Fall with favorites!

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.

Fiery foliage and jumping into leaf piles… crisp mornings and warm spices… comfort food and oversized sweaters. I’m technically December-baby but fall in New England is my jam.  There’s nothing else quite like it.

Oh and apple picking. Can’t forget apple picking.

One apple-picking-perk? Apple crisp. There’s nothing quite like sweet and spicy warm apples topped with an super crispy, crumbly crust, right? Last weekend, I got together with a couple of my favorite people (…and can’t forget my fave pup, Pebbles!) to tackle crisp-making.

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We worked with a super simple recipe from A Family Feast that Amanda found on Pinterest – and doubled up the recipe to up all of the (20+) apples that we had.

Pebbles was super helpful with peeling…

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We had fun peeling, chopping, mixing and crumbling — and followed the recipe almost to the tee. We added more oats than it called for – and I’m glad we did. It was definitely a sweet recipe, but not TOO sweet…but it could have gone there reallllly fast. I think if I use this recipe again, I’d use less brown sugar and add more oats.

I mean…c’mon you can’t really go wrong with a buttery, sweet crust? Really buttery…like Paula-Deen-would-approve buttery.

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After 40 minutes of hanging out in the oven, it came out golden brown, bubbly and crunchy….

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Not too shabby for a Sunday night??

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….and breakfast the next morning. Whoops.

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Slow cooking and getting settled

You know what? It’s been a while since I did a standard “here’s what’s going on in my life and what I’m stuffing in my face” kind of post.

Things have been crazy lately. I moved 3 weeks ago – which…in Boston…should be declared a holiday because everyone and their mom (…and dad…and siblings, friends, acquaintances…and occasionally complete strangers… willing to schlep a couch up narrow, rickety stairwells for a case or two of beer) moves on September 1…and if you’re one of the few with off-cycle lease agreements, I envy you soo, soo much. Teach me your ways.

Anyway, the day is filled with joyous things like parking bans, families getting on each other’s nerves, thousands of inexperienced UHaul drivers, at least one box truck getting stuck under a bridge on Storrow Drive…oh, and “Allston Christmas” (as it’s been dubbed). Can’t forget “Allston Christmas.”  Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 8.31.00 AM

I’m still getting settled – working full time makes it a little difficult to just get settled immediately. I’m still working on getting a dresser. My clothing situation is a little…disorganized….but you can be certain that after having a bed to sleep in…priorty numero uno was my (lil) kitchen. And yes, it’s the same little kitchen I baked and blogged out of more than 2 years ago!

At least the fridge is full!

At least the fridge is full!

After a couple months of relative chaos, it’s nice to start to feel more grounded and settled. Slowly getting back into the swing of things, and one of my to-do’s is get back in my kitchen more. I’ve eaten way too many microwavable or take-out meals since August…and I can feel it.

Last week, I saw a Moroccan-style slow-cooker recipe from Jenna @ Eat, Live, Run – and I knew it would be my project during the weekend. I was supposed to go to this yoga thing in the North End…but that got derailed when I pulled something in my shoulder and basically spent Saturday crying on the floor. Dramatics aside, it actually was pretty bad. Moving and breathing were not exactly easy. So when staying in and cooking became my only option…I slowly got myself (read: hobbled) to the grocery store for some missing ingredients and got to slow-cooking.

This is a really simply stew – chock full of veggies, lentils, chickpeas and great warm spices — a perfect fall dish. Plus, I’m a fan of anything I can slow-cook.

I’ll be honest; Jenna has this go on low for like 9 hours. While, I basically followed that timeline (I mean it is slow cooking after all), if you’re not headed to work or bed and or would just rather eat sooner rather than later – I don’t see the harm in cranking it to high and shortening the cook time. It is veggies after all so you won’t be annihilating any protein and ending up with hockey pucks floating in stock.

I mean, just look at all that veggie goodness — butternuts squash, zucchini, yellow and red peppers, onions, tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas…it’s just a powerhouse dish. Plus, since I live solo – I love making anything that I can make a ton of and re-heat easily, aaaand stews have the added bonus of just getting better as they sit!

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I’ve been digging into this for a better part of a week now. I’ll definitely make again…maybe incorporated different, seasonal ingredients as fall pushes on.

What’s your go-to dish once the temps dip a little bit?

 

Fake ‘n Bake

Aaaand, I’m back [again].

Bring on the pumpkin.

I know, I know.

The blog world has been inundated with pumpkin recipes as of late.

…but I’m still adding one more to it. 🙂

Tis the season, right?

This past weekend was probably the perfect example of New England in the fall.

It was cool – but not cold. Most of the leaves had turned their autumn shades of gold, red and yellow – and there was a persistant breeze that swirled the fallen leaves all over the yard.

Oh, and it brought down a tree at 11:45 at night…fun.

I digress…

Needless to say, I was inspired to break out the mix(er) and make something pumpkin-y.

