I don’t know about you but the one thing I always have the most leftovers of after Thanksgiving is turkey. After a week of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy sandwiches, it was time to switch things up. This soup was perfect. It helped use up a bunch of turkey I had in the fridge plus it was really hearty and great to have on a day that feels like -13° outside. If you don’t have leftover turkey, the original recipe I based mine from called for ground turkey meatballs that you allow to cook in the soup. I’d imagine this would create meatballs that would hold up a lot better than mine did. My meatballs were very delicate but the main goal for me was to use up leftovers so just be warned, if you aren’t gentle with the meatballs, they’ll probably end up falling apart on you but the soup will still be just as delicious.
Carrot Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Spinach
inspired by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen via Parade
For the Soup:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
8-10 carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
red pepper flakes
4 cups of reduced sodium vegetable broth
2 cups of spinach leaves
For the Meatballs:
1/2 pound of cooked turkey, minced with a food processor until fine
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of bread crumbs
2-4 tablespoons of cream*
1 clove of garlic, minced
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, salt, and red pepper flakes until onions become translucent, about 15 minutes.
2. Stir in broth, cover pot and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
3. While soup is simmering, make meatballs by combing all ingredients in a bowl. More cream may be added if you need your mixture a bit more moist to form balls. Once your mixture is wet enough that it is clumping together, form 1-inch balls. Set aside.
4. Once the vegetables are tender, use an immersion blender or regular blender to purée the soup until smooth. Depending on how thick or thin you like your soups you may have to add a bit more broth at the point.
5. When your soup has reached your desired consistency add spinach and stir until leaves begin to wilt. Gently add turkey meatballs in at this time and if desired a bit of cream*.
6. Cook for a few more minutes until meatballs are warm and serve.
*I like my soups a little creamier therefore I always add a bit at the end but if you’re trying to save calories or you don’t care for cream then you can omit this part. You can also substitute milk or water in the meatballs for cream.
Part of my 28 before 29 goals.
Every year for Christmas we try to take a few pictures of the kids and pick one for our Christmas card. It goes pretty well. I know enough about photography to be able to take a good enough picture. One thing I’m not so good at? Getting two kids under the age of 4 to hold still long enough to take a picture while also hoping that they aren’t making a ridiculous face or staring at the floor. I can’t be the only one that has these sort of first world problems. After many takes we finally got a good one for our cards, but I thought I would share a few of the outtakes here.Steve and I weren’t planning on being in the pictures but when Sophie demanded it we figured it could be fun to take a few family pictures. This wonderful face was Sophie’s idea. I’m still not sure exactly what she wanted us to do. Happy family! Just ignore the little girl crying off to the right… Also the box of crafts behind Steve’s head and the messy playroom. These were taken before we realized there was a bit of stuff in the background that should probably be fixed. Yay! No one look at the camera ever! Joel, you’re cute. HUGGLES! Awesome, Joel is turning into a biter. And of course the best for last. Pure joy and happiness captured right there.
Last year we received a beautiful advent calendar from the kids’ great grandparents but because I wasn’t on my ‘A’ game last year we never got the opportunity to use it. This year would be different! And so far it has been much less stressful even though it feels like I have a lot to do.
I’ve pretty much completed all my Christmas shopping minus Steve, have finished most of my Christmas crafting and have gotten all the presents that need to be mailed, wrapped minus three which will be finished by the end of the week. I’ve also finished making our Christmas cards and have started writing letters to everyone whose getting a card. My goal is to get all the things that need to be mailed done this week and send it off so I can enjoy the rest of the season rather than stress. It feels really good to have things wrapped up.
I even managed to make the kids hand-print ornaments before Christmas this year! Which I’ll be sharing with you soon enough. For now I wanted to share with you the first five days of our advent calendar.
Day One: I made a little poem and put in a few stickers for Sophie.
We had watched the Elf on the Shelf movie a few times the night before and Sophie was pretty excited by the idea of an elf. She’s at the age where everything about Christmas is exciting, not just the presents. I figured it was the perfect age to start the elf tradition! And here’s Snowflake, the elf Sophie picked out for the family. Of course we had to get the glittery tutu to go with it. Snowflake hasn’t gotten anywhere terribly creative so far. At the moment we’re still teaching Sophie that she can’t touch her so all the places have been out of her reach thus far. It can be pretty difficult enforcing the no touch rule when Sophie ask in her sweetest little voice if she can just hug Snowflake.
