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Showing posts from September, 2013

Apple Crumble Pie

After our awesome day apple picking at Jonamac Orchard in Malta, Illinois, we had LOTS of apples to use for today's marathon baking day.

The term 'marathon' is a little misleading, because the two pies we made took less than 45 mintues total with two of is working on the pies.
This recipe is for the Apple Crumble Pie (see tomorrow's post for the Snickers Caramel Apple Pie recipe!)
3 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples (we used Early Fujis for their sweetness) 3/4 c flour 3/4 c sugar 1/2 t cinnamon 1/8 t nutmeg
Toss all of the above together and pour into a prepared pie crust (we used a frozen Sara Lee pie crust).

Topping: 1/2 c flour  1/2 c brown sugar (packed) 1/2 stick salted butter (sliced, do not melt/soften)
Combine the above 3 ingredients with a for to creat a crumble.

Pour over the top of the pie. The butter will melt as the pie baked.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, remove the foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Allow to cool fo…


We have had an awesome time this weekend with our great friends Kira and and Nat this weekend, who are visiting from the D.C. area. 
While the boys started football round 1 (Redskins game), Kira and I headed west to Malta, Illinois to the Jonamac Orchard for apple picking.
Talk about a great First Day of Fall activity.

Chicago lent us a gorgeous 67 degree fall day. Ripe for the pocking were Early Fuji, Gala, Thompson, and apples.

Based on their sweetness and our desire to bake pies this afternoon, we stuck to Early Fujis for baking, and some delicious Thompson apples for snacking at home.

We though a peck of apples would do it for our dining purposes. We totally overestimated this. A peck got us 57 smallish apples. After making 3 deep pies, we still have 31 apples left over. 

It was our first visit to Jonamac Prchard and it was pretty fabulous for a family day. In addition to a great store with gifts, jarred goodies, and kettle corn, there was a line 50 deep for their donuts. We didn't …

Photo Shoot Day!!

When starting my new job with the Chicago Marriott Naperville, we decided to beef up our photo portfolio for marketing purposes. I got to gather with some great business partners at Tamara Hair + Makeup, Just Love Me Photography + Design, and Andrews Garden to pull together all the components of our day.

We had three fabulous ladies, Ashley, Carol, and Julissa -- real women -- model for us. They let our crew tease, poke, prod, and twist them all day to get some of the most amazing shots highlighting the work of everyone involved.

Here are some of my favorite shots of the day:

Pottery Barn Hack: Green Desk

I love Pottery Barn. I wish I made enough money to shop there at-will.

But I don't. So we hack.

I've been lusting over a bright green desk a girlfriend of mine has (and yes, her fabulous desk is from Pottery Barn). When we were debating what to do with The Captain's childhood desk and he said "just throw it out", I took that as a green light have a green desk.

I used a primer that does not require sanding, and then cheated a little bit on the painting. I knew this would be the only thing I'm painting bright green for a while, so instead of sitting on a whole pint of this color's paint, I purchased two of the 8 oz. sample sizes of Behr "Happy Camper." It was the perfect amount to cover the whole desk and have a tiny bit saved for future touch ups.

Something that is important: Be sure to apply one or two coats of clear polyurethane after the green paint has completely dried. I didn't so this at first, and of course the second Flaps puts his pa…

Zoe's Tower of Doom

Seriously, people, my niece is way too cute to ever build a Tower of Doom. She did build a tower though.

It's ok if you die from the cute. I did.

A New Kind of Pesto

I can't be the only person who buys a bunch of (parsley, cilantro, basil, etc.) for like, 1 tablespoon for a recipe, then you have the rest of the bunch to essentially go bad over the next week.

No more, I say.

So I had to get creative. I had over a half bunch each of parsley and cilantro from other recipes this week and started Googling what I could possible do with that much herb (hold you laughter).

I started reading an article about traditional Basil Pesto and how to change it up with other herbs. How have I never thought about using other herbs in pesto? Brilliant.

Here's how it went down:

In the Cuisinart MiniPrep - 1/2 bunch of Parsley, 1/2 bunch of Cilantro, 2 T EVOO, 2 T Minced Garlic (I cooked mine over a low flame for about 5 minutes to get a rich, nutty flavor), 1/4 each Salt and Pepper, Juice of a 1/4 Lemon

Pulse until delicious.

I served ours over Grilled Chicken, Grilled Asparagus, and Rice Pilaf as a little 'dressing/sauce/garnish'. YUM.

Beachy Bridal Shower

Our first Bridal Shower on the brand new Naper Patio! Saturday afternoon, I had the pleasure of planning Katie Jo's Bridal Shower with her mom. With a Destination Wedding in Mexico planned for February, Katie Jo's mom wanted to print a taste of Mexico to the shower with beachy touches.

Foam flip flop coasters greeted guests and doubled as a favor and a splash of tabletop color. Custom menu cards had the same flip flops as her invitations.
Our Pastry Team created a Boarding Pass cake to mimic Katie Jo's Boarding Pass Wedding Invitations. We love a new twist on a Bridal Shower cake with "152 Days To Go" since the countdown is officially on!
Placecards with seaside images indicated what each guest selected to eat for lunch

Fall Pumpkin Recipe Round Up

On today, the first Sunday of the NFL Football season, fall is in the air (even if it was 80 degrees today in Chicago). Chili was in the crockpot, sweaters dug out of the closet, and our first pumpkin recipes surfaced to prepare for lots of baking in the coming weeks. 

After a good bout on Pinterest and other awesome recipe sites, I've rounded up my favorite pumpkin recipes to get you ready for fall.