Happy Monday everyone! I’m just hoping you caught this wonderful version of Baby it’s Cold Outside with Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Because it is fantastic.
(also, another cute version of this song)
Happy Friday everyone! I’m sitting at the airport, trying to make my way to Florida. I’ll be spending the weekend in Tallahassee. I’m so excited to see my best friends. Then I’m making my way south to spend Thanksgiving with my parents.
Here are a few amazing links that I wanted to share:
This d.i.y. chalkboard cheese board would make a perfect gift!
I am making this deer string art on a log. I already have the supplies! It’s so beautiful.
This etsy shop makes sleek-looking felt kitty beds and homes. They look so cozy.
How sexy is this Jonathan Adler candle (pictured above)? I have never been more tempted to spend $40 on a candle before. Christmas, anyone?
And here are a few yummies for you.
Take your Thanksgiving treats to go. Pumpkin Bread in a jar!
Butternut squash cannoli. I’m making this. The New York Times does not mess around.
Brooklyn had its first snow last week! The snow was brief, but beautiful. Since I grew up in Florida, this was my first “first snow.” I may have been a bit too enthusiastic about it (I’m sorry everyone who got my crazy emoji text messages). It’s officially cold and people are preparing for the holidays. There are so many beautiful Christmas trees in Manhattan. And I’m filled with love and excitement for this time of year.
That is, until I realized my heat hasn’t turned on today. So the novelty is wearing off. And this is only the beginning. I have another five months of cold weather. So, I did what any person preparing for a long winter would do. I went out and bought tons of scarves and booties. Then I made this soup.
It’s no secret that I love butternut squash. It is the superior squash. And while I may have a minority opinion on this, I still believe pumpkins are best left for carving. Not eating. So, when I saw a recipe for butternut squash soup, I went for it, lamenting that I don’t have an immersion blender. Ladling soup into a food processor is just such a mess.
This soup is creamy, sweet, and full of spice. It’s perfect for a cold day. Top it with raisins and pecans to add some crunch.
I made this soup two weeks ago but was very reluctant to put it on my blog. I don’t talk much about my efforts to be a better writer or a better photographer on AWFT, but feelings of “not good enough” are certainly a major reason why I don’t blog more. And while I’ve absolutely come a long, long way in my photography, (I can’t believe I’m even showing you those), I still feel like it’s not good enough. If the food tastes great, but the photos are ugly, who’s going to want to cook it?
I always feel uninspired when I photograph anything in bowls. I just don’t know how to make it come alive. Sure, I could buy a bunch of interesting, colorful bowls, but I struggle to maintain some type of minimalist lifestyle, which doesn’t exactly jive with food props. You may notice that all of my bowls and plates are white. I like to eat off of white plates, exclusively. So, it never really makes sense to buy anything else. But, growing my food photography craft is important to me. And I wonder how much is it suffering because I practically refuse to buy cute props. Does anyone else have this problem?
Anyway, now that I’ve realized this, I’m going to try not to let it hold me back, or keep me from posting. My goal for this blog has never been to feel inferior because of financial logistics or lack of consumer goods. Indeed, when I first started blogging, I would never have known what to do with a food prop.
And I have gotten better. Loads better. Not only has my photography improved leaps and bounds, but my recipe writing, blog writing, and even social media engagement are also more developed . And that makes me happy. After all, I do this because it’s fun. I enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge of cooking, of styling food, and the challenge of improving.
I enjoy connecting with people, with other bloggers. Most importantly, I like learning from other bloggers and being able to share recipes and my life with you. So, thank you for your continued support and visits to my blog. You make it all worthwhile.
There are only a few days left until Halloween. I haven’t had a lot of time to stop by a pumpkin patch, let alone carve a pumpkin, so this year, I might just pick up a sugar pumpkin at the grocery store (sigh). Luckily, there are some very cute no-carve ideas out there and some of these look like they only take a few minutes to make. Here are my top five (all with tutorials!).
What do you think? Aren’t they all so beautiful? Which one would you choose?
Are you freezing yet? It has been in the 50′s all day. The cats are sleeping in the weirdest places, trying to stay warm. It’s so cold, all I can think is climbing under the covers with a book (Ender’s Game). Oh, and eating, of course – eating lots of warm things. This quinoa stuffed acorn squash does not disappoint. This dish is filled with warm, whole grains mixed with pecans and raisins, served in a roasted acorn squash bowl. It leaves your belly full and body warm. It’s also easily made into a vegan dish.
I will be the first to admit that I blew it on these photos. The lighting couldn’t have been worse. It was dark out, my overhead was yellow, and lest we forget, my walls are puke green. (sigh). Also, someone call Dexter, because I clearly don’t know how to photograph vinegar. In the few seconds it took for me to adjust my camera, post-drizzle, my plates started to look like blood splatter. Don’t believe me?
