Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let the baking begin

This is my favorite time of the year. Three separate holidays, almost back to back. And all three require baking of some kind, which I love. But lately, I've come to the conclusion that I do a much better job collecting recipes than actually using them.

I've cut down on the current magazine subscriptions I receive, but still enjoy Taste of the South, BHG, Martha Stewart + everyday food, Southern Living and Real Simple. And yet, this doesn't stop me from picking up the latest special edition of any magazine throughout the year, especially all the holiday editions. I'm still working on the cut-backs. It's not all magazines for me, though. I love cookbooks (Giada de Laurentis never disappoints) and have a good wish list going, but these take a little more time to select, considering their usual price.

Since October, I've been collecting fall recipes and deciding what I'd try for Thanksgiving. I had plans to do more, but ended up with a few good recipes I'll share from my search.

You may remember the cinnamon honey butter craze that ensued from Darby's blog post last year and boy, was it good! I wanted something along the same lines this year and came across an easy recipe for apple butter. My dad and I always purchased a jar of apple butter each fall we traveled to Gatlinburg and Ive been hooked ever since.

[pairs great with Cinnamon Nut Bread, both via BHG, Holiday Baking issue]

There's nothing quite as easy as this:

Apple Butter

4lbs cooking apples (I used Gala because its all Kroger had. Honey crisp would be good, too)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2 T vinegar (all I had was apple cider kind, worked fine)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Place slices in crockpot. Stir in all ingredients. Cover and place on high for at least 5-6 hours. I might have let mine go for more like 7-8, though. You be the judge. You just want the apples to be all the way smooth, of course. Cool and place into canning jars or airtight containers. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year.

I plan to enjoy this with homemade biscuits next. Well, when I decide which recipe to use! :)

I couldn't resist this next one.

Almost No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie, via Joy the Baker.

I wish I could take pictures like she does and I wish I hadn't eaten so much of this pie. Next time, I'll assemble the crust better and add the syrup on top. yum.

These were on the list, but didn't quite make it:

- Sausage stuffing, via Jenny from picky-palate
- Pumpkin spice granola and multigrain rolls, via Annie from annie's-eats.
- Browned butter cranberry lime muffins, via Joy the Baker. If these are anything like her browned butter blueberry muffins, I'm in. They have certainly become a regular in our house.

In the attempt to save money while also being able to decorate for the holidays, I started thinking about several projects I'd like to accomplish before December hits-
1. advent calendar
2. magazine christmas trees, thanks to martha s.
3. something to hold christmas cards
4. festive garland

Like I said, I'm really good at making lists. Maybe I can finish one of these.

As an early Christmas present, Grant finished the office for us.

not the best picture, carpet looks a little mustard-y. you get the idea though.

Here's the scene from 2007 when we first met.

how bout that green shag carpet?!

I'm hoping this finished project will jump start us toward a more organized lifestyle. Speaking of, the dishes are calling my name. My least favorite part of baking.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the year 2000

Well, there's really no good reason why I've allowed summer and fall (almost) to pass without updating something! The end of my summer and beginning of fall was spent in large part, preparing for my 10 year high school reunion in September.

It's still hard to grasp that I am old enough to have a high school reunion. And 10 years at that. We had a good turnout for the weekend, minus a little rain for the picnic. We graduated with a class of 100 people and had nearly half of the class attend.

As a senior, my main responsibility as historian of the class was to take pictures. That's it. Easy enough, right? And I think we had a decent slide show to prove I was capable. But for some reason these days I just don't think about taking pictures. In fact, the only reason we have our life documented in photos is because of Grant. So like a dummy, I only took one picture. All weekend.

These are my dear friends, Eryn, Kara, Emily and Melissa. We've been through it all- a few of us as early as elementary school and the rest of us met in 7th grade. Each time we get together, nothing has really changed and I love that. This was the first time in several years (Eryn's wedding in '06, I think) that we were all in the same place together. So much fun!

10 years ago, Emily and I decided this was a good idea

( please don't kill me, Emily!)

candle-light devo during Homecoming week.

Awhile back, I discovered I was not the only one in high school who rocked short hair. There was one more person in this world who had the guts to do it and after Jesse's post on her version of the "mom cut" I figured it was only fair I own up to my version too. But I think this is a little past a "mom cut", don't you Jesse?! Yikes!

This is the one thing my friends never forget and love to remind me of when we get together! And something Grant can't bear to view, I think :)

While planning, gathering photos, memorabilia, etc for the reunion, this little piece of paper was dropped into my hands courtesy of Debbie Edwards (Melissa's mom). I almost fell on the floor when I read it. And after sharing this with the girls we all agreed, we.were.weird.

I guess we ate lots of chocolate pies back then?! who eats whole pies?!

I don't know, but I almost ate a whole loaf of Leslie's pumpkin bread tonight. I guess some things haven't changed.