Category Archives: fall

A Perfect Fall Day

Today was just about as close as you can get to a perfect fall day. And believe me I’m just as surprised as you that it happened this early in October and this close to the Gulf of Mexico. But it did. And I’m perfectly OK with that.

Normally on a day like today, I would head out to a pumpkin patch with the sole purpose of stocking up on gourds, drinking cider and eating donuts until my glucose tolerance increased enough for the upcoming holiday. But since I’ve been warned that any pumpkins I purchase will likely melt before Halloween, Finn and I settled for a trip to the dog beach instead. Because nothing says fall like sun, sand and saltwater.

If you’re already sick of PSLs, puffer vests and pumpkin pics, let me take you on a day-trip with us to the dog beach. You can go ahead and stop reading now if you are over my alliteration or averse to a million dog photos.

Cat people beware.

I had planned on taking Finn to the dog beach this week as a reward for adjusting fairly well to me going back to work, but when we woke up to temps in the low 60s this morning, I wasn’t sure anyone else would be at the beach for him to play with. I tried to come up with something else to wear him out but neither he nor his cow were having any of it.

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So off we went but not before Finn showed off how much control he has when he realizes he is in fact going for a ride in the car.

It’s not a very long ride to the dog beach but all that excitement about riding in the car usually wears Finn out for the actual riding part. After all, you never know what you’re in for once you get to your final destination so you might as well arrive rested.

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Turns out everyone else was taking advantage of the great weather and the beach was actually busier than usual. Never very cognizant of his own size, Finn managed to find the only dogs on the beach bigger than him. Cocoa the Saint Bernard and Willow the soon-to-be 200 pound mastiff seemed like as good a pack as any to join.

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There was a lot of gossiping going on.

And quite a few selfies.

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get one with my ears blowing in the wind mom.

When we got tired of running around, we took a few more selfies.

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And how can we forget that moment when Finn thought he was posing for a picture and it was really a video. Awkward!

I still have to figure out another way to spike my glucose over the next few weeks but I’m glad that we can keep trips to the beach in rotation well into the fall.

Have a great week and please keep the pumpkin patch pictures coming!

 

 

 

It’s coming up pumpkins

I ponder life’s questions frequently throughout my day. At the gym. Walking the dog. In the shower. But there are some questions that no matter how much I think about, I just can’t seem to figure them out. I talked about some of them last week but here are just a few more:

Why is it that?

I can hold my breath for nearly the entire length of a swimming pool but as soon as I put my face under the shower head to rinse it off I feel like I’m drowning? 

That although I’ve been in this body for 30 years now, I still have a difficult time judging the distance it needs to clear door frames, kitchen islands and coffee tables. 

Every girl I know is utterly and completely obsessed with everything fall. Pumpkin, pumpkins, pumpkin spiced lattes, selfies on hayrack rides going to pick out pumpkins. You get the drift. But don’t fret ladies, I’m right there with ya. 

And to show my support of the female obsession that is pumpkin, I made a batch of my mom’s pumpkin apple muffins this weekend.

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I made them a day after I attempted a healthier pumpkin muffin recipe and threw the entire batch in the trash.

When it comes to baking, always trust the recipes your mom gives you. End of story.

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Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping (makes 18 muffins)

  • 1 C unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil (I used melted coconut oil but add a little extra if you are swapping)
  • 2 C peeled and chopped apples
  • 2 1/2 C flour (I used half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 TBL pumpkin pie spice mix (cloves, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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Streusel Topping

  • 2 TBL flour
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 TBL oats
  • 2 tsp butter

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk sugar, flour, baking soda, spice mix, soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, blend pumpkin, oil and eggs together.

Add dry ingredients into wet and mix until just combined. Add apples.

Scoop into prepared muffin tins and fill about 2/3 of the way.  Top with 1 tsp streusel topping per muffin.

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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A weekend under the Arch

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a weekend recap on the blog. Please accept my apologies. It’s not that I don’t love sharing my every free moment with thousands of my closest friends and the occasional Internet troll, but rather that our weekends haven’t been filled with much more than trips to Lowe’s and the occasional beach visit. Not that there’s anything wrong with Lowe’s. Except for the fact that it’s not Target.

It’s probably no surprise to you that we are big Eric Church fans. So when we had the opportunity back in April to get pre-sale tickets to his first big headlining tour, we decided St. Louis would be a good spot to catch a show. Even better when as the date approached, we found out one of my best friends and her husband were planning a babymoon/anniversary trip the same weekend. Bonus!

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We caught a Cardinals game and got to put all of those fall clothes we had packed away to good use under a very brisk November-like September sky.

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On Saturday, we had breakfast at a cute farm-to-table spot downtown, immediately followed by lunch with some of my favorite guys…and my sister, too.

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Saturday night was everything I expected it to be, minus the hour-long-line to get in and the fact they ran out of beer by 9:30. Perhaps the latter explains the reason I am just now feeling like a normal human again.

Until next time Midwest. Back to the 90’s.

 

 

 

Squash Season

One thing I love about fall is the pretty little gourds that fill the farmer’s markets on Saturday mornings. About as diverse as the people who shop for them, I’ve always had an affinity for collecting the weird-looking ones each season. The gourds, not the weird people. Not that there’s anything wrong with weird people. I don’t think you should make it your mission to collect them though.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually started cooking with these gourds. Growing up I was familiar with seeing things like summer squash and zucchini in dishes, but I never knew other types of squash could be so tasty.

Since I’m all about doing things fall even though it’s still 96 degrees outside this year, I decided to roast up a spaghetti squash the other night for dinner. I know what you’re thinking, no way is that going to take the place of the traditional pasta I know and love. And you would be right. The flavor is sweeter, the texture a little more, dare I say it, moist, and it’s a vegetable for goodness sake.

But isn’t it kind of cool that the weird-looking gourd you usually use to decorate your table each fall turns into these lookalike spaghetti noodles once it’s cooked? And that you can go for seconds or thirds without any guilt?

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Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 C fresh tomato puree or paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 C fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Slice squash in half and scoop out and discard seeds. Drizzle olive oil on the flesh sides of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place flesh-side down on a foil-lined roasting pan. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until top of squash is soft to the touch.

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In a dutch oven, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Saute shallots until clear. Add garlic, mushrooms and chopped tomatoes. Add tomato paste and a little water if needed. Season with red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Let simmer until sauce thickens.

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Scrape flesh of squash into bowl. Add sauce just before serving.

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It’s vegetarian, whole30 approved, healthy, and it tastes good. Can’t beat those odds.