Your Weekly Pins

Another Friday, another week of pins! Here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week...

How To Roast Perfect Pumpkin Seeds
[One of my very favorite things about fall is snacking on freshly-roasted pumpkin seeds. Sure, it takes a lot of work to get the seeds, but it's so worth it. Oh She Glows offers a tutorial on how to make perfectly crunchy roasted seeds, and it includes a step I never would have thought of on my own. I WILL be trying her method this fall!]

Roasted Pecan Pumpkin Butter
[Speaking of pumpkin, yes I am one of those girls who goes gaga for all treats pumpkin in autumn. This pecan pumpkin butter sounds absolutely scrumptious - an unexpected topping on toast or perfect mix-in with oatmeal!]

Glittery scarf.
[Fall also means scarf season. I love me a good scarf, but this sparkly one is so cute. It would jazz up absolutely any outfit!]

Big red polka dots.
[Polka dots are EVERYWHERE this season, and I'm right on board with the trend. I love this orangey-red sweater with BIG polka dots all over. Super cute... and couldn't you just see that sparkle scarf layered over top?]

[As much as I love wearing summer's bright palette, there's something about the rich colors of fall fashion that 's so comforting. This dress pulls in a little of summer's yellow, but paired with those chocolate tights, it's  perfect outfit for fall.]

Chalk Hearts on the way to the reception or ceremony...
[How cute is this idea? Make a trail of chalk hearts leading up to the ceremony or reception site. Our ceremony space has the PERFECT set up for this... I think it'd be such a sweet touch!]

craspedia-adorned chairs
[I don't know if I'll ever get tired of the Billy button trend.. they're just the friendliest little flowers, and I love this simple set up with billy balls lining the aisle on each chair... Actually, the whole wedding is filled with cute ideas like this, so check it all out.]

mimosa bar for morning of wedding with bridesmaids while getting ready
[One of the best parts about the weddings I've been a part of is getting ready with the girls before the ceremony. You eat, laugh and primp and help calm the bride's nerves before the big "I do." One thing that would help calm everyone down during this time is offering a mimosa bar stocked with mixes and fruits for all the bridesmaids to dress up their own cocktail while getting ready.]

Instagram wedding pictures! || adorable idea! That way you can see the wedding through so many different aspects. hastag could double for twitter too
[Weddings just keep getting color with all the technology and social media so readily available today. If your guests are Instagramming or tweeting from your wedding, why not prompt them to use a special wedding day hashtag? That way the bride and groom can look back at all the fun photos and well wishes after the fact in one big grouping.]

Koala mommy/baby hug!
[I'm a sucker for momma and baby animal photos. This one of a mama koala hugging its baby just melts my heart into a boiling puddle of hearts and rainbows.]

There are plenty more where these came! To see everything I pin all week long, follow me on Pinterest.


Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup (with fancy grilled cheese)

As if last week's butternut-squash and apple soup recipe wasn't enough to warm your spirits on a chilly fall day, this next soup will surely do the trick.

I made this roasted tomato and basil soup over the weekend because, frankly, I knew there was no other way I was ever going to use up the eight pounds of tomatoes I had sitting around from the garden. I am not over exaggerating when I say eight pounds, either. It's a ridiculous amount, even after sharing with friends and coworkers. And even after I made the soup, I still have four pounds of tomatoes left! I may just have to make another batch this coming weekend... it's just that good.

You know what makes this tomato soup taste even better? Dunking some of this in it:

That, my friends, would be fancy grilled cheese. More specifically, grilled garlic-white-cheddar with roasted jalapenos on wheat. Pressed on the panini grill just enough so the cheese gets super ooey-gooey and melts all over the place.

It's the perfect pairing.

Now, I didn't create the recipe for the this fabulous roasted tomato and basil soup. Mama Pea did, and did it  fabulously, might I add. Go right over to her blog and make this recipe ASAP. You don't even have to pair it with fancy grilled cheese... but you'll be missing that extra oomph if you don't.


Your Weekly Pins...

Another Friday, another week of pins! Here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week...

