the entrance.  The entrance fee was a suggested $10, that felt pretty reasonable to me.

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First things first we visited the exhibit we came there to see, “Norman Rockwell, Behind the Camera.”  This exhibit was really interesting and anyone who likes Rockwell would certainly enjoy it.  During his career Rockwell started taking photographs of the image he had in mind to draw.  He would gather models and instead of making them sit for hours on end while he drew them and got it just so, he would get them set up, take hundreds of photographs and from those photographs he would create his famous iconic pieces.

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The entire exhibit showed the photographs that were taken for select pieces and then next to it the finished Rockwell piece.  It was really neat to see the models behind the drawings and to see how Rockwell took certain things from each picture.  For example, if he took 25 pictures of one scene, he might use posture from one photo, a facial expression from the other, etc.  It was fun to look at the photos and the final piece and pick out what he used from each photograph when applicable.  The exhibit was really enjoyable, fairly extensive, and showed a video at the end about Rockwell’s life.  He seemed like such an eccentric, fun loving, yet serious man.

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Once we had fully experienced the Rockwell exhibit we decided to explore the rest of the museum for a bit.  The picture above is the European Paintings section.  My favorite floor though was the 3rd Floor I believe….

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It had houses and rooms decorated from different time periods and well, I’m just a sucker for that kind of stuff.  It started out with just rooms on exhibit and we played a fun game where we looked at each room and decided what our favorite thing in the room was.  It was interesting to see that we usually all picked different things, guess we have different tastes.  Then about halfway through the floor we stumbled upon houses (as seen above) where you could walk in and look at the rooms.  It wasn’t exactly like walking through someone’s home you didn’t have complete free access, but I really enjoyed it. 

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All in all we had a good time.  I really enjoyed the Rockwell exhibit, it was easily the highlight of the museum.  With all the amazing museums in Manhattan itself it’s tough to give the Brooklyn Art Museum a high rating.  I didn’t think there specific art collections were that spectacular but I did love like I said the floor with all the period furnishings.  I would recommend this museum to anyone who was really captivated by a special exhibit they were having and then while you’re there tour the rest of the museum. 

Post in Comments:

Do you like period furnishings?  I love getting a glimpse into how people lived!

Monday Bookworms: The Last Days of Dogtown (Book 4/52)

last days of dogtown

The Last Days of Dogtown, Anita Diamant

I read the Red Tent by Anita Diamant years and years ago when it first came out and loved, loved, loved it.  No seriously if you have not read it yet, go out to your local library or book store and get it ASAP. It’s such a great read.  I enjoyed it so much that as soon as Good Harbor, Diamant’s next book came out I pounced on it.  However, I came away disappointed.  Maybe it was because my own mother had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer just before I read this book about a woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer dealing with the realities of it all – I was just too close to the subject matter.  (Don’t worry my mom is fine now!)  I’ve had Last Days of Dogtown on my shelf for sometime and I’ve thought about picking it up many times, but somehow never have, until now. 

Last Days of Dogtown, takes place in the 1800’s in a remote town in Massachusetts.  In it, Diamant gives voice to those that would have been marginalized during that time period – widows, spinsters, orphans, freed slaves who never really felt free – she created this little community of characters that are so special they absolutely deserve to be read about. 

Last Days of Dogtown is a subtle novel; it reads almost as a compilation of short stories that are all tied together.  Each chapter in the beginning focuses on individual characters living in Dogtown, but towards the end of the novel those characters are woven together in a sense of community.  It is a beautifully told story and one that really touched me.  It reminded me in writing style of Olive Kitteridge which was a book I adored.  This is more subtle, with softer characters, but also a little more bleak or gray where as to me Olive Kitteridge portrayed a much more hopeful color like yellow or orange.  Perhaps those are just their respective book covers getting into my brain.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you have enjoyed Diamant in the past I think you too would enjoy it.  I’ll have to go read Day After Night next.

Post in Comments:

Have you ever read a book that has hit to close to home, and you ended up not enjoying it as much as you thought you would?

