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Monday, October 31, 2016

happy halloween!

today is halloween and we're super excited.  we can't wait for the work day to be over so that we can head home and enjoy trick-or-treat time!  yesterday we decorated our house for halloween and got our costumes ready to go.  we didn't spend a single penny on costumes, everything we're wearing this year is stuff we already had.

each year, a ton of trick-or-treaters come to our door.  the past two years in a row, we have had 180 each halloween!  we bought a bunch of candy, and we're ready for them tonight!  we absolutely love handing out candy and seeing all of the different costumes.  it's so much fun.

happy halloween!
love, laurie

Friday, October 28, 2016

happy friday!

we're so happy that it's friday today!  the weather has been cold and rainy most of the week, so we're hoping for a dry and slightly warmer weekend so that we can actually get some things done in our yard before the winter weather comes to stay.

i got a much-needed haircut this week.  i always love how healthy my hair feels when i leave the hairdresser!  it's like she is able to press the "reset" switch on my hair.  while ryan was taking a picture of my haircut, leko was cracking us up because he was convinced that he saw a bug on the wall.  it was only a little hook in the wall that we use to hang pictures.  it's been there forever, but he somehow just discovered it and had to have it at that moment.  you would have thought it was a life or death situation.  since i was standing in front of the wall, he was trying to use me as a ladder to get to the "bug."  we just could not stop laughing.  silly guy!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, October 27, 2016

warm lap, warm heart

leko absolutely loves to sit on ryan's lap whenever ryan is on the couch.  usually, leko picks ryan over me.  however, over the weekend ryan was out of the house working for a little bit and i sat down on the couch for a few seconds.  i was totally shocked and in my glory that leko came over and sat on my lap.  i threw my feet up and we cuddled up with one of his favorite blankets.  that little guy sure knows how to warm not only my lap but my heart too.  he is the sweetest.  i just couldn't resist snapping a few pictures on my phone while he was there!

love, laurie

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

sauteed kale with dried cranberries and walnuts

one of my favorite ways to enjoy brussel sprouts is when they are pan seared with dried cranberries and chopped walnuts.  my mom started making them that way a few years ago, and i absolutely love them like that as a side dish.

i had some kale at home, so i decided to prepare it the same way.  the kale went great with the dried cranberries and the walnuts.  it was a great side dish that went with so many different dinners.

sauteed kale with dried cranberries and walnuts
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 10 minutes
yields: 4-5 servings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
salt and pepper to taste

in a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  add the kale and saute, stirring frequently, until cooked throughout (about 5-6 minutes).  add in the cranberries and walnuts, toss well.  season with salt and pepper to taste.  serve warm.

love, laurie

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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 to see everyone and to celebrate "christmas" a little bit early.  ryan's parents made christmas dinner, decorated with a christmas tree, and we even exchanged christmas gifts.  with all of the craziness, we didn't take many photos.  luckily, ryan did manage to snap a picture of everyone at the dinner table.  it was nice to spend time with everyone (especially since we haven't seen ryan's north carolina family since july of 2015).

merry christmas in october!
love, laurie

Monday, October 24, 2016

fall fun

on sunday morning, we had a little bit of free time before ryan had to head out to work a show.  since it was a pretty (yet cold) fall day, we decided to take a little drive around our area admiring the leaves and visiting some local farm stands.  we stopped at 3 locations, picking up pumpkins, apples, cider, and fresh produce along the way.  it was a nice fall sunday morning together!

love, laurie

Friday, October 21, 2016

morning glory muffins

there were some leftover apples on our counter that needed to be used up, so i decided to incorporate them into a batch of muffins this week.

ryan and i absolutely love this recipe for morning glory muffins.  it is from one of our all-time favorite cookbooks, and we have made it many times.  it never disappoints.  these muffins are packed with all sorts of goodness: carrots, apples, raisins, walnuts, and coconut.

they have a great deep, rich flavor thanks to the molasses, and they are moist thanks to the applesauce in them.  i really love that they are not sweet at all, which means you can enjoy them for breakfast.

morning glory muffins
prep time: 15 minutes
baking time: 25-30 minutes
yields: 1 1/2 dozen muffins
adapted from taste of home's complete guide to baking

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup ground old-fashioned oats
2 teaspoons ground flax seed meal
1/2 cup coconut sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
3 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup flaked coconut

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  grease 18 muffins cups in 2 muffin pans.  in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, baking soda, ground oats, ground flax seed, and sugar.  in a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, molasses, applesauce, and vanilla.  add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  mix just until incorporated.  gently fold in the carrots, apples, walnuts, raisins, and coconut.

spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans.  bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.  allow the muffins to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing them from the pans and transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

love, laurie

Thursday, October 20, 2016

hard at work

i snapped these pictures over the weekend as we were trying to get some chores done around the house before we fall weather leaves us and it turns to winter.  i'm beyond grateful for this husband of mine who is such a hard worker!

love, laurie

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

spicy vegan vegetable soup

i looked back, and it turns out that it has been over a month since i've posted a recipe here!  that is crazy since i'm constantly cooking/baking.  life has just been too hectic lately to stop and take the time to photograph any food.  on sunday, i had the opportunity to make a few meals for the week and actually photograph them.  one of the things i made on sunday was this soup.  i made a big pot of it, and it has been feeding us for lunch all week.  a few years ago, my mom bought us these travel soup containers, and they are just perfect for carrying our soup into work with us.

