Thanksgiving Faves

IMG_4672{pumpkin pie cookies}

Happy Thanksgiving Week! Are you ready for Thursday? I’m clearly running behind this week, as this was supposed to be a Friday Faves post, and then a Monday Faves post, and now here we are, two days before the big day. You probably have all of your menu planning figured out, your shopping done, and everything prepped as much as possible by now.  But hopefully a few of these links might still come in handy, or perhaps like me, you can just bookmark them for next year.

FullSizeRender{Glassybaby + glitter leaves}

IMG_4646{my favorite side dish}

IMG_1041{Harper’s Thanksgiving present from Auntie}

IMG_4767{I got these outfits on sale at Baby Gap last fall – so excited they finally fit}

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Friday Faves

IMG_4132{post-halloween indulgences}

Happy first week of November! What are you up to this weekend? I have a family birthday party tonight, and my good friends’ housewarming party tomorrow….two excuses to do a little fall baking and perhaps sangria-making! Trying to soak up these crisp, sunny fall days before they turn into the rain we know is coming. Hope you have a lovely Friday ~ some links and pics, if you’re interested:

  • How delicious does this apple cider sangria sound?
  • Adele is back! (I’ve missed her).
  • Making these tonight for a children’s birthday party.
  • Can’t wait to binge-watch Aziz Ansari’s new show!
  • Should I ask for these for my birthday? (These are cute too, and on sale!)

IMG_4047{kabocha squash and ricotta toasts – more delicious than they look}

IMG_4216{red cups are here! (although apparently the “real” holiday cups debut next week?)}

IMG_4215{can’t wait to read this}

IMG_4218{cutest little pumpkin and little(r) ladybug!}

IMG_4217{and a bonus photo, just because – such mean parents and auntie!}

Friday Faves: Halloween Edition

IMG_3980{my two favorite things}

Happy Halloween Eve! What are your plans for tomorrow? Any fun traditions? I’m looking forward to spending the evening with my niece and nephew, especially since it’s baby Harper’s first Halloween. She’s going as a ladybug (contrary to the photo above, where she and Cooper are just props for my Cat in the Hat costume), and Coop is going to be a little pumpkin. One costume is homemade and has been in the works for months, and one was scavenged from the last few remaining options in his size at Pottery Barn Kids a week ago (anyone who knows my sister or my sister-in-law can guess whose is whose), but they are both going to be adorable. I can’t wait until they’re old enough to trick-or-treat, but for the time being it will be nice to stay warm and dry inside handing out candy, as the forecast for tomorrow night looks pretty bad. Wishing everyone a lovely Halloween weekend, full of lots of treats and hopefully waterproof costumes! Some links and pics (a little baby-heavy, as that’s all I’ve been doing the past few days!):

  • Cooper is obsessed with spiders lately (and cookies too, incidentally) – I may need to make these for him.
  • Homemade Almond Joys – one of the many things on my to-do list for this Halloween that just didn’t happen (along with carving a pumpkin!) – but I’m thinking if I write it down here maybe I’ll hold myself to it for next year. I did make her homemade Twix a few years ago and they were to die for.
  • How cute are these Mummy Cupcakes?
  • I’m going to make this tomorrow night.
  • Lena Dunham’s costumes through the years – so funny!!

IMG_3997{favorite halloween candy}

IMG_3868{little skeleton buns in their honest diapers}

IMG_3853{cookie treats for friends and neighbors}

IMG_3988{coordinating cuddles (compare with last year – sob!)}

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

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Smitten Kitchen first posted this recipe three Octobers ago, way back in 2012, a few days before I was planning to host a baby shower brunch for my friend Amanda.  I had the menu all planned out, but naturally I saw the blog post and decided I could definitely do homemade cinnamon rolls for a crowd on top of everything else.  I was also planning on homemade quiches, however, and at the eleventh hour decided I couldn’t do both – so I opted for pumpkin muffins, which I had made before and knew would be easier. On the one hand, thank goodness I came to my senses and didn’t attempt the cinnamon rolls, as I was pretty frazzled the morning of the shower (I have a vivid memory of calling a girlfriend at 8 am and asking her to pick up three dozen cupcakes, as I had run out of time to make them). But on the other, it’s really a shame I didn’t, as what I learned last week when I finally made them (three years later!) is that – as it turns out – they’re totally doable. And of course, as delicious as they sound.