Day Two: Was some snowflake crayons I found in the dollar bin at Target
Day Three: Brought another poem, this time it was to make our hand-print ornaments. Day Four: I gave Sophie a pair of gloves since it snowed a lot that day.
I swear she’s having a lot more fun out in the snow then this picture shows. But it was freezing out so we did only spend 10 minutes out there before coming in and enjoying some hot cocoa.
Day 5: More crayons! I got to be honest, I kind of forgot that I already gave her crayons a few days earlier but I guess that’s the downfall of not planning ahead. But this particular door was the perfect size for the jumbo crayons. Again these were another dollar bin find at Target.
Thus far the advent calendar has gone well. I think it’s a good way of counting down rather than Sophie asking everyday if it’s Christmas yet. I didn’t bother to do anything for Joel since he’d just put whatever we give him in his mouth. I also keep all the doors empty since both kids are constantly playing with them. This is also the reason I don’t plan ahead. I’m trying to do a balance of putting things we can do in the doors and little treats. I think as we get closer to Christmas there will be more activities since I’ll have more time once I get everything mailed out. We shall see.
Are there any new traditions that you are starting with your family this year? Or have you been an advent calendar/Elf on the Shelf fan for some time now? I’d love to hear about your holiday traditions!
This year we had a great Thanksgiving. It was just the four of us so it was super relaxing even though I cooked a ton. The nice thing about not having guest over is there’s no pressure to get all the food on the table by a certain time. Of course I am eagerly anticipating the day when I get to host Thanksgiving dinner with all of our family. Seriously, it’s crazy how excited I am about this prospect. This year I made the same things I’ve made the past three years. Turkey, cranberry orange sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, sage sausage stuffing, spinach and broccoli cheese puff, and green beans. It’s safe to say that we’ve eaten a lot of leftovers since then. It’s a lot of food but it’s all of our favorite things so it’s pretty easy to eat it for a week.
I also made two pies this year, pumpkin pie, and chocolate pecan pie. The fact that I made pies is a pretty big deal. I never bother making pies. The only other time I made a pie was this year for Steve’s birthday. I didn’t even make the crust this year! I guess I’ve just always been intimidated by pies. After this year though I think I am going to add pies to the rotation. The Chocolate Pecan Pie was great despite me messing up and adding the butter after it already started cooking. Plus it’s nice that it didn’t have all those crazy extra things in it that the ones from the grocery store do. Did I mention mine had no corn syrup in it? Awesome. Besides a super awesome meal, I am thankful for my wonderful little family. I adore Sophie, Joel and Steve more than I could ever tell you. I’m also thankful that all of my friends and family are happy and healthy. Life is not always easy and perfect but each year that goes by I find my self thankful for more and more things. And that’s truly something to be thankful for.
*If you’re interested in any of the recipes I use you can check out my Thanksgiving pinterest board here. While some recipes I tweak a bit, it will give you a pretty good idea of how to make the things we enjoy every year.
Have you seen the commercial going around about the three girls who build an epic Rube Goldberg machine in their house? If you haven’t, here it is:
It’s from the makers of GoldieBlox, a company founded by Debbie Sterling, an Engineering major from Stanford who decided that she wanted to create something that is “disrupting the pink aisle” with products that encourage girls to get interested in engineering at an early age.
While I love the notion behind getting girls interested in fields that are predominately done by men, I have a problem with the way GoldieBlox goes about this.
My first gripe, pitting “girly girls” against “tomboys”. As a mother of a girl whose favorite colors are pink and purple, I want to encourage my daughter to not see liking “girly” things as a bad thing. She loves princess and mermaids. For Halloween this year she chose to be a pink unicorn. But you know what else she likes? Dinosaurs, legos and pirates. I don’t try to push her one way or the other. She likes what she likes. If she wants to dress up as a princess while building the tallest tower she can with legos, awesome. Go her.
