Fall Food Fiesta Episode 3

I think this will be the last in this fall food series…sigh. Although I haven’t completely resigned myself to starting to cook winter type foods just yet. It feels more like I’m simply refusing to give up apples than anything else lol. Oh well. YOLO. (ugh…I’m THAT girl…)

Basically I’m just obsessed with apples…

In this post I’m sharing two gems with you that I’ve recently discovered…a dinner AND a desert. Boom.

The first I’m going to share with you is somewhat similar to this recipe that I made last year, which I really didn’t care for. So I tried again. Its another attempt at Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Onions, Apple, and Bacon. So many things that I love…apples, cheese, caramelized onions, bacon…This time its all arranged in a way thats more delicious.

I won’t take too much time explaining how to make this recipe because I’ve done it a few times before. So I’ll just explain how to make it different from plain caramelized onion mac and cheese.

Cheesy bacony appley goodness.

Cheesy bacony appley goodness.

To make this you basically just add the bacon and apples to the recipe I linked to above. It’s not difficult. It tasted good. My one note on it was that I used Maple Bacon…which in hind sight was a little off…I think that regular bacon would work best…or maybe smoked.

I also tried my first ever crockpot desert…Crockpot Apple Crisp. Because seriously…how can you not, right? It’s actually really easy to put together. Here’s the biz you’ll need:

  • ~5 granny  apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c butter
Apples on apples...

Apples on apples…Put your peeled and sliced apples in your crockpot and coat with lemon juice.

steps 2 and 3

In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spices, oatmeal). Then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or some forks. Then top the apples with your crumb mixture.

Crock on high for 1.5 to 2 hours until apples are tender.

Crock on high for 1.5 to 2 hours until apples are tender.

After it cools down a little serve that biz with ice cream and EAT UP.

After it cools down a little serve that biz with ice cream and EAT UP.

This recipe will make your house smell AMAZING. A substitution I made was to use about half the oatmeal and use cereal for the other half (Special K Vanilla Almond to be specific, but anything corn flake-like will do). I mixed the crumbs into the apples rather than let it just sit on top so it did make the consistency a little different (not much of a crunchy top) but it still tasted good. You can also add pecans like the original recipe calls for.

When I make this recipe again I will consider using one of those crockpot liners because this was a little bit of a pain to clean up…worth it…but still work.

FUN ACTIVITY ALERT: My lady pals and I had a fun adventure a couple weekends ago so I figured I’d share it. We went to our first ever Blacklight 5K. It was SO FUN. It’s basically the Color Run except its a night and the colors glow under blacklight. It was most definitely NOT 5K…I’d guess it was maybe like 1.5 miles and in terms of logistics it was a bit of a shit show but it was still super fun to walk (running for fun is not my jam) and there was a big dance party at the end and they were throwing tons of color into the crowd.

The Before and After shot

The Before and After shot

I think I may have gotten some color on me....

I think I may have gotten some color on me….

 

What fall foods will you miss most?

 

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Fall Food Fiesta Episode 1

You know…I tried for like 5 minutes just now to come up with something clever to call the next few posts….I got nothin’. So I settled for some basic alliteration.

The thing is, I love fall. Its basically my fave season. The colors, the temperature (my ideal), the smells, and obvi the foods. Tis the season of PUMPKIN…and squash, and apples, and cinnamon. There really isn’t any other time of year where we go as nuts over these guys as RIGHT NOW. Anyone within a 2 mile radius of a Starbucks knows all about the pumpkin craze (cough…return of the pumpkin spice latte…cough cough).

So I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve cooked up this autumn.

First in this fall fiesta series comes Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Browned Butter Sage Sauce.

I have wanted to make ravioli for a while now, but I got a pretty severe case of the lazies.  And I’m not talking about getting like for serious-serious about this…I’m talking about using wonton wrappers as the pasta substitute. Pinterest paints a pretty detailed road map on just how to do it.

