Yes- this pumpkin puree really is THAT bright orange. I swear, I had to stare at this for five minutes and tone the colors down so it wouldn’t blind any of you. But geez, isn’t it purdy? In a 80′s fluorescent kinda way… Where are my side ponies and stirrup pant leggings people? I know that the aisles of the stores are LINNEEEDDD with pumpkin right now, but freshly made pumpkin puree for pumpkin pie is miles above the canned stuff. And you can’t argue with florescent orange pies. I mean, c’mon – talk about a ridiculously tasty conversation piece.
Sugar pumpkins are the best for this adventure, with a high sugar content and nice tender pumpkin meat. The words ‘tender’ and ‘pumpkin meat’ are really awkward to type, just an fyi. CAREFULLY slice your pumpkin in half and scrape out the innards – and of course save your seeds for roasting – and place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish face down – baking in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 45-60 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender and safe.
Once cooled down to a non-molten temperature, peel away the skin from the meat.
Cut or break into pieces and place in your food processor. And hit frappe!!
Scrape down the sides when necessary and puree until smooth.
Once it’s smooth, push the puree through a mesh sieve to remove any chunks and extra fiberous bits.
And WHAMMY – it’s done!! Divide the puree into freezer plastic bags, removing the extra air, and freeze flat on a cookie sheet. Freezing the puree flat will help save on freezer storage until you’re ready to use! So go get your some son. Sorry, I don’t know why I called you son.
We’re gettin’ all sorts of lit up in here over the start of apple season. And we’re gettin’ lit up over moonshine. Yes the two of them do, in fact, go hand in hand – because today I’m sharing my recipe for bad decisions and apple pie moonshine over at Baked by Rachel’s for her Apple a Day Party. Last year I rang in the new crops with Bourbon Apple Butter, and this year it’s Apple Pie ‘Shine all the way.
Clearly apples and booze go hand in hand. You can feel like a regular ol’ shiner with this recipe. And as always – it’s best sipped from your trusty mason jar. Pop on over and check out this recipe – it doesn’t take any time at all and you’ll be sipping the sweet stuff before you know it.
There’s 30 days of Apples to be had, so if sippin’ the shine isn’t what you’re looking for – check out the countless classic apple treats that your favorite bloggers have contributed! Click here to check them all out!
I can’t hear, see or eat paella without thinking about All in the Family – which most of you will not remember, because it was before our time. At least it was definitely before my time. But as it happens with being raised in a TV Land watching family – Archie Bunker was a staple in our household and Edith the pillar to which the Bunker household rotated. Bless Ediths heart and her paella making – always making too much, and always eliciting the “Awwwrrchiiee, What am I gonna do with awwlll this Paella?!?” And now I’m thinking the same. Seriously, I’ll be eating this for days. Not like it’s a bad thing – paella is amazing. And not at all time consuming.
Best of all, this paella includes sustainable wild-caught shrimp.
Have you ever looked at your seafood labels to see where they come from? Is you salmon ‘Atlantic’? Are you shrimp ‘wild-caught’? Terms like these matter and it’s not just to make yourself feel better. Sustainable fishing practices matter a great deal, not just to the immediate quality of the seafood you eat, but also to making sure that quality will last not just for our days, but those of our future, leaving behind healthy fishing grounds, water that clear and devoid of impurities that will diminish the well being of the fish and critters that reside in the water, but ensuring that our consumption can remain safe and enjoyable for years to come.
The bloggers highlighted in the Sustainable Seafood Blog Project are here to share our views on sustainably caught seafood and helping open others eyes to being a conscious, and well-educated seafood consumer.
As a lifelong western Washington native, I realize what a unique position we are in to get our hands on the very best quality, straight from the water near our own homes. Living here puts us right into the center of the sustainable seafood movement and we are all the keenly aware of the cause and effects of the good and the bad fishing practices that occur. And we have a penchant for seafood that dwarfs that of our previous generation – but ensuring the fishing grounds are not permanently damaged means conscious, and ethical fishing and the consumer being aware and educated so they can effect positive change. So please join me and these other fantastic bloggers in learning more about sustainable fishing and ethical eating.