Monday Bookworms: A Reliable Wife (Book 3/52)

The Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick

This book was recommended to me, and was described as AMAZING.  I was intrigued, I had never heard of, A Reliable Wife and so instead of letting it perish on my never-ending bookshelf I decided to pick it up.  The person who recommended the book also leant it to me.

In A Reliable Wife, Catherine Land answers Ralph Truitt’s newspaper ad, for “a reliable wife”.  I should mention that the book is set in 1907 Wisconsin, because we know that in today’s day and age, no one would put out a newspaper ad…moving on.  Catherine comes to Wisconsin with a dream of wealth and luxury and a plan to use Mr. Truitt to provide her with a certain lifestyle.  Ralph Truitt knows more than he lets on.  Their relationship grows and changes as they live together as husband and wife, playing a charade both know to be false.  Will Catherine carry out her plan, or will she have a change of heart before it’s too late?

I have to say, the premise held some promise in the beginning, I was intrigued by both characters and their histories, their childhood and I enjoyed this part of the book, watching their lives unfold.  Somewhere along the way though, I could foresee how the story was going to unfold, and to be honest, I just started to lose interest.  Overall, it’s definitely a book I would not recommend, and something I would say to pass.

Funny enough, since reading this I’ve noticed it mentioned in numerous places apparently it’s on a lot of people’s “must read” list for book groups, goodread members, etc.  It didn’t enthrall me, but it was an easy read for sure.  If I had been more interested I could have read it in a day or two, it’s not a terribly difficult read.

Post in Comments:

What “hot/popular” book(s) did you just not like?

Monday Bookworms: Two for the Dough (Book 2/52)

Two for the Dough

Two for the Dough, Janet Evanovich

My friend Angelique recommended the Stephanie Plum series to me recently and thankfully my sister’s bff Jackie had them on hand to loan to me!  I read the first book, One for the Money, and really enjoyed it, so I felt it was time to dive into the 2nd book, Two for the Dough.

In Two for the Dough, bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, is charged with picking up Kenny Mancuso, who shot his friend (not fatally mind you) and then skipped out on his bond.  Only problem is that Kenny Mancuso is nowhere to be found.  As Stephanie digs deeper into Kenny’s personal life and current whereabouts she realizes that this case is bigger than she ever expected and Kenny is more dangerous then Stephanie ever thought.  With the help of a great cast of characters from the ever domineering Joe Morelli to her little old grandmother, Grandma Mazur, Stephanie tries to solve the case without getting herself or any of her loved ones killed.

The thing that makes Evanovich’s novels so much fun are her characters and I think Grandma Mazur might be one of the best characters ever written.  She is hilarious and I am hoping that she plays an integral part in future Evanovich books!

Her mysteries are fun, light and page-turning – but most importantly fun – and Two for the Dough did not disappoint.  I actually thought this mystery was more difficult to figure out than her first one.  I enjoyed how the story unfolded and she certainly kept me turning the pages.  I can definitely see myself reading the entire Stephanie Plum series.  Hopefully Jackie can continue to hook me up with the books.

Post in Comments:

Do you have a favorite character from a series that you really enjoy?

Sunday Baking: The Yeast Challenge from Josh’s point of view

Below is Josh’s take on using Yeast as one of the ingredients in our baking challenge!  If you would like to refresh your memory on my entry, click here!  Take it away Josh…

When Beth threw out the idea of using Yeast as one of our ingredients, I will admit that I was nervous.  I have never used yeast before, and sort of assumed that it has no use for anything other than home-made bread, which I never had any interest in making.  But that is what this whole baking challenge is about, trying new things and challenging ourselves.

I made 2 recipes for the yeast challenge, Brioche and Curried Dinner Rolls.  I unfortunately can’t find the curried dinner roll recipe(this is what happens when you wait several months to do the write up), but will share with you the brioche.  This brioche was AMAZING.  I actually took it from Andrea’s website, The Dabbling Chef

We had it with jelly, with butter, with eggs, it was good no matter how we ate it.

There are pictures from when Andrea has made it on her blog, but I will add some of my own as well.  And as Andrea mentions on her site, make sure to read the whole recipe ahead of time(which is really just good practice with cooking in general).  These little delights have to rise twice, once overnight!

