Monday, September 16

Fall decor


If I could share the look of pride/excitement/disbelief on my husband's face when I asked his permission to use his deer antlers for shelf decoration, hah!  It was good.  He loved it.  And he keeps reminding me that his amazing hunting abilities have created such perfect fall decor.  

I'll take it, though.  Because I kind of like the antlers!  I don't try to overdo any seasonal decorating around here, but since we do love the fall, it's nice to add some leaves and antlers, pumpkins and corn stalks to get us excited for the change in seasons.  


Here's a close up of the deer antler amid the wine shelf- they have been bleached and cleaned, don't worry!

There's still a bottle of wine from our honeymoon to Napa Valley, California on this shelf- it's a little over 3 years old now, but we just haven't had the right time to enjoy it.  They say wine's better with age, right?!


I always try to enjoy this bookshelf- it's an old, old beauty.  My husband's grandparents found it during estate sale hopping, and my husband bought it as my Christmas gift last year!  It's just beautiful. 


Oh, and don't forget this adorable free printable from Jones Design Company blog- my photography skills and lack of nice camera do not do it justice- it's so sweet!  I keep moving it around my house so I can enjoy it from all different angles :)

Welcome, Autumn.
Stay as long as you'd like.


Autumn favorite: pumpkin muffins

My family has come accustomed to my days off since beginning my new job (I work 12 hour shifts, which allots me 4 days at home).  A day off is a usually a day I bake (seriously, my favorite pastime). My husband loves starting his day with a fresh muffin, scone or quick bread. 

Today's chilly weather called for nothing other than my favorite flavor of the season: pumpkin.  This muffin is an adaptation from an old cookbook my Grandmother used, and I made some of my own adjustments to add some health benefit.


This is my favorite healthy secret to baking:  white whole wheat flour.  It's the easiest healthy swap, because it lacks the dense, dark and nutty flavor of traditional whole wheat flour, but still allows some added fiber to my baked goods.  I pretty much substitute white whole wheat flour in all of my baking, except lighter cakes and cookies (but in those cases, I at least sub half white flour).

So here's our breakfast muffin, and I assure you- it was a hit!

Pumpkin Muffins with Walnut Streusel

3 cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin (I used canned pumpkin)
1 cup buttermilk (I used low fat)
2 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I bet pecans would be really nice here, too)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare with cooking spray or line muffin pan with liners. (This recipe will make 12 big muffins, but in my case, 12 medium muffins and 1 mini loaf pan).  Mix dry ingredients in large bowl (first 9 ingredients listed).  

In separate bowl, mix brown sugar and softened butter until combined (the mix will not be creamy, but more like peas).

Add eggs and mix to combine, then add pumpkin and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Next, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk.  I first added half the pumpkin mixture, then half the buttermilk, then the rest of the pumpkin, followed by the rest of the buttermilk.  Do not overmix, just stir to combine.


Prepare streusel by combining flour, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon in separate bowl.  Using clean hands, break up softened butter into sugar mixture and mix until size of peas.  

Fill muffin tins with muffin batter, approximately 2/3 full, then top with approximately 1 teaspoon of streusel per muffin.

Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, until muffins are golden brown and your kitchen smells like pumpkin spices :)


Welcome fall- I hope you stay a good, long while.


Sunday, September 15


It's no secret I'm a foodie.  I love food- from it's rawest form to its most complete (sometimes most overdone) state.

So when I married a farmer and his green thumb, my yard began producing amazing things!

This is one day's garden harvest. (I'm planning a post regarding my appreciation for this land) 

I turned to my vintage (ie old) cookbook and spotted the perfect recipe for such fresh produce- ratatouille!  It's embarrassing to admit that prior to this day I had no idea what it was, honestly.  I knew it was food because of the movie.  See- embarrassed. 

But this recipe was so easy, do delicious. Even my meat living farmer of a husband approved.  With some warm bread, of course ;)

And Molly- that girl eats everything! She's a girl after my own heart.


(I must note, this recipe was adapted from my old cookbook, but I did change a few things which may take away from the traditional ratatouille recipe.)

1/4 cup lard or bacon fat (seriously?! I used olive oil)
1 white onion
2 garlic cloves
1 green pepper
1 red pepper (I had an Italian sweet pepper on hand and used this instead)
1 medium eggplant
1 tblsp fresh thyme (I used fresh parsley)
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash (I didn't have this, so I subbed another zucchini)
6 large tomatoes, seeded (I used the entire thing-seeds and all!)
1 tablespoon basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Add lard (olive oil) to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Dice all vegetables into 1 inch dice- try to get them all about the same size. Mince garlic. Add onion to hot oil and cook until barely caramelized, 7-10 minutes.  Add peppers, eggplant and thyme (parsley) and cook, occasionally stirring for about 5 minutes or until eggplant is tender.  Add zucchini and squash and cook another 5 minutes, or until tender.  Lastly, add tomatoes, salt, and pepper and cook until tomatoes are softened, about 10 more minutes.  Finish with basil.  

I served this with a fantastic whole wheat oatmeal bread (recipe coming), but in retrospect, this would have been a great addition to pasta.  Heck, I should research ratatouille.  I'm sure there are better ways to serve it!  Either way, it's fresh and filling, and as a wife and Mom, it's a dinner I can feel good about!




I love the idea of blogging so much, but to be quite honest, I just can't seem to find my niche.  I think of using this space as more of a scrapbook, because my scrapbooking skills have diminished since high school (significantly).  I am going to, rather, use this space to document the rapid growth of my little one, a few projects at home, maybe some recipes and just some ideas. So here's an update on my two year old! 

But first: I'm working on my iphone photog, and I just can't get enough!
For instance, I can document my excitement for this deal of the year- a pair of emerald green flats for $1! Seriously, found these at Walmart yesterday.

And onto my Molly, whose live language=food. 

We got this while visiting Daddy on the farm- and here he is, driving to his tractor on a go cart, along with the trusty farm dog, Bulldozer. 

I caught this while driving, pardon the quality.  But check out that land- this is the dairy farm on which my husband was born and raised.  This land speaks to him, it's in him. I'll plan an entire farm post soon.

Buy for now, back to life with a two year old- complete with a 2year well visit.

Doesn't she look so well behaved here?! Well, don't fret- her true two year old form appeared seconds after, as the provider came into the room. Molly insisted "I havva go potty mummy" endlessly until I took her. Of course, she didnt pee but tried to wash her hands in the public toilet. We returned to the exam room just in time for a true tantrum. The diagnosis: a perfectly normal two year old!

She's lucky she's cute!

And a snippet from her birthday party, I don't know a time she was happier :)

(See?! She's participating in one of the games graciously planned by my sister)

Like potato sack racing!

But mostly, the child just enjoyed the fresh buttercream- but who can blame her?!

Here she is, enjoying a bowl of buttercream while my sister decorates cupcakes! Mmm

Happy 2nd birthday, my Molly.  I hope two is the best year yet ;)