Banana Bread.

Banana Bread.

When the temperatures begin to dip and the leaves float from the tree tops to the earth’s floor. When the floral sundresses are traded in for plaids and oversized knit sweaters. When pool parties on Saturdays turn into football get-togethers on Sundays. When I start ordering my coffee hot, rather than iced. That is my favorite time. Fall.

And when the cooler weather forces me inside, rather than allows me to soak up every possible sun ray, I embrace the opportunity to spend some of that time in the kitchen, a place that often gets ignored in the summertime.

Today’s baking adventure came in the form of banana bread. Pure and simple, homemade and comforting. (Side note: A really cool thing about being an adult is already having all of the ingredients you need to whip up some baked goods. Including extra brown bananas.)

Continue reading “Banana Bread.”

The Finest is Fall.

The Finest is Fall.

You know that famous quote? The one about living in a world with Octobers? I know that it’s cheesy, but let’s be completely honest: Lucy really knew what she was talking about, and I really am glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

So, let me briefly recap what’s been keeping me so busy this fall: Square Cafe, Foster the People, our new ball of fur – Buxton, my brothers’ football games, Granny and Claude’s 25th Anniversary party, Avenue B, Hofbrauhaus, Triple B Farms, my boss’s wedding, 72 Hour Film Festival, Bassnectar, my birthday (and a deluxe dinner at Casbah), a visit from Megan, Emporio, and Pitt’s Homecoming football game. I’ve been busy this fall.

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What a wonderful fall it’s been.

With fall also comes football season, which is – much to the chagrin of my sports-loving father – something I could take or leave. Sorry ’bout it. My favorite thing about football season, however, is the cooking. The men sits on the couch, soaking in every play of the game, refreshing his fantasy football score every few minutes. He’s entranced by the dancing figures in black and yellow, and he only snaps out of his Steelers-induced stupor during commercials and when dinner is served. So, in an attempt to steal his attention for a few short, lip-smackin’ minutes, I hit the grocery store, shopping list in hand.

On tonight’s menu is angel hair pasta with shrimp and white wine pasta. A light, warm dish for a cool, fall evening.

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Ingredients: Angel Hair Pasta / Shrimp / Lemon / Dill / Garlic / White Wine / Cold Butter / Olive Oil / Salt + Pepper

Directions: Cook pasta is heavily salted boil in water according to the package instructions. / Drain, saving some some pasta water for later. / Finely chop dill and garlic. / Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and sear shrimp for three to four minutes. / Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about two minutes. / Deglaze with white wine. (I suggest a dry, fruity Riesling, the universal companion to seafood cuisine!) / Stir in cold butter to thicken the sauce, then season with salt and pepper. / Toss the pasta in sauce. / Add lemon juice and sprinkle with dill. / Salt and pepper to taste. / Serve warm, with a chilled glass of your leftover Riesling.

And what’s a fall dinner without a seasonally appropriate dessert? Enter: Pumpkin Pie cupcakes. Pumpkins are one of my favorite things about this season. I love the flavor, the smell, the look of mini pumpkins sitting on my mantle, everything. I’ve never liked pumpkin pie, but it’s always been a family favorite. I’d rather have a cupcake. So, here we are.

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Ingredients: Flour / Pumpkin Puree / Sugar / Eggs / Vanilla / Evaporated Milk / Pumpkin Pie Spice / Salt / Baking Powder / Baking Soda / Whipped Cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚. / In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. / In a separate large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, vanilla and evaporated milk. / Add in dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. / Fill lined muffin cups 1/2 full. / Bake for 20 minutes, and allow to cool for 20 minutes. / Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. / Top with whipped cream. / Sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, if desired.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Fall From A-Z.

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Easy as A, B, C: here are some of my favorite things for fall!

  • Wear your American pride on your sleeve with red, white & blue fashion pieces.  They’re in style even when it’s not the 4th of July.
  • School is back in session, but backpacks aren’t just for students.  Sport this trendy bag every day with plenty of room for all of your essentials.
  • Keep your outfit casual with a dash of camo.
  • See something you love?  With a little love and elbow grease, you can do it yourself.
  • Emerald is one of the most popular colors of the season.  You’ll be seeing it everywhere, so be sure to stock up on accessories or staple pieces in this color.
  • Grunge is huge for fall, so grab your boyfriend or brother’s flannel and you’ll be looking like a 90s babe in no time!
  • Metallics are always in style, but I’ve recently found myself in a committed relationship with gold.
  • Mix and match his & hers menswear for the hottest trend of the season.
  • Use Instagram for to show off pictures of your Pumpkin Spice Latte and the changing colors of the leaves.
  • Check out one of my favorite bloggers: www.sincerelyjules.com.
  • Cozy up with some casual hi-top kicks this fall.
  • It’s fall, and romance is in the air.  Keep the things you love close to your heart in a feminine locket.
  • The best toothpaste I’ve ever used: Marvis.
  • Experimenting with nail art is a subtle, yet fun way to accessorize an outfit, a season, or a mood.
  • After the age of 10, I never thought I would own a pair of overalls, but they are back, and better than ever.
  • The Yinzer in me can’t enough of those Pittsburgh Pirates!
  • Quiet time is always good for the soul, and this time of the year makes it easy to waste a day reading outside in the cool breeze.
  • Matte or glossy, red lips are here to stay.
  • This is my favorite time of year for the warm comfort of a Starbucks coffee.  Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone?
  • Turquoise has been and always will be my favorite gemstone.
  • Recently, I did a bridal photo shoot with some of the most talented women in Pittsburgh, one of the dresses I wore was by designer, UPoppy.
  • Make sure you check out my favorite vintage shop, Charlie Ford.
  • It’s always the right time for wine.
  • If ever there was a season that embodies xstreme sports, it’s fall.  Varsity jackets have quickly become popular, and don’t they just remind you of your high school days?  (Okay, so maybe those sports weren’t really extreme.)
  • The label formerly known as YSL delivered some of this fall’s most stunning runway looks.
  • It’s a zoo out there, so rock your zebra, leopard, and snakeskin prints like you’re the queen of the land.