Thursday, October 30, 2014

pumpkin carving 2014


i can't believe that halloween is tomorrow!  where did october go?!  last night after work, we carved our pumpkins that we got when we went to roba family farms back in september.  we kept our pumpkins simple this year.  we carved our big pumpkin to look like a jack-o-lantern, and at leko's request we carved our little pumpkin to look like at cat.  of course, leko helped out by supervising the pumpkin carving.  after we finished carving our pumpkins, we roasted the pumpkin seeds.  they are such a great fall snack!

love, laurie

. . .

previous pumpkin carving: 2012 and 2013

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

spiced apple puffed skillet pancake


we love using our cast iron skillets in the oven to make breakfasts like puffed pancakes and dutch babies.

over the weekend we made a spiced apple puffed pancake in our cast iron skillet.  this recipe reminds me so much of this german apple puffed pancake recipe which is one of my all-time favorite breakfasts.


this recipe uses one pan which goes right from the stove top to the oven.  the apples become soft as they saute in the skillet with butter, brown sugar, and fall spices.  a thin egg pancake batter (which resembles crape batter) is poured on top, and the whole thing is baked in the oven right in the skillet.

this puffed pancake is more custard like than traditional stove-top pancakes.  it puffs up as it bakes and becomes so light and fluffy.

you can serve hot slices right out of the pan dusted with a little bit of powdered sugar.  yum!


spiced apple puffed skillet pancake
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 20-22 minutes
yields: 2 servings
adapted from love & lemons

ingredients:
1 tablespoon salted butter
3-4 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, divided
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

directions:
preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.  melt the butter in the skillet and spread the melted butter evenly around the bottom and sides of the skillet.  add the apple slices and saute for 2 minutes.  add 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of the spices.  saute until the apples are soft and tender (about 3 more minutes).

in a separate bowl, combine the eggs, almond milk, vanilla, flour, and baking powder.  whisk together until no lumps remain.  (the batter will be thin.)  pour the batter over the apples and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of spices on top.  place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.  dust the top with powdered sugar and serve warm.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

pumpkin spice cookies with pumpkin frosting


we really enjoyed getting together with ryan's family to celebrate christmas in october this weekend.  for dessert on saturday, ryan and i made pumpkin cookies with pumpkin frosting.  (even though we were celebrating "christmas" it's still october!)



i just love the combination of pumpkin and fall spices.  these tender cakey cookies have such a great spice flavor.  they are perfect for fall, and they are delicious with a cup of coffee.

we have made several different types of pumpkin cookies over the years, but i think these have to be my favorite pumpkin cookies so far!  our whole family loved them, including our two-year old nephew davis.  we will definitely be making these cookies again!


pumpkin spice cookies with pumpkin frosting
prep time: 20 minutes
baking time: 12-14 minutes
yields: approximately 18 cookies
adapted from minimalist baker

cookie ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 can pure pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk

frosting ingredients:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, softened
2 teaspoons pumpkin butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon almond milk

directions:
to make the cookies, cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.  beat well.  mix in the pumpkin.  sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice into the mixer bowl.  mix together.  add the almond milk then beat together until well combined.  freeze the dough for 15 minutes.  meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  scoop 1 tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet (be sure to space the cookie dough balls apart).  dip the bottom of a glass into granulated sugar, then gently smash the cookie dough balls down into discs.  bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown.  once baked, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.

to make the frosting, cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  add the pumpkin butter, powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and almond milk.  beat well until combined.  add more powdered sugar or almond milk as needed to reach desired frosting consistency.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Monday, October 27, 2014

christmas in october


over the weekend, ryan's brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews came up to visit from north carolina.  we took a trip down to ryan's parents' house on saturday to see them and to celebrate "christmas" with them since we won't be seeing them again for a while.  ryan's dad made "chrismas dinner" and his parents decorated for christmas and even put up their christmas tree in their living room.  it was so nice to spend time with everyone.

while everyone was together on staurday, we were able to get a family photo.  (thank goodness for tripods and camera timers!)  we were pretty impressed by the fact that we were able to get a picture with everyone looking at the camera . . . even ryan's parents' kitty ginger!


merry christmas in october!
love, laurie

. . .

{photos by ryan's mom}

Friday, October 24, 2014

a few snapshots from this past week . . .

^my dad snapped these pictures of us when we were with my parents on saturday.  i just love how they turned out!  what makes these pictures extra special is that we were at the location where we got married over four years ago.^
^after we visited the alpaca farm on saturday, we came across heckman orchards on our drive home, so we decided to stop to see what they had to offer.  they had rows and rows of bins filled with pumpkins and every type of squash imaginable.  seriously, so much squash!  we bought two types of squash, the largest head of cauliflower that i have ever seen in my life, and a basket of ginormous apples.^
^we absolutely love owning a home that is three quarters of a century old.  old homes have such history and character.  they sure require a lot of love and work, but it is so worth it.  it seems like we always have a home-improvement project going on around our house.  lately, we have been working on restoring our windows (which are original to our house).  it has been a lot of work, and a lot of trips up and down the ladder, but it has been so rewarding to see the transformation.  we only have a few left to go!^

hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, October 23, 2014

vegan curried carrot and apple soup


the weather has been super cold this past week.  it has been so dreary and overcast, and it's been raining constantly.  i feel like i haven't seen the sun in days.  it's down right depressing.  cold weather like this makes me want to curl up in my pajamas.  it's definitely soup weather.

