Thursday, October 31, 2013

In the Kitchen: Too Simple Applesauce

I'm embarrassed by how easy this is.  I'm posting it more for myself so that I'll remember to make it every season.  My grandma used to cut her apples into small cubes to make applesauce and I was pleased to discover that it doesn't even have to be that involved.  This makes enough for about 4 decent portions.

5 big apples - I used Gala and Honeycrisp because both were on sale
Splenda and cinnamon

Wash and dry apples.  Peel and core them.  Don't throw the peel away, it's full of nutrients so enjoy it as a snack on it's own!  Slice the apples (feel free to leave the slices chunky).  Place in a pot, cover with a few tablespoons of splenda and a shake or two of cinnamon.  You can tell from the photo above that cinnamon makes me very happy.  Cook the apples over medium low heat for about an hour.  Stir every so often and the apples should start to break down into traditional applesauce texture.  Taste and adjust the sweetness as desired.  It's delicious hot or cold - make often.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The time I got us lost in a corn field...

Hey, it's me.  Blogging about last weekend even though our week is half way over.  In any case last weekend was one of the most fun fall filled (ooo say that three times fast) two days I've ever had.  It started on Saturday when R and I met his sister and brother in law for a corn maze.

I'm no stranger to corn mazes, they are popular in my home town  but no one else had ever been so we all took turns playing the lead.  Here is the maze we had to maneuver:
We had punch cards and we had to find 12 different stations that would prove we were going the right way.  We finished the maze in 1 hour and 7 minutes...I'm pleased with our time, especially since we had a 3 year old with us that became very bored after about 45 minutes.  

The location is also home to a pumpkin patch and they have several activities just for kids, R's nephew had a blast.

We went to my hometown to enjoy the local fire department's charcoal lunch.  I look forward to this every year - I've never had charcoal chicken that tasted quite like this.  It's fabulous and supports a volunteer fire department.
I mean look at that yummy site!  Yes that is 12 layer chocolate cake off on the left side of the photo.  I took R two years ago to our FD and he craves is every year now.

Later in the evening we watched a couple of scary movies and cooked a hearty meal of white chicken chili and homemade applesauce.  I wasn't very hungry but it made for fantastic leftovers for the week.  I plan on posting both recipes in the next few days.

If you are in the Raleigh area, I highly recommend Kens Korny Corn Maze, it is real family fun and I just love being outdoors with the great weather we've had lately.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five on Friday

I actually was out of work at my normal time yesterday and had an evening to myself to relax.  R has been out of the country this week and I have missed him terribly.  It was fine that I had to work so much, it kept me busy.  I did find time this week to have some fall fun!

>Bath and Body Works Leaves candle has been my home fragrance of complaints here.

>Baby has been festive in her new fall collar.  I love the little orange bells, she does not.

>Chocolate chip pumpkin bread, this is an annual favorite.  I added powdered sugar because it broke coming out of the pan.  Ugly but delicious, just how I like it! Got spice cake mix and canned pumpkin?  Then you've got bread (I also love it with craisins and white chocolate chips).

>Our welcome mum, his name is Otis.  I name all my plants...I think it helps me take better care of them. R scoffs at this theory because he is the one with the green thumb.  We don't have a lot of room near our front door for plants but this one adds a lot of color. 

>A picture of R and I enjoying a home game...glorious football after too many weeks where they have played away.  This was our military appreciation game, it was cloudy and rainy so I appreciated the fact that we were able to sit under the shelter.

*Bonus favorite* I can't stop singing this and it's totally appropriate for the theme.

Whoop! Another week, another fave five.  Join in, everyone's doing it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My 26th hour...

I'm truly jealous of bloggers that post every day, especially the ones that have perfectly edited photos. This week I've been getting home at 7 pm at the absolute earliest -after I do laundry and cleaning my day is done. I haven't blogged regularly lately because I haven't had time to do a proper post.  

Well I don't tonight either so you'll get the bulleted version:

> I'm in my Sox shirt right now because our team is in the World Series and we just started playing the Cardinals.

> Tonight I bought 3 big bags of candy and I'm making treat bags for work - it's a task I will probably finish tomorrow night.

> Mom and I met for dinner tonight, her favorite place Cracker Barrel.  We split an apple dumpling and it was the most amazing thing I've eaten, probably ever.  They were stingy with the ice cream though.

