We recently started binge watching The Great British Baking Show and it’s fantastic! After watching episode after episode of “biscuits”, cakes, swiss rollls and roulades, some things I’d never even heard of before but looked amazing on camera, etc. being baked and presented, we were inspired to bake something ourselves at home. The particular episode we were watching at the time featured a lot of lemon cakes, which led me to discover this recipe for lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting; as we already had everything we needed to make this at home, we got to work. Of course we did not have edible flowers on hand, so we made candied lemon slices instead to top the cake with. I think it came out pretty well too! As they say on the show, “On your mark, get set, bake!”
Ryan and I had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving this year. We certainly didn’t let the fact that it was just the two of us (and Maddy of course) stop us from cooking a proper Thanksgiving feast though! Our Thanksgiving meal included:
- Deviled eggs with bacon, capers, and fresh tarragon
- “Mama Talbott’s mashed potatoes” (inspired by my Mom’s recipe, ours had lots of butter, basil, and black pepper in them)
- Roasted Brussels sprouts with shallots and garlic
- Easy vegan stovetop stuffing
- Homemade cranberry sauce with orange liquor
- Vegan brown gravy
- Grilled turkey breast done 2 ways – rosemary, honey, and mustard glaze/marinade as well as dry rubbed with Rudy’s Turkey Rub
- Mini pumpkin pies with fresh bourbon whipped cream
We enjoyed a fantastic weekend with family this past week; they were kind enough to fly up from Texas to visit with us and we filled our weekend with lots of delicious food, Michigan craft beer, pregame at Homes Brewery (where they did a pig roast and we sat by the fire pit and watched the snow fall!), tailgating near the stadium, an exciting game at the Big House on Saturday, and of course the best of times with the best company! You can view more photos of our weekend here.
We woke up to snowflakes tumbling from the sky this morning and everything dusted in white. Against the fall leaves still hanging onto some of the trees, it was a lovely sight. I felt this Robert Frost poem captured it quite nicely…
My November Guest
by Robert Frost
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walked the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.
This month has definitely flown by, and with Halloween this Wednesday, October will soon be gone. With Halloween in mind, here are some fun, creative, spooky, Halloween-appropriate items for your enjoyment:
- Spooked podcast – “Spooked features true-life supernatural stories, told firsthand by people who can barely believe it happened themselves. Be afraid.”
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1949 Disney Masterpieces – this is a must-watch for me every Halloween
- The Best Halloween Movies on Netflix Right Now
- Halloween Party tunes
- Halloween candy and wine pairing
- Halloween food ideas here and here
- Ever wonder what the most popular Halloween candy in your state is?
- A Highly Scientific Formula for How Much Halloween Candy to Buy This Year
- Planning on doing some carving of your own? Pumpkin carving, that is! Maybe this or this or this will help…but, please do not disturb Bob. Bob is very busy.
If you follow our blog, some of these may be repeats from past Halloween posts, but some things are just so nice I had to share them twice (or three, or four, or more times even). Wishing you and yours a spooky, fun-filled holiday, full of lots of sweet treats for you to eat!
The weather has definitely turned here and with highs in the 40s and 50s, a chill in the air, and beautiful fall color everywhere, it is undeniably fall in A2…and I LOVE it! I gladly pulled on a sweater, scarf, jacket, and boots before I left the house this morning and plan on planting myself directly in front of my fireplace for as long as I can this weekend; if you know me, then you know that’s where I’ll happily spend much of my free time until spring pretty much. The beauty of fall in Michigan never ceases to take my breath away!
In our house there is definitely a strong love of ice cream/sorbet. One of our favorite local places to go is Blank Slate and they recently had apple cider sorbet on their menu which inspired us to make our own, homemade apple cider sorbet. We looked up recipes online before putting anything together and ended up combining several different recipes we found. Here’s what we ended up with and I think it’s pretty delicious!
- Step 1: combine 2 peeled apples (we used Honeycrisp), sugar, and ground cinnamon – cook to soften
- Step 2: place cooked apples in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, and mash into apple sauce consistency – taste and add more cinnamon and/or sugar if needed
- Step 3: make and chill simple syrup – 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar
- Step 4: combine chilled simple syrup with 1.5 cups apple cider and apple sauce you made earlier
- Step 5: put into chilled ice cream maker and let it do it’s thing
- Step 6: once it’s reached the desired, frozen consistency, move it to a freezer-safe container for storage and/or serve and enjoy
I can hardly believe it’s already October, but here we are on October 1st… The weather has turned cooler here and it’s a grey, rainy day in Ann Arbor; leaves are starting to change and of course we’re enjoying college football, Oktoberfest beer, beautiful mums, and snuggles with Maddy as often as we can. Here’s a beautiful excerpt from Robert Frost to capture the mood of this day –
by Robert Frost
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow…
We’re always looking for good recipes and if it’s something that’s quick and easy to make that’s even better. When we came across this recipe for Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies and tried it for ourselves, it did not disappoint. Quick…check. Easy…check. Delicious…check, check! I never would have thought to roast gnocchi to cook it, but it really worked out well, and to make this whole thing even more appealing it was really nice that cleanup was so easy given that we only used one sheet pan/baking dish to roast everything together in.
It’s currently 55 degrees, windy, and it definitely feels like fall here today. This turn in the weather always makes me crave a bowl of delicious, homemade, veggie chili. We’ve made a lot of chili over the years and every time we make it it’s slightly different – Ryan is an excellent cook and tends to just throw in a little bit of this and a lit bit of that and the end result is typicaly mouthwatering perfection…thus was the case with our chili today.
Here are some videos/photos I took of the process:
- Step 1: 1 tbsp butter, 1 diced bell pepper, 1 diced onion
- Step 2: chili seasoning, diced jalapeño (we used 4, with seeds!)
- Step 3: 2 fresh ears of corn, 2 diced fresh zucchini
- Step 4: ~2 tbsp semi-sweet baking chocolate
- Step 5: 1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, 1 28oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes – lower heat, cover, & let simmer for 15 minutes or more
- Step 6: drain, rinse, & add the beans – 1 15oz can aduki beans, 1 15oz can black beans, 1 13.4oz can kidney beans
- Step 7: add spices to taste – s&p, smoked paprika, & chili powder…then let simmer some more
We have three different veggie chili recipes currently on our blog, if you’re interested, and here they are: