Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cinnamon-sugar apple skillet cake ♥

Guys, tomorrow is Halloween! Are you ready?  It's going to be a chilly 52 degrees here, but no rain so our trick or treaters will be nice and dry.  For the past several years we've been invited to trick or treat with some of John's school friends in their neighborhood.  It's so much fun! My friend Courtney puts on an awesome spread of hot chocolate and cookies on her front porch before we go, and honestly...that's my favorite part ♥

But before we go Trick or Treating.... 

...I thought I would share with you a favorite apple recipe of mine since it IS still apple season (actually, isn't it always apple season? :)

I made this cake for the first time a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it.  I used a cast iron skillet but a glass baking dish works just as well! This cake is perfect with your tea or coffee and served warm will fill you with utter JOY on a cold day, especially if you a fighting a touch of a cold like me.  

Tis the season.....♥

recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
6 tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter,  at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 or 4 apples, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 tsp cinnamon for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease and flour the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet (or other oven proof dish or cake pan). 

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add egg and yolk, one at a time, beating for one minute between each addition. 

With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture.  Add the buttermilk and when the flour is just combined with the butter mixture, add the remaining flour.  Beat on low until all of the flour has been incorporated. 

Spoon batter into the pan and spread evenly.  Top with the sliced apples and cinnamon & sugar.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 

WAIT! Where's the whip cream! What was I thinking? ♥

Either way, it's really delicious! I hope you try it and use up all the yummy apples of the season.  

Well, the cake is ready, pumpkins are carved, and John has his costume.  He's bringing back and oldie but goodie and going as a slice of bacon again this year!  I'll be back on Friday with pictures : )

Have a very happy and safe Halloween! 

Enjoy your festivities, even if it's just cozying up on the couch watching a scary movie! 

Boo!!!!! (and please save me a Three Musketeers Bar cause they're my favorite ♥)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A little reminder for when you need it

If you are ever feeling blue, just remember.....

Amen ~ 

Happy Wednesday my friends! 

Don't forget to look for the good. 

It's in there somewhere : )

Monday, October 22, 2018

A few little things....

Happy Monday!  

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mondays are never easy, are they?  And with the cold mornings it's getting harder and harder to get out of my cozy bed.  But once I'm out and about I'm happy because the air is cool and the colors are brilliant.  October is so pretty!  

Coffee tastes a little sweeter on crisp mornings like this.  Today I had to wear a scarf for the first time this season and I got an early morning text from Rob (who had already left the house) reminding me that I may want to warm up my car before heading out to work.  I'm glad I took his advice because my windshield was all iced up! 

Last weekend John and I went to our town's Homecoming football game.  My good friend Julie's son is in the band and we wanted to hear him play.  We had a lot of fun sitting in the bleachers and it reminded me of my old high school days....I say that fondly because I would never want to return...lol : )  

The best part about going to the game was that it kick started me into holiday mode.  I had a sudden urge to run home and make chili! Maybe that's because the bleachers were freezing and I just needed to warm up.  Or maybe it's because this is my favorite time if year and I want the cherish every second of it.  Maybe both...wink, wink... 

And what's more holiday than football and chili?  All we need is a pumpkin pie and we are good to go.  Bring on November!  

I'm enjoying this fall so much I thought I would share with you a few things I'm currently loving: 

Sunday morning was rainy and cold.  I decided to make us cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  My mom always uses the expression "better than a steak dinner".  Well, it was.  
No matter how many times I have cinnamon rolls they always feel like a treat.  I ate two. 
Enough said. 

I picked up this Autumn Pumpkin kitchen soap at Bath & Body.  Have you tried it?  It smells SO GOOD! If you haven't tried their hand soaps yet please run to Bath & Body Works and stock up.  They are the best ~ 

You are probably saying to yourself  "really? she's excited about soap?"  Well, yes I am!  I love this soap!  It fills the kitchen with the best scent.  Even the boys like it (so it's a win, win in my book! : ). 
I love the bottle too.  I'm a sucker for nice packaging! 

And while we are on the subject of Bath & Body Works, while I was there I got this Wallflower! Could you die?  My friend Julie (remember her from the football game?) had the same one in her kitchen.  I loved it so much I had to get one.  I picked up 2 refills - one in Apple Pumpkin and the other in Carmel Apple.  

The house is smelling good these days! 