i made a batch of this vegan curried carrot and apple soup recently and we absolutely loved it.  it is loaded with onions, celery, carrots, and apples.  never thought of putting apples in your soup before?  me either . . . but let me tell you, it's a game changer.

the flavors of the veggies and the apples are a great combination.  the curry powder gives this soup a warm spice.  if you're not a fan of spicy foods, you could put less curry powder in, or your could leave it out entirely.

this soup not only tastes great, but it is also super healthy for you and very low in calories!


vegan curried carrot and apple soup
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 30-40 minutes
yields: 4 servings
adapted from kitchen daily

ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large apples, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 bay leaf
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

directions:
heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  saute the onion and the celery until softened and the onion is translucent.  (be careful that it does not brown.)  stir in the carrots, apples, and curry powder.  cook for 2 minutes.  add the bay leaf and vegetable broth.  bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.  cover and let simmer until the carrots and apples are tender (about 20 minutes).  remove the bay leaf.  transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until completely smooth.  pour the pureed soup back into the soup pot.  reheat and season with salt and pepper to taste.  serve warm.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

a trip to the alpaca farm!


when we were with my parents on saturday, we visited pohopoco creek alpaca farm.  we just saw two alpacas a few weeks ago when we were at ritter's cider mill and we thought they were so cute, so we were excited when we heard that pohopoco creek alpaca farm was having an open house (or should i say "open farm") on saturday.

it was really neat to get to see so many alpacas up close.  while we were at the alpaca farm, we learned a lot about alpacas.  i never knew that alpacas come in 22 different colors, and they can produce 5-10 pounds of fleece per year when sheared.  their fleece is as soft as cashmere and it is warmer, lighter, and stronger than wool.

the alpacas were so friendly.  they make a cute little humming noise to communicate with each other.  they came right up to us and let us pet them.  my mom definitely wanted to take one home with her!


love, laurie

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

peanut butter pancakes


i absolutely love peanut butter.  it's one of my weaknesses.  i share my love of peanut butter with my dad who can eat peanut butter by the spoonful right out of the jar.  like father, like daughter.  i'm proud to have inherited his peanut-butter loving gene.

as much as i love peanut butter, i never really thought of putting peanut butter on pancakes.  i learned that trick from ryan when i met him.  that husband of mine loves to spread peanut butter on top of pancakes.  if we can put peanut butter on top of pancakes, why not put it inside?!

peanut butter pancakes are genius.  the peanut butter gives the pancakes a great flavor.  they remind me a bit of peanut butter cookies (but not as sweet).  the addition of the peanut butter to the pancake batter makes the pancakes extra thick.  they sure are a treat!

we topped our pancakes with a few honey-roasted peanuts and warm maple syrup.  i bet they would be great topped with banana slices and/or chocolate chips too!


peanut butter pancakes
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
yields: 2 servings
adapted from joy the baker

ingredients:
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

directions:
in a microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter and the butter.  whisk until smooth.  whisk in the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla.  add the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.  heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan on medium heat.  pour 3 tablespoons of batter onto the griddle for medium pancakes.  cook for 3 minutes, until small bubbles begin to form.  flip the pancakes when they start to bubble, then cook for 2-3 minutes, until they are golden brown and cooked throughout.  once cooked, transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree F oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining pancake batter.  serve warm with warm maple syrup.

enjoy!
love, laurie

Monday, October 20, 2014

happy anniversary, mom and dad!

on saturday, my parents celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary!

we got to spend the entire day with my parents on saturday.  in the morning, we got together to attend the funeral of a family member who passed away last week.  after the funeral, we went out to lunch to celebrate my parents' anniversary.  we spent the afternoon doing some fun fall activities and finished the evening by cooking dinner together at my parents' house and sharing some delicious desserts that we picked up at a cafe on the way home.

i snapped this picture of my parents after lunch on saturday and i think it is now one of my new favorite pictures of them.  i am so very blessed to have two parents who are such wonderful role models, and who love me so much.  there is nothing better in this world than the love of family.

happy anniversary, mom and dad!  i love you both so very much!

love, laurie
xoxo

Friday, October 17, 2014

fall flowers


there is a hydrangea tree in our yard outside our kitchen window that produces the most beautiful white flowers every august.  we always look forward to seeing it bloom at the end of the summer each year.  the weather was so wacky this year that our hydrangea tree bloomed a month late.  the flowers bloomed white as they usually do, however, over the past few weeks they have started to turn a pale pink/purple color.

the other day we were out in the yard doing some work and i just had to stop to admire how pretty the flowers looked on the hydrangea tree with the late afternoon sun hitting them.  it's so nice to see such pretty flowers in our yard . . . especially in mid-october!


have a wonderful weekend!
love, laurie