Adore the floors, ceiling medallion and moulding.
[At first I was like, "Oh hey those herringbone floors are THE BOMB." Then I looked up and noticed the crown moulding was also pretty bombtastic. Finally, that ceiling medallion took the entire room to a whole different level of BOMB DOT COM. Love it.]

[You know what else is the bomb dot com? This cozy-looking kitchen. The cabinet color is awesome, that old butter-yellow stove is phenomenal and I'm really digging the different textures on the wall (flat, beadboard and subway tile? It works!). Finally, can we please talk about this floor? Is it wooden planks atop checkered floor? It is a checkered-floor frame around hardwood? Whatever the case, I'm in lurve.]

smoky sweet potato burgers with roasted garlic cream and avocado
[I love a good cow burger as much as the next girl, but I'm also a huge fan of a really good veggie burger. This sweet potato burger with garlic cream and avocado seems rich, decadent and I can't wait to make one of my own.]

Buffalo Chicken Soup.
[Though I'm a much stronger baseball fan, I love football season for its gameday snack options. If we were to make gameday snacks for every baseball game, I'd weigh approximately 400 pounds... but football season keeps it all in check with merely one day of gluttony (not counting MNF or TNF). This buffalo chicken soup seems like the PERFECT gameday snack for a chilly fall Sunday afternoon, combining two favorites in one.]

Personal Pecan Pie Brownies
[A certain fella in my life can easily name his favorite food of all time, and that is, simply, pecan pie. I've seen him take down five slices on one Thanksgiving alone. And though he refuses to eat his favorite food on any day other than Thanksgiving, I think he'd make an exception for these personal pecan-pie brownies. I mean, they're not exactly pie...]

BHLDN Collector's Lockets.
[I used to love lockets when I was younger - I even wore one of my own around, from time to time. I think it all stemmed because Molly McIntire, my favorite American Girl at the time, wore a little locket, too. Picking up where I left off 20 years ago (that is horrifying to type...), I'm back on board with classic lockets! These beauties at BHLDN would be a perfect place to start.... if they weren't so dang expensive.]

Put manuals in plastic bags and tape to back of its corresponding appliance. Simple genius!
[This is one of the best, simple "Why didn't I think of that" ideas I've seen: Putting an owner's manual in a plastic baggie and taping that to the back of the appliance - no more misplacing or losing manuals!]

This company takes your child's drawing and makes it into a stuffed animal or pillow - so cute!
[Another incredible idea is the one being put into practice by Sunny Little Studio: turning a child's drawing into a real, huggable stuffed animal! Just think about how excited a kid would be seeing his or her work come to life! An incredible sweet idea.]

DIY wedding facts, for cocktail tables
[Eric and I have been toying with the idea of including "Fun Facts" about us scattered about our reception decor, and this wedding had the same idea! They're great conversation starters and a fun way to share more about the couple with all the guests.]

sweet as molasses ceremony decor  Photography by dixiepixelphoto.com
[It may be simple, but I think these scrap-fabric wreaths are so cute as aisle-runner decorations for the ceremony.]

kitty belly!
[I'm not sure what I love more: this kitty's belly or its super-excited facial expression!]

Yoga cat is harnessing her chi
[Yoga cat is harnessing his chi....]

[This Rainbow Brite/Twink Halloween costume idea is just adorable. I mean, I've seen Rainbow Brite done before, but nothing like this cute little Twink toddler!]

There are plenty more where these came! To see everything I pin all week long, follow me on Pinterest.


Kinka-WHAT??? A New Addition

So, we've got some pretty exciting news about a new addition to our family....

Wait for it.....

We got another kitty! Sorry if you were expecting an announcement that didn't involve a four-legged furry friend, but that's eons away... For now, we're expanding a family by one... or, more appropriately, by one half of one.

Meet Lieu Lieu! She is a half Munchkin, half American Curl, which we later found out is an actual recognized rare breed called a Kinkalow. As you can see, she's not your average cat: She's got stubby little legs and her ears curl backwards. Essentially, she is the wiener dog of the cat world. Her full name is Lieutenant Dan (for obvious reasons), but will call her Lieu Lieu for short!