Ok, so as if the cinnamon rolls weren't bad enough, the other day I treated myself to a Dunkin Donuts pumpkin donut.  My first of the season.  It was delicious!  

* I don't want you to think that all I eat is junk food, it's just treats are the most fun to photograph.  I had a salad for lunch today.  Honest * 

And here we go.  Twinkle lights around the window!!!  I posted this picture on Instagram last week with a caption that read "too soon?".  The response we an overwhelming NO!


I kind of wish I had orange ones for Halloween, but in a few weeks time I will be switching these out to multi colors for Thanksgiving & Christmas.  I absolutely love twinkle lights!  Never enough in my book.  I think that's why I love Nora Ephron movies so much.  There are always twinkle lights in the background.  It sets a peaceful mood, don't you think?  I love them the most in the wee hours of the morning before the sun comes up.  

Those lights are getting me itchy for holiday time.  On Saturday I was at the mall picking up a few things and I noticed the holiday displays at Macy's are in full bloom.  Trees, lights, a big BELIEVE sign.  I know it's early but it made me so happy to see.  I love department stores during the holidays. They always have extra goodies you never see during the year. I love wandering the makeup counters and checking out  all the gift box sets. I usually find something for myself along the way : )  
(my idea of fun....haha)   

After the rain Sunday morning the sun actually came out and we went out for a little drive.  I had to return a library book so we took the long way. Sometimes taking the long way is the best way.  Especially on a Sunday. And especially when the roads look like this.  Ahhhh.....: ) 

And finally here I am this morning in all my glory....plus a filter.  Because who doesn't need a filter on a Monday morning?!  I know I do! 

There are so many more things to love about October, like Halloween coming up in 9 days (John reminded me this morning!) but here was just a few bits of my everyday loves.  

What are you loving this month?  

I hope you are all having a happy Monday so far!  Thanks for stopping by! 

Enjoy the day! xoxo 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tuscan vegetable soup: my favorite on a chilly evening : )

Hello Friends!

How are you?  I can't believe how fast October is flying by!  Halloween if fast approaching, which means the end of the month is coming.  The days have gotten very chilly and in the mornings you can see your breath. Rob told me the other morning he had to use the ice scraper to clear the windshield. It's that time of year once again! 

I've taken out my warm clothes and they are feeling so good on these cool days.  I even treated myself to a new cardigan and pair of boots for the season. I love being cozy all day.  I am never out of reach from a mug of something hot or without my sweater.  Cardigan life is real, people.  I'm living it : )  

Fall also means that it's soup season!  The joys of hot soup at night (and left overs for lunch) is the absolute best when it's cold and dark at 6:30pm.  Soup is a hug in a bowl.  Especially soups filled with lots of veggies because then my mom heart knows I'm feeding my family something that not only makes them feel good, but is also good for them!  I've posted this recipe before but since it's my favorite I felt it deserved a repost.  It comes together very quickly so it's perfect for a week night meal.  

Here's how to make it..... 

1 (15.5) can cannelloni beans, rinsed & drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup diced onion (about 1 medium sized onion)

1 cup diced carrots (about 1 large carrot)

1 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks)

1 cup diced zucchini (about 1 medium sized zucchini)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste

4 cups low-sodium, fat free chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 (14.5) can diced tomatoes, with juice

2 handfuls baby spinach leaves (about 2 cups packed)

Parmesan cheese 

In a small bowl, mash half of the beans with the back of a spoon.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a medium sized soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add veggies & seasonings and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender - about 5 minutes.

Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add the mashed and whole beans, and the spinach leaves.  Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 - 5 more minutes. 

Serve topped with shaved Parmesan cheese.

And that's it!  Serve with crackers or warm crusty bread to dunk. YUM~  

So how has your October been going so far?  Have you dipped into the Halloween candy yet?  I haven't....but I'm weakening everyday!!  It's getting close!  

