Category Archives: meal planning

hello autumn

Happy first weekend of fall! In case you missed it, yesterday we celebrated the autumn solstice with record heat in St. Louis.

Because nothing says autumn like leaves just giving up and falling because they are too dry to hold on any longer.

hello_autumn

But there’s hope for your weekend, still. Here are a few ways to make the most out of the new season even if summer won’t loosen it’s death grip just yet:

Step 1: Crank down your thermostat to 65.

Step 2: Wrap up in your giant blanket scarf and watch College GameDay.

Step 3: Boots still look cute with sleeveless dresses. Just don’t forget deodorant.

Step 4: Be thankful there isn’t a pumpkin shortage because both you and your dog are going through 2+ cans a week.

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Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping (Makes 18)

  • 1 C unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 2 C peeled and chopped apples (Pink Lady or Honeycrisp)
  • 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

Streusel Topping (because streussel makes everything better)

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

pumpkin_apple_2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk sugar, flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice mix, baking 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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I make these nearly every year on repeat. They are a great excuse for a mini carb-load anytime of day and they freeze well if you’re afraid you might eat them all in the first few days.

Not that Matt and I would know what that’s like or anything.

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Happy fall!

greater swiss mountain dog, finn, swissy, gsmd,

Of these things, I’m fairly certain

There comes a point in a thirty-something’s life in which the random things she’s heard, learned, experienced, seen, tasted and smelled over the first third of her life finally start to stick with her. After all, you rarely hear a twenty-something referred to as ‘set in his or her ways.’ No, this art takes years to perfect. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and call up your grandparents for a lesson. Don’t text them. Don’t email them. Pick up the phone and call them. Heck, by now your parents should be as set as a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie Platinum so you might as well ask them while you’re at it.

What was I getting at again?

Oh yes. Life lessons.

Up until this point, you’ve let these observations float in and out of your life without taking any ownership of them. Sure, you’re brand loyal to a degree, but you’re a millennial for goodness sake and you better believe that you are going to be flexible and adapt to the ever-changing world around you, right? Kind of like the way you’ve shifted every time Apple launches a new iOS or Facebook changes their newsfeed.

And then you turn thirty. And all of a sudden the phrases you use to utter in your 20s like pregaming or late night bars are replaced with let’s just have everyone over for a dinner party or do I have to put on real clothes or can I go in this? 

So today I present you a list of things I’m fairly certain of:

  • That I will never get all of my personal identification documents to have the same last name again. Ever. This weekend I nearly had to provide a retinal scan at The Gap to pay with a (new chip-encrypted) card that still listed me as Murphy because it sat in my wallet next to a drivers license that lists me as Zalewski. Meanwhile, my handsome yet mute in these types of situations husband waits patiently as I toss two debit cards, two credit cards and a blood donor card at our friendly cashier to prove I’m not a spy.

  Oh you have a Costco card? That will work just fine.

  • That there’s no way our dog proves my hypothesis about animals taking after their owners. Nope not our guy. So different, he and I.

  

  • That a landscape that includes pumpkins and palm trees will always be weird, but never having to wear socks will always be awesome.

  • That heckling is an art form maybe moms are just too sweet for it.

  • That if pumpkin obsession is a real addiction affecting basic girls everywhere, you can crown me pumpkin princess of autumnville. I actually felt a nervous swell when I realized I was down to my last can of pumpkin this weekend for a french toast recipe. And when my audible gasp was met with a side eye from Matt, I yelled, ‘there’s a shortage, you know!’ 

So I’ve got that going for me.

And because nearly everything I’m certain of this time of year relates to pumpkins, I’ll leave you with a recipe for pumpkin french toast sure to satisfy your cravings. That is, if you can get your hands on the limited supply!

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Pumpkin French Toast (recipe adapted from Cooking Classy)

  • 3/4 C almond milk (I didn’t have regular milk but by all means use it if you have it)
  • 1/2 C pure pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 TBL brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 6-8 slices multigrain bread (or challah or texas toast)
  • Butter (for griddle)

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Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk almond milk, pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and spices together. Set aside.

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Prepare skillet with butter. Dip bread into pumpkin mixture until saturated. Cook on both sides until browned, repeating butter before each slice.

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Serve with maple syrup or honey and dust with powdered sugar.

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Enjoy!

How to ruin a perfectly good batch of pumpkin scones

You want to know something funny about these pumpkin spice scones?

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I threw them in the trash shortly after taking these photos.

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Why? Because pumpkin is the spice of life people. Well, specifically, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves are the actual spices of life in the fall but you get the idea.

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Truth is, these just didn’t have enough spice. And shame on me for not following my own recipe and trusting a pumpkin spice blend from anywhere other than Penzey’s to give me the proper amount of spice to my pumpkin.

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I think the lesson we all learned in this experiment (or that I learned so you don’t have to) is not to substitute when it comes to baking, and especially when it comes to those fragrant little spices that fill your kitchen with autumn awesomeness.

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The good news is, unlike my batch, I have a recipe that won’t let you down. Just believe me when I say you should take the time to individually mix your spices and not rely on a shortcut spice blend, even if it does come from a reputable organic store that rhymes with bader moes.

Pumpkin Spice Scones with Pumpkin Glaze

  • 2 C flour
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 C pure pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 3 TBL milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, brown sugar, spices, baking soda, banking powder and salt. Cut butter into dry mixture.

In another bowl, whisk pumpkin, egg, milk and vanilla.

Add wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined.