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So please believe me when I tell you that you, too, can make homemade cinnamon rolls. You can make them from scratch, even. My grandmother is the only person I’ve ever known to make “homemade” cinnamon rolls, and even she uses frozen bread dough – so of course I assumed they must be really difficult. As it turns out, however, that’s not the case.  I’ve never worked with yeast before, and I was surprised at just how easy it is. It’s already packaged out for you in the baking aisle – you simply let it sit in some warm milk for five minutes and add it to your dough (just make sure you let the dough rise in a warm room ~ I had to turn the oven on in the kitchen, and in a moment of doubt even leave the oven door open for awhile/the full hour – but my dough rose!!).

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You have to let the dough rise twice, for an hour the first time and 45 minutes the second, but that’s still not nearly as long as I thought it would take (SK gives you the option of preparing the rolls the night before baking them, in which case you only have to let the dough rise once, and then the second “rise” happens overnight in the fridge). And you get to use the dough hook attachment to your mixer – I’ve had my mixer for over ten years and this is literally the first time I’ve used it (I was proud of myself more for even knowing where to find it than for the fact that I was actually making dough!). It’s also worth mentioning that the whole process makes your kitchen smell AH-mazing. Please make these tomorrow night, pop them in the fridge for the second rise, and then bake them Saturday morning for the best pumpkin treat you could give yourself. Happy Halloween!

One Year Ago: Barefoot Contessa’s Mac and Cheese and Beecher’s Mac and Cheese
Two Years Ago: My Favorite Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, from Smitten Kitchen 

Yield: 16-18 rolls

For the Dough
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 0.25 ounce or 7 gram packet)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling the dough
1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup pumpkin purée, homemade or canned
1 large egg
Oil, for coating bowl

For the Filling
3/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla extract (optional)

To Make Dough: Melt butter (brown it if you wish) and let it cool. Combine warm milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After 5-7 minutes it should be a little foamy – if not, you may have some bad yeast and should start again with a new packet. Combine flour, sugars, salt, and spices in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add 1/4 of your melted butter (reserve the rest for assembly) and stir to combine, then add milk/yeast mixture, pumpkin, and egg. Once the dough starts to come together, switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook and run it on low for five minutes.  Scrape your dough into a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm, draft free area of your kitchen and let it rise for an hour. (Trick my aunt taught me: if your dough doesn’t seem to be rising enough, turn your oven on to warm up your kitchen). While the dough rises, prepare your baking dishes: line the bottoms of two 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans (or square or rectangular baking dishes) with parchment and then butter the sides of the pan and the parchment.

To Make Filling: Stir together the sugars, cinnamon, and salt.

To Make Glaze: Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in the milk until you reach your desired consistency – thick enough to ice (less milk) or thin enough to drizzle (more milk).

To Assemble Rolls: Scoop your dough onto a very well-floured surface, sprinkle some extra flour on top, and roll it out into a 16″ x 11″ rectangle. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the dough and sprinkle the filling evenly over the butter. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough as tightly as possible into a spiral. Using a sharp, serrated knife, saw the log with a back and forth motion as gently as possible (almost no pressure whatsoever) into 1″ rounds. Divide buns between the two prepared pans. Sprinkle any filling that has fallen out on top. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden, top with glaze, and dig in!

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IMG_3867

Friday Faves

photo-122 {latte art}

Happy Good Friday! What are your plans for the weekend? I’m excited to spend Easter with my nephew/Godson and my new baby niece – the first Easter for both of them (wait until you see their outfits!!). I have some holiday baking to do tomorrow, and I need to find something to wear to mass and brunch on Sunday. What I won’t be doing: watching the Zags play (sob!). Wishing everyone a wonderful sunny weekend – hope this weather holds up! Some fun links and pics:

  • I’m making this for easter brunch, yum!
  • Tips from female entrepreneurs
  • Spring makeup refresher
  • I love a good grammar update (I’m guilty of #14 – I know it’s wrong but I say it anyway)
  • Another yummy Smitten Kitchen easter treat from the B&B archives

photo-120{spring flowers}

photo-119{so many sprinkles}

photo-121{packing up my gbs in my new special tote – comes in handier than you might think}

photo 3-19{easter baskets for the babies}

photo 1-40{Harper’s looks a lot like Coop’s from last year, except in pink and with a couple bows too. Basket and liner from Pottery Barn, Serena & Lily blanket (no longer available in pink, good thing I ordered this one long before she was born!), Hanna Andersson sleeper (similar here), Bunnies by the Bay lovey and rattle, Life Factory bottle, Baby Bling bows (and one I got at a boutique, but similar here), rattle, board books.}

photo-114{And I still had to do one for my favorite little guy – same basket as last year, but this year he has his name on it! Basket, liner (similar here), cup and plate from Pottery Barn, Hanna sleeper, bottle, eggs with puffs (thanks, pinterest!), big “buddy” bunny from Bunnies by the Bay, pull-tab book, wooden toy.}