When my son is old enough to pick out what he wants to play with, I’ll do the same with him as I do with my daughter. Exposing them to everything and letting them decide which direction they want to take it. I will not say that one thing is better than the other or that one is more girly or one is more boyish. I will not put down one choice and say that another is better or worse. By telling girls that they should be more than a princess or like things other than pink, we’re telling them that those things aren’t good enough. But what if that’s what they like? We don’t tell boys that they should be more than a pirate or like things other than blue. So why are we telling girls that they should be more? Why is wanting to be a princess at a young age such a bad thing?
Is it unrealistic to want to be a princess? Totally. But isn’t it also unrealistic to be Superman, a pirate, or even a dinosaur [that's what I wanted to be when I grew up]. There are plenty of positive princess role models out there, both fictional and real. I don’t see anything wrong with my daughter wanting to be one. The only way that it would be wrong is if that was the only choice I gave her and I was forcing her to choose pink because she is a girl. But I’m not. I’m letting her choose. When we walk around the toy store we don’t just go in the “pink aisle”, we go to all the aisles. It just so happens that when given the choice, she’s going to pick that purple and pink unicorn toy over anything else.
My second gripe is this, GoldieBlox wants to encourage girls to do “boy things” and get away from the “pink aisle” by creating a toy that is pretty pastel colors with princess and ballerinas on it? So you’re telling me that girls can do engineering but only if it’s watered down with princess and other things that are commonly marketed to girls? There are plenty of products out there that are gender neutral and don’t tell girls that if they have an interest in science or engineering then it needs to be “pretty”. I’d rather get my daughter an Erector set or GEARS! GEARS! GEARS! as a present to encourage building and engineering. Yes, the stories that go along with the GoldieBlox building projects are good but can’t the colors just be normal colors?
And now for my last gripe, there are only girls in the commercial. I get it, marketing to girls in a world that is dominated by boys, but you know what I would love to see? A commercial where boys and girls are playing together. I want to see a toy that is marketed to both genders. Sure most building and engineer type toys are already marketed to boys but how are you breaking stereotypes by telling kids that this toy is for girls?
For Christmas this year we got our son and daughter a train set. One that they will play with together. I want to teach my kids that there aren’t toys for boys and toys for girls but rather a toy is an everyone toy, not just one gender. How can we teach our girls to get out of the “pink aisle” if we’re still telling them that they need special toys that are different from the boy toys? If we want boys and girls to be equal then I think it makes a lot more sense to teach them that they are equal. That boys can play with dolls just as much as girls can play with Lincoln Logs.
In the end, I get what GoldieBlox is trying to do. I really do. Encouraging girls to be interested in engineering and science is awesome. The thing is GoldieBlox is doing it the same way every other gender specific toy out there does it. Marketing a product to girls using things that everyone else is telling girls they should like. Instead we should just read books like Rosie Revere, Engineer or How a House is Built to get our daughters interested in engineering and then buy them a Tinkertoy set and build something with them. That being said, I wouldn’t throw away a GoldieBlox toy if my daughter received one as a gift nor would I say she couldn’t have one if she asked because it definitely is a step above a lot of toys marketed to girls these days.
Today I’m 28 years old. It’s official, I can no longer trick myself into believing that I’m still in my mid-twenties. Shucks. It’s weird to think that in a couple of years I’ll be thirty. I have this mental block in my head that just can’t believe it. Of course then I spend time with those who are 3-8 years younger than me and I’m quickly reminded that I am in fact as old as I am. I’d say there are probably two times in your life that you grow and change a whole ton. The first few years when you’re just this tiny little thing and then in your twenties. I realize that’s almost 10 years so no duh you’re going to change a lot but I guess for me it was a time where I really started to get a feel for who I am and what I believe in as opposed to being heavenly influenced by parents, family members, teachers and other people of “authority”. Then of course all that was thrown upside down when I got married and had kids [something I didn't think would ever happen. Life. It's a weird one.]
Totally went off on a tangent there. I don’t think we’ll be doing much today. Steve has been in the field all week and won’t be back for my birthday. Plus Mother Nature decided that instead of giving me 70 degrees and sunny weather like I asked for, it’s suppose to snow all day. I really need to learn a song on the Ukulele anyway. Steve got me one for my birthday [along with The Little Mermaid. Maybe I am younger than I am!] and I told him that I should learn a song by the time he gets back. That might have been a bit more of a promise then I could keep. I’ve quickly realized that my only time to practice is when the kids are asleep and because of how our house is, I’m worried about waking them. We’ll see what I can get done.
