Thursday, October 31, 2013

Autumn Recipe Collection 2013: MAPLE CRISPS, AUTUMN VEGGIE SOUP, APPLE DUMPLINGS and more!

Falling for fall is easy.   Every.little.thing. about fall is heartwarming.  Some of the best things about fall is the food!  Hot soup and lots of pumpkin everything!

Baking a loaf of traditional pumpkin bread for the season

Hot soup on EVERY cold day works for this girl!

 My blogging tradition is to share new autumn recipes each season.  I have archives full of favorites!  For 2013, I am sharing these seasonal flavors:


- cinnamon 

- butternut squash


- apples

The first recipe is vanilla cinnamon sugar donuts.  Donuts taste best on the cooler, warm-toned days of autumn!  This is a variation of the same recipe I used for Cameron's 13th birthday.

The next recipe is for a snack food that is a unique twist between a cookie and a chip:

Maple Crisps!

Maple Crisps are thin(ish) bites of sweet maple, tasting almost like a pancake but crunching like a chip.

Hurry boys!  Run outside and collect some fun leaves so I can take PICTURES!

This Maple Crisp recipe is from King Arthur's Flour.  It is a unique taste with a unique way to prepare! After mixing up the batter, you spread it thinly in a maple leaf cookie cutter on parchment paper. 

Bake! Then immediately and gently place leaves over the edge of a rolling pin to shape the leaves into curls, imitating a real leaf.

These are fun fall snacks, light and tasty!

A savory recipe I'm sharing this year is this delicious Autumn Veggie Soup!  It's a bowl FULL of fall flavors and every spoonful is comfort.  

This recipe has butternut squash for the heartiest veggie.  I also love to make butternut squash soup in October too.  

Autumn Veggie Soup
adapted from

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into medium dice
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into medium dice
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch-cubed peeled butternut squash (about half a 2-lb. squash)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch cayenne pepper; more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups lightly packed, coarsely chopped kale
  • 1 cup lower-salt canned chickpeas
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the squash, allspice, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt and stir to combine. Add the broth, tomatoes with their juice, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale and the chickpeas and cook uncovered until the squash is tender and the kale has wilted, about 10 minutes more. Discard the thyme springs before serving. Season to taste with more salt and cayenne.

This perfectly fallish soup, filled with squash, kale, and chickpeas, is spiced just right with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

The FINAL fall recipe I want to share in 2013's post was our VERY FAVORITE!!



Best Ever Apple Dumplings
served a la mode
of course!

This doesn't technically count as cooking or baking because the ingredients called for are a lot of already prepared foods.  I call it "quick cooking" and it's IDEAL to turn into Kid's Cooking!

See the recipe here.  And be sure to make these this fall.  You will love them. 

So, I gathered the boys into the kitchen and we got to work. 

These are so easy and yummy!

Lots of busy little hands...

Best Ever Apple Dumplings

  • 2 large granny smith apples, peeled and cored
2 10 oz cans refrigerated crescent rolls

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 12oz bottle Mountain Dew

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal and place in the baking dish.Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the apple dumplings. Pour Mountain Dew™ over the dumplings.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Crescent Roll wrapped apple slices, covered in a buttery cinnamon sugar glaze, finished off with citrus soda! 



Had to say it...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A list of 12 Memorable Things to do this FALL

I kinda like making memories and I kinda like fall too.
Those two favorites come together and marry into the BEST moments ever, ever!

12 Enchanting and Cozy things to do this FALL
(with individual links to more details for each idea!)

1) Plan a fall picnic

- pack a cozy plaid blanket
- use a thermos to hold hot cider
- buy or bake an apple pie
- pile mittens and hats in the car
- write up a quick nature hunt game to take along for the kids to do while there
- drive up to the prettiest fall colors in YOUR area
- eat, drink, and be merry

Details on our 

2) Go apple picking at a local farm and orchard 

- bring your own fallish baskets to fill
- wear your favorite cozy pullover
- make it festive by stopping at a roadside stand for apple cider
- create a list of delicious apple recipes to make with your fresh apples

Our apple picking day out:

3)  Cuddle up to bewitching seasonal movies

- watch classics like Casper the Ghost or Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin
- add seasonal energy to the night by making caramel apples and other fall snacks for kids

Details here for our 

And details on Casper the Ghost fun:

4)  Host or attend a Pumpkin-Carving Party with friends

- serve classic and warm chili
- bake pumpkin bread
- be creative!
- laugh

Details here on our Pumpkin Carving Party

5)  Bring the outside IN and decorate your home with nature's FALL scenes 

- pick acorns to bring inside for decor
- take the kids to the store to pick out fun shaped squash and mini pumpkins to use as fall props in the house
- hunt for leaves to decorate with

More natural fall decor:

And Jazzed Up Fall Decor

6)  Make real, pressed leaf garland or mini apple garland 

- unique way to decorate and celebrate fall!
- use crab apples

7)  Drive away for an autumn getaway for the weekend to tour fall leaf colors

- bring your bikes or your hiking shoes so you can ride or walk through the gorgeous fall colors
- research the BEST scenic drives to see the most vivid fall colors
- stay in a special hotel so it feels like an extra special weekend

 Roughin' It Day out
on the Grand Mesa

And in contrast, 
in Telluride, Colorado

8) Get cozy with a rag quilt and a hot cup of tea on your couch and make a list of fall treats you'd like to create in the kitchen.