St. Patty’s Day Faves

photo 2-32 {elf (because I don’t have lucky), hope, shine}

Happy St. Patty’s Day!! This was supposed to be a Friday Faves post last week, but of course I didn’t have my act together so it’s a Tuesday Faves this week.  I hope everyone has fun plans for the holiday, which is one of my favorites! I’m excited to put together an outfit this morning, and treat myself to a green beer or two tonight. Some fun thematic links and pics in the meantime:

  • Homemade Mint Milanos – yes please!
  • So sad I didn’t think ahead and make this this year – bookmarking for SPD 2016!
  • If only I had known Harper would be here by now, I would have ordered this for her.
  • I pinned these biscuits years ago and have yet to make them – also on next year’s to do list.
  • One of my very favorite B&B posts.

photo 1-38{and because I’m a complete glassybaby nerd: a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
everlasting, pumpkin, taxi, grass, blue bird, sweet pea, grace}

photo 2-30 {St. Patty’s Day cookie fun (with stencils!)}

photo 3-18{gorgeous greens}

photo 1-36 {and presents for the babies! books, bottles, hat (Coop’s dad is a C’s fan), bow}

Friday Faves

photo 2 {love my new Christmas candle (and so does Oprah!)}

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!! I was shopping downtown yesterday for the first time in a while, and all of the lights and decorations (and of course the big tree!) made me so happy.  I did 99% of my Christmas shopping online this year, and while I didn’t miss the crowds or the parking, I guess I missed out on a little Christmas spirit.  Or perhaps I can appreciate the ambiance more since I’m not running around trying to buy a million gifts and then getting back to my car before I have a $35 bill at the garage (or a parking ticket!).

How are your Christmas lists coming along? I thought about writing a gift guide (every blog must have one, right?), but when I started thinking of ideas I realized they were either what I’ve already bought for everyone on my list or what I hope to receive myself (although, they’re all really good gifts so maybe that’s ok?!?!). Anyway, I linked to a few of my favorite already-written gift guides instead (below), plus maybe a few things I wouldn’t mind finding under the tree on Christmas morning. You know, just in case Santa is reading. Happy Friday!

  • Cup of Jo gift guides: Mom, HusbandSister, Brother, Kiddos, Best Friend.  Lots of clever ideas on these lists – especially for guys, who are always hard to shop for!
  • I still love my friend Yoona’s gift guides from a few years ago – for men and women.
  • I really wish I had thought to write this blog post myself. Every year I get dozens of these cards, and every year I debate calling the culprit (aka my friend or relative who was kind enough to send me a Christmas card) and giving them a helpful tip on how to use (and not use!) an apostrophe. It seems kind of mean so I never have the nerve, but really I think it would be the right thing to do. Hopefully they will just read this instead.
  • My goals for hostess gifts, neighbor gifts, etc: homemade hot chocolate mix, homemade marshmallows, and gingerbread biscotti.
  • Things I wouldn’t mind finding under the tree (and probably no one else would either): this hat (which I didn’t even know I wanted until I saw it last night), a good hair dryer and flat iron and/or curling iron, anything from Jo Malone (the new unisex fragrances are kind of amazing), magazine subscriptions (I love Martha Stewart, Bon Appétit, People, Vanity Fair – or what about the Sunday New York Times?) And of course, my all time favorite gift to give and to receive: Glassybaby.

photo 2 {My favorite new Christmas accessory: red lipstick. I’m only about five years late to this party.  I love these two (lipstick queen and besame, plus liner).  Next I need the matching gloss and then probably this one (in “scoundrel”), which Mindy Kaling claims everyone can wear}

photo 4 {getting in the spirit – care packages for my two favorite college freshmen}

photo-95 {power outage + glassybaby}

photo 1 {my little buddy loves Mariah just like his auntie}