Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday Brunch (a little late)

Sorry I am posting this a little late, but for our church's women's brunch on Sunday, I was able to try a new recipe that I've had bookmarked.

I made Cinnamon Quick Bread from this recipe and it was a little dry (I think I overbaked it a little because the top didn't ever crisp up) but it was great with jelly!

I may just forgo the "crumb" topping next time in favor of a little powdered sugar glaze.

Do you have any great brunch recipes to share? I love cooking for breakfast and brunch because there are so many options that are overlooked (like sweet things!) I can't wait to get more recipes knocked off of my to-do list like this one! More to come.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall Fashion Update

As a college student, funds aren't always readily available to update my wardrobe for the changing of the seasons. The sad part is, I LOVE fall colors like mustard, rust, garnet and dark green that you just don't wear in summer.  So I decided to stashbust a little and create some brooches that incorporate some new colors!

 For the garnet flower, I used this tutorial but I backed it with a paperboard circle instead of a baby food jar lid (no babies to eat the baby food! haha)
For the braided flowers, I based it on this tutorial but added a little twist of my own and used t-shirt strips instead of fabric.
And I just made up the button one as I went along!

I will post pictures when I wear them! I can't wait for it to get colder than 95 degrees in the afternoon and feel like fall!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumpkin Recipe 1

I was so excited to bake for my small group (i LOVE having other people around to eat most of my experiments so I don't have to eat 4 dozen cookies.... which is what this recipe made!)

I was so excited to find pure pumpkin puree at Harris Teeter near my house last Saturday and had to start making pumpkin things for it to feel like fall!

I started with this recipe and tweaked it a tad to fit what we had.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

yield | 48 cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter; softened (We only had 14 tablespoons of butter instead of 16 and it was fine)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy.
3. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips and dried cherries.
4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.
5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PLEASE take my advice and TRY THESE! So delicious and so fall- not too much pumpkin that its overwhelming but just the right way to start fall!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I ♥ Pumpkin

Happy first day of Fall!

I have to admit- even though I don't live where the trees turn gorgeous colors consistently every fall and sometimes they just fall off brown, I LOVE fall. Its just an amazing transition between summer and winter (which we don't really get either...) and pumpkin is my favorite fall flavor, possibly because its just so forbidden during the summer!  Here are some recipes on my radar for this fall:

Pumpkin butter
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Pumpkin Latte
Pumpkin Pudding
Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Scones
Pumpkin Cranberry Granola
Pumpkin Chai Bread
Pumpkin Nutella Bread
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

(blame the excess on Tastespotting! You can search for whatever ingredient you want!) I hope you're hungry for fall now!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Apples, Apples, Everywhere!

I have a ton of apples from Labor Day, so I made applesauce yesterday! It was so delicious :) I used this recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking. It turned out great.

But its not very pretty, because its all mushy and I've almost eaten all of it. I halved the recipe because I think my slow cooker is only 2-quart and the recipe uses a 4-quart. It made 2 servings and it was perfect- not too sugary and very apple-y. Yum! Please go try this recipe! You won't regret it!

Mountain Views

Here are some of my favorite pictures from my trip into the mountains on Monday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Apple Pickin' and NC Apple Festival

In celebration of Labor Day and the end of summer, I did something very fall :) We didn't have class today, so my friend Melanie and I went up to Hendersonville, NC, pick some apples! We decided on Sky Top Orchards because they had some amazing views posted on their website and got up there around 10 am yesterday.

We picked our fair share of apples- 1/2 bushel was perfect. I'm planning on making some applesauce in my slow cooker and maybe some apple butter. And maybe even some apple pie or tart!

Mutsu Apples (early Fujis)

Jonagold Apples

Jonathan Apples (Just like my boyfriend! haha)

Melanie with her prize, little Gala apple. They were mostly picked over or rotten so she only got 2!

Me pickin' apples!

Eating an apple donut. Heaven in donut form- it tasted like apple pie!

Drinking an apple cider slushie-I had to get my fill of apple products!

How tall am I? The sign exaggerates by 2 inches, but I don't mind!

I picked up some mini preserve jars from Sky Top as well- Fig, Blueberry and Apple Cinnamon Jelly.

After picking apples and eating our share of awesome apple foods, we drove into Hendersonville, NC, for their annual NC Apple Festival

Hendersonville is so cute!

We ate at the Black Bear Coffee Co. and I got a ham and cheese croissant and iced tea. A great reward for picking some apples! And energy for our adventure after Hendersonville.... heading to Pisgah National Forest! More on that tomorrow... there are too many pictures for one post!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I had a wonderful time antiquing in Columbia when I found out the storefronts on Gervais Street (which previously looked closed and at one point had "Closed" on them) are actually open and one is a 20,000 square foot antique mall! Amazing! Well, after spending a couple of hours sifting, I walked out with a fabric lantern and a pretty doily for $6!

Its hanging in the entrance way to my room :) It's a great addition!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday Night Brownies

I had a wonderful Friday night with my friend, Kate, because her husband, Paul, was out for the night. After wandering around the mall and shopping a little bit, we stopped by the grocery store to get ingredients for pizza (there wasn't any dough left, so we got a pre-made pizza crust) and made some easy brownies. I have made these once before and they got scarfed up by my co-workers before I could get a picture of them! They are definitely easy to make and don't require melting chocolate (my least favorite part about homemade brownies). Here is the recipe!

Easy Brownie Recipe
from Group Recipes

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour, sugar, and cocoa in a large bowl. 
Pour in butter, eggs and vanilla.
Mix well and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. 
Bake for 25 minutes.

I love this recipe- so simple and so delicious. Its not a fudge-y brownie, but it doesn't "harden" until it cools because of the large liquid content in butter and eggs. They taste more like German chocolate to me than a traditional brownie, but I can't wait to try it with dark cocoa powder! Its a perfect dessert to throw together and somewhat instant gratification!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quinoa Veggies

I finally got around to trying this recipe that I saw over the summer. And I'm converted to a believer for quinoa :) I used to think it was just strange and looked squiggly (which it does, but I just had a bad experience in Ecuador!) and I'm so glad I conquered that prejudice against quinoa.
Quinoa Veggies from Vegan Lunchbox Around the World
  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 c vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ½ red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • ½ c frozen corn kernels
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
1.       Place the quinoa and vegetable broth in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
2.       Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan or high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onion is just soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds, then add the zucchini and corn. Cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
3.       Add the cooked quinoa and stir well, toss with the fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
4.       Serve warm or cold.
It will definitely be a new recipe staple! Oh, and feel free to add whatever vegetables you want :) I added some yellow squash that I had and it was wonderful. Its a pretty versatile concept!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Farmer's Market Finds

Yesterday was our first Farmer's Market on campus for the year! Its only going to have a limited run (until the end of September) but I had a great time going to each of the booths and walking away with some great produce.

My favorite items are these eggplants. I think I'm going to try a crockpot recipe with them, but I'm not sure yet!

I also picked up some long beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, apples and peaches. And I tried the best peach tea ever. I'm stoked to go back to get the peach cider concentrate next week because I found out after I left that all you do is make black iced tea and add a little of the concentrate. Easy peasy, and super delicious!

I hope fresh produce inspires you this week :) Farmer's Markets are the bomb! I walked away with a ton of stuff for $12!