Wednesday, June 17, 2015

If I Only Had a Horse: Spring 2015 Equestrian Wish List

The nice warmer spring weather makes me dread spending all day in the office with nothing to do until my license comes through. Because of this I've spent more hours than I'd like to admit browsing Facebook, Pinterest, and flipping through countless magazines. It was the same old, same old day in and day out until I received the new elite catalog from Dover Saddlery in the mail over the weekend. It really hit home with me how much I've been missing horseback riding while I'm "working"/wedding planning. 

Anyway, the arrival of my Dover catalog resulted in the busting out of my highlighter and going through page by page until it had almost run dry with all of the items I'd buy if I was purchasing a new horse. New clothes for me, new clothes for him, updating any tack that was borderline or worn out. This then lead to hours spent perusing the SmartPak website among other retailers to see if anything new and exciting had come out since I'd been shopping for horse stuff last summer.

So my borderline compulsive tendency to plan ahead an make lists has led me here. My spring 2015 equestrian wish list. A compilation of tack, clothing, and accessories I would want if I were purchasing a new horse, which, until the wedding is paid for and house is purchased, is only a fantasy for now. It's not a full comprehensive list, just a couple of things that would start me out on my new adventure.

1. The Tailored Sportsman Ice Fil Shirt in Tiffany ($65) 

IceFil fabric technology combined with mesh inserts under the arms help to make sure you stay comfortable and protected from the sun this summer. Finally I might not feel like I'm dying of heat stroke every time I ride in the summer.

I should have been a housewife

2. The Tailored Sportsman Trophy Hunter- Front Zip in Purple Passion ($185.95)

I'm a Tailored's girl through and through. 99% of the breeches I buy are from them so I may be a little biased when I say these are the best. a unique purple hue to break up the monotony of beige, black, and grey doesn't hurt either.

I should have been a housewife

P.S. These breech would look great with my new C4 belt that has a grey strap and chrome buckle. I'm addicted to these interchangeable belts (I've bought 4 in the last year) and they donate a portion of the sales to a charity of your choice. Win!

The rest of my clothes and human accessories are mostly up to date so the next portion will be for my hypothetical 4 legged friend.

I've heard nothing but positive reviews about the quality of The Clothes Horse blankets and while they are a big expense the will last for years and years. I would probably travel to the actual shop since its not too far from home, but SmartPak also sells them through their website. The Clothes Horse website also has a virtual blanket and stall drape generator so you can try out all of the color combinations other their blankets. This feature is absolutely amazing in my book and I could get lost for hours in their website testing out all of their options.

I should have been a housewife 

I should have been a housewife

For stable clothing I would go for Baker's stable sheet ($122.95) and blanket ($215.95). Classic and never out of style.

I should have been a housewife

For turnout I'd go with SmartPak Ultimate Turnout Blanket ($179.95-199.95 depending of fill)-10-year indestructible guarantee. Need I say more...

I should have been a housewife

8. Ogilvy Equestrian Jump Baby Pad ($37)

Another great website with a customization generator is the new and redesigned Ogilvy Equestrian site. While we're still waiting on the new hunter line, I would stock up on custom baby pads to match my Ogilvy jumper half pad. Some great features are the wither relief design (so there's virtually no more slipping or bunching) and that the pads are anti-microbial and anti-fungal. That's a big win-win in my book.
I should have been a housewife

9. Harwich Padded Fancy Stitch Bridle by SmartPak ($159.95) and matching standing martingale ($79.95)

This bridle has some great reviews and I'd be really interested in trying it out. With a price point under $200 people say it's nice enough for showing and holds up pretty well. I love how the headstall is designed to relieve some of the pressure on the horses poll and the matching raised, fancy stitched reins put on the finishing touches.

I should have been a housewife 

I should have been a housewife

These boots supposedly keep a horses legs cooler than most other boots and I'd be interested in trying them myself. They look streamlined and modern, a matching pair in black would sure look nice.

I should have been a housewife

I should have been a housewife

11. Beval Ltd Triple Stitched Halter ($140) and Shipping Halter ($175) with matching lead ($69.95)

Beval  always has high quality products and I've owned their halters in the past. I love them and wouldn't hesitate to buy them again. The best time to purchase would be during their annual sale in February (my birthday weekend usually, YAY!) where most items are 20% off.

I should have been a housewife
Photo from Beval Saddlery
I should have been a housewife
Photo from Beval Saddlery

12. McGuinn Tack Trunk (starting at $1030 approx $1200 with added options)

This is my one splurge item. These trunk are gorgeous, made in the USA, and durable. They have so many options and can truly customize it for you. The only downside is that they are quite heavy, even when empty. For me this is just another excuse to hit the gym harder.

I should have been a housewife
Photo from McGuinn

There's always more I could add too my wish list, and I'm sure I even forgot something necessary but this is where I'll start when the time comes for a new horse.

Until next time!

All photos are from unless otherwise noted

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte

I should have been a housewife

I saw this salted caramel chocolate torte floating around Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it looked right up my alley. I looooovvveee caramel and you can't go wrong by adding the chocolate ganache with a  sprinkle of sea salt.

The full original post with recipe and pictures can be found on the Home Cooking Adventure blog. Below are the instructions and ingredients from Tastemade's Youtube video

The recipe took me almost all day to make but was well worth it. To save time I would make and chill the crust the night before and roll it out in the morning.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Torte
Makes about 6-8 servings

Almond Chocolate Sweet Pastry
1 1/4 cups (160g) flour
1/4 cup (30g) ground almonds
1/4 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (110 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small (1/2-inch) cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1-2 tbsp ice water

1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
1/2 cup (100g) water
1/2 cup (120 g) heavy cream
5 tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter
1 tsp salt

Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup (120 g) heavy cream
4 oz (120g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

sea salt crystals

1. Prepare the sweet pastry. In a large bowl mix flour with ground almonds, cocoa powder, sugar and salt.

2. Incorporate butter to the flour mixture, using a pastry blender, a fork or a pastry processor, until crumbs are formed. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix them in. Add water and incorporate into the dough. Wrap it with plastic, knead slowly to form a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

3. On a floured surface or over the plastic wrap roll the dough to a circle with about 1 1/2 inches larger than your tart pan. Lift up the rolled dough and place it on a greased 9 inch tart pan. Remove the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.

4. Prick the dough with a fork, line a parchment paper over the dough. Fill with dry beans, rice or pie weights.

5. Bake for 15 minutes in preheated 350 F (180C) oven. Remove the weights and the parchment paper. Return to oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from the tart pan.

6. Prepare the caramel. Place the sugar and water in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook without stirring until sugar dissolves and gets a caramel color.

*This step took me approximately 10-15 minutes and I actually had to do it twice. The first time I was afraid of burning the caramel so I took the mixture off way too early and it was nowhere near caramel when I tried to mix in the cream and butter. The second time I thought I burned and ruined the sugar mixture when I waited for it to turn a caramel color since it was smoking slightly and smelled a hair burnt, but it came out prefect after mixing the cream and butter.

7. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream. It will bubble a little bit.

8. Cook for about 1 or 2 minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until smooth. Remove from heat and add butter and salt. Stir well until smooth.

9. Let the caramel cool slightly and pour over the chocolate crust. Refrigerate for about 4-5 hours.

10. Prepare the chocolate ganache. Heat the cream in a small saucepan. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth.

11. Pour the chocolate ganache over the caramel. Spread it evenly and refrigerate for another 2-3 hours before serving. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve.