Saturday, October 29, 2011

Simple Pleasures

The saddest dog in the world, apparently...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Bread!

I've posted my favorite banana bread recipe here before, but I can now also attest that with a little tweaking, it makes for a great pumpkin bread as well!  Pumpkin bread recipes are all over the place, but I knew the McCalls recipe I had to be tried and true, so I just changed it up a bit - I used a half can of pumpkin instead of the bananas here.  I also added in a tablespoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract to make it more suitable for the pumpkin flavor.  It turned out wonderfully (which, I was aftraid it wouldn't!).  

I'm becoming quite the baker :)  Now, if only I could learn to enjoy baking chicken or steaming veggies, then I'd be in better shape....

Banana Nut (or Chocolate!)  Pumpkin Bread·      

·         2 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour
·         3 teaspoons baking powder
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         1 cup sugar
·         ¼ cup soft butter
·         1 egg beaten
·         1 cup mashed ripe bananas (3 small bananas) 1/2 can of pumpkin puree
·         2 tablespoons grated orange peel  1 tablespoon each of nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract
·         ½ cup milk
·         1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (or chocolate chips!) - if you want

1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
2.       Sift flour with baking powder and salt; set aside
3.       In a medium bowl, with electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and egg until smooth
4.       Add pumpkin, spices, and milk, mixing well.  Add flour mixture, beating just until smooth.  Stir in nuts or chocolate chips if using.
5.       Pour batter into prepared pan; bake about 1 hour, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
6.       Let cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.  To serve, cut into thin slices

[[adapted from an old McCall's recipe]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Simple Pleasures

My first high school football game in a looong time (and checking #35 off my List!)

It was absolutely freezing (it got down into the 30s here in GA!) and we weren't totally prepared.  Cold stone risers do not make for a pleasant sitting experience.  But it was a lot of fun anyway!  It felt like it was finally fall as we shivered and drank hot chocolate.  Tony also got to hear my endless reminiscing about my high school experience.  :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sketti Skwash!

Or, spaghetti squash, if you must.

We decided to venture into the world of autumnal vegetables this week.  The good ol' spaghetti squash.  Giant. Strange. Delicious.

Using this pinned recipe as inspiration, Tony whipped us up a nice seasonal meal.  Basically he cooked it as the recipe indicates, heating it up in a skillet with oil, garlic, a little butter, and some parsley.  But not one to stick with recipes (he's quite creative in the kitchen, have I mentioned that??), he had to add some stuff.  He'd smoked a few chicken breasts the day before (you could just grill some, or bake some, or whatevs) and added that in, along with green peppers and a spoonful of pesto sauce.  Heat it all up and mix away.

What's best about the SS, is that you can pretend it's pasta.  Just crunchy, al dente-ish pasta.  But guess what?  YOU'RE EATING VEGETABLES OMG!  Best of both worlds.

So if someone's into seasonal squashes, simmer up a spaghetti squash sometime.  [squash alliteration]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What to Paint??

Hello lovely ladies of blogland, I need your advice!

My mom gave us this little dresser.  I'm not sure if she painted it or it came that way, but it's quite cute with it's green and black stripes and natural wood top. The only problem is it's currently living in our bedroom, and it's far from meshing with our decor.  We're glad to have the extra drawer space (since our closet is tiny!), but it needs to do a better job of fitting in.  It needs a good paint job.

The question is, how??

Here's our room, with the outcast.

Our other dresser is crisp white, and we have blues and browns predominately in the room.  In a perfect world, I'd redo this room entirely, but that's not an option.  So instead, how can I make this dresser work?

Should I 

  • paint it solid white to match the other dresser? 
  • paint it a complementary cream?
  • paint it an accent color?  like navy or plum? or something else?
  • paint it white, but re-stain the top a dark brown, and make it two-tone?

Any opinions?  Your help is greatly appreciated! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Updated Home Tour

I realized many of my pictures on the Our Home part of the blog were a little outdated.  So I switched some up - check it out.  It's a nice mix of time periods - Halloween and Christmas 2010! Ha.  Try to see which rooms show snow on the ground outside, and which show falling leaves.

I also added pics of our office, which until now, I've tried to avoid showing.  But in the spirit of keeping it real, I'm opening up.  I spend hours upon hours in this room, studying away.  Tony actually calls it my "study nest" because I usually have piles of books and papers strewn around me at the desk with little pathways carved out.  I cleaned up a bit for these pictures, but I resisted the urge to hide all of the piles of papers on the desk.  That's life, people.

It's a hodgepodge of old furniture and mismatched decor!

It ain't pretty, but it makes for a fine chair to read in by the window.

A History of Georgia, anyone??

I need a better bookshelf.  For reals.

This room needs so much work, but since it's just the office, it's unlikely to see some major changes for a while.  Until then, I will relish our little room with the most natural light of the whole house.  I will even appreciate my pathetic, rickety bookshelf overflowing with textbooks.

If you need me, I'll be in the study nest.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall - On the Inside

Well, it sure doesn't feel like fall around here, but that's no surprise.  Each year I am frustrated anew by the lack of cool, cozy temps.  With only a few exceptions, we go from HOT to COLD before I've even realized what's happening.

Nonetheless, our house is ready for fall.  I have a pumpkin fetish, true story.

The fun frame wreath my sister made for me last year.

See that fun sign?

My DIY dollar store wreath from last year has held up well

I owe this inspiration 110% to Emily of Imperfect.  She posted this two years ago, and I was in love.  I finally got around to copying her this year.   It's simply a leftover piece of baseboard, paint, stickers, and mod podge.  And it's oh so true.

Now, if only the weather would get the hint.  Claire wants to wear a sweatshirt, is that too much to ask??

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Spooky and Sparkly :)

My rehabbed skull from last year - yay disco skeleton!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall = Homework. And Elmo.

Whew.  The past few weeks have been exhausting.  There are some days when I really have to tell myself that I'm getting my masters in just four semesters and that's a pretty sweet deal.  Even if that means crazy-busy semesters, it's only four of them.

I believe it's hitting me hardest now because fall is, by far, my favorite time of year.  I'm extremely sentimental about things, especially traditions, and the picturesque weather we see in fall makes my heart ache for seasonal experiences and memories to be made all over again.  And sadly, we're missing all of the things we usually do since I'm always loaded down with homework.   Perhaps I should revise my thinking and have "spend hours inside on beautiful days doing homework" be a new tradition?  At least it won't be happening next fall.

So all that to say, I'm a busy whiner.

However, I was able to work in some time to go make a surprise visit to Knoxville to see the family for my mom's birthday.  It was a spur-of-the-moment idea and I'm so glad we went.  The weather was lovely and some quality family time was spent.

You all know it's impossible for me to visit my family and not take a million pictures.  Here are the highlights.

She is currently obsessed with Elmo.  She shouts "ELMO!" anytime she sees him.  Every. time. 


What's great is that when we are out, Courtney lets me hold Lyla and pretend she's my baby.  I kinda like it.  Girl is cute.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Tony, getting his gourd on.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Delicious pumpkin brownies.  Might need to make them again.

Recipe via this site
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