Our pumpkin has arrived! Every night my son asks me if this is THE night we can carve out the face. We still have another week to go I say, but rest assured, he'll keep asking. Meanwhile, Mr. Pumpkin is sitting happily among the mums on the front steps.
If you think he looks shiny it's because as soon as we got him I sprayed him with hairspray! The reason I did this was not to make him look beautiful, but instead as a squirrel repellent. Every year the squirrels in my yard have an early Thanksgiving feast with my pumpkin. This year I decided to trick them. Any girl that wears hairspray knows that it doesn't taste very good if you get it in your mouth, and apparently the squirrels don't care for it either! My pumpkin has not been touched in weeks! Ha!
The colors of fall are in full bloom in my yard. What a joy it is to finally see the hues of rust, gold, and purple that we have waited all year for. The trees are only beginning, but the plants are peak.
Funny thing is my rose bush has decided to bloom one last time as well. I have never had roses this far into October before. I'm certainly not complaining though. Roses go with every season, don't you think?
Since I'm still chipping away at my apple supply I did more baking this weekend. As promised I wanted to share with you my recipie for Apple Swirl Cake. This cake is a perfect dessert, but can also be served for breakfast. Great for brunches too!
Here's what you need to make it:
2 cups chopped apples
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix apples, 3 tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine sugar and oil.
Beat in eggs, orange juice, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add to creamed mixture a little at a time. Beat until smooth.
**This batter is what Yankee Candle scents are made of**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/3 batter into a greased bunt pan. Add 1/2 of the apple mixture on top of the batter.
Add another 1/3 of the batter, then the rest of the apples. End with the remainder of the batter on top.
Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for at least 10-15 minutes in the pan before "doing the flip"....
I served mine for dessert on Sunday night and then brought the rest to my parents house on Monday morning to have with coffee.
It's always a good thing when I come bearing goodies. Especially on a crisp fall morning. We took our apple cake and mugs of freshly brewed coffee and sat out on the back porch for breakfast.
My Dad just recently finished building this porch - to replace an old porch. Dad's great that way. When something gets old and weary, he tears it down and rebuilds it - bigger and better. There isn't a room in the whole house that hasn't been completely reconstructed at one time or another. He'll get an idea in his head and boom - out comes the sledgehammer. For about 3 years during my early twenties I felt like I was on a never ending episode of Extreme Home Makeover.
Luckily, my Dad is a professional and everything always comes out looking amazing. We like to tease him, but really, his work is impressive. Even when he tore every wall down on the first floor of the house to create "an open floor plan", there was never a doubt it would be perfect. Which it was.
The new porch has a roof, lights, a ceiling fan, and a mini fridge (for his wine : ). Since we have overhead covering now we are protected from the elements, but can still enjoy being outside. During Hurricane Irene we actually sat on the porch and watched the trees dance in the wind. It was truly amazing.
But the best part about being on the back porch is not the mini fridge, it's the view. The backyard is woods that lead down into a river. We see ducks and swans, fish jumping in the water, and lots of birds! Occasionally a boat or kayak will sail by. It's quiet and tranquil with only the sounds of wind chimes and birds chirping to distract you from your daydream. A little slice of heaven in their own backyard. Good work, Dad!
Pretty soon the leaves will start to change color and it will feel as though you are looking at a Thomas Kinkade painting through the sliding glass doors. I'm sure at that point I will decide that "this is my favorite season" on the porch.
That is until all the tree branches are covered with the first fallen white snow and the river is glistening with frost. It will look like a sparkly winter wonderland. It does every year. And it never gets old.
So while my Dad is busy tearing down walls and rebuilding porches I must show you what my mom has been up to recently:
What you see here are squares of fabric sewn together that will someday be a darling vintage style apron for ME! I couldn't even tell you which pattern I like best, because I love them all so much.
It all started one day when I mentioned to my mom that I saw an apron online that I loved and wanted to purchase. She took one look at it and said her famous 4 word line - "I can make that". After a day or two of research she found a pattern online at www.modabakeshop.com that was very similar to the one that I was going to purchase. We sorted through her stash of fabrics and it just so happened that she had an assortment of the vintage floral styles that I had wanted.
My new apron will have four rows of ruffles and will probably be too cute to cook in, but of course I will anyway. I'll keep you posted on the progress, but I just had to give you a sneak peek!
If you are interested in the pattern for this apron, just visit the website above. It's called the sun kissed apron and can be done in any color/design combo that you want. I also mentioned to my mom earlier today at how cute this design would be as a table runner. I'm thinking matchy-matchy. No stopping us now!
I am so blessed to have been born from two naturally talented and creative people. I can only hope that I may have inherited at least a tiny bit of whatever it is that gives them both the magic touch. If the answer is no, well - at least I might have fooled them with this apple cake....
Because it really was good. Really Good. : )
Moving on.... Here's a thought...
Have you ever wondered what makes Williams-Sonoma smell so yummy? Is it just me, or are you literally floating through that store on a constant search to find what it IS that is making you feel so warm and cozy?
The answer is this -
After you peel your apples for the apple cake, put all the skins and core in a small sauce pot. Add a cinnamon stick (or two) and cover with hot water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Add a dash of nutmeg and a few whole cloves and ENJOY!
This little concoction will make your home smell heavenly. Just keep an eye on the water. Once it gets low, add a bit more from the kettle.
If you follow your nose around Williams-Sonoma long enough, I guarantee this is what you will find. They use the windows to get you in, and the simmering apples to make you stay. Gosh, I love that store!
I was passing by there today and this window called me by name. This is the 2-die-4 oven on my wish list! Can't you see me in my soon-to-be ruffly apron, pulling the Thanksgiving turkey out of this oven? We are meant to be together. Although I'm sure the hubbie would disagree : (
I simply cannot walk by this store without going inside, even if it's just to window shop. I'm always inspired and walk out the door busting with new ideas.
Today I found myself with a small window of time to do some window shopping. Strolling along I passed WS on my way to Barns & Noble - which by the way - is my second favorite store. Me + a pumpkin spice latte + the travel section = perfection.
After checking out Teresa Giudice's Skinny Italian cookbook (out of sheer curiosity!) I browsed the magazines and look what I found:
I know it's early for the Christmas edition, but I couldn't help myself. It came with this extra section that I could not resist:
It's choc full of English traditions, recipes, and decorating ideas. Some starry night I will make myself a hot cocoa and curl up in bed with these magazines. I'll hold out as long as I can, but I can't make any promises. I'm not very good in the will power department. However, I did vow to try to not rush from season to season. I guess Khols didn't make that vow, because this weekend the Christmas trees went up. And I peeked!
Thank you all so much for reading. Have a great week. Now everyone go outside with a can of Tresemme and spray your pumpkins. It really works!