I feel like this whole post is getting a bit out of hand so let’s just get to the real reason I’m here posting. My list of goals for the next year! Sometimes I feel like I haven’t accomplished very much. I know that’s so far from the truth but I just feel like there is something more that I should be doing. So here I am trying to figure that out. I like these list as opposed to New Years Resolution. Don’t ask me why.
1. Learn to play the Ukulele.
2. Learn to crochet.
3. Go to the doctors and get a full physical. [I really want to get a jump-start on my health so by the time I turn thirty I've got a skin care, health care, mental care, etc. plan down.]
4. Go to the dentist. [This goes along with #3]
5. Have most of our debt paid off. [Is it cheating that we've already started to work on this? I just know that if we stick with our plan most, if not all of it, will be paid off by this time next year. Sweet!]
6. Read one book a month. [I know to some people this will sound crazy since it's pretty easy to read a book but to be honest, I've only read two books this entire year. This and this. Both highly recommended by the way.]
7. Take my camera in to get cleaned and start taking better pictures again.
8. Start doing a weekly art/craft project.
9. Look into getting a laptop/start saving up for one. [I think this would allow me to be better about updating my blog. Right now it can be hard to get on the desk top because Soph and Joel want me to be in the same room as them and the computer isn't really in either of their play areas. They don't necessarily want to play with me so much as be around me. The other problem is Steve isn't home a lot so I want to sit on the couch even if he's just playing video games but I also want to be working and these two things are hard to do in two different areas of the house. On the negative side of having a laptop, I'd want to make sure that I'm not always on the computer and missing life since it will be a lot more convenient than the desk top. Work life balance. What's that?]
10. Be a better mother. [This one is funny because it's not like I am a bad mother but there are a few things I'd like to improve on. For example, I want to take the kids outside more often. When we actually have a backyard this won't be such a big deal but right now taking them outside requires a bit of motivation and when you're someone who gets into slumps sometimes it's just easier to have the kids play inside while watching them from the couch. Sounds pretty depressing. Another example, is sometimes I get depressed or lonely so I stay up late and then the next morning I'm really grumpy and I end up taking a nap with Joel and thus missing out on one on one time with Sophie. Taking a nap with Joel wouldn't be so bad if I was actually staying up being productive but usually I'm watching SVU reruns. When it comes down to it if sometimes I need a break it's not a big deal but there's a difference between taking a rest day versus being in such a slump that everyday is a "rest" day.]
11. Make a decision about blogging and if I decide that I want to do it then either redesign my blog or hire a designer.
12. Get into a habit of doing yoga/meditation/going on walks/moving.
13. Get my next tattoo. [This goal is really dependent on Joel and how long he continues to breast feed.]
14. Work on illustration style. [It's been so long since I've drawn anything that I really suck at it now.]
15. Sell 10 things I’ve made.
16. De-clutter the house and get better at getting rid of things. [This will be pretty easy since we'll be moving at some point. I just don't want to be on the next episode of hoarders. Not that we are even close to that happening but becoming a hoarder is sorta one of my irrational fears. I have a hard time letting go of things at times and I worry that it'll become a problem one day.]
17. Make a 2010 family yearbook. If possible catch up on years 2011-2013.
18. Come up with a longer plan goal. [While motherhood is rewarding and I love it more than anything, my kids won't be little forever but I have no idea what I want to next and so I feel like I'm sorta stuck and not moving forward. For example, if I see myself writing a book, what does that entail and how do I start that process?]
19. Make new friends and reconnect with old ones.
20. Work on driving anxiety.
21. Take Sophie to the beach. [She wants to go so bad and since living in Colorado it's been pretty impossible at least since she's been old enough to really remember it. Hopefully we'll live closer to one because I'm pretty sure she'd love it.]
22. Create a work space that inspires me. [At the moment we just don't have the room but with a move in the works this upcoming summer there is no reason not to find a place that let's me have an area that is all mine.]
