Took a drive out to Harney & Sons again this weekend with a couple friends stopping at the Millbrook Winery on the way home. It's such a scenic and beautiful drive I'm lucky I live less than an hour from the Millerton store. I bought some samples of the Soho black tea (coconut and chocolate) and the African Autumn roobios (orange and cranberry) and also tried the Spiced Plum. Yummm! I've been battling a nasty chest cold and the African Autumn soothes my throat at night. I'm so ready to be on the mend, coughing non-stop is exhausting. And gross. And irritating.
Instagrams: 1) Gingerbread house my sisters and I made. 2) Spiced Plum tea tasting. 3) Cute owl ornament at Harney. 4) African Autumn tea in my pretty vintage cup and saucer.
What I wore: Shoes, Old Navy. Dress, Forever21. Sweater, H&M. Tights and knee high socks, Target.
I can't believe Christmas is only 2 weeks away. I had to make myself a detailed to-do list because I found myself getting so stressed out over all the things I haven't accomplished yet. I even had McDonalds last night. I can't believe I just admitted that. Frank made me go to Wal-mart with him and I figured might as well stop and get McDonalds too. Some health counselor I am. ;) Anyway, when I took a step back and realized that I don't really have that many things to do and if I do something small every day it'll get done, I felt a lot better. Maybe it was the McDonalds. Who knows, I just feel a lot less stressed.
Happy December! I'm so happy that we've had such beautiful weather this fall...it's just starting to get cold and right in time for the holidays. I love that my days are filled with festive things, even if it's just receiving Christmas cards, decorating my office, or sitting in front of the fire place drinking hot chocolate! Last night we decorated our tree and hung up lights and other decorations. We always make a bunch of appetizers, put on some Christmas music, and get to work. Our living room looks so magical with all the lights up!
I was ambitious yesterday morning and baked some whole wheat raspberry scones. I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs. It was super easy and they turned out really good, perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tea! I had my niece over and asked her if she wanted some. Her reply was: "No thank you, I just want a chocolate lollipop." Only because I had made her this the night before...
She's the cutest. :D And I have a weird obsession with mustaches.
I baked this last night for dessert. Oh. Em. Gee. It's my new favorite and a cinch to make. I had an open bottle of reisling so I used that but any white wine will do. Preheat oven to 425, cut off the bottom of four pears so they sit flat, mix 2 cups of wine with 1/4 cup of honey. Pour it over the pears (I put them in a casserole dish), add about 1 tbs of orange zest, 4-5 whole cloves, 2-3 whole allspice, and 4 bay leaves. Bake for an hour, basting every 15 minutes. You can thank me later.
What I wore: Shoes, Old Navy. Dress, H&M. Button up chambray shirt, Blackbird Attic. Vintage fringe bag, Blackbird Attic (bday gift!!) Bracelets, stolen...I mean borrowed, from my sister.
Disclaimer: No cat was harmed in the making of this picture. (Well, maybe just emotionally.) But seriously, they love it!! Don't they look thrilled?!?
This is one of those recipes that doesn't really photograph pretty but I want to share it anyway. There's nothing better on a rainy night than a hearty stew! It was simple to make and the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Total cook time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Preheat oven to 350
Heat oil in an oven safe pan over medium heat and cook beef until brown on all sides, about 6 minutes.
Transfer to a plate and add the rest of the oil to pan, saute onions for 1 minute. Stir frequently.
Add sage, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
Return beef to the pan, stir in flour, cook for about 3 minutes.
Pour in broth and cook until the liquid starts to bubble and thicken, about 2 minutes.
Stir in squash.
Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Bake for one hour.
Add in cranberries and bake for another 15 minutes.
Serve over brown rice or pasta.
I made these pumpkin pie truffles a few weekends ago and again today for my friend's birthday. I was trying to figure out what to make with the rest of the pumpkin puree and I decided on a tea biscuit since my friend and I took another trip to Harney & Sons on Saturday. I picked up a bag of my favorite tea, Cranberry Autumn, and I have a feeling they will go perfectly together. Tea Biscuits are perfect for dunking into coffee or tea and I think they might be even better if I had sprinkled a little powder sugar on top. Here are the recipes:
Pumpkin Pie Truffles (adapted from Cake, Batter, and Bowl)
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chipsDirections:
Mix butter, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice in a small pot over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup.
Mix cooked pumpkin, brown sugar, flour, and salt in medium bowl until well combined. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Shape chilled dough into 15 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper on a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator while preparing chocolate.
Melt white chocolate chips in a shallow bowl on High 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Using 2 spoons, dip pumpkin balls into melted chocolate and cover evenly. Place on waxed paper and let chocolate set for about 5 minutes.
