Happy Halloween, everyone! How is it already the end of October?! I mean, seriously, how did that happen. Halloween means tomorrow is November (November!), Daylight Saving Time starts soon, and all stores will be decorated for Christmas by tomorrow. While everything seems to be flying by a little too quickly, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for the holiday season that’s upon us.
Philip and I don’t have costumes this year, but we do have our candy ready to hand out to the cute trick-or-treaters. I wrote a post last year about why I hand out candy, but this year I’m also supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project by having a few non-food treats set aside for any kiddo who have food allergies or intolerances and can’t enjoy the candy. I think this is a great way to include everybody in the fun and even Philip admits, my non-food treats are pretty awesome. ;)
While I love handing out candy for Halloween, I do think there should be some limit to how much candy the kids enjoy at one time once they get home. I’m sure most families have a rhythm down for what works for them and their kids, but I loved this idea from Sally, a dietitian and mom who blogs over at Real Mom Nutrition, about the Switch Witch. I’ve heard about this witch a couple times this year now and I think it’s a great and fun way to let kids have the candy they want, but then switch out the rest of the candy for a toy or other prize that the witch leaves overnight. It’s definitely an idea I’m keeping in my back pocket for whenever we get to that stage.
But for now, I stashed away a couple Snickers Peanut Butter Squares for myself (re: all of the Squares that were in the variety pack. :) I knew sampling one was a bad idea…) and made up a batch of this delectable and appropriately fall Butternut Squash Gnocchi to enjoy after the trick-or-treaters have had their fill. Like I always say, it’s about finding the balance. ;)
Have you ever been so excited to go to a new and different place but, while absolutely loving the excitement of it all for the first bit, after a while you start to realize how much you miss home and all the things you loved about it? That’s kind of how I’m feeling about the change in seasons. While I’m so excited for fall with the cooler temperatures, sweatshirts and leggings all day-everyday, and all the fall foods, a part of me is longing for those long summer days, easy shorts and a t-shirt, and warm weather. I mean, summer was just here! And now…it’s not. :(
Perhaps the dreary weather has me feeling wistful, but one thing that has reminded me again just how wonderful fall can be is this Chipotle Turkey-Apple Chili. Your classic chili can sometimes seem more fitting for a cold, winter evening, whereas this turkey-apple chili could not be more appropriate for fall. I’m coming at you with yet another apple recipe this week! This was another of the many recipes I made using the apples Philip and I picked a couple weeks ago.
Ever wonder what a dietitian does on her day off? Personally, speaking for myself only here, she spends almost the entire day in the kitchen balancing between making healthy apple carrot cinnamon muffins (which are just as much delicious as they are healthy) and this over-the-top dessert bread: Spiral Cinnamon Apple Bread with Caramel Glaze. I mean, how can you not look at that beaut and not want some of it?
This weekend Philip and I had a completely free weekend. No work. No being on-call. No home projects to complete. And we intentionally didn’t plan any activities. It was so perfect in every way. Just imagine: Windows open, candle burning, music playing, and me dancing about the kitchen, swiftly moving from one thing to the next as our kitchen begins to smell as good as the candle burning.
Hello again, everyone! I’m coming into the work week with a little extra summer glow (re: burn) on my face, a very satisfied stomach, and the feeling that I have officially experienced summer. If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen that this weekend Philip and I made a trip to Iowa to experience the Iowa State Fair. It was a picture perfect day for the fair—mid 80s, sun shining, slight breeze, and absolutely no humidity. It was like we were meant to be at the fair that day. It was warm enough to want the delicious nitro ice cream there (think extra smooth ice cream that’s frozen quickly with nitrogen), but not so hot where our appetites left us…we definitely had our appetites! :)
How is it already over half way through July?! I feel like a broken record saying this, but summer is seriously flying by. I feel like I need to catch you up a bit on what we’ve been doing the past few weeks as it’s been awhile since I posted. Where to start…we’ve been doing a lot, hence the lack of posts coming your way lately.
Over the 4th of July weekend, we took our main summer vacation to Colorado to spend time with Philip’s family. We crammed in as much as we could during that short, extended weekend! And boy, did we live up our #yearoffun on that trip! So many good memories were made.
Does anybody else feel like we were just celebrating Memorial Day weekend and now it’s almost the 4th of July?! How did this happen? Growing up, I loved looking forward to the 4th of July, knowing it was another summer holiday. But then after the 4th, “Back-to-School” items started flooding into the stores again and I had that dreaded sense that summer was going to quickly end.
That’s not necessarily the case anymore, but I still hate to see the summer go by so quickly. Thankfully, we have a lot more fun things planned for the summer! One of those things was this past weekend when I completed my first triathlon of the summer. It was a calm day, albeit hot, so it was the perfect morning to go for a swim, bike around the hilly Wisconsin countryside (and when I say hilly, I mean hilly!), and run a few loops around the town close to where we live.
