Weekend Links + Magic

This week has totally flown by, in part because I’m getting ready to head out of town next week and preparing for travel always makes the days leading up jam packed. I’ll be sharing more details about my trip next week, but for now I think we should all celebrate the weekend! We’re going to be cooking up a storm and we’re taking Kona to puppy playgroup for the second week in a row. Last week, she played hard for the whole hour with a lab puppy five times her size. Afterward, she was so exhausted that she was on her best behavior. We call that a win-win (-win).

I’m so excited about the five things I found to share with you this week!

This magical little film inspires me to live simply and eat locally. (Or just hit play up there.)

The backup singer for FUN releases her own album, featuring Prince, Erykah Badu, and…sci fi?

New mantra: “There is no cavalry. No one is coming. It’s up to me.

A glam and totally inexpensive centerpiece idea. Got milk?

The perfect dinner for a chilly fall night. Because eventually we’ll get those.

What are you up to this weekend?

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Mom’s Apple Butter

The Easiest Apple Butter

Apple butter is a staple in my mom’s kitchen, even though the closest thing we get to apple picking in Hawaii is pineapple picking, and my ancestors got enough of that done to cover all the future generations. But now that I live in New England, apple picking is always on my must-do list for fall. So I get to combine this family recipe with a new tradition, all resulting in a tasty spread that’s made with love.

My favorite thing about this apple butter is that it’s really, really simple. Simmer the apples in juice for an hour, add a few flavors, and voila! Autumnal happiness for your breakfast bread.

The Easiest Apple Butter

Ingredients

4 large apples, peeled, cored, and quartered  (red delicious works well)
1/2 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar (heaping)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Raisins

Instructions

1. In stock pot, combine apples and juice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 45-60 minutes. Mash with potato masher or pulse until you reach the desired texture in a food processor.

2. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisins (optional). Cook uncovered 5-10 minutes, stirring often.

3. Enjoy on biscuits, toast, or if you’re a sneak like me, all by itself.

The Easiest Apple Butter

This recipe freezes well, so my mom usually triples or quadruples the recipe.

What’s on your autumn must-do list?

P.S. These biscuits are as tasty as they look! Find the super easy recipe at Pretty and Delectable.

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Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

Weekend Links + Small Talk

A few last al fresco meals before it's too chilly

Yesterday morning when I took Kona out for her morning walk, it felt like fall. The sky was overcast, the air was cool, and the trees are just beginning to flush orange and gold. While fall is my favorite season, seeing everything begin to turn this early makes me nervous — will we still have foliage in October? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. In any case, this week wraps up the summer and soon enough it will be time to get those trench coats and boots out of storage, and that’s reason enough to celebrate!

Here are the five best things I discovered this week:

This blew me away. You never know the talent hiding inside the person next to you!

Does anyone else feel awkward when it comes to small talk? A tool for your social arsenal.

What if you woke up with amnesia and no one else knew who you were either?

I love this idea to prepare for the busy days ahead.

What are you up to this weekend?

P.S. The newsletter was on haitus for a couple of weeks as we adjusted to life with Kona. It’s back in full swing this Saturday! Thanks for your patience and understanding.

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Simple Recipe: Butterscotch Mocha Cake

Butterscotch Mocha Cake (Easy!)

To close out this month of cake recipes, I’ve concocted a really easy cake using three flavors I love: coffee, chocolate, and butterscotch! The recipe is adapted from a cake my mom made when we were growing up called BTS cake. Better Than Sex. We thought that was scandalous!

The cake isn’t actually BTS (I mean, come on), but it is pretty delightful. The sour cream keeps it moist, while the fluffy coffee-flavored whipped cream balances out the sweetness.

Butterscotch Mocha Cake (Easy!)

Ingredients

1 box super moist chocolate cake
4 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
8-ounce sour cream
6-ounce package butterscotch chips

Whipped Cream Topping
2 cups whipping cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee

Instructions:

1. Place the butterscotch chips in a small bowl and roll them in some of the dry cake mix. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and sour cream.

3. Pour evenly into two 8″ cake pans. Sprinkle butterscotch chips on top of the cakes. They’ll sink while they’re baking, so it’s always a good idea to add them last rather than folding them in. Bake for 35 minutes.

4. While the cakes are cooling, make your whipped cream by mixing the cream, sugar, vanilla, and coffee on medium to medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

Yields: Two 8″ cakes

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Simple Recipe: Lava Flow Cocktail

Frock Files: Lava Flow Cocktail Recipe

While things have cooled down out here in New England, I know it’s hot in other parts of the country, and temps are definitely going to soar again here before summer’s over. So for this month’s theme, Keep Cool, I decided to try my hand at the first drink I search out when I’m home in Hawaii: a lava flow.

Actually, that’s not totally true. The first thing I search out is fruit punch, because no one on the mainland does it in the syrup-y, deep red way that they do in Hawaii. The second thing I get is a lava flow — sweet, tangy, fruity goodness all blended up. Bonus if there’s an umbrella! I was pleased to discover that this cocktail (or mocktail, depending on how you like it) is really easy to whip up.

Frock Files: Lava Flow Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

4 ounces fresh strawberries (about six medium sized strawberries)
2 ounces coconut cream
1 small banana
2 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups ice (crushed unless you have an awesome blender)
Optional: 1 ounce rum

Instructions:

1. Blend half of the coconut cream (1 ounce) with the fresh strawberries until smooth. Pour into glasses and rinse blender.

2. Blend the remainder of the coconut cream, the banana, pineapple juice, and ice. Pour over strawberry puree.

3. Stir to make swirls, sip, and enjoy!

What’s your favorite “girly drink”? (For the record, all the guys I know love these too.)

Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

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