You can pick up wonton wrappers pretty cheap at just about any grocery store (HINT: they are in the produce section and cost under $5).

Cook the squash, add the spices and puree.

Cook the squash, add the spices and puree.

I didn’t follow a set recipe but here’s what I used:

-1 mediumish butternut squash
-Cinnamon and all spice
-~1/4 c. butter
-1/2 parmesan cheese
-1 package wonton wrappers

To start your cook your squash. Add spices, cheese, and butter and blend until smooth.

Add the dollop of squash

Add the dollop of squash

Then its time to assemble your raviolis. Put a dollop of your squash mixture in the center of on wonton wrapper. Then, using your finger or a pastry brush, wet the edges with water and seal with another wrapper. Pinch the edges all the way closed. Continue until all the squash and wontons are gone.

Add the top and seal it up

Add the top and seal it up

Then boil your pasta water and cook the raviolis. They stick together a bit so you will likely have to cook a few at a time. They are done when they float to the top.

Cook'em up

Cook’em up

I messed the sauce up when I made it. I didn’t use fresh sage, or measure so I used too much. I did however brown the butter like a boss.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Butternut Squash Ravioli

This is something I will definitely attempt again now that I know more about it. I kept my cooked raviolis in my strainer which caused them to stick together and also left little circle indents on them (as you can see in the photos). But they’re just so easy to make! You can fill them with anything…I can’t wait to whip up some kind of goat cheese raviolis.

On an unrelated note. I recently took an awesome trip to Colorado with my lady friends. We had the best time at C’s house chilling with the fam, eating amazing food, and super fun activities (tour of the Celestial Seasonings Factory, hiking, gun shootin’). C’s mom made us amazing pancakes for breakfast and a tasty lasagna. And her awesome sis and bro-in-law set up a gun range in the backyard for us to try to shoot a few different guns. He even generously let us break in his new toy–the moving target…I totally hit like 5 of them and it was totally awesome. Here are some photos to commemorate the trip.

Celestial Seasonings Tour...sexy hair nets

Celestial Seasonings Tour…sexy hair nets

Hiking around

Hiking around

Shootin' guns like a boss...note the missing nubs from where I blew them away :)

Shootin’ guns like a boss…note the missing nubs from where I blew them away 🙂

The ladies posing with some assault weapons...NBD

The ladies posing with some assault weapons…NBD

Sunday Funday

So turns out that I wrote the majority of all my blog posts while I was wasting away of boredom at my old job. Now that I have a new job I have way way less free time lol. But I have a moment now so I figured I’d slap something up.

I had a fairly whirlwind weekend this past weekend…which was a nice change of pace. On Saturday afternoon my bestie and I went to this cool terrarium making party at a local glass shop where she blows glass (I hang with a talented crew lol). We got to make wet and dry terrariums. NOTE: every single time I think or say terrarium I confuse it with a house for spiders…I think they sound the same). Anyhow–I was pumped because a wet terrarium is essentially creating a Jurassic Park type scene in a jar! Spoilers mine has a pterodactyl in it! Boom.

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It was our other friend K’s birthday this weekend so we had some extra fun activities planned. We spent a fun hour kayaking on the Charles River. It was a murky chilly type day but it was really fun.

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We couldn’t really continue the party because we all soaking wet, but a bunch of us met up later that night to eat tacos and watch Game of Thrones. My contribution was cupcakes. But not just any old cupcakes…these were the stuff 90s kids dreams are made of. They were vanilla cupcakes with purple frosting and pop rocks on top! You can hear them snap crackle and pop on you plate…and then comes that creepy-but-awesome blitzkrieg of pop that happens the second they hit your mouth lol. They were really fun!

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Overall, it was a solid weekend with my lady pals 🙂

mmmm…mmmm Appetizers

Well…not JUST appetizers…you could also call them sides. Or ‘small plates’ if you’re being fancy.

