December 23, 2016

Cranberry Pound Cake

I know I'm not the only one who has used Pinterest as a last resort.... okay, let's be honest, it's usually the first resort. 

Let me tell you, this recipe is delicious! It does take a while to put together and I would probably measure more carefully the next time I make this... But for the first try, it was definitely a winner!

This is the perfect combo of cakiness, tart cranberry, with hints of cream cheese and white chocolate. Who can beat that?! Anyways... I'll quite rambling and give you the recipe. :) 

For the Cake:
187 grams cake flour-sifted (it’s about 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons flour but you better measure it on kitchen scale because the cake could be dense or dry if you overdo it with the flour )
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1cup cranberries (fresh or thawed)
5 oz. white chocolate chunk
1/2 cup unsalted butter ( room temperature)
300 grams sugar ( 11/2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons browned butter
For Frosting: 
1/4 cup butter(softened)
4 oz.cream cheese
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or more to make it thick enough to spread on top of the cake)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Garnish:
handful dried cranberries
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup white chocolate chips 

Now to be completely honest, I did alter this recipe slightly when I made it.... I took things out and added other things, so mine might be a little different than yours.

  • Preheat the convection air oven to 325 F (if you don’t have convection air oven raise the temperature to 350 F and you will have to rotate the pan half way through the baking time)
  • Butter and flour 8.5x4.5x3 inches loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • Combine cake flour, baking powder and salt and sift it three times, set aside.
  • In a small sauce pan over medium heat brown 2.5 tablespoon butter until it’s nice amber color, remove the foam and set aside to cool.
  • Whisk the egg with vanilla extract and set aside.
  • Mix the butter on medium speed until it’s creamy, slowly add sugar and continue beating until it’s creamy.
  • Add heavy cream and mascarpone, and beat on medium speed.
  • Turn mixer on low speed and gradually add dry ingredients alternately with eggs.
  • Add handful flour in chocolate chunks and toss them to cover evenly. Toss cranberries with a handful flour to cover them completely.
  • Add chocolate chunks in the batter and stir well, then gently stir in cranberries
  • Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan, smooth the top and gently tap the pan on working surface to remove the air bubbles.
  • With a butter knife draw a line down the center of the pound cake and pour browned butter into the line.
  • Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (about 55 to 65 minutes). Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on the rack.
  • When the cake is completely cooled prepare the glaze.
  • With a mixer, cream together softened butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until smooth, mix in vanilla extract. Spread on top of the cake.Place the cake in the fridge until the frosting is set.
  • When the frosting is set melt 1/2 cup white chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a small sauce pan over low heat until it’s smooth( cool if it’s too thin)
  • Sprinkle the cake with dried cranberries and drizzle with chocolate. (You can drizzle the chocolate with a spoon or transfer it into small zip-lock bag, cut off the corner and pipe the chocolate over the cake).

Now I should probably go burn off some extra calories I may have obtained from snitching broken pieces of this cake. 

Anna Rose

December 16, 2016

Iowa Bridges and Frostbite

 "But it's freezing outside!" Laura looked at me like I was crazy.
I didn't worry too much. Crazy was a word I was familiar with. 
I could have cared less that it was less than 10 degrees outside.
"It'll be quick, promise!"

And so we went. "Take me anywhere that's pretty," I told her and she did a smashing job, I would say.
We drove to the creek and poked around for a few minutes before we decided that the numbness in our hands meant that we should move on to the next spot before frostbite set in. 

We made sure to stop by the hay bale snowman standing outside of the grain bins. Desperate times call for desperate measures and the lack of snow had driven one farm boy to bring some Christmas cheer to the world in this simple way.  

Our next stop was the bridge. Ever since the first time I saw this bridge I knew it was destined to be the subject in some of my pictures. 
And this was certainly the perfect day for it too! The sun was shining and the sky was blue.... By this time I couldn't feel my fingers, but I wasn't about to turn around!

The ice in the river had frozen in beautiful circles, proving to how cold it really was- don't let all that sunshine and blue sky fool you!

Finally realizing that there was no way I could work the dials on my camera anymore we decided that heading back to warm up was probably the best plan of action, and so we did just that. 

It seems crazy that this happened just this week... and now I'm 1,420 miles away from this beautiful, COLD state, in an equally beautiful and slightly less cold state. 

But I'm still just as thankful for the warm house and wood stove today as I was on Tuesday. 
And now, I'm off to watch The Nativity Story with my family. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

Anna Rose

December 6, 2016

Jacob { Class of 2017}

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!” 
― Dr. Suess


When did this crazy cousin get this tall, this handsome, 
and since when is he allowed to graduate?!

Just kidding. I'm proud of you, kid!

-Anna Rose

December 4, 2016


 "It's beginning to lot like Christmas!"

..... in some state other than Iowa.
Thankfully tho, I did just make a short trip to Minnesota, where they had snow in abundance!

The next things on my to-do list are:
- Survive Finals Week
- Graduate from college
- Don't die

Anna Rose

November 21, 2016

Europe || Part 1

I have started writing this post approximately 247.8 times, and I still don't know where to begin. 
How do I explain that this trip changed my life? 
How do I explain that no matter how many words I use, I cannot properly describe everything that went on? 
How am I supposed to respond when others ask me "How was Europe?" 

The answer I generally say is, "Life Changing" and I leave it at that.
This is where I will now try to put into words exactly what this trip was like, what we did, and all the events that happened.

I'm going to add a slight note here and say that although I do have many pictures from this Chorale trip, the bulk of time was not spend sight seeing, but rather singing or traveling to different concert locations.

