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!)}

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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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Friday Faves

IMG_2510{early morning on the lake}

Happy October from beautiful Lake Chelan! I had such a whirlwind trip with my sister and little nephew last week that I forgot to post on Friday – so last week’s Friday Faves are this Monday’s Faves instead! We had the best time splashing in the lake and in the pool, chasing ducks, digging in the sand…..and of course lots of wine and cheese! I hope your weekend was equally fun, and that your Monday is off to a lovely start! Some fun links and pics from the week:

IMG_2308{Smitten Kitchen’s apple cake and butternut squash galette (from the cookbook)…..and a salad}

IMG_2426{wine with my sis in my new Husky drinkers}

IMG_2536{obsessed with this anti-aging hand cream}

IMG_2293{Having a little baby around makes holidays so much more fun! Cooper’s pumpkin bag was one of the first things I ordered with his name on it (seriously – I just looked it up in my email archives and I ordered it the day he was born!), so of course I had to get one for Harper as soon as PBK released their Halloween stuff this year (order date: July 20).  And then I set about to fill it with everything I put in Coop’s last year. Treat bag from PBK, books from Amazon, sleepers from Hanna Andersson (similar here, I actually got this version on sale after Halloween last year) and Carter’s, onesie, tutu, and pumpkin hat from Gymboree, Lifefactory bottle with candy, Baby Bling Bows (black and orange knots). *The Gymboree onesie and hat are no longer available, at least online, but if you’re in the market Janie and Jack has some pretty cute options (onesie, hat) – probably would have gotten those for H if I hadn’t already given her her goodie bag! I’m thinking she’ll still be able to squeeze into the 12-18 month next fall, so I’ll be watching the sale racks on November 1st!}

IMG_2294{And don’t worry, Coop got a few things too! Gymboree tee (adorable J&J alternative here), Hanna sleeper (also purchased on sale after Halloween last year, 2015 boys version here), Curious George book, and two Beavs hats that aren’t pictured – really more of just a random purchase than a Halloween gift, but the team colors are black and orange so it’s a two for one}.

Friday Faves, Halloween Edition

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Trick or Treat! What are your plans for the day? I’m looking forward to staying indoors and handing out candy with my baby nephew, and counting all the Princess Elsas we get at the door (not that I blame any of those little girls – I would totally go as Elsa too if I thought I could get away with it). Crossing my fingers for dry weather for all the little ones out there! Happy Halloween!

  • How amazing does this sound?
  • Lots of homemade Halloween treats (this one is my favorite).
  • The perfect Halloween cocktail!
  • How sweet is this costume?
  • Not technically Halloween related, but this album has pretty much made my week.

photo 2 {left to right: curry (no longer available), wicked, pumpkin, shine}

photo 3-12
{didn’t get my act together in time to bake cookies this year – but how cute are these bakery ones?}

photo 4-10
{gorgeous macaroon tower at a fundraiser for my high school last night}

photo 3-13
{these pics are holding me over until I get to see my little guy in his costume tonight}

photo-69{bonus pic: Coop’s halloween present, part two. Bear outfit from Baby Gap, tee from Gymboree, book from Amazon, and “Little Bear” Glassybaby. Can you guess what he’s going as?}

Friday Faves

photo 1
{apple picking in hood river last weekend}

Can you believe we’re halfway through October already? Sob. A friend of mine is expecting a baby on December 31st – we were chatting yesterday and she mentioned she only has 10 weeks to go. And while that’s great news for her, I’m not even close to ready for 2015 yet – I feel like I just started getting used to 2014.  But anyway. Time marches on, as they say!  I hope everyone is looking forward to something fun this weekend.  I’m excited to hang out with my baby nephew tomorrow, and we’re celebrating my grandmother’s 95th birthday on Sunday. The forecast for the party is 73 and sunny – on October 19th! Amazing!  In the meantime, some highlights from this past week:

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{Mark Bittman book signing!}

photo-58{dinner party prep}

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{loving my new hair powder}

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{Coop loves the pumpkin patch!}

Friday Faves

photo 1
{soaking up these last few sunny days}

Happy Friday, friends!  I don’t say this often, but I feel like this past week flew by. How is it already October? My little baby nephew is two months old today – time really does fly, as they say. He’s getting so big (sob!).  Any fun plans for the weekend? I’m heading to a farmhouse wedding tomorrow, and then brunch with my book club girlfriends on Sunday. And I get to meet not one but two new babies, Charlie and Cameron (belonging to my friends Heather and Karrie, respectively).  Going to see Gone Girl tonight – CAN. NOT. WAIT. I suspect it might be a huge disappointment, but hopefully I’m wrong.  Wishing everyone a sunny and relaxing weekend! Some fun links and pics (I hope you guys appreciate these links, because sometimes it’s really hard to come up with five good ones 🙂 But I do it because I love you – and I know how hard it can be to get through a Friday sometimes so hopefully this helps you kill some time!):

  • This tailgate looks AH-mazing
  • Because I always want a crispy crust when eating leftover pizza
  • I’ve been getting a ton of compliments on my skin lately – want to know my secret? (in “warm soul” and I use it more like a bronzer)
  • Grilled cheese? Yes, please!
  • The best color, for all things, all of the time

photo 2{homemade pumpkin spice, inspired by…}

photo 2-16{…my barista’s homemade pumpkin spice (which is way better)}

photo 2 {new favorite eye cream – because I need to be at least kind of believable when I claim to be 29}

photo-44 {I had so much fun putting together Coop’s halloween present: treat bag from pottery barn kids, sleepers from hanna andersson and carter’s, pumpkin onesie and hat from gymboree, oregon state gear, bottle from lifefactory (and filled with reese’s pieces for mom and dad), books from amazon. Not pictured but a must for any baby halloween gift – skull diapers.}

Halloween Faves

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{this is technically last year’s pumpkin, but I still love it – carved with a drill!}

Happy Halloween, everyone! This week’s favorites are coming a day early, since I needed a full post to celebrate one of my very favorite holidays. I feel like Halloween snuck up on me this year – I didn’t get around to carving a pumpkin, or putting together a costume, or making any homemade candy (Twix and Reese’s were on my list – maybe next year!). Despite all that, however, I’m still excited to hand out (store-bought) candy and see all the trick-or-treaters tonight. Seattle’s forecast is looking dry, which of course is the best Halloween news – nothing sadder than having to cover up your costume with a raincoat.  I hope everyone has a spook-tacular day, and gets lots of candy tonight!

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{would you believe I copied this from Martha Stewart years ago, way before Pinterest? Still one of my favorite ways to decorate}

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{who doesn’t love a “guess the weight” contest!?!}

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{Halloween crafting – any excuse to use candy corn stickers}

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{once upon a time, I worked at Pottery Barn, and thus have way too much holiday decor. Glassybaby is “pumpkin.”}