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September 15, 2017

Recipes for This Weekend | Salted Caramel Sauce for Apples, Pork Loin with Cheddar Grits, Bite-Sized Baked S'mores

 On the weekends, I like to pick a couple of recipes to make that I don't have time for during the week.  I think Emma and I will make the Salted Caramel Sauce today after school.  I created an entire Recipe Gallery of some favorite weekend recipes for this time of year - apples, pork, s'mores, grilled artichokes, baked goat cheese dip and baked potatoes, just to name a few.

Visit the Weekend Recipes Gallery, to see all of the recipes and links.

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce is beyond anything you can get at the store - and it is so simple to make.  Drizzle over sliced apples, brownies or vanilla ice cream with toasted pecans like my friend did last weekend for dinner.  Mike went crazy for it.

I made these last weekend and Mike could not stop raving.  In fact, he said this is the only scone I should make from now on.  This roundup is starting to have a theme, weekend cooking = Mike's favorite things.

Next weekend we're having my sister and her family stay, so I'll be making this White Cheddar Breakfast Strata.

For weekend dinners, I often make an appetizer and open a bottle of wine at about 5pm.  Even if we're going out for dinner, it is nice to relax with a drink and a snack - it makes it actually feel like the weekend.

This is a super quick and addicting dip - Baked Goat Cheese drizzled with Honey and Thyme.

I love pork combined with apples.  I'm debating between these two recipes for our Sunday Supper.  Roasted Pork Loin with Apple Sauce, or...

Cheddar Grits and sauteed apples.  Two amazing options.

Another Sunday favorite is Steaks & Baked Potatoes.  These twice baked are perfect for a crowd or for the freezer.  They are great to pull out of the freeze during the week because they can turn grilled chicken or steak into a meal in minutes.

Sunday afternoons are meant for baking.  We really try to keep the chores and obligations to a minimum on Sundays.  After church, we spend time at home doing things that we enjoy.  For Mike it might be watching golf, or a yard project.  For Emma and me, that means baking.

Did you know you can make S'mores in the oven?  They take a couple of minutes to put together and  30 seconds to bake.  Perfect for a movie night at home without the bonfire!

Visit the Weekend Recipes Gallery, to see all of the recipes and links.

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Caper Aioli | Easy Summer Entertaining Recipes

This is one of my all time favorite 'restaurant' recipes.  Anytime I go to a restaurant and I see grilled artichokes on the menu, I order them.  I've found that I like them best when simply grilled with a little bit of seasoning and a great dipping sauce.  I used to be intimidated by making a dipping sauce- especially those named 'aioli' until I discovered that 'aioli' is mayonnaise...  Now I use mayonnaise as a base to make all kinds of great dipping sauces- this lemon and caper is one of my favorites.  It is great with grilled shrimp, too- a favorite from my catering days.

Grilled Artichokes
with a Lemon Garlic Caper Aioli

3 artichokes, quartered
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of sea salt + 2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon of cracked pepper

for the aioli:
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 lemon, the juice of
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of capers (or more, if you'd like)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of cracked pepper

Combine olive oil and 1 clove of garlic cut in slices.  Let the garlic infuse into the oil while you are preparing the artichokes.

Cut the artichokes in quarters, lengthwise.  Fill a medium saucepan with water with 1 tablespoon of sea salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add artichoke quarters and cook for 20-30 minutes until tender.  Remove from water and let them cool on a baking sheet.  If you are preparing these ahead of time, you can refrigerate them at this point up to over night.

Before grilling, brush the garlic infused olive oil onto all sides of the artichoke hearts.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until there is a nice char on the leaves.

For the sauce, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, garlic capers, salt and pepper.   Add more lemon, salt and/or pepper to taste.

The grilled artichokes are the perfect compliment to Grilled Prosciutto & Fresh Mozzarella toasts.

September 14, 2017

My Fall Wardrobe Staples | Essential Wraps

My friends that are really more fashionable than me (you know who you are!), might get a kick out of the fact that I'm even writing this because my wardrobe is extremely simple.  I like to keep my closet like I keep my kitchen - hardworking essentials that can be used in many ways.  As I've gotten older, I feel like I'm better at knowing what suits me and what I feel good in.  I am just fine knowing that I'm not chasing trends, though I do look for subtle ways to update each year. I usually start each season with a new pair of jeans, a blouse and shoes that feel classic and current at the same time.

Here are my go-to looks for this season : 

Because I mostly wear solid Oxford shirts, cotton T's and sweaters with jeans, I really depend on a wide selection of Wraps to bring my look up to date for the season.  They are so inexpensive ($14) and help stretch my wardrobe by making all of these essentials look seasonal.   In the spring my striped T and jeans with loafers looks very springy with a robins egg blue wrap.  In the fall, the same look feels fall-ish with a Moss Green Wrap ($14) instead.  I think they also make great little gifts, too - one size fits all : )

Shop all of the Wraps in my store, here >

I already have most of these, but the Needlepoint Loafers will be new addition to my closet.  They are a bit of a splurge for me, but since I am not buying anything else right now, I am happy to invest in something that will make many of the staples in my closet seem new and fresh paired with these fun shoes.

I'm not including source links for everything, because it is all J.Crew for the most part : )  No surprise there.  Here are the links to the items that are not from J.Crew.

*these are not affiliate links because I don't know how to do that!