In came a lovely little mix that has been residing in my pantry for far too long:

Now – I know I’ve discussed this in the past…I love from-scratch baking…but I have absolutely nothing against a good mix. People don’t necessarily enjoy something more just because you slaved over a million and one ingredients, and spent an entire day in the kitchen (no matter how much you enjoy it).

Plus, like I was saying to Meg from A Dash of Meg on Twitter…a mix just shortens the time between whipping it together and being able to shove it into my face. 🙂

Pumpkin puree and eggs were added to the mix – and I added walnuts and dark chocolate chips. Dark Chocolate & Pumpkin are inseparable in my kitchen.

While this mix is actually a cake mix – I baked it like I would a banana bread…and it came out deeelicious. The ends were chewy and the bread itself was really moist and studded with all of those walnuts and chocolate chips.

Dessert bread perfection.

  • What are some of your favorite fake-outs and mixes??

Fall is in the Air

Ahh – fall is in the air. Woke up to a verrrry chilly house and an even chillier breeze outside.

Nevertheless, it was a beautiful, crisp day. I truly love Fall in New England.

To fully appreciate the crisp morning…I broke out pumpkin in the best way I knew how….

Oats.

Specifically – Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Oats.

Oats – I’ve missed you!

  • What’re your Fall faves?? I love pumpkin oatmeal (though not too much pumpkin..) and pumpkin coffee. Oh…and apple picking!!

Good eeeevening.

Hey everyone! Hope everyone had a fabulous day. Mine wasn’t too shabby. 🙂

I don’t think it would be possible for me to feel down on a day, in Southern NH, that looked like this:

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I lived here my whole life, and Fall never ceases to amaze me with it’s…uh…gorgeousness!!

Anyway, I made a trip to Target (which was not as busy as I thought it would be, considering it is Columbus Day) where I pondered buying an espresso maker (I WILL make that purchase soon, though), a tea kettle (the cheapest one they had was $13…no thanks, I can microwave my water in the mug for now) and some notebooks…but again…too much money. $4 for a one subject? c’mon. Those are all things I want — and will probably get at Target in the future when they go on sale..haha…but even though I didn’t really buy anything I set out for it was a successful trip. Why? you ask.

This is why:

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Yummmmy! 🙂 haha

And I found awesome slippers:

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Haley decided she wanted to check them out while I was taking the picture...haha. No worries she's just a shoe sniffer -- not chewer. 🙂

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So fuzzy!!!

I am back at my apartment in Boston. I made myself a pretty typical dinner of brown rice with black bean salsa and laughing cow light, and sweet potato fries with honey dijon mustard. I was going to mix the mustard and ketchup together (I know I’m weird), but when I opened up my ketchup (haven’t used it since I bought it), the seal was missing…and though, I totally probably took the seal off after I bought it…I don’t actually remember doing it, and I didn’t want to take my chances. — For the record, I bought the ketchup over a month ago, haha. —

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I just finished up my course work for tomorrow, and now I’m enjoying some trail mix (w/ choc covered almonds!)

Hope everyone’s doing well!

"Don't like the weather in New England? – Wait a minute, it'll change."

So today was a prime example of New England weather. As I already posted, you saw the first part of the day – rainy, wet – gross. Then miraculously, about 20 minutes after I had posted that blog…the rain stopped, clouds disappeared and the skies were the bluest I’ve seen in a while. It was gorgeous. THEN – don’t tell me you thought it ended there?? haha – about an hour later…all of a sudden clouds of death rolled in, and the skies just OPENED…it surprised me, and even more-so the people outside who I could hear screeching about the sudden onslaught of rain. THEN – the skies cleared again and it was, well, a gorgeous fall evening.

My walk to class in the early evening was the polar opposite of my walk to class in the early morning!

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I have been craving chocolate, so on my way to class I stopped and got a dark chocolate Toblerone bar.  It’s been so long since I’ve had a Toblerone, but it was and still is delicious! I also picked up another Green Machine – Naked Juice.

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Now, it’s on to dinner – I made some (okay, 6 cups cooked) brown rice in my rice cooker last night (best purchase for the apartment so far!), so it’s the usual brown rice, salsa, Laughing Cow light & mixing it up with some corn tonight!! Trader Joe’s roasted frozen corn, to be exact. It is seriously SO delicious. I will never look at frozen corn the same way again. Plus, some sparkling water with a lime wedge just feelin’ a little fancy.

Such good salsa -- highly recommended if you're not into really chunky salsas -- it's very smooth.

Such good salsa -- highly recommended if you're not into really chunky salsas -- it's very smooth.

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Today was a really good day, and I’m looking forward relaxing and to a good night’s sleep. Is there any good TV on tonight? I can never keep track!! I’ll curl up and channel surf with my Toblerone. haha By the way, what did you guys think of The Biggest Loser last night?? Anyone else watch?

Hope everyone had a fantastic day!!