Join the Sustainable Seafood Blog Project participants and their delicious sustainable seafood recipes.
¼ cup Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 ½ cup Arborio Rice
4 ounces Pepperoni, chopped
¼ cup White Wine
1 ½ cup Beef or Chicken broth
1 14.5 ounce can Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 pound Large shrimp, peeled and deveined.
1 cup Frozen Peas
Salt and Pepper
¼-½ tsp Ground Red Pepper
In a large skillet, heat oil and garlic over medium heat and stir garlic until fragrant. Add in rice and chopped pepperoni and cook until the rice has become translucent - about 5-minutes. Make sure it is translucent before the next step. Add in wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add in broth and drained tomatoes, stir to combine. Cover and allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in shrimp and peas, covering until the shirmp has cooked and become opaque - about 6-7 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Test the rice to ensure it is soft and cooked through. Serve immediately.
I got my second fix and I’m not slowing down! Here’s what I got in my September Stitch Fix box. What do you think about what I kicked and what I kept?
41Hawthorne Tulip Shirt :: $68 :: Keep It
So, I adore this shirt. It’s a straight fit and thick material that doesn’t feel cheap or chintzy. Problem, it doesn’t have any stretch at all and while it fits everyone else on my body, it doesn’t fit as well in the chest. I have a large set of chesticals and this shirt is a bit of a squeeze in there, making it a tad tight around my bra line in the back because it’s compensating for the front. So, if you’re an inbetweener in sizes like me, go up. This shirt it too great to get the sizing wrong. Sizing lesson learned. Also, please ignore the 13 pimples that decided to take up residence on my face.
41Hawthorne Fit and Flair Skirt :: $48 :: Kick It
Dear Pleats, LOL. Nope. Sincerely, Me. I have a big enough butt and stocky enough legs as it is and pleats does nothing for me. Nothing. Front the front view it made everything look huge and doubly wide – which the horizontal stripes didn’t help. From the side view, it wasn’t horrendous – but it wasn’t flattering. And Huck is equally unimpressed.
Bay to Baubles Multi Colored Oval Necklace :: $35 :: Keep It (For Beka)
Really I love this necklace – but not enough to keep it for myself. So I texted Beka a photo of it and she swooned. So I am keeping this one for her and she’s taking it off my mitts. It’s beautiful, the colors and the pattern – but I got a teal one last fix, so I’d rather it go to a happy home instead.
Fiancee:: Zig Zag Shirt :: $38 :: Keep It
Again, I have a broad top half and large shoulders. I love this shirt, the bottom half’s straight fit and the color, but it’s too small in the shoulder. It’ll look great in a boyfriend blazer for the fall. I’m dressing up a touch more at work so this will be good to have on hand. PS – Ignore the doggie nose prints in the mirror.
Skinny Jeans :: $88 :: Kick It
These are more jeggings than skinny jeans. They were like Stage 5 Clinger kind of clingy and tight. And this brand did nothing for my ass end. I have a pair of BKE and CK skinnies that I adore, but these nope. I won’t even show you a photo of me in them, it’s just something I don’t want to subject you to. Love the distressed look and the sizing was spot on. But you need to know when to draw the line and say “no” to skinny jeans and these were it.
There you have it – this month’s Fix. If you haven’t tried it yet – it’s totally worth it. I love the convenience of it – and not having to go to the mall. Though I will miss Auntie Whoever’s soft pretzels…
Which items are you digging from this month’s fix? And if you haven’t yet, sign up for your fix now. The holidays are just around the corner, get some new duds yo’!
*Sidenote* This is not a sponsored post. I pay for this out of pocket. I do get a small stipend if you use my link. But sign up and give your link to your friends so you earn credits too! Cleaver, out.
