Iceland Vacation

(Inspired by Iceland video via Swiss Miss)

Holy mother of god, I’ve fallen hard. Swept clear off my feet and flying high, wanderlusting. Iceland – you are one beautiful lady.

Photo by Kris Atomic. Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Reykjavik.

Blue Lagoon on Anthology Mag

Since it no longer coincides with E’s work schedule, we’ve regrettably had to cancel our Thanksgiving trip to Paris. While we are both trying to be upbeat and find the positives – it’ll be nice to take a break from constant traveling, we can have a real Thanksgiving meal with our families this year or a quiet, cozy one alone in our new city – I’d be unconvincingly lying to you if I didn’t admit I’m a little bummed. I’ve been to Paris once before but E has never visited and for months I’ve been daydreaming through all the romantic clichéd moments that only Paris (…and Venice) can actually deliver without disappointment – jaunts through the gardens at Versailles, morning cappuccino at patisseries, late-night walks home along the Seine sporting wine-stained lips. But then…

ystenes via krisatomic

_rebekka via krisatomic

CRYSTAL ICE CAVE IN SKAFTAFELL, ICELAND

To cheer ourselves up, we began discussing our next adventure. I mentioned how I kept coming across these incredible photos from Iceland. E was surprised since he had never considered the country before but, coincidentally, had recently spoken with an old friend that vacationed there and had nothing but rave reviews. This prompted some quick research this weekend… and now there is no going back. Iceland is my lover.

j.caron via krisatomic

Peter Nijenhuis via krisatomic

It appears the best way to experience Iceland is to rent a car, have an affinity for hot tubs… and, do. not. forget. your. freaking. camera.

Iceland diary on bigBANG studio

“abandoned thermal pool deep in the mountains!” – Iceland diary on bigBANG studio

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, Iceland, by pas le matin

The diverse environments are incredible. Glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, caves, meadows (sheep! ponies!), mountains, volcanoes, lava fields, black beaches. Surreal. Haunting.

Wanderlust? More like, Wanderporn. Top of our destination picks for 2013.

Iceland diary by bigBANG studio

Iceland by Mait Jüriado

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Baked Feta

via Smitten Kitchen

Looking for a simple meal or perhaps a snack on a lazy Sunday (or, say a Monday night when your attention just can’t be divided between cooking and a certain football team)? Let me introduce to you – baked cheese! We improvised this one weekend afternoon when we were snacky but the only thing of substance in the kitchen was a block of feta and a stale baguette. I’ve warned you before that I’m a sucker for intense Greek flavors – lemon, vinegar, oil, salt, olives (my taste buds are apparently masochists). Only attempt if you really love feta!

The photo above is from Smitten Kitchen’s “Mediterranean Baked Feta” but we just kind of wing it every time.

Baked Feta Recipe

– A block of feta
– Olive oil
– Baguette slices or pita bread

Optional toppings
– Diced tomatoes
– Capers or chopped olives
– Ground pepper
– Dried oregano
– Chopped garlic
– Lemon juice
– Chopped red onion

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a baking dish, place the block of feta and lightly drizzle with olive oil.  Top with any combination of the above toppings. Bake for 10-15 minutes until feta is soft (it will not become runny – only pliable). If desired, top with fresh diced tomatoes. Serve immediately with pita bread or baguette slices and knifes for spreading. Bon appétit!

Movie: The Intouchables

 

A few weeks ago we flew to Germany for a wedding that hosted many international guests and over the course of the weekend one French man, 2 Dutch couples, and multiple Germans raved about a French film called The Intouchables. As luck would have it, it was available for viewing on the flight home and E and I both decided to watch it (how could we resist with such hype!). Over the next few hours we were laughing out loud and poking each other trying to communicate over our headsets. I definitely recommend this endearing film. It’s a feel-good movie based off a true story and reminds me a tad of The Blind Side. Let me know what you think!

The long boardwalk out to the North Sea in St. Peter-Ording

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

photo via L.A. in Bloom

If you need a recipe to use up that abundance of summer zucchini – try this baked penne! We made it this week and it is delicious! I was worried it would be bland but the flavor from the cheeses and roasted summer veggies did wonders. I brought it to work for lunch the next day and was even more pleased when it didn’t dry out after reheating (which is key because this makes a week’s worth of food for two people). This is a great dinner party dish that is very easy & super tasty (and let’s just pretend that the boatloads of veggies involved cancels out all that cheese – deal?).

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables
(Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis – found on L.A. In Bloom)

2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved – E doesn’t love mushrooms so we skipped these but I think they would have been an awesome addition
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound penne pasta – we used whole wheat and I liked the extra texture
3 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade) – I used Rao’s after reading Dinner: A Love Story’s taste test!
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I threw in some chopped garlic, too). Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

P.S. Heather Taylor of L.A. in Bloom made this dish for a girls weekend in Big Sur that looks like it was positively magical! I’m headed to Florida in a week to celebrate a good friend’s bachelorette party and can’t wait to see a bunch of my ladies from the Midwest that I miss terribly!

Platinum

HELP! My hair is a hooooot mess these days but I’m just not ready to chop it off. I’m so bored with getting highlights (especially after 3 failed attempts at finding a decent stylist in Cambridge). I saw this post on Refinery 29 a few weeks ago and have been psyching myself up to do a single process all-over blonde. I’ve only done this once before… at home… out of a box… needless to say, it was a disaster of hooker-hair-proportions. But I just can’t shake the urge after repeatedly referencing these photos of Kate Bosworth, the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy (one of my all-time favorite style idols), and Poppy Delevigne (new girl crush after recently going down the Google rabbit-hole on her).

If it turns out terrible, it’s just hair, right? What do you think? Should I do it?!


about me

Newly-minted New Englander (via Chicago). In pursuit of a stylish home, vast art collection, wardrobe of classics, sagging bookshelves, culinary prowess, and a fully-stamped passport. You know, just the basics.
-Heather

MixedElixir@gmail.com

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"The secret to happiness in life is to be conscious of what is uniquely great about your current situation and put your focus there."

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