> R and I purchased the first holiday gift of the year this week....and the madness begins.

> We have been invited to a Halloween party but I have no idea what our costumes will be.

> Pretty Little Liars last night was not as good as past Halloween episodes so I was disappointed.  I'm embarrassed that I love this show so much and I'm going to miss Caleb!

> I got behind a complete nut driving home today and couldn't stop singing "All Over the Road" by Easton Corbin.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five on Friday

I missed last week's link-up because I was traveling for work.  This week I've been staying late at the office playing catch up but I'm hoping to get back to regular posts soon.

1.  Pirates Voyage Dinner Theater

Last week my company hosted a conference at a resort in Myrtle Beach and this was the chosen spot for our big group dinner.  The show was so much fun - I was mesmerized at the talented animals in this show and by the acrobatics!

We also ate at Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse and it was amazing as well!

2.  PayDay.
Yum.  At the work conference we broke into "teams" and played a game as part of a colleague's presentation.  Our team was rewarded with pay day candy bars - I haven't had one of these in a long time and it was delicious.  Now I can't get the craving to stop.

3.  Jewelry storage bag - perfect for travel.

Another favorite related to the conference, I went to TJMaxx in search of a wheeled duffel to bring on my trip and found this little bag with tiny little zipper compartments made for jewelry.  Each pouch is labeled (I didn't follow them though because, well, I'm a rebel) and there is leftover space for chunky jewelry like my tortoise link necklace.

4.  Merona Womens Chunky Cardigan
At first I thought it screamed 80s.  But I gravitated towards it anyway and I love that it's oversized and super warm.  I think it looks much pricier than $29.99.  If the striped one is too much for you, the sweater also comes in camel, gray, navy, and black.  I also learned about the Cartwheel app - it's free and you can get a ton of Target coupons and discounts at your fingertips.  I used it during my last visit and was able to save quite a bit of extra money on top of my manufacturer and Target coupons.  The only caveat is that you have to sign in using your facebook account.  You can check Target's mobile site for more information on the app before you download it.

5.  Breakfast for one.

One day last week I took some time to myself before the conference.  I rarely take my paid time off so I enjoyed it.  Most mornings I have fruit, a protein bar, or yogurt / cottage cheese for breakfast.  I need something quick and filling.  But on my day off, no sir, I want a nice warm leisurely breakfast.  I chose to make myself a chocolate chip (using mini morsels) and almond pancake with chia seeds and maple syrup.  I also made myself my own version of a PSL - Starbucks Verona Blonde Roast coffee with Torani Pumpkin Pie Sugar Free syrup, vanilla almond milk, splenda and cinnamon.  I realize that it photographed as just "brown" but I wasn't worried about garnishing perfection - it smelled amazing and I was hungry!

Join the fun y'all, every Friday with these fun girls. . .

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Round 5 Boys Behind the Blog

Another round of the Boys Behind the Blog...I love this link-up and I think R appreciates recognition as the Beau behind the Belle.  Ever since I started following Mal Smiles we have participated in this monthly treat!

1.  Describe yourself in 5 words.
Amazing. Smart. Outgoing. Caring.  Athletic.
credit: Ginny Corbett Photography (via the wedding of dear friends)

2.  What is your biggest fear?
Losing my wife.  <--- i="">I wasn't expecting this answer

3.  What is your favorite candy?
Butterfinger fun size.

4.  What was the best Halloween costume you've ever worn?
Teenage Mutant Ninja photos please, I was only 8.

5.  Who is your favorite football team?
ECU Pirates

Saturday, October 5, 2013

In The Kitchen: Chloe's Drunken Noodle Soup

Remember when I mentioned this vegan cookbook?  R and I were searching for new ways to eat our veggies and we even made it a priority for our 30 before 30 goals.  Well we have tried a few recipes but this one has been the most delicious so far.  Ah yum, we have leftovers in the fridge and I can't stop thinking about them.
We chose this recipe based on the picture.  A favorite restaurant of ours offers a "noodle bowl" that I've been known to crave on many a cool night. This broth was very similar - maybe next time we will add more ginger and red pepper flake but otherwise it is kind of perfect.  
And this is how ours turned out!  It was delicious!

 Here is the "tweaked" recipe that we used.