We spotted Lieu Lieu yesterday on the Wisconsin Humane Society web site. I knew Eric would flip over her, so I sent him her picture. He freaked out and pleaded with me to bring her home. Now, I have been very firm on my stance on keeping our house at one cat only. Mr. Pancakes is spoiled, we are aware of this, and he is very special and I just didn't want to bring another cat into our home and hurt his feelings. Plus, I just didn't want to open the floodgates so that in 10 years we're swimming around in a home filled with felines. But Eric has wanted a second cat since we moved into our house, so I told him we could check her out just to see how her personality was.

Turns out, she's one of the sweetest cats I've ever met. As soon as our adoption counselor opened her carrier, she happily walked out and walked around to greet all of us and ask us for head scratches. She even flopped over on her side for belly rubs! She wasn't skiddish or hyper or scared. She was so sweet I just couldn't say "no." So she was ours.

Lieu Lieu is five years old, but is small like a kitten! She is probably a third of the size of Mr. Pancakes. Speaking of P-Cakes.... we are introducing him to Lieu Lieu VERY slowly. I don't think I have to tell you he's a diva, and when we brought Lieu Lieu home, Mr. Pancakes let out the most guttural, unpleasant sound imaginable when he saw her. My heart breaks when I think about hurting Mr. Pancakes' feelings by bringing another cat home, but I know in time he'll love having a playmate around all day/night. After we took Lieu Lieu upstairs, I made sure to let P-Cakes know he's still the #1 cat and that he is very special and beautiful (he is vain, and responds well to flattery...).

For now, Lieu Lieu is staying upstairs in our bedroom. Last night I rubbed a towel on her and brought it downstairs for P-Cakes to smell and investigate. We'll bring Lieu Lieu to a room downstairs in the next couple days so she and Mr. Pancakes will be able to smell one another and feel each other's presence, and then finally we'll open them up to being around each other freely.

Although I never wanted two cats, I'm so happy we brought Lieu Lieu home. She is so incredibly unique (Eric said he saw a breeder selling Kinkalows for $800!) and I can't wait until she and Mr. Pancakes become friends.

So there it is! Our spontaneous adoption and new member of the family. Lieutenant Dan may be short on stature, but she's big on sweetness!


Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Last weekend gave us a perfect peek into Fall, and I couldn't have been happier. I had a stellar long run in the crisp weather (my next half marathon is next Saturday already!), and enjoyed feeling comfortable in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. The weather, plus the onslaught of football season means it's just about time for soup Sundays! Inspired by autumn (and, you know, the buckets of butternut squash coming from our garden), I got started early with two of the season's favorite flavors: butternut squash and apple.

As I mentioned above, we're definitely not lacking in the butternut squash department. We've got squash of all sizes stretching throughout the garden, and need to start getting creative with the way we use them.

So I gathered an extra large squash and a smaller squash to put to use! Paired with tart Granny Smith apples, this soup is pretty much the embodiment of fall flavor. Comforting, thick and, yes, actually fairly healthy, this soup is going get a lot of playing time this season.

It's also fairly easy to make. The worst part is the prep work, actually peeling and chopping the squash, apples and onion. But once combined in a simmering pot with sweet-smelling spices, it's easy to forget how tedious all that prep work was...

If you're lucky enough to have an immersion blender like me, I definitely recommend using it for this soup. This was my first time using an immersion blender and after one use I'm pretty sure it's going to give my new food processor a run for its money in the "Kitchen BBF" competition currently underway in my sorry "I should probably get real human friends" life.
Just like my food processor, my mom scored this KitchenAid immersion blender for a steal at a summer blowout sale at the KitchenAid Experience store in my hometown a couple months ago. Not only does it come with the blender attachment, but also a whisk attachment, a food chopper attachment and a measuring cup/container that you can blend smoothies or single-serving soups or whatever in. It also comes with a handy little three-pocket canvas bag to keep all the attachments in. Pretty cool, you guys, pretty cool....

Also, I swear I am not being compensated by KitchenAid at all. I just like their products and am lucky to have family in a town that has a pretty awesome standalone Kitchenaid store, one that hosts fantastic sales from time to time. KitchenAid does not know I exist. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want a doofy amateur like me hawking their products for compensation, anyway. 