23. More deliberate dates with Steve. [These don't have to be grand dates like going out to eat and seeing a movie but I would like to make more formal plans then simply watching The Walking Dead together on Sunday nights. Even if it's a simple as planning on making some snacks and watching a movie together in the comfort of our house.]
24. Write at least 12 handwritten letters. [I love mail. Receiving and sending it. I mean really, who doesn't love mail. Now I just need to find some pen-pals who will also pledge to mail back and forth with me. It's too easy to forget to send things out when the other person isn't expecting you to exchange mail with them. ]
25. Make something for each kid. [ I totally want to be one of those moms that sews Halloween costumes but Soph is so wishy-washy that it's just easier to buy her one or two from the thrift store and let her pick out something the day of Halloween. I kind of dread putting in the work of making a costume just to have her change her mind two days after I finish. At the very least I could sew her a dress or a stuffed animal or something. Joel is still at the stage where he's happy with whatever so he'll probably be a little easier to make something for.]
26. Buy an instax camera and take 52 pictures. [not all at once.]
27. Develop all the rolls of film I have laying around the house. [Especially the one from my 26th birthday when I went snorkeling!]
28. Spend the weekend in Denver going to the zoo and a museum.
Some of these are totally boring but I’ve really been dragging my feet. Especially as far as getting to the doctors and dentist goes. Man, do I hate the dentist. Hopefully I can take care of those sooner than later. And on the other side of things, it’s really hard to plan when you know you’ll be moving in 6-8 months but you have no idea where. I would totally add visit a new state or go on a road trip but those things are bound to happen anyway so it sorta feels like cheating.
Well, am I missing anything that should be on here? What goals are you working on?
“Three tomatoes are walking down the street — a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and squishes him… and says, ‘Ketchup.‘” – Pulp Fiction
Playing catch up is seriously the worst and I seem to be in a pretty constant state of it. Besides just trying to update this blog with the back log of things I want to have here for my sake, I’m also trying to catch up on the blogs I read, cleaning the house and doing laundry. I’ve fallen behind on a few things. It doesn’t help that the first few weeks of November always seem to be my absolute worst. Plus I’m not even mentioning the daily stuff that I have to do, you know, like feed my kids and making sure they’re not killing each other, etc.
Falling behind on things is mostly because this part weekend Joel and I were able to fly out to Maryland for my brother’s wedding reception. So, totally worth it. We had a great time. It was awesome seeing people I hadn’t gotten to see in 2 or more years. Plus, no one in my family has gotten to meet Joel before this weekend, so I’m glad we got to do that while he’s still baby like. I wish we had more time and could have met up with friends and some of Steve’s family but it was a really short trip. We took advantage of Steve having a four-day weekend so he could stay home with Sophie and watch the dog.
I was really anxious about the trip but luckily everything went really well. I had nothing to worry about! But isn’t that how anxiety goes? It always seems like there are tons to worry about and most of the time it’s pretty irrational and things end up being a lot better than you imagine in your head.
At least I took the Halloween decorations down and put up our Thanksgiving stuff. So I’m only like two weeks behind?
After about a month of anticipation, I’ve finally received the Neiman Marcus Popsugar Must Have Box. So exciting. I’m not sure what motivated me to order this box but something attracted me to it and I decided to get it for my birthday later this month. I’m not one for the “gift” surprise boxes because they are usually pretty expensive compared to the monthly ones and it’s just too much of a gamble for me. That said there’s just something about the Neiman Marcus name that made me feel like I’d be getting some pretty awesome things. So without further ado, here’s the box. I love the packaging. It made it feel really special. And at 16.7 pounds it was a heavy one! They really took a lot of precaution to make sure everything arrived in one piece. Almost everything was wrapped in black tissue paper and bubble wrap. A lot of attention was put into this box, that’s for sure. Jonathan Adler Carnaby Zebra Stacking Dish [came in various colors] retail $24 Le Métier De Beauté Popsugar exclusive palette in Pretty in Punk similar palettes retail for $95 Nest Fragrances Birchwood Pine Luxury Scented Candle retail for $34 Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray retail for $39 Neiman Marcus “Twist” White Fudge-Covered Corn Snacks retail for $19 Slim & Sage Dinner Plates [colors vary] retail for $99 Shy By Sydney Evan Love Necklace retail for $125 Chevron-Pattern Knit Throw [color may vary] retail for $195
So there you have it. A total retail value of $630. Not a bad deal. Half of the box I will probably end up gifting, not because I don’t love the products but because one of the reasons I get these boxes is to collect unique things to give to people at the end of the year. All in all, I’m happy with this box. It’s not things I would typically buy for myself but I like getting these sort of “treats” every once in a while.