1/3 package udon noodles
1 package of exotic mushroom blend (Chloe uses sliced shiitakes in her recipe)
3 scallions, sliced
4 cloves of minced garlic
approx 1 tablespoon of grated ginger (but don't be afraid to use more)
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon red pepper flake (Chloe uses cayenne)
1 large container of vegetable broth, ours was 4 cups
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt and pepper
optional: 1.5 cups fresh broccoli - we had it in the fridge and decided to use it
optional: 1 cup bean sprouts - just like the broccoli, we needed to use it
1/4 cup chopped cashews <--i but="" could="" crunch="" have="" i="" liked="" p="" r="" skipped="" the="" think="" this="">
Cook the noodles to package directions and drain.  Heat small amount of olive oil (we used Pam spray) in a large pan, add mushrooms, broccoli, and scallions and cook until soft.  Add bean sprouts, fresh garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and red pepper flake - cook a few 5-6 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil.  Add noodles.  Simmer the broth covered for about 10 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar and sesame oil at the end.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cashews (Chloe uses cilantro too, but I didn't have any on hand).

I highly recommend her book even for non vegans.  The pictures alone are worth the price but there are some really good recipe ideas that would make even the most dedicated meat lover willing to make a meatless switch a couple of times a week.  I'm checking out her dessert section more and more...the award winning cupcakes are probably happening...soon.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Five on Friday

Another week down, another chance to share five things on my mind:

1.  Bauble baby Bauble.  Whoa queen of cornball!  But seriously Bauble Bar has my heart, these are my latest purchases - the midi pave bracelet and a tortoise link necklace.  I was so excited to see this box in the mail and I can't wait to wear my new purchases to our regional meeting next week.

 2.  Warby Parker.  Confession time- we have lost R's glasses.  Neither one of us can remember the last time they were seen and we have turned the house inside out looking for them.  With Christmas coming, we really don't want to spend a lot of money replacing them (especially because he doesn't wear glasses often).  But of course we want them to be attractive and high quality.  Warby Parker optical has an amazing selection, the site is easy to navigate, AND they have a try at home option.  We picked out five of our favorites - they send them free shipping and returns and you have 5 days to try them out before you commit.  After doing my research online I think this might be the most practical solution for us.  I even browsed the girly options in case I get tired of my Kate Spade glasses.  

3.  Phillip Lim for Target.  I snagged a handbag about a week and a half after the launch.  I've been carrying it daily and loving it.  I realize that this should have made it on my last Friday Five but I've definitely appreciated the size of the bag this week in particular.  It fits my Kate Spade planner (which I have been asked to review so watch out for that in an upcoming post).  I have also been able to stash my scarf and some snacks since I've been getting to work early some days and working late this week.  I have a company getaway this week and I need a professional looking bag that will hold everything I need for a full day of meetings.  

4.  I was recently contacted by Wedding Paper Divas complimenting my wedding posts where I showed off my papergoods.  They were so appreciative they offered me a promo code for their sister site Tiny Prints.  Oh yes I've already been eyeballing Christmas cards!  I used some of the promotion to make a few calling cards for my blog to bring to blogger meet-ups.  Now...I'd like to make something clear it took forever to make a decision whether or not to use my picture on the card.  They have a preset option with "hello" written in cursive that was so eerily similar to my blog greeting that I just went with it.  I don't want anyone to think I love myself so much that I need to pass out pictures of my face to complete strangers.  If I ever create a blog "button" design, I'm sure it would be a better option for the future.
For now I like it.

5.  More local fair fun.  This past weekend R and I spent some time in my hometown for rodeos, street vendors, and good ol' country fun.  Saturday we went to a street fair and parade - I wore my Ariat boots and R wore his new Justins just for the occasion.  Baby joined in on the fun and wore a festive bandana - though she tired quickly and R had to carry her on his shoulders.  She really did look like queen pup.  I didn't buy anything this year at the vendor fair but I ordered an anchor "wreath" for our front door that we probably won't use until next summer.  I loved it though and I have so many fall, holiday, and spring wreaths but nothing to go on the door appropriate from May to August.  After we had a delicious food truck dinner with friends, we made our way to the street dance and listened to some great live music.  Ah and my very favorite...people watching.  I never quite see anything all year like the things I see on this particular weekend
Don't take my word on it.  Join the link up and share your favorite five.  These lovely ladies are sweet enough to host it every week.