ANYWAY, back to the soup....

This soup just may be my new favorite fall meal (well, maybe juuuuuussstt behind pumpkin mac 'n cheese). It's perfect on a chilly day with a side of warm, crusty bread. You will want to sop up the soup with the bread. Follow that instinct. You won't regret it.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
(adapted from Ina Garten)

Makes about 3 quarts (6-8 servings).

One and a half large yellow onions, diced
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 medium-size butternut squashes (or a large and a small, which is what I had on hand), peeled and chopped
3 tart apples, like Granny Smith, peeled and chopped
2 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp clove
2 cups apple juice or cider

Heat the butter, olive oil and onions in a large stock pot on the stove on low until the onions become soft and translucent (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Add the water, squash, apples and salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add cinnamon, nutmeg a clove, then cover and simmer on low for about 45-50 minutes, until apples and squash are soft.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or puree or blend in stand mixer or food processor until smooth. Add apple juice or cider until the soup has thinned to the consistency you prefer. It should be fairly thick!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup is best served on a chilly day, while wearing boots, jeans a comfy sweatshirt. Preferably just after having gone on a drive through the country to see all the colorful fall foliage. 

What's your favorite fall soup? Are you a squash fiend like me? 


Your Weekly Pins

Another Friday, another week of pins! Here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week...

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[This ultra-sweet house in Indiana may just be the cutest home ever. Doesn't it kind of remind you of the one in "Father of the Bride?"]

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[Growing up, I always loved fall mornings when my mom would bring back pumpkin and apple spice doughnut holes from the local grocery store bakery. These Apple Spice Donut Holes are baked in muffin tins, so they'd be a snap to make at home. I'm thinking these are a must-bake this fall.]

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[You know how much I love my hummus, especially super special varieties of hummus. So it's no surprise I want to make this spicy black bean hummus as soon as humanly possible.]

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[Another tasty fall breakfast recipe, these zucchini apple spice muffins get double snaps for their relative healthiness! They're paleo and full of tasty, whole ingredients. I'm excited to try this recipe!]

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[I asked for a cast-iron skillet last Christmas basically for the sole purpose of making one of these skillet chocolate chip cookies.... but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Don't they remind you of more of a deep-dish version of those gigantic cookies sold at kiosks at the mall? You know, the ones I find myself staring at for way too long as I walk by, almost always awkwardly running into someone while my eyes are fixed to the oversized cookie goodness...]

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[I absolutely love this look. White, textured shirt under a cropped coral blazer. And of course my favorite color combo of coral and teal is complete with that awesome statement bracelet. Adorable.]

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[Okay, so I know swim suit season is over, but I'm almost ready for it to begin again just for an excuse to buy this super exensive ultra cute cami bikini. I absolutely love the cut and design!]

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[I always get a little preturbed when I have to buy car chargers for every electronic device that I have. This handy faux coffee cup plugs right into your car's electrical source but offers two standard plug-ins and fits right in your car's cup holder!]

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[Much like the rest of humanity, I love Seinfeld. I love its quirks and catchphrases, nine of which are a part of this incredible Seinfeld poster series. The famous "pretzel" quote cracks me up. It'd be an awesome addition to a bar space!]

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[I have never been a matchy-matchy type of girl, so I'm a big fan of the mix of pattern and color of this tablescape's table linens. It may not all have the same look, but it pulls itself together so well in the end.]

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[Outdoor weddings... you have to love the romanticism of them, but you don't have to love getting your heels stuck in the grass. These plywood hearts are perfect for having bridesmaids stand on, not only to save them from sinking in the ground, but they also offer perfect spacing for the maids and a cute, lovely detail, to boot!]

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[These science cat corny joke memes get me every time, but this one had me cracking up. I'm too lazy to consult my own periodic table of elements, so I'm just going to assume this is correct.]

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[Whenever I become a real adult and have a real life spawn of my own, I am definitely going to dress it in hilarious onesies like this. These parents are pretty hilarious, if ultra nerdy. I'd like to be just like them. I feel sorry for my future children already...]

There are plenty more where these came! To see everything I pin all week long, follow me on Pinterest.



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