What do you think of the Neiman Marcus Box? Is it a hit or a miss?
Interested in winning one? Popsugar is giving one away HERE. Just be sure to enter before November 21st.
I took these pictures a few weeks ago just as it was starting to get cold here. I’m already over winter and it’s only barely snowed once! It’s going to be a long few months. Back in mid September 3.1 Philip Lim came to Target much to the excitement of thrifty fashionista’s everywhere. When I saw preview pictures I was pretty excited about the line. Though not quite excited enough to wait outside Target the day the line came out. Luckily for me there must not be many fashionista’s in Colorado Springs because when I stopped by a few weeks later, most of the line was available! [minus the hand bags which seem to be going for a ridiculous amount on ebay] I even went back two weeks ago and found more pieces on the clearance rack. As excited as I was for the line, I wasn’t a fan of how a lot of the items looked on me so all I came home with was this BOOM sweater. I just couldn’t resist it knowing it’d go perfect with these comic book leggings. I don’t know if it’s the dark lipstick, the necklace, the boots or what but I feel like I am channeling my inner bad ass in this outfit. My look lately has felt like it’s pretty girly lately so this is definitely a step in a different direction. I felt a little self-conscience at first but soon found my swag and kind of love it. I don’t know if my overall style will move more in this direction but I do think I’ll probably let this side of me come out more often. What can I say, feeling bad ass is pretty empowering. Vest: Dorthy Perkins // Skirt and Sweater: Target // Boots: Blowfish // Leggings: (Similar) // Purse: via Little Black Bag
Happy Halloween! Hopefully you’ve finished up your costumes and are all ready for a night of tricks and treats. Sophie is really excited to go trick or treating but she has had to check with me a few times to make sure no monsters were going to get her. This one and her active imagination. Here’s a few pictures from the 18th of September when we went to see the giant pumpkin judging contest in Old Colorado City. Afterwards we got our costumes on for Boo at the Zoo, a trick or treating event at the zoo. The whole concept is completely lost on Joel but Sophie had a lot of fun. She even went in the Haunted House [her idea!] and was awesome. I was really worried that she’d freak out but she just walked through and told me it was a little scary. Man, can’t wait till next Halloween when both of them should be into it.
I made these for the little party we had a few weeks ago and I gotta say, you HAVE to make these. Especially if you’re planning a fall party of any sorts. I love that they don’t involve plates or forks to eat. Plus they are so tasty. I’m thinking I might just make a batch for fun next month. I’m partial to the ones with chocolate chips with a little whip cream on top but even plain, they are delicious!
I got the recipe from Tidy Mom here but made a few changes. I don’t like to buy Bisquick mostly because it just ends up going bad on me so I did a little substitute. Also, I doubled the recipe and used apple sauce in place of some of the eggs. I didn’t have enough eggs so you don’t have to make that exchange but I feel like it makes it a little more healthy without changing the flavors at all. As far as using cupcake liners, this isn’t necessary either. I only did that because I have one muffin tin and didn’t want to have to clean it out between batches.
If you end up making these, let me know how they turned out!
Mini Pumpkin Pie
adopted from Tidy Mom
Makes 24 mini pies
2 cups of pumpkin [16oz]
1 cup of flour
1 ½ tsp of baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
½ cup of sugar
½ cup of brown sugar
1 ½ cup of evaporated milk [12 oz]
3 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
3 tsp vanilla
½ cup of unsweetened apple sauce [or 2 eggs]
optional: Chocolate chips, whipped cream
1.Preheat oven to 350° and line muffin tin with liners.
2. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
3. Pour equal amounts of batter into each liner. If desired, place a few chocolate chips on top of each pie.
4. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream.