Take these nachos to your next game day function and you’ll be the MVP of Game day snacking! These Philly Cheesesteak Nachos are packed with beef, caramelized onions, green peppers and sauce, just like the real deal!
Football season is here! I think that every year Ben and I are together I get a little more into fall and football season. And it really helps when your two favorite football teams are totally kicking ass and taking names. Oh, I’m a die hard Washington State Cougar (Go Cougs!) and life long Seahawks fan. Just an fyi.
I mean sure, it’s still the first couple of weeks of the official NFL season, but I am so stoked for the rest of this year and what’s to come. Seattle is no longer the fat nerdy kid of the NFL, the one who never gets asked to dances and the one that never gets the girl…Well, hey girl, it’s on this year. I can feel it. And did you hear that we broke the WORLD RECORD for loudest stadium? Yeah, last weekend the 12th man was out in force and shattered the world record. We in Seattle take things very seriously – like our football, our futball (Sounders FC), and our coffee. Beer, too. We like beer. And snacks. And you can’t have a football game without copious amounts of snacks.
Exhibit….okay, how many more exhibits do you need? Clearly, you need to just make these.
It’s officially time to enjoy all things Pumpkin Pie Spice – Make your own custom blend at home for all of your pumpkin spice needs.
It’s officially the fall. It’s September, so it’s fall. And I feel like I am finally allowed to enjoy it now with out this seasonal-confusion disorder that seems to plague me with the change of every season with every impending holiday. Last year, I saw Christmas crap at Costco in August. I saw Halloween stuff in the stores in July and now this year, I saw Pumpkin Spice lattes at Starbucks in August, too!
As someone who’s life revolves around pumpkin during fall time and all the way through the end of the Christmas season, if I can finagle it – I have felt like I had to fight the fall and pumpkiny urges until September officially rolled in. This is worse than the first weeks of diet. Denying yourself pumpkin spicey things when everyone else is eating, drinking and shooting it up to their hearts content and having to withhold yourself is torture! But no more.
I’m done, giving in, throwing in the towel, walking off the cliff that leads to no-where but pumpkin and carbs all the rest of the year long. *insert cartoonish maniacal laughter here*
I love making my own spice blends because you have the ability to tone down or jack up certain spices that you love and the ones you don’t. Like clove? Awesome, toss in a little more to give your pie that spice that deep and complex, cozy flavor. Or not such a fan of the nutmeg, tone it down a tad. Make it your own and then you don’t have to worry about gathering 5 different spice jars just to make one thing – it’s all here in one convenient little jar!
You won’t believe it ’til you try it – but this Skinny Pumpkin White Chocolate Creme Brulee will get you in the fall time mood without the extra guilt!
You know that guy who breaks down on the side of the high way, who holds up traffic during rush hour and causes an eight mile back up? Geezzz don’t you just hate that guy? Ohhh wait, I was almost that guy yesterday… well, girl. I now have a new respect for “that guy”, because trust me, you may be sitting in that back up pissed off at that guy – but he is having a heck of a lot worse day that you are!!
The Honda, the old 13 year old tan nag is giving me some teenage tantrums and I am about to drive her over a cliff if she doesn’t knock it off. All 211,000 miles of her decided that yesterday was a good day to stop moving her ass down the free way, during rush hour, and promptly pooped out just as I made it into a gas station while on the phone panicking to Ben that -
OMG My Car is going to DIE
I am going to be STRANDED
And OMG Where are you, come find me?!
Where am I?
A Gas station.
Hell, I dunno…the one by the Subaru dealership just off the freeway…
What Happened? It just started to die. No, I don’t know why, it wouldn’t accelerate, I downshifted and tried to rev up the RPM’s and it wasn’t budging. Gawd, it’s hot out there, don’t die on me yet Honda, I don’t wanna be THAT GUY!!!!!