Happy Tuesday, my friends! xoxo 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Apple cinnamon scones ♥

Hello Friends!
 Did I tell you I went apple picking over the weekend? We have a tradition to go every Columbus Day weekend (because that's when it seems like the apples are the ripest...: ).  This year did not disappoint us. It was the most beautiful fall Saturday....
The sun was out and the air clear.  I wore a light sweater and boots.  Yup, I was feeling it! 
I was on a quest to find the perfect apple, and I think I found it ♥
Looking at the apples in the trees all my heart kept saying was "pies, pies, pies".
I came home with so many apples....I have them coming out of my ears!  My plan is to make pies of course, but what else?  I'm in the mood to bake.
Where is a girl to turn when she needs inspiration?  Pinterest of course! I put in a quick "apple" search and up popped a recipe for apple cinnamon scones.  I've never made apple scones before so I thought I would give it a go.  I'm so glad I did! These scones were super simple to make and the perfect compliment to my morning coffee (and I'm quite sure would be superb with tea also ♥)
And who doesn't love a scone, right?  Because you shred the apple instead chopping it you end up adding a lot of juice so these scones are very moist and delicious!  I whipped up the dough in under 15 minutes!  Here's how in case you love apples & cinnamon & scones like me!
recipe from My Happy Place via Pinterest  ♥
You will need:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter
2 apples, shredded
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
cinnamon & sugar for dusting....♥
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients.  I mixed mine with a whisk to get out any lumps.
Cube up the chilled butter and add to the flour mixture. 
"aaahhh, sweet mystery of life at last I've found you...." -me to butter
With a pastry cutter or fork blend the butter and flour together until small crumbles form.
Hands work well too! 
Add the shredded apples.  Stir.
The recipe called for the apples to be peeled.   Peeled the first one but left the skin on the second. 
I don't think the skin made much difference, honestly.
Next time I will leave the skin on both ♥

Gradually add the milk, stirring until a dough forms. 
*Do this slowly and cautiously.  You don't want your dough to be too wet.  I ended up using only about 1/4 cup of milk*
Save the rest of the milk to brush to scones with before baking.
Once the dough is formed, knead it gently and then place on your baking sheet. 
Form it into a rectangle and cut into (8) wedges. 
*Have extra flour handy to brush your hands with during this process.  The dough will be sticky.
You've been warned : ) *

Brush with extra milk and sprinkle with sugar & cinnamon.

Into the oven she goes!
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
Sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar if you like and enjoy!
I'm so happy I made these apple scones!  They are yummy and will certainly be a seasonal favorite around here!
And now on to pies ♥
Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope your week is off to a great start!  I just be here dunking my scone into coffee if you need me....
Bye! xx

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Does anyone still use bread machine? I do!

Do you have a bread machine?

Bread machines seemed to be more popular years ago and I find that not many people use them anymore. I've had a bread machine for years and years (I've gone through two) and I still love it!
What's better than freshly baked bread? Not much : ) 

I'll admit I don't use it much in the summer, but come fall and winter I make up for it.  Whenever that first chill hits the air I think...."it's time to make bread".  Warm crusty bread to go with pot roast or a roast chicken dinner.  A fresh slice to dunk in my soup or sop up marinara sauce.

Bread is comfort food for me.  Especially with lots of butter! 

Bread machines are so simple because you don't have to do anything. 
You don't have to knead the dough or wait for it to rise.  The machine does it all. 

Set it and forget it, as they say! 

Dump all the ingredients in, close the lid, and press start. 

They all come with instruction booklets and recipes, but you can find hundreds of bread machine recipes online.  Especially on Pinterest! 

 I made this Italian loaf yesterday.

The only ingredients I used were flour, water, salt, sugar, olive oil, and yeast.  That's it! 

If I wanted to be fancy I could have added herbs like basil or rosemary.  Or even parmesan cheese!

That's very delicious too! 

I turned the machine on before I left for work and by the time I came home it was done. 

(if only I had something simmering in the crock pot at the same time....now that would have been epic! : ) 

We sliced it up and had some with dinner! 

I like a little bread with my butter.....sorry/not sorry! 

I brought a slice to work with me today to toast and have with my coffee.  I may go into a bread coma after this week is over, but what a way to go. 

They say man cannot live on bread alone, but I beg to differ.  I think they can.  And I just might....: ) 

Happy days, my friends! It's been rainy and gloomy here all week.  Hoping the sun will come out soon.  Until then, light your candles and keep cozy.  Sunny days are ahead! xo 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Welcome October ♥

Welcome October!

Happy October 1st my friends! The foliage is just at it's beginning stages here in my neighborhood, and so far it's shaping up to be stellar.  The colors never cease to amaze me!

I'm wishing you all a month filled with crisp days, cool nights, and all the beauty October has to offer.

Happy New week!  xo