Friday, July 3, 2015

Reading & Watching Lately

I'll tell you one thing that 30 cumulative hours on a plane gives you -- a lot of time for reading and watching movies. I binge watched and read until my heart was content and my bum was ready to deplane.

First up: Movies.

I love airplanes that give you your own private movie screen so you don't have to watch the same lame production as everyone else. Ya feel me?

I will give fair warning that every single movie I watched made me cry. Why I pick movies like this is beyond me, but it always happens. Cinderella, McFarland USA and We Bought A Zoo -- all must-watches in my opinion. I also watched a terribly sad and inspirational documentary on Progeria (a terminal disease that makes children age at warp speed) that was featured on HBO. I don't recommend watching it -- SO SO SAD.

Next up: What I Read

What You Left Behind
by: Samantha Hayes

This was my latest Blogging For Books recommendation. This book is dark (think: Gillian Flynn), so I knew right away that I was going to be intrigued. The plot surrounds a town that is recuperating from a string of teenage suicides. Dark family secrets slowly creep out and not everything is as it seems. I love how quick this book seemed to go because I was so interested in the plot. The only thing that got a tad bit confusing was that each chapter switched narrator's with no indication (aside from tone) who was speaking. It usually took me a paragraph or so to decide who was narrating/what was going on. That being said, I would highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys Gillian Flynn or Liane Moriarty.

by: Cheryl Strayed

If I'm being totally honest, I had no intention of ever reading this book. When it became popular from the movie, I was even less interested. Then, my friend recommended it to me after she admitted she couldn't put it down. I figured it would be a worthwhile plane read and I was SO RIGHT. This book is amazing and everything I could ever want from literature -- to feel informed, inspired and like the author is sitting right beside me. If I'm being honest, I was Cheryl to be my new best friend. (Cheryl if you're reading, HI!!!) Her raw honesty and genuine nature is 100% captivating, making this an absolute MUST READ. Like, go get it right now.

What have you read or watched lately that I should know about?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Coffee: Chiang Mai Style

If you're new to the Thailand posts, start here.

If there's one thing Dane knows about me, it's that no day can be started without coffee. Like, a "don't even try to talk to me, because it will not go well" type of dependency. I suppose there are worse vices, but regardless, we always make it our mission to find the coolest coffee shops and bistros when we're out and about.

While we were in Chiang Mai, Dane kept talking about this amazing coffee shop that WE NEEDED TO GO TO. He had such an urgency, but I could not, for the life of me, figure out why. The pictures say it all.
 Ristr8to is what I would consider a coffee bungalow nestled along the suburban streets of Chiang Mai between a bank and hotel. In fact, had they been closed, I probably would have walked right past it! It is a trendy expat and backpacker hangout, equipped with free wifi and delicious brews. We even capitalized on their cake batter waffles with maple and fruit dipping sauces.

Just looking at all these photos again has my mouth watering. I didn't know it at the time, but our coffee was made by the 2011 World Latte Art Champion. The photos above don't do the talent justice, but trust me when I say that the barista could have probably done a portrait of me in under 5 minutes. Such talent!

Now, who wants to go back with me?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tropical Pineapple Burger Bar [Recipe]

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FireUptheGrill #CollectiveBias

There is nothing better than planning a BBQ in the summertime, am I right? Outdoor games, fun drinks and delicious food. You know what is not part of that fun equation? Rain.

Last week, we had some friends over for a backyard BBQ where it proceeded to downpour rain all day and all night, making for a soggy, wet mess -- but rain couldn't stop this party! I had planned on creating a burger bar for dinner and, by golly, that's what was happening! Thankfully, I had my trusty indoor grill pan, all the prepped ingredients and a house full of happy guests :)

To recreate your own burger bar, head to Walmart and pick up ground beef, Kraft Creamy Ranch, Kraft Shredded Cheese & Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese. You'll also want to grab a pineapple, tomatoes, lettuce and an onion from their fresh food section!
Ranch? Cream Cheese? Yes, friends, you read correctly Kraft Creamy Ranch, Shredded Cheese and Cream Cheese are my secret burger weapons!

To set up your bar, chop lettuce, onion, pepper and pineapple and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together hamburger meat, 1 egg, salt, pepper, a tablespoon of cream cheese, a teaspoon of ranch and a handful of shredded cheese. Mix well!
Next, allocate enough patty meat for each guest and allow them to add in what toppings they like!
This burger just has the base meat, with peppers and onions added!
Dane and I chose to make tropical burgers with pineapple, onions, peppers and pineapple juice! They were absolutely delicious and the combination of flavors really popped. Am I the only one that likes sweet and savory combined?! The key is to get some of the juice in there, too, so that the flavor really penetrates the meat. 
(yes, I'm laughing while typing that)

 Because I have yet to find a delicious gluten free roll, I crumbled up my burger and put it on a bed of lettuce and cabbage, which is the greatest part of the burger bar -- people can create what they want!
For more delicious summer grilling recipes, check out Kraft's digital cookbook!

And if you're in the market for an easy dessert, try my Pudding Dump Cake using Kraft Cool Whip & Jell-o!

Do you have a favorite summer recipe?

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