These can either be placed in the fridge and served cold or left out at room temperature. I preferred them at room temperature but it just depends on how you like your pumpkin pie. How cute are the little jack-o-lantern looking ones!
A few weeks ago we had a few people over from Steve’s platoon (? I say platoon and he’s totally going to school me and say it was his section or troop or something else like that. Army wife fail) for a small, team-building/socializing party/gathering. I’m not sure what makes up a party but for some reason I see some sort of drinking rager in my head and that’s definitely not what this was. But it also wasn’t a birthday party or a dinner party so I’m going with gathering here.
We had a really great time. I was really paranoid that we would run out of drinks or food and that I didn’t buy enough. I feel like this is probably a common paranoia when someone is throwing a party with food so I’ll fill you in on the details.
The one thing I recommend doing when throwing a party with food is only buying/making things that you personally like. For example, we didn’t bother with ketchup. Some people asked for it but seeing as I had a half a bottle of it in the fridge that expired in April 2013, it was pretty obvious that it’d just go to waste if I were to buy a bottle. That being said I did make the mistake of buying a bottle of sauerkraut and that thing is most likely going in the trash.
We had twelve adults and three kids. I didn’t really account for the kids seeing as two of them were mine and the third one was under a year old. Didn’t really see any of them putting a dent into the food numbers.
Let’s start with the appetizer. I had three different cheeses out, two different meats, two different olives, pickles, green apple, grapes, crackers, and pretzel crackers. The salami was a big hit but the goat cheese was hardly touched. I think it’s so hard to judge what’s going to be a favorite from a cheese plate but that’s why I had a variety. Also, I discovered that my new go to snack is cracker + goat cheese + grape + prosciutto so if people want to leave the goat cheese behind, I won’t complain.
For twelve adults, I accounted for each person eating two brat sausages each. I had two types of brats, beef and spicy jalapeño mango, twelve of each. We ended up having eight brats left over. I think this was the perfect amount for the main course. I think two brats for each person is really reasonable and I was happy to have some left overs but not so many that it’d feel like we were eating brats for the next week.
As for drinks, I bought twenty-four bottles of coke, twelve bottles of izze, and had a bunch of water bottles. So about four drinks per person depending on what people liked to drink. I decided to go with glass bottles, despite it being more expensive, because I think they are really classy. Plus I liked the idea of having something that was less likely to be spilled then cups and I wouldn’t have a bunch of plastic cups or ice to deal with. I ended up having a lot of drinks left overs but since we stuck with the “only buying things we like” rule, this wasn’t a problem. This is also why we didn’t bother with beer. I’m sure some people were expecting it but we didn’t want to deal with drunk people nor having beer in our fridge taking up space for months on end.
Lastly, for dessert, I made inside out pumpkin pie and these things were SO good. I’ll post a recipe tomorrow because you’ve got to make them if you’re having a fall shin dig. I made enough for everyone to have two. These were a big hit and I was glad at the end that there were some still left for me! Another good thing to think about when throwing a party or get together or what have you is to not over complicate things. I used Sophie and I’s pressed flowers to decorate and bought garland at Target. I was planning on making some garland since it’s such an easy project but when I felt like time was running out, it was worth it to just go ahead and buy something to save a step to save some sanity.
All in all, there was a lot of food but the work involved wasn’t too bad. It could have been a lot worst. Like that time I had a tapas party [delish!] but spent most of the time in the kitchen [lame]. I really enjoyed decorating and preparing something low-key like this because I think people for the most part had a good time but I don’t feel like everything has to be perfect. One day I really hope to be able to find a group of people who I can do stuff like this regularly. I just really enjoy entertaining and am happy to have found a pretty good balance in being a good hostess but also being able to enjoy myself.
There’s few things in life that Sophie enjoys doing more than craft projects. And I’ve got to admit, anything that keeps her busy and allows me to get my craft on as well, I love too. Last year we used bubble wrap to paint leaves but this project might just be my new fall favorite. I think this project is pretty perfect for that because it not only got us excited about fall but gave us something to do for two days!
The first step is to get outside. We took a long nature walk where we got to talk about the changing leaves and other things that fall brings. Sophie loved this part. Getting to pick random wild flowers that hadn’t yet died off, as well as a multitude of colorful leaves has to be one of the best parts of doing a nature walk in the early fall. We picked a ton of different things from pine cones to be painted at a later date to leaves of all colors to flowers to seed heads.