Press into flat circle about 1 inch thick. Cut into 8 large triangles and place on a prepared baking sheet.

Cook for 10-12 minutes or until firm.

In a small bowl, mix 1/2 C powdered sugar with 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp ginger and 2 TBL milk.

Once scones are cool, ice with spiced glaze.

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Do it right and you won’t dare throw these things anywhere but into your belly.

 

candy corn sprinkle covered apple cider donuts

Sometimes I feel like that guy you went on a first date with and afterwards he says you should hang out again soon but then you don’t hear from him for two-plus weeks. And you’re probably over there on the other end of your computer or smart phone like what the heck? I thought we hit it off?

Should I shoot over a random text that says I’m interested without saying I’m interested. You know something like, “hey.” A simple reminder that you’re waiting for an update, but not desperately waiting, just you know, waiting.

Meanwhile that guy you’re dating (me in this case) actually really wants to hang out with you again but keeps getting sidetracked by work, work events and events for work and hasn’t gotten around to making the necessary efforts to plan your next date.

OR, this is just my really roundabout way of telling you that I’m sorry I keep going AWOL from the blog. I miss you and I’ll try to be better. And better I’ll be because today marks the start of the best season ever created once a year every year from now until eternity.

source

I’ll try not to repeat my annual reminder post about how obsessed every girl everywhere is with the fall season as I’m sure the amount of blanket scarves, over the knee boots and PSL snaps and instagrams you’ve seen today are reminder enough.

Instead, I’d like to use this time to revisit my baking of the inaugural batch of pumpkin apple muffins, a task just a wee bit more challenging to get motivated for when it’s still 90 degrees outside and you’ve already showered but can’t stop sweating from your run.

So without further ado. Give me all the pumpkin!

IMG_5449

Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping (makes 18-24)

  • 1 C unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 2 C peeled and chopped apples (I used honeycrisp)
  • 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

Streusel Topping (Because, well, Streusel)

  • 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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Serve warm with butter. pumpkin apple muffins, pumpkin recipes, fall, autumn, muffins, breakfast, brunch, baking, recipes, pumpkin apple muffins, pumpkin recipes, fall, autumn, muffins, breakfast, brunch, baking, recipes,

If you need me, I’ll be out shopping for plastic pumpkins and gourds that won’t melt on my front porch this year.

Happy Fall, Ya’ll!

Newlywed Brunch

Remember when I used to share recipes on the blog?

Yeah me neither.

But believe it or not, I do still cook every once in a while. So what if I made these two months ago. Or that I’ve had the photos sitting on my camera ever since just reminding me how good they would probably taste if I had them again.

So I figured why not share the recipe with you so you can drool over them and likely bookmark the recipe to keep pushing off for when you actually find time to make brunch again, too.

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I’ve been loving The Newlywed Cookbook lately for its simplicity and fresh ideas. Let’s just say I tackle cooking like I tackle my wardrobe. I will re-wear the same 5 pieces of clothing over and over again before I make use of the hundreds of other items I have in my closet. And when I realized I had everything on hand to make this oat/yogurt/blackberry jam of a recipe, well, I put on my white t-shirt and jeans and made a morning out of it. (OK so it was yoga pants and a workout tank you get the point).

Warning: Rich flavors on the horizon.

 

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  • 1 2/3 C all purpose flour
  • 2/3 C old fashioned oats (can sub rolled)
  • 2 TBL sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C plain Greek yogurt (plus a little extra for garnish)
  • 1 C buttermilk (sub whole milk)
  • 4 TBL unsalted butter (melted)
  • 2 large eggs

In a large mixing bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Blend yogurt, buttermilk, melted butter and eggs in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until they are combined.

While your cast-iron skillet heats to medium, mash 2 cups of blackberries with 1/4 cup of sugar. Strain the juice into a small saucepan and set the berries aside. Heat the juice over medium heat until it thickens to a syrup-like consistency. Remove from heat and add a few teaspoons of pure maple syrup. Once it cools, pour over berries.

Spoon 1/3 cup of batter into your heated skillet and cook until bubbles form on top of pancake. If you’re anything like me it takes you 3-4 pancakes to really get your temperature right. But oh how #4 turns out!

Serve pancakes with berries and garnish with a little greek yogurt.

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Take a nap.

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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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Sausage and Veggie Frittata

Sure I could call this a sausage and spinach egg bake or something more obvious like a supreme omelette or a crustless quiche but then I couldn’t emphasize the fancy word that best describes this egg concoction by saying the word FRIT-TA-TA over and over.

Aside from being fun to say, frittata simply refers to an italian version of an egg cake. And I think we can all agree that frittata sounds more appetizing than egg cake so let’s just go with that.

The recipe is simple enough. Some leftover andouille sausage, several eggs and your choice of veggies, sauteed in a cast iron skillet and then thrown under the broiler for a few minutes to get that nice golden brown top that you don’t see in my photos because I was too hungry to wait for it.

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Simple Sausage and Veggie Frittata

  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C cooked andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1/4 C green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 C spinach, chopped
  • 6 eggs

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In a cast iron skillet, saute green onions in olive oil. Add garlic, sausage, tomato and spinach and cook until fragrant. In a small bowl whisk eggs, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to cast iron skillet. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until set. Carefully place pan under broiler until top is cooked.

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Slice and serve with hot sauce. Cholula preferably but any hot sauce will do. You could serve it plain if you prefer it that way but everyone knows an Italian frittata with French sausage is best served with mexican pepper sauce.