- Maple, Apple, Pumpkin, Pear, and Squash are all delicious foods to experiment with for the fall season.

9)  Have a Family Game Night

- serve the fall treats you've been working hard on
- turn computer and phones off
- turn the fire on

Our Family Game Night Birthday Party

10) Plan an afternoon for an at home October Dress Up Show

-  let your kids run to their rooms and put together whatever dress-up costumes they can create.
- take pictures of their creations.
- serve a bowl of candycorn or any candycorn themed dessert

Our Enchanted Costume Dress Up Fun


11) Take a class to learn how to weave your own basket

- save the basket to give as a Christmas gift
- fill the basket with apples and pears for the season

12) Plan a couple's date night OUT during a full moon at the corn maze

- a giant thank you to my creative friend for this super fun idea!
- pack a picnic dinner to eat around the bonfire before the maze
- no flashlights allowed...find your way with the light of the moon

More details coming on this soon, so check back!

I hope you feel inspired to embrace this beautiful season!  
Please share your fall traditions too.  I would love to hear.  

OCTOBER was a beautiful month at Green Gables, 
when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine 
and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson
 and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades
 of dark red and bronzy green, 
while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.

- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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Friday, October 18, 2013

New Teenager Birthday and lots of DONUT cakes!

Yesterday I shared the WELCOME TO 13, TEENAGER I wrote to Cameron.  Today I'm sharing his party details!  

I suppose Cameron's party "theme" this year was...


- Junk Food

- Shopping


- Late Nights

Cameron requested a donut cake this year because he said donuts are "much better" than cake.  I strongly disagree but it was his party so I just bought myself a cupcake later and got to work baking his donuts. 

I made these tiny cute vanilla donuts.  They're mini-mini!
The recipe is from Sur La Table.

I added rainbow chips for extra birthday pizzazz.   

Ta da!

I piled these little vanilla babies on a miniature cake pedestal to take to Cameron's school as a birthday surprise.

Grab a bright plate, from the stack of colors and choose your tiny donut...
just a baby round donut of vanilla, 
with a swirled circle of icing, 
topped with rainbow sprinkles.  

Put a 

On a Saturday morning, the very NEXT day, his actual birthday, we celebrated with donuts AGAIN!  My parents, brother, and our family gathered together to celebrate Cameron's 13th!  To change things up, we had our "cake" and gift celebration in the early morning.  We all met at a local donut shop.

Cameron was greeted with family, neatly wrapped presents, and 13 colorful balloons.

His birthday "cake" was a line of donuts with his name traced on with frosting. 


THIRTEEN candles

Make a wish or two...

Let's celebrate!

Prezzie time!

Because Cameron really enjoys using his mind with mental challenges and puzzles, I started a tradition of writing riddles on the wrapping paper of his gifts that he needs to solve BEFORE he can open the gift.  You can see more riddles I've done in this past FAMILY GAME NIGHT BIRTHDAY PARTY.

Are you able to solve it?

For another gift, we kept it practical by giving him a new warm sleeping bag (one that fits his growing body!).  To keep it fun, I stuffed it with his favorite treats.  He had to dig into the bag to discover them all.

All of our boys are LEGO experts.
For real.
They're madly crazy about them.
Right now, they're raging over the Star War series.
It is always changing though.

Cameron cashed in on 2 million new LEGO sets.
Must be nice turning 13.

Throwing the party in the fresh morning was a great change because it gave us the ENTIRE day to kick back and celebrate with our new teenager!  To continue the celebration, we took him out clothes and shoe shopping the rest of the day because that's what teens like to do.  

I had one last special surprise planned for later that night. 
Much later.

For a celebratory initiation into the life of a teenager, our family 5 drove to a 24/7 hour diner for a midnight breakfast with pie!

Breakfast and pie at midnight!
First of many late teen nights.


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This post is linked to: Under the Table & DreaminNifty Thrifty,  Made by You MondayMet Monday, Tuesday Tutorials and TipsHOMEWORK: Be InspiredTip JunkieGet Your Craft OnWorks for Me WednesdaySnap CreativityOrganize and Decorate EverythingTransformation ThursdayTablescape ThursdayStrut Your Stuff36th AveFoodie FridayI'm Lovin ItTickled PinkFriday FlairBe Different Act NormalFunky Junk Interiors, Weekend Wrap Up, Six Sisters Saturday