Sunday, June 2, 2013

Great Falls Hike

This morning, a friend and I headed out early with my puppy to hike in Great Falls. I have been to the park before but had never actually seen the falls. I didn't know what I was missing, they are beautiful. They mark the steepest fall line of any eastern river. With more than 800 acres and 8 marked trails, there is so much beauty to explore. It can get crowded so the best times to visit are weekdays or very early and later in the afternoon.

The entrance fee is reasonable, $5 per vehicle (good for three days) and $3 for visitors on foot, bike, or horseback. You can also purchase an annual pass, which my friend had, that provides free entry year round. Dogs and other pets are allowed on a 6 foot leash and it is so much fun to see them exploring, playing in the river at the boat ramp, and making new friends with 2-legged and 4-legged nature lovers alike. My pup swam for the first time today and I am SO proud of him. He jumped in not realizing it was so deep but his instincts kicked in and he was happy as a clam.

We arrived at the park around 8 this morning and there was a massive running event going on. We overheard several spectators talking and it turns out it was the Northface Endurance Challenge. It was great to see so many people using such a beautiful park to attain personal goals and challenge themselves. Yet another reason that DC is ranked as the 2nd fittest city in America! Take a look at some of the pictures I snapped for a teaser of this beautiful area.

Consider a visit to Great Falls on the next nice day for a hike, picnic, or a nature photo shoot!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a Whiskey girl. Maker's and Coke, Jameson on the rocks, Jack and Ginger. It's all good. I also have an insatiable sweet tooth. This dangerous craving duo led to my favorite errand of the day: Bourbon Buttermilk Pie.

My grandmother makes an amazing Buttermilk Pie, a simply sweet staple of the South. I put my own twist on it by making it a touch sassier than Grandma Nash does, but no less sweet. Topped with tipsy berries and peaches and my mama's homemade whipped cream, I was transported back home in no time.

I used a premade pie dough because, as sad as I am to say this, I have not mastered pie dough. I also have limited space in my darling apartment. We'll call this [almost] homemade cooking. Enjoy!

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie

Blind bake the pie shell by pricking the bottom of the crust with a fork and baking in a 400-degree oven for 7 minutes. If you have them, fill the bottom with dry beans or pie weights on top of parchment paper. I skipped this step and it came out fine but it is possible the crust will bubble up without pressure on top.

Combine 3 eggs with 1 cup of sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and mix. Add 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 ounce of Bourbon (I used Maker's Mark), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1 stick of butter, melted. Mix in a pinch of nutmeg (I used a little more than a pinch because I love nutmeg). Pour the filling into the cooled, pre-baked pie shell.

Bake in a 325-degree oven for 45 minutes. The pie may need more than 45 minutes depending on your oven. Mine needed closer to an hour. Make sure the center is almost completely solid and a fork comes out clean. A little movement in the middle is okay. Let cool completely before serving.

To make the tipsy berries and peaches, combine 2 cups of sliced peaches with a pint of berries. I used blueberries because they were on sale but blackberries would also be great. Mix in 1 tablespoon of Bourbon, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Let stand for 25 minutes. 

The whipped cream is super simple and way better than Cool Whip! Just use an electric stand or hand mixer and mix heavy whipping cream with sugar to taste until it forms stiff peaks et Voila!

This pie is kind of like us Southern girls, a little sassy but always sweet.

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