Tall Frye Melissa Boots : I've had these for 6 years and still love getting them out each year.
Needlepoint Loafers
Driving Loafers : These are such a deal!  I searched everywhere for great drivers that didn't cost $400.  I also have the suede version and I'm obsessed with how soft and comfy they are.
New Balance : I love these because they have a gum sole and the little leather tab on the top.  I have them in navy.  I walk everyday, and these are so light and comfy.
Navy Leggings : Lulu Lemon
Sneakers : Superga
Everything else : J.Crew

There are a couple of things that I'd like to be better about incorporating, like adding more dresses and skirts into my wardrobe.  I have a good selection, but I feel like I buy them on an as-needed basis and don't think about them as essentials or staples that can be worn year in and out.  After taking inventory of my closet, I would like to add some more pencil skirts, a few solid dark dresses and a great pair of slingback shoes.  Any suggestions?!

September 13, 2017

Pre-Autumn Tour | Living Room & Dining Room

Today I'm taking some time to put the house together and do a little 'fall-izing.'  It is a bit too early for me to add pumpkins or too many fall colors, but it is the perfect time of year to start neutralizing the color palette.  In our living room, I switched out all of the pillow covers to the Beige Topiary Block Print and I brought in the Chestnut and Medium Grey Throws.   Our family room is decked out in deep indigo and slate colors from the Classic Collection, so I love having this room that is full of tone-on-tone creamy neutrals and rich maple colors.  On the mantle and on the dining table, I piled my first really "fall" purchases - some acorn and butternut squash.  They are the most perfect deep green and buttery beige colors.  

I put together a board that shows the elements I used.  I think this helps people understand how this look comes together.  

You'll notice some favorites from last year that are back in stock - Herringbone Wraps in Charcoal & Tan.  We also just received a restock of the Natural Check Napkins and Placemats.


Now, the tour.  I love how the gold frames really stand out in this room.  Although it is filled with neutrals, the gold really brings warmth.

Mr. Darcy in his chair - he's such our fluffer pupper.

Love this Chestnut Throw.

Topiary Beige Block Print Pillows | Med Grey Diamond Throw

Since I can buy Acorn & Butternut Squash at the grocery store any time of year, they are always the first thing I bring in our home to start setting the mood for Fall.

Multiples.  In more formal rooms, I find it so chic to have the same pattern repeated.  It feels very put together.

This is how our table is set most nights for dinner.  It may seem extravagant, but everything in this photo is alive but really can stay fresh for weeks.  So, it is done once every couple of weeks with a new seasonal something and the table looks great every night for dinner.

I started with the Beige Topiary Print Runner - it is extra wide and extra long, so sort of like a really big runner for extra coverage.  It helps bring large farmhouse tables down to scale.  On top of the print runner, I've layered a White Hemstitch Runner.  

The Squash and the Branches bring life to this corner of the house - so important.

Love these little Salt & Peppers.  Classic Salt & Pepper, here >

I used the Natural Check Napkins to give it a bit of an eclectic feel.  They are in the same color palette, so they go nicely together, but aren't too matchy-matchy.

This is the Tall Willow Vase with Handle.  Perfect for big bunches of autumn leaves.

I've added some fall touches to our hutch - Pewter & Spode Woodland - maybe my favorite combination of all time.  Trays available, here >

September 12, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Donuts | Easy Baked Donuts

Oh my goodness.  These were the treat of all treats.  They took 5 minutes to stir together, 10 minutes to bake and 2 minutes to glaze.  They were simply everything good - a hint of pumpkin, a whisper of cinnamon and that maple glaze.  

I played around with making some tutorial videos this morning.  It was so easy - and kind of addicting!  Much like these donuts ; )   I probably made too many for one post... but hey, it was fun!  



Piping the batter into the Donut Pan is key to easy cleanup and great looking donuts.  I use :

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts with Maple Glaze

*Donut Pan
*Piping Bag

makes 6-8 donuts

1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of butter, cooled
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of ginger
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of real maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 F.

You can use a mixer or a bowl and whisk for this recipe.  Begin by combining pumpkin, brown sugar, egg and milk.  Once whisked together, add melted butter.

Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt to the mixture.  Whisk together until smooth.  Transfer to Disposable Piping Bag.

Pipe the mixture into the donut pan.  Bake donuts for 8-10 minutes.

Maple Glaze:

In a bowl or pourable measuring cup, melt butter in the microwave.  Add powdered sugar and maple syrup.  Mix until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar or maple to change consistancy.

Remove from pan.  Glaze while slightly warm.

I bought this pumpkin based solely on the beautiful graphic design.  Right?

This comes together so easily.  Next time I will just stir it together by hand instead of using the mixer.  

I love how homemade the glaze looks, just spooned on.  And it is so, melt in your mouth delicious! 


A couple of years ago we made homemade donuts and boxed them up to give to friends for Halloween.

Kraft Boxes, $8-12 for 10
Parchment Paper, 100 for $10
Ribbons & Tags
Bread Boards
Piping Bags
Donut Pan

Shop all of my Favorite Baking Essentials in my online store : The Everyday Occasions Store

Stop by my friends Pumpkin Posts for some seasonal inspiration : 

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes by Boxwood Avenue | Paleo Pumpkin Chili by Nesting with Grace | Pumpkin Ginger Molasses Cookies by anderson + grant | Pumpkin Baked Brie en Croute by French Country Cotage | Nina Hendrick Design Co.
Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies by A Burst of Beautiful | Maple Glazed Pumpkin Hand Pies by Love Grows Wild | Pumpkin Patch Muffins by House 214 | Pumpkin Maple Pancakes by Finding Home Farms | Miniature Pumpkin Tarts by Zevy Joy
Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies by Miss Mustard Seed | Pumpkin Toffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting by My Sweet Savannah | Pumpkin Pan Pie by Inspired by Charm
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