:: Ben sure is a lucky man isn’t he? ::
At first I had mixed thoughts about the car going kaput – The old nag knew she might be on her last leg and her final parting gift to me was to drop to her lug nuts and leave me two blocks away from the Subaru dealership where I have been pining over a Subaru Outback for the last 4 years…
Then I had the feeling of …
Eeeeee, I might finally be able to get a Subbie. It’s a signnnn!!
“Oh Em Gee, a CAR Payment?!” The worst.
Is Ben going to finally let up and let me spend *GASP* Money?!
Should I get a new commuter car?
Or something a little snazzy?
Should we just tow the old nag and find out what’s wrong with it and see if its worth fixing?
It’s not even turning over now, so really it’s probably dead.
YAY, New Car. Wait, maybe not. Well, crap. Am I excited or in dispair? This was my first car! My only car! So many memories. *sniff*
Welcome to my internal thought process – and all of this within the span of 5 minutes. I am an enigma. So Ben came to the rescue, helped me get a hold of road side service, prepared to tow me to the nearest Honda dealership, sat with me for nearly an hour on a record breaking 93 degree day – What? That’s scortching for Seattle – and then after that time and all of Ben’s handy dandy diagnostic work and a phone call with Car Guy Bonus Dad, we thought it was an electrical issue. Crap. Maybe the oxygen sensor. Catalytic converter? Well, it didn’t make a rattle, boom bang sound so it wasn’t a belt, but Hmmm….
What could it be, you ask? … Insert preggo pauses…
These Four Seasons Famous Trail Mix Cookies copycat cookies are just like Four Seasons Jackson Hole’s famous Trail Mix Cookies, but made right in your home!
What is the worst feeling first thing in the morning? Besides the alarm…obviously. I’m going with freshly washed jeans. The shimmying and shaking, bouncing and hoisting is just so unpleasant before your first cup of coffee. Well, really it’s not pleasant anytime. So what do I do to make myself feel better? You guessed it – devour a cookie. I’m the queen of food logic. Never mind that I have been training for my 5k program and it is totally counter productive to devour cookies – but I figure I burned off some 400 calories in that hour of sweating and dying to warrant a cookie. Logic strikes again!!
And you have totally earned a cookie when you hiked around Jenny Lake in the pouring down rain in Jackson Hole. These cookies are a copycat of the Trail Mix cookies that the fantastic chefs at Four Seasons Jackson Hole packed for us when we were there for our Anniversaredo a couple of weeks ago. It is chock full of oats, white chocolate, dried cranberries, dried blueberries and that warm and healthy cookie feeling.
These cookies can be made Gluten Free in a couple of easy substitutions!!
When a man tells you he doesn’t like horses. Listen to him. I found out the hard way – by spending my anniversary in the Jackson Hole Emergency Room – that Ben and horses do not get along.
Four years ago Ben and I made our first trek to Jackson Hole to celebrate our first anniversary. We had grand plans of camping, taking in all the scenery and geeking out at Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks. And we did those things. We camped, drove, sang off key and ate far too many hot dogs and turkey sandwiches with a Honda packed to the brim with gear and food. Wide eyed and romantic – we were ready! But we sure weren’t ready for a couple of torrential downpours and a trip to the emergency room! So we called it a mulligan and this year for our one year wedding anniversary – we had a do over. Or as I like to call it, an “anniversa-redo”! This time we ditched the tents and landed at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole.
Now, I’m no fan of flying – but the bumps and jostles were worth it when we didn’t have endless time to road trip our way there. Flying in was bumpy but when you see the Grand Tetons Right Outside Your Window, you forget all your worries and I got overwhelmingly excited about this grand adventure.
I can tell you right off the bat that our digs this time sure beat the three man tent the first time we were in Jackson Hole! If I could have found a way to hunker down there forever and just have Huck shipped to me, I would have never left… And the bed? I might have done a trust fall onto it.
Look at this bathroom!
Check this view. If you’re a skier or boarder, this is a paradise. The hotel backs up right to some of the most prime skiing right out the back door!