So last weekend was the Super Bowl. As my team was not in it, I really had very little interest in watching it. But, never one to pass up a gathering of pals, I went to my friend L’s place for some snacks and the game….aka food, wine, commercials, and BEYONCE (I mean the girl KILLED it right?!).

The other day I had tried out a new recipe for cheesy cauliflower bread sticks and they were super good, so I decided to make it for the Bowl.

Grate the cauliflower

Grate the cauliflower

 

The great thing about this recipe is that its SUPER easy AND its healthy! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup raw cauliflower, grated
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
  • 1 cup shredded 2% reduced fat mozzarella
  • garlic (to your own tastes)
  • seasonings (salt, pepper….I use Montreal Chicken Spice)

Mix grated Cauliflower, egg, and most of the cheese together. Add the spices. Spray some cooking spray on your pan and spread the mixture over it….try for a thin layer (similar to pizza dough). Bake at 350 for about 30-40 mins. Take it out, top with remaining cheese and cook for 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Then est up!

I didn't have enough cheese so I cut up some string cheese lol...it worked okay

I didn’t have enough cheese so I cut up some string cheese lol…it worked okay

 

Spread into a thin layer.

Spread into a thin layer.

It'll get firmer as it bakes in the oven

It’ll get firmer as it bakes in the oven

Top with the melted cheese. So cheesey and delicious!

Top with the melted cheese. So cheesey and delicious!

We also had some other amazing snacks

medjool dates stuffed with goat cheese, and wrapped in bacon NOM

medjool dates stuffed with goat cheese, and wrapped in bacon NOM

Caramelized onion and goat cheese crostini

Caramelized onion and goat cheese crostini

These crostini are AMAZING. And incredibly addictive. check out the recipe here.

I can’t wait to make these apps again. They work really well for get togethers of all kinds.

 

 

Birthday Cake the Classy Way

So it was recently my college roommates birthday (Happy Birthday Girl!!). My friend C and I decided to make dinner for her, so I offered to make a cake…because as you know, I love birthdays. (Evidence here, here, and here).

I decided to make something from scratch so I searched the interwebs for a recipe I thought was worthy. It didn’t take long to find a good one.

Dry Ingredients

 

Melt the butter, cocoa, and water

Melt the butter, cocoa, and water

How you make buttercream

How you make buttercream

Batter

So the batter is a little more liquid than boxed cake, but I think its because its a fudge cake.

I only have one cake pan….and I thought the batter would all fit. Turns out there’s more than I thought….so rather than double the bake time by using the same pan (no thanks) I had an epiphany. I noticed that a bunt pan is the same circumference! I decided to use my one cake pan and the bunt pan…which would make for a fun layer cake.

Funfetti Frosting Layer...Layer of Champions

Funfetti Frosting Layer…Layer of Champions

Frosted with Vanilla Frosting

Frosted with Vanilla Frosting

30 Minute Chocolate Fudge Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup water
3 Tbs cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk***
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. In a sauce pan mix cocoa, butter, and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Mix into the dry ingredients. Mix well, once cooled slightly add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 for about 20 mins.

***I made buttermilk by taking just under 1/2 cup milk and adding 1/2 Tbs of lemon juice. Let sit for a couple minutes…and BOOM buttermilk.

Photo by Jenn Sheehan :)

Photo by Jenn Sheehan 🙂

See….it’s a cool effect. If there had been a little more time I would have filled the whole with something…a cupcake, fruit…something. But for this time I left it open.

I did make a fun decorative banner to top the cake though. Here’s how you do it.

What You’ll Need:

fun paper (I used scrapbook paper
skewers
dental floss

Cut out some triangles

Cut out some triangles

I started by folding the edge of the paper over, and cut small triangles.

Then I cut a length of dental floss and tried it to the skewers.

To attach the triangles, I put a dab of glue and placed them over the floss (the glue makes it so they stay). Let it dry and BOOM classy cake decor.

DIY Dry Erase Calendar

The weather recently has been insane. FREEZING. Gross. Silver lining being that it is ideal ‘let’s-stay-inside-all-day-and-do-crafts’ weather. Which is exactly what I did last weekend.