Pumpkin Spice Tea Biscuits:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground allspice or cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Mix butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and mix and then add in flour and salt, mix. Add pumpkin puree, vanilla and spices and beat until everything is mixed well.
The dough will be sticky! On a well floured surface, split dough into 2 equal parts and gently roll into logs. Sprinkle with more flour if it is still too sticky. Place in plastic wrap or parchment paper, wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours
Preheat oven to 350 when you are ready to bake.
Slice dough into 1/4 inch discs. Bake 17-20 minutes. Immediately move cookies to a wire rack.
adapted from this recipe.
I had my friend Rebecca over for dinner tonight. She's into eating healthy and cooking like me so it's always fun to eat together. :) I had to make Frank a separate meal (chilaquiles!) because there was no way I was getting him to eat this. Although I have to say, he totally missed out. It was sooo yummy! She brought over some wine, bread, and apple crisp for dessert. So good!! (And I had some Blue Moon Spiced Amber Ale....mmmm!)
4 tbs of olive oil, divided
2 tbs of red wine vinegar
1 tbs dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 spicy chicken sausage, chopped (optional, I made her a vegetarian version and added the chicken to mine afterward.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked lentils
1 granny smith apple, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cups of mesclun mix salad
Cook lentil according to package.
In a bowl mix together 3 tbs of oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Heat remaining tbs of olive oil in a pan and cook sausage until brown. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir in lentils and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in 5 tbs of dressing and remove from heat. Add in celery and apples.
Toss the lettuce with the remaining dressing.
Serve on top of lettuce.
Adapted from this recipe.
I'm sitting here after just finishing baking pumpkin muffins, drinking an Octoberfest beer, and enjoying the scent of our new "Apple Cider" candle. I'd say someone is pretty ready and excited for fall, huh? I seriously love everything this season is about: cool crisp weather, the changing colors of the leaves and the way they crunch when you step on them, scents like pumpkin, apple, & spices, Halloween followed by Thanksgiving (and my birthday!), cozy sweaters and flannels, eating lots of comfort foods, soups, stews, & root vegetables, pumpkin spice coffee, apple picking, pumpkin picking, hayrides, etc. . It's been rainy and muggy the last few days so I'm anxiously waiting for that cool crisp fall weather...but it'll come. And then so will winter, I think that's why I always try to get the most out of this season. Today I went to a local farm and picked up some goodies. We were going to go apple picking but I want to wait until it's a nicer day. I did pick up a bag of apples so that I can make some applesauce tomorrow though. :)
I decided the other day that I want to treat myself to fresh flowers every other week. I always stop myself from buying them because they can be a little expensive. When I saw these at the farm for .25 cents each I was so excited!
Buying local produce makes me so happy, especially when it's priced cheaper than at the grocery store. The root vegetables (beets, carrots, parsnips, and turnips) were in a big bin and only .79 cents/pound. The potatoes were 1.99 for the whole bag full and the apples were .99 cents/pound. I'm roasting up the beets now to have with dinner.
How are you celebrating the fall season??
My fall go-to outfit is typically this: tights, dress, cardigan, boots. I really wanted to wear the dress I picked from the Modswap event and it was just chilly enough Sunday morning to have to wear tights. I've had these purple-y pink tights since last year and decided to pair them with this dress just because I felt like I needed a little pop of color in my life.
The dress used to belong to Tieka of Selective Potential. I've been an avid reader and fan of hers since stumbling on her blog a little more than a year ago. She is just as sweet in person as she is on paper...or screen, I guess. I picked it because I have an obsession with stripes. I'm just drawn to them for some reason! So thanks for the cute dress, Tieka!