Brioche Recipe 

Adapted from Pete Bakes (peterandrewryan.com) and Taste of Home’s Complete Guide to Baking.
Makes one dozen (or 6 if you use a bigger muffin pan like me)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter (11 tablespoons)
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs + 1 extra for the egg wash

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel and salt. Heat butter and milk in a small saucepan to 120-130 F (it should bubble, not boil and feel just barely too hot on the back of your hand). Add melted butter and milk mixture to dry ingredients and beat until moistened.

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Beat in 4 of the eggs, then add one cup flour and beat until smooth. Gently stir in remaining flour, but do not knead the dough. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Punch dough down, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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Punch dough down again and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest another 15 minutes. Cut off 1/6 of the dough and set aside for topping. Divide the remaining dough into 12 (or 6 depending on your muffin pan) equally sized balls and place into greased muffin cups. Divide the 1/6 of the dough into 12 (or 6) smaller balls. Make an indentation in each larger dough ball with your thumb and place the small ball of dough on top. Cover and let rise again in a warm place for about an hour.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat an egg and brush over the rolls. (Don’t add too much egg wash or it will burn). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Great tip: Place an oven proof bowl of water in the bottom of the oven. This will keep the brioche nice and moist as it bakes.

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I was extremely happy with these, and even though they took awhile, it was well worth it!  Thanks for finding this amazing recipe Andrea!

Beth here again.  I just wanted to state I had never had brioche until I tried these that Josh made.  They were delicious!!!!  So soft and fluffy and light and sweet and just delicious.

Post in Comments:

Have you ever eaten Brioche?  Do you like it?

Sunday Baking: Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I told you that my co-workers and I were going to go Vegan for the week?  I’ll recap that experience soon, but in the meantime I want to share with you the recipe that most definitely got me through the week – Oh She Glows Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.  I realized pretty early on in the challenge that I needed a source of sugar stat, I also needed a stellar recipe to compete in my work bake-off challenge with Christina (we tied!)  Yes, that’s right we tied and I made a Vegan dessert.  To see the original recipe, visit Oh She Glows.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 10 graham cracker squares crushed into crumbs
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 bag of semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 T chia seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 T unsweetened coconut, for garnish (optional)

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Directions: In a medium saucepan melt the vegan butter over medium heat.  Then add the peanut butter, vegan graham cracker crumbs and the light brown sugar.  Spray the mini muffin pan with Pam, spray it well.  Once the peanut butter mixture is ready spoon 1 tablespoon into each mini muffin slot.  Clean out the pot you just used (if you don’t have another one you can use) and put it back on the burner, low to low-medium heat.  Add one bag of semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips with 1/2 cup of almond milk.  Stir together until melted then using a teaspoon spoon chocolate over the peanut butter until it is covered.  You might need to use a spoon to spread it out so it fully covers the peanut butter.  Spoon away until all the chocolate is used up.  Garnish with unsweetened coconut and/or chia seeds although the topping options are endless!

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These were AMAZING!  No really, I know you’re sitting there thinking how could a vegan treat be delicious, but these are!  They chocolate is smooth and then the peanut butter is so crunchy and delicious.  And best part they are bite size.  Even Jon liked them.  He tried them with a skeptical look on his face and he really really loved them.  I still have a bunch in my freezer and they’re perfect for a little dessert, the perfect dose of chocolaty goodness.  Vegan or not I guarantee if you make these in your household they’ll be a huge hit.  The unsweetened coconut was my favorite topping!

Post in comments:

Have you ever made a dessert and liked it more than you thought you would?

Sunday Baking: The Honey Challenge from Josh’s point of view

Hey everyone, below is Josh’s take on the Honey ingredient for our baking challenge.  To re-read my entry, click here!  Take it away Josh….

I am 3 recipes behind on my write-ups(about 3 months).  Sorry to keep you all waiting, I have no excuse other than being lazy.  With that said, I bring you my entry for the Honey – Baking Challenge.  When it came to picking ingredients for this challenge, honey was one of my choices because I love the taste of honey.  It is sweet, flavorful, and just overall amazing.  I thought, what could be a better ingredient for a baking challenge?  Wow was I wrong.  It was near impossible to find a recipe (other than for honey-cake) that featured honey as the main flavor!  Sure, I found lots of recipes that used honey as a sweetener, but nothing that was what I truly believed to be a honey recipe. 