The first day can be described perfectly by two words: Exhaustion and ecstasy. 
We flew out 11:45 AM and landed at 6 AM in Amsterdam. We had one goal for that day, which was to stay awake. To help us do this, we started by exploring  De Zaanse Schans, which is a place where I got to see my first windmills. I also got to see wooden shoes be made...which was the coolest thing ever! 
By the time we got back on our tour bus, our whole Chorale was sleepy and it was a struggle to stay awake. I wrote down several ways we tried to stay awake. Things like crab walking up the aisle, throwing pens at one another, arm wrestling and pretending to surf while the bus drove down the road. Anything helped!

After that, We took a quite stop at Maeslantkering which is a structure built to protect the low lands from the sea.

And speaking of the sea... our next stop was sea- the North Sea, to be specific. Sticking our feet in the sea definitely helped wake us up... just in case any of us were feeling sleepy. Which we probably weren't, of course. By this time, it was around 8 AM in the US, and we were starting to feel like we had pulled an all nighter...which in fact, most of us had. 

Our next stop was our hostel in Zegge, just outside of Bergan Op Zoom. At this time, we were able to contact our people in the US and let them know that we had arrived safely. We were able to go to bed early this night in an attempt to help our bodies adjust to the new time zone.

Tuesday was spent exploring Bergan Op Zoom. It was one of our only days without a concerts, this due to the fact that because of lack of sleep our voices were tired and needed rest before we started our concerts. 
We walked around the town, trying to pronounce words we didn't understand and just admiring all of everything we saw. Shortly after that, we met our contacts and then ate lunch. 

We went back to the Meulenbaarg (the place where we were staying) and contacted home quickly before a young adults group from one of the local churches came over for some food and fellowship.
In my journal, I wrote down that we got to explore an old castle tower that was used for a jail...that was pretty cool. 

Oh! And I got to eat gelato for the first time.
*that stuff is WONDERFUL*

The next day, we went to Kinderdijk (pronounced Kinder-Dike)
We visited a dike and learned that the story of the little boy who put his finger in the whole is completely unrealistic... *sorry to burst your bubble :)

We got to visit the town of 's Hertogenbosch and sing in a MASSIVE chapel. There is nothing like singing Latin in a Chapel that was built before the US as a country was even in existence. 

We also rented bicycles and went all over the countryside by the town. 
First time riding a tandem bike, and we didn't even crash!

In the evening we had a Bible study.

I didn't take pictures for several days, due to the fact that we were quite busy with street concerts and concerts in churches. At this point, we had been in Holland for week, and drove to Germany.

This is the Rhine River.... our hostel overlooked this river. I woke up early so that I could walk along the vineyards on the hillside, and it was well worth it. 

Stay tuned for the rest of the trip. It may take a while till I get around to actually writing it out due to me being just a few weeks away from graduating college. 

-Anna Rose

September 28, 2016

David + Emily { engagement }

David and Emily are one of super special couples that a photographer just LOVES to work with! 

I met Emily several years ago. We were both taking a module at college, and I quickly learned that she is one of the absolute sweetest people I would probably have the honor of meeting. 

That's why, when I saw on Facebook that she had started dating this guy named David, I knew he was probably a pretty cool dude - because Em wouldn't date just anyone. 

Fast forward to freshman year when I learned who was on a team that my college sent out to summer camps. There were 3 guys and 3 girls, including me. And David was the team leader. 
Then I found out, that Emily would also be working at the same camp where the 6 of us would be for the summer. 

That summer was amazing! My team became my best friends, and my family, and Emily came a very good, close friend. Their engagement, and their wedding (okay, so I'm a little behind on blogging) were so beautiful, as is their marriage!

Okay, enough gushing. Check out this super cute couple for yourself!!

See what I mean? :)

-Anna Rose

September 9, 2016

Europe || Preview

Now, since I've told you a little about what will be hitting my little blog, I'm going to leave this picture here, and give you a little taste of what Europe looked like. 

This is along the Rhine River in Germany.

Pretty incredible, huh? 
Stay tuned for more. :)

-Anna Rose

September 2, 2016

Catching Up on Life || Part 1

It's crazy how quickly this little blog of mine can get left in the dust when it comes to living life, traveling the world, and being a college student.

And wowsers! So much has gone on.... Let's see.... What's been going on?
Ahh yes. So far this year, I've finished out a spring semester of school, shot 2 weddings, gone to Europe for 22 days with my school's chorale, flown home to Washington for 3 days, lived in Minnesota for the parts of the summer I wasn't traveling and now I'm back at school, knocking this last semester out of the water and finishing college like a boss (hopefully)

That took basically no time to write, but lets me honest, this year has been packed and my life has changed so much especially because of my Europe trip. So now, I'm going to do my best to catch up on life and let you all know what this entire year has looked like!

Now, welcome to Season 1 Episode 1 of Catching Up on Life with Anna!

I'll jump right into the middle of the semester, because lets be honest, you all don't really want to hear about all the homework and tests and late nights from college. So let's start in March!

Instead of taking spring break, my chorale traveled to Colorado, stopping at churches and singing the whole way. This is the second year that I've traveled with them around the country for spring break, and it was definitely incredible!
While we were in Colorado, we got to sing in the United States Air Force Academy Chapel, which sounded amazing.

The sunsets were so stunning, and slightly surpassed the ones that I've seen in Iowa. But only slightly. :)

We got to visit the Garden of the Gods for part of a day and that was pretty much a dream afternoon for a photographer. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of the little details of my life. Stay tuned for more and I'll do my best to keep going with the updates!

-Anna Rose