I have a bunch of exciting things coming up. This Saturday I start working at a healing arts center. I'll be there with some free samples, recipes, and available to answer questions about what I do as a health counselor. I'm super excited. I have a bunch of new programs like pantry makeovers, meal planning sessions, & grocery shopping assistance, but what I'm most excited about is this cleanse that I'm working on. It's a fall/winter 5 day cleanse and I hope to have it ready by November. It's going to be super easy, no crazy ingredients or foods you never heard of (hopefully!), you won't be starving yourself or hating me for it. The point is to learn to use whole foods to feel lighter, more energized, and less sluggish and tired...as we tend to do in the winter months. It's going to include all the recipes for any meals included and a grocery shopping list so that it's easy to follow and doesn't require a lot of work for the person doing it. The best part is that anyone can do it anywhere in the world...it'll be all written up and available by e-mail, as will support and guidance from me throughout the whole thing. SO exciting. I can't wait to test it out myself, I could definitely use it by the time December rolls around. It will also include some things I didn't mention, didn't want to give everything away. ;)
I had my first failure in the kitchen last night. It was so disappointing. I was making a spicy vegetarian gumbo and it called for a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I thought I had picked up the right ones but Frank kept saying to me "if you add those, it's going to be way too hot...those aren't the right ones!" but I ignored him and did it anyway and then set my mouth on fire after tasting it. Maybe what I'm more upset about is that he was right rather than messing up dinner. haha. I'm going to try it again without the peppers because other than the spice, it would have been really really good. It happens to the best of us, right?? :(
Jacket: Gap, Dress: H&M, Tights: F21, Boots: Gojane.com
This weekend two more of my favorite people came to visit, my aunt and uncle! We had such a great fun-filled day on Saturday. We woke up early and walked over the Walkway, a bridge that connects Poughkeepsie to Highland. It took us a while to walk the whole length of it and back because my aunt and I were snapping away at the beautiful scenery and Frank had to get a gyro before walking back from the Highland side. It was a beautiful chilly morning though and I think we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Clockwise: 1. The muddy water of the Hudson River, thanks to Irene. Not that it's usually all that clear but not normally that gross looking either. 2. A view of a street in Poughkeepsie from the Walkway. 3. The Mid-Hudson bridge. 4. The railroad on the Highland side.
Afterwards, we met up with the rest of my family and headed out to Benmarl Winery...yes, with my 2 year old niece in tow. She had a blast running around the grounds and taking pictures with us. Benmarl is America's oldest winery and it has some pretty amazing views!
My sister practically had to rip this dress off of me to get it back after letting me borrow it. It's quite possibly my most favorite thing I've ever worn. If I could wear a floaty, lightweight, maxi dress every day, I would. *ahem shaina, I know you read this...my birthday is coming up, I'm not opposed to hand me downs as gifts.*
Some pictures from the wine cellar.
Clockwise: 1. The view, imagine it once the leaves start to change! 2. Elliette and I in our pretty dresses. Her collection of vintage dresses is quite impressive. She takes after her aunts! 3. A Catawba wine, so simple and delicious. Even Frank liked it, but then he was nursing his first wine headache and feeling tired so he decided he once again hates wine. 4. A pretty doorway.
One day I'll have a pet owl. And yes, her name will be Hedwig.
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Back to NYFW re-cap! Even though Ashley and I enjoyed every single minute of our trip-running back and forth between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and barely having a minute to relax...having coffee on the roof Friday morning was probably my favorite moments. It had rained Tuesday and Wednesday but we were lucky to have beautiful weather Thursday and Friday.
It was nice to take a minute to just stay in our pajamas a little longer than usual, enjoy a nice cup of coffee, chat, and take pictures. The view from my sisters roof is amazing, I could stay up there all day!
I was so sad that this was our last day and that Ashley was leaving Saturday. We really had such a great week, I honestly enjoyed just spending time with her, going to all the fashion events was a bonus! I seriously can't wait to go visit her in Calgary and for the next time she comes back to NY!
A huge thank you to my sister and Eddie for letting us crash at their place and come and go as we pleased!!
Last week when I was away, I made sure to leave Frank plenty of easy to prepare foods because he went into full blown panic mode when I told him I was going out of town. Translation: Who is going to cook for him?? Yes, I have created a monster. He used to make dinner for us ALL the time before I started health counseling. Needless to say, I returned home to everything I bought him still in the fridge and freezer. Instead, he had Chinese food, pizza three times, and went to his parent's house for dinner. The tradeoff is that he cleans. I cook, he cleans. It works for me because I really really hate cleaning. I come home to a spotless house on his days off. So clean I'm not even allowed to walk on the carpet for a few hours just so he can enjoy the lines from the vacuum. Oh Frank. ;)
Anyway, I was fully prepared to make a big meal tonight: Pork, Sweet Potato, and Apple Casserole with a Kale and White Bean Soup on the side, but he asked for a simple quiche. I've been in a weird mood lately where I haven't had much of an appetite and nothing sounds good but as soon as I started making this., I couldn't wait to eat. It took just 5-10 minutes to prep and bakes for 45 minutes.
4 cups of spinach
1 tbs olive oil
2/3 cup of milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup of crumbled feta
1 frozen 9 inch pie crust
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 tsp dried basil
Preheat oven to 350.
Heat olive oil in a pan or pot and cook spinach until wilted.
Mix eggs, milk, and garlic in a bowl.
Layer feta in bottom of the pie crust, top with spinach, egg mixture, and tomato. Sprinkle with basil and ground pepper. Add some extra cheese if you'd like