Our first day at the hotel was spent relaxing and taking it all in. The scenery was just as stunning as I remembered, with Teton Village looking out over the valley and the most stunning of mountains. Saturday night is rodeo night – so we went and got our giddy up on downtown Jackson. We both love a good rodeo – even if Ben doesn’t like riding.
Just north of the hotel about 20 minutes is Grand Tetons National Park, and that’s where we spent our Sunday. After fueling up at the Westbank Grill with Ben’s Huckleberry French Toast and my Huevos Rancheros, we headed out for the day’s trek.
And look what we got to take for a spin!
Four Seasons‘ chefs packed us a great picnic to take with stuffed sandwiches, like my Ahi Tuna sandwich and Ben’s roast beef with plenty of horseradish sauce and prime stone ground mustard potato salad. My lunch came with one of their famed Trail Mix cookies – which I will be passing on the recipe to you on Wednesday! – and Ben went with the traditional chocolate chip.
Our next stop was to go to the famed Grand Teton barns out near Kelly, Wyoming not too far north of Jackson. You know these barns. C’mon. The barns are part of the famed Mormon Row – where some of Jackson’s earliest settlers well, settled. As beautiful as the view is, settling and taming this region would be a struggle and you got to give them some kudos for their gumption back in the day. Right next to the barns was the Jackson buffalo herd and they loved having their photos taken.
This is the Buffalo version of “Hey, Girl”.
The storms, just like we remember, started to set in so Monday morning Ben and I hunkered down for a cup of coffee on the back patio. And we had a couple of lovely ladies with legs for DAYS that joined us for a little nosh. They decided the trees were just right for eating – and we stuck with our coffee and toasty Pendleton blankets by the fire place. They came right up to the patio, even surprising the employees who couldn’t believe that Ben and I got to see these moose come within 15 feet of us!
In between the storms, we treked out in the morning for a hike around Jenny Lake and then grabbed a couple of bikes from Base Camp right at the resort and rode our way down the path and dodged rain drops where we could. We failed and came back soaked, but the ride along the fences of a great cattle ranch and fields of horses was refreshing and so relaxing.
Since it was our last night, we spent our evening at the Westbank Grill going all out with the most melt in your mouth buffalo short ribs and elk osso bucco. For dessert – since we hiked all around Jenny Lake and went for a bike ride – we split the Cowboy Cookie with a whopping dollop of vanilla ice cream on top. Then, I proceeded to fail whale into that king size bed and zonk right out.
It was a dream and a half way to spend our first wedding anniversary – much better than the other one where we spent our day in the emergency room fixing Ben’s wonky wrist and busted lip. Jackson Hole holds a very special place in our heart, with so many memories made – and we already can’t wait to go back again. Next time, we really may never leave.
*Note* Thank you to Four Seasons Jackson Hole for hosting us an our Anniversa-redo, we loved our stay and all opinions are our own.
I tell you all the time how the Palouse is home, it’s our zen place, our Mecca. It’s where Ben grew up, played in the dirt, and worked with his family in the fields.It’s the smell of the dust, the wind and the rare post-rain cleanliness. The Palouse is the place we yearn to raise a family, grow old and make our dreams a reality. Explaining this might sound simplistic, and even cliche – but unless you have seen it, spent a baby blue, pink and brilliant orange sunset out amongst the hills reflecting light into the wheat – you might never understand. And that’s okay. A town like that isn’t for everyone, an hour from town, no city lights, no stop lights for miles, and a dwindling life style that seems like a relic of a bygone era. It is so intertwined with who Ben is, it makes my heart swell and makes my love for him grown stronger.
A few weeks ago we visited home and spent our afternoons driving to our favorite spots, visiting family and soaking in every moment we could before returning to Seattle. Here are a few of my favorite snaps that try to convey the depths of my love for this region, this family and this land.
Welcome to Country Cleaver, where country comfort and convenient cooking come together. Follow my adventures of self-reliant country cooking and baking from scratch with a little life mixed in for kicks! ...more