Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm Off to Paris!

Today I'm jetting off to Paris! Caleb has been in Europe with work for the past 10 days, so we're going to rendezvous in Paris for a vacation. I've been dreaming of going to Paris for pretty much my whole life, so to say that I'm excited is an understatement! You can follow along with our Parisian adventures on instagram. Au revior!

(image via paris in four months)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Running Out? Run In.

Through October 25, look for the Running Out? Run In. event in Publix stores to take advantage of great savings on some of your favorite products from General Mills and Proctor & Gamble brands. Plus you can get a $10 Publix gift card for spending $30 on participating items. Publix always has great savings (and doubles coupons up to $0.50 every day!), but with this event you can save even more.

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, October 18, 2013

7 Ways to Decorate Pumpkins

I have loved all of the decorated pumpkins that I've seen floating around Pinterest and blogs lately. I'm not very good at carving pumpkins, and I don't even think they are all that pretty, so I really like these alternate ways to decorate pumpkins. Some of these are even simple enough for not-so-crafty me to attempt :) Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My First Produce Box

Last week I picked up my first produce box! Here's what was in it:

1 pineapple
1 cantaloupe
6 kiwi
3 lbs oranges
1 mango
1 head of Romaine
1 pint grape tomatoes
8 oz cremini mushrooms
1 lb cucumber
1 bag radishes
2 lbs sweet potatoes

I couldn't believe how much stuff I got! I previously had had several reservations about the whole produce box/fruit & veggie co-op deal. Like what if I didn't want whatever was delivered that week? Or what if I couldn't eat everything fast enough? Or was it a lot more expensive compared to the grocery store? If you've been on the fence about participating in a weekly produce box, here are a few things I learned.

Find a box + system that works for you. With the box I got (Marvin's Produce), they list on their website exactly what's in the box. That way I can decide whether or not I need/want the produce they're offering, and I don't feel like I'm wasting my money. They also offer the same box for two weeks in a row. I will only get a box every other week, so I won't be wasting anything and I also won't be missing out on the in-between weeks, since it's the same box.

It gets you out of your rut + it helps with meal planning. Since I do find out ahead of time what I'll be getting, I can look up recipes and figure out how I want to use everything I'll be getting. I plan my meals out for the week, so knowing what produce I'll have helps narrow down what I'll be preparing during the week. I also loved this box because it got us out of our fruit rut. We've had a lot of bananas, grapes, and apples lately, but I didn't buy any of that last week. Instead we had all of the fruit in the box! I'm such a creature of habit, so I like that it forced me out of our boring fruit rut.

It isn't expensive. Again, I can only speak from my own experience and my own box. But at Publix with last week's prices, all of that produce would have cost me $32 (plus whatever radishes cost, because I couldn't find those). I paid $17.50 for everything in that above photo, and $2.50 of that was a donation to Susan G. Komen. So I paid less than half of what I would have paid at Publix! Now if you want an all-organic box or if you shop at a really cheap grocery store, then that could change things. But since I only shop at Publix, I know exactly what my savings are and they are good!

Have I convinced you yet? :) I'm curious - how many of you regularly get a produce box, or participate in some sort of food co-op?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Apple-Sour Cream Crumb Pie

Let me start off by saying this pie is not for the faint of heart. After making the pie dough, and the crumb topping, and peeling all the apples, and making the pie filling, this pie is in the oven for an hour and 45 minutes. And then it has to cool for 3-4 hours! This is definitely one of those times that you'd better read the recipe before cracking eggs and finding yourself in the middle of an all-day baking affair. I would advise you to not charge into making this pie on a weeknight, unless you plan on staying up until midnight. BUT, if you get into a fall baking mood over the weekend or if you find yourself with half a day and a hankering for apple pie, then make. this. pie. It is GOOD. I've never had an apple pie with sour cream in it, but it balanced out the sweetness of the golden delicious apples and made for a tasty filling. 

Apple-Sour Cream Crumb Pie
one recipe for pie crust dough, chilled until firm (I use this recipe)

for the crumb topping:
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (I used pecans instead)

for the filling:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
16 oz sour cream
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla
6 Golden Delicious apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges

Roll pie dough into a 15-inch round (1/4" thick) on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 10-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and fold under, pressing onto rim of pie plate. Use your fingers to create a scalloped edge if desired. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Make the crumb topping: whisk together sugars, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter, and combine with a fork or pastry cutter. Stir in walnuts or pecans, and press filling into large clumps with your hands; refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oven to 450 degrees with 2 racks in lower third.

Make the filling: whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add apples, tossing to coat. Place apple mixture in crust.

Place an empty rimmed baking sheet on lowest oven rack to catch any drips, then bake pie 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until apples are golden brown in places, juices are bubbling, and crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Remove topping from refrigerator, and crumble over hot filling. Bake until topping is browned and set, apples are tender, and bottom crust is thoroughly baked, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, 3-4 hours.

source: recipe from Martha Stewart

P.S. An apple pie that doesn't take all day.