I decided on making Loukoumades, a Greek honey soaked dough ball.  I had these in Athens back in September, and they were to die for.  You would bite into the dough, and honey would just ooze out.  Needless to say, I was very excited when I came up with the idea.

Before I get into the recipe, let me say that I thought that they came out terrible!  I am sure that all of the people who tried them wouldn’t agree, but that is because they are all being nice.  They weren’t formed into balls (were more like odd shaped lumps), the honey didn’t soak through, the dough tasted very yeast-y.  Overall, I was not pleased.  But I guess that is part of the backing challenge, not every attempt at something completely new will turn out good.

Recipe is from allrecipes.com:
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/loukoumades/Detail.aspx

Ingredients

    * 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
    * 1 cup warm water
    * 1/2 cup warm milk
    * 1/4 cup white sugar
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 1/3 cup butter, softened
    * 3 eggs
    * 4 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1/2 cup honey
    * 1/2 cup water
    * 4 cups vegetable oil, or as needed
    * 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a small bowl. The water should be no more than 100 degrees F (40 degrees C). Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam. In a large bowl, mix the warm milk, sugar, and salt, and mix to dissolve. Pour the yeast mixture into the milk mixture, and stir to combine.

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2. Beat in the butter, eggs, and flour until the mixture forms a smooth, soft dough. Cover the bowl, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Stir the dough well, cover, and let rise 30 more minutes.
   
3. Mix honey and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat and let the honey syrup cool.
   
4. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Oil should be about 2 inches deep.
   
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5. Place a large table or soup spoon in a glass of water near the batter. Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of dough per puff with the wet spoon, drop it into the wet palm of your hand, and roll it back into the spoon to create a round shape. Do not overhandle the puffy, soft dough. Drop the dough balls into the hot oil in batches, wetting the spoon each time you make a dough ball. Fry in the hot oil until golden brown on the bottom, and roll them over to cook the other side, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Gently set the loukoumades aside to drain on paper towels.
   
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6. Place the loukoumades on a baking sheet, drizzle them with honey syrup, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm.

I would debate trying to make these again with a different recipe maybe, but I doubt that will actually happen.  If I want loukoumades, looks like I will have to go back to Athens (or take a trip over to Astoria).

Post in Comments:

If you were to make a recipe that featured honey what would you make?

Entertainment Saturday–Adele

I am obviously catching up on posts.  You all haven’t heard from me in what two weeks, I think I was 3 posts behind on each category, so here they come.  I’m hoping to do Saturday and Sunday posts tonight and then just keep ‘em coming day by day.

My college roomie, Megs and I gchat pretty much everyday.  Sometimes it’s about important things other times it’s just random.  We love movies, music and books (just to name of few of the things we have in common) so we usually talk about those things quite a bit.  She mentioned she was loving on Adele at the moment and I was like, “Who?”  I know, I’m so behind the times!  Well, not really as this was before Adele’s second album 21 came out on February 22nd.  I decided to check her out and now I am officially obsessed…obsessed.  You HAVE to check this chickadee out!

Courtesy of AdeleVEVO on youtube

I mean this song, Rolling in the Deep, totally rocks!  I cannot stop listening to it!  It’s bluesy, got good bass, great beat, some piano and is a little jazzy.  This girl is 21 years old people, please someone tell me what am I doing with my life?  What really wins me over though…her voice…she has a “sick” voice, as in good.  I could listen to her music all day.

This is another one of my faves from her new album:

Courtesy of AdeleVEVO on youtbue

And lastly:

Courtesy of AdeleVEVO on youtube

Gosh, Someone Like You just breaks your heart.  If I had to use one word to describe her music it would be SOULFUL, definitely soulful.  I’m so glad that Megs turned me on to her, and I look forward to listening to her music often.  She’s coming to NYC in May…who knows perhaps I’ll get a bunch of peeps together to go see her.  There are no bounds to my concert going.

Post in Comments:

Have you checked out Adele?  Do you have a favorite song?