I’m sorry I showed you that. Appetizing, I know. But, if you can look past the camera work and desperate Photoshop touch ups, I promise you these were incredible.
The vinegar was infused with pumpkin pie spice. I found it at Scarborough Fare Oil and Vinegar Tap Room. They have a tasting bar, where you can sample a variety of flavors, including fig vinegar and truffle infused oil. If you’re ever in the cute little town of New Paltz, Ny, stop by and check them out.
I am such a sucker for a good carved pumpkin. So much so, that I dragged Ryan and my sister to the New York Botanical Garden to see their Haunted Pumpkin Garden. It was a two hour trip, one way. Talk about commitment
I soon realized that the Haunted Pumpkin Garden was a children’s exhibit – I guess when I think Haunted, I thought adult, but it didn’t spoil the fun.
There were so many creative pumpkin carvings. I really had to control myself with the photos. Sorry for the image overload.
They had a pumpkin mushroom patch. How cute is that? You know how much I love mushrooms.
This exhibit was produced with the help of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth. They sanction all of those giant pumpkin contests. They’ll be displaying the world’s three largest pumpkins in Grand Central. I couldn’t get a date, but I’ll be sure to keep a look out. It should be soon.
So, if it isn’t obvious, all of the pumpkins are fake, When I realized that, it was sort of like telling me there is no Santa Clause. I guess it makes sense. The pumpkins have to sit out for more than a month. Regardless, the entire exhibit was still magical.
The gardens themselves are stunning. They have paved paths and more rustic trails, which are great for taking a stroll or going on a run. The Bronx river even runs through it, so we walked along the water for a while and tried our skills at tree identification (our new hobby). It was hard to believe we were still in the city.
And the rose garden was blooming! How lucky were we?
The quiet paths and Autumn’s trees were exactly what I needed on a Sunday. Even waiting for the train ride home seemed peaceful and magical at dusk.
I was back in the saddle, guys! And it was perfect.
I missed riding so much. It’s been five days and my saddle sores still haven’t healed and I don’t care! My last ride was more than six months ago and it was a horrible experience. (I only briefly mentioned it here.) I stopped riding regularly back in December. I still am facing challenges getting to a ranch for lessons. It’s mostly my lack of money and lack of access to a car.
This horse’s name is Hudson and he was such a sweet guy. I rode at My Saddle Brook Farm, and I highly recommend them. They were nice people, encouraging trainers, and had happy horses. Also, they were the lowest price in the area for a private lesson. They’re located about an hour and a half outside of Brooklyn.
Before I mounted Hudson, I was shaking with the fear of my last ride. But once I got in the ring, everything started coming back. It was seriously like riding a bike. My legs were a lot weaker, but I was still able to get in a decent amount of trotting. Hudson was a patient horse for putting up with my rusty maneuvers. Thanks Hudson!
And it was a gorgeous day for riding. I couldn’t have asked for a better day in the foothills of the mountains.
In short, these Halloween cat costumes are the best. I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I became when I saw them.
I tried to show them to my cats, but they ran in fear.
These are all hand made by Etsy Shop Owner I Heart Needlework. She custom makes them to fit your cat’s head. She also makes costumes for dogs and guinea pigs. How cute is that?
I love the Thanksgiving ones, which would be perfect for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. I’m all about re-using costumes.
Oh, and how great is her cat? What a perfect model. We bought our cats a dinosaur costume. Needless to say, it didn’t go over well.
p.s. This cat mermaid costume is my favorite.
I snagged these candles at the dollar store and had serious plans to decorate them for Halloween. And how cute are they? I can’t stop smiling when I see them. Oh, and those fake leaves? Also from the dollar store. I felt like a rock star when I left. Cheap craft supplies and tacky photo props? Sign me up.
This craft probably costs less than $6, if you’re buying all the supplies from scratch.
- dollar store candles, with labels peeled off. I used white for the ghost, orange for the pumpkin.
- high gloss black acrylic paint (or black nail polish)
- sharpie. I used the fine-tip for better detail.
- paint brush
- Q-tip for fixing mistakes.
Use your sharpie to outline your shapes. Tip: You can use a wet Q-tip as an eraser. It will take the sharpie right off.
Here are my outlines. They’re not perfect, because I was going to paint over them anyway.
Fill in the outlines with black paint. Make sure you don’t have a lot of paint on your brush when you’re trying to do edges and corners. It will make the fine detail much easier. You can also use Q-tips here to fix mistakes. I did two coats, letting it dry for 10 minutes between coats.
And you’re done!
This whole craft took less than 20 minutes. It’s so fun to create something from start to finish in one sitting. My original intention was to paint these using black nail polish, but I didn’t have any. I’d like to find a black candle and do something with white acrylic paint.
I hope you have fun making these. You can do all sorts of designs, but I decided to keep it simple with the ghost and jack o’lantern. Let me know what you make.
How beautiful is this fox tattoo? It looks so realistic.
This one is from etsy. Would you wear one?