I ran this same race two summers ago, so I knew a little bit more of what to expect this time and felt more prepared going into it…although I had somehow forgotten just how hilly that bike course was. ;)
After the triathlon, it was a lazy day around here, including naps and getting the grill out for another meal on the grill. I wasn’t kidding when I told you we’ve been grilling non-stop around these parts! We had one of our favorite meals last night, Beef Fajitas, but another one that has quickly become our favorite is Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Lime Salsa, which I’m sharing with you today!
If your weekend weather was anything like what we were having, I hope you were able to get out and enjoy it! Talk about beautiful weather. In fact, as I type this, I’m sitting outside on our deck, enjoying a La Croix on ice (because that’s about as fancy as I get), and taking in as much fresh air as I can before rain moves in this week. This weekend has been full of fun activities from bike riding with Philip on Sunday afternoon to playing Red Light, Green Light with the littlest members in our small group from church Saturday evening. Gosh, it’d been a few years since the last time I’d played that! :)
While the weather has been consistently nice more frequently lately, it still has its moments of 70s one day to rainy and 50s the next day — the very definition of spring, right?! Even with the swings in temps, I absolutely love spring and all the vibrant color it brings with it. After a dull winter, the lush grass and budding trees is always a welcome sight for sore eyes.
This Spring Green Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce is the perfect resemblance of spring — fresh, vibrant, and full of all shades of green. Not to mention, a good helping of all those spring vegetables in season right now. :) If you even just sort of think you like pad thai or stir fry, then I know you’re going to love this recipe!
Christmas is almost here, folks! After all the anticipation and preparation for the holiday, we are down to the final days. Is your shopping done, lists completed, and gifts wrapped? Ha. Don’t worry, we still have days…plural. (re: we’ve still got time!)
In all seriousness, with all the hustle and bustle, sometimes it’s best to slow down, put aside our to-do lists, and remember to be joyful and content with what we do have. Even though I’m still working the majority of this week, I’m already excited for our young tradition of going together to a Christmas Eve service on Thursday evening followed by sushi at a restaurant in downtown Madison. With bellies full, Philip and I come back home to sit by the fire, sip on hot chocolate, and exchange thoughtful gifts to one another. Out of all the hubbub of the season, this quiet time together is possibly what I look forward to the most.
In keeping with the theme of simplicity and not to add another recipe that will add to your baking or cooking list, I have a simple salad that I know you’re going to love — both for the flavor and ease of making it. Whether you decide to add it to your holiday dinner table this year or opt for having it after the big meals are over when you’re looking for something a little healthier, Pear and Pomegranate Spinach Salad with Pistachios has got you covered.
Philip and I are now entering our third Christmas season together as a married couple and have, as of this weekend, completed our second annual Hoerr Family Confectionary (est. 2013) candy-making extravaganza! We pull out all the stops with labels, candy boxes, and as much candy as we can squeeze into a day. It’s fun to then be able to share that candy throughout the Christmas season with neighbors, family, and friends.
While we may have thrown out more caramel than we actually were able to use and had a couple too many mid-candy-making grocery runs, the rest of the candy was success on the first try. I feel like we are officially stocked until Valentine’s Day. #dietitiansworstnightmare
But you know what was the best part (well, besides taste testing far too much of our final products)?! Fully putting to use our new, updated kitchen! It was our Christmas present to each other this year, and exactly one year after we closed on our first home, we were able to enjoy it to the fullest. Now…what’s on our Year Two list? ;)
I know I hinted at giving you a full glimpse at our kitchen awhile back (sorry, the time has gotten away from me!), but I’m happy to show you the finished result now! (continue reading…)
The holiday season is officially in full force! Can you believe that Christmas is now less than 3 weeks away?! Somehow it’s already the second week of December and I can sense the flurry of activity going on in the stores as the holiday quickly approaches. Flour and sugar are left empty on the grocery store shelves and everybody is pulling out their yearly, favorite cookie recipes. What are your favorite holiday cookies and desserts?
For me, I grew up on soft sugar cookies with icing dripping down the sides. Nothing pretty or perfect about them, but somehow they seemed to melt in my mouth with every bite. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
You know what else makes my mouth water, though? These chewy gingersnap cookies…The Best Chewy Gingersnaps Yet, for that matter. :) I feel like all things ginger and gingerbread are the forgotten flavor around the holidays. Sure, peppermint normally gets all the attention, but I have a soft spot for the warmth and richness of gingersnaps. Every time I make up a batch of gingersnaps, it has me thinking of my aunt who doesn’t leave the flavor of ginger just to the holidays — she makes gingersnaps all year round. Can you see already why I love her so much?! When I lived close to my aunt and uncle during college, it was a safe bet there’d be a container of freshly made gingersnaps on her counter when I came for a visit.