When we got home I wrote the colors, red, yellow, green, and brown out on four different pieces of paper and then had Sophie sort what we found between those colors. Not everything fit within these colors but for a 3-year-old I thought that too many colors might just get overwhelming and most fall things will probably fit in these colors. Besides being a learning opportunity, it also allowed us to get a good look at our items in order to be able to lay out for the next part of our project.
I started off by cutting two equal size sheets of wax paper and giving one of the sheets to Sophie. Next she picked out different things she liked and arranged them on the paper. If you can, try to figure out the side with the wax on it. It’ll make your job easier for the last steps. Once she was done I put the other sheet of wax paper on top of it and then slipped it underneath a heavy book. I wouldn’t say pressing the items under a heavy book was necessary but it gave us the opportunity to step away from the project until the next day. It also helped flatten some of the thicker pieces.
The next day Sophie helped me iron the two pieces of wax paper together. Make sure to use a high setting and no steam. Also, if you iron clothes with your iron I would recommend putting a towel on your ironing board and between your iron and your wax paper.
We found that using thinner and smaller items for the collage worked best. Sophie’s picture with just small flowers and small leaves worked out a lot better than her collage with a bunch of big leaves. At the same time, my collage with smaller flowers spread all over in addition to some thicker items didn’t work out as well as my picture with clumps of leaves and flower that had a thick border around each piece. For the less successful ones I used packing tape around the edges so the items didn’t fall out. I think they still look neat but the items inside shift around a lot.
Tada! Beautiful fall collages that look great hanging up in a window or on the wall. I decided to hang them up for the Fall/Halloween gathering we’re having later today. I can’t wait to share the details of that with you, including a mini pumpkin pie recipe!
Ugh. Where does someone even start after being absent for a month. So besides the issues with depression I mentioned in an earlier post, as soon as I had gotten back on my feet and was getting ready to dive in to the whole blogging thing again, our computer decides it doesn’t like the hard drive very much anymore. And because I am a dum-dum, I had Apple replace our hard drive for us, which took a few days [and way more money then it should of cost. Lesson learned.] Oh and did I mention the flooding going on in the area? We came out just fine but we did spend most of our time indoors because of all the rain and the threat of random storms possibly sweeping our car away.
Luckily for you I’ve been taking pictures all month and making food and doing crafts so as soon as I get caught up on internet life I’ll have a bunch of things coming your way. At the very least you can feel better knowing I am alive and am actually a functioning human at the time being.
For now I will leave you with some things that I’ve recently found awesome.
We Are The Government via The Bloggess // “Be nice. This one is hard because right now everyone is a little freaked out about the fact that our Government is basically the equivalent of your dad not coming home because he’s passed out at the bar. Tensions are high. It’s easy to blame each other or lash out at whoever we think is the biggest asshole in the asshole parade, but that’s not solving anything. Take a deep breathe, remember that we have each other’s back, and do what you can to help…even if all you can do is pass on a helpful word, or a link to great resources, or a thank you to the men and women who are working without pay or who are sitting at home waiting for this shutdown to end so they can get back to the work that’s piling up.
We’re all in this together. And in the absence of the government…we are the Government.”
A sign seen today in DC turns humor against Congress. via @Postsecret
Disney World extends hours for part timers so they get health care via Boing Boing // “[I]t’s important to note because a) it’s a good, honorable thing they’re doing and b) it runs counter to the scare-stories that emphasize the tiny number of sleazy, greedy companies that are using Obamacare as justification to screw their workers by cutting hours and benefits.”
Okay, so most of these are pretty political-esque. I guess it’s a big thing going on around here. Especially being a military family, there’s a lot of people out here impacted by the current state of things. Plus I feel like all the funny stuff has been super played out in the last few weeks. Just in case you’ve been living in a hole or your computer has been broken, here’s a few funny videos I’ve seen this past week, in no particular order.
1) #Hashtags with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake
2) Louis CK hates cell phones
3) Ylvis – What does the fox say [the kids loved this one.]
4) An Interpretive Dance For My Boss Set To Kanye West’s Gone