In the interest of full disclosure I should tell you that this is not some original idea that I had. I actually saw it on a few sites (Pinterest, Wanelo, Craft Gawker…).

I liked it instantly because 1. it looks real cool and 2. its SUPER CHEAP to make. What other reasons do you need, right?

Here’s what you’ll need:

-paint swatches (FREE at hardware stores…boom)
-glue
-some fun paper (wrapping paper can work well)
-a frame (Michael’s has some amazing sales)

Got these guys for free at Home Depot

Got these guys for free at Home Depot

I got the paint swatches in order…they are numbered on the top…so I just grabbed a sequence in order. (HINT: grab extras in case you mess up!).

calendar1

Ok so I cut off the top and bottom squares and used the middle ones for the calendar days. I kept the bottom ones though and used them as the days of the week. I had an 11×14 frame…so I had to cut the swatches. I measured them at 1 and 5 8ths (aka 2 lines past 1.52 inches).  I lined the back of my frame with cool wrapping paper for the background.

Glue'em Down

 

Once you cut’em down to size, line them up and glue them down. I cut the very bottom squares that I had saved in half and used them as day of the week markers. I have a bunch of scrap booking materials so I used some stickers I have to write Month. NOTE: the glue makes the card-boardish paint swatches curl a little…so I actually put something heavy on it until it was dry to flatten it.

All Done!

All Done!

 

Once its all dry, I used a silver sharpie to write the days of the week. Then I just put it in the frame ($9.99 at Michael’s). You use the dry erase markers on the glass and BOOM you’re done! Super simple and easy. And you never have to buy a calendar again!

You can alter this project by not using paint swatches and simply making your own fancy/awesome looking white board.

 

Happy Crafting!

DIY Painted Glasses…aka The Epic Craft Fail

Ugh…the wounds are still fresh on this one folks…

So you all know how I spend lots of time surfing the depths of Pinterest. I’ve found tons of super cool craft ideas on there. Its great. I had found this one project that I was totally psyched to try out. They were these knock of Anthropologie Confetti Tumblers. So cute. Also the blog its from, Radical Possibility, is HILARIOUS and awesome. Totally check it out. The girl is super funny and has some excellent ideas!

Anyways…when I was home for Thanksgiving I stopped by the dollar store and picked up four stemless wine glasses so I could make my own confetti glasses.

Stemless Wine Glass

I was all set to start confetti-ing the crap out of these guys…and I started…and I sucked at it and gave up lol. I really didn’t like how the paint looked sort of transparent (I was using my own Basics brand acrylic paints from Michaels). So I washed ’em off and started again…attempting a type of ombre-esque feel using a paint sponge.

Painting with a sponge

I was so-so about the sponge, but I liked the coverage and texture much better than the dots looked. So I painted them different colors.

Painted Glasses

I was feeling like something was missing. So I decided to mix up lighter versions of the colors and lightly sponge it over the glasses (except I used yellow on the orange one to make sure it didn’t look too much like the red one). I used a flash on my camera to show the overlay colors better (in regular light it creates a sort of frosted look).

This is with a flash...in regular light it looks 'frosted'

This is with a flash…in regular light it looks ‘frosted’

DIY Painted Glasses

In the end, I was happy with the final product! I sprayed it with a couple coats of Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer and thought I was good to go.

this is the spray I used for reference

this is the spray I used for reference

Turns out…I was NOT good to go. I let them dry for 4 days. And when I went to give them a quick wash so I could drink out of them, DISASTER STRUCK.  The paint cam right off! 😦 I was…and AM…SUPER bummed about it! I really don’t know what went wrong.

FAIL. Ruined Glasses

I’m hoping that some of you super crafters might be able to shed some light on what exactly caused this tragedy. I think next time I attempt to re-do these glasses I might just spring for some paints specifically made for painting on glass…maybe the Martha ones.