Our Perfect Picks: Travel inspiration

Some people live to work and some people work to live. We work to travel. And not just for the sake of taking a break, we also really love seeing new places, meeting people, learning about other cultures and trying all kinds of food. If you are here in the Pacific Northwest like us you probably know about Rick Steves with his many guidebooks and a TV series on public television, but his perspective probably sums it up best: "Rick is outspoken on the need for Americans to fit better into our planet by broadening our perspectives through travel."

Since we love traveling so much, we thought it would be fun to start sharing some of the places we have really enjoyed. If you’re in the process of planning a honeymoon or your next vacation, here are a few places we’ve been and can’t wait to visit again!

Stay tuned for future posts with travel tips and places we're dreaming about exploring together on a #sistertrip Let us know if you have questions and what your favorite destinations are!

It's Pie Day!

We know the math nerds love that today is 3.14, and everyone who isn’t at least enjoys the excuse to eat pie so it’s a win-win situation. For us it’s both - on long car rides our dad actually taught us to memorize pi and in recent years Isabelle has come to perfect the pie crust (I: I actually grew up always eating the filling and passing on the crust when it came to pie, but once I learned how to make it a couple years ago I’ve never looked back! I’ve also managed to convert other crust-skeptics as well).

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The perfect pie crust

It turns out that making a good pastry crust is easy! The trick to making it flaky is to keep things cold and not over mix. There are plenty of recipes out there, the one we use is simple flour, salt, chilled butter. and ice water. You can make it a couple of days ahead (it should be well chilled before you roll it out, a few hours at least) and then it’s just roll, fill, and bake.

Let us know if we should do a post with our favorite crust and filling recipes!


Crust appeal

We have heard all sorts of techniques for getting the top crust nice and golden. An egg-wash can certainly accomplish the task, but if you don’t feel like making a scramble or tossing the rest when you’re done, try water or milk. We have gotten mixed results but some people swear by these methods. To really finish it off, add large grained sugar, such as sanding or turbinado.

If you are feeling creative, have a little fun with the design of the top crust. If you want to showcase the filling of the pie you can try a basic lattice or use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. All the little cutouts can be put back on the pie or, our mom’s favorite method, dusted with sugar and baked for little pie crust cookies :) Cookie cutters or a pairing knife can also be used to turn crust scraps into decorations. If you are looking for some inspiration, we love checking out the designs by lokokitchen.


If you don’t love crust…

Not convinced that pie crust can be good or maybe you don’t have time? That’s okay! One of our favorite pies actually doesn’t have a crust at all. Every Autumn since we were little we would gather apples from the tree in our backyard and make a classic “Apple Betty” from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (doesn’t every mom have this one?!). The cinnamon and sugar crunchy topping will always be a hit for us.

Alternatively, maybe try a graham cracker crust. They can be a little finicky, just make sure to really press it in, a smooth sided measuring cup often does the trick.

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Pie for a crowd

Don’t let the name fool you, a slab pie is a genius concept. Sometimes also called a try pie, you make two crusts, roll them out to the size of your baking sheet with a thin layer of filing between. Cut the baked pie into squares and you are ready to feed the whole party. We like the Smitten Kitchen recipe, which includes the addition of a frosting drizzle turning it into the world’s biggest toaster pastry. This pie is also great for a mix of more and less crust options for your guests! Or yourself… we’re not judging.

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Portable pies

For the crust lovers out there we present to you: hand pies! They are adorable, portable, and something about them just feels special. (I: full disclaimer this is the most time intensive option, but totally worth it for the right occasion) Roll out the dough, cut into your desired shape, fill, and seal with egg-wash. Tip: pick a stable filling and don’t overfill (they will still taste great, it will just be a much messier process). We used a crimped cutter to make wavy edges and a cookie cutter for the vent hole because why not?!

We would love to hear about your favorite pie recipes, tips, tricks and fails! We all have them :)

Sweet local shops we love

At Thanksgiving we decided we just had to share some of the local places we’re thankful for and Valentine’s day seemed like another good opportunity to highlight and support more small businesses we have a crush on! So if you’re looking for a gift for your Valentine, wedding favor or party treat here are some sweet shops to visit.

Be mine

This one is a no-brainer for us: we like to think of ourselves as OG, loyal fans who are firmly #teamtrophy when it comes to local options. Besides the regular amazing flavors, we also love the seasonal variety. And just as important as the taste, the decorations are ON POINT, perfectly executed to embody creativity and whimsy. We love to make our own cupcakes and enjoy many of the recipes from the (SIGNED COPY, yup) cookbook, but we still like to #treatourselves at a Trophy shop. And if you’re planning a wedding (or shower) and want to go the cupcake route, this would be our #1 pick.

The forever candy

We’re not sure if this is a real thing, but we’re making it one because everything about this company is sweet, lovely, beautiful, thoughtful… and they care about supporting important causes. We have a set of the friendship (or sister!) necklaces, which are beautifully handcrafted. Everything about the packaging and the jewelry feels special and purposeful. A set of those or any of their other jewelry would make the perfect gift for a friend, family member or bridesmaid.

Sugar rush

There is something about wandering into an adorable candy shop that makes you want to run around grabbing all the candy you want because you’re an adult and there are no parents around to say you can’t. No? Just us? Ok then. Well even if you don’t need to live out your childhood dreams, this is the perfect place to stop if you need a little extra special sugary treat for someone (or yourself). They can also help you wrap up themed packages of candy for a shower prize or wedding favors. And if you get a little extra for the road we won’t tell anyone.

So good it hurts

Hopefully this is the only sweet treat on the list that puts you in pain, but we still love them! It’s in a great location, beautiful, clean and the staff are always friendly. Booking (and changing an appointment) is really easy on their site and periodically they run specials. We are totally converted to sugaring and if you haven’t tried it already, this is the place to go. They also have facials and (Amanda’s favorite) lash lifts - lots of great services to get ready for any event.

Sweet treat

We first discovered this ice cream a few years ago at an event at Coyle’s Bakeshop - we turned to each other after taking a bite and made a face of “wow that is really good ice cream!” Confession: neither of us are ice cream connoisseurs (there are plenty of other things we feel very strongly about, like croissants, speaking of which, Coyle’s does have amazing croissants). We like it, but it’s an occasional treat for us and not something we ever thought we’d be stalking on social media waiting for it to come out in stores… But alas this stuff is GOOD and is the next best thing to actually making your own ice cream with really good ingredients while also having the genius to come up with amazing flavor combinations. For your next girls’ night or bachelorette party, do us all a favor and bring this.

Update: Sweet Lo’s is no longer in Seattle :( but we wish her all the best on her Oregon adventures!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

XOXO Amanda + Isabelle