this soup is super tasty and healthy.  it's packed with 8 different veggies and it has a little kick to it too.  i love base recipes like this because you can really personalize them and make them your own by adding/omitting any veggies and you can play with the spice level to your personal taste.

spicy vegetable soup
prep time: 10-15 minutes
cooking time: 45 minutes
yields: 8-10 servings

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow cooking onion, diced
5-6 carrots, peeled and diced
5-6 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 zucchini, diced
24 oz. mushrooms, stems removed and diced
8 oz. kale, chopped
1 can (28 oz.) low-sodium crushed tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
hot sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste

in a very large soup pot over medium heat, warm the oil.  saute the onion, carrots, and celery until tender.  add the garlic, zucchini, and mushrooms.  cook for 5 minutes.  add the kale, tomatoes, vegetable broth, water, and seasonings.  stir well.  bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are all tender.  serve warm.

love, laurie

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

happy anniversary, mom and dad!

today is my parents' 36th anniversary!  we all got together on saturday to celebrate by going out to dinner at camelot restaurant and inn.  none of us had ever been there before.  we're glad we checked it out because we had a great meal.  the front entrance was decorated so nicely for fall, we just had to stop and take a photo before we left.  happy anniversary, mom and dad!

love, laurie

Monday, October 17, 2016

a love letter to sunday

sunday brought us: the opportunity to sleep in, a chance to check some household chores off our to-do list, time to actually cook and photograph several meals at home, gorgeous weather for a walk around our neighborhood, and an available evening to enjoy a very long sit on the couch with leko on our laps while eating our weight in homemade pizza and getting caught up on shows we had taped on our dvr.  it was awesome and it was just what the doctor ordered.  

love, laurie

Friday, October 14, 2016


wow, it has been a really rough couple of weeks recently!  everything has just been so nutty.  i'm keeping my fingers crossed for a calm weekend.  hopefully we will be able to sneak a little bit of relaxation in there before we spontaneously combust!  right now, the weekend forecast isn't looking too bad.  it would be really nice to have some decent weather when we're not stuck inside our offices at work!  fingers crossed!

have a good weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, October 13, 2016

creative couples costumes

yesterday, i shared a list of super simple halloween decorating ideas.  since we're getting in the halloween spirit, today i wanted to share a list of 60+ genius halloween costumes for couples.  ryan and i rarely have the opportunity or the time to dress up for halloween anymore, but after seeing these cool couples costumes i'm starting to wish that we did!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

super simple halloween decorations

halloween is right around the corner, and folks around our area take holiday decorating very seriously.  ryan and i typically decorate for fall and for christmas, but we usually don't take the time to decorate for every other little holiday.  if you're like us and you're short on time, here are a few super simple halloween decorating ideas that you can whip up in no time using things you probably already have around your house . . .

> spider webs made from trash bags
spooky glowing eyes made from toilet paper rolls and glow sticks
monsters made from rocks
pumpkins made from balloons and yarn
zombie barricade made from cardboard boxes
jack-o-lantern garland made from old k-cups and christmas lights
> tombstones made from cardboard and newspaper

happy decorating!
love, laurie

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

winterthur museum and gardens - part 2

we really enjoyed touring winterhur in delaware on sunday.  after we toured the inside of the mansion/museum, we walked around the property.  winterthur is set in a 1,000-acre preserve of picturesque rolling meadows and wooded areas.  near the home is a 60-acre naturalistic garden that looks like something right out of a fairy tale story.

walking through the gardens was like walking through a movie set.  everything was so pretty.  we were especially tickled by the fairy garden which had a thatched-roof fairy home, a witch's house, tiny little bridges, and a giant bird nest.  the details were incredible, it was nuts!

love, laurie

Monday, October 10, 2016

winterthur museum and gardens - part 1

last summer, we visited nemours mansion and gardens (the home of alfred dupont) in delaware with my parents.  we really enjoyed touring the elaborate mansion and strolling through the beautiful gardens.  my mom heard that there was another dupont mansion right by nemours, and we have been curious to check it out ever since.

on sunday, we took a trip back to delaware with my parents to see winterthur museum and gardens.  winterthur was the home of henry francis dupont.  like nemours, winterhur is also open to the public for tours.  we took a tram ride through the property, toured part of the 175-room mansion, and then strolled through the expansive grounds.

the weather held out for us, and it turned out to be a really pretty fall day in delaware.  here some pictures from our visit to winterthur . . .

^it's really hard to comprehend a 9 story, 175-room home.  in fact, it was so big, that we couldn't even find a vantage point outside from which we could see the entire building.  i really loved the roof lines and the dormer windows though.^
^this stair case was truly breathtaking.  it actually wasn't the original stair case.  the original was made of marble.  henry francis dupont was traveling and saw this stair case in another home and he had it removed from that home and put in his home.  i can't even imagine how someone goes about moving a staircase like that!^
^among the collection of china in the house was the china set off which george washington ate when he was in the white house.  that was pretty mind blowing.^
^part of the museum features a collection of campbell soup tureens.  i have never seen so many soup tureens or such elaborate soup tureens in my life!^
^found this handsome fella on the porch overlooking the grounds^
^oh, i'm telling you, those dormer windows were really gorgeous!^
^most of the property looked like a movie set.  it was so detailed and elaborate.  somehow i can just imagine a girl in a beautiful long gown descending those stairs for a fairy tale story.  it's no surprise that the property is a popular spot for weddings.  the tram driver said that there were three weddings there this weekend!^
love, laurie