Fall Break 2014: Illinois

One of my goals for 2014 was to update the blog weekly. That’s pretty laughable at this point, but I’m gonna really try to do better, okay? Even if it’s just random, not-so-interesting, pic-spam blurbs, I want to post more regularly.

So. Here goes.

Since I currently work in a public high school, I get the same fantastic holidays students and teachers get. October 11-17, I was off for fall break (YAY!), so naturally, I headed north to Illinois to spend some time with my man.

With big Christmas/New Year’s plans on the horizon (Disney World!), money is a bit tight at the moment. So we kept the vacation pretty low-key by limiting ourselves mostly to testing Pinterest recipes, watching the Indiana Jones trilogy, and catching up on Adventure Time.

Allow me to bring you up to speed with these lovely photographs:

Matt is great at baking. He enjoys it, and I enjoy the end result (I enjoy watching him work, too, especially when he's wearing flannel.) ((What?)). Using some apples from the local farmers' market, he whipped up a tasty apple crisp which we topped with a mixture of coconut milk and frozen bananas. 

With the same surplus of locally grown apples, Matt made some incredible homemade cider. OMG. Autumn in a cup. 

For breakfast one morning, we tried these amazing 3-ingredient coconut oil biscuits I found on Pinterest. Holy poop. I made up my own recipe for sausage-flavored-yet-vegetarian Southern-style gravy, and he made some naturally-sweetened strawberry jam. What a power couple. 

He got a little aggressive with the biscuit cutter.

Seriously. You have to try those biscuits. I need to upload an official version of my gravy recipe, too. I just have no idea how much of everything goes in; I just toss stuff in until it looks and smells right. Guess I'll have to make it again. What a bummer.

Oh, and here's some more food shots. You can never get enough of those.

I made eggplant lasagna served alongside a heavenly potato bun from the Mennonite ladies at the farmers' market.

 And Matt roasted these amazing portabella veggie mini-pizzas one evening.

Yeah, pretty much all we did was cook stuff and eat stuff.

Oh! So, you wanna know how I knew this relationship was right? He suggested building a blanket fort in the living room. 

Yep. Popcorn, organic, fair-trade hot cocoa, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Over the week, we watched the full Indiana Jones trilogy as well as... Silent Hill. I haven't recovered from that last one.

Also, we had lots of fun smushing Silly Putty into newspapers and stretching out the photo imprints. Too much fun, probably.

But we didn't just sit around the house being lazy fatties all week. We did go on a mini-adventure to Carbondale, IL, home of a great farmers’ market, the neighborhood co-op, a cute locally-owned bookshop, and the Best. Restaurant. Ever.

Lovely morning at the farmers' market.

The Mennonite booth, where you can find the amazingly soft, melt-in-your-mouth, potato buns! Plus many other baked goodies and farm-fresh eggs.

At the bookshop, Bookworm, this friendly in-store pet kept following us around and begging us to pet him (or her, IDK). He/she/it was cute, so I snapped a creeper pic. 

Now for the good stuff.

Longbranch Café and Bakery is exactly like the place I have always dreamed of opening. It’s a hip little joint in a renovated building downtown. There’s local artwork on the walls. Lots of vintage decor. A stage in the back for bands. A variety of great coffees and a case full of scrumptious pastries. Best of all, they have a fully vegetarian menu with delicious, fresh, locally-grown, HFCS-free food (even the bottled ketchup on the tables is organic). 

Did I mention it’s delicious? It’s not like a bland kale-and-celery smoothie. Everything I’ve ordered there has been pretty freakin’ amazing. Like this gorgonzola fettuccine.

Or the incredible made-in-house veggie burger.

Or this wonderful turtle latte.

Or this divine warm cinnamon roll...

...which we split, okay? See the two forks?!?!?

Yeah, so, we went there three times in one week. Oops.

